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Building for the future - AMD 32nm

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June 18, 2010 7:10:06 AM

Hi guys i was looking at building a new machine using the new Phenom II X6 1055T, but after reading a few comments and looking further at the charts i'm reconsidering my position. Many people have said that the AM3 socket is likely to be around for a while and that there will be significant jump in AMD processor speeds next year as they move to 32nm manufacturing. So what i'm thinking now is that i should buy a lower specked processors probably around a Phenom II X4 Quad Core 925 and spend the saved money on getting the best AM3 motherboard i can and then next year when the new Zambezi CPUs come out i will upgrade. I'm not a gamer and the machine will be mainly for rendering video and audio but whatever i get this year will be a big improvement on my 7 year old Athlon 64 3500+. I would like this new machine to have a similar lifespan thats why i'm thinking of holding off on CPU till next year. What do you guys reckon and is there any kind of guarantee that a top specked AM3 board will be compatible with the 32nm processors from 2011? Thanks for all your advice this community has been invaluable.

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a b à CPUs
June 18, 2010 8:17:58 AM

It's a tough call. At this stage there is no telling how the new AMD CPU's will perform, not to mention that pricing will probably be higher than the current generation.
June 18, 2010 8:30:44 AM

Been there recently with a similar build having retired my Athlon 64.
Best gaming CPU for the money doesn't factor in what you're using the PC for - media encoding.
My situation was a little different as my AM2 processor packed up as well but I kind of like the value that AMD provides.
You're going to have to go for new memory with an am3 board but if you have serviceable DDR2 ram, I'd be looking at the AM2+ motherboards instead and go for a Phenom II x2 (or X3) unlocked processor (555 or 720).
The advantage over your current processor will be huge and your savings should cover a pair of Spinpoint F3 drives to use in RAID with the machine.

Then again - id depends on the software you're using. With AUTOGK, you're using LAME which is single threaded. Handbrake seems to benefit from the extra cores a bit more and saves you 10% in terms of file size for similar encoding time and quality.
The RAID array will make a huge impact on your encoding times.
Looking at AMD's past track record, I think you'll be seeing affordable AM3 processors built on 32nm process possibly losing the DDR2 capability being sold as budget processors in about 18 months.
With a 555 system and the raid array, you're looking at a single pass quality based encoding time of (estimating) 25-35 minutes per movie with AutoGK. For me that's perfectly acceptable.
In terms of lifespan, I think that the difference (in terms of video encoding) is likely to be limited by architecture and not processor speed. Video encoding as a task is ideally suited to GPU processing and in the next 3 years is more than likely going to be where the CPU battleground will be fought. OpenCL, CUDA, xStream etc all need to converge and will more than likely really start doing so when Intel decides to put a decent GPU on-die with the processor.
That is when I'd start looking to upgrade to a machine that's going to last 5-7 years.
Why? unless it's reverse compatible with existing systems (and therefore gives users little benefit) until Intel adopts it as standard (See tick-tock strategy - here I'm talking about the Tock), then you'll find that the machines aren't coming out fast enough for the technology (Hardware and software) to pay for itself.
One example's USB3. Why bother for most things when eSata and USB2.0 (together) can service 99% of user's needs?
I'm not saying that you're wrong wanting to be "futureproof" but you are trying to aim for an unbalanced system system for the task you're requiring of your PC in deliberately going for a more expensive motherboard.
Looking at the benchmarks alone, your best bang for the buck for your application would be an i3 then an i5 processor followed by a 555, then 720 and lastly 955 (c2) Phenom - with overclocking/unlocking being mandatory for all of them.
Happy?
cb
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June 18, 2010 8:49:57 AM

openi3 my Athlon 64 isn't an x2 so it only used DDR ram so i will have to upgrade everything anyway. If i got for an AM2+ i have no hope for 32nm support, but AM3 is likely as AMD have said the new CPU's will be AM3r2 which sounds like AM3+ thus backwards compatible just like the AM2 and AM2+ was. I mainly use premier CS4 and soon CS5 so very multithreaded software.
a b à CPUs
June 18, 2010 11:18:49 AM

The Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 is a solid mobo. The Athlon II X4 635/640 handles very well multithreaded apps.
June 18, 2010 2:13:51 PM

I have emailed AMD in regard to AM3 support next year but i doubt i will get an answer. If i do i will let you guys know.
a b à CPUs
June 18, 2010 2:40:05 PM

IIRC there will be a version of Bulldozer compatible with AM3, but I dunno about Llano (the one with the GPU on-die). Intel had to go to a new socket in order to get the PCIe pinouts, so my guess is that AMD would also find that necessary
June 18, 2010 3:18:17 PM

Doesn't bother me i like being able to choose my graphics card separately anyway :)  Can i ask where your info comes?
June 19, 2010 5:43:57 AM

metallifux said:
openi3 my Athlon 64 isn't an x2 so it only used DDR ram so i will have to upgrade everything anyway. If i got for an AM2+ i have no hope for 32nm support, but AM3 is likely as AMD have said the new CPU's will be AM3r2 which sounds like AM3+ thus backwards compatible just like the AM2 and AM2+ was. I mainly use premier CS4 and soon CS5 so very multithreaded software.


There's your answer right there - go for a relatively cheap am3 board and Phenom x2 / x3 / x4 (personally, I'd look to the x3 720 BE because it's great even without unlocking the extra core but that extra core will be a huge boost for you anyway.

Then go by the manufacturer that updates their bios to cope best with new socket revisions. I'd be looking at Gigabyte and Asus first.

Even if it's not for gaming, you might want something with an extra x16 PCIe slot for additional RAID storage, eSata and backups. PCI sata cards aren't much faster than USB2.0

Your biggest choice for the volume of data you'll be needing is whether to get USB3.0 support AND use it.

cb
June 20, 2010 4:59:31 AM

reply i got from AMD regarding whether the processors next year will require a new socket...

"Thank you for contacting AMD Global Customer Care. Unfortunately we have no information on whether or not 32nm processors will have a new socket. Much less if it would be backwards compatible with socket AM3.

Additionally processor support is determined by the motherboard's BIOS so even if the new processors could physically fit, there is no guarantee that the motherboard manufacturer will create a BIOS to support the new processors."
a c 172 à CPUs
June 20, 2010 1:04:06 PM

metallifux said:
... and is there any kind of guarantee that a top specked AM3 board will be compatible with the 32nm processors from 2011?

No, there isn't.
June 20, 2010 2:55:41 PM

Its crap! this is probably the only consumer industry when companies refuse to promote upcoming products and inform the customers of future support. Take the auto industry for example, you pretty much know every car that is coming out in the next 4 years!
June 30, 2010 5:56:05 PM

hahaha agr33d. If they told you tha next big tech wave is coming in 2 months...nobody would buy the current best hardware.

it is obviously a nightmare for those of us who wish to futureproof....grahh.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 1, 2010 1:45:47 AM

There is no promises in the future for anything except Taxes and Death, so just buy a system that does what you want for two years and then upgrade again, dont spend a fortune, just the right amount to get the performance you want!

DONT get the best AM3 motherboard and cripple the system for half its life with a lower processor, what a waste of a good MOBO, no,

Get Best MOBO CPU Combo - Asus Crosshairs IV or Gigabyte 890fx and get 1055t or 1090t!!

Or go mid range AM3 and Low Phenom II or even Athlon II x4!

Coming from what you are currently using heck even a LGA775 C2D @3.8Ghz will seem like night and day to you, so dont worry about the future too much, live in the now and buy the best balanced system you can afford and start using it straight away, dont delay the benefits, Its a false economy as the future is always uncertain!

!