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What to look for in a CPU

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to learn as much as I can about each component of a computer in order to better understand how each works. My only concern is gaming since that is what I mostly use my computer for.

As far as the Cpu, what exactly do you look for when purchasing a new one? What makes one cpu better than another? I understand some have more cores, can overclock better, and have better max temperature stability. If most games only utilize 2-4 cores and every modern cpu clocks between 4-5ghz, why ever upgrade? Is the only way to make a better cpu for gaming at this point to just increase the clock speed?

Also people keep saying the new haswells coming out soon will be so much better. What is making them better? Sorry for all the questions, I just really want to understand what, specifically, to look at when upgrading, and not just have people saying "get this because it's good".
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post #2 of 9
Powah! That's wat ya look fer..Powah!
For you:Single-thread Powah! biggrin.gif
..and 4 real cores..
Anything 2500K or newer in 1155-1150 is best bet for you thumb.gif
Just make sure your mobo will run the CPU you buy wink.gif
Never count on tech that's "coming soon"
Seriously..4670K isn't a super-huge leap of improvement over 2500K.
i7 920-Sandy Bridge...now that was a leap.
 
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post #3 of 9
First, I will not claim to be the end all be all authority of CPUs. However, I do want to say your approach is the correct one. Trying to learn is the best way to be informed and make a good decision about purchases in any market segment (PC or otherwise)


The first thing I'd like to address is the "speed" issue. The market long ago dictated that IPS - instructions per second (commonly known as hz, Mhz, and Ghz) was going to be their gimmick to make you think a computer was faster than it really was.

One reason that architectures like (using intel only as an example) sandybridge, ivybridge, haswell, etc.. matter is because despite having the same IPS newer architectures have a higher IPC - instructions per cycle. Also known as instructions per clock.

So while my 2600k Sandybridge has a IPS of 3.4 Ghz

A 4770k Haswell has an IPS of ... guess what 3.4 Ghz.... the haswell is still faster. Why? Because it has a higher IPC.


As far as your personal purchasing some people will recommend units like the 2500k Sandybridge (1155 intel) or the 8350 Piledriver (AM3+ AMD), this really depends on you. What is your budget, what are your requirements. Gaming is moving into a new era where multicore will be important and I am afraid Sandybridge 2500k, while a fantastic chip is on its way out the door and would not be a wise decision. (that is a personal opinion based on new gaming engines running multicore with hyperthreading recognized)


AMD tends to have a temperature threshold on its processors of 60 to 65C (depending on architecture) while Intel tends to run in the 95 to 105C range. All that being said. It's really a personal choice based on many other factors than just temperature.

Why upgrade? This is OCN so the answer is "why not?" but a more appropriate answer for someone who is curious like yourself is this: Power, efficiency, and features. A 2500k does not support PCIE 3.0 which is a new standard of PCIE for graphics cards and while its not a bottleneck this year in the future it absolutely will be. (AMD also has popular chips that do not support PCIE 3.0 such as the popular phenom 2 and thuban chips) Every generation chips get better, smaller, faster, with more features, and more power efficiency.



All in all there is a wealth of knowledge on the subject on OCN and I hope others will provide their knowledge in an unbiased way as I have tried to do here.
 
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post #4 of 9
the biggst thing that changes with newer CPUs are things in the architecture that makes it more efficient at certain tasks and instruction sets, along with the inclusion of new instruction sets.
alongside that, you also get power efficiency gains due to better understanding of the process and how to use it.
for instance, sandy, ivy, haswell, broadwell are all built on the core architecture, but each new line brought improvements to that in the form of better instruction set usage, new sets and lower process sizes which helped lower power usage.

in your boat, with a 2600k at 4.4, you are still fairly fine and up to date in most things. the biggest changes if you went to haswell would be the addition of things like avx2 and lower power.
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies. I have a better understanding. However, if a newer, more efficient architecture only results in a slightly faster cpu, then is the only way to know if it will be a huge improvement is someone testing it?
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post #6 of 9
Well..yes!
OC that 2600K to 4.5 and you're good for a couple more years wink.gif
edit: 4.4 is good 'nuff If it makes you happier running cooler.
 
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post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by jthurmond3 View Post

Thanks for all the replies. I have a better understanding. However, if a newer, more efficient architecture only results in a slightly faster cpu, then is the only way to know if it will be a huge improvement is someone testing it?


honestly a 4.4 2600k should be more than adequate for another 3 years. the 2600k is just a beast.
 
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post #8 of 9
With the lack of progression in CPU performance these past couple years, chances are that the P67/Z68 chipset (and more specifically, the PCIe and SATA interfaces) will become a bottleneck long before the 2500K/2600K itself will run out of steam...
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkpriest667 View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
First, I will not claim to be the end all be all authority of CPUs. However, I do want to say your approach is the correct one. Trying to learn is the best way to be informed and make a good decision about purchases in any market segment (PC or otherwise)


The first thing I'd like to address is the "speed" issue. The market long ago dictated that IPS - instructions per second (commonly known as hz, Mhz, and Ghz) was going to be their gimmick to make you think a computer was faster than it really was.

One reason that architectures like (using intel only as an example) sandybridge, ivybridge, haswell, etc.. matter is because despite having the same IPS newer architectures have a higher IPC - instructions per cycle. Also known as instructions per clock.

So while my 2600k Sandybridge has a IPS of 3.4 Ghz

A 4770k Haswell has an IPS of ... guess what 3.4 Ghz.... the haswell is still faster. Why? Because it has a higher IPC.


As far as your personal purchasing some people will recommend units like the 2500k Sandybridge (1155 intel) or the 8350 Piledriver (AM3+ AMD), this really depends on you. What is your budget, what are your requirements. Gaming is moving into a new era where multicore will be important and I am afraid Sandybridge 2500k, while a fantastic chip is on its way out the door and would not be a wise decision. (that is a personal opinion based on new gaming engines running multicore with hyperthreading recognized)


AMD tends to have a temperature threshold on its processors of 60 to 65C (depending on architecture) while Intel tends to run in the 95 to 105C range. All that being said. It's really a personal choice based on many other factors than just temperature.

Why upgrade? This is OCN so the answer is "why not?" but a more appropriate answer for someone who is curious like yourself is this: Power, efficiency, and features. A 2500k does not support PCIE 3.0 which is a new standard of PCIE for graphics cards and while its not a bottleneck this year in the future it absolutely will be. (AMD also has popular chips that do not support PCIE 3.0 such as the popular phenom 2 and thuban chips) Every generation chips get better, smaller, faster, with more features, and more power efficiency.



All in all there is a wealth of knowledge on the subject on OCN and I hope others will provide their knowledge in an unbiased way as I have tried to do here.
You mixed up your terms of IPS and clock cycle.

IPC - Instruction Per Cycle
Clock Cycle/Speed - Cycle rate of the CPU. Example 4GHz.
IPS - Instructions Per Second - Multiply IPC and clock speed.

Otherwise you are right.
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Seagate 1TB (ST1000DM003 9YN162) Seagate 2TB (ST2000DM001 1CH164 Seagate 1TB (ST1000DM003 1CH162 Trion 150 960GB 
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AMD FX 8350 ASUS Sabertooth 990FX EVGA 560TI ADATA 4x2GB 1600C9 1.65V-1.5V 
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Some 2.5in 1TB drive Stock Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit Corsair TX850 
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i7-960 Gigabyte X58 ADATA 2x2GB 1600C9 1.65V-1.5V Generic DVD 
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