1st gen to 5th gen i7. Noticable difference? Worth the upgrade?

I've been rocking out on an i7-930 for the past 4 years now. At one point I overclocked it from 2.8 to 3.4 Ghz, but the overclock "destabilized" a few months in, and it's been running at stock ever since. What I added when they came out was triple Vertex 2's in raid 0, which are still running just fine. The power supply was one of the first fully modular, gold-rated ones on the market.

The only thing that's needed replacing is my storage disk.

This was the first computer I built from scratch, it was a lot of fun to do, and I think it might be time to build a replacement soon. Just about everything except the storage drive is one or more generations behind.

The trouble is, I'm not seeing too much of a need for it. I do a bit of everything on my computer - some gaming, some working, some animating on occasion. This thing runs all of my games at maximum, or near maximum already. It "seems" pretty responsive, even though the SSDs are filling up with data, just as the heatsinks are filling with dust, and old memories.

My main question here - is it worth upgrading? I've read (and believe) that the last few generations of CPUs have added little in terms of performance. Have applications generally gotten more multi-threaded?

If in the past 4 years, transistors have shrunk from 45 to 22 nm, the area they occupy is 1/4 of what it was. Does that mean I'll get to see 4 times as many calculations per watt?

I'm thinking about an upgrade in a few months time, when prices on these new X99 parts settle, especially the cost of DDR4, so I can take advantage of ramdisks.

How about the raid controllers on the new X99 boards? How far can they go? My old ICH10R can handle 700 Mb/s. It's pretty much maxed out, and is the reason why I didn't get any more than 3 Gen 2 SSDs.

What would you do if you were in my place? If the difference is not worth it, then doesn't that suggest that my current computer has a lot of re-sale value? Or is it actually, legitimately, starting to be "worth it", and in upgrading I will genuinely see a night-and-day difference.
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  1. Quote:
    I'm not seeing too much of a need for it. I do a bit of everything on my computer - some gaming, some working, some animating on occasion. This thing runs all of my games at maximum, or near maximum already. It "seems" pretty responsive, even though the SSDs are filling up with data, just as the heatsinks are filling with dust, and old memories.


    My personal computer philosophy: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    If I were you, I would wait.

    I'd be happy to elaborate if you want, but the quote above seems like proof enough that you don't yet need an upgrade.

    Also, I would never recommend upgrading to X99 with your uses.
  2. I don't really see X99, or ram disks, as necessary. The new M.2 SSD's are not limited to the lower bandwidth of current Sata standards. They run along PCI-E lanes, which have more bandwidth. Honestly, if you really wanted to upgrade, I would go with something more like this, then reuse everything else, and go from there. As more M.2 drives are available, the price should go down and the speeds should go up. A 4.0ghz Haswell i7 would be quite a bit of an improvement over a 2.1ghz i7 930. Or you could wait for Broadwell at the beginning of next year.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($339.94 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($142.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $482.93
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-09-08 17:41 EDT-0400
  3. I've been asking myself the same question. I have a I7-940 and after doing some research have decided to hold off because I'm not using any software that will use the 6 cores. My plan is to make the switch when the software catches up. By then I expect for the same price I will end up with a little more performance.

    However, I'm going to upgrade my CPU when I find a better one for the right price on Ebay. I think I can get to 3.4GHz without overclocking for under $100.

    You should look into which CPUs your motherboard will support and see if you can get an inexpensive upgrade.
  4. logainofhades said:
    I don't really see X99, or ram disks, as necessary. The new M.2 SSD's are not limited to the lower bandwidth of current Sata standards. They run along PCI-E lanes, which have more bandwidth. Honestly, if you really wanted to upgrade, I would go with something more like this, then reuse everything else, and go from there. As more M.2 drives are available, the price should go down and the speeds should go up. A 4.0ghz Haswell i7 would be quite a bit of an improvement over a 2.1ghz i7 930. Or you could wait for Broadwell at the beginning of next year.


    I've thought of such an upgrade before. With the money saved I could buy a closed loop liquid cooler, and even extra SSDs.

    I don't quite understand how it is that the 5820 could be less powerful than the 4790. It seems like a whole lot is going into powering those 2 extra cores. 4Ghz stock is pretty damn fast. Are those typically pushed to 5? 5 doesn't seem like much if it can do 4.4 turbo safely on stock cooling. Doing a bit of quick searching, it looks like people say that you can usually take it to 4.6 - 4.7, if so, doesn't that make it kind of poor for OC?

    No chance of a "useful" ramdisk though, with that 32Gb limitation.

    I just have this natural instinct to go for the high end when it comes out. Doesn't it seem like 2011-3 is what 1366 used to be?

    I think I'll end up waiting for Broadwell though, all things considered.

    Anyway, on the X97 platform, what do the onboard raid controllers max out at?

    When it comes to storage, I'm in a position where I think lots of SSDs are stable enough for Raid0, but are much cheaper than pci-E solutions, and in that light, you might as well max out the onboard raid.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
  5. jtl63 said:


    You should look into which CPUs your motherboard will support and see if you can get an inexpensive upgrade.



    As far as I can tell, there's not much out there available for LGA1366 (in fact I'm seeing absolutely nothing on newegg). I might as well upgrade the entire platform since it's got some limitations: only 2 USB3 ports, only 2 sata6gb/s ports, max 24gb of ram.

    If I upgrade the whole thing, I might have some use for the old one, or I might be able to sell it.
  6. Just generally speaking though. Wow. What an age we live in, where 4 (FOUR!) generations aren't worth upgrading over. A decade ago that would be unheard of.
  7. tom thumb said:
    logainofhades said:
    I don't really see X99, or ram disks, as necessary. The new M.2 SSD's are not limited to the lower bandwidth of current Sata standards. They run along PCI-E lanes, which have more bandwidth. Honestly, if you really wanted to upgrade, I would go with something more like this, then reuse everything else, and go from there. As more M.2 drives are available, the price should go down and the speeds should go up. A 4.0ghz Haswell i7 would be quite a bit of an improvement over a 2.1ghz i7 930. Or you could wait for Broadwell at the beginning of next year.


    I've thought of such an upgrade before. With the money saved I could buy a closed loop liquid cooler, and even extra SSDs.

    I don't quite understand how it is that the 5820 could be less powerful than the 4790. It seems like a whole lot is going into powering those 2 extra cores. 4Ghz stock is pretty damn fast. Are those typically pushed to 5? 5 doesn't seem like much if it can do 4.4 turbo safely on stock cooling. Doing a bit of quick searching, it looks like people say that you can usually take it to 4.6 - 4.7, if so, doesn't that make it kind of poor for OC?

    No chance of a "useful" ramdisk though, with that 32Gb limitation.

    I just have this natural instinct to go for the high end when it comes out. Doesn't it seem like 2011-3 is what 1366 used to be?

    I think I'll end up waiting for Broadwell though, all things considered.

    Anyway, on the X97 platform, what do the onboard raid controllers max out at?

    When it comes to storage, I'm in a position where I think lots of SSDs are stable enough for Raid0, but are much cheaper than pci-E solutions, and in that light, you might as well max out the onboard raid.

    Thanks for your thoughts.


    The 4790 is 3.6ghz with a 4.0ghz turbo. The 5820k is 3.3ghz with a 3.6ghz turbo. The 5820k would easily do 4.0ghz though, as it is an unlocked multiplier chip. The 4790k starts out at 4.0ghz and is unlocked also.
  8. If you just want more ports you can get PCIe add-in cards with USB3 or SATA.

    However the i7-930 is getting really old. Nehalem (3Ghz) to Haswell (4Ghz) is a sizable leap. You would definitely notice a speed difference. Clock speed increase plus architectural improvements into the 50% faster range.
  9. tom thumb said:
    Just generally speaking though. Wow. What an age we live in, where 4 (FOUR!) generations aren't worth upgrading over. A decade ago that would be unheard of.


    Depends on your gaming habbits I guess. I could only wait from Nehalem to Ivy. ;)
  10. tom thumb said:
    jtl63 said:


    You should look into which CPUs your motherboard will support and see if you can get an inexpensive upgrade.



    As far as I can tell, there's not much out there available for LGA1366 (in fact I'm seeing absolutely nothing on newegg). I might as well upgrade the entire platform since it's got some limitations: only 2 USB3 ports, only 2 sata6gb/s ports, max 24gb of ram.

    If I upgrade the whole thing, I might have some use for the old one, or I might be able to sell it.


    Lots of computers are coming off lease in this age group right now. So you can find a used CPU on ebay as low as $50 depending on which model. Some resellers even give you a 14 day warranty. Anyways good luck with whatever direction you decide to go.
  11. Cazalan said:
    tom thumb said:
    Just generally speaking though. Wow. What an age we live in, where 4 (FOUR!) generations aren't worth upgrading over. A decade ago that would be unheard of.


    Depends on your gaming habbits I guess. I could only wait from Nehalem to Ivy. ;)


    I kept getting good deals or had hardware issues in my other systems. I went from Lynfield, to Sandy, to Ivy. :lol:
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