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I have a decision to make...

Last response: in CPUs
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January 26, 2012 6:00:55 PM


Ok so here's the situation I'm in at the moment.

Right now, I have an i7 950. I have two choices on an upgrade.

I can either upgrade my graphics card from a GTX470 to a GTX580...

OR, I can upgrade my CPU from the i7 950 to the i7 2600.

The later will be much cheaper for me and I can do it now. The former I will have to wait about a month or so.


So, my questions is, is it worth upgrading my CPU or my GFX card? I mostly play WoW, gonna play D3 when it comes out, and I do a lot of video editing and encoding.

Most Blizzard games are more CPU oriented, so upgrading the GFX card might not be the best idea and could save me a huge amount of cash.

On the other hand, the CPU upgrade is not that much and I don't know the performance gains would be worth the money. I've heard somewhere in the range of 10-15% better performance. The ability to freely overclock the CPU easily to 4GHZ is nice. I'll be buying a new fan/heatsink as well, if I go for the CPU upgrade.


Ok guys, what do you think? CPU or GPU?


Current system:

i7 950
Asus Rampage II Extreme MB
12GB Corsair Dominator
128GB Kingston SSD
550Watt PSU CoolerMaster

Everything is running stock atm.

More about : decision make

January 26, 2012 6:04:19 PM

Grokan said:
Ok so here's the situation I'm in at the moment.

Right now, I have an i7 950. I have two choices on an upgrade.

I can either upgrade my graphics card from a GTX470 to a GTX580...

OR, I can upgrade my CPU from the i7 950 to the i7 2600.

The later will be much cheaper for me and I can do it now. The former I will have to wait about a month or so.


So, my questions is, is it worth upgrading my CPU or my GFX card? I mostly play WoW, gonna play D3 when it comes out, and I do a lot of video editing and encoding.

Most Blizzard games are more CPU oriented, so upgrading the GFX card might not be the best idea and could save me a huge amount of cash.

On the other hand, the CPU upgrade is not that much and I don't know the performance gains would be worth the money. I've heard somewhere in the range of 10-15% better performance. The ability to freely overclock the CPU easily to 4GHZ is nice. I'll be buying a new fan/heatsink as well, if I go for the CPU upgrade.


Ok guys, what do you think? CPU or GPU?


Current system:

i7 950
Asus Rampage II Extreme MB
12GB Corsair Dominator
128GB Kingston SSD
550Watt PSU CoolerMaster

Everything is running stock atm.

Won't you have to get an new MB for the I 2600 since it is socket 1155?
a c 141 à CPUs
January 26, 2012 6:05:51 PM

The I7 950 isn't the greatest of the I7 series but it's still an I7 and it's not that bad. I would say get the video card now and then start to save for the Ivy Bridges or Haswell in the future.
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January 26, 2012 6:05:52 PM

Yes, that's true. I'll have to buy a new MB as well. So that puts the price at about the same. That's a good point.

Still, which would give me the better cost vs. performance gain?
January 26, 2012 6:07:21 PM

rds1220 said:
The I7 950 isn't the greatest of the I7 series but it's still an I7 and it's not that bad. I would say get the video card now and then start to save for the Ivy Bridges or Haswell in the future.



I was thinking the same. However, I was wondering if the overclocking ability for the 2600 would out perform the upgrade to the graphics card.
a c 141 à CPUs
January 26, 2012 6:12:00 PM

There will be little difference between a stock 950 and a stock 2600k. The main difference is the 2600k can be heavily overclocked. The 950 can probably be overclocked only a few hundred MHz. That's why I said get the video card now and wait for the Ivy Bridges or Haswell. The 950 will be good enough until Ivy Bridges comes comes out. Really it will be good enough until Haswell comes out in 2013.
a c 141 à CPUs
January 26, 2012 6:21:56 PM

Grokan said:
I was thinking the same. However, I was wondering if the overclocking ability for the 2600 would out perform the upgrade to the graphics card.


No an overclocked 2600k will not bottle neck a GTX 580. You mixing a high-end CPU with a high-end video card. Bottle necks happen when you mix different classes of hardware. A high-end CPU with a cheap video card will cause a bottleneck. The same would be said if you put a high-end video card with a low-end CPU.

BTW you have to get the 2600k CPU not the 2600. The 2600k has an unlocked multiplier and can be heavily overclocked. The 2600 does not and can only be overclocked a few hundred MHz.
January 26, 2012 6:29:50 PM

rds1220 said:
No an overclocked 2600k will not bottle neck a GTX 580. You mixing a high-end CPU with a high-end video card. Bottle necks happen when you mix different classes of hardware. A high-end CPU with a cheap video card will cause a bottleneck. The same would be said if you put a high-end video card with a low-end CPU.

BTW you have to get the 2600k CPU not the 2600. The 2600k has an unlocked multiplier and can be heavily overclocked. The 2600 does not and can only be overclocked a few hundred MHz.


I should have worded it differently, sorry.

What I meant was, would the performance gain be better from doing the CPU upgrade in terms of games and video editing/encoding vs. getting a Graphics card upgrade.

SO basically, which would give me the most boost in performance, the CPU upgrade or GPU upgrade.

It looks as if the GPU might be the winner here unless I decide to overclock the CPU a bit, which I planned on doing with better cooling.

IMO the GTX470 handles games quite well at the moment, and I don't see much point in upgrading that right now.

But again, like you said, the new CPU's are coming out soon as well. So that's another decision to make.
January 26, 2012 6:34:00 PM

Like RDs1220 I have not one but two I5 2500k rigs. They OC like monsters. One is OC'd to 4400(44x100) and the other to 4523(44x103). Your I7 950 is hardly a Slouch and neither is the GTX 470. In light of what you post, I might opt for the CPU upgrade. However, get a Higher end Z68 chipset mb, buy the 2600k, not the 2600 cpu AND buy an aftermarket CPU cooler. Then OC that chip to 4400 to 4500 (can go higher) and HOLD ON as that baby flys!
a c 141 à CPUs
January 26, 2012 6:44:28 PM

It can really go either way. Games will probably benefit more from a graphics card upgrade. Heavy threaded programs like video editing or encoding will benefit more from a CPU upgrade. The problem is there is no one thing that can be upgraded that will cover all points. The Ivy Bridges is so close now I still say upgrade the graphics card and wait for Ivy Bridges. Again the I7 950 isn't that bad and it would be more than enough for a couple years really.
a b à CPUs
January 26, 2012 7:02:11 PM

Grokan said:
I should have worded it differently, sorry.

What I meant was, would the performance gain be better from doing the CPU upgrade in terms of games and video editing/encoding vs. getting a Graphics card upgrade.

SO basically, which would give me the most boost in performance, the CPU upgrade or GPU upgrade.

It looks as if the GPU might be the winner here unless I decide to overclock the CPU a bit, which I planned on doing with better cooling.

IMO the GTX470 handles games quite well at the moment, and I don't see much point in upgrading that right now.

But again, like you said, the new CPU's are coming out soon as well. So that's another decision to make.


get the gpu upgrade


when ivy bridge cpu's come out in april you can decide then.


ivy bridge supports pci-e 3.0,

correct me if im wrong but very few mothboard's have pci-e 3 and the ones that do are very pricy


best to wait till april before cpu upgrade because even if you get an i7 2600k then you will be able to get a better motherboard, otherwise it may mean you have to buy another motherboard in a few years just to upgrade gpu
January 26, 2012 7:12:25 PM

I really appreciate all the info guys.

I think I might have to do some more soul searching before I make a decision.

It seems to me that I might wait awhile till I purchase the new CPU/MB combo. If at some point a new GPU comes out that is PCI-E 3.0 I could easily buy it later on.
a c 141 à CPUs
January 26, 2012 7:20:42 PM

Ok. If you don't have any more questions don't forget to select the best answer so the mods know the thread has been answered and can close it.
a b à CPUs
January 26, 2012 7:41:47 PM

You should be able to overclock your 950 to 4GHz. I run my 920 at 4GHz - been set that way for months and runs like a dream. (I have the same mobo as you btw).

Note that an i7 950 will not bottleneck a GTX 580 so you will get little or any benefit in getting a 2600k for games.

You will get some benefit (about 10%) in video encoding from a 2600k upgrade but it's a judgement call whether it's worth it.

I say no - I'd love there to be a great reason to upgrade my computer (I'm never happy unless I'm upgrading something) but at the moment there just isn't any.
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