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Motherboard/CPU upgrade

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January 27, 2012 6:53:07 PM

Alrighty, I've read a lot through forums, now just need some focused replies/opinions.

My current system:
Case: Silverstone TJ-09 (dig storm 950si case)

Cooling was stage 3 windtunnel air cooling package from Digital Storm

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 2.66 ghz, 1333 mhz fsb 12mb cache

MB: Nforce 780i SLI

Memory: 6gb DDR2 at 1066mhz

My desired upgrades so far:

MB: ASUS P9X79 LGA 2011 -or- Asrock x79
CPU: i7-920 bloomfield 2.66 LGA 1366 -or- i7-950 3.06 LGA 1366 - or - i7-960 3.2 ghz LGA 1366


My current MB only supports up to 8GB of DDR2 Memory and I believe only PCIe 1.0, I think my network card is Legacy PCI (just a regular black PCI slot)

I'm a graphic designer, and avid gamer so I do use Photoshop; with heavier focus on Web design/software, with lots of gaming.

I just bought a new Geforce 260ti for now and want something that works well with it.

Main questions:

Is what I listed above the best bang for my cap of around $600?

Are the i7's I listed with 1366 chipset the affordable way to go vs. a 2011 till later? I avoided the i5 and 1155/6 chipset for now, any quams with that?

Last question is really the MB's... I'm clueless. Am I going to need something that has a legacy PCI slot for my network card? or buy a new net card? Speaking in x79's should I go Asus, Asrock or extra cash for a EVGA with 8x240?

a c 227 à CPUs
a c 195 V Motherboard
January 27, 2012 7:16:30 PM

The X79 motherboards will not work with the CPUs you have listed. X79 is LGA 2011 and you are listing LGA 1366 CPus. The number ( 2011, 1366 ) refers to the number of contact points between the CPU and motherboard. One will not physically fit in the other.

Your cheapest bet with the best performance is LGA 1155 and the i7 2600K/2700K. You will need DDR3 RAM with any of the choices. There is a shortage of LGA 2011 3930K 6 core chips right now.

The pricing can be confusing as to what is the fastest. But 1st gen i7 LGA 1366 is slower than 2nd generation i7 1155 and the fastest is Sandy Bridge-E LGA 2011.
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a b à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
January 27, 2012 7:24:52 PM

all new mobos come with 1000/t ethernet which will net you 120MB/s up and down on the network. If you need a 2nd card then you can get PCIE 1x cards for pretty cheap these days.
Doing graphic design and photo work you do not need an x79 setup (not saying it would not be nice, just perhaps aken to using a nuke to go fishing in a kiddie pool). There are some games that could leverage the system (especially if using 3-4 GPUs), but the platform is really for video editing and 3D design work where you need massive amounts of Ram, or 3-4 high end GPU setups where you need massive amounts of PCIe lanes.

You would probably do better to upgrade to the 1155/z68 setup with a 2500K i5 or 2600(k) i7 ($180-280 at microcenter) with a good ASUS/ASRock mobo ($120-180 at newegg).

8GB of ram would be the way to go for photo work, gaming really doesn't need more than 4GB, but bigger games are on the way, so 8GB is not overkill for that. 16GB would be overkill, but considering it is only ~$80 for 16GB it may be in the budget.

The 260ti is not bad for office and design work, but you will want something bigger for gaming. I would use the 260 for a while longer and upgrade to an AMD 7000 series or nVidia 600 series as they come out soon. Make sure you PSU is large enough for whatever GPU you decide to upgrade to when the time comes.


Your largest upgrade (even if you were to keep your current system) would be to move up to an SSD. photo work is all about opening/closing photoshop, and working with a lot of relatively small files (small compared to video anyways). Keep your HDD for archived projects, and get a large enough SSD for the OS, adobe suite, and a few oft used games, and a project folder for current projects (generally 160-240GB should be plenty). HDDs are a huge bottleneck even in your current system, and an SSD will make it feel like a new computer for work (though not really for gaming).

Putting a 260ti in a x79 board would be kinda like putting an old rage pro GPU in your core2quad setup. It's cute, but really dosn't bring anything to the party.
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January 27, 2012 8:01:50 PM

anort3 said:
The X79 motherboards will not work with the CPUs you have listed. X79 is LGA 2011 and you are listing LGA 1366 CPus. The number ( 2011, 1366 ) refers to the number of contact points between the CPU and motherboard. One will not physically fit in the other.

Your cheapest bet with the best performance is LGA 1155 and the i7 2600K/2700K. You will need DDR3 RAM with any of the choices. There is a shortage of LGA 2011 3930K 6 core chips right now.

The pricing can be confusing as to what is the fastest. But 1st gen i7 LGA 1366 is slower than 2nd generation i7 1155 and the fastest is Sandy Bridge-E LGA 2011.



Oh boy... I was under the impression that a 2011 Motherboard was backwards compatible with some other CPU's.

I'm mostly searching Newegg for pricing/filtering and I don't really see a good "2nd gen" filter.


Okay, I'm most likely getting a i7-2600k or 2700k (as that's the best option next to a 2nd gen 2011)

My real issue is the MB at this point then, thanks.
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January 27, 2012 8:11:52 PM

Okay, I game and I game a lot. I play a lot of the new/best games and I'm going to continue to do so. I multi-task design software while I game, with multiple monitors.

Is the i7 2700k or 2600k really going to be a big enough leap forward vs. what I have? (above)

Is a new MB paired with that CPU going to be enough of a leap forward vs. what I have? I'm assuming this is a yes since my MB is only supporting 8gb of DDR2 memory?

I don't mind spending $500-$600 if I'm going to substantially notice it. My system is decent if I'm hardly going to be able to tell, I can wait longer.

I felt like I was missing a huge diff. I will plug 16gb ram and let it rot till it's worthwhile, I'm most interested in the CPU/MB being worth it in the first place, regardless if 8 or 16gb ram
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a c 227 à CPUs
a c 195 V Motherboard
January 27, 2012 9:59:51 PM

Sandy Bridge CPUs are roughly 40% faster clock for clock than your Core2Quad. So at equal speed the i7 2600K would be 40% faster. The 2600K comes at 3.4Ghz with Turbo up to 3.8Ghz stock. Most of these chips will very easily overclock to 4.5Ghz or even faster. The i7 2600K also has Hyperthreading so it has 4 physical cores and 4 virtual cores for a total of 8 threads. The i5 2500K is the best processor for JUST gaming. It is basically the same as the i7 but lacks Hyperthreading so 4 cores 4 threads. For what you are going to do the 2600K makes more sense as you will use Hyperthreading, something no games can do. So yes it would be a huge upgrade from what you have now.

i7 2600K $319:

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

Asus Z68 motherboard with USB 3, SATA 6GB/s and Corssfire/Sli support. $169

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

8GB GSkill Ripjaws X 1.5v DDR3 1600 $47 ( Or get 2 if you want 16GB for $94 )

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

Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler. $35

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

Comes to $572 with 8GB of RAM or $619 with 16GB. A huge upgrade. If you wanted to add even more to overall system speed get an SSD. I recommend the Samsung 830 series and would get at least 128GB. That way you can have Windows as well as your programs and games on it. I have an older OCZ Vertex 2 120GB and with Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Office 2007 and other programs and about 10 to 12 games I have about 33GB free.
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January 28, 2012 12:43:14 AM

Best answer selected by jessjan.
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a c 328 V Motherboard
January 28, 2012 1:22:56 AM

This topic has been closed by Nikorr
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