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Which is the most Important? - Cores, Caches, RAM, SSDs, HDD caches...

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January 3, 2012 12:14:27 AM

Brilliant forum.

I still can't quite nail this problem.

I am building to have:
- 10 programs and 30 chrome pages up at one time, including Design, Web, and Video editing
- when creating designs, building models or exporting video or publishing websites there needs to be no delay (or minimal)


So memory/processing 'room' is key. Core, Caches, RAM, GPU RAM, SSD, HDD Caches, RPM, Gb/s

But which bit is actually going to make a difference when choosing which to spend more money on?

Current thoughts:

= 8 Cores, Quad Core with HT for (so i7)
- Worth going up to Six core i7?
= 8MB, L3 Cache
- Worth going up to 12MB i7? Or is there much difference from 6MB?
= 12 GB RAM
- Worth going up to 32GB? Or is there much difference from 8MB?
= 1 GB GPU RAM - GTX 560
- Worth going up to 2GB?
= 120GB SSD
- Worth going up to 160GB? Or should I be using a 20GB to get the best effect of having a SSD?
=16MB HDD Cache
- Worth going up to 32MB? Or could I stick at 8MB?
=7200 RPM HDD
- Only one I'm sure about as a 10,000 is too loud
=3 Gb/s HDD
- Worth going up to 6 Gb/s?



As far as I understand (in simple terms): from L1 Cache, all the way to the SATA, there are just layers of memory. Every time the memory increases in size, the way of retrieving information is less efficient - slower.

So which level is most crucial to avoiding lag when doing many things, some of which are intensive?

Many thanks for any help, apologies if I'm missing anything obvious.

(If you're interested, I'm trying to stick to £1000)

a b B Homebuilt system
January 3, 2012 1:04:20 AM

You need a lot of RAM. 16gb should do it. I'd say that's the most important thing for big multitasking. If it turns out you're maxing it out with all this stuff, you can add another set of 2x8gb, though that would surprise me.

CPU cache, VRAM, HDD cache, HDD SATA type and SSD size don't matter. It's nice to have more SSD space, of course, but it won't affect your performance. Having more things open quickly is not the same as having things open more quickly.

The 2600K is probably worth it for the hyper-threading.

HDD speed (RPM) is not important to multitasking, but it'll make opening things a little snappier. You don't need more then 7200 RPM, though, especially with an SSD in there for the system.
January 3, 2012 7:01:28 AM

Thanks, so that's really the only weak link in the chain? (in terms of having things open more quickly).

I had thought that L3 size for four cores would affect how well they can talk to each other and therefore they are less likely to come accross a problem. And surely having another 2 cores (with two virtual) would just mean more brains to do more programs.

I guess you're saying that even with four cores, if the RAM is big enough then they can happily keep up with how much I can physically do at one second in time, even if everything else is running and I then switch between a few intensive programs.
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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
January 3, 2012 8:12:28 AM

L3 doesn't really affect how well one core talks to another. A larger L3 cache makes the CPU a little faster because there's a greater chance that the CPU will find what it needs next in the cache instead of the slower memory.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 3, 2012 10:10:13 PM

...but not to a degree that you'll notice, no?

I recommend the 2600K, which is hyper-threaded so it can run 8 threads. I think its four physical cores will handle all your CAD and stuff, especially overclocked, but more threads will help you when doing that and other tasks at the same time.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 4, 2012 12:00:02 AM

well if you can afford it and got lots of CASH $$$$$ then go for the intel 3960x or was it? then go grab those 8 slot mobo and put 32gb ram, get 4 way gtx580 3gb sli, x2 120gb or the highest well you normally need just 120 since its good enough, x3 2tb for storage, some @55-kick chassis, a Corsair AX1200W + another one which has less watts and many other stuff,
but if you just want a decent gaming rig that can also do some nice movie watching,
i7 2600k will serve you well, coupled with 8gb-16gb ram depending on what else you need besides gaming, with 560ti sli or some good crossfire, 60/120gb SSD for boot, most likely 120 is better, and get either 1/2/3 TB HDD for storage,
overall


= 8 Cores, Quad Core with HT for (so i7)
- Worth going up to Six core i7?
= 8MB, L3 Cache (you can just live with i7 2600k or if you want buy the most expensive one 3960x if im right.)
- Worth going up to 12MB i7? Or is there much difference from 6MB?
= 12 GB RAM
- Worth going up to 32GB? Or is there much difference from 8MB? (8gb will suffice, but depends if you use other programs that are ram extensive then no get 16gb/32gb one)
= 1 GB GPU RAM - GTX 560
- Worth going up to 2GB? (you can get the 560 2gb one which is good too or go grab some 560ti, also depends on what resolution you want to play or watch or something.)
= 120GB SSD
- Worth going up to 160GB? Or should I be using a 20GB to get the best effect of having a SSD? (120GB is more than enough, 60 is good but not as good as 120gb, but just use the 120gb for boot and other stuff that needs to be in C:.)
=16MB HDD Cache
- Worth going up to 32MB? Or could I stick at 8MB? (yes higher they are the better but you must be able to afford the price.)
=7200 RPM HDD
- Only one I'm sure about as a 10,000 is too loud (just go with the 7.2k one good enough.)
=3 Gb/s HDD
- Worth going up to 6 Gb/s? (depends on what you like to store.)
a b B Homebuilt system
January 4, 2012 12:09:24 AM

The OP did specify uses, namely big multitasking and media work. That means 16gb of RAM for sure and a single low-midrange graphics card (I think a 6770 would be fine, but a 560 Ti would keep you going for a few years).
There's no reason to get a SATA III HDD. None exist that can come close to maxing out SATA II. Worth it on the SSD, but just about all mainstream ones are SATA III now.
March 15, 2013 6:42:37 AM

kajabla said:
The OP did specify uses, namely big multitasking and media work. That means 16gb of RAM for sure and a single low-midrange graphics card (I think a 6770 would be fine, but a 560 Ti would keep you going for a few years).
There's no reason to get a SATA III HDD. None exist that can come close to maxing out SATA II. Worth it on the SSD, but just about all mainstream ones are SATA III now.


kajabla said:
The OP did specify uses, namely big multitasking and media work. That means 16gb of RAM for sure and a single low-midrange graphics card (I think a 6770 would be fine, but a 560 Ti would keep you going for a few years).
There's no reason to get a SATA III HDD. None exist that can come close to maxing out SATA II. Worth it on the SSD, but just about all mainstream ones are SATA III now.


What is fastest on a computer? CPU, then the various caches, then RAM, then SSD/HDD, then LAN, then WAN. "true" multi-tasking (like many games) benefits from multi-core processors (and hyper-threading "sort of" adds cores). Larger caches keep the CPU cores busier with fewer cache misses. Faster/larger RAM feeds the caches faster and gives better response for cache misses - especially if the data is not in RAM (but on mass storage). SSD's are faster than HDD's, but the capacity is much more limited. Since HDD is the slowest item on the local computer (at least in this list), faster rotation speed results in better experience. The old 5400 RPM drives saw nearly a 35% improvement going to 7200 RMP. Data is picked-up faster and put down faster with faster rotational speeds - and finding your data in the first place is correspondingly faster as well.

Don't get version II of something when version III is available - and if version III is mature (or at least mature-ish): NEVER get an older version.
While it is true that keeping you will never keep the channel saturated (for long), when data is in the HDD cache - the SATA-III will serve it up faster (and then get out of the way) than SATA-II.

RAM is cheap - so get lots of it. HDD's are cheap - so get lots of it (hardware RAID if possible). CPU - get the "best" you can afford (more cores are better, more cache is better)
!