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Core i7 2600k vs i5 2500k

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December 5, 2011 10:04:33 AM

Hello,
I will be building a new gaming computer this upcoming holiday, and one thing I'm stumped on is deciding whether to go with the i7 2600k or i5 2500k. I know in general people say go with the i5 for gaming since not many games if any support hyper threading. I will be doing some video editing and want to have a processor that will be able to do this for me for a while (meaning I don't want to upgrade for a while). What I'm really curious about it whether the performance with hyper threading is really worth $100 more, or can I stick to the i5 and still do some video editing without having any issues. If someone has some sort of benchmark comparing the two for using applications like Photoshop/adobe premiere that would be great. Thanks!

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December 5, 2011 10:45:35 AM

ive not seen any benchmark or game that showed more than a 1 FPS gain from the 2600k over the 2500k. now do you want to spend an extra $100 to get an occasional extra frame per second. no, me neither

as for video editing the difference is more noticeable there but still not worth it. you get around 15% better performance for 50% more money.
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December 5, 2011 11:01:41 AM

If you are planning to edit, transcode and recode video, the i7 has been designed with people just like you in mind. Definitely get it I'd say. Not just because of the hyperthreading, but because video editing performance is sensitive to the amount of cache.

To understand why hyperthreading can help so much with video editing, it's important to understand this: video editing requires the processor to conduct a huge volume of very simple operations. These involve simple multiplications and comparisons, and contain no branch dependencies. This means that the code can be very easily parallelised and made to use any processing resources available. For this reason, in video editing 8 virtual cores can be up to twice as fast as 4 real cores.

I use my machine for both games and video editing (Adobe Premiere Pro) - i7 920 @4GHz. There's a quirk in Skyrim which makes it perform better with hyperthreading off. If I forget to turn hyperthreading back on, I really notice the performance hit in Premiere Pro. I tend to upgrade my computer every second generation, which means I'll be skipping Sandybridge and upgrading when Ivy comes out - hyperthreading will be on my list of requirements.

In answer to your question then, definitely get the i7.

P.S. Two other things to bear in mind with Premiere Pro:

1. if you have a Nvidia card, you can get a substantial performance boost by telling Premiere Pro to use it for previewing effects in real-time and for transcoding. CS5 or above is required for this. If you have a GTX580, you're all set. If you have a lower Nvidia card (I have a 560Ti) you can fool premiere pro into using it by applying the extremely straightforward "cuda supported cards" hack - google it

2. premiere pro eats RAM for breakfast. Get as much as you can. 8GB should be the minimum.
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December 5, 2011 11:02:14 AM

Save the $100 difference and get a quality SSD that'll make more difference in your computing experience. I'd get at least a 128 gb SSD from Corsair or Intel, couple that with a data drive and you have a better experience all together than spending $100 more on a CPU slight upgrade. This is just my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.

My $0.02
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December 5, 2011 12:33:40 PM

in general 2600k is a bit better,
they are closest in performance
1.2600k is only 100mhz faster but it doesn't help too much and coudn't boost up games.
2.2mb of cache memory increase in 2600k so a little good for gaming and some other application to buffer them more quickly.
3.hyperthreading technology which cannot help in gaming but good for other stuff like photoshop etc but 2500k without hyperthreading closer to 2600k and perform every task very very quick.
4.both are quad-core cpu's but 2600k has take advantage over 2500k cause of 4 extra threads it also does not help too much.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/288?vs=287

see in the link they are very closer to each other.
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December 5, 2011 12:37:27 PM

I'm putting in a vote for the i5. The i7 is better for video editing but in a gaming computer that does some video editing (as opposed to the other way around), you should put your money elsewhere. In gaming computers you should think video card first.

Don't let anybody tell you that the i5 is bad at video editing because it's not. It just happens that the i7 was designed for things like video editing so it gets all the attention in most video editing conversations. Someone else mentioned that the difference in video editing is about 15% and that sounds about right to me. In an application like yours I don't think that's worth $100 if that $100 can be spent elsewhere.
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December 5, 2011 4:06:13 PM

My vote is for the Intel® Core™ i5-2500K. Very few games will take advantage of more than 4 threads and those that do don't give you much of a performance increase for them. So unless you have some heavy audio/video work that you didnt list go with Intel Core i5-2500K.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
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December 5, 2011 4:25:12 PM

get the i5 and spend the $100 on a boot ssd
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December 5, 2011 5:00:41 PM

compare them here
cpu-world.com/benchmarks/?ind=1&c_part=Intel_CM8062300833908&PROCESS=Select+CPU+or+family...
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