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For software Development: Sandy Bridge or core i7 extreme ed?

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April 3, 2011 11:20:25 PM

Hi!

I'm about to buy a new PC and need to know whether I should get an Intel Core i7-2600k or an i7-980x.

I know sandy bridge is the newer, better, faster architecture but I'm going to use the pc for .net software development and testing, so I'll have a VM open at all times with windows 2008 for all my VS dependencies (sql server and team foundation server) and up to 5 vms to test my apps (on XP, Vista 32/64 and 7 32).

My rationale for choosing intel's core i7-980x is that it has 2 extra cores, which would mean 4 extra parallel processes, but sandy bridge is so much cheaper...

So my question is for this type of load are 2 cores better or wil sandy bridge compensate with it's better per clock performance?

Regards!
April 3, 2011 11:24:23 PM

If your comparison is from a value standpoint, then the 2600K is better. But if you ONLY care about performance in threaded apps, the i7-980X is the better option
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April 4, 2011 1:04:15 AM

I ask because I can justify buying the 980x only if having the sandy bridge chip will slow down my work under load. If all I can get are a few seconds shaved off compile times then I'll go sandy bridge, but if it'll grind down to a halt once I have 5 vms open then i'll need the 980.

Regards and thanks for your answer!
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April 4, 2011 2:12:17 AM

You might be one of the few people that actually need a 980x over a 2600k....
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April 4, 2011 8:01:19 AM

How's this then for the base system?

Mobo: Asus Rampage III Extreme ROG - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003H2AQG6/ref=ox_sc_a...

CPU: Intel core i7 980-x - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003922WES/ref=ox_sc_a...

RAM: Kingston HyperX T1 Limited Edition - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QOCRMU/ref=ox_sc_a...

I picked the Rampage III board 'cause I need a pci slot for my soundcard, though I've been hearing you can connect a pci card into a pci express slot, provided it's not one of those small x1 slots of course... is this true?

Thanks!
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April 4, 2011 3:07:47 PM

Will I be able to play games with it too?

this is my work / gaming PC, and though I don't play much, i'd like to be able to run modern games at medium settings.

Also what mobo / RAM would you recommend?

regards!
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April 4, 2011 6:03:46 PM

Ok I've been researching some boards and like this one a lot:

http://www.amazon.com/LGA1366-MAX-144GB-3PCIE16-3PCIE8-...

the only problem I can find is that it is eeatx... wil my thermaltake armor fulltower support it? (the page says it goes up to eatx only)
Also, will I be able to connect 3 nvidia 580's in SLI on it?

Thanks!
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April 4, 2011 10:59:00 PM

According to Newegg, the Armor + FULL TOWER chassis supports EATX standard which is the standard of the board you mentioned. If you want to verify this then visit http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and revise the supported motherboard standard motherboards under the details tab

A Very late but important question, do you PLAN to OC?

Also, Newegg sells a cheaper and smaller Asus board based on the same chipset and including a PCI 32 slot. If you can buy from Newegg, it's certainly worth a look

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want to verify its inclusion of the required PCI slot, checkout the manufacturer's webpage:

http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=sqbdCm0nmFxn3sS4
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April 5, 2011 12:43:29 AM

Hi!

the board's form factor is e-eatx, which is 1,68" wider than eatx (or is it taller, I don't know frankly).

I do not plan to overclock, I wanted the asus rampage III because experience tells me that gamer boards are better / more durable.

That Asus board looks quite nice! it's a bit cheaper than my previous choice and has all the stuff I need... One thing though, will it be able to run three geforce 580 gtx cards? that's on my list for may so I need a board that'll handle them (one reason for going with three 580s is the need for 6 displays to be hooked up to the PC, and I don't want amd boards 'cause they don't support physx or 3d afaik).

Thanks!
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April 5, 2011 12:52:42 AM

All the Intel Core's have hyper threading which one core two essentially. That mean the 980x has 12 core, but the sandy bridge is going to have 8 cores. If I were you I would go with the 980 for the type of work you are doing. But the xeons maybe a good option for you but they aren't peticularily gaming processors. Here are some benchmarks for both the I7, and 980.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/142?vs=287
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April 5, 2011 1:43:35 AM

I don't need gaming performance, in the sense that I'll be happier if I can run games at max settings but won't care as long as I can at least run them (my current vga card is a radeon x1900XT and is fine for my needs).

It would be nice to see some benches for the xeons doing stuff they're not made for (i.e. gaming)

Thanks!
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a b à CPUs
April 5, 2011 1:52:10 AM

tijuana said:
I ask because I can justify buying the 980x only if having the sandy bridge chip will slow down my work under load. If all I can get are a few seconds shaved off compile times then I'll go sandy bridge, but if it'll grind down to a halt once I have 5 vms open then i'll need the 980.

Regards and thanks for your answer!


5vms...as in Virtual Machines?...Yes 980X without a doubt. The extra cores will be vital. And get the 990x...its the updated version.
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April 5, 2011 2:28:25 AM

so I should get a 990x and not a couple of xeons, even though 2 xeons will give me 2 more cores than the 990?

@youssef the asus support forum says this board doesn't support multigpu. further research seems to indicate the only board that supports sli and 2 xeon 5620s is the evga classified sr-2, which happens to be hptx form factor, leaving me with my original concern about whether it will fit inside my case or not (it definitley won't, the board is 13x15... whoa!)... maybe you could recommend a case for this form factor? so far I've only managed to find cases that look a bit cheap, and I don't want my pc breaking a couple of months after buying it :S. besides, adding a case into the mix would definitely exceed my budget forcing me to wait a couple of weeks before buying my new workstation =(

Any advice?

EDIT: corrected info on evga sr-2 form factor
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April 5, 2011 5:58:55 AM

ok after thinking this through I've decided to buy the following components:

CPU: 2 x Intel Xeon 5620
Mobo: Asus Z8PE-D18
RAM: Kingston HyperX T1 Black Edition (24GB)
VGA: Sapphire Radeon 6970 2GB

I'm not so sure about the vga card nor the RAM. A radeon 6970 costs almost $100 more than a 6950 and those $100 could be spent on better RAM. Regarding the RAM modules I'm not sure they are compatible with the mobo, so I'd like your suggestions as to what I should be getting here. I have around $400 for RAM and would like to have at least 12GB per CPU in triple channel (split in 4GB modules). Whether it should be ECC reg/buffered or whatever or just plain old RAM is something that escapes my knowledge (I know what ECC is in theory but have no idea what it means in the real world).

obviously if you'd rather buy another mobo please tell me so (requirements are that it has 1 PCI-E x16 slot for the graphics card and 1 PCI slots for my sound card).

Thanks a lot for your help! =D
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April 5, 2011 2:21:42 PM

What is your budget? This question should be the first information provided.

Regarding your decision. Does your work require PhysX or any other Nvidia-exclusive feature?

This configuration will allow you to play the latest games maxed out at REASONABLE resolutions.

Too bad the board doesn't support Xfire or SLI. Since you wanted to go with 3 580s in SLI, Maybe you should consider the 6990.

As with cases supporting the HPTX officially, I only found one Lian Li case priced at $400 which is too much for a case.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you are considering another board with at least on PCI-E 2.0 and one PCI you may find this one interesting
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Unfortunately, I don't know anything about the manufacturer but may be some of the TH community have heard of Supermicro
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April 5, 2011 3:45:13 PM

Supermicro is a very good manufacturer, I buy my server boards from them and haven't had a problem yet. That said I'd rather go with asus for my pc since they require much less tweaking to work properly.

For now I have $2000 for mobo + cpu + RAM + ssd, and no I don't need physx for work I just wanted to have 3 580 (call it an irrational fetish :p ). a 6990 is tempting though, do they support 6 screens with eyefinity? I'd have to wait a little longer to get the money but it seems worth it.

Edit: ok so here's what I'll be buying:

CPU: 2 x Intel Xeon 5620
Mobo: Asus Z8PE-D18
RAM: Kingston HyperX T1 Black Edition (24GB)
SSD: RevoDrive x2 160GB

I won't buy a graphics card quite yet, i'll save up $700 to get a 6990, so that leaves cash to get a revodrive.

The only thing I need help with is RAM. is that kit - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QOCRMU/ref=ox_sc_a... - compatible with the mobo or should I be getting something else? (maybe with ECC, maybe not so fast but larger).

Thanks for your answers!
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April 5, 2011 6:34:16 PM

Here's the full specification of your ram (the same number but with different heat spreaders)

www.valueram.com/datasheets/KHX1600C9D3T1BK6_24GX.pdf

I also suggest you use Newegg as it seems cheaper than Amazon in most cases.

I checked the Newegg page for compatibility between the Asus board and those modules but the board only supports unbuffered 1333MHz so, they'll run at this speed by default. You can OC them if you want them @1600 MHz.I don't know if the sticks at Amazon are unbuffered or not but the ones @Newegg are Unbuffered

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Again, they have the same Model number so, maybe the only difference is the heat spreader shape.

About the 6990, it supports up to five monitors in Eyefinity natively (5 x 1) and the Mini-DP outputs are DP1.2 capable. I think you can daisy-chain two monitors to one display port and use the rest of the outputs normally to get 6 monitors in Eyefinity. According to many online sources, this will be possible with the release of Dp 1.2 drivers.
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April 5, 2011 10:42:25 PM

about the RAM, will it affect the system in any way?

Obviously the memory modules will perform a bit slower than they're supposed to, but will they cause stability issues?

Regards!
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a c 99 à CPUs
April 6, 2011 12:06:49 AM

Quote:
Why don't you get two Xeons. they're perfect for your kind of work and will save you almost 200 usd aswell

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get 2


Agreed, tijuana really would benefit from a dual-socket machine's extra cores. Xeon E5620s are okay, but in my honest opinion, Xeons don't give as much bang for the buck as Opterons. You can get two 6-core 2.6 GHz Opteron 4180s for the price of one of those 2.4 GHz quad-core Xeon E5620s, and an Opteron 4180 should give at least moderately better performance in multithreaded tasks than a Xeon E5620. The Xeon will be slightly faster in single-threaded tasks due to Turbo Boost, but compiling software is typically highly threaded and gaming is threaded enough to keep the Xeon's clock speed out of the highest Turbo Boost bins, so there shouldn't be much difference between it and the Opteron for gaming.

tijuana said:
Hi!

the board's form factor is e-eatx, which is 1,68" wider than eatx (or is it taller, I don't know frankly).


It is taller than a typical extended ATX board as it measures 13.7" by 13" and a typical EATX board measures 12" by 13" and a typical ATX board is 12" by 9.6". It will be tough to find a case for this board as most cases cannot take a board taller than 12".

Quote:
I do not plan to overclock, I wanted the asus rampage III because experience tells me that gamer boards are better / more durable.

That Asus board looks quite nice! it's a bit cheaper than my previous choice and has all the stuff I need... One thing though, will it be able to run three geforce 580 gtx cards? that's on my list for may so I need a board that'll handle them (one reason for going with three 580s is the need for 6 displays to be hooked up to the PC, and I don't want amd boards 'cause they don't support physx or 3d afaik).

Thanks!


High-end gamer boards are usually less reliable than midrange desktop boards because of all of the whiz-bang features the makers try to incorporate into them. For example, I have sent back several LGA775 ASUS Rampage boards that had some goofy bug with deciding which BIOS to use and then corrupting both of them. The person who wanted me to build a machine with high-end gamer boards "because they were more reliable" found this out the hard way. If you want reliable, you can't beat server boards. They are designed to run reliably for a very long time and rarely fail to do so.

processor-pro said:
All the Intel Core's have hyper threading which one core two essentially. That mean the 980x has 12 core, but the sandy bridge is going to have 8 cores. If I were you I would go with the 980 for the type of work you are doing. But the xeons maybe a good option for you but they aren't peticularily gaming processors. Here are some benchmarks for both the I7, and 980.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/142?vs=287


Not all of Intel's Core i-series CPUs have HyperThreading enabled. Intel disables it on some parts to persuade people to pay more for higher-priced CPUs with HyperThreading, while still being able to say they offer a CPU at a lower price point. HyperThreading can improve performance in some muliththreaded applications but one core with HyperThreading is absolutely NOT anywhere near the performance of having two real cores. Typical gains in real-life applications range from -5% (yes, performance losses) to +15% or so. Having two real cores will net you anywhere from 0% gain to somewhere in the upper 80%s range.

tijuana said:
Supermicro is a very good manufacturer, I buy my server boards from them and haven't had a problem yet. That said I'd rather go with asus for my pc since they require much less tweaking to work properly.


Server boards don't generally require a lot of tweaking, and I have not appreciated much of a difference in tweaking needed between ASUS's server boards (like my KGPE-D16) and any other maker's.

Quote:
For now I have $2000 for mobo + cpu + RAM + ssd, and no I don't need physx for work I just wanted to have 3 580 (call it an irrational fetish :p ). a 6990 is tempting though, do they support 6 screens with eyefinity? I'd have to wait a little longer to get the money but it seems worth it.

Edit: ok so here's what I'll be buying:

CPU: 2 x Intel Xeon 5620
Mobo: Asus Z8PE-D18
RAM: Kingston HyperX T1 Black Edition (24GB)
SSD: RevoDrive x2 160GB

I won't buy a graphics card quite yet, i'll save up $700 to get a 6990, so that leaves cash to get a revodrive.

The only thing I need help with is RAM. is that kit - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QOCRMU/ref=ox_sc_a... - compatible with the mobo or should I be getting something else? (maybe with ECC, maybe not so fast but larger).

Thanks for your answers!


See below...

youssef 2010 said:
Here's the full specification of your ram (the same number but with different heat spreaders)

www.valueram.com/datasheets/KHX1600C9D3T1BK6_24GX.pdf

I also suggest you use Newegg as it seems cheaper than Amazon in most cases.

I checked the Newegg page for compatibility between the Asus board and those modules but the board only supports unbuffered 1333MHz so, they'll run at this speed by default. You can OC them if you want them @1600 MHz.I don't know if the sticks at Amazon are unbuffered or not but the ones @Newegg are Unbuffered

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Again, they have the same Model number so, maybe the only difference is the heat spreader shape.

About the 6990, it supports up to five monitors in Eyefinity natively (5 x 1) and the Mini-DP outputs are DP1.2 capable. I think you can daisy-chain two monitors to one display port and use the rest of the outputs normally to get 6 monitors in Eyefinity. According to many online sources, this will be possible with the release of Dp 1.2 drivers.


tijuana said:
about the RAM, will it affect the system in any way?

Obviously the memory modules will perform a bit slower than they're supposed to, but will they cause stability issues?

Regards!


I would avoid the HyperX memory. The RAM won't run any faster than DDR3-1333 in that board (or any modern server board except the EVGA SR-2) so there's no reason to buy anything faster. The Z8PE-D18 can actually take any kind of 240-pin DDR3 out there- unbuffered non-ECC desktop RAM, unbuffered ECC server RAM, or registered ECC server RAM. The only thing you can't do is mix and match any kind of unbuffered RAM with registered RAM on the same board. That being said, I'd recommend registered ECC DDR3-1333 for that board since you can only populate 12 of the 18 RAM slots if you use unbuffered RAM (2 sticks per channel max.) Even if you don't fill up all 18 slots now, you may want to later, and only registered RAM will let you do that. I'd stick with Kingston's KVR for memory as I have bought lots of sticks of various types of KVR over the years and haven't had any problems.
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April 6, 2011 2:10:40 AM

Thanks for your lengthy post. I'm not quite sold on the point about getting opterons since i've always percieved intel to be better at anything but games. Could you point me to some benches? If I were to buy amd what mobo should I get with those cpus you recommend?

Thanks!
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April 7, 2011 1:16:23 AM

Best answer selected by tijuana.
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a c 99 à CPUs
April 7, 2011 1:46:54 AM

tijuana said:
After doing some research it looks like opterons are indeed better suited for my needs (and quite cheaper, which is always good).

I've been looking at this mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I like it and find it to be the best c32 that's around (after only half a day of research)

What do you think about it?

Regards!

Edit: found a RAM module that looks good: http://www.excaliberpc.com/603219/kingston-kvr1333d3q8r...


That ASUS KCMR-D12 would be a good board, as would the normal ATX-sized ASUS KCMA-D8. TYAN makes some dual C32 boards too, the S8226 (which is similar to the ASUS KCMR-D12) and a real beast of a dual C32 board, the $500-something S8225.

As far as the RAM goes, you will need four modules at a minimum- two per CPU. That 8 GB stick will work if you need 32 GB of RAM, otherwise get smaller sticks.
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April 7, 2011 7:37:33 PM

I have another question, will a standard ATX Power supply be compatible? I have a Topower 750W modular one with two 12v rails. Will this work?

Regards!
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a c 99 à CPUs
April 7, 2011 11:22:18 PM

tijuana said:
I have another question, will a standard ATX Power supply be compatible? I have a Topower 750W modular one with two 12v rails. Will this work?

Regards!


Those boards require two 8-pin (or 4+4 pin) EPS12V connectors for CPU power. I can't find a 750 W modular PSU on Topwer's website, so I can't see what connectors your power supply actually has. However, there are adapters that can turn Molex, 4-pin ATX12V, and PCI Express power connectors into 8-pin EPS12V connectors so your PSU will work with those boards. My desktop has a PSU with only one 4+4-pin EPS12V connector and I got a PCI Express to EPS12V adapter to provide the other EPS12V connection the board needed. My file server's PSU is an older PSU with only a 4-pin ATX12V connector, so I got a ATX12V + Molex to EPS12V adapter for it. (That board is older too, it only needed one EPS12V connection.)
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April 8, 2011 3:37:23 AM

hmmm I guess I'll just wait and see then, since one of those adapters should be available at a hardware store, right?
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a c 99 à CPUs
April 8, 2011 2:43:38 PM

tijuana said:
hmmm I guess I'll just wait and see then, since one of those adapters should be available at a hardware store, right?


They may be at a store that sells computer hardware, but not at a typical hardware store that sells drills and nails and such. Otherwise you can order them from many online computer stores for a few bucks.
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April 8, 2011 4:53:02 PM

I was referring to computer hardware stores. typical hardware stores are called something like iron stores here in Chile =)
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