Hugsies Blog!

March 2, 2013

In the market for a PC upgrade

Filed under: Blogroll — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 12:36 am

I’m trying to do homework on a new system upgrade. I’m basically going to replace mobo, CPU and go 16gb of quad channel ram (1600 or better). For the longest time I thought Sandy/Ivy Bridge was Intel’s name for motherboard chipsets, not the code names Intel uses for the core architectures.  Problem is that most of the stuff I’m reading is about a year old. Back when LGA 2011 CPUs were really expensive (upwards of $600) but that isn’t the case anymore. It’s really hard to find up-to-date information. I’m getting really confused about Ivy Bridge, vs Sandy Bridge. LGA 2011, and LGA 1155, and reading they are some how compatible?  How can a chip with nearly TWICE the pins of the former be compatible at all? Just look at this image, they are entirely different sizes.

So I’m assuming what’s going on here is that Intel is creating the newer Ivy Bridge based CPUs in LGA 1155 for older Sandy Bridge based motherboards. I’ve read that LGA 2011 is the newest socket that only a few Sandy Bridge chips are using.  The CPU I’ve been wanting to get is a LGA 2011 i7-3820 but its a Sandy Bridge CPU. Intel’s page doesn’t say this CPU is Sandy nor Ivy bridge but it does show a 32nm lithography which implies Sandy Bridge (vs 22nm for Ivy Bridge).

I assume the LGA 2011 is the newer generation for sockets on motherboards over LGA 1155, and Ivy Bridge based CPU is the newer-gen core because it’s a newer smaller 22nm die processes.  But why does Ivy Bridge seem to only exist on LGA 1155, and only supports dual channel RAM with most of them at slower clockspeeds? Even slower than the i7-3820 I’m thinking about buying, which IS an Sandy bridge-E CPU not Ivy. WTF is Sandy Bridge-E then? Quad Cores with HT? Really, that’s it? It’s quite confusing as to what is new/current tech when you can see the so-called NEW stuff has less performance, and using OLDER specs, than the old stuff.  >sigh< WTF Intel?

Searching Ivy Bridge on amazon, the i7-3820  appears right at the top as if it IS an Ivy Bridge CPU, but it isn’t. This of the lower-end CPUs of it’s “Extreme” performace line. It has the FASTEST “normal” clock speeds of *ALL* the Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge CPUs. Has 10mb L3 Cache compared to maximum 8mb for Ivy Bridge. It supports Quad channel RAM, and is semi-overclockable (not fully unlocked like the K series). I read one guy overclocked his 3820 chip to 4.5ghz!! Daamn! Why is the new stuff so inferior Intel?

The motherboard I want is the Asus P9X79 with Intel’s X79 chipset. There are four different versions, the LE, WS, Pro, and the plain “P9X79” with out a suffix. The LE is the cheapest, and I’m not into SLI video card setups anyway so I’m likely going to snag the LE. All I really want is Quad Channel memory which requires four sticks of the same ram. But this motherboard has EIGHT ram slots four on each side of the CPU socket that maxes out at 64gb, but I only want 16gb. So could I run eight 2gb sticks of ram in each slot in Quad channel mode? Does DDR3 even come as low as 2gb? LOL! Seems like a 4x4gb configuration is my best bet.

Every time I spec out a new computer parts I always think about having an upgrade path (or future proof) for what I’m building. But lets face it. I’ve realized that the next time I upgrade my computer I’m going to replace everything again anyway. So what’s the point future proofing, or having an “upgrade path” when tech gets outdated in 6-12 months anyway? Plus add to the confusion when the specifications for the “new”stuff performs less than the old stuff did.

That said most of my hardware I keep using years after it’s technically declared to be outdated, and really don’t upgrade it much more than a new HDD or more ram. Hell I’ve had my Core 2 Quad system for about 5 years, even my Mac BookPro is over 2 years old now and the only upgrades I’ve done to them was give them both 8GB ram from 4gb.

The best thing I (and everyone else) can do is buy what is affordable (avoid the over priced $600+ enthusiast XTREME!!!! crazy stuff) and find what looks good to you. Weigh the pros and cons of the tech, make sure the items you want match up and are compatible. Take with a grain of salt of what you read in forums, especially if the posts are a year old or more.  Buy and build your new PC, and stick too it for about 5 years and then worry about your next upgrade then when we drool over 10mn Skylake CPUs.

So for now this is what I’m thinking about getting:

CPU: Intel Core i7-3820 BX80619I73820
Mobo: P9X79 LE
RAM:4gb x four (16gb) Quad Channel DDR3 1600 <– Brand subject to change since ram prices change often
HSF: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (Intel doesn’t include a HSF)

I’ve already got a new PC case, new Corsair 750w PSU, and DVD burner drive. and I’ll just slap in my old WD VelociRaptor 150gb drive. Yeah I might go Solid State some day…

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