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 Post subject: Is the Intel line of Extreme/Enthusiast CPUs overkill?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:14 am 
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So I built a PC last year around this time and recently checked the market to see what's out there now that wasn't there a year ago. I have seen Intel chips that are in Black packaging labeled as "Extreme" and the question is, is it really necessary to spend such a large amount of money ($1k+) for the thing?

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/core/core-i7ee-processor.html

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Intel line of Extreme/Enthusiast CPUs overkill?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:13 pm 
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They're very much overkill for gaming.

The popular price/performance pick right now (until Ivy Bridge comes out in a month or two) is an i5 2500k, which is usually in the lower $200s. The rationale for even moving up the product line to the i7 2600k tends to be if you're also going to be running apps that can utilize Hyperthreading.

Even then, it can depend, since for many games the bigger factor is your GPU. The harder time your GPU is having with a title, the less difference you'll tend to see based on the CPU. For example, if you look in this article the Skyrim performance gain on a moderately overclocked i5 2500k is fairly pronounced. Go to the next page for Battlefield 3, and it's very clearly GPU limited as all but one CPU turns in nearly the exact same performance.

If you're looking to dump a ton of money into a gaming rig, put it into the GPU first. Much past a $200-300 range CPU tends to just be for bragging rights, or non-gaming tasks.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Intel line of Extreme/Enthusiast CPUs overkill?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:29 pm 
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Thanks for the great response. So my CPU is more than fine and my GPU is very much competent. Dumped the cash into the GPU like it's supposed to be.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Intel line of Extreme/Enthusiast CPUs overkill?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:24 pm 
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casterofdreams wrote:
So I built a PC last year around this time and recently checked the market to see what's out there now that wasn't there a year ago. I have seen Intel chips that are in Black packaging labeled as "Extreme" and the question is, is it really necessary to spend such a large amount of money ($1k+) for the thing?

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/core/core-i7ee-processor.html


Yes they are overkill, Hell you can get a AMD six core at 3.4 Ghz for around 150 dollars, then Again AMD always has had better performance to price ratio, always thought Intel was a little pricey. Better to spend the money on Memory and GPU upgrades. Defiently AMD cards, Nvidia sucks. In my experience that is.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Intel line of Extreme/Enthusiast CPUs overkill?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:34 pm 
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It's not meant for gaming. It's meant for hardcore processing like building AI databases at home, or doing protein folding, junk like that at home. The alternative is to purchase blade servers, which are thousands of dollars.

They just want people who are game enthusiasts to think they need it so they can lower the cost of the chips and push more out. It's pretty standard practice.

Considering that in games, the CPU mostly just batches GPU calls (in regards to graphics performance) it's sort of nonsense. And the primary speed limiter in the computer is the BUS speed. When the CPU can't even be utilized it doesn't much matter how fast it is if there's nothing for it to do.

So, in all actuality, proper memory management, caches, batching, junk like that is what determines games performance. And most games aren't exactly the best at managing these things, so they tend to run the same regardless of which 4 core CPU you have.

Unless they've explicitly taken advantage of a very specific CPU instruction that isn't anywhere else, which I greatly doubt.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Intel line of Extreme/Enthusiast CPUs overkill?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:59 am 
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I'm currently (1 week in) running my friend's old 4 core Intel CPU (from late 2008, but he paid a lot for it) and haven't had it spike except for a 3D fractal aplication, stress tests and memory loop crashes (which I've encouraged as part of my testing using known problem programs) after he overclocked it and said it died while trying to make Skyrim run better.
The GPU is a Nvidia GTX 260 that couldn't play Skyrim at full settings after everything being overclocked at which point he junked it (gave it to me with the CPU , RAM and motherboard) after rush ordering a new set of hardware off Newegg.

I don't have many programs that can push this 4-core CPU to it's limits - I'm shortly going to install the 64 bit version of XP on it so I can run the premium version of BSNES to see what it can do - Maybe some of the new programs I'm looking into now will be able to use all 4 cores then. I tried making my old computer's hard drive use 2 of the cores when run on VMWare, but it's not using them. All the programs I use regularly are meant to run on old computers, in fact most are optimized to use as little computer power as possible since optimizing old hardware is my hobby.
The only 2 things I've tried that really seem to make a great difference on newer hardware are Sega Saturn Emulation (perfect when it works) and Wii games run a lot better on good computers than they do on a Wii - 1080P seems to be what they were built for but can't do on original hardware...

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Intel line of Extreme/Enthusiast CPUs overkill?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:23 am 
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The newer versions of PCSX2 will LOVE that quad core as well. They recently implemented multithreaded (instead of just dual) support, which resulted in some users who had low-end quads suddenly being able to run games at full speed. Also, like Dolphin, PCSX2 can increase the internal resolution of the games).

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Intel line of Extreme/Enthusiast CPUs overkill?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:41 am 
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ATARI800XLfan wrote:
casterofdreams wrote:
So I built a PC last year around this time and recently checked the market to see what's out there now that wasn't there a year ago. I have seen Intel chips that are in Black packaging labeled as "Extreme" and the question is, is it really necessary to spend such a large amount of money ($1k+) for the thing?

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/core/core-i7ee-processor.html


Yes they are overkill, Hell you can get a AMD six core at 3.4 Ghz for around 150 dollars, then Again AMD always has had better performance to price ratio, always thought Intel was a little pricey. Better to spend the money on Memory and GPU upgrades. Defiently AMD cards, Nvidia sucks. In my experience that is.

Having used both in the last several months, I would say go with AMD for modest budget builds (the Nvidia 560 ti is the best bang for the buck period right now, however) and Nvidia for driver and legacy support. If nothing else, AMD's drivers leave a lot of files laying around even after uninstallation... You'll need to rake through your system files and registry to fully remove everything.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Intel line of Extreme/Enthusiast CPUs overkill?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:26 am 
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Quote:
I don't have many programs that can push this 4-core CPU to it's limits - I'm shortly going to install the 64 bit version of XP on it so I can run the premium version of BSNES to see what it can do


Keep in mind that 64-bit XP is more or less Server 2003, so driver support is a bit lacking. It's not really like Vista or 7 64 that are supported for mainstream use.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Intel line of Extreme/Enthusiast CPUs overkill?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:01 am 
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isiolia wrote:
Quote:
I don't have many programs that can push this 4-core CPU to it's limits - I'm shortly going to install the 64 bit version of XP on it so I can run the premium version of BSNES to see what it can do


Keep in mind that 64-bit XP is more or less Server 2003, so driver support is a bit lacking. It's not really like Vista or 7 64 that are supported for mainstream use.


Why not upgrade to 7?

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