I am strongly considering upgrading from my Phenom II 965 to a Ivy Bridge processor. I get the upgrade itch long before my parts become obsolete, and I would like to get a realistic assessment of how this update will 'improve' my performance. Since Ivy Bridge isn't out yet, I am curious if anybody with experience upgrading from a relatively high end Phenom x4 to a Sandy Bridge i5 2005k or similar processor would give me some context as to their noticed performance improvements. I have my current part at 3.7ghz, which would put it on par with the Phenom II x4 980 in terms of performance. According to tom's CPU hierarchy, the gaming performance will only be marginally better (one step up, instead of 3).
I have a GTX 480, Gskill Phoenix Pro 120GB SSD, 8gb Gskill DDR3 1600, and an AsRock extreme 3 motherboard.
Here are some of my reasons for wanting to upgrade:
Several games I have been playing lately have not been using 100% of my GPU, and I am seeing some inconsistent minimum framerates with certain games. In the case of Deus Ex: HR, this seems to be a software bottleneck, as opposed to hardware, but I'd be interested to know if the different architecture would provide different performance. Skyrim is also very CPU dependent, and I am dissappointed by some of the framerates I'm seeing in city areas. Then there's the case of Blizzard games, that always seem to favor the Intel architecture. In general, it seems that my gpu is the bottleneck, but then it suddenly is only using 60-70% of my GPU and I'm getting some cruddy framerates. It would be nice to take my CPU out of the equation as a plausable bottleneck, but it would also be a bummer to upgrade and find out that most of these limitations are software related.
I have heard that people running my same SSD with the intel controller get some better performance out of it.
Anyways, I know this is a complicated question, but if anybody has experience with something similar the upgrade I am describing, some insight would be appreciated.
The Phenom II X4 965 is comparable to Intel's older Core 2 Quad Q9550 or Q9650 (or somewhere in between) in terms of overall performance. It is unknown how much better the Ivy Bridge will be over Sandy Bridge. In an article about 1 year ago the estimate was a much as 20%. I tend to err on the side of caution (especially since Intel is focusing on Haswell) and say that the improvement is going to be around 6% +/- 1%.
Overall, the Phenom II series has 20% - 22% less CPU processing power than their equivalent CPUs in Intel's current Sandy Bridge series. Having said that, if a game is not very CPU dependent, then as long as the GPU is fast enough the difference in FPS will be relatively small. But games that are dependent on the CPU (like Skyrim), will have better performance with a Core i3/i5/i7 than their equivalent Phenom II counterpart.