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Upgrade now or wait for ivy bridge?

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June 25, 2011 5:42:28 AM

I have a 4-year old $5000 rig (I was an idiot back in the day) and now some of my parts have begun to die (lost 1 gfx card and 1 hdd). My current mobo only supports up to 800 MHz DDR2 RAM, so that is in dire need of an upgrade, and along with a new mobo, i'm essentially asking for a new CPU, unless i wanna stick with my current processor and stay stuck in the stone ages with my power guzzler.

The current specs are:
Mobo - nforce 680i LT SLI
CPU - C2E (Q) QX6800 (Like I said, I was an idiot, especially since I did only a minor OC)
RAM - 4x2 GB DDR2 800 MHz
GFX - 2x8800 Ultras in SLI (1 dead)
SPU - SB X-fi Xtremegamer
HDDs - 3x500 GB (1 dead) and 1x1 TB
PSU - 1 kW Ultra X3

Now then... Should I go ahead and upgrade right now or drain the life out of my current power-guzzling build until ivy bridge arrives?

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June 25, 2011 8:20:30 AM

Well obviously you can wait, but I am pretty sure you would see quite tangible performance improvements getting:

- i5 2500k ~$220
- P67/Z68 MB - for USB3, SataIII ~$120 - $230 depending on what you want it to have ( more expensive options exist of course ... )
- 2x4GB 1600Mhz memory - depending on cas ratings and such from about $75 up
- After market HSF for OC:ing - from CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ $30 up

for about $450-550 depending on the MB and the HSF
The above assuming gaming situation +$100 for i7 2600k if you do rendering or other highly threaded applications.

Then depending on if you want to update more stuff and what your monitor resolution is.
- 6870 / 6950 / 560 Ti / 570 video card ( $170-330 ) - 6870/560Ti maxes out 1680x1050, 6950/570 maxes out 1920x1080 and 1920x1200
- SataIII 60-120GB SSD ( $115 - $250 ) Corsair Force 3 series for example is decently priced about $180 for 120GB after rebates.
Boosting windows startup and the startup & load times of the applications/games installed on it

And at least your idle power usage would be massively lower :) 
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June 25, 2011 1:09:33 PM

I'm waiting for Ivy and you should as well. Ivy is going to have some drastic improvments over Sandy. The CPU's will be far better and the motherboards will be sporting PCIe 3.0

Its only another 6 months or so. Ivy will be released around Spring 2012 most likely.
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June 25, 2011 1:36:45 PM

Read a news clip somewhere that it would be around march 2012, so a good 8-9 months away.

But then there always seems to be a good reason to wait for the next big thing, 8-9 months just seems to be quite far away for it.

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June 25, 2011 2:09:59 PM

Ivy is simply a 22nm shrink of Sandy (hence both are called XXX Bridge) and nothing super special should be on the CPU side. Perhaps finally a decent IGP, but you're not going to benefit from that. PCIe 3.0 is also useless, unless you're spending $500 on a pair of flagship GPUs.

Bulldozer, or even SB-E seems more realistic, so if you want to wait, go ahead.
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June 25, 2011 3:48:59 PM

Ivy bridge will feature tri-gate transistor echnology, which alone can provide up to 37% increase in performance. I mean sandy bridge came a whole 2 years after nehalem and was still only like 20% better.

You haven`t stated what you use your rig for, but I am going to assume gaming. I think your processor and RAM are great for gaming at least until ivy bridge comes out. I would suggest a simple graphics card upgrade, to something like gtx 560ti. Or maybe two of them if you want to waste money. Tell us your resolution and the games you play.
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June 25, 2011 4:36:23 PM

Yea it's for gaming pretty much... I want it to last 5 years at least and the monitor I have right now is 1680x1050, but I'll probably be upgrading to dual monitors either at the same res or larger since I also do research for my university... The 22 nm shrink and tri-gate transistors are really tempting, but the main problem is if this computer would die anytime soon...

Even though removing the dead card eliminated the main crashes, I still lock up after a couple days of continuous operation... My first guess is that something else is dying or overheating, but I clean this case every month or 2, no fans have died yet, and I've done a memtest with no errors... Playing games won't cause problems until that 3rd or 4th day when it does crash, so I wouldn't assume it's the 2nd card... I'm already leaning towards waiting, but these crashes are pretty much screaming at me to upgrade along with the fact that no matter how long I wait, a new chipset will be available within the next few quarters/halves/year...
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June 25, 2011 5:03:29 PM

You probably know this but you dont want to game with two monitors, either do one or 3 monitors.

keep in mind that the main limitation to your old rig is your old graphics card, not your cpu or memory which are still very gaming capable. if you cant repair your current computer you might as well go ahead and replace it with a sandy bridge system. you might want to replace your hard drives and power supply unless you want to risk experiencing more technical difficulties. Dont aim for a system that will last you five years, it is not cost-effective or wise. anything you get now will be low end in 2-3 years, so I would suggest a bufget of no more than $1500, otherwise you really start to get rapidly diminishing returns
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July 2, 2011 1:27:40 AM

Best answer selected by thechensta.
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July 9, 2011 11:55:47 AM

I am beginning to wonder if the IVY bridge has technical problems they are fighting, and the release will keep getting pushed out. New types of transistors, etc...mean all sorts of processing and reliability headaches. And overclocking them, at high temps, is just where those reliability problems will show up.
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