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Z87 (Haswell) v. x79 (Ivy Bridge-E) for GTX 780 SLI Gaming

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July 10, 2013 3:15:44 PM

Hello All,

So I have somewhat of a simple question. I will be building a new (long lasting, 5 year) gaming system soon and I would like to utilize two GTX 780’s in SLI. I know that, for most games now, I really would only need one GTX 780, but I only build a new computer every 5-6 years, and I want to make sure that I build something that I can still play the new games down the road on high settings.

With the recent information about Ivy Bridge-E (http://www.maximumpc.com/leaked_intel_roadmap_reveals_n...) and the release of Haswell and the Z87 chipset, I have come to the conundrum that I am in now.

I know that I can SLI on the Z87 motherboards, but I would be relegated to x8/x8 (unless I get a motherboard with a PLX chip, but I want to stay away from that). I have read a bunch of the forums and review sites, that say that x8 PCIe 3.0 is the same as x16 PCIe 2.0, and that the difference between the 3.0 x8 and 3.0 x16 is not major, in today’s games. Also, that most GPU’s do not fully saturate the PCIe 3.0 lanes. Further, I know that I would be able to SLI on the x79 motherboard and I would be able to utilize PCI3 3.0 x16/x16.

My motherboard/CPU set up would be:

Asus Z87 Sabertooth + i7- 4770K v. Asus X79 Sabertooth + i7-4920K (or i7-4930K)

So here are my questions:

1) Would the bottleneck caused (if any) by 3.0 x8/x8 be a big issue when gaming on a Z87 motherboard with 2 780’s in SLI, when playing today’s games on max settings?
2) Would gamming on a Z87 motherboard with 2 780’s in SLI run into some performance issues later on (2-3 years), and would these issues be noticeable?
3) Would the cost of an x79 motherboard and Ivy Bridge-E system be worth the ability to utilize PCIe 3.0 x16/x16?
4) Would the loss of the Haswell and Z87 features be worth it to go the X79 chipset?
5) Which one should I go with? :) 

**I really want to make sure whatever I buy now is correct, since I will not be upgrading for another 5 years.**

Thank you in advance for the responses, and I apologize if this has been answered already.
a c 324 4 Gaming
July 10, 2013 3:26:18 PM

i will wait for ivy 6 core + x79
it will give an option to upgrade cpu easily in the next 5 years, without changing mobo

and i will never worry about bottleneck on this platform

on haswell, hummm i only get sandy-bridge-like performance for the next 5 years
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July 10, 2013 3:28:10 PM

I would buy only one 780 and 2-3 years from now, if you're not satisfied then buy another one. By that time the 780 should drop 100-200 dollars.
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a b 4 Gaming
July 10, 2013 3:32:15 PM

1) Nope, Modern GPUs are simply not fast enough to saturate the bus so going from x8 to x16 will make no difference in FPS at all.
2) It "MIGHT" but thats only if a certain game doesn't support SLI AND can't be played on max with a 780.
3) Not at all, unless you were doing high end encoding/picture work/ramdisk where you needed the extra cores and ram
4) I wouldn't think it matters, long as you get the specific features that you need.
5) I would go with the 4770k, you can get a 4570k for cheaper but new games in 5 years might take advantage of those extra HT units.

We don't know what the future will bring but we do know you will probably need to upgrade those gpus in about 3 years or so. Assuming you want to play on max. Take a 9800GTX for example, fairly high end cards, would they play games now on max SLId, nope. (about 5 years after release) A single 9800GTX is about equivalent to a 6670 and a 7750 (this gens bottom end card) is a quite bit faster than that.

So just know what your getting into, I would start off with a single 780 then upgrade as needed, I don't see a need for a proc upgrade for a while though.
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July 10, 2013 3:51:13 PM

mouse24 said:
1) Nope, Modern GPUs are simply not fast enough to saturate the bus so going from x8 to x16 will make no difference in FPS at all.
2) It "MIGHT" but thats only if a certain game doesn't support SLI AND can't be played on max with a 780.
3) Not at all, unless you were doing high end encoding/picture work/ramdisk where you needed the extra cores and ram
4) I wouldn't think it matters, long as you get the specific features that you need.
5) I would go with the 4770k, you can get a 4570k for cheaper but new games in 5 years might take advantage of those extra HT units.

We don't know what the future will bring but we do know you will probably need to upgrade those gpus in about 3 years or so. Assuming you want to play on max. Take a 9800GTX for example, fairly high end cards, would they play games now on max SLId, nope. (about 5 years after release) A single 9800GTX is about equivalent to a 6670 and a 7750 (this gens bottom end card) is a quite bit faster than that.

So just know what your getting into, I would start off with a single 780 then upgrade as needed, I don't see a need for a proc upgrade for a while though.


The thing is my computer now is a AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE, with 2 Radeon HD 4890 OC'd, and I am just now having to drop down my setting to medium in Bioshock Infinite so that my card does not melt (90C+), and this is a 4-5 year old build. I want to whatever I build now to last me that long, possibly a little longer.
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a b 4 Gaming
July 10, 2013 4:06:18 PM

Fair enough though a single 780 will max everything, once that doesn't pick up another one for cheap. Could save you a couple hundred bucks.

Thats just what I would do.

Come to think of it, we never asked about resolution. What res are you planning on going and is 3d/120hz going to be of any importance? If so you might need to grab 2x780 for 120hz in crysis 3
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July 10, 2013 4:36:00 PM

mouse24 said:
Fair enough though a single 780 will max everything, once that doesn't pick up another one for cheap. Could save you a couple hundred bucks.

Thats just what I would do.

Come to think of it, we never asked about resolution. What res are you planning on going and is 3d/120hz going to be of any importance? If so you might need to grab 2x780 for 120hz in crysis 3


I will be planning on getting either a 1440p (27inch) or a 1080p, 120hz(27inch) monitor. I am still doing some research, but I know I will upgrade my monitor soon.
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July 15, 2013 12:28:52 PM

Ok, so there might be one more item that I would like to add on top of the GTX 780's in SLI. If I wanted to add a Sound Card as well, would I still have the condurm (X79 Ivy Bridge-E v. Z87 Haswell)?

Also, I watched a video from ASUS where they were showing what 2 GTX 780s in SLI with the Maximus VI Hero (Z87) could do with a 4K monitor, and on the games that they were showing, it was not dropping below 50+ FPS. Would that be a good sign to go with the Z87 (Haswell) set up?

Thank you again to everyone who has posted replies, they are greatly appreciated.
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July 15, 2013 1:10:04 PM

Jonathon Thorpe said:
Hello All,

So I have somewhat of a simple question. I will be building a new (long lasting, 5 year) gaming system soon and I would like to utilize two GTX 780’s in SLI. I know that, for most games now, I really would only need one GTX 780, but I only build a new computer every 5-6 years, and I want to make sure that I build something that I can still play the new games down the road on high settings.

With the recent information about Ivy Bridge-E (http://www.maximumpc.com/leaked_intel_roadmap_reveals_n...) and the release of Haswell and the Z87 chipset, I have come to the conundrum that I am in now.

I know that I can SLI on the Z87 motherboards, but I would be relegated to x8/x8 (unless I get a motherboard with a PLX chip, but I want to stay away from that). I have read a bunch of the forums and review sites, that say that x8 PCIe 3.0 is the same as x16 PCIe 2.0, and that the difference between the 3.0 x8 and 3.0 x16 is not major, in today’s games. Also, that most GPU’s do not fully saturate the PCIe 3.0 lanes. Further, I know that I would be able to SLI on the x79 motherboard and I would be able to utilize PCI3 3.0 x16/x16.

My motherboard/CPU set up would be:

Asus Z87 Sabertooth + i7- 4770K v. Asus X79 Sabertooth + i7-4920K (or i7-4930K)

So here are my questions:

1) Would the bottleneck caused (if any) by 3.0 x8/x8 be a big issue when gaming on a Z87 motherboard with 2 780’s in SLI, when playing today’s games on max settings?
2) Would gamming on a Z87 motherboard with 2 780’s in SLI run into some performance issues later on (2-3 years), and would these issues be noticeable?
3) Would the cost of an x79 motherboard and Ivy Bridge-E system be worth the ability to utilize PCIe 3.0 x16/x16?
4) Would the loss of the Haswell and Z87 features be worth it to go the X79 chipset?
5) Which one should I go with? :) 

**I really want to make sure whatever I buy now is correct, since I will not be upgrading for another 5 years.**

Thank you in advance for the responses, and I apologize if this has been answered already.


Bloody hell, how much do you get paid...
if i didnt eat for 3 months i might be able to afford something of this scale

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July 15, 2013 2:35:10 PM

Zynch said:
Jonathon Thorpe said:
Hello All,

So I have somewhat of a simple question. I will be building a new (long lasting, 5 year) gaming system soon and I would like to utilize two GTX 780’s in SLI. I know that, for most games now, I really would only need one GTX 780, but I only build a new computer every 5-6 years, and I want to make sure that I build something that I can still play the new games down the road on high settings.

With the recent information about Ivy Bridge-E (http://www.maximumpc.com/leaked_intel_roadmap_reveals_n...) and the release of Haswell and the Z87 chipset, I have come to the conundrum that I am in now.

I know that I can SLI on the Z87 motherboards, but I would be relegated to x8/x8 (unless I get a motherboard with a PLX chip, but I want to stay away from that). I have read a bunch of the forums and review sites, that say that x8 PCIe 3.0 is the same as x16 PCIe 2.0, and that the difference between the 3.0 x8 and 3.0 x16 is not major, in today’s games. Also, that most GPU’s do not fully saturate the PCIe 3.0 lanes. Further, I know that I would be able to SLI on the x79 motherboard and I would be able to utilize PCI3 3.0 x16/x16.

My motherboard/CPU set up would be:

Asus Z87 Sabertooth + i7- 4770K v. Asus X79 Sabertooth + i7-4920K (or i7-4930K)

So here are my questions:

1) Would the bottleneck caused (if any) by 3.0 x8/x8 be a big issue when gaming on a Z87 motherboard with 2 780’s in SLI, when playing today’s games on max settings?
2) Would gamming on a Z87 motherboard with 2 780’s in SLI run into some performance issues later on (2-3 years), and would these issues be noticeable?
3) Would the cost of an x79 motherboard and Ivy Bridge-E system be worth the ability to utilize PCIe 3.0 x16/x16?
4) Would the loss of the Haswell and Z87 features be worth it to go the X79 chipset?
5) Which one should I go with? :) 

**I really want to make sure whatever I buy now is correct, since I will not be upgrading for another 5 years.**

Thank you in advance for the responses, and I apologize if this has been answered already.


Bloody hell, how much do you get paid...
if i didnt eat for 3 months i might be able to afford something of this scale



I have been saving up for a while. Last build was 4-5 years ago, that is why I want to build a computer that will last awhile.
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October 25, 2013 8:39:12 AM

I'm having the EXACT same conundrum you are. Although I don't have a whole bunch of tech savvy jargon to throw at you, I can repeat some of what I've gathered.

Between the two options, you will not notice a difference when playing "today's" games. In fact, you probably won't notice a difference when playing "next years" games. But out about 2 years? It's really hard to say, and with Intels tick/tock releases, I'm betting that in 2-3 years, there will be plenty of reason to have this discussion all over again.

For my 2 cents.... buy the system that will work now and a year from now, and pocket the extra cash toward an upgrade in 2-3 years. The 5-6 year PC sounds enticing, but I've just found it to be a bit of a pipedream... long before that 5-6 years is up, you'll want something new anyways. Save that cash toward your next upgrade, and set yourself up with a Z87.

My input, for what it's worth.
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