Sandy Bridge K Series for Work

Approximate Purchase Date: this week

Budget Range: $1000 max, but preferably $800 including shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Engineering Work--maximum horsepower & clockspeed, 8GB RAM

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:, (Newegg doesn't ship to Guam) directron also ships to Guam, but can have high shipping.

Location: Guam (USA)

Parts Preferences: SB i5-2500K or i7-2600K, depending on whether workstation programs scale with Hyper-threading. Do they?

Overclocking: YES, note "K" series, which also means P67.

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, 1920x1200)

Additional Comments: My boss won't be throwing down $400 for a workstation graphics card. So all that really matters is that it has discrete graphics to free up the system memory and allow at least two video outputs. Case airflow is important, appearance is only incidental.

The things I need the most help on are deciding between the i5 & i7, picking a good med/low GPU, and the cheapest functional P67 board (one 16x only).
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Yeah...I guess this thread's not nearly as fun as building a gaming computer for someone. And I already know what to build, so you're not helping someone who needs help nearly as much as indulging my laziness.

    I'd give a "Best Answer" to anyone who links a decent SB comparison article for Engineering related workloads. I don't know if HT scales with the i7.
  2. there are a lot of 'I wanna build it' PC threads. Sometimes they get missed, and you did only wait 2 hours.

    If you're doing heavy-duty engineering, I'd get the 2600, only get the K if you plan to overclock it.

    I'd also get a GTX 460 or 560 ti for CUDA. It won't be as fast as the $2000 cards, but it'll do good stuff with AutoCAD, 3D Studio, Matlab, whatever engineering stuff you need.
  3. That's 14 hours, actually. What I meant was I'd have skipped it if I were looking for threads to post in. It's not the most interesting build.

    I speculated the 2600 is good for engineering, but I'd like to see a source (review, benchmarks, etc.) so I can get a feel of what the actual benefit is.

    Okay, there is a benefit with the CUDA enabled cards? But a 9600 has CUDA cores, at what point does it make a difference? I've heard Radeon Stream Processors can do analogous work to CUDAs. Maybe I should make a thread with this specific point. Thanks for the idea.
  4. No good answer, anyone wanna post something more useful? If not, the Squirrel deserves best answer I guess.
  5. Best answer
    Well, as you might expect, it make a huge difference how multi-threaded your expected workload is. If mostly single-threaded, very little difference. If heavily parallel, quite a big difference. 3DS Max is somewhere in the middle. I don't think Matlab will benefit a ton unless you are doing extensive 3D stuff, see the following two links:


    It will really vary by program - 3DS Max, a decent benefit... POV-RAY pretty good benefit but Blender not so much. Cinebench single-threaded shows hardly any improvement, while multi-threaded is still only a modest improvement. Adobe Premiere shows quite a bit ot of improvement between hyperthreading and the larger L3 cache.

    Here's a good "hyperthreading effect" benchmark, but I think the expanded L3 cache will also have a big impact for heavily multithreaded applications that churn through a lot of data, regardless of hyperthreading:

    Maybe if you could give an expected workload? i.e. I'd go with the 2500k for (3DS max 2%, Matlab FFTs 98%)

    I think the GTX 560 Ti is the sweet spot for accelerating via CUDA at this time in the low-mid range.
  6. Best answer selected by dalauder.
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