Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
on 5 June 2014
Rather than just review the cpu (which is kind of hard, since the rest of the hardware also makes a difference, you may get different results, I'm going to do a review of the full build.
A few months ago my old PC (Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300, 4gb ram, Geforce GT430) finally gave up its long fight for life, while I'd been wanting to upgrade for a while to something beefier (I was thinking along the lines of an i5, geforce GTX770, 16gb etc etc.) I couldn't really wait, I use my computer for many things from the usual gaming, movies, a bit of video editing for you tube, to running my home business. The last one, was what forced me to scrape together what money I had to put a PC together, every day I didn't have a computer, I was having serious problems..
The build was:
CPU: i3 4130 (obviously)
Motherboard: Asus H81M-E
Video card: MSI GTX NVIDIA GTX 650 2GB
RAM: 2X 4GB (making 8) Kingston Hyper X
Plus a cheap CIT Vantage case, and Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB HDD, the psu, and blu ray drive I scavanged from the old computer
I expect this is a fairly typical build for people using this kind of cpu.
General Day to Day use:
When I first built the computer, it was running Windows 7 home edition, since then I've installed windows 8 pro, on both OS's the system is very snappy, and, quick, most things happen near enough instantly, and its generally very pleasant to use, even though I don't have an SSD (I expect things would improve a lot with one) For general use such as web browing, word processing, desktop publishing etc, you really need nothing better. For these tasks, the video card will make little to no difference. I also use photoshop, and illustrator a lot for logo design, and game modding. (I make skins and other mods for games such as ETS2) Over all these less demanding tasks, as expected are all very smooth, and the pc is very responsive.
I used to find on the old pc, Adobe Premier pro was a very finicky program with a lot of slow downs, and freezes, especially when first making HD video when adding sources to the proejct, sometimes, it would be very difficult to watch the project back as I edited. Rendering a half an hour video would take hours and hours.
Now however, all those problems are gone, video projects take much less patience, adding video happens much more quickly, generally the program is usable, plus the rendering time is cut down a lot, usually taking around 40 minutes or less. This is probably one of the better tests, as it's very CPU intensive.
While games are far more about the GPU, the CPU is still quite important, so I'm going to touch on this never the less. Don't expect to be playing every game at 1080p 60fps, on ultra settings with 8XAA. You'll be very disappointed, after all, this build cost about £400.. I have the pc connected to a 1080p TV (much better for games, and movies), as well as a 1080p monitor. Most games do perform very well though, being a cheapskate, I tend to just buy whatever is on sale on Steam that interests me, so I'm yet to play games such as Watchdogs, and Wolfenstien new order on the rig. Some games I do play however are:
Euro Truck simulator 2: This game is renowned for being very resource heavy when you crank the settings up. I have all the effects turned up to high, and ultra, with 100% scaling, in 1920X1080, with AA off (the method of AA ETS2 uses doesn't work well with nvidia cards) I get around 35 -40 fps at these settings, with quite a few mods enabled. So it's safe to say this game runs fine.
The Witcher 2: So far, this is the game the computer has struggled with the most. I have to cut the settings down to medium, and 1280X720 resolution (720p) At this level the game works well (around 30fps) and still looks quite good.
Skyrim: Simply put: ultra settings, 1920X1080 (1080p) you'll get around 50fps.
Bioshock infinate: High Settings 720p, While the game is perfectly playable in 1080p, with some of the effects turned down, I find the game is better like this.
Sleeping dogs: High settings, 1080p works flawlessly, this can be said for the vast majority of games, such as Saints row 4, Goat Simulator, GTA 4, Hitman Absolutions.
Overall, it doesn't make a bad gaming pc, especially for some of the slightly older games I've been playing on it. I see no reason why games such as Wolfenstien new order, battlefield 4, and alot of other games wouldn't be perfectly playable. I do have doubrs about Watchdogs, however, as from a lot of what I've read, its very badly optimized, people struggle to get past medium settings, on much more powerful rigs.
The build cost around 400 For the price, I really can't argue, I'll be honest, I got a lot more than I was expecting, the CPU works well enough, most gaming performance problems, I suspect is more down to the GPU, rather than the CPU (which I intend to upgrade, when the new lot of Nvidia cards come out (as they do on a yearly basis) the GTX650, really is the minimum you should be looking at if you want to play games, if not the built in Intel HD will likely serve your needs (although I've never used it.) if your on a budget, and need to build an all round pc, I definitley recommend this cpu to power it. I spent a little while, looking at cpu reviews, and comparisons, generally (especially on single threaded performance) this came out on top, compared to similar priced AMD chips. I'm not longer in any rush to get the i5 rig, I wanted, this serves my needs nicely at the moment.
UPDATE (06/02/15) Since writing this review, I upgraded the video card to a AMD Radeon R9 280 3GB. Now I get excellent performance in games, I've been keeping quite a close eye on the FPS, just leaving the fps counter active on the Steam overlay, since I installed the card. Here is the average FPS on the games I've tried so far.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor 40-55 fps. I noticed a big drop in FPS in the second part of the game. The first part of the game was actually a pretty much constant 55fps
Euro Truck Simulator 2: (Everything set to the highest possible settings, with 300% Scaling AA Enabled) 40 - 60fps. This is a game that has always had massive fluctuations in the FPS depending on where you are on the map, especially on certain map mods.
Splinter Cell Blacklist: Ultra settings, almost constant 60fps
The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition: Ultra settings constant 60fps
Batman Arkham Origins: Ultra - 60fps
Next Car Game: Between high and ultra - 50-60fps
Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag Ultra - 40-60fps
Watchdogs. This is the only game I've played where I feel a better cpu would improve performance.I can comfortably play the game in high settings at around 40fps however. At Ultra, you tend to get between 25 - and 30. Yet I've seen other people on better cpu's with the same video card happily play it with much higher fps.
Despite watchdogs (which at the end of the day is still perfectly playable), I would still recommend this cpu if you want to play some games, on a budget. Higher end video cards still perform very nicely, with no noticeable difference on most games. The graphics card is still the main factor, this cpu certainly still performs quite well, for a low end budget model. If you can't afford to go for an i5, i7, or one of the more premium AMD cpu's, this is still a very good buy.