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Bloomfield or Sandy Bridge?

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July 5, 2011 1:32:46 PM

Hello,
I am finaly about to upgrade or replace my desktop. I've been doing a bit of research but am not sure about which way to go with the CPU. I'm kind of torn between either an i7 960 Bloomfield at 3.2ghz or an i7 2600 Sandy Bridge at 3.4 ghz. The 2600 is a bit faster and I've heard it might be a bit more stable for over-clocking, but the 960 can be over-clocked successfully and it has more bandwidth in its PCIe slots. I don't know that I will be doing all that much over-clocking, but I have done it before successfully so ya never know. This will be primarily a gaming machine. The rest of the system I'm planning is...

Asus Rampage III Black edition MB(If I go with the 960 CPU. Love the RoG Thunderbolt LAN/Audio combo)
Asus P8Z68 Deluxe MB (If I go with the 2600 CPU)
Sapphire FleX HD6950 2gb DDR5 256 bit Graphics
16gb of G.Skill Ripjaws or Sniper DDR3 1600
Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 2tb SATA 6.0
Kinawin LZG-1000 1KW Power Supply
Sony BWU-500S BR/DVD/CD RW
Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler
Win7 64 bit Pro
Possibly a Cooler Master Storm Sniper case but may see if I can stuff it all into my old Dell XPS 710 case.

Also looking at possibly an Asus P6X58-E or an EVGA X58 motherboard instead of the rampage. But I do like that Thunderbolt with the Rampage.
I was thinking of maybe an SSD for the OS to go with the Ultrastar.
So, which CPU is better for serious gaming, the 960 or the 2600? Also, if anyone sees a compatibility issue or whatever with any of these components, please let me know. I have built my own systems before so I have some experience with that but it's been a while and I'm not totaly up on all of the new stuff. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
a b à CPUs
July 5, 2011 3:24:06 PM

If you go with the Sandy Bridge CPU and want to overclock, make sure you get the 2600K version. The non-K version has limited overclocking capability.

16GB of RAM is overkill unless you know specifically that you will be using the few professional-level programs that will take up large amounts of RAM. 8GB is the optimal amount for hardcore gamers that want maximum performance.
July 5, 2011 3:37:58 PM

1. ram is overkill
2. sandy bridge is better than bloomfield for gaming. i5 sandy bridge is nearly as good as i7 sb in terms of performance in current games.
3. 1000 W is overkill for your system even if you plan on crossfire later on. also I have never heard of Kinawin but they probably suck. go with something like corsair or seasonic 650w. 850 w if you plan on crossfire. (even these are generous amounts)
4. for gaming win 7 home edition is just as good as professional edition.
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July 5, 2011 6:16:17 PM

Okay, well.... ummm, wow. I guess that answers my questions. I went with the 16gb and 1KW power supply because it seemed like everyone else was doing it. I know, if they all jumped off a cliff, would I do it too.
Anyway, if I went with an 850 watt P/S, is crossfire really worth the effort and $$$?
I wonder if Asus makes a Rampage MB for a Sandy Bridge CPU? I really like that Thunderbolt....

Thanks again!
a b à CPUs
July 5, 2011 6:55:53 PM

16 GB of RAM is really a waste of $$ for 99% of people. Most of your RAM will just be sitting there doing nothing all the time. Go for SB. CPU + mobo = cheaper and more powerful over Bloomfield
a c 81 à CPUs
July 5, 2011 7:00:58 PM

Since I read the word gaming, am gonna recommend you to go for the i5 2500k. And yes, it is a Sandy Bridge build am advising like others. No need of getting a SSD for a gaming rig. Instead, you can spend the money towards getting a better video card and/or a bigger monitor. 8GB memory is plenty. As for the PSU, no issues getting as much wattage as you want. Just make sure the unit comes from a good stable. Corsair and Seasonic are the current top manufacturers.
July 5, 2011 7:01:17 PM

bearclaw99 said:
16 GB of RAM is really a waste of $$ for 99% of people. Most of your RAM will just be sitting there doing nothing all the time. Go for SB. CPU + mobo = cheaper and more powerful over Bloomfield


I see that you have a very similar system to the one I am planning, assuming I go with the 2600 (more than likely), except I'm an ATI graphics guy. May I ask what MB you are using?
a c 188 à CPUs
July 5, 2011 7:04:49 PM

In the battle between the 1st and the 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processors the only time that you are going to go with the 1st generation Intel Core processors is when you are doing heavily multi-threaded work and then only with the Intel Core i7-980X and i7-990X Extreme Edition processors.

As far as the bandwidth going from the 16x/16x on an X58 board to the 8x/8x on a P67 or Z68 board you would only see a couple percentage different between the same setups (think of it as the difference between 85 and 88 or 89 FPS). Best advice that I can give you is to go with the Intel Core i5-2500K if you are gaming and a Intel Core i7-2600K if you are doing some higher end video/audio or other heavy multi-threaded work.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
a b à CPUs
July 6, 2011 1:51:12 AM

brettt777 said:
Anyway, if I went with an 850 watt P/S, is crossfire really worth the effort and $$$?
I wonder if Asus makes a Rampage MB for a Sandy Bridge CPU? I really like that Thunderbolt....

CrossFire and SLI are both worth it. You can get much better performance from two lesser graphics cards than one top-level card. For instance, two GTX 560 Ti cards will outperform one GTX 580. Two Radeon 6950 2GB cards perform even better than the 560 Ti cards do, due to having more graphics RAM to work with.

And no, there is no Rampage for the LGA 1155 socket -- it's the Maximus series instead.
July 13, 2011 2:43:15 AM

Okay so it looks like the Sandy Bridge is the way to go. I do have one question about video cards in general. I see that any decent newer motherboard has at least 2 PCIx 2.0 x 16 slots. But I see some of the higher end video cards saying they are PCIx 2.1 x 16. Is this a problem?
a b à CPUs
July 13, 2011 2:55:24 AM

brettt777 said:
Okay so it looks like the Sandy Bridge is the way to go. I do have one question about video cards in general. I see that any decent newer motherboard has at least 2 PCIx 2.0 x 16 slots. But I see some of the higher end video cards saying they are PCIx 2.1 x 16. Is this a problem?

No problem, there is compatibility between both 2.1 and 2.0 versions.
a b à CPUs
July 13, 2011 3:33:34 AM

I'm using an ASRock P67 Extreme 4 board
July 13, 2011 3:59:37 AM

Okay, is it safe to assume that two Sapphire FleX HD6950s in CrossfireX configuration would be faster/better than a single SAPPHIRE 100311-2SR Radeon HD 6970 or maybe even a 6990?
If so, I am wondering if the two FleX cards will fit inside a CM Storm Sniper case or Thermaltake Chaser case. About the only bad thing I have read about the FleX is that it's very long and to make sure there is room in the case.
a c 81 à CPUs
July 13, 2011 5:59:42 AM

A couple of 6950's will outperform a single 6970 without any sweat. The question is, do you need it. The answer is NO unless you are going to game across two or more monitors. As for fitting inside, there is enough space inside the Sniper.
a b à CPUs
July 13, 2011 6:57:20 AM

If you play games like Crysis 2 (with the downloadable graphics patches) at 1920x1080 resolution or greater you will need big GPU power. Games will only get even more resource-hungry, so you might as well get a little bit more power than you need right now. That way you're ready.

Hell, I'm already regretting my decision to go with a mainboard that can't do SLI -- my single GTX 570 can barely play Crysis 2 at the settings I like to use (maximum detail levels). And my system is only six months old. The minimum I'd buy today would be 2x570s or 2x6950s.
a b à CPUs
July 13, 2011 10:23:33 AM

Emperus said:
A couple of 6950's will outperform a single 6970 without any sweat. The question is, do you need it. The answer is NO unless you are going to game across two or more monitors. As for fitting inside, there is enough space inside the Sniper.

I agree.Most modern high end gpus can maxx out almost all games(except for games like metro 2033).
Unless your running multidisplay setups then chance are your just going to blow your money through the window.(Sorry for last time Emperus)
!