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CPU Socket advice

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March 15, 2012 4:04:04 AM

I'm about to build a new gaming computer and I'm looking for some advice on which socket to use in my next build.

As much as I'd like to wait and see how the IBs do, my computer and my patience are both at their limits. My question is: should I get the 1155 socket (and, sadly, wait for IB) or the get 2011 socket (The i7-3820 quad core)? I'd definitely like to try my hand at overclocking, whichever one I get.

I plan to keep this computer for another 3+ years, upgrading it in pieces keep it 'current'. I plan to have at least one SSD, a fresh HD and a pair of DDR3 modules (at least 8g total, maybe more price depending). I plan to add transfer my Radeon HD6800 graphics card, but replace it with 2 pci3.0 video cards down the road in SLI/Crossfire.

From what I understand (and please correct me if I'm wrong) the main advantage of the 2011 is the fact that is is pcie 3.0 compatible and has many more bus lanes, so data transfers on the bus won't be bottle-necked under load. Also, having the 2011 socket now, allows me to be able to upgrade to the IB-E next year or whenever, if necessary. (Hence the cheaper i7-3820 now). From what I hear, the 2011 is intended mostly for workstations and video encoding, and I'm not sure if this is overkill. I'd like to stream some of my games online, and I'm also a Computer Science student (so who knows what kind of chaos I may try in the future), but I'm still not sure if that's enough damage to justify the 2011.

One last quick question: my current (just a few months old) PS is 850W. Would this be sufficient for the build (sans the pcie3.0 video cards), or do I need to spring for a better?

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a b à CPUs
March 15, 2012 4:41:16 AM

I see no reason why an i5-2500K wouldn't be more than enough for your application. It overclocks like a beast, it's still the best value-for-money gaming CPU on the market and it will easily last you 3+ years without issue.

With regards to the PSU - 850W is ample for any single-GPU setup, no matter what the brand/model. I'd like to please know exactly which one it is though, because as a Computer Science student you'd know that not all PSU's are created equal. Some are excellent, some are crap, and this will play a large role in the decision of a multi-GPU setup in the future.
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a b à CPUs
March 15, 2012 4:44:11 AM

Yes, the main advantage of 2011 is PCIe3, quad xfire/SLi, and the 6 core CPUs, but it also does quad channel memory (not as great as it sounds), has up to 8 ram slots, and tends to have more premium features (as it should as they are premium boards). However, there is no reason to move up to this unless doing massive parallel work as a 2500k can easily OC past the quad core 2011 chip, and most GPUs are not bottlenecked running in 8+8 mode on PCIe2 for gaming.

Enthusiest level chips almost always get their own socket, and it would be unlikely for IB-E chips to run on 2011.

Also, the IB version of the 2500k will not be that much faster than the SB chip. This is a die shrink, not a new architecture. We are only expecting a 5-10% increase on the CPU side, but a near doubbeling of onboard GPU... which will not be used, so there is no clear advantage of IB over SB for gaming. Also, games play perfectly fine on 2 year old quad core AMD chips still, so there is little reason to get anything better than the 2400, much less the overclockable 2500k.
When Haswell/Broadwell come out in 2013 there will be yet another socket, so the fastest you can go is an IB chip with anything you purchase today. But because you are considering upgrading to IB (though I dobut you would need to within 3 years) I would suggest that you get a mobo with a z68 chipset for the most available compatibility.

I do video editing on my i7 2600 and am completely satisfied with the performance it brings to the table. To use anything faster I would have to have multiple RAIDs, or else be editing on SSD drives, both of which are cost prohibitive for me right now. The 2500k is the same thing except that you can OC, and it does not have hyperthreading (which games do not use in the first place).

look into the Chronos SSDs, they are cheap, fast, and seem to be reliable, but also realize that SSD prices are crashing hard right now, so your SSD may drop in price considerably over the next few months.

Windows+multitasking or Windows+gaming takes ~4-5GB of ram. Win+Game+Multitasking takes ~5-6GB of ram, so 8GB should be fine, but get a board with 4 slots so that you have options in the future for 16GB if you need it (dobut you will need it any time soon though). I have 16GB of ram, and only use more than 8GB on the largest of video editing projects... but I am glad that I have it for those.

The 6800 series card will work fine in the new rig for now, and SB can do all but the highest end 7000 cards in PCIe2 8+8 mode without bottleneck. If you decide to go with a pair of 7950 or better, then you should consider buying a IB chip for the added PCIe3 bandwidth. Otherwise you should be fine with 8+8 PCIe2.

Online gaming is more about ping rate than system specs (though you do need a decent system... just nothing particularly special), and if you are conserned about the computer science load then consider an i7 2600K to get hyperthreading.

In short; the only pratical advantage for gaming with the 2011 platform is slightly faster ram from quad channel support, and the ability to do quad SLi/xFire without fear of bottleneck. Other than that all of the advantages are for production work and will make little to no differece in games until consoles move up... and even then they do not look like they will move up enough to provide any more challenging games than what your average gaming PC can do.

Until Haswell/Broadwell is released there will not be much reason to upgrade from Sandy Bridge for gamers.
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a b à CPUs
March 15, 2012 4:47:45 AM

Toxxyc said:
I see no reason why an i5-2500K wouldn't be more than enough for your application. It overclocks like a beast, it's still the best value-for-money gaming CPU on the market and it will easily last you 3+ years without issue.

With regards to the PSU - 850W is ample for any single-GPU setup, no matter what the brand/model. I'd like to please know exactly which one it is though, because as a Computer Science student you'd know that not all PSU's are created equal. Some are excellent, some are crap, and this will play a large role in the decision of a multi-GPU setup in the future.

850W is more than enough for most (all?) duel GPU setups. You can run 2 GTX570s on a high end system with 750W. 650W is enough for all current single GPU setups, unless you are doing massive OCing on both the CPU and GPU.
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March 16, 2012 10:35:55 PM

Best answer selected by wolf24.
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