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Which processor is best for software compilation and virtualization?

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August 11, 2011 9:32:45 PM

Hey guys. I'm finally getting around to building a new system to replace my aging Socket 775 system (Core 2 Quad Q8200 with 4GB of RAM).
The only problem is: I'm torn between two processors: the Intel Core i7 2600K Sandy Bridge, and the Intel Core i7 970 Hexa-Core. Both of these processors look very good and seem like they will fit my needs well, however, I'm wanting to get the best one for the jobs (I don't plan on upgrading this system for another 3-4 years after I build it).
The main uses of this processor will be: 1. Virtualization. I'll be doing a lot of virtualization using Virtualbox under Linux. I am aware that both of these processors have Intel's VT-x technology, and the OS's I will be running in VirtualBox can support multiple cores. 2. Software compilation. This will be the main use of the processor. I run a Linux operating system called Gentoo, where all the software is custom compiled based on variables that I pass off to the compiler and ./configure scripts. The Linux compiler make can run multiple threads at once (I can safely do up to 6 threads on my Q8200), and it seems like the i7 970 would win here, being the general advice is to run an amount of make threads equal to the amount of your physical processors and threads + one (so 13 threads for the 970 and 9 for the 2600K). 3. Video conversion. I build my own binaries from source of ffmpeg and x264 for Linux that allow them to use multiple threads when encoding/decoding, and am planning on doing a lot of video conversion as well. I figure since ffmpeg and x264 can automatically determine the amount of threads to run, the i7 970 would win here as well.
I wanted to check with you guys to see which processor would be best so I get the best performance for the money. I don't really plan on overclocking this processor, and I've got up to $2200 for this machine.
Also, for whichever processor you suggest, can you also suggest a good cooler to go with it as well? The case I'm going with is an Antec DF-85, so size of the cooler should not be an issue. Depending on which one you guys say is the better processor, that will be what I build my system around. Thanks :) 
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August 11, 2011 10:04:26 PM

I would go with whichever is cheaper and include 12 gigs of ram. From what I understand virtualization is very ram dependent. Having said that, I am not sure how much software you are going to compile from Gentoo but from the sounds of it both of those processors will destroy pretty much any of the basic things. Now if you are compiling a 3 gigabyte game, that is a different story. Honestly, go with whichever is cheaper + overclock + 12 gigs of ram and you will fly.
August 11, 2011 10:14:59 PM

Thanks for the quick response werxen. Price really isn't an issue here, and to answer your question about how much software I will be compiling: everything in Gentoo (down to the base system and kernel) is compiled from source. I'll also be running some BSD OS's which also require manual compilation for almost everything.
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August 12, 2011 1:55:38 AM

The i7-2600K is way more powerful than the hexacore from Intel or AMD. Just take it and overclock it if necessary.
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August 12, 2011 2:23:16 AM

MrBig55 said:
The i7-2600K is way more powerful than the hexacore from Intel or AMD. Just take it and overclock it if necessary.

It NOT more powerful, the Intel 1st Gen Hexa Core will own the 2600k in Videos, Only thing that 2600k wins is just 3D and gaming, not video conversion... If your doing Video Converting, Intel Hexa/970(I recommend getting either the X version than OC it or the 980) will win... For the 980($600), it wins with more threads/cores...
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