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I7-980X or i7-960 or Bulldozer

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January 2, 2011 7:51:03 AM

Dear friends

I'm going to assemble my 1st ever D.I.Y PC soon with a budget of $4000 Singapore Dollars or ~2500 USD. However, I'm unsure of whether the CPU that I pick is an overkill or just right. Therefore, could you kind people advise me on the CPU to use?

Do take note that Singapore does not have all the DIY brands; Scythe Mugen, Mushkin and Gelid Tranquilo is not available in Singapore.

Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, EVGA, some Biostar and ECS motherboards are available, Coolermaster, Corsair, Antec, XFX, Sapphire, Palit, Thermaltake,Noctua, Prolimatech, Seasonic, Lian Li are also available although not the entire range espcially the customized units.

My PC is going to be used for:

- Moderate gaming; COD, Medal of Honor, Crysis, Mass Effect, etc... I hope that my PC can still run games at medium resolution 2 years from now and am open to upgading the GPU if necessary

- Moderate photoshop; editing microscope images, Western Blot, photos taken during vacations

- I don't need HDMI as I'm fine with DVI

- I'm not mounting a SSD for now as they cost a bomb in Singapore.

At this moment, I intend to get a LGA 1366 processor even though Sandy Bridge is almost upon us as I would like to have some extra PCIe lanes on hand especially a full PCIs X16 lane. AMD Bulldozer is fine especially if it arrives by March 2011 but is AMD a good choice for moderate gaming?

These are my options:

1) Intel i7-980X + Asus Sabertooth X58 / Gigabyte X58A-UD3R / MSI X58A-GD65 + GTX570 along with a little overclocking (100-200MHz)

2) Intel i7-960 + Asus Rampage3 Formula / P6X58D / Gigabyte X58A - UD7 / - UD3 + Noctua NH-D14 + GTX580 with some heavier overcloking (at least 400-500 MHz).

These are the other components of my PC:

WD Caviar Black 640GB/1TB (undecided)
CM HAF-X or Antec DF-85
Corsair HX850W / CM Silent Pro Gold 850W / Antec TP 850W PSU
1333MHz or 1666MHz 6GB triple channel RAM.

Which CPU should I get based on my needs? Also, if you think the PSU.casing etc should be changed, please feel free to comment too.

Thanks a lot for you help!

PS: Let me know if you need more information

More about : 980x 960 bulldozer

January 2, 2011 8:41:24 AM

Hello..
Does it have to be i7? Cause I think an i5 lynnfield should be enough for your needs.. But it's ok when you go i7, u have enough budget.

PS: What is microscope images?
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January 2, 2011 8:48:05 AM

Hmm yeah I would prefer an i7 since it can stimulate more cores which should be useful even 2 years from now.

I'm not too keen on the i5, i7-800 series because of the PCIe lane limitation. In my opinion, having more PCIe lanes is always a good thing. My issue is whether the i7-980X is an overkill and whether the i7-960 is good enough for my needs.

Microscope images = Snap shots of biological specimens viewed under a micoscope. Probably have to convert to a JPEG or TIFF before using Photoshop.

Thank for your reply sixthseven!
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January 2, 2011 9:12:55 AM

i7-960 will be more than enough for your needs. They're saying sandybridge is coming in under a week. I won't be the only one asking for you to wait.
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January 2, 2011 9:36:30 AM

yeah, you should definitely wait for sandy bridge
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January 2, 2011 10:23:09 AM

I have questions about waiting for Sandy Bridge: being as it's not replacing the LGA 1336, is there any point waiting for SB if we plan to build an LGA 1336 system?
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Best solution

January 2, 2011 11:25:07 AM

ivanlyf_2010 said:
Hmm yeah I would prefer an i7 since it can stimulate more cores which should be useful even 2 years from now.

I'm not too keen on the i5, i7-800 series because of the PCIe lane limitation. In my opinion, having more PCIe lanes is always a good thing. My issue is whether the i7-980X is an overkill and whether the i7-960 is good enough for my needs.

Microscope images = Snap shots of biological specimens viewed under a micoscope. Probably have to convert to a JPEG or TIFF before using Photoshop.

Thank for your reply sixthseven!


I believe 980x is an overkill and 960 is good enough for your needs (as I can't say it's too good). So I'll choose the 960 so I can spend the money for the others (wacomm, bigger lcd monitor, better case, etc). Btw, you can search some benchtest results of 980x n 960 for sure. So u can get better explanation and comparison for the CPUs.

I'm interested in your microscope images. Could you send me some for free ?:)  I like using photoshop too and I 'd like to know what I can do for the microscope images.
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January 2, 2011 11:32:07 AM

don_macabre said:
I have questions about waiting for Sandy Bridge: being as it's not replacing the LGA 1336, is there any point waiting for SB if we plan to build an LGA 1336 system?


Maybe for the cheaper price, but I'm only guessing... I haven't read anything bout for the upcoming SB. In my opinion it 's a good question.
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January 2, 2011 11:34:32 AM

I suppose not?

At this moment, the reason why I'll go for LGA1366 instead of LGA1155 is because the 1366 platform has more PCIe lanes.

Therefore, when we use Motherboards with 3rd party controllers for Sata 6gb/s HDD/SSD and USB 3, the 3rd party controller and the GPU can each connect at a full PCIe X16.
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January 2, 2011 11:37:57 AM

sixthseven said:
I believe 980x is an overkill and 960 is good enough for your needs (as I can't say it's too good). So I'll choose the 960 so I can spend the money for the others (wacomm, bigger lcd monitor, better case, etc). Btw, you can search some benchtest results of 980x n 960 for sure. So u can get better explanation and comparison for the CPUs.

I'm interested in your microscope images. Could you send me some for free ?:)  I like using photoshop too and I 'd like to know what I can do for the microscope images.


Hi sixthseven

I can send you a sample or 2 on a TIFF/JPEG. However, please give me some time as I have some major projects this week.

I saw the i7-990X article....should we wait or just purchase the 980X? After all, it's a rumour... I think our best option is to wait for CES? I suppose Intel would announce it at CES if there's really a 990X coming up
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January 2, 2011 11:47:54 AM

extra PCI-e lanes really only matter in SLI or Xfire at highest resolutions for 30" monitors.....

difference with socket 1156, perhaps 50 fps for x58 chipset to 48 fps with socket 1156....

Paying near $1000 for i980 cpu is simply ludicrous....waste of money, triple cost for 2% performance gain..
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January 2, 2011 12:20:07 PM

ivanlyf_2010 said:
Hi sixthseven

I can send you a sample or 2 on a TIFF/JPEG. However, please give me some time as I have some major projects this week.

I saw the i7-990X article....should we wait or just purchase the 980X? After all, it's a rumour... I think our best option is to wait for CES? I suppose Intel would announce it at CES if there's really a 990X coming up


990x will (probably) come in Q1 2011 and it’s based on Gulftown 6 core, not on Sandy Bridge new 32nm architecture. The clock speed is 3.46GHz, just some 130MHz faster than 980x’s 3.33GHz. It still has 6 cores and 12 hypertreaded cores as well as QPI at 6.4GT/s. It's unlocked and it will allow some further overclocking and it still doesn’t have any integrated graphics core. I don’t see many reasons to be excited about 990x as this is just slightly faster version of the 980x.

It's ok, I'll wait for the microscope images sample. But don't forget to send me... :) 
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January 22, 2011 2:55:23 AM

Best answer selected by ivanlyf_2010.
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January 22, 2011 6:17:03 AM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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