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Sandy Bridge VS Nehalem?

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September 29, 2012 4:55:21 AM

Clock for clock, how much faster is the Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge over the old Nehalems?

The Nehalems are still quite capable chips aren't they?

More about : sandy bridge nehalem

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September 29, 2012 5:43:42 AM

The common understanding is that SB/IB is around 10-12% faster than Nahelem, this is true and false, lynfield and bloomfield up to a i7 950 are hopelessly out matched by intels concurrent chips, but that difference is not as linear when you reach the i7 950-960 and then the hex cores and extreme processors. I have a 990X which more than holds its own against a 3960X which replaced it. While yes SB/IB is the better platform to go to notably 1156 and 1366 are EOL, if a person was on a i7 950 or better, there is still no real need to move other than staying up to date.

Downsides to owning nahelem;

EOL, no parts or replacements.
Heat and power relative to current gen is down.
Slight performance ambiguity relative to current gen.

That basically answers it, yes nahelem is still very capable.
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September 29, 2012 6:06:21 AM

Is it still useable yes but the architecture is pretty old now and Sandy Bridges will be be a good bit faster. If you can afford a newer procsser than I don't know why you would go with an older architecture.
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September 29, 2012 6:07:23 AM

ambam said:
Clock for clock, how much faster is the Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge over the old Nehalems?

The Nehalems are still quite capable chips aren't they?


I was so struck by my experience upgrading from Nehalem to Sandy Bridge that I decided to write an article about it.

Short version: upgraded from Nehalem Core i7 920 to Sandybridge i7 2700K. Reason for upgrade, broken motherboard. (I ran my i7 920 at 4.1 GHz and I run my current i7 2700K at 4.84 GHz).

Result from upgrade: nothing.

In games, video encoding and general use, I saw no noticeable difference between my i7 920 and i7 2700K. I am sure the difference was MEASURABLE, but that's different. What counts is if it was noticeable.

So yes, Nehalems are very capable chips. Some of them are particularly good value as they can be so heavily overclocked. No reason in my view to upgrade if you have a Nehalem (unless, say, you're looking for a step change in performance from eg going from dual core to quad core).
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September 29, 2012 6:17:28 AM

Well if you want noticeable change you have to go from a Q6600 to i5/i7 SB/IB to see noticeable change, other than that the real difference is rather limited to synthetics.
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September 29, 2012 8:35:33 PM

sarinaide said:
Well if you want noticeable change you have to go from a Q6600 to i5/i7 SB/IB to see noticeable change, other than that the real difference is rather limited to synthetics.


What about GPU/CPU bottlenecks posed by the latest generation of graphics cards?

The how would a 990X compare to a 3960X both running at the same clocks, while using a dual or tri SLI GTX 680 setup?

The throughout with the latest gen graphics cards is astronomical. You should have your CPU OC'ed to at least 3.8 GHz if you want to run the graphics hardware efficiently. Otherwise the performance will be crippled.

I was thinking of upgrading my dual CF HD 5870's to two GTX 670's but I am hesitant because I'm afraid my Core i7 930 might bottleneck the hell of out of that setup.
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September 29, 2012 9:15:28 PM

Bottlenecks aren't as simple as will this CPU bottle neck my GPU. You have to take into consideration the CPU and if it's overclocked or not. GPU and if it's overclocked. The resolution you will be playing games on and the gam details settings (low, medium, high, ultra) and stuff like that. So I don't think it will bottleneck it to much but I still would not bother with older technology. You don't need a 1000 dollar Ivy Bridge six core I7 Extreme but a Sandy Bridges I3 or an I5 2400, 2500, 2500k with a Z7(x) motherboard will be alot better than an older Nehalmen.
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September 29, 2012 11:35:41 PM

rds1220 said:
Bottlenecks aren't as simple as will this CPU bottle neck my GPU. You have to take into consideration the CPU and if it's overclocked or not. GPU and if it's overclocked. The resolution you will be playing games on and the gam details settings (low, medium, high, ultra) and stuff like that. So I don't think it will bottleneck it to much but I still would not bother with older technology. You don't need a 1000 dollar Ivy Bridge six core I7 Extreme but a Sandy Bridges I3 or an I5 2400, 2500, 2500k with a Z7(x) motherboard will be alot better than an older Nehalmen.


I'll be playing on 1920x1080 with all of the other settings on max.

BF3, Crysis 1 and 2, Metro 2033, Skyrim, and all of the other big-name games.
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September 29, 2012 11:55:24 PM

ambam said:
What about GPU/CPU bottlenecks posed by the latest generation of graphics cards?

The how would a 990X compare to a 3960X both running at the same clocks, while using a dual or tri SLI GTX 680 setup?

The throughout with the latest gen graphics cards is astronomical. You should have your CPU OC'ed to at least 3.8 GHz if you want to run the graphics hardware efficiently. Otherwise the performance will be crippled.

I was thinking of upgrading my dual CF HD 5870's to two GTX 670's but I am hesitant because I'm afraid my Core i7 930 might bottleneck the hell of out of that setup.


I run a 2700k with dual SLI gtx 680. The bottleneck is still the GPU. Your 930 will be fine with dual 670s. If you want to remove any doubt, don't forget to overclock your CPU. Your CPU is a champion overclocker.

As all respondents have noted, yes, Nehalem is very capable and easily up to modern games.

Unless you have a very slow/old CPU, your bottleneck will almost always be the GPU.
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September 30, 2012 1:39:13 AM

bwrlane said:
I run a 2700k with dual SLI gtx 680. The bottleneck is still the GPU. Your 930 will be fine with dual 670s. If you want to remove any doubt, don't forget to overclock your CPU. Your CPU is a champion overclocker.

As all respondents have noted, yes, Nehalem is very capable and easily up to modern games.

Unless you have a very slow/old CPU, your bottleneck will almost always be the GPU.


For some reason I can't access overclocking features in my BIOS. I am using the MSI Big Bang X-Power X58 motherboard which has very advanced overclocking features.

With turboboost, my clock speed goes from 2.8 GHz to 3.0 GHz.

When I use the auto-overclock feature on my motherboard, which boosts my clock to 3.4 GHz, my CPU idles at 55 *C in desktop. I am using the ZALMAN CNPS9900 CPU cooler as well as the coolermaster HAF 932 full tower case.

My CPU overheats when idling in desktop at 3.4 GHz.

Off-topic, but how much faster are twin GTX 670's going to be over my old dual CF HD 5870's? My current cards only have 1GB of VRAM, which causes low framerates and microstuttering on 1080p resolution.
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September 30, 2012 4:39:44 AM

Those 5870s are as good as Gold (Literally). You should be able to resell them on Ebay for a decent amount. They're considered to be the best Bitcoin capable GPUs (Performance/Watt).

As for the question... you won't notice a difference between a 930 and 2700K. I don't see a difference between a 3930K and i7 920 when gaming.

I notice the difference when I am processing complex workloads though... but you seem to be into gaming so none of that concerns you :) 
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September 30, 2012 6:18:54 AM

ElMoIsEviL said:
Those 5870s are as good as Gold (Literally). You should be able to resell them on Ebay for a decent amount. They're considered to be the best Bitcoin capable GPUs (Performance/Watt).

As for the question... you won't notice a difference between a 930 and 2700K. I don't see a difference between a 3930K and i7 920 when gaming.

I notice the difference when I am processing complex workloads though... but you seem to be into gaming so none of that concerns you :) 


So you're saying that the 6-core CPU's like the 3960X are for CPU-intensive applications such as HD video encoding and other complex processes, but NOT for games.

PC games benefit most from your GPU and not your CPU. Any decent quad-core processor would work just fine.

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September 30, 2012 7:16:12 AM

Best answer selected by ambam.
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September 30, 2012 7:22:32 AM

ambam said:
What about GPU/CPU bottlenecks posed by the latest generation of graphics cards?

The how would a 990X compare to a 3960X both running at the same clocks, while using a dual or tri SLI GTX 680 setup?

The throughout with the latest gen graphics cards is astronomical. You should have your CPU OC'ed to at least 3.8 GHz if you want to run the graphics hardware efficiently. Otherwise the performance will be crippled.

I was thinking of upgrading my dual CF HD 5870's to two GTX 670's but I am hesitant because I'm afraid my Core i7 930 might bottleneck the hell of out of that setup.


As to a 990X or any 1366 Extreme processor, they will still be difficult to bottleneck, sure they will have limits like any but I am pretty sure a 990X could handle 2-3 way setups of any 680 or 7970 with ease.


With a overclock a i7 930 may take 670's but I really don't think that is advisable. If you want a dual setup maybe look around dual 7850's possibly dual 7870's or GTX 570's.

Toms a while back did a 7970 vs 680 (7970 vanilla) in a single and multi card show down. 4x680 scored 140FPS average in BF3 fully maxed with no AA, the 7970's in three way scored 165FPS, either way the scaling on high end cards stressed a 3960X to the point it was not giving good scalability considering 2 680's and 7970's can average over 100FPS with eye candy on, so even the alpha CPU struggles with multi cards.

Your HD5870's will deliver around 10% more performance than a GTX580, if you can sell them, a step up will be dual 570's or two HD7850's which will be extremely light on power and heat demands. MSI twinfrozr IV power edition HD7850's, they are factory overclocked to improve on the rather unimpressive base clock 800mhz on the vanilla card, but these cards hit 1000-1150mhz very easily, at 1000mhz these cards fly.
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