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November 4, 2012 11:07:44 AM

I'm planning on seriously upgrading my PC very soon, but cant decide on which CPU will be best.
I'm currently running an AMD Phenom II X4 960T which i have unlocked to X6 and overclocked to 3.8, 12GB Corsair XMS3 and a pair of Sapphire HD5850 Toxic all in a NZXT Phantom.
I am planning on trying Intel this time, but cant decide the best CPU.
the rest of it will be:
ASUS P8Z77-V Pro
16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600
Samsung 830 256GB SSD
Corsair H100 Cooler
My current Hard Drives for data
my current graphics cards, but probably upgrade at somepoint
and my current case.

I am trying to decide between Ivybridge or sandybridge, and then if an i7 is worth the extra money to an i5.

If anyone has any suggestions and can help my decision i would be really grateful!
i have some experience in PC builds, but havent got a clue about the newer intel technology.

Thanks :) 

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November 4, 2012 11:36:42 AM

Well if you are gaming an i5 will suffice. The i7 offers very minimal to no performance gain on gaming but the i7 was meant to shine on heavily threaded applications and stuff like that. In addition, Ivy bridge is the newer of the two and is faster than a sandy bridge at the same clock. So basically the CPU architecture is more modern and more efficient than the Sandy Bridge. The only drawback is that the Ivy bridge gets hotter quicker compared to the sandy bridge due to it's small die size and inefficient way of drawing heat away which means it will throttle itself easier if you do not have a good cooler when overclocking or you just have terrible airflow in your case with the stock cooler.

Essentially, I am saying for gaming an i5 is all you need. An i7 is useful for heavily threaded applications and that Ivy bridge is better than Sandy but produces heat easier.

Now thats been said here are three CPUs I would recommend to you:

Sandy i5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ivy i5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ivy i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The i7 is if you are going to use heavily threaded apps such as designing programs and converting/utilizing x.264 codec and other fancy stuff that utilizes all the cores.
November 4, 2012 11:44:59 AM

Well i currently do gaming, but a lot of Media work including photo and video editing and 3ds max modelling. Will there be a benefit from the hyper-threading in this?

I plan on slight overclocking, possibly around 4.3Ghz, but a lot of people are saying that sandy is a lot better for overclocking. After this upgrade i don't plan on upgrading again for a good few years.

would a NZXT Phantom and a H100 be ok for a slight OC with Ivybridge, or could you recommend a decent air cooler that would be good.

Where i am in the UK the price difference between the i5 3570K and i7 3770K is around £50.

Thanks for the help
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November 4, 2012 12:00:43 PM

If you do a lot of media work then yes the i7 would benefit you

As far as Ivy v Sandy I think Ivy is more of the natural choice, you get Intel HD4000, PCI 3.0 ( although of no benefit as of now but it's there when games that will use it catch up) and at the same clocks Ivy performance is a few percent higher but in real world applications you wouldn't see the difference. Ivy generally hits a wall at 4.5ghz before temps become uncomfortable for most people, but if you look at benchmarks a Sandy 2600k at 4.8 is equivalent to a 3770k at 4.5ghz same goes for 2500k v 3570k.

With the H100 you shouldn't have any problems getting up to 4.3ghz. I'm using a cheap budget cooler with my 3570k at 4.2ghz BF3 gaming temps max out at 54c and max load using Prime95 top off at 63c.

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November 4, 2012 12:05:10 PM

Since you will be doing modelling then I assume the i7 would be useful.

Though I did read this and it did say hyper threading with an Xeon caused brief
pauses.
http://forums.cgsociety.org/archive/index.php/t-880674....

Either way the work you do seems to justify you can use the i7 if you really want. Anyways decent air coolers I like are the Noctua DH-14 and this beastly Phanteks cooler:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Anyways with buying water coolers you must acknowledge the risks that come with is such as leaks. If it does leak then you could get a replacement from warranty but if the leak damages any other computer parts it is not covered. I myself am slightly paranoid of my Kuhler 620 leaking, typically the video card is below the cooler's tubes and if it does leak it will probably wreck the video card, which in my case is worth more than my CPU :lol:  , I have a phenom II X4 955 and a HD 7770. Either way the H100 is more than enough for an overclock (not even slight), the ivy bridges are fine at stock clocks with the stock coolers but with high end coolers they run quite cool. You are also right about sandy's easier capability to overclock due to its more efficient way of transferring heat.

Basically, the i7 will not overheat with the H100 if you keep a good eye on the voltage and temperature when overclocking, there are also better air coolers out there.
November 4, 2012 12:17:08 PM

i guess itll be worth the extra in the long run then :) 
and how does the Noctua DH-14 compare to the H100? I have always prefered the safety of air cooling due to what social fox said, dont really want my video cards ruined (they are quite old but do everything i want and more and easily get 60+ Fps on Battlefield 3.
Looks like its definately set on the newer Ivybridge.
and the old Phenom x4's are good for their price.

and is the ASUS P8Z77-V Pro a good choice or would a Gigabyte Z77-UD5 be more stable? I do like the extra features such as fan control and WiFi on the asus.
i have always used asus motherboards and never had a problem.

But now you explained it all, its definately going to be the i7-3770K.
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November 4, 2012 12:23:11 PM

I believe they are on par with each other (maybe the H100 is better by 2-3 degrees or maybe the other way around). Either way the Dh-14 is the cheaper but note that you need to have a fairly good sized computer case to fit that beast and at the same time you need one for the H100 to mount the radiator. Anyways on to the motherboard, I would go for the ASUS one, ASUS has never let me down! Never had to RMA anything and their parts last for years for me. I've got an ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS motherboard right now running real strong with an ASUS HD 7770 running real cool.
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November 4, 2012 12:30:07 PM

I haven't heard of people having any problems with leaks but more problems with noise pumps and or pumps that just fail but it's always possible, but I concur I'm not fond of the closed loop coolers either for a little extra more money spent I would rather get a full water loop.

On that note the DH-14 is a great cooler, you can also look at the Panteks PH-TC14PE they are both equal in performance but from what I'v been able to gather the Panteks is slightly quieter if noise is a concern for you. As you already have a pretty big case shouldn't have a problem fitting it, although you need to make sure the RAM you choose doesn't have high heatsinks or else you will have problems as far as I see the Vengeance ram does have pretty high heatsinks so you will have to choose different ram or change your cooling solution.

As far as the motherboard all I have used is Asus can't speak for the rest of the options out there but with my 3rd build using a Asus motherboard I have no complaints they have been great to me so thus giving me no reason to try any other brand motherboard.
November 4, 2012 12:30:56 PM

well there would easily be enough room in my Phantom full tower for either haha.
and i suppose 2-3 degrees is worth the safety of not having the risk of coolant all over the PC.
The only ASUS I have ever had a problem with is a 990FX Sabertooth, i had 2 in a row arrive DOA so sent them back and decided i would just keep my current one.

Thanks for the help, greatly appreciated.

as i said, i have a bit of experience with PC builds, but mainly AMD Phenom II's and the intel Core 2 range. But had no clue on what new intel chip would be good for what i use it for.
Just fancy an upgrade as my Phenom II X4 960T is beginning to show its age, even though its now an X6 at 3.8 haha

One more thing, is an SSD a good investment? i heard a lot of bad things about the early ones and OCZ, but technology gets better and SSD's are now supposed to be very reliable. I'm particularly looking at either a Crucial M4 or Samsung 830.
November 4, 2012 12:35:08 PM

And cooler wise, I'm not too worried about noise and that, just want to know my CPU is going to be kept cool and lasts haha.

I wouldn't go for full water cooling, and do prefer air just in case. There are a lot of good reviews on the DH-14 and its supposed to be the best performing air cooler on the market. Just have to get Low Profile Vengeance RAM though.
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November 4, 2012 12:36:17 PM

SSDs are really fast in performance but they have a shorter lifespan compared to your traditional hard drive. That lifespan is reduced when you do frequent moving around and adding/deleting files on the SSD. However I did read an article on Tom's where Intel made a new SSD that could last longer than a traditional hard drive, Not sure if its out yet but I'm betting the price will be insane. Personally, I would just settle for a 7200 rpm hard drive or if speed is more important to you and life span then go for a VelociRaptor, never owned one myself but they are expensive while spinning at 10k rpm.

Edit: Here's that article I was talking about, should give it a read its real interesting.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-335-240-gb-benc...
November 4, 2012 12:41:31 PM

My current Boot drive is a WD Caviar Black 1TB SATA 3Gb/s and takes around 2 minutes to boot and be ready to use. in my second rig i have a Velociraptor 160Gb and its around the same time, even with an older C2Q Q6600 @ 3.2.

and i know the price on SSD's has really come down recently, but the idea of a 30 second boot seems really good.

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November 4, 2012 12:46:11 PM

Yes it does but note that it offers no FPS gain in any type of gaming, it only helps the loading screen go lightning fast. I myself have a Hitachi 7200 RPM hard drive and it only takes me about 1minute to start up. So I think a good defrag might help with your other hard drives. Also if you do get a SSD, I have heard you do not defrag it. Hard drives need to be defragged since they write things spaced out occasionally and defragging it puts it closer so it takes less time to read.
November 4, 2012 12:52:23 PM

Ill set it to defrag when I go out this evening so it should be done when I get home.
and ill have to do some more research on the benefits v cons of an SSD. its just the speed that interests me.
Who doesn't want a lightning fast pc haha
but HDD's have a near enough infinite life of read/write cycles and are a mature technology.
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November 4, 2012 12:55:36 PM

^ you do have a point, now that I think of it I would like a few seconds for transferring 10gb+ files compared to the long wait time it takes my current hard drive. Think I myself will invest in a SSD when those new Intel ones come out with that real long lifetime.
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November 4, 2012 12:55:56 PM

When I purchased my first SSD I did extensive research partially due to the fact that a few company's had allot of problems with there SSD's. This was the reason I picked up a Samsung 830 128gb model they designed and used there own controller compared to the other brands that used a 3rd party controller although slightly slower the Samsung was it was the most reliable along with Intel. I have to say once having one you can't go back. Windows boots up in 20 seconds, shuts down in 10-15seconds - virus scans take minutes rather than hours.

As far as lifespan I can't and no one can for that matter tell you how longs it's going to last but a good SSD will long outlast your time span of using it before dying or you purchasing something faster and better to replace it. It all depends on how many writes you do to it a day if your a person that uses it to transfer large files back and forth then yes it will wear out allot faster than a normal user also you have people that constantly run benchmarks for epeen and when there drive's start loosing performance they wonder what's going on, so I think a small amount of the negative complaints you heard about SSD's was due to user error rather than hardware related problems.
November 4, 2012 1:03:43 PM

Thats the main reason i am interested in the samsung 830 SSD. There are a lot of bad reports on the Sandforce controllers which most makes of SSD use, but Samsung's own it supposed to very reliable. and the speed of that is worth losing a few seconds for relaibility.

And i would only use the SSD for the OS and the few programs i constantly use. I would put all the ones i don't often use and games to a HDD. Plus all data to a HDD.
the load times for applications from my Caviar Black are fairly good compared to other HDD's, im more impressed by windows boot times.

I have heard more recent SSD's are a lot better than the first ones, but then any component will be better than the first.
November 4, 2012 1:07:32 PM

socialfox said:
SSDs are really fast in performance but they have a shorter lifespan compared to your traditional hard drive. That lifespan is reduced when you do frequent moving around and adding/deleting files on the SSD. However I did read an article on Tom's where Intel made a new SSD that could last longer than a traditional hard drive, Not sure if its out yet but I'm betting the price will be insane. Personally, I would just settle for a 7200 rpm hard drive or if speed is more important to you and life span then go for a VelociRaptor, never owned one myself but they are expensive while spinning at 10k rpm.

Edit: Here's that article I was talking about, should give it a read its real interesting.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-335-240-gb-benc...


another point to bring up is hard drives high failure rate


November 4, 2012 1:14:43 PM

cjcj11 said:
another point to bring up is hard drives high failure rate


To be honest, hard drives are pretty reliable, and yes there are failure rates but then there are possible failures of any pc component.
As they are a mature technology, the rates keep improving. I haven't ever had a HDD which has failed. not saying its not possible though, as anything can just fail without notice.
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November 4, 2012 1:18:33 PM

Hey nice to see you again CJ, anyways Hard drive failure rates are mostly dependent on temperatures. I remember Google doing a hard drive test and concluded that when under 30 degrees and over 50 degrees hard drive failed more often than at the safe/sweet spot of 30-40 degrees. As long as you have sufficient cooling no need to worry about hard drives.
a b à CPUs
November 4, 2012 1:19:17 PM

Why anyone would want a massive air-cooler covering 50% of their board boggles my mind If the OP wants to overclock then a sealed liquid cooler would be your best bet, for asthetics and performance. Furthermore unmounting and mounting an H100 is very easy. An i7 offers more threads over the i5 so if your into trancoding an IB i7 with HD 4000 will be your best bet.
November 4, 2012 1:20:17 PM

Final thoughts:
Is this a reasonably good setup which will last, including new things im going to get and wht i already have:

Intel Core i7-3770K
ASUS P8Z77-V PRO
Noctua DH-14 CPU cooler
16GB Corsair Vengeance LP 1600Mhz
2x Sappphire HD5850 Toxic
Samsung 830 256GB SSD
3x 1TB HDD's
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro series
NZXT Phantom Full Tower
Corsair TX650W PSU
LG Blu-Ray Rewriter
LG 24x DVD Rewriter
Sentry 2 Fan controller

Any thoughts/ advice on it is appreciated :) 

a b à CPUs
November 4, 2012 1:23:46 PM

If you are not on a tight budget and have the funds to buy one I would recommend getting a SSD you won't be disappointed.

I too have a Caviar Black 1TB that I purchased in 2008 with something along the lines of 8,000 power on hours on it last time I checked and it's still chugging along as my data drive although its pretty much full now and I'm looking to buy another one to have more room. But after the floods with the prices as high as they still are quality has seemed to go down too from what I've noticed with the newer Black drives with DOA"s and premature failures.
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November 4, 2012 1:25:53 PM

That's a real nice setup! If you are buying the hard drives, do you really need the 3 terabytes though? That is a lot of space. Either way that is a very nice build, lots of high quality brand manufacturers. You may want to slide in a pci slot fan between your video cards, it will help with the temperatures, generally crossfiring cards tend to overheat more than single cards. If you do go with a future upgrade grab something real powerful like the HD 7970 and no need to crossfire them since it will perform just as good if not better.
November 4, 2012 1:30:08 PM

well im in the UK and my upgrade budget is around £500, which is just for a CPU, motherboard, RAM, cooler and SSD.
i already have everything else from my current PC, so wont need to buy that all again.

My WD Black is from '09 and is still perfectly fine, along with my 2 seagate drives which are about a year old. I dont plan on buying any more HDD's just an SSD. Just wanted to know thoughts on them first.

And the cost of parts here is very reasonable IMO.

I would recommend seagate drives; may not be as fast as Caviar Blacks but they are pretty reliable. either seagate or samsung, who are basically the same drive manufacturer now.
November 4, 2012 1:37:16 PM

I may upgrade graphics in the future, but to be honest i am very happy with my pair of HD5850's. i know they are quite old, but i have never had any problems with games or anything - 60+ FPS on BF3 at Ultra settings.

and i already have the the drives, so i may as well use them for data and backups. and im not going to have every program on an SSD as there isnt much point unless its constantly used.

I will only ever use Corsair for RAM and PSU's as i have never had a bad experience with them. no point in buying a cheap brand in case it fails, may as well just buy good quality and it should last.

And that fan ides seems pretty good - may try that!
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November 4, 2012 1:41:01 PM

Just wanted to let you know if you do ever have a change of heart you should try Antec, XFX, Seasonic power supplies and there are a whole bunch of them but I am too lazy write them all down. Fact is some of Corsair's power supplies are made by Seasonic and merely re-badged.
November 4, 2012 1:48:22 PM

Thats good to know. I know there has got to be other good brands, but i just tend to find one i trust and stick with it. Better to be safe than sorry haha.

I do however have an OCZ ModXstreamPro in my second PC that seems to be fine.
November 7, 2012 8:18:35 AM

PcNutDan95 said:
Thats the main reason i am interested in the samsung 830 SSD. There are a lot of bad reports on the Sandforce controllers which most makes of SSD use, but Samsung's own it supposed to very reliable. and the speed of that is worth losing a few seconds for relaibility.

And i would only use the SSD for the OS and the few programs i constantly use. I would put all the ones i don't often use and games to a HDD. Plus all data to a HDD.
the load times for applications from my Caviar Black are fairly good compared to other HDD's, im more impressed by windows boot times.

I have heard more recent SSD's are a lot better than the first ones, but then any component will be better than the first.


Its true that sandforce controllers are used by many of the SSD manufacturers, the reason is not because every other manufacturer wants to become un reliable or tagged as unreliable because of sandforce; its because sandforce indeed has some very good capabilities and features - Even the manufacturers like Intel, OCZ Hynix who have their own controllers use sandforce. Sadly, sandforce has been at the receiving end after its last year's BSOD issues; I guess sandforce fixed it with its firmware updates but still the misconception prevails across the forums. Infact many of the SSD manufacturers have launched their new products with the same sandforce controllers, including the latest Intel 335 - but sadly we are seeing opinions from users who have just heard from others and not necessarily used them
!