CPUs and Mobos

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CPUs and Mobos

Postby cerwillis » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:58 pm

After I install the SSD that I got, the last pieces that haven't been replaced recently will be my CPU and Mobo. I tend to buy stuff that has been out for a while and has been tested well, (and hopefully drops in price some,) so my personal choices won't be bleeding-edge. I hope to buy the 2 pieces and possibly a cooling system for <$500 by the time I purchase, but feel free to discuss any and all options. Same goes for Intel/AMD, I'm generally an Intel/NVIDIA guy, but I'm open to suggestions.

For a Mobo, I 'm pretty happy with the Gigabyte that I have now, so I'm looking at:

GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $209.99

For CPUs, I'm a bit confused by the Bloomfield vs Sandy Bridge designations, so I'd appreciate some input on that, the 2 are only $20 apart. I'd assume the Sandy Bridge is faster per the clock speed, but I remember a recall or something.

Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz $279.99
vs
Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz $299.99
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Re: CPUs and Mobos

Postby Gorlando » Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:58 pm

Don't worry about the recall for the Sandy Bridge motherboards. That has been fixed and motherboards are starting to get back in stock.

I definitely recommend Sandy Bridge. Make sure to get a CPU with a "k" at the end, so you have the unlocked multipliers (to overclock). The i5 2500k is a better value than the i7 2600k unless you do lots of video work or other tasks that tax the CPU. The main difference between the 2500k and the 2600k is Intel's Hyper Threading technology, which won't help you much (if at all) in games.

For your the motherboard, Asus and Gigabyte are both good companies.

As for the cooling,this Noctua cooler is one of the best as far air coolers go. The best price/performance cooler right now is probably the Coolermaster Hyper 212+. Remember, if you get an aftermarket cooler, you should also get thermal paste, such as Arctic Silver 5 or OCZ Freeze. There are many brands of thermal paste available, those are just two recommendations.

If you have no interest in overclocking, then I would not waste money on an aftermarket cooler.
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Re: CPUs and Mobos

Postby laterna » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:28 pm

What are you looking at in regards to performance? Are you a gamer or a video encoder/ animation guru etc?

Basically, the SB series is the newer architecture, which included a shrink of the lithography process down to 32nm. The bloomfield series is a 45nm lithography process.

In english, this means that they are able to fit more compnents (ie more processing power) on the same spame for a processor.

However, the sandybridge series only supports Dual-Channel ram vs the Tripple Channel ram of the bloomfield series. ie 2,4,8,16 RAM vs 3,6,12,24gb of ram.

Although this sounds like a huge, importand feature, you only gain 6-8% more performance in triple channel. Performance which is *unoticable* in real life application (read:gaming). Furthermore, the triple channel controller, is worse in certain situations (I think its write speeds).

Basically, you're looking at a newer, and more efficient (wattage) system with the SB series.

You listed a bloomfield series motherboard. I'm not trying to sound snob or anything, but there is a whole different series of motherboards for sandybridge (ie you can't put a SB processor in a 1366 series motherboard)

What is your knowledge and "hands-on" willingness? Are you willing to overclock? Are you looking for a system that you simply finish building, turn it on, and forget about it? You can get a lot of "free" performance through overclocking, but it requires more setup time, and loads of "testing" time.

Also, understand that if you wish to engage in your first overclocking "adventure" you need to get a proper aftermarket cooler. The simple normal series sandybridge cooler is not an extremely small, and inefficient cooler. Personally, I overclocked my 2600k processor to 4.5 (from its basic 3.2(or 3.6 I can't remember) and with a Prolimatech Megahalem cooler, it stands under load at 45 degrees C. Another reason to buy an aftermarket cooler is noise. The stock cooler will run at extremely high temperatures when under load, and the fan will spin at 80%. Thats A LOT of noise coming out of it. Although I personally have a knack for silence (my own rig is sitting at 16dB under load) it comes down to what YOU want.

Read through my post, and reply each question. The more information you give us, the more I will be able to help you with what you need.
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Re: CPUs and Mobos

Postby cerwillis » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:47 pm

laterna wrote:What are you looking at in regards to performance? Are you a gamer or a video encoder/ animation guru etc?

Basically, the SB series is the newer architecture, which included a shrink of the lithography process down to 32nm. The bloomfield series is a 45nm lithography process.

In english, this means that they are able to fit more compnents (ie more processing power) on the same spame for a processor.

However, the sandybridge series only supports Dual-Channel ram vs the Tripple Channel ram of the bloomfield series. ie 2,4,8,16 RAM vs 3,6,12,24gb of ram.

Although this sounds like a huge, importand feature, you only gain 6-8% more performance in triple channel. Performance which is *unoticable* in real life application (read:gaming). Furthermore, the triple channel controller, is worse in certain situations (I think its write speeds).

Basically, you're looking at a newer, and more efficient (wattage) system with the SB series.

You listed a bloomfield series motherboard. I'm not trying to sound snob or anything, but there is a whole different series of motherboards for sandybridge (ie you can't put a SB processor in a 1366 series motherboard)

What is your knowledge and "hands-on" willingness? Are you willing to overclock? Are you looking for a system that you simply finish building, turn it on, and forget about it? You can get a lot of "free" performance through overclocking, but it requires more setup time, and loads of "testing" time.

Also, understand that if you wish to engage in your first overclocking "adventure" you need to get a proper aftermarket cooler. The simple normal series sandybridge cooler is not an extremely small, and inefficient cooler. Personally, I overclocked my 2600k processor to 4.5 (from its basic 3.2(or 3.6 I can't remember) and with a Prolimatech Megahalem cooler, it stands under load at 45 degrees C. Another reason to buy an aftermarket cooler is noise. The stock cooler will run at extremely high temperatures when under load, and the fan will spin at 80%. Thats A LOT of noise coming out of it. Although I personally have a knack for silence (my own rig is sitting at 16dB under load) it comes down to what YOU want.

Read through my post, and reply each question. The more information you give us, the more I will be able to help you with what you need.

I don't have the patience to break up the quote, so I'll answer in bullet points :) And thanks for the tip on the Mobo/Chip compatibility, these are the sort of things amateur builders need to know.

-I am a gamer primarily on this machine, with occasional photoshop/illustrator use. I have a Mac laptop and other Apple gear for the A/V stuff that I do.

-I have a good deal of hands on experience, I've been a desktop support tech and have very little fear of working with hardware, this will be the 3rd mobo I've had in this box in 5 years, as I tend to upgrade parts as I need them on this machine.

-I have never actually overclocked anything, though I'm familiar with the process. I was always a bit worried about burning up parts that I had spent hard earned money on. The Core2 Conroe 2.4 Ghz chip that I have has never appeared to be the bottleneck on this system, so I haven't felt the need.

-It's good to hear that air-cooling will still work on CPUs that are running at stock speed. I am interested in experimenting with a liquid cooling system, but that may be a topic for another thread.

I thank you guys for bringing me up to speed, I tend to lose track in my old age.
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Re: CPUs and Mobos

Postby laterna » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:55 pm

Just to check something, do you already have the UD3 board you showed or is the motherboard selection still open for consideration?
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Re: CPUs and Mobos

Postby cerwillis » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:21 pm

laterna wrote:Just to check something, do you already have the UD3 board you showed or is the motherboard selection still open for consideration?

Still open, this is a long term decision, as I just dropped a bunch of cash on an SSD. I'm really just trying to open a discussion on it, as others have mentioned in other threads that they were replacing their CPU, and I know that it's my next move. I do appreciate your advice on my machine, but I'm in the early shopping stages :)
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Re: CPUs and Mobos

Postby Gorlando » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:34 pm

cerwillis wrote:-It's good to hear that air-cooling will still work on CPUs that are running at stock speed. I am interested in experimenting with a liquid cooling system, but that may be a topic for another thread.

Air cooling isn't just for stock speeds. I have heard of people overclocking their Sandy Bridge CPUs to speeds of 5 GHz on air (though that is not a guarantee, each CPU varies). You should easily be able to get between 4 and 4.5 GHz with an aftermarket air cooler.
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Re: CPUs and Mobos

Postby laterna » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:15 pm

cerwillis wrote:
laterna wrote:Just to check something, do you already have the UD3 board you showed or is the motherboard selection still open for consideration?

Still open, this is a long term decision, as I just dropped a bunch of cash on an SSD. I'm really just trying to open a discussion on it, as others have mentioned in other threads that they were replacing their CPU, and I know that it's my next move. I do appreciate your advice on my machine, but I'm in the early shopping stages :)


All righty then, well my personal opinion is to go for the Sandybridge side of things, the GA-UD3 should be good for you. it has native SATA3 support, and 2 slots for graphics card should cover your needs should you choose to SLI. Furthermore You'll need to grab some sticks of ram, unless if you already have some ?

Also, go for the i5-2500k. Its going to be an extremely good choice, and with a proper aftermarket cooler, you will be able to clock easily to a 24/7 stable overclock at 4ghz with extremely small amount of voltage tweaking. Furthermore, the new line of boards makes overclocking a simple job in relation to what it was before...

Anyway to the heart of matters on the motherboard.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813128476

This should be an solid board, able to cover all of your needs. Feel free to bump it up a notch (the gigabyte boards all follow a "scheme" where the UD7 is a better board than the UD3 etc

I suggested the k series, since its a very small price increase for the performance you're gaining.

If you need more specifications or a list of good motherboards etc, tell me, and I'll get back to you tomorrow.
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Re: CPUs and Mobos

Postby gibborim » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:36 pm

If you are going with a SandyBridge setup, make sure to get a board with a P67 northbridge as they seem to better support SLI bridging, higher speed ram, and easy overclocking. You may need to hold out a little while before purchasing since the recall is making it real hard to get a more serious mobo right now.

The 2500k/2600k chips use an LGA 1155 socket. Don't get that wrong when ordering a board, you will be real sad. Also make sure you have a power supply that supports the 8-pin cpu power plug.

As for overclocking and cooling, there are some pretty simple CPU only self contained systems on newegg for ~$70 which should support a multiplier up to around 50x?
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Re: CPUs and Mobos

Postby Gorlando » Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:24 am

gibborim wrote:If you are going with a SandyBridge setup, make sure to get a board with a P67 northbridge as they seem to better support SLI bridging, higher speed ram, and easy overclocking. You may need to hold out a little while before purchasing since the recall is making it real hard to get a more serious mobo right now.

The 2500k/2600k chips use an LGA 1155 socket. Don't get that wrong when ordering a board, you will be real sad. Also make sure you have a power supply that supports the 8-pin cpu power plug.

As for overclocking and cooling, there are some pretty simple CPU only self contained systems on newegg for ~$70 which should support a multiplier up to around 50x?

Don't get the H67 boards if you plan on overclocking at all. H67 boards support integrated graphics but no overclocking; the reverse is true for the P67 boards.
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Re: CPUs and Mobos

Postby Rachmaninoff » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:08 am

I've been running an AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4GHz since 10/2009 and I couldn't be happier, its still a beast. If you want to save some money the 955 is pretty much the same thing just a hair slower. They also have a 6x core but I'd rather wait for 8x core.

However I have to agree intel does have the better processors out at the moment. So there is another option for you to throw around. :D
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Re: CPUs and Mobos

Postby gibborim » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:24 am

Rachmaninoff wrote:However I have to agree intel does have the better processors out at the moment. So there is another option for you to throw around. :D


Yea, AMD started going downhill when just making you chip larger was no longer a solution >.>
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