Deal of the week: Sandy Bridge edition

If you’ve read our review of Intel’s new Sandy Bridge CPUs, you’ll know they’re the hottest ticket in town. They’re also a little too fresh to be receiving much in the way of discounts. However, the strong performance, low power consumption, and fully unlocked upper multiplier offered by the latest K-series Core i5 and i7 CPUs makes them a excellent deal at current prices.

The most attractive K-series option for budget-minded folks is the Core i5-2500K, which offers quad cores with a 3.3GHz base clock speed and a 3.7GHz Turbo peak. Newegg is selling the 2500K for $225, which is just $9 more than Intel’s asking price for the CPU in 1,000-unit quantities. If you’ve got a hankering for Hyper-Threading, the Core i7-2600K is available for $330. The 2600K gets you an extra 100MHz on the base and Turbo clocks, and it can execute eight thread in parallel, compared to just four on the 2500K.

Newegg’s prices look to be in line with those from other e-tailers. However, if you happen to live near one of Micro Center’s retail outlets, you can arrange an in-store pickup for the 2500K and pay only $180. That’s a heck of a deal, and Micro Center has 23 locations spread across the United States. Unfortunately, none of them seem to carry the 2600K.

Although it’s common for PC hardware to cost a little more north of the border, NCIX is selling Sandy Bridge CPUs at pretty much the same prices as Newegg charges in the US. Canadians can get their hands on the 2500K for $225 and will pay $329 for the 2600K. NCIX’s weekly sale also includes a number of Sandy Bridge combo deals that offer savings of $35-70 on the 2500K when it’s combined with a Noctua NH-U12P heatsink or select motherboards from Asus and MSI. NCIX offers free in-store pickup if you live near one of its BC or Ontario locations, as well.

For the 73% of you who aren’t planning an imminent Sandy Bridge upgrade, we have a couple of alternatives. Newegg has knocked $45 off the price of OCZ’s Agility 2 60GB solid-state drive, bringing it down to $115. That’s just $20 more than Intel’s 40GB X25-V, and the extra 20GB is easily worth spending more. Also discounted today is Corsair’s dual-channel Vengeance 8GB DDR3 memory kit, which has likewise dropped to $115. The Vengeance modules are capable of running at speeds up to 1600MHz on just 1.5V, and Corsair covers ’em with a lifetime warranty. I’ve been using Vengeance modules for all my Sandy Bridge motherboard testing, and they’ve been excellent thus far.

Comments closed
    • BloodSoul
    • 9 years ago

    Micro Center is carrying 2600K’s for $279.99 in Orange/Tustin :-)!

    • ChangWang
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]Newegg's prices look to be in line with those from other e-tailers. However, if you happen to live near one of Micro Center's retail outlets, you can arrange an in-store pickup for the 2500K and pay only $180. That's a heck of a deal, and Micro Center has 23 locations spread across the United States. Unfortunately, none of them seem to carry the 2600K.[/quote<] Not sure how you checked, but both Atlanta stores have the 2600K in stock

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      Denver also. Probably will change throughout the day.

    • Stargazer
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]Also discounted today is Corsair's dual-channel Vengeance 8GB DDR3 memory kit[/quote<] I've actually been looking at that memory for an upcoming build... Out of curiosity, have you done any investigation of how Sandy Bridge's performance is affected by memory bandwidth/latency? Anandtech had a pretty good article about memory scaling on Nehalem back in 09, but things have changed quite a bit since then...

      • bimmerlovere39
      • 9 years ago

      Bit-Tech’s done one for Sandy Bridge: [url<]http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/memory/2011/01/11/the-best-memory-for-sandy-bridge/[/url<]

        • Stargazer
        • 9 years ago

        Yeah, I’ve read that one. It’s interesting, but not quite as thorough as I’d prefer.

        In general, I’d expect latency to primarily have an effect in “high stress” scenarios, such as multi-tasking and minimum frame rates in games (while the effect on things like average FPS/throughput would tend to be lower).

        In the Anandtech article, you can see some examples with threshold situations under these circumstances, where you see a significant change in performance between two latency values, but where changes to other latency values has little effect. For instance, in the results for World in Conflict, they saw C6 being faster than C7,C8,C9 for 1333/1600 memory, with very little change between C7,C8,C9. Another example is Dawn of War 2, where C9 was slower than C8,C7,C6 for 1333/1600 memory, with very little change between C8,C7,C6.

        I would expect these threshold situations to pop up in a number of places. In most cases you probably wouldn’t see much effect from a change in latency, but I would also expect there to be cases where you get a significant benefit from having better or equal latency than a given value. What I’m curious about is how common these cases are, and what these latency values tend to be.

        The Bit-Tech article shows one multi-tasking scenario and minimum frame rates for two games, and that is simply too small a data set to draw any real conclusions from (however, two of the three tests I mentioned do seem to show such threshold situations; The Civ 5 min frame rate seems to have a bump at CL7 for 1600/1866 Memory, and the multi-tasking test also gets a bump at CL7).

        What I would like to see is tests over a wider number of scenarios. It would still only show what’s happening in a limited number of situations, but at least it could give a better idea of how common these types of threshold situations are.

        In particular, I’d like to see the effects for more multi-tasking scenarios, and frame-by-frame performance (such as those for StarCraft II in TR’s Sandy Bridge review) for a game that exhibits strong threshold behavior for minimum frame rates (I wouldn’t expect the effect the effect to be particularly big, but it would be interesting to see what things look like both near the point of the lowest frame rate and for other dips in frame rate. Of course, for this to really work the test would have to be almost perfectly reproducible).

        Really thorough tests of this would take a lot of time though, and might not be worth the effort. It would be interesting though…

          • Stargazer
          • 9 years ago

          One more thing: The Anandtech article also showed some games that were noticeably affected by memory bandwidth, and it would be interesting to see how common this is for Sandy Bridge, especially since the current Sandy Bridge processors will only have access to two memory channels, compared to Nehalem’s three.

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