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Looking for a CPU for a new workstation

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June 6, 2014 6:48:25 AM

Hello all,

I am putting together a workstation for my wife. She does very light gaming, and needs it mostly for hosting webanars, word processing and generally has a few dozen tabs open in chrome at any given time. she also does some audio processing.

I am trying to keep my overall budget under $1000 and I am happy with most of the hardware I have picked out but I am waffling on which way to go with the CPU, there are tons and tons of articles and posts gushing about the best gaming rigs but since gaming is not a factor here which route should I go for overall speed and stability? I am setting my CPU budget for $200 so I am looking at things like the FX6300,FX8320, Core i3, i5 and possibly a Xenon E3.

Would anything above an i3 be overkill and should I invest the extra money in more RAM? Currently I have 16GB of Gskil Sniper 1866.
I would appreciate your collective thoughts on what will give me the most bang for my buck.

Thanks in advance.

More about : cpu workstation

a b 4 Gaming
a c 737 à CPUs
June 6, 2014 7:02:20 AM

Put what you have come up with in PCpartpicker, and suggestions can be made from there. An i5 4460 is probably enough for what she is looking to do. Anyway, I was thinking something like this.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($184.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($19.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock H97 PRO4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($89.66 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($154.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial M500 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($105.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Enthusiast Edition Video Card ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Thermaltake Versa H22 ATX Mid Tower Case ($33.03 @ Mwave)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 430W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1003.57
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-06-06 10:01 EDT-0400)
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June 6, 2014 7:03:34 AM

16Gb of RAM should be plenty.

Usually for gaming I would suggest and AMD fx series because they are so over clock friendly.
But for what it sounds like your using it for, I'd suggest one of the 4th generation Intel CPUs with hyper threading (i3, i7, etc...). Multi-tasking will be a breeze and tabbing through different windows won't be slow.
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June 6, 2014 8:01:21 AM

That is good to hear. Personally Prefer the FX line myself because I use my rig mostly for gaming and am not afraid to OC but the only game she plays is Diablo III and candy crush and the like. as for OCing, She is aware of the concept but I know she would never try it. typically she prefers stability and smooth operation over crazy speed.

Here is what I have so far Minus the CPU:

PCpartPicker: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nrBmFT
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler $34.99
Motherboard ASRock Z75 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard $66.99
OR
Motherboard ASRock 970 Extreme3 R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard $79.99
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $144.99
Storage Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $148.95
Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $59.99
Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $59.99
Video Card Asus Radeon R7 250 1GB Video Card $89.99
Case NZXT Source 530 ATX Full Tower Case $99.99
Power Supply Corsair CSM 450W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply $74.99
Monitor AOC E2425SWD 60Hz 24.0" Monitor $139.99
Wireless Network Adapter TP-Link TL-WN951N 802.11b/g/n PCI Wi-Fi Adapter $36.99

TOTAL: $1136.40

I didnt include the CD drive because I have one already. Same thing for the software.
I know I am over my budget a little, in the end I will probably have to downgrade the SSD to a 120GB.
I prefer to have (2) smaller HDs rather then a single large one mainly for backup stability. I have the SSD to boot and for programs, one HD for storage and one HD to back it all up to.
oh and the monitor is also optional, if needed she already has a monitor but she wanted her rig set up for duel displays.

thanks for the advice so far, keep it coming :) 
a b à CPUs
June 6, 2014 9:25:56 AM

If your intending on going with the intel cpu, then the z75 pro 3 board is the one with the right chipset [you'll have to go with and AMD cpu if want the 970 eXtreme3 board...i assume thats why you have both options there]

For lots of multitasking [as i mentioned earlier] hyper threading is what you'll want to look into.

EDIT: [HyperThreading is in the i3 & i7 line...not the i5]

If your willing to jump the price a bit ($300), an i7 would be the best option..
The only issue with the i3 is it only has 2 cores, and the benefit of having 4 cores instead of 2 greatly outweighs hyperthread technology.

That being said, although the i5 doesnt offer a hyperthread capable model, that's not to say it can't keep up without emptying your pockets. [Note: hyperthreading is the real main difference between i5 and i7]

It just that the models with that feature are more suited for conducting tasks in parallel as opposed to being performed sequentially.

If you decide that the middle ground of an i5 is the best option for you, then I would go back and consider the AMD options again. [especially considering The 970 board, which is noticeably better in my opinion]

--TL;DR--
- Ideally, an i7 would be your best bet, but the price tag goes up.
- An i3 will be good for multi tasking, but the lack of cores poses lack of performance.
- i5 is not a bad option option, (but no hyperthread for multitsking) and the AMD mobo is better at that point and I would look at the amd 8350 (which is under 200$ and has better clockspeed)

June 6, 2014 12:49:21 PM

Multi Tasking is certainly her thing. she doesnt have any one program that is a performance hog but she does tend to load a day's worth of work on her screen and shuffle through it. That being said I do like the idea of a threaded processor. How does an FX8350 hold up against the intels when it comes to workstation performance?

Another Option is the Xenon. for $200 I could get an E3-1220 V2 Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz which seems pretty much like an i7 minus the graphics. I will already have a dedicated graphics card so that wont be an issue. Will I need a certain type of motherboard for the Xenon or will it fit into a regular Desktop motherboard as long as its LGA1155 socket? If I went with the Xenon would I need ECC RAM or is that optional? I am assuming if I do need the ECC RAM then I pretty much would need a dedicated server board because I dont see any Desktop boards that take ECC RAM.
a b 4 Gaming
a c 737 à CPUs
June 6, 2014 12:57:14 PM

DHFF said:
Multi Tasking is certainly her thing. she doesnt have any one program that is a performance hog but she does tend to load a day's worth of work on her screen and shuffle through it. That being said I do like the idea of a threaded processor. How does an FX8350 hold up against the intels when it comes to workstation performance?

Another Option is the Xenon. for $200 I could get an E3-1220 V2 Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz which seems pretty much like an i7 minus the graphics. I will already have a dedicated graphics card so that wont be an issue. Will I need a certain type of motherboard for the Xenon or will it fit into a regular Desktop motherboard as long as its LGA1155 socket? If I went with the Xenon would I need ECC RAM or is that optional? I am assuming if I do need the ECC RAM then I pretty much would need a dedicated server board because I dont see any Desktop boards that take ECC RAM.


The 1220 is an i5 based Xeon. You need to look at the 1230 for i7 performance. You would want to look at something like this. You do not need ECC ram or server board for the E3 series Xeons.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1230 V3 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($249.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock H97 PRO4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($89.66 @ Newegg)
Total: $339.64
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-06-06 15:56 EDT-0400)
June 6, 2014 1:23:22 PM

I noticed that after I posted that the 1220 didn't have hyper threading. Thanks for the Tip. Its also good to know that I wouldn't need ECC, the added cost of a dedicated board for ECC RAM would have negated the cost savings of going with Xenon.

ok so right now I am looking at an i5 or a Xenon E3 1230. I like the cost of the i5 much better but I really do like the performance of the E3.
does anyone know how the FX8350 chips stack against this?
a b 4 Gaming
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June 6, 2014 1:27:06 PM

We had a user on here that, not all that long ago, went from a 4.8ghz FX 8350 to a 1230v3. He was quite satisfied with the increased performance of the 1230v3. Also, AM3+ is a dead platform now.
June 6, 2014 1:47:32 PM

logainofhades said:
We had a user on here that, not all that long ago, went from a 4.8ghz FX 8350 to a 1230v3. He was quite satisfied with the increased performance of the 1230v3. Also, AM3+ is a dead platform now.


Thats good to hear, I think that pretty much sells it for me, I just have to figure out how to afford it now :D 

as for AM3+, I read about that earlier today. I wasnt so concerned with it if the chip offered promise. Platforms come and go with the blowing of the wind and I had no preconceived notions that any any platform I used would be around by the time I was ready to upgrade. Both manufacturers seem to change shoes every 2 to 3 years. My last computer lasted 7 years by the time I upgraded, I went from 939 to AM3+ so assuming AMD keeps the current naming structure I should be ready to upgrade by the time AM5+ is out. For my wife....well who knows what platform Intel will be on, they seem to have an obsession with not following numerical order :D 
!