Let me start by blaming TR (and the system guide) for putting disruptive thoughts in my head.
This post needs a little background though, as you may have noticed me asking about various components throughout last year.
I thought I could ignore the launch of Sandy Bridge last year, but I was wrong. All I could see was jaw-dropping performance (not reaching but) getting appreciatively close to the Extreme Edition family chips (which I thought were a waste), running cooler and overclocking better than I imagined, and suddenly I had stars in my eyes. I drooled on the way up to and past the launch of sandy bridge. I also started saving hard, thinking I might build as early as spring.
But I could wait. I could wait till fall because I expected prices to drop, and because my stop-gap econo-box build wasn't quite two years old yet. I foolishly picked up a few components along the way in anticipation.
Approaching fall brought me closer towards Sandy-E though. I like a bit of excess I admit, but I never had a need for that much power. I even was still carrying a grudge against the whole Intel EE chips back from the Pentium 4 (Pentium D?) days (really? you want me to pay $1000 bucks for a chip that doesnt get that much more performance, uses a jury-rigged dual core design, requires super loud coolers and threatens to set my apt on fire? No thank you!)
...but you know, I did some budget calculations and a few small changes I could afford a more expensive Sandy-E system based on my estimates. And honestly, the Gulftown/1366 processors didn't do too bad, did they? While Core i-7s made the jump from socket 1156 to 1155, these stayed the same, going strong years on. Heck, by the time SBE launched, the 1366 chips would be 3 years old still at the top of the heap, with the 6-core gulftown at 2.5 years as the "power rig" in reviews. (Even today, lots of review sites still use gulftown for their power rigs
). That was the kind of longevity I dreamed of, the kind of thing that made higher upfront investment worth it over a longer run. Especially after it became apparent that avoiding the top rung $999 processor meant you could get almost as good performance one rung down for 500 and change. This was starting to sound good...
...except that it was expensive, and hotter, and 32nm, with talk of Ivy Bridge along the way. Reviews of the launch weren't mindblowing, and 22nm trigate tech, Ivy's 10+% performance increase (with SBE only yielding up to 17%+ increase) with a 77 TDP reignited a passion for more power, less waste that originally sparked my interest in SB. Coupled with the launch of the next gen graphics card, I could wait longer and see what was coming up. Even TR said I didnt need 6 cores and 12 threads if I wasn't running workstation stuff. And I'm not.
But then we get the schooner (thanks alot scott!), and as we approach april I realize, I really could go either way. I've saved way more than I expected to, for way longer than I expected to, so the price of an SBE system is not a barrier. Next gen graphics cards are here, they're not a barrier either. Both have PCIe 3.0 (which is more than necessary), both have USB 3.0 (and 3rd party performance is good enough that I dont have to worry about native), both have SATA 6GB.
One just gives me the cool and quiet I really enjoy, the other has the potential to give me the long life I'm looking for (and may end up well cooled and pacified in an FT 02 anyways). So I'm curious to hear some fellow gerbil opinions. Which bridge would you take to the prom?