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I7-2600 vs 2600K - number crunching

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May 24, 2011 4:48:06 PM

Hi. I know there are several threads on the comparison between these very same two processors, but usually the context is for a gaming computer. Since I'll be spending more than I can afford on a computer anyway, I figured it was worth asking before I buy (and wasting bandwidth, memory, and other resources on tom's server).

I'll be using the computer mainly for numerical calculations in C++ and/or Fortran90 for very large systems of equations. I will be using the benefits of multiple cores as much as I can. So my question is, is there really any difference between the raw speed of the i7-2600 and the i7-2600K. I noticed that the 2600 (without the K) has two so-called "Advanced technologies" that the 2600K does not have. But after reading the description of these technologies on the intel site, I didn't really understand how they really benefit me. Seems to me that having these extra features may even reduce the performance.

Also, I'll be running some Linux distro instead of windows. Will this have any effect on performance? i.e. will I be losing out on any of the benefits of having a high-end cpu?

I was also wondering if this motherboard is a good one to support either of these cpus:
Asus P8H67-M LE R3 Motherboard S.1155 Intel H67, M.ATX, 1X PCIE X16, 2D.DDR3-1333/1066 ,2X SATA 6GB/S,8-CH,GB LAN

Finally, I'd be open to any other suggestions, alternative to the i7s. It was recommended to me to get a board with two cpu sockets and get 2 amd phenoms instead of one i7. But this might be harder to find in the same price range. Any advice would be great.
a b à CPUs
May 24, 2011 4:57:38 PM

Linux will benefit from a crazily overclocked cpu just as much as windows.
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a b à CPUs
May 24, 2011 6:36:21 PM

You can't put 2 AMD Phenoms in one board. That is only the case for server processors such as the AMD Opteron & Intel Xeon

The key difference between the i7 2600 & the 2600K is that the 'K' chip can be overclocked easily by multiplier
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May 24, 2011 6:38:55 PM

Good thing I didn't listen to that guy. He musta meant Opterons.
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a c 81 à CPUs
May 24, 2011 7:13:47 PM

The onboard video chipset on the i7 2600k is better compared to that on the i7 2600.. If that matters to you then surely go for the 2600k.. Otherwise stick to the 2600.. You can anyway not overclock the 2600k CPU on a H67 board (need P67 or Z68 chipset board for that)..
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a c 99 à CPUs
May 25, 2011 6:14:22 PM

Pacopag said:
Hi. I know there are several threads on the comparison between these very same two processors, but usually the context is for a gaming computer. Since I'll be spending more than I can afford on a computer anyway, I figured it was worth asking before I buy (and wasting bandwidth, memory, and other resources on tom's server).

I'll be using the computer mainly for numerical calculations in C++ and/or Fortran90 for very large systems of equations. I will be using the benefits of multiple cores as much as I can. So my question is, is there really any difference between the raw speed of the i7-2600 and the i7-2600K. I noticed that the 2600 (without the K) has two so-called "Advanced technologies" that the 2600K does not have. But after reading the description of these technologies on the intel site, I didn't really understand how they really benefit me. Seems to me that having these extra features may even reduce the performance.


The i7-2600 and i7-2600K are the same CPU. The difference is that the Bclk-core multiplier locks on the 2600K has been removed so the CPU can be overclocked farther. That's all those "advanced technologies" are. The 2600 can be overclocked by a maximum of 400 MHz on a P67 or Z68 chipset, while the i7-2600K can be overclocked to a theoretical maximum of 5.2 GHz on P67/Z68 motherboards. (Generally people end up in the mid-4 GHz range on i7-2600Ks.) Neither can be overclocked by 1 MHz on an H67 motherboard.

However, a BIG FAT WARNING. You are doing a bunch of calculations on your computer and I assume that you care that the results are accurate. I would NOT overclock the system since an overclocked CPU can make subtle calculation mistakes that can be difficult to catch. I know I'll catch a lot of flak discouraging overclocking because many people here overclock and swear up and down that their overclocked systems are "stable." You have to balance out the fact that an incorrect calculation could completely screw up your work and possibly make you have to re-calculate parts or all of it with an overclocked system finishing the work modestly (probably 20-30% at most) faster. Personally I'd stay stock and be guaranteed that the CPU isn't screwing up the calculations so I don't have to run them again, but that's just me. I'd also insist on a CPU and motherboard that support error-correcting (ECC) memory so that random memory errors don't corrupt your calculations as well.

Quote:
Also, I'll be running some Linux distro instead of windows. Will this have any effect on performance? i.e. will I be losing out on any of the benefits of having a high-end cpu?


If anything, your code will run faster on Linux since it handles multithreaded code better than Windows, has less system overhead to steal CPU cycles from your work, and there are a bunch of excellent APIs available on Linux that run better on that OS than Windows (MPI, for example.) The only downside to using Linux on a Sandy Bridge CPU is that the Intel Linux graphics driver for Sandy Bridge CPUs' integrated graphics is horribly broken to the point of being unusable.

Quote:
I was also wondering if this motherboard is a good one to support either of these cpus:
Asus P8H67-M LE R3 Motherboard S.1155 Intel H67, M.ATX, 1X PCIE X16, 2D.DDR3-1333/1066 ,2X SATA 6GB/S,8-CH,GB LAN

Finally, I'd be open to any other suggestions, alternative to the i7s. It was recommended to me to get a board with two cpu sockets and get 2 amd phenoms instead of one i7. But this might be harder to find in the same price range. Any advice would be great.


I'd second getting a pair of Opteron CPUs. That gives you a lot more cores than a desktop CPU- you can get two 2.6 GHz 6-core Opteron 4180s (~$180 each) for a little more than the i7-2600K and have quite a bit more multithreaded performance. You also are guaranteed the motherboard supports ECC RAM and the board itself will be more reliable than a typical desktop motherboard. You could also get two Xeon 5600 series CPUs and get the same advantages- ECC RAM support, more cores, and a more reliable motherboard. However, decent Xeon 5600s are pricey (the E5620 is the lowest-priced decent Xeon 5600 CPU, it's a 2.4 GHz quad-core costing $380 per CPU!) and IMHO the Xeons' price-to-performance ratio is poor when compared to the Opterons'. The only real downsides to getting a pair of Opterons instead of an i7-2600 is a considerably more pricey motherboard and lower single-threaded performance. Your main usage is highly multithreaded, so single-threaded performance shouldn't be too much of a concern. However, a decent dual C32 Opteron board is about $300 compared to ~$100-150 for a decent LGA1155 Sandy Bridge board.

Emperus said:
The onboard video chipset on the i7 2600k is better compared to that on the i7 2600.. If that matters to you then surely go for the 2600k.. Otherwise stick to the 2600.. You can anyway not overclock the 2600k CPU on a H67 board (need P67 or Z68 chipset board for that)..


He's running Linux, so the IGP is completely unusable until codes an even remotely functional driver. I'd say just forget the IGP given the history of Intel's IGP drivers on both Linux and WIndows.
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June 1, 2011 12:33:38 AM

Best answer selected by Pacopag.
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June 1, 2011 12:34:49 AM

Wow. Thanks Engineer (and everyone else, of course). You raised some excellent points that I didn't even consider.
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June 27, 2011 2:31:11 PM

For calculation intensive work I would have a look at CUDA. It is far more powerful to do the number crunching on the GPU than any CPU.
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June 27, 2011 2:35:59 PM

Thanks for your reply. I've had a friend mention this about CUDA as well. It's something I'm definitely going to look into in the future. For now, the i7 is doing it's job better than I could've expected.
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