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Should I upgrade my i7 960 to a 3930k?

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June 12, 2012 10:47:51 PM

Should I upgrade my i7 960 to a 3930k? My primary use will be for gaming at 2560x1600. Will the 3930k provide a noticable difference in games?

Before we get side-tracked, I know that I won't need the 3930k for gaming and that there are other options that are more economical like the other SandyBridge-E's or the IvyBridge lineup, but I am dead set on the X79 architecture and having the hexacore for bragging rights, so I will not be swayed from it. I also do not want to wait for the IvyBridge-E at this point because it is already delayed until "at least the second half of 2013," and seeing the pattern on the wall, that makes me think Q1 2014.

By the same token, though, I also do not want to upgrade to the 3930K if it will not provide anything extra in gaming performance over the 960.

Thank you in advance for the answers!! :) 

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June 12, 2012 11:11:27 PM

It will largely depend on your graphics setup. I'm running an i7-920 paired with a GTX680, this scores roughly 8400 3DMark points. My i7-3930K (overclocked to 4.2GHz) is running with a pair of GTX580's in SLi and scores only 50% higher, but uses up to double the power.
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a b à CPUs
June 12, 2012 11:54:28 PM

No, the 3930k will not provide any performance advantage over the 960 in games. Yes, you would get a measurable, (but barely noticeable) frame rate advantage in CPU limited situations. However, these are relatively rare unless you're running a powerful graphics card at low resolutions. (Nobody would do anyway, and even if they did, the framerates would already be so crazy high that any CPU limitation would be of no consequence). At a resolution of 2560x1600, the practical bottleneck will always be your graphics card, even with a GTX 690. The i7 960 is already plenty fast enough to feed your GTX 690 as fast as it can go at this resolution.

But more seriously, why get get a system that is utterly overkill just for bragging rights? Surely the bragging rights go to the person who puts together a system that's fit for purpose? Really, hexacore is of no advantage whatsoever over a quad in games. Not a single one of your frames per second will be attributable to the extra two cores. Actually, a quad i5 or i7 on Z77 will be better since you can clock it higher. If it's fully redundant computing power you're after, why not go the whole hog and get a dual socket, 16 core Xeon setup?

Having said that, there are situations where X79/Hex does make sense, eg if you're into simulations, modelling or video rendering - something that will actually use the extra cores. But not for games.
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June 13, 2012 12:29:25 AM

Best answer selected by jerubedo.
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