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Which CPU do I need?

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January 17, 2012 11:08:16 PM

Hey guys,

Here is the situation. I'm looking for an upgrade to one of my computers. There is no gaming on it at all - none. The kids have gaming consoles for that.

It will be used for basic surfing, e-mail, downloading... the usual stuff. In addition though, I have a small business in photography and printing large format onto canvas. The file sizes can be up to a couple hundred MB in size. Right now it takes forever to edit photos in CS5 and is extremely slow getting the file sent to one of the 24" and 44" printers to print. Time is money here.

The current system is an old AMD 2800+. It does the job but is REAL slow. I've been using my laptop more and more for this work since it's quicker (AMD Athlon X2) but is still not the best. I don't want to look at the small screen anymore. Eyes are getting older and my nice 24" is on the old desktop. I'd like to use it but because the desktop is so slow I haven't.

Back in the day when I was younger I had every new CPU and soon as it hit the market. Many thousands of dollars later wasted then on upgrades and a wife and kids now and the situation changes. I now only upgrade every 3 - 5 years or so. More important things for a mid 30's guy to spend his money on :cry:  LOL.

I've been thinking about these CPU's. AMD X4 955, Bulldozer 4100 and Bulldozer 6100, Intel Q6600, i3, i5 2500k and i7 2700k. I already have 16GB of Kingston Hyper X 1600 memory. Any motherboard is going to run me around $90 - $110 for any of these CPU's, so that's not really a big deal. I will NOT be using a video card - no need to. Motherboard will have onboard video. On the subject of money, although I could afford any of these CPU's I don't want to have to spend money if I don't need to. Price vs. performance is the problem here. I'm looking for the best bang for my buck for what I need to do (edit photos and print those photos large format).

The prices I can get these for locally are:
X4 955 - $120
FX 4100 - $130
FX 6100 - $160
Q6600 - $90 (used obviously)
i3 - $125
i5 2500k - $230
i7 2700k - $280 (a steal I know, but can buy one from people registered in the Intel Retail program that just received their shipments in)

What I'm getting at is would I see a huge improvement going from X4 955 or Q6600 to say the i5 or i7? Are they really worth the extra price when no gaming is involved? Or is all I need the X4 955 or the old trusty Q6600 for what I do?

Any ideas which one I should choose based solely on CPU, cause like I said, I'll spend roughly 100 bucks or so on a motherboard no matter which CPU I choose.

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January 17, 2012 11:13:46 PM

I wouldn't waste your money on getting an Intel sandy bridge. I don't think there's a need for it if your not going to be gaming. The FX-4100 should be a relatively good bargain for what you are going to be doing. Just my 2 cents and I'm a newbie :p , but it seems solid imo. Somebody correct me if I'm saying something retarded haha
January 17, 2012 11:21:54 PM

I should mention the prices I stated are in Canadian dollars and do not include our 13% tax.
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January 18, 2012 12:52:46 AM

i7-2600k, with a high end nvidia graphics card. Photoshop is very cuda acelerated
January 18, 2012 1:05:44 AM

i7 2600k was not on my list. I can buy an i7 2700k for about $70 less than the 2600k.
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January 18, 2012 1:11:28 AM

Well FX's rendering and multi tasking is great for what your gonna do. I am using a FX 6100 AM3+ and a GTX 560 ti and nothing wrong. Like the man said Photo shop loves a good GPU to do help out. So if you don't wanna spend too much maybe a GTX 460 or somthing would do nicely. You don't need a 1000 dollar rig to run Photoshop on what High? (Sarcasm)
January 18, 2012 1:15:10 AM

and the retail edge in the states, the 2700k was $85. just so you know
January 18, 2012 1:16:54 AM

and although you don't want a video card, a nvidea GPU will help speed up things a ton, as well as a second hard drive to use as a scratch disc. go on the cs5 forums check it out
January 18, 2012 1:19:42 AM

from http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/404/kb404439.html :

Memory Usage
The more RAM available to Photoshop, the faster Photoshop can process image information. The Memory Usage area of the Performance preferences dialog box tells you how much RAM is available to Photoshop. It also shows you an ideal range for your system.

Note: Available RAM is not your total RAM. Photoshop subtracts RAM needed for the operating system.

By default, Photoshop uses 70% of available RAM. You can assign more or less RAM to Photoshop by changing the value in the Let Photoshop Use box, or by dragging the Memory Usage slider. Restart Photoshop for changes to take effect.

The default RAM allocation of 70% is fine for most people running the 32-bit version of Photoshop. To find the ideal RAM allocation for your system, change it in 5% increments and monitor performance in the Efficiency status indicator. See Keep an eye on the Efficiency indicator.

If you run the 64-bit version of Photoshop and you experience out-of-RAM or out-of-memory errors, increase your RAM allocation. With no other applications running at the same time, you can increase the RAM allocation to 100% to improve Photoshop performance.

If you run the 32-bit version of Photoshop, you can experience out-of-RAM errors if you set the RAM allocation to 100%. If you get out-of-RAM errors, reduce the RAM allocation to 85% to 90% and retest. If problems continue, reduce the RAM allocation in 5% increments. Retest until the error stops occurring, or use the 64-bit version of Photoshop if you can.

Scratch disks
Set the scratch disk to a defragmented hard disk that has plenty of unused space and fast read/write speeds (see Defragment the hard disk). If you have more than one hard drive, you can specify additional scratch disks. Photoshop supports up to 64 exabytes of scratch disk space on up to four volumes. (An exabyte equals 1 billion GB.)

Adobe recommends that the primary scratch disk is a different hard disk from the one that the OS uses as a startup drive. See Assigning scratch disks in Photoshop CS5 Help for more information.
January 18, 2012 1:28:46 AM

ebola28 said:
and the retail edge in the states, the 2700k was $85. just so you know


I think they were $89 and $169 here in Canada with that program. $89 if you had so many points or something. I'm not involved in it, but kijiji and craigslist here are filled with ads for 2700k from those who participate in the Intel Retail program, and they're asking for beween $280 and $320 for a 2700k.
January 18, 2012 1:29:11 AM

but back to your actual question: really depends on how much time=money to you. for your needs, without factual proof to back up my statement, the fx4100 will be the best bang for the buck processor, but will see increased speeds as you go into the fx 6100 and then 2700k

not as current as I would have hoped:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/x86-core-performance...
January 18, 2012 1:30:12 AM

Ken28 said:
I think they were $89 and $169 here in Canada with that program. $89 if you had so many points or something. I'm not involved in it, but kijiji and craigslist here are filled with ads for 2700k from those who participate in the Intel Retail program, and they're asking for beween $280 and $320 for a 2700k.


Just wanted to make sure you knew all the facts :D 
January 18, 2012 1:34:06 AM

How does the X4 955 compare with the FX 4100? I heard the 4100 is really just two cores with 4 threads. Why are they priced about the same? I mean, shouldn't the 4100 be priced much higher if it is superior to the 955?
January 18, 2012 1:40:15 AM

the 4100 is still a quad core. the 955 will overclock more, but the 4100 will be quicker in floating point calculations and algorithms that "I believe" CS5 uses during rendering and such... but I have no benchmarks to back up what "I think", so take it as such
January 18, 2012 1:43:13 AM

How about 4100 vs. 6100? If I go for the 8 core I might as well just spend the extra and get a 2700k so the 8 core is out.
January 18, 2012 1:49:59 AM

correct about the 8100. my preference at this point is to stick with intel because their current 1155 chipset will be continued with ivy bridge which will help for future upgrades. We wont see too many more high end chips from amd as the change their focus to the mobile market, but that's just my preference. sounds like you prefer to keep a full system and upgrade the whole thing at once, so it wouldn't really make much of a difference.

sorry for the tangent. CS5 likes more cores, so the 6100 will be faster than the 4100, but the 2700k will be faster than both. rule out the i3 2100 and the 2500k for your needs, as well as the 955... imho
January 18, 2012 1:53:48 AM

Okay I'll rule those out. 4100 to 6100 is only like $30 more, so I might as well rule out the 4100 too. 6100 to i7 is $120 more (plus tax). Worth the extra $120 ($140 with tax) you think?
January 18, 2012 1:58:02 AM

depends on how vital the speed is to your business. some people that speed adds up to several thousand over a year, which is why they go with dual xeons. but i dont know your business or your needs. the 6100 and 2700k will both blow away what you currently have and I think you would be happy with both. I'd try to barter the retail edge chip down a bit to $200 and see what happens, you never know. they are making a profit either way
January 18, 2012 2:03:21 AM

I've tried offering less for the 2700k but so far $280 is the lowest I've gotten anyone. But maybe in the next week or two when they still have the chips they might go lower to get rid of them. Everyone around here involved in the program bought lots and then flooded craigslist and kijiji with them so I know a lot of the chips won't sell and they'll either be forced to sell lower or be stuck with them. That's what I was hoping for anyway.

Do you think having 16GB as opposed to 8GB of RAM will help with either the 6100 or 2700k? Or should I return 8GB to the store? I bought it on sale during the boxing day sales knowing I was upgrading my computer soon.
January 18, 2012 2:07:41 AM

with how cheap ram is now and with your primary need CS5, i'd keep it and be sure to set photoshop settings to use 14 GB of it. All if it helps to speed it up. autodesk and adobe are the only time i recommend more than 4-8 GB, usually...

What voltage ram did you purchase? it may help you choose a processor ;) 
January 18, 2012 2:10:04 AM

Really, that much RAM for CS5? Wow, okay. Didn't think I would need to set it that high, but thanks for the tip.

1.65v is the memory
January 18, 2012 2:18:23 AM

I believe thats higher than what both like. I know that sandy bridge is optimized at 1.5v and "i thought" zambezi liked lower voltage ram. 1.65 was ideal for first gen core series i think.
January 18, 2012 2:19:16 AM

and the more ram the better, it can use it all as long as you are running 64 bit OS. not many programs can.
January 18, 2012 2:19:47 AM

Hmm I guess I should look into that more first.
January 18, 2012 2:25:49 AM

but we are getting above my knowledge now when talking about ram voltages other than sandy bridge.... hope someone else can weigh in
January 18, 2012 2:29:29 AM

I'm gonna go do some research on that in the morning.

Thanks very much for your help. It's much appreciated!
January 18, 2012 2:31:46 AM

anytime, goodluck!
!