Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

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Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:41 pm

Hi,

I'm thinking about making the jump to the i5-4670K from a i7-920, but I'm not sure that I'll notice any actual performance increase. My current set ups is:
i7-920 @ 3.2GHz | GTX 670 Windforce | 12GB Corsair XMS3 | Samsung 830.

While I'm aware that the Haswell chip will be much faster in benchmarks etc., does anyone have any idea if I'd see any real improvements? While I used to use my PC for image manipulation, now the primary purpose is gaming.

I'm kind of interested in upgrading for other reasons like a better BIOS and that fact that my i7 chip is barely overclockable, but I probably can't justify it if I wouldn't actually see any improvements.

Thanks,
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:51 pm

For the things that you do that are currently CPU limited, Haswell will provide improved performance. Games like Starcraft II or Civilization can easily become CPU limited.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:39 am

Unless you are shooting for a high overclock. Haswell isn't going that much faster than Nehalem in a per clock basis. Haswell just brings newer CPU standards and consumes a lot less power when loaded. It also has a decent integrated GPU that can handle casual gaming.

IHO, the biggest reason to upgrade is reducing power consumption and noise level. You can obtain near-silence with any decent HSF and a low-RPM fan handling a SB, IB and Haswell chip.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:56 am

Like Krogoth said above, the biggest difference will be the overclock, and when that is considered along with a decent IPC boost (10-15%), you'd be moving to a CPU that's 50%+ faster. Look for Haswell CPUs to overclock into the 4.5-4.7GHz range easily, and 5.0GHz+ with a little luck.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:02 pm

You won't need any sort of overclock to notice a difference. Then again, why would you buy a K if you weren't OC'ing yadda yadda...

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/47?vs=551

I know that's 2.66 and IB, but it's still quite an improvement. Power consumption alone would be worth it IMO. However, just look at the game benchmarks. You'd be able to feel the extra frames in most those cases.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:14 pm

kumori wrote:i7-920 @ 3.2GHz | GTX 670 Windforce | 12GB Corsair XMS3 | Samsung 830
Are you really having a lot of performance issues? My brother runs a similar setup (i7-920 @ 3.2Ghz, 2xCF HD6970, 24GB DDR3) and he hasn't had many problems in games, although he's been thirsting for a GPU that will actually get some driver updates.

I wouldn't bother upgrading unless you need it.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:27 pm

But notice how the 920 never go below 60 fps in gaming, even with a high end card and low res (to make the game cpu limited)

For gaming the i7-920 is already doing its job well, more cpu power will help , but I,m not sure you would see a big difference.

And for the power saving , that's what 5 to 10$ a year ?

The only reason to switch cpu for a gaming rig would be heat & noise and leveraging quick sync.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:42 pm

Imo it will be worth it, but wait for the reviews to come out first. One thing to see is if they fixed the OCing issues present in IB chips which OC worse than SB. Second thing to look at would be if they actually bring major improvements over IB, if not maybe you could catch a very nice deal on the 3770K or 3750k when they clear the stocks. Lastly look out for the new PSU requirments. Apparently older PSU will trigger shut downs when Haswell goes into the lower power states. If you do not like disabling those power states from the BIOS you might need a new PSU to go along with the new mobo and CPU.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:50 pm

Arclight wrote:One thing to see is if they fixed the OCing issues present in IB chips which OC worse than SB.
I will be very surprised if this is "fixed", given the exact nature of the "problem" with overclocking Ivy Bridge. Seems verymuch a conscious decision on Intel's part.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:57 pm

auxy wrote:
kumori wrote:i7-920 @ 3.2GHz | GTX 670 Windforce | 12GB Corsair XMS3 | Samsung 830
Are you really having a lot of performance issues?


No, I'm not having performance "issues" per se but the CPU is now four years old there are a lot of new features (e.g., SATA III) that I'd like to have. Also, I'd never say no to more or faster frames while gaming. The thing about my last build is that I cut some corners, but now that I'm no longer a student I have the money to do it right.

Also, I'm kind of thinking about moving to a smaller form factor (mATX or ITX) but didn't want to upgrade just for form factor alone.

Finally, I never really could overclock my i7-920 (it was one of the C0 stepping and was finicky with memory) and I almost think just being able to overclock is reason enough to upgrade.

sschaem wrote:And for the power savings, that's what $5 to $10 a year ?


I live in Tokyo so it would probably be more than that, but the price of power depends on when you use it so I haven't run the calculation.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:44 am

I really doubt you'd notice much if any boost in performance as very few applications are CPU-bottlenecked when run on a decent CPU (and a 920 is much more than decent). Energy savings is a legit concern, as are features provided the rest of your system is set up to handle them too.

The trajectory of both hardware performance and system requirements changed drastically between 2007 and 2010 and having a 4 year old chip is really not that big a deal if it still does what you need. That's why the PC industry is tanking right now, the whole upgrade every 18 months thing is deader than Julius Caesar.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:17 am

Sooo --

-- whatcha doin' with that old Nehalem box, anyhoo? (╹◡╹)
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:32 am

Let's put it this way: if your 920 no longer satisfies you your only option would be to buy a new CPU. Thing is, currently Haswell represents not only the most advanced x86 microarchitecture you can get your mitts on, but will be so for the next ~12 months. CPU performance no longer makes the leaps and bounds it once enjoyed unless we're talking software devs taking full advantage of all cores. If you're mostly using highly threaded apps just get an SB-EP.

However, the same way CPUs no longer making leaps and bounds, CPUs today are, fortunately, fast enough for most of the things users would care to do. I say just stick with it and wait for Skylake, due in 2015.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:40 am

You'll definitely see a bump, but as others have mentioned, check out reviews to see exactly how much you might get.

I also have a 920 and am planning on upgrading to Haswell sometime this year, but I don't have a SSD and am running a GTX 460, so my upgrade will include a lot of other performance gains that you already have.

The one thing I would check out is memory speed. IIRC, there was a memory speed limit closer to 1100 MHz on the 920/940 that went away in later processor families, meaning that you could make better use of faster DDR3.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:01 pm

I think I've decided to stay with my Nehalem for the time being. Maybe I'll get a new case to replace my old CM-690 or something to satisfy my itch to upgrade.

Looking around on the web though, its very hard to find direct comparisons of CPUs aside from synthetic benchmarks that vary widely based on the benchmark. For example, I compared passmark scores for my 920 to against the i5-3750 (using it as a proxy for haswell) and found there to be about a 20% increase. However, doing the same thing with Geek bench would lead me to believe I would get about a 50% increase by upgrading.

Making matters worse, its nearly impossible to compare performance of overclocked components. I think a lot of the potential performance increase in my upgrade to haswell would be in the form of overclocking since I have a terrible i7 chip that is just not stable above 3.2ghz.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:13 am

IMO synthetic CPU benchmarks are barely worth the electrons used to store them because Intel and AMD both make many "optimizations" to get good scores that have no bearing outside that very specific application. A while back I suggested running CPUs through Dwarf Fortress world generation as it's single threaded and not optimized at all, and it would be fun to see how some of these high-end chips handle a resource intensive but totally off the wall task like that.

Admittedly my own thoughts on how Nehalem would relate to Haswell in real-world performance have absolutely no data to back them up, but I've never heard anyone complain that their i7 was too sluggish. Heck, at my old company I had a Clarkdale dual-core that absolutely dominated all of my coworkers at build speed--even beating out a SB i7.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:42 am

I'd go to Haswell from my 920 if Kaveri isn't good enough. I really don't need or want an Intel GPU though.

The plus with the newer arches is they tend to be cheaper and put out less heat. The minus with Intel is the good motherboards tend to be either expensive or low on SATA6g ports and PCIe lanes.

But if your system is stable I'd just keep it. There won't be much pushing it for a few years yet I'd think.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sun May 05, 2013 12:25 pm

If you are planning to play a lot of first person shooters, CPU hardly matters. I am getting almost identical frame-rates in Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite even though I doubled the power of my CPU's. The only thing the faster processor really made a visible difference on was in StarCraft 2 where my frames jumped from average 15-20 to average 35-50
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sun May 05, 2013 8:31 pm

Star Brood wrote:If you are planning to play a lot of first person shooters, CPU hardly matters. I am getting almost identical frame-rates in Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite even though I doubled the power of my CPU's. The only thing the faster processor really made a visible difference on was in StarCraft 2 where my frames jumped from average 15-20 to average 35-50


To be clear: CPU has far less of an effect on single-player shooters than it does on multi-player shooters.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sun May 05, 2013 8:57 pm

You're usage model is definitely going to make a big difference here.

Reasons not to upgrade:
1. Game performance: As others have mentioned, your OC'd 920 is going to be fine for games and if you are seeing slowdowns it's most likely GPU related not CPU related, so the GPU upgrade would be the most economical choice.
2. Energy Efficiency if you are able to put your current PC into suspend mode reliably (if not, then Haswell could save you power and/or prevent you from having to reboot often).
3. General Application Performance: Unless your application is setup specifically to take advantage of AVX/AVX2 instructions, Haswell wont' be earth shatteringly faster. Don't get me wrong, even in general-purpose programs there *will* be measurable performance improvements, but more of the type that show up during a benchmark run instead of being human-perceivable at your desk.


Reasons to upgrade:
1. Platform improvements: SATA-III support, USB 3 support, PCIe 3.0 support, Thunderbolt support on some motherboards (Don't discount these BTW!)
2. Energy Efficiency if you are not able to put your current PC into suspend mode reliably.
3. If you love overclocking and want to reach higher, then Haswell should actually be a nice platform and getting to 5Ghz with high-end air or closed-loop liquid cooling is going to be a real possibility.
4. Specialized application performance: Do you do a bunch of transcoding or other specialized applications that can actually use Haswell's new computing resources? If so, then the performance improvements will easily be noticeable and you'll get a lot more done than you can with the Nehalem.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 4:13 am

Airmantharp wrote:
Star Brood wrote:If you are planning to play a lot of first person shooters, CPU hardly matters. I am getting almost identical frame-rates in Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite even though I doubled the power of my CPU's. The only thing the faster processor really made a visible difference on was in StarCraft 2 where my frames jumped from average 15-20 to average 35-50


To be clear: CPU has far less of an effect on single-player shooters than it does on multi-player shooters.


Yep, particularly when those shooters don't utilize all the CPU cores. In Planetside 2 (which only uses 2 cores) I am CPU limited by my i5-2500K @ 4.5ghz, and in PS2 we are talking about 30-40FPS in some cases, so it's definitely something where you notice a difference. Benchmarks of multiplayer games are almost impossible to perform though. The very nature of multiplayer is that it's unpredictable and you never get the same game twice.

The original poster does have a very fast graphics card as well (GTX670) so getting a faster CPU is more likely to make a difference than for someone with a lower end card. You are a lot less likely to be CPU limited when you have a 7750 than when you have a 7970, for example.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 12:47 pm

I was in the same boat as you, coming from an i5 750 which is pretty much the same thing as your i7 920 (save Hyperthreading and Triple channel memory support, but they bench the same in game performance).

Haswell is looking nice from an energy consumption point of view, but doesn't look much better than Sandy and Ivy.

I opted to get an i7 3820 on the x79 instead of waiting for Haswell. Cpu was $280, AsRock Extreme4 x79Motherboard was $209. Quad channel memory, 40 PCI-E lanes, all around a better deal than the 3770k. Since rumored Haswell pricing is higher than current Sandy Bridge models, it just made sense to me.

Sure, power consumption is much higher on SB-E compared to Haswell, but I live in Quebec where electricity is quite cheap so this is not a concern for me. I also have the option to drop in a 6 core Ivy Bridge-Extreme in the future which would be much more of an upgrade than Haswell could ever provide.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 8:36 pm

Why would you buy Sandy Bridge-E if you were only going to get 4 cores? Did you need more than 32 GiB of memory?
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 8:40 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Why would you buy Sandy Bridge-E if you were only going to get 4 cores? Did you need more than 32 GiB of memory?


If you wanted an exotic SLI/Crossfire setup (3 or more cards), then the only way to get more than 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes is to get an X79 chipset, and the 3820 is actually less expensive than the 3770K last time I checked. Not saying that it will necessarily make a big difference, but that (along with memory capacity/multi-threaded bandwidth) are two advantages of the platform.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 8:12 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:Why would you buy Sandy Bridge-E if you were only going to get 4 cores? Did you need more than 32 GiB of memory?


It was a better deal than getting a 3770k in Canada, more PCI-e lanes, more memory bandwidth, and the difference in power consumption is negligible since electricity is cheap here.

Plus, I still have the option to upgrade to a 6 core SB-E or IVY-E if I find a pile of money or if by some luck I fall upon a hugely discounted sale price. Haswell-E is also going to be using LGA 2011, but I think it will require a new chipset so I'm not sure if it will be compatible. x79 still shows more promise for the future than the 1155 platform at this point, given that it will be EOL'd after Haswell launches.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 8:40 am

You'll notice very little day-to-day difference but if you really are mostly gaming and you don't already have a GTX 670/680 or HD7970 then you should make that your priority rather than Haswell.

I know an old Core2 Quad is still a bottleneck, but my HTPC made staggeringly large improvements when I swapped out a GTX460 for a 7850. A GPU that was only 18 months old was more of a bottleneck than my 2008 processor.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 10:15 am

Sig says GTX 670 SLI, both of which I had before going x79 from p55 / i5 750.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 1:53 pm

Prestige Worldwide wrote:Sig says GTX 670 SLI, both of which I had before going x79 from p55 / i5 750.


In which case yes, Haswell will give you a bit of boost, but probably not worth the investment yet.

Anand had a good article, if you look at the dual-GPU configs, the benefits across a number of games isn't exactly great. As long as you have four cores at a reasonable speed then you're not going to see more than maybe 25% improvement. Stuff is still just too GPU-bound beyond an easily-attainable threshold.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 4:30 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:Anand had a good article, if you look at the dual-GPU configs, the benefits across a number of games isn't exactly great. As long as you have four cores at a reasonable speed then you're not going to see more than maybe 25% improvement. Stuff is still just too GPU-bound beyond an easily-attainable threshold.

Nothing they tested is representative of truly CPU-bound gaming, though. Try Neverwinter Online; I guarantee you the framerate will be the same in single- or dual-GPU mode.
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Re: Upgrade to Haswell from Nehalem?

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 4:28 am

My computer might have forced my hand. Now every so often it will shut off and refuse to turn on again until I unplug the PSU and cycle the power.

When I restart my BIOS says "Overclock failed!" and I have to go into the settings and select the clock speed. I keep lowering the Bclock, but this error keeps happening. My machine has been really picking about RAM since the beginning, but I kind of doubt that is the cause.

I've tried looking at Event Log but all I get is a message that tells me the previous shut down was unexpected.

I was kind of looking for an excuse to upgrade anyway.
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