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Please help me choose (total newb) i7 3820 v. 3770K v 3930K (a music production computer)

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,

I've been lurking here for a few weeks and really like what I see from a help standpoint. You guys seem to know what the heck you're talking about. I haven't been able to decipher a lot of the information I've been reading on these high end i7's and don't really know if/how the CPUs will benefit me.... and if there will be a sizeable difference in the performance I experience. Most reviews are about gaming... however I am all about making music on my computer, and it's very difficult sifting through the gaming threads to find stuff just for music. I've seen music benchmarks on sites like DAWbench... but I have no clue what I'm really looking at to be honest. I could use some serious help in this decision.


I'm debating between the 3930K, 3770K, and 3820. Possibly the 2700K also... but... I don't want to feel like I could have had clearly better performance for not too much money. I'm not too concerned w/ the price difference to get something higher than the 2700K.

My DAW is Presonus Studio One v2. It will recognize the additional threads from hyperthreading. So I really want to take full advantage of that.

As for my background. I currently have an AMD Phenom II 955 on a cheapish AsRock micro ATX board. Stock fans. Nothing fancy.... i built it myself. I was just happy to build it and it actually work to be honest lol. the 4 cores was a huge improvement over my old dusty single core 2.0 Celeron M laptop (yeah... i know... UNimpressive!... but I got good work done on it dammit). I ponied up and got an SSD which was a great improvement, but I'm starting to notice how uninspiring my CPU's speeds are b/c of long rendering times, crashes from overclocking, CPU spikes from ASIO performance, and not being able to handle nearly as many VST instruments and plugins as I originally imagined. So.. it's time to upgrade. ANY of these would be a huge improvement... but I still need help choosing the right one for me.


At first.. I was sold on the 3930K and that would be my ultimate choise, b/c the idea of 6 cores / 12 threads of raw Sandy Bridge power is just so appealing to me. Plus I hear it overclocks easily to 4.5GHz with a decent water cooler. However... the price of course is in the discussion since I don't have unlimited money. Is it truly worth $200 more than the 3770K or the 3820? I still lean here however b/c it's arguable that I would never ever need to upgrade again... at least until 10 years from now or so. I highly doubt I will be using instruments that are too different from what I use now. Would I greatly benefit from the extra 2 cores and increased clock speed in my DAW?

In my mind.. once I consider grabbing the biggest and baddest CPU out... the ones below it all of the sudden feel like they aren't good enough. But i'm trying to be smart enough to not let my emotions control the decision. Would an 3770K still be unbeliavable for audio work? I hear the 3770K is the EOL however... and if I did feel the need to upgrade (which seems possible).. than i'd need to pony up for another motherboard, which does not appeal to me at all.

I'm considering the 3820 now.. but two potential issues..1) i hear it doesn't overclock was well as the K chips from Intel. That might be a blessing in disguise though because apparently audio programs do not necessarily enjoy dealing with an overclocked CPU if they don't have to. So.. it might be smart of me to go this chip instead of the 3930K.. it would force me to only overclock slightly. Plus.. it's forward comptaible with the new 2011 LGA socket. 2) it's only 4 core, which isn't as exciting as having a 6 core system w/ 12 threads. 12 > 8 any day.

So... right now... I'm leaning to the 3820 as my fall back option, unless the cost of the 3930K is no problem to me. It depends on my finances over the next 2-3 months.

Would a stock i73820 match up well with a 3930K stock? I Do the 2 extra copres make that much of a difference to warrant $200?


Thanks for listening guess... I know I rambled. I could certainly use help. Please keep in mind that I am pretty newb... so please feel free to mention any angles I haven't thought of yet due to my ignorance.

Also... I've done the CPU Passmark score reviews as well... but I can't solely rely on that since I am an audio production guy, and things work a little differently for us than they do for you gamers ;-)
post #2 of 19
Welcome to OCN smile.gif

For your needs, depending on your budget, I would only recommend the 3820 or 3930K.
The 2011 chipset has Quad-Memory-channels (good for you) & will support the upcoming IB-E CPUs slated for later this year.
So you could get the 3820 now & upgrade to the new IB-E 6- or 8-core CPUs when they come out. Or get the 3930K & be done with it.

Oc'ing wise, it depends on a lot of factors (mobo's phase count, quality of VRMs & Mosfets, cooling...etc), but people tend to neglect the PSU which plays a big part (not wattage or efficiency, but quality).
Here's a list of only quality PSUs :
http://www.overclock.net/t/183810/faq-recommended-power-supplies

If your budget is really tight, you could look at the FX-8350.....

Here's how to put your rig in your sig:
http://www.overclock.net/t/1258253/how-to-put-your-rig-in-your-sig
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post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
wow thanks so much for the tips man.

i totally forgot abotu the PSU lol. got so wrapped up in i7 choices. thanks!

i'm glad you mentioned the quad channel controller also.. i waqs just reading about that and wondering how important that is. sounds very important since my VSTs use a lot of RAM and that can be a big bottleneck for me.


it looks like the 3820 is the way to go. The more i was researching the more the 3820 makes the most sense.. but your post really helps me cement that. Since the newer Intels are coming out... i want to avoid feelin like i burned $550 on the 3930K now, instead of either upgrading (and re-selling the 3820) to the 3930 when the price drops.. or, possibly spending $550 on an even better CPU (maybe 8 core? ahh.. drooling).

It found a test w/ music DAWs and the 3820 is still doubling what my current ADM setup can do.


The only thing i'm wondering about now is the overclocking. I hear it's important to have the right motherboard to overclock the 3820 since it's multiplier is locked. (I can't say i know exactly what the means... but i sure can memorize! lmao).

Do you find the 3820 being difficult to overclock? Or would it be more worth it just running it stock... 3.6GHz of Intel @ 4 cores/ 8 threads isn't bad at all, especially coming from my Phenom II.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix View Post

The only thing i'm wondering about now is the overclocking. I hear it's important to have the right motherboard to overclock the 3820 since it's multiplier is locked. (I can't say i know exactly what the means... but i sure can memorize! lmao).

Do you find the 3820 being difficult to overclock? Or would it be more worth it just running it stock... 3.6GHz of Intel @ 4 cores/ 8 threads isn't bad at all, especially coming from my Phenom II.

Overclocking a 3820 is slightly more work than overclocking a fully unlocked chip, but you can still run it at or over 5GHz if you wish. The CPU multiplier only goes to 43, but X79 systems can use a BCLK strap allowing you to overclock CPU and RAM by raising BCLK without messing with the PCIe controller. All chips should work with a strap of 125, which gives you a 25% overclock on RAM and CPU before you've even touched the multipliers.
This works on every motherboard by the way, there's no specific boards that make overclocking a 3820 any easier or harder than other boards.
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post #5 of 19
I would totally get a 3820. Read link below on my 3820 comparison to 3930 apples to apples or as close as one could get.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1322119/12-11-vs-310-33/0_40
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post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vonnis View Post

Overclocking a 3820 is slightly more work than overclocking a fully unlocked chip, but you can still run it at or over 5GHz if you wish. The CPU multiplier only goes to 43, but X79 systems can use a BCLK strap allowing you to overclock CPU and RAM by raising BCLK without messing with the PCIe controller. All chips should work with a strap of 125, which gives you a 25% overclock on RAM and CPU before you've even touched the multipliers.
This works on every motherboard by the way, there's no specific boards that make overclocking a 3820 any easier or harder than other boards.

Thanks so much man. A lot to digest there. Especially BCLK straps. No clue what that is yet, but i'll certainly be googling it. Feel free to explain what that makes in newbie terms if you'd like.. if not it's okay, i don't expect my hand to be held. I'll be looking into what that is. Thank so much for the advise here.


Also.. in regards to the AMD Vishera 8350... ehh lol. I've considered that also, esp since i'm currently on an AMD so its familiar territory. There's just a few too many benefits to the Intel stuff.. even though the Vishera is said to be able to hang. Certain plugins apparently are written w/ Intel in mind, and also.. the top of the line stuff has been clearcut Intel for a few years now.. so the upgrade path is definitely more appealing to me. I couldn't see AMD taking over the game any time soon. I'm gonna give Intel a shot at my next build... don't want to feel like I skimped. The main focus is power for me. So i'm okay with the $100 price different of the 3820 over the FX8350. though it certainly did catch my eye... i've decided to go Intel this go 'round.
post #7 of 19
blck strap is just a blck preset, ie. it sets the fsb to 100,125,160,200. Only memory is tied to the bclk. Basically you choose a strap and then set your memory speed up. For ex, if your locked multi cpu is 30x, 30 x 100 = 3 ghz. Now 30 x 125 = 4.3 ghz. It's really simple, though you should read the many x79 overclock guides to learn the ropes.
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post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix View Post

Thanks so much man. A lot to digest there. Especially BCLK straps. No clue what that is yet, but i'll certainly be googling it. Feel free to explain what that makes in newbie terms if you'd like.. if not it's okay, i don't expect my hand to be held. I'll be looking into what that is. Thank so much for the advise here.


Also.. in regards to the AMD Vishera 8350... ehh lol. I've considered that also, esp since i'm currently on an AMD so its familiar territory. There's just a few too many benefits to the Intel stuff.. even though the Vishera is said to be able to hang. Certain plugins apparently are written w/ Intel in mind, and also.. the top of the line stuff has been clearcut Intel for a few years now.. so the upgrade path is definitely more appealing to me. I couldn't see AMD taking over the game any time soon. I'm gonna give Intel a shot at my next build... don't want to feel like I skimped. The main focus is power for me. So i'm okay with the $100 price different of the 3820 over the FX8350. though it certainly did catch my eye... i've decided to go Intel this go 'round.

Well, with first generation i7 (or iAnything really) you could overclock by raising BCLK, much like you'd raise FSB on AMD or older Intel CPUs. When they integrated more stuff into the chip with Sandy Bridge, you could only raise BCLK a few percent before causing instability, hence the need for unlocked chips. On X79 you get the option of using straps, which allow you to change BCLK a whole lot more for CPU and RAM while keeping it at or near the normal value of 100 for other stuff like DMI/PCIe. I'm not 100% on how this is calculated but I think what happens is something like (BCLK / (strap / 100))*multi for everything but CPU and RAM (which are just BCLK * multi). So for example, say you want to run a 3820 at 4.5GHz, what you do is you set BCLK and strap to 125, which with stock multiplier of 36 gives you 125*36= 4.5GHz, while other components get 125 / 125 = 100 for the BCLK like normal.
This gives you quite a bit more flexibility when it comes to BCLK tweaking. Though only comparatively few chips may be able to run a strap of 166 or higher, pretty much all of them will do 125, which coupled with the multiplier going up to 43 should be enough for your overclocking needs.
I hope that was understandable, I'm not too good at explaining these things. tongue.gif
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post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsm106 View Post

blck strap is just a blck preset, ie. it sets the fsb to 100,125,160,200. Only memory is tied to the bclk. Basically you choose a strap and then set your memory speed up. For ex, if your locked multi cpu is 30x, 30 x 100 = 3 ghz. Now 30 x 125 = 4.3 ghz. It's really simple, though you should read the many x79 overclock guides to learn the ropes.

oh okay... thanks... it this essentially on the motherboard BIOS?

I think I did this to overclock my AMD Phenom II on the mobo BIOS (AsRock). I just went into the BIOS and did the simple system overclock where it recommended how to overclock it by 20%.

Am i thinking along the right lines here? Or should I go ahead and do some googling to get a better understanding?
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vonnis View Post

Well, with first generation i7 (or iAnything really) you could overclock by raising BCLK, much like you'd raise FSB on AMD or older Intel CPUs. When they integrated more stuff into the chip with Sandy Bridge, you could only raise BCLK a few percent before causing instability, hence the need for unlocked chips. On X79 you get the option of using straps, which allow you to change BCLK a whole lot more for CPU and RAM while keeping it at or near the normal value of 100 for other stuff like DMI/PCIe. I'm not 100% on how this is calculated but I think what happens is something like (BCLK / (strap / 100))*multi for everything but CPU and RAM (which are just BCLK * multi). So for example, say you want to run a 3820 at 4.5GHz, what you do is you set BCLK and strap to 125, which with stock multiplier of 36 gives you 125*36= 4.5GHz, while other components get 125 / 125 = 100 for the BCLK like normal.
This gives you quite a bit more flexibility when it comes to BCLK tweaking. Though only comparatively few chips may be able to run a strap of 166 or higher, pretty much all of them will do 125, which coupled with the multiplier going up to 43 should be enough for your overclocking needs.
I hope that was understandable, I'm not too good at explaining these things. tongue.gif

oh okay.. that actually makes a lot of sense to me lol. Sounds like it only overclocks certain parts of the system but leaves other parts alone for you so you don't end up w/ an unstable system... for lack of better terminology lol. Just let the setup do a sort of "preset" overclocking setting and trust it.

is this simple to see in the mnotherboard's BIOS? Or do you normally have to use software to do a BCLK strap like this. I can't recall seeing this in my AsRock BIOS... but then again.. this is an old board now. I just recall seeing percentages I can choose and allowing the BIOS to do the work for me.. instead of getting deep into it and pushing RAM a certain way, PCI a certain way, FSB a certain way, etc.
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