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Is a 2500K really that much better or should I wait?

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December 21, 2011 6:25:54 PM

Hi all,

I'm looking for some advice. I have the following core components in my current set-up:

CPU: i7 920 overclocked to 3.8GHz
GPU: GTX 580
Memory: 12GB total (tri-config; 3x4GB)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5, with USB3+SATA6 addon card
PSU: Be-Quiet 750w

I now have access to (second hand at about 1/3rd the total price of new) an Asus P8P67-M PRO Rev3 motherboard populated with an i5-2500K + 8GB dual channel RAM. I'm wondering how much improvement - in real terms - I'll notice if I move over to this as my main build? Of course, the 2500K will be overclocked also. I'm hoping for some replies from those who have had an overclocked 920 in their last build. Are the advantages really that great - my current overclocked system is still pretty powerfull and serving me well. Or, should I wait for new cpu+motherboard technology?
Important for me: When it gets to the point in time when current technology far excedes my existing build - normally dictated by CPU/motherboard+chipset advances - I'm always looking for a few years future-proofing in any new build, thus I always try to buy the best I can get at the time.....it's a wee bit costly for me to keep doing this every year. There will also likely be extra cost due to probable knock-on forced upgrades of other components.

Please also bear in mind -
I've had my current system for a few years and have quite a bit of software installed and carefully configured+tweaked - this includes a number of music creation and graphic manipulation packages (e.g. Sonar 8 + many extras, Adobe suite + many extras). Of course, there are a few games also. So, the move to mirror my exact set-up to any new system is going to involve a lengthy and complicated process. I (and most of us) have done it many times before - it's not something we look forward to doing - and so (my point) - the end result damn well better be worth it! ........if enough of you think it is then I'll give it a go.
Thanks for your help

More about : 2500k wait

a c 473 à CPUs
December 21, 2011 6:30:27 PM

It is not worth upgrading. When clocked at the same speed a Sandy Bridge CPU is about 10% - 12% faster than a Nehalem CPU on average.

Personally, I am waiting for Haswell (2013) before I upgrade my PC.
a c 473 à CPUs
December 21, 2011 6:33:00 PM

Ivy Bridge is expected next year, but I don't expect performance to increase by more than 6% compared to Sandy Bridge since there will only be some tweaks to an already mature architecture.
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a b à CPUs
December 21, 2011 6:34:06 PM

Nope, not worth it.
a c 188 à CPUs
December 21, 2011 6:43:26 PM

The others have given you the answers. At least for now stay with your Intel® Core™ i7-920. If you really have a bug to upgrade look at adding an SSD to your system to improve boot and access times for anything on it.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
a c 116 à CPUs
December 21, 2011 6:46:42 PM

ivy bridge will have some major improvments that may yeild results in the 20-30 percent margin over current sandy parts. due to dye shrink and 3d transistors... it may be a bigger step than most think.
would i upgrade from my 920. no. the price to power gains just aint worth it... like jaguar. i will be waiting to the end of next year to the middle of 2013 b4 i considder an upgrade for the cpu... as we should hopefully have reached double the the current perfomance of a stock 920
December 21, 2011 7:03:25 PM

Thanks for your replies (that was fast!) and pretty much what I was thinking.

I definitely don't wan't to go through the pain of moving to a new system unless the benefits are really significant. So, I think a 920 was a wise choice - still life in the beast yet! Over the years I have added a couple of additional additions not mentioned - as you'll appreciate, an SSD has made a great impact (a 240GB Revodrive X2 in this case). Some of these components may have a reasonable chance of migrating to a new core system in the future (GPU + HDDs + SSD ....please!! / I hope!!).
Thanks again
a c 473 à CPUs
December 21, 2011 8:03:11 PM

HEXiT said:
ivy bridge will have some major improvments that may yeild results in the 20-30 percent margin over current sandy parts. due to dye shrink and 3d transistors... it may be a bigger step than most think.


Extremely doubtful as there has never been a CPU architecture design that boosted CPU performance by as much as 20%; especially since this is just an improvement on a current design rather than a total new architecture. Only time will tell when benchmarks comes out.
a b à CPUs
December 21, 2011 11:11:28 PM

Have to say I agree with most of the posts here and my opinion is no, there's little reason to upgrade. I am in a reasonable position to comment as I have similar systems to both of the one's you're considering. I also use my machine for similar purposes: games and content creation with CS 5.5. (Mostly Premier Pro and After Effects).

My main system is Core i7 920, which I leave permanently overclocked to 4GHz.

My daughter's computer, which I built for her, is Core i5 2400, overclocked by the maximum 400MHz allowed - so max turbo of 3.8GHz. This is not exactly the 2500k you're looking at (the main difference being overclockability) but close enough to count as experience of the architecture.

First of all: content creation. Bear in mind that the i7 920 has hyperthreading, which comes into its own in content creation, and substantial performance boosts can be achieved. The i5 2500k has two advantages over the i7 920. Firstly there's the benefit of the more modern architecture, which delivers a 10-12% performance boost in CPU intensive applications. The second is higher maximum clockspeeds. I cannot get my i7 920 to run faster than 4GHz (though at 4GHz it runs rock solid stable). I understand the i5 2500k can reach 4.5GHz with decent cooling. I can only guess whether these two benefits cancel out the absence of hyperthreading. My guess is it's probably quite close and therefore fails to make a compelling case for upgrading.

Secondly: games. I seriously doubt if there are many games (if any) that fully exhaust the capability of the i7 920 running at 3.8-4GHz. I run 2*560 Ti and can confirm that almost all of my games are GPU bottlenecked. Since most games are developed with the console market in mind, it makes little sense to make them particularly CPU intensive as consoles have comparatively weak CPUs. (GPU power is different - you can usually use all the GPU horsepower at your disposal).

The view I've taken is that there isn't yet a CPU around that delivers enough of a performance boost to justify the hassle of upgrading from an i7 920. As someone who gets itchy feet whenever I'm not tinkering around with something, I'm toying with upgrading when Ivy comes out. But we'll see.

Adding an SSD however... now that's an upgrade that I consider transformative. So much so that these days I tend to think of computers as falling into two types: those with an SSD and those without.
December 22, 2011 6:17:42 AM

Thanks for your comprehensive reply bwrlane.

I'm going to stick with what I have and check out Ivy's specs, performance and associated CPU's when the dust settles. Architecture is a big consideration for us - we don't want to lose the ability of carying forward some of our additional components. Normally we have to give in to purchasing new memory but no-one is keen on replacing very costly items such as GPU, SSD and multiple HDDs. I think, though that the PCI and SATA interfaces are going to be backward compatible for the next 1-2 generations yet......just another thing to take into consideration in our original m'board purchase.

Thanks to you all again.
!