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Should I upgrade from a non-K series 2500 to a 2500K?

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April 25, 2012 12:33:41 PM

Ok so I got an i5 2500 for really cheap (£105). Fantastic deal.

Anyway I found out that it is non-overclockable while the K version can be overclocked past 4ghz. But does it really matter? Should I sell it and buy the 2500k instead or would it be fine for me (I game at 1080p and don't do video editing or anything like that).

Would the extra frames be worth it?
a c 203 à CPUs
April 25, 2012 12:39:58 PM

What game and what GPU?

You might not improve your game FPS with an OC'd upgrade.
April 25, 2012 12:44:23 PM

Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Shogun 2 and MAss Effect 3.
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a c 203 à CPUs
April 25, 2012 12:46:28 PM

And that GTX 560 Ti? I see in your SIG?
a b à CPUs
April 25, 2012 12:54:11 PM

I wouldnt bother it will run you fine till the next generation. Or put this way you will sell that for under £100 then fork out £60 or more on top of what you sell that for and gain a small increase in speed.
April 25, 2012 12:56:18 PM

WR2 said:
And that GTX 560 Ti? I see in your SIG?


No I sold my old rig and got a new one with a 7850, just updated my sig to highlight this.
April 25, 2012 12:57:38 PM

wr6133 said:
I wouldnt bother it will run you fine till the next generation. Or put this way you will sell that for under £100 then fork out £60 or more on top of what you sell that for and gain a small increase in speed.


That makes sense.

But now I also found out that the i5-2500 can be overclocked up to 3.8 ghz. How easy is this and is it recommended?
a c 203 à CPUs
April 25, 2012 12:59:52 PM

If you've already un-boxed, installed and are running the CPU (as in it's now used) I'm OK with you running it for a while and testing it out.
Most of the games you listed look GPU bound even with that sweet new 7850.

If it's still in the box (as in it's still new)... you might want to see if you can find some who really really wants to play full price.
a c 203 à CPUs
April 25, 2012 1:02:07 PM

9a3iqa said:
But now I also found out that the i5-2500 can be overclocked up to 3.8 ghz.
It's not too hard and it's not a problem to do it.

But the same principle applies. It won't really make an impact in game play.
Maybe a few extra FPS if you don't turn on all the top eye-candy graphics settings on the graphics card.
a b à CPUs
April 25, 2012 1:10:18 PM

Just be aware that generally OC'ing with a locked multiplier and relying on the base clock can lead to instability so the gains you can get stable are usually pretty low. Kind of thing to only bother with if you find you actually need that extra speed.
April 25, 2012 1:11:50 PM

9a3iqa said:
Ok so I got an i5 2500 for really cheap (£105). Fantastic deal.

Anyway I found out that it is non-overclockable while the K version can be overclocked past 4ghz. But does it really matter? Should I sell it and buy the 2500k instead or would it be fine for me (I game at 1080p and don't do video editing or anything like that).

Would the extra frames be worth it?


That's a great deal. Can I ask where you found it?
a b à CPUs
April 25, 2012 1:32:35 PM

You will not get any noticeable improvement as your games will be GPU bound. Even with the fastest GPU config, I would not recommend upgrading to K as the speed gain would be minimal and probably not even noticeable. I am certain you would be disappointed.

As for overclocking, yes you can overclock a non K to a limited extent. I have experience with overclocking my daughter's i5 2400 so can confirm it is easy and it works. For a non k i7 or i5, intel allows you to overclock it by up to 400MHz. Since the frequency multiplier is locked, you access the speed boost by changing the turbo ratios in the bios. Basically you can bump up each turbo ratio by 4 notches. You might also be able to change the baseclock, but this is more hit and miss. Your maximum baseclock boost is probably only about 1 to 3 percent, after which your system will become unstable.

My experience with the i5 2400 is as follows. It has a stock speed of 3.1 and will turbo up to 3.4. My max overclock therefore increased the max turbo to 3.8. It doesn't get there very often because the higher turbo frequencies are only accessible when running on a single core. It spends most of the time under load at 3.6 or 3.7. I found that my baseclock headroom was minimal so I just left it at 100.

Your i5 2500 has a stock clock of 3.3 and max turbo of 3.7. After overclocking, your chip will run at max 4.1, and spend most of the time under load at 3.9 or 4. You might be able to squeeze an extra 40-120MHz out of it if you adjust the baseclock.

I guarantee that you will find this plenty fast enough. I suspect that overclocking will make only minimal difference to your frame rates, proving that there is no point in upgrading to the K.
April 25, 2012 1:38:24 PM

courtney4 said:
That's a great deal. Can I ask where you found it?


Won a bid on ebay. The only way you can get such a great deal!
April 25, 2012 1:39:19 PM

9a3iqa said:
Won a bid on ebay. The only way you can get such a great deal!


Thank you. Congratulations on your good buy!
April 25, 2012 1:42:29 PM

bwrlane said:
You will not get any noticeable improvement as your games will be GPU bound. Even with the fastest GPU config, I would not recommend upgrading to K as the speed gain would be minimal and probably not even noticeable. I am certain you would be disappointed.

As for overclocking, yes you can overclock a non K to a limited extent. I have experience with overclocking my daughter's i5 2400 so can confirm it is easy and it works. For a non k i7 or i5, intel allows you to overclock it by up to 400MHz. Since the frequency multiplier is locked, you access the speed boost by changing the turbo ratios in the bios. Basically you can bump up each turbo ratio by 4 notches. You might also be able to change the baseclock, but this is more hit and miss. Your maximum baseclock boost is probably only about 1 to 3 percent, after which your system will become unstable.

My experience with the i5 2400 is as follows. It has a stock speed of 3.1 and will turbo up to 3.4. My max overclock therefore increased the max turbo to 3.8. It doesn't get there very often because the higher turbo frequencies are only accessible when running on a single core. It spends most of the time under load at 3.6 or 3.7. I found that my baseclock headroom was minimal so I just left it at 100.

Your i5 2500 has a stock clock of 3.3 and max turbo of 3.7. After overclocking, your chip will run at max 4.1, and spend most of the time under load at 3.9 or 4. You might be able to squeeze an extra 40-120MHz out of it if you adjust the baseclock.

I guarantee that you will find this plenty fast enough. I suspect that overclocking will make only minimal difference to your frame rates, proving that there is no point in upgrading to the K.


Thank you for a detailed and straightforward answer!

I guess my question has been answered now.
a b à CPUs
April 25, 2012 3:08:08 PM

9a3iqa said:
Thank you for a detailed and straightforward answer!

I guess my question has been answered now.


What would give you a very substantial improvement would be a second 7850. Worth planning for one of these if you want your frame rates transformed.

Edited to add that the overclocking is only possible if you have a p or z motherboard. If you have an h, it won't work.
April 25, 2012 3:11:13 PM

bwrlane said:
What would give you a very substantial improvement would be a second 7850. Worth planning for one of these if you want your frame rates transformed.


Well the thing is, my motherboard has two PCI-E slots but one of them is X4 so I think it would be a waste of money to get a second 7850 if it will be running in X4 mode.

Besides I am very happy with the performance of my 7850 so far (especially with the 300mhz OC!)
April 25, 2012 3:14:51 PM

WR2 said:
If you've already un-boxed, installed and are running the CPU (as in it's now used) I'm OK with you running it for a while and testing it out.
Most of the games you listed look GPU bound even with that sweet new 7850
If it's still in the box (as in it's still new)... you might want to see if you can find some who really really wants to play full price.


I'm pretty sure the CPU helps in Skyrim and Shogun 2.
a b à CPUs
April 25, 2012 9:10:23 PM

Yes, it certainly helps but your CPU is already fast enough. Basically, a faster CPU will improve performance until you get to the point where it can feed data to the GPU as fast as the GPU can take. Beyond that point, a faster CPU will give you tiny performance gains that are measurable but not noticeable.

Skyrim is one game that likes a fast CPU. But as long as your CPU is fast enough you will not benefit from a faster one.

I can confirm this from my experience. I used to run skyrim with the following config: 560 ti sli, core i7 920 at 4 GHz. Performance was ok but suffered the occasional choppiness. I upgraded the CPU to a 2700k because my old motherboard died. Despite overclocking to 4.9 GHz the difference this made to performance in skyrim was precisely zilch. More recently, I upgraded the graphics to gtx 680 and this has changed performance beyond recognition. The moral of this story is that if your CPU is fast enough (and yours is), you will gain virtually nothing by getting a faster one.
a c 471 à CPUs
April 25, 2012 9:18:21 PM

Overclocking the CPU can help in some games.

Skyrim is an example of a game where performance is based on both the CPU and graphic card. There would be measurable performance difference between a CPU at 3.4GHz and 4.0GHz.

My advice is to simply check on ebay every now and then for an i5-2500k. If you get the winning bid, then just put your i5-2500 up for auction.
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