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i7-960 vs. i5-3570k

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March 11, 2013 9:51:40 AM

Hi, im in the market for a new gaming pc and trying to decide which motherboard/cpu combo to choose. How big is the difference in performance between the i7-960 with asus rampage II (still finding out specific version) and an i5-3570k with an msi z77 mpower mobo. I would still need to buy a gpu and was thinking of getting a msi hd7870 oc 2gb .
I know a guy who is trying to sell the i7 but ive had my eyes on the i5 and wondering if its worth the extra money, or is the second hand i7 sufficient. Im planning to use the pc for games like crysis 3 and farcry 3 on max settings, will the i7 have any drawbacks like getting outdated sooner or compatibility issues? Im hoping the i5 will be good enough to justify spending a little extra so i can stick with my original plan, however if the i7 is more than enough for now then its an obvious choice to save money there :p 

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March 11, 2013 10:09:59 AM

The 960, while a great CPU is already dead. That socket (1366) was used once and has now been replaced by the 2011 socket. The 1155 which houses the i5 is newer and far superior to the 960. I would buy the i5. The 1366 socket ran hot and had a small overclocking window whereas the 1155 has a lot of OC headroom. The main differences between i5's and i7's is hyperthreading. If you planing on playing video games, you don't need HT.
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March 11, 2013 10:11:52 AM

go with i5 3570k
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March 11, 2013 10:24:21 AM

I can't speak for the i7 because ive never owned one, but what i can say is that i own a i5 3570k with a Hyper 212 EVO and ive never ran into any problems with it. I also have the Z77 Mpower motherboard and i love its overclocking. In your situation i would go with the i5 because the i7 is pretty much outdated. Buy an i5 3570k and a Hyper 212 EVO to go along with your Mpower, you won't be dissappointed.
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March 11, 2013 10:36:42 AM

If you main use if gaming then you want the i5 no question.
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March 11, 2013 10:39:16 AM

Well since the i7 is so outdated in this case it seems like i'll be sticking with my original direction, thanks for the replies. So then my build would be looking something like:

-I5-3570k will be overclocking to around 4.5 hopefully
-MSI z77 Mpower
-2x4gb corsair vengeance 1600mhz ram
-MSI r7870 oc 2gb
-Hyper 212 evo
-corsair gs600 (is 600w enough?)

Still working on the details on smaller areas but its a start. Opinions would be much appreciated on what might work better or what i should change. Not sure what is considered over or underkill in these areas.
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March 11, 2013 10:40:08 AM

FinneousPJ said:
If you main use if gaming then you want the i5 no question.


unless going with a 3gpu setup even still I would look at avoiding the old i7 960 for a lack of reasonably priced motherboards
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March 11, 2013 11:03:30 AM

The i7-960 is definitely sufficient. As you can see from theBigTroll's link you see most of your improvement with video encoding. The i7-960 and the X58 architecture in general is still relevant. If you want to see some benchmarks with the i7 on X58 and newer video cards for gaming, check out some of the initial GTX 680 SLI reviews:
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_680...
http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/geforce_gtx_680_3_...

Both of these reviews are using X58 architecture. The end of the Guru3D article explains the possible bottleneck issue pretty well. I would say both processors will become irrelevant around the same time.

I say if the i7-960 is a great deal, you'll still get a couple of years out of it with that 7870. If the price is too close, I'd take the i5-3750K. I have a machine with a 3570K in it. I've used both platforms. From a gaming standpoint, you won't see much difference. Both are great processors though. Both use great architectures. Yeah they aren't producing 960s any longer, but when Haswell comes out, we'll probably see ivy bridge production taper off as we have with sandy bridge.
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March 11, 2013 11:11:30 AM

The i5-3570K gets my vote too. It has better lithography (22nm vs. 45nm) so better thermal efficiency and uses less power. And if it's for gaming only it will come ahead of the i7 in raw performance. In some applications the i7 will be better because of the hyper-threading (for applications that supports it), but in other applications the i5 will come ahead because it offers better per core performance. When it comes to gaming, since hyper-threading is totally useless this is why the i5 is better.

http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Core-i7-960-vs-Intel-Core...

Don't forget that the i5-3570K is also fully unlocked, so if you ever need to overclock along the road it overclocks way better.
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March 11, 2013 11:15:05 AM

ubercake said:
The i7-960 is definitely sufficient. As you can see from theBigTroll's link you see most of your improvement with video encoding. The i7-960 and the X58 architecture in general is still relevant. If you want to see some benchmarks with the i7 on X58 and newer video cards for gaming, check out some of the initial GTX 680 SLI reviews:
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_680...
http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/geforce_gtx_680_3_...

Both of these reviews are using X58 architecture. The end of the Guru3D article explains the possible bottleneck issue pretty well. I would say both processors will become irrelevant around the same time.

I say if the i7-960 is a great deal, you'll still get a couple of years out of it with that 7870. If the price is too close, I'd take the i5-3750K. I have a machine with a 3570K in it. I've used both platforms. From a gaming standpoint, you won't see much difference. Both are great processors though. Both use great architectures. Yeah they aren't producing 960s any longer, but when Haswell comes out, we'll probably see ivy bridge production taper off as we have with sandy bridge.


Thanks that really does touch on my initial questions. It's a tricky decision since i want the i5 but i7 just works out cheaper so i was hoping for conclusive evidence as to why i should go with the i5. The fact that you say i could get a few years out of the i7 makes me wonder if its just a waste buying the newer processor then. In the end i know it does just come down to budget, there is one winner in my mind; only question is the margin of victory and how much that is worth to me.
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March 11, 2013 11:18:14 AM

you do realize that the i5 3570k is faster than the i7 960 in every way and uses half the power right?
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March 11, 2013 11:29:24 AM

TheBigTroll said:
you do realize that the i5 3570k is faster than the i7 960 in every way and uses half the power right?

It is, but the i7-960 is still nothing to scough at and like I said, if it's a great deal, it's definitely something to consider. From a gaming standpoint, you won't notice a difference.

If you can get a great price and are looking for great performance in games, the i7-960 is a great way to do it. If the savings between the i7-960 available to you and the i5-3570k is marginal, I'd go for the 3570k for sure.

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March 11, 2013 11:52:21 AM

ubercake said:
TheBigTroll said:
you do realize that the i5 3570k is faster than the i7 960 in every way and uses half the power right?

It is, but the i7-960 is still nothing to scough at and like I said, if it's a great deal, it's definitely something to consider. From a gaming standpoint, you won't notice a difference.

If you can get a great price and are looking for great performance in games, the i7-960 is a great way to do it. If the savings between the i7-960 available to you and the i5-3570k is marginal, I'd go for the 3570k for sure.



Its' still a perfectly capable CPU, but my take is that you shouldn't pay a lot of money for a rig for old hardware. Always get the latest you can because there's always the factor that something could go wrong and finding a replacement for an old motherboard or CPU isn't going to be easy.
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