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Intel i7 950 vs i5 2500k (same price)

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February 19, 2011 1:34:19 AM

Hello,
My nearest MicroCenter is selling the i7 950 and SB 2500k both for $200. Which will be better for MMORPG's and FPS like Crysis 2?
Will Hyper Threading be something used by games in a few years? Oh and also a question I can't find the answer to... do you HAVE to use triple channel memory on the i7?(3x2gb vs 2x2gb)
Thanks

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February 19, 2011 1:38:58 AM

mack daddy said:
Hello,
My nearest MicroCenter is selling the i7 950 and SB 2500k both for $200. Which will be better for MMORPG's and FPS like Crysis 2?
Will Hyper Threading be something used by games in a few years? Oh and also a question I can't find the answer to... do you HAVE to use triple channel memory on the i7?(3x2gb vs 2x2gb)
Thanks


This is easy. Get the i5 2500K. Its better in every sense of the word. Especially if you want to OC it. HT generally isnt terribly useful, and its almost entirely useless in games.

You dont HAVE to, but it keeps things compatible and its faster. Dual channel will work on the 2500K.
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February 19, 2011 1:41:35 AM

OK thanks for the opinion/ answering the RAM question :D 
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February 19, 2011 1:44:42 AM

mack daddy said:
OK thanks for the opinion/ answering the RAM question :D 


No problem! But do you plan on overclocking the 2500K? At stock clocks:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/288?vs=100

Theres a comparison. But the i7 950 can OC to around 4.1 GHz. The 2500K can hit around 4.7 GHz, and 5GHz+ with a new BIOS fix. If the last sentence confused you, ill assume you arent overclocking :lol: 
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February 19, 2011 1:47:02 AM

Overall the 2500k would be better than the i7 if you planned on using 2 video cards or less. It's stock clocks are higher, it overclocks higher(10-15%), and it's IPC advantage is ~10%. Hyperthreading adds about 20-30% performance when utilized well, but games will take a long time, if ever, for them to utilize it to its fullest.

The i7 doesn't need 3 sticks of memory; it can run 1,2, or 3 sticks of RAM if you wanted. You just lose some bandwidth by not having triple channel memory, but the i7 isn't memory bandwidth limited even with 1066 dual channel RAM.

The biggest difference between the platforms is Pci-e bandwidth, since the i7 could do tri-SLI/CFX setups it would be better to go with if you planned to do that.
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February 19, 2011 1:56:38 AM

OK and for the record I'll be running either dual 6950s or gtx 560s. As far as overclocking I'd like to push it as far as I can safely on a 212+ cooler.
Thanks again, Mack Daddy
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February 19, 2011 1:58:17 AM

mack daddy said:
OK and for the record I'll be running either dual 6950s or gtx 560s. As far as overclocking I'd like to push it as far as I can safely on a 212+ cooler.
Thanks again, Mack Daddy


With a 212+ cooler you should be able to hit 4.5 GHz conservatively. If you eat fire for breakfast, 5 GHz isnt out of the picture with the new LPP voltage fix.
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February 19, 2011 2:02:52 AM

+2 to the 2500K.

Get water cooling and the LPP BIOS patch and you could hit 5.5GHz. And some of the newer patches are allowing for a 60x multiplier...... gotta find more info on that....
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February 19, 2011 2:21:26 AM

Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, folks. You're still lucky to get 4.8-5.0GHz even with the "CPU PLL Overvoltage" update. Hell, my board had that setting in the initial shipping UEFI and it didn't affect my maximum multiplier overclock at all. I have updated to the newest UEFI and still no change with it enabled or disabled.
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February 19, 2011 2:23:51 AM

The sandy bridge 2500K is shockingly fast; superior to any i7-9xx, even possibly the i7-980X
The current problem is unavailability of P67 motherboards. That issue will be resolved asap; all involved are working hard. Expect march-April

No overclocking is necessary, but that is why you get a K processor.
CM 212 will give you all the cooling you need for a sane oc.

The hyperthreading is all but useless for gaming. Few games use more than two cores, much less 4.
I bought a 2600K and turned off hyperthreading to make OC easier, and at lower temps. Task manager shows low cpu while geming.
Designing a game for more than two cores is difficult. Game developers will not go to that effort and limit their market by requiring many cores or hyperthreading.

Most current Intel motherboards will work with any number of ram sticks. Any odd sticks will run in single channel mode.
Not a biggie, the integrated memory controller can feed the cpu with virtually no loss in real application performance or fps.
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February 24, 2011 3:14:11 PM

Quote:
in gaming yes but in heavily threaded apps the 2600k gets beaten down by a I7 920 running at a lower clock.

After seeing this, I looked through a couple of reviews again ... where is it that an i7 920 beats an i7 2600K in any real application at all? IIRC, 2600K doesn't get beat by anything with the same number of cores, but maybe I'm wrong.
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February 24, 2011 3:43:32 PM

I liked my Celeron "II" 300A overclocked to 450MHz from back in the day.
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February 24, 2011 3:53:46 PM

And if I had two hard drives in my system, I would run that benchmark just to see where my system stacks up. I've only got a 2500K though.
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February 25, 2011 7:37:25 PM

ares1214 said:
No problem! But do you plan on overclocking the 2500K? At stock clocks:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/288?vs=100


That benchmark link you posted - this might be a silly question, but is one of the reasons why the 2500k runs faster than the i7 950 in most of those benchmarks is due to the faster processor speed (3.3ghz vs 3.06ghz)? I'm thinking if the 950 was overclocked to 3.3 or equivalent, it would be faster than the i5 at the same speed.
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February 25, 2011 7:59:53 PM

bishoplord said:
That benchmark link you posted - this might be a silly question, but is one of the reasons why the 2500k runs faster than the i7 950 in most of those benchmarks is due to the faster processor speed (3.3ghz vs 3.06ghz)? I'm thinking if the 950 was overclocked to 3.3 or equivalent, it would be faster than the i5 at the same speed.


1) The sandy bridge cpu's are faster on a clock for clock basis by about 10- 15%, depending on the application.
2) The 32nm construction allows a higher top overclock, depending on the particular chip samples, of course.
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February 25, 2011 8:47:16 PM

geofelt said:
1) The sandy bridge cpu's are faster on a clock for clock basis by about 10- 15%, depending on the application.
2) The 32nm construction allows a higher top overclock, depending on the particular chip samples, of course.


Thanks for clarifying.

So even if the i7 was overclocked to say... 3.5ghz, it'll still be slower (on some tests) than the i5 2500k at it's stock clock speed? (wow. that's very impressive if it's true)
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February 25, 2011 9:21:13 PM

bishoplord said:
Thanks for clarifying.

So even if the i7 was overclocked to say... 3.5ghz, it'll still be slower (on some tests) than the i5 2500k at it's stock clock speed? (wow. that's very impressive if it's true)


Yes, exactly. But, the way i see it is relative clock speed. they should both be the same amount from max clock speed. 2500K can hit 4.8 GHz reasonably, 950 can hit 4.1 GHz reasonably. So the 950 is running at 75% its max clock rate, the 2500K is running at 69% its max clock rate. So technically, comparing the 2500K at stock to the 950 would have the 950 at 2.8 GHz. That both gives them the same amount of OC headroom.
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February 26, 2011 5:19:03 PM

Best answer selected by Mack Daddy.
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February 26, 2011 6:04:14 PM

It depends on what you use the PC for. If using it for CPU-intensive threaded tasks, such as HD video rendering, that need tri-channel RAM and hyperthreading, the i7-950 is a good choice. The i5-2500K is great for gaming, but availability is an issue due to the recalled motherboards.
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