How do I decide which CPU to buy for high end gaming?

My understanding is that anymore, the GPU is the most important part of the gaming rig. Is this accurate? I was thinking that I would put the majority of the budget into the video cards and go with a decent CPU. I currently have a P67 with an Intel i7-2600 at 3.4. This new rig will be using the newer ASRock Z68 board. Should I but the same CPU or would you recommend something else? I am planning on sli either 2 or 3 cards. Not sure yet but they will probably be GTX 580's.
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  1. As far as gaming is concerned, the I5-2500K is within 1-2% of an I7-2600K performance wise and about $100 cheaper. If money is no object, get the I7 otherwise get the I5.
  2. If gaming is the only concern, the 2500k might be the better choice. If there's any apps in the mix that benefit from hyperthreading, then the 2600k is worth a look. In this instance, I set up separate BIOS profiles for gaming (HT disabled @ 4.8 GHz) and and HT applications (HT enabled @ 4.6 GHz)

    This new rig will be using the newer ASRock Z68 board.

    Why ? The Z68 has some advantages but they are limited to very small markek niches.

    Launched 5 months after the P67 and H67 chipset the Z68 chipset combines the advantages of the H67 and P67 Chipset so that overclocking, dual dedicated graphics cards and use of the integrated CPU graphics is available. Whilst on the surface it would seem that this would be the chipset to go for, how many users that have 2 dedicated graphics cards will actually want to use the onboard graphics when they already have 2 more powerful graphics cards in their system anyway?

    The only real advantage is for users that wish to access the HD graphics features such as quick sync, but considering it’s only supported by very few transcoding programs and there are not many people out there that need or will want to transcode, it makes it almost pointless to choose Z68 over a P67 chipset.

    Same applies to users that want to overclock the CPU but use the onboard graphics card; it’s a very limited market.

    Finally, another feature of a Z68 chipset is known as SSD caching which is where it allows the use of a small (say 10 or 20 GB) Solid state hard drive to act as a cache for a larger ‘traditional’ hard disk. If you are already planning the use of a Solid State drive this feature is redundant.

    If you can’t afford a decent size SSD (40GB+) then there are more cost effective ways around using a small SSD and SSD cashing like spending less on a motherboard, (H67 chipset or even a P67 chipset) and putting the saved money into a decent size SSD.

    Personally, I have not run into a user as yet who asked me to build a system for them that fit any of those criteria. I'd also be concerned about investing in a new box of any substantial budget whereby it was based upon a MoBo that doesn't offer an industry standard 3 year warranty. I can't help thinking what do they know that I don't (I.e. where they bought their caps).

    With multiple 580's, I would be looking at one of these:
  3. Uh, what? If you already have an i7 you don't need to upgrade. There's nothing to upgrade to...
  4. yes the gtx580 cards will be best to sli and make sure that you also have a powerfull psu thats all thanks
  5. You already have an i7.. there is nothing to upgrade to unless you really really want to overclock a cpu.. but even then you would be wasting your money to say the least.

    SLI GTX 580's is a waste of money IMO but go for it. Nothing needs that much power expect MAYBE 2 -3 games at resolutions over 1080p. Nothing that is coming out soon (except maybe bf3) will require that much power.. hell not even close. Save your money, if not give it to me.
  6. +1 why bother, you have nothing to gain, if you want to spend the money, then buy an SSD.
    How about dual monitors on Z68, primary on a '470 and secondary on built in. Does that work, no-one seems to know, do nvidia drivers struggle to cope - disabling physx etc.?
    Can anyone here test this?
    Sorry for the thread hijack.
  7. I apologize as I was probably not clear. My existing rig will be a backup. I just wanted to know which CPU you would use for a new build. I have been reading so much about eyefinity and watching these youtube videos using three huge monitors. I'm dying to get myself the same system. Not sure what it's going to take to run three large monitors but I don't think the CPU will be as important as the GPU's correct?
  8. lol, you want an i7 2600k rig for a backup? lol. dude, just get the new motherboard and 2 gtx580's and get a better CPU when there is actually one available.
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