Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

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Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:37 pm

Just looking for some opinions here. My original plan was to build a beastly "dream build", as I've been dealing with hand me down machines for years, and I wanted to treat myself. It was going to be Ivy Bridge-E with a 780, etc. But now, Haswell-E and Big Maxwell are "right around the corner"... So I'll wait, because it only makes sense at this point.

My dilemma is this: my current laptop has been, to be charitable, "barely adequate" for a few years now, in regards to my freelance work. I've compiled a parts list for a ~$750 i3 based machine that is worlds beyond what I currently have. Do I hold out for the 6+ months for the new high-end parts, or should I build a temporary box to hold me over for another year or two?
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:48 pm

You don't have to spend $3K to get a decent PC.

Do you want to play games? Do you already have monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, headphones, etc.?

I'd say that you could do just fine with a Core i5 Haswell processor and a mid-range gaming graphics card like a Radeon R9-270 or GeForce GTX760.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:48 pm

I would suggest a middle path, get a 4670k or 4770k (if you want to splurge a bit). The six-core -E variants don't offer any better per-thread performance, which is what affects most applications, they just have more cores. Basically if you're one of the people who can benefit from a six-core CPU you'd already know it.

There's no point building a temporary PC because performance increases are very small these days--it's not like the old days where it was obsolete by the time you took it out of the box. If the current trends continue, which by all accounts they will, a good PC built today should do everything you need for at least 10 years.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:51 pm

Yeah, no need to go top-of-the-line everything. If you want to build a 'beast' PC without going out of your way to spend money, I'd suggest going down one step from the top tier - A GTX 770 instead of 780 for example. You get a better price/performance ratio and near the top-tier performance as well, along with it still being extremely fast.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:17 pm

What are you intending to buy for the 'beastmode' $3K PC? Monitor and peripherals too or just internals?

Unless you're going 4K or multiple monitor check the latest TR system guide for sweet spot components and bump the graphics card up to 770/780. The more you spend the faster the returns diminish, spending $1200-1500 is probably the sweetspot for internals + case. You can probably add a nice monitor, peripherals and maybe even watercooling for a little over $2K. $3K is only really warranted if you're going for multiple GPUs, which is only really warranted if going with multiple monitors or a 4K monitor.

It's better to wait until you have the money for the complete build IMO. If you really can't wait and you can get cheap credit then I'd go that route.
Last edited by puppetworx on Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:20 pm

Just so you guys have more info, I do web development and photo processing, so I can use the extra cores. I also plan on getting a 1440p g-sync monitor once those are available, or higher res than that, possibly.

I guess another way of asking my question is, do you think the new parts are coming within 4-6 months?

edit: and yeah, my 2011 build is a modified system guide build.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:52 pm

There are always new parts coming in 4-6 months. 6 months from now is October. Will Haswell-E be out by then? Hard telling.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:12 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:There are always new parts coming in 4-6 months. 6 months from now is October. Will Haswell-E be out by then? Hard telling.

Yeah... that's what I'm afraid of. I've waited this long to get a new machine, but I'm a) afraid my laptop will die within the year / b) loathing the thought of another year stuck in 2005 :(
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:02 pm

If this is something you use for work, then you need it now and you should buy the best you can reasonably afford right now. Waiting for Haswell-E because it has 6 cores is (in my opinion) not really worthwhile when you're running a 2GHz Pentium M single-core. Whatever you get the performance jump is going to be revolutionary. I doubt you'll want to be using it 9 years from now in 2023, but 5 years from now I see a 4570-based system still being a relatively useful machine.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:19 pm

Don't expect G-Sync to show up on an IPS or PLS monitor that you can use for photo processing any time soon. G-Sync has been attached to nasty TN LCD panels so far. Once DisplayPort 1.3 arrives, it may include the panel self refresh feature from the embedded DisplayPort 1.3 standard.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:49 pm

I think you're over estimating your needs.

A i7-4770 will be more than adequate for photo-processing. You do not need to go all the way up to Ivy Bridge-E.

To illustrate, here is a graph showing the passmark score for your current CPU, i7-4770K and i7-4960X.
Image

As you can see, any either option is more than 20x faster than your current model. Yes, this is a synthetic benchmark that only approximates real world performance, but you get the idea.

There aren't very many use cases where you will see a benefit from going with an 6-core CPU that is commensurate with the increase in price.

Instead, focus on the "Sweet Spot" or "Editor's Choice" builds on the TR System guide and consider adding additional RAM for photo processing.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:19 pm

Terra_Nocuus wrote:Just so you guys have more info, I do web development and photo processing, so I can use the extra cores. I also plan on getting a 1440p g-sync monitor once those are available, or higher res than that, possibly.


If you're using Adobe, Photoshop (CS6) does not use more than 4 threads very well (if at all), although some third party filters might. I hear that Lightroom is a bit more multicore-friendly, but even it doesn't max out all threads on 4+ thread CPUs.

If you're encoding video, then straight encoding will use as many cores/threads as you can give it, although the moment you try to filter/process the video, you'll find that many filters do not scale up to multi cores (many decomb/denoise filters max out at 2 threads).

My recommendation is to get a Core i5 4-core, 4-thread CPU for your purposes, although if you want to future proof and multi task better, then I would steer you to a Xeon E3 12xx v3 CPU instead of the Core i7 series, as they tend to be cheaper. For instance the Xeon E3 1230 v3 (3.3GHz, 4 cores, 8 threads) at $249 is $60 cheaper than the i7 4770 (3.4 GHz, 4 cores, 8 threads).

As others have said, G-sync monitors are not viable for photo work at present because they are all TN, and G-Sync will probably be obsoleted by DP 1.3 (although you might have to wait for monitor manufacturers, GPU makers to properly implement the refresh hold feature that's in the DP1.3 spec).
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:21 pm

kumori wrote:I think you're over estimating your needs.

A i7-4770 will be more than adequate for photo-processing. You do not need to go all the way up to Ivy Bridge-E.


You're probably right; I had my eye on the hex/octo-core units due to not knowing what I'd be up to once I had a capable machine. I figured better safe than sorry :)


derFunkenstein wrote:Whatever you get the performance jump is going to be revolutionary. I doubt you'll want to be using it 9 years from now in 2023, but 5 years from now I see a 4570-based system still being a relatively useful machine.


I'd also planned on holding onto it for awhile. I know a lot of guys in the forums haven't upgraded from their 2600's due to single-digit performance increases the last few years, which is why I thought I'd hold out for this years models.


Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll probably order that tweaked econobox in a week or two. If I wait a couple years on a "proper" workstation/gaming build, at least I'll have a spare HTPC/NAS unit to put to use.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:33 pm

This year's models will also be single-digit performance increases. And next year's. CPUs are like cars now, you buy one that does what you need when you need it and keep it until it goes out in a blaze of glory or you just feel like spending money on shiny.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:04 pm

How about some of these components?

$340 Core i7-4770K
or $230 Core i5-4670K
optional $60 Noctua CPU cooler
$110 -15MIR Micro-ATX Z87 LGA1150 motherboard
$150 2x8 GiB PC3-12800 Crucial BLS2K8G3D1609ES2LX0 (DDR3-1600, CAS 9, 1.35 V)
$180 Radeon R9-270
or $254 GeForce GTX760
$152 0.25 TB SSD
$200 2ea 3.0 TB 7200-rpm hard-drives
$60 Blu-ray burner
$87 Modular power supply
$110 Micro-ATX case
or $48 inexpensive Micro-ATX case
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:55 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:How about some of these components?

$340 Core i7-4770K
optional $60 Noctua CPU cooler


I'd still recommend the Xeon E3 1230 v3 for $245 instead. (Only) 100 MHz slower and not unlocked, but $95 cheaper, and if you don't overclock, you probably don't need a $60 cooler, so you're now $155 cheaper. Plus, if you don't need to overclock, you don't need a Z87 board, so the price saving keeps on trickling down. Just have to make sure the motherboard you buy supports the Xeon in its shipping BIOS.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:00 pm

A discrete GPU could be very useful for photo processing, check out the programs you use and their support for GPU processing. It could be hugely faster than CPU processing, in which case you'd be better off putting money toward a GPU than a CPU.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:12 am

This is not about getting the best bang for the buck system or one that's just right for the OP's needs. This is about treating himself after years of hand-me-downs. I say, spend about $1,700 on a high end LGA1150 CPU (that would be the 4770K) and a mid/high-end Nvidia GTX 770 or something. Break yourself free! You could get the FX-8350 too and save a few hundred bucks but as I've said, this is about feeling good about finally getting your dream machine and breaking free from the shackles of hand-me-downs and for once, feel that you have a top-of-the-line machine. You know, a Corolla will do just fine, but a Beemer will make you feel special. Go out and treat yourself, man. And no, you don't need a top model Beemer to feel good. A little sensibility goes a long way even when you wanna treat yourself, so I'm not gonna recommend Ivy-E or Haswell-E. 4770K is enough to catapult you from zero to hero. :-) Do it now!
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:27 am

Im doing the same and getting a similar build.
Any recommendations or HDD for longevity?

Getting a Samsung 840 evo 500gb for OS and main programs
and a 1TB Seagate 64MB Cache for everything else.

Want a combi internal/external, so most time can just hook up via usb3 for transferring, but if need speed can use Sata3 cable, but drive needs to be reliable for yeeeears.
Recently reading drive have very low life apparently, but i still have all mine work 10years +
They are all under 150gb though.

Wouldnt mind another very fast, large drive too as a scratch disk.
Any recommendations?
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:21 am

Don't waste your time with a puny 1.0 TB hard-drive. Photos take up a lot of space so get at least 2.0 TB -- They're not much more expensive and they're faster than smaller drives, too. The 3.0 TB Toshiba is currently $100.
Hitachi hard-drives have been reported to be more reliable than Seagate drives. You can easily put two hard-drives in RAID1 for higher performance and some redundancy. Nothing replaces a backup.

MadManOriginal wrote:A discrete GPU could be very useful for photo processing, check out the programs you use and their support for GPU processing. It could be hugely faster than CPU processing, in which case you'd be better off putting money toward a GPU than a CPU.
Photoshop CS6, for example, uses OpenCL acceleration, so a graphics card is a good bet. I hesitated to recommend a top-of-the-line graphics card because we are less than a year away from a whole new generation of 20 nm GPUs.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:23 am

ronch wrote:...A little sensibility goes a long way even when you wanna treat yourself, so I'm not gonna recommend Ivy-E or Haswell-E. 4770K is enough to catapult you from zero to hero. :-) Do it now!

This. I think I was wanting to be spendy just to be spendy. I was wanting the best just because which, let's face it, doesn't really justify a $3,800 build.

I have a more reasonable Node 304-based mITX/4770K build list that I can get down to about $2200 if I compromise on storage (i.e., a 256GB SSD rather than a 512, and only one 4TB drive). That includes a 810W UPS, which I'm assuming is a good idea still.


JustAnEngineer wrote:...because we are less than a year away from a whole new generation of 20 nm GPUs.

And that's my biggest gotcha. I've seen speculation that we won't see those GPUs until Q1 2015, and I'd sure feel like a fool if 20nm Maxwell comes sooner & completely smokes the current line-up, and I didn't wait a few months more.

I have enough in the bank right now for a build, but after thinking about it some more this morning, I'll wait for another month or two before pulling the trigger on anything.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:13 pm

I'll add my vote to "middle of the road"

I've built a few PC's for people recently who were upgrading ancient hardware.
Entry-level i5 quad-core, 8GB RAM and a mid-range 2GB graphics card (GTX 660 or R9 270). As long as you get an SSD for you OS, it'll feel like greased lightning.

Something like that is a quarter the price of an Ivy-E exotic setup, and it'll be adequate for maybe four years rather than six.
The alternaive is that you buy the latest and greatest at a massive premium in x months time, and then in the next year or two all of your hardware has depreciated to "middle of the road" standards anyway, thanks to the endless march of technological progress.

If you procrastinate forever you'll never buy anything and your lethargic old laptop will continue to waste your time and make your computing experience a drag.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:42 pm

Terra_Nocuus wrote:Just looking for some opinions here. My original plan was to build a beastly "dream build", as I've been dealing with hand me down machines for years, and I wanted to treat myself. It was going to be Ivy Bridge-E with a 780, etc. But now, Haswell-E and Big Maxwell are "right around the corner"... So I'll wait, because it only makes sense at this point.

My dilemma is this: my current laptop has been, to be charitable, "barely adequate" for a few years now, in regards to my freelance work. I've compiled a parts list for a ~$750 i3 based machine that is worlds beyond what I currently have. Do I hold out for the 6+ months for the new high-end parts, or should I build a temporary box to hold me over for another year or two?


My current machine has a i7-4770, 8GB RAM, and a GeForce GTX 645 and cost me under $800. I have had no problem playing new games at max settings. I suspect I could have saved a bit by dropping to an i5 without much difference in performance.

In other words, there is no need to think in terms of a "hold over" machine - you can build a hell of a machine for $750 or even less if you shop around.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:57 pm

cphite wrote:... GeForce GTX 645 ... I have had no problem playing new games at max settings.


Is that a typo? I don't picture the GTX 645 as something that'll max out any semi-recent 3D game...
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:12 pm

I'll add my vote to the mid-range tally. My recommendation is very similar to several others' recommendations:

- Haswell i5
- SSD
- 8 GB of RAM
- midrange GPU

Optional:
- Go for a k-series processor and a discrete cooler if you plan to overclock
- Go for an i7 if you can justify the extra $100 for ~20% better multi-threaded performance
- Go for 16 GB of RAM if you can justify it
- Go for a middle-high end GPU if you can justify it

This is the logical build. But if you aren't worried about money and just want to treat yourself, wait for Haswell-E and Maxwell and get them as soon as they come out. 6 months is a good estimate for Haswell-E, Maxwell is tougher to gauge. If this is your plan, I envy your surplus cash. :)
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:02 pm

If you care about efficiency or small form factor, Maxwell is definitely worth waiting for--use an old GPU or integrated to limp by until then (still way better than what you're used to). If you don't care that much about efficiency, I wouldn't wait as the raw performance for a given price point is unlikely to change much.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:05 am

I'm in a similar position - not with computers, my main rig is 4 years old and still going strong, but with road bikes! Of course, I could spend close to a thousand on a Specialized Secteur, which is what I really want, but used road bikes in good condition are popping up everywhere for 400-700. Probably no eyelets to attach a rack in the rear, better drivetrain components, and cheaper to boot, but not exactly what I wanted in the first place. What to do...
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:08 am

I would wait for the Haswell refresh coming very soon and get a i7 4790k along with a z97 motherboard. That should last you a very long time indeed.

My i7 2600k is not far off from the 4770k or the previous i7 3770k and its almost 4 years old and my gaming performance is within 5% of haswell.

Another reason I say wait for the refresh of haswell is I think they will be using fluxless solder connecting the IHS to the cpu die instead of the crappy thermal poop they have been using on the main stream quad core i7 cpus since ivy bridge.

As for a GPU the GTX 770 4gb is a fine card and nvidias drivers have still been increasing performance of the gk104 silicone chip used in the 770s. Sure I am running 2 EVGA GTX 770 classified cards in sli but it is overkill for 1080p that I am gaming at. But I am hoping to get dells new 34" 21-9 ratio monitor with 3440/1440 resolution . that makes it around 40% less pixels to push then UHD or 4k making it easier for the graphics cards to game at a acceptable level instead of pushing all the UHD pixels that I feel are not really needed.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:56 am

vargis14 wrote:I would wait for the Haswell refresh coming very soon and get a i7 4790k along with a z97 motherboard. That should last you a very long time indeed.

My i7 2600k is not far off from the 4770k or the previous i7 3770k and its almost 4 years old and my gaming performance is within 5% of haswell.

The Haswell refresh will be an even smaller step in performance than sandy-->haswell (mainly just 100 MHz speed bumps, which will be nigh imperceptible). Not worth waiting for IMO.

vargis14 wrote:Another reason I say wait for the refresh of haswell is I think they will be using fluxless solder connecting the IHS to the cpu die instead of the crappy thermal poop they have been using on the main stream quad core i7 cpus since ivy bridge.


From what I can tell, only the Devil's Canyon high end part (which has not had its specs or price announced) will include the new TIM, and will probably be marked up comparing to the rest of the Haswell parts. If you're not overclocking, and if you're not shooting for high overclocks, it's again not worth it. My i5 4670k with a mild 200 MHz overclock (and admittedy a massive 120 mV undervolt) is running at 21C idle and ~58C load with a cheap $25 cooler.

NovusBogus wrote:If you care about efficiency or small form factor, Maxwell is definitely worth waiting for--use an old GPU or integrated to limp by until then (still way better than what you're used to). If you don't care that much about efficiency, I wouldn't wait as the raw performance for a given price point is unlikely to change much.


While I agree that your predictions are likely, it's also worth pointing out that these projections are based off a single released Maxwell part (the 750/750Ti) and we have no idea if nvidia followed the same strategy for the rest of their higher end parts. I do think we'll probably see some downwards price trajectory as AMDs cards slowly return to their pre-cryptocoin price levels, but I don't think it's going to be a huge price shift, as nvidia and AMD seem to be filling in alternating price/performance levels these days. At least, that's my impression.
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Re: Bite the Bullet or Aim Lower?

Postposted on Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:24 am

20nm fabrication is a game-changer for GPUs. However, they may not be on the shelves until December or January.
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