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Go with Ivy Bridge, or wait for 22nm Haswell?

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March 28, 2012 6:56:17 PM

Hello all,

I am planning on building a new desktop computer. This does not have to happen soon, I could do it in a couple of months or I could wait a year for Haswell. I am going to build a workstation. It's main uses will be 3D Cad software (solidworks/creo/proE) and some gaming.

A bit on my current computer. It's a Dell Precision Mobile M6400 Workstation with a Core 2 Duo 2.77 GHZ, 4 GB ram, and a nvidia quadro fx m3700 with 1 gig of on board ram. This computer is serving me O.K. It lags / skips frames when I am working with large assemblies. When I try to do design analysis such as finite element analysis it takes longer than I would like to. I can play games such as COD black ops / mw3 and skyrim, but they occasionally skip frames and I can only use mid range graphics settings. One BIG problem I have with this computer right now is GPU overheating. I have to use MSI afterburner to underclock my GPU so that it doesn't overheat when I play games. Its default settings are 550 MHz Core Clock, 1375MHz Shader Clock, and 799 MHz Memory Clock. To prevent crashing during gaming, I have to bring Core clock speed down to 422 MHz, Shader Clock to 1055 MHz, and Memory Clock down to around 600 MHz. This is stupid, and I wish I could be using my systems full potential. I use a port replicator (docking station), so there is no room for a cooling pad. I have doubts though that a cooling pad would cool my GPU that effectively, but I have pondered the idea of cutting some panels into my port replicator and making my own external cooling setup.

Anyways, I am willing to spend $1500-$2500 for a system. I would like to get something soon, however if haswell is going to be a really big performance increase I am willing to wait. The haswell processors will have a different socket so I will not be able to simply replace the CPU when the time comes. What do you guys thing? Is haswell worth waiting a year for? Any promising options from AMD? I heard that the bulldozers are not very good, and that the 4 core sandy bridges surpass them in most tasks...
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
March 28, 2012 8:04:14 PM

I would not bother waiting for Haswell. I don't know how much it will be better than Ivy Bridge, but I doubt it is so huge that you should suffer through a year more of underclocking everything.

If you go to the link in my signature, you can look at a good $1200 setup and then we can discuss how well it fits what you intend to do with it.
May 22, 2012 12:14:11 AM

I was under the impression the Haswell was going to be competing against the ARM CPUs so it sound like it's for a tablet, phone type system. I know a guy that bild special professional grade CAD and video processing systems you may get some ideas from him. He loves building these monster systems that can do everything you dream about. http://www.mcleodcomputers.com/contact.html
May 28, 2012 7:34:28 PM

Sorry for a 2 month late post. If you still haven't made up your mind, you may want to consider a few things.
First is how much if at all your current rig is costing you in lost production.
Second is how important gaming is to your life.
Third is how long you intend to keep the current setup.
Fourth is how much you would plan on upgrading your setup over its lifetime.
Fifth is what % of that $1500 to $2000 you want to spend on CPU and motherboard.
Sixth is whether or not Ivy Bridge processors will be upgradable to Haswell. I don't think they will be but we may not know 100% until September's IDF.

Intel has generally bested AMD these past few years, but about a year ago when I helped a friend set up his new rig, we found a better deal with an AMD processor that met his price and performance needs.

Also, Ivy Bridge is just the 22nm tick from Sandy Bridge's 32nm tock. "Tick" cycles generally come with a smaller cpu but fewer performance enhancements than "tock" cycles. Haswell will be a "tock" so I expect a much bigger increase in Haswell over Ivy Bridge than Ivy Bridge over Haswell.

My long-in-the-tooth 45nm Penryn-based laptop with a superior graphics card barely outperforms my even-longer-in-the-tooth 65nm Merom-based desktop. Yet my coworker's 45nm Nehalem-based laptop smokes both. Nehalem was a "tock" cycle. However for work I often end up using my 9 year old 1.3ghz single core laptop because it forces me to be patient and gives me more time to think out decisions.

Disclosure: Unless my desktop breaks down in the mean time, I am waiting for IDF for hints of Haswell performance, ETA for DDR4, and anything AMD may have to offer.
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