Monday, July 22, 2013

[Article] Upgrade itch is so strong! Feeling like upgrading to 4770K Haswell from 2600K SandyBridge after all.

Many shops are giving JPY5,000 worth discounts if you buy a Haswell CPU and a Z87 motherboard these days. Sofmap.com has a eye-catching offer: Core i7 4770K and a Asus Z87 Pro motherboard for about JPY51,000. I sometimes feel like giving a shot at Haswell. I know it won’t give me much benefits over my current CPU and motherboard. But this upgrade itch has been crawling beneath my skin in the past few months. Worse case would be that I will get just about same performance as my current CPU and motherboard combo. That’s if I can only overclock to like 4.2GHz. If I can somehow manage to overclock to 4.5GHz, I will be able to sneak in 10% or so more performance. The temps definitely will play a vital role, especially with the temperature in the summer.

It’s not the CPU that is great actually. Z87 is a great chipset. It performs really well, plus, it uses so little power. It also comes with a lot of stuff my current motherboard doesn’t have, natively. I will get a much better motherboard. I can use the integrated fan controller and throw away (don’t take things literally unless I say so) my current Scythe fan controller. I have been wanting a fan controller that controls fan according to temps. With Asus’s unprecedented fan control software, I can achieve it. I hate the cable mess the current fan controller has created behind the motherboard tray.

Then I can use PCI-E 3.0 for my graphics card. I will get like 2-3% increase at best. I’m definitely better off buying a second graphics card. Or maybe save this money and buy a next generation AMD graphics card, which is supposedly coming out in October. No idea what they will call it.

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I will only be able to sell off my stuff for like JPY24,000. That’s about JPY27,000 for the entire upgrade. I will be able to lower the power consumption of the entire PC as well. Even at load, with a conservative overclock, the 4770K will definitely lower the power draw of the PC. But I will never recover it.

I will be able to use native USB3.0 ports. I don’t like the Etron USB controller on my current motherboard.

I will be able to get Wi-Fi support, but I will never use it. So that’s not really an advantage. I would have switched to the onboard Realtek ALC1150 audio, if I could sell my X-Fi Titanium PCI-E audio card. I would take stable operation and drivers over slightly better audio quality. I am no audiophile, so I probably won’t notice the difference in audio quality after all. But unfortunately, since I just got the naked audio card without any accessories, the resale value of it is very low.

If I move to Haswell, I will be able to use my recently bought Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme for the best use. My current CPU doesn’t do well above 4.5GHz so I have kept it at 4.5GHz.

Remember, I have had a BIOS issue with my current motherboard as well. I don’t know if it will act the same way again. This could be a good reason to upgrade. In case this motherboard dies, I don’t want to buy a new motherboard for my SandyBridge CPU. Besides, the price of good Z77 motherboards haven’t dropped significantly.

Still not sure if I will go ahead with this. I am hoping an angel will come in my dreams and tell me what to do. My wife would always approve my decisions. She doesn’t need to know that this won’t be a big upgrade. Just that it is new. (New is not always better though.)

P.S. I will be renewing my internet connection in coming January. That means, I will possibly get a JPY40,000 worth discount on hardware. That could be my chance to upgrade the graphics card. No point upgrading to Haswell then. It would be too old by then. Or I can wait for IB-E and make my decision. But IB-E is haunted by the 2 generations old x79 chipset. Duh!

Why doesn’t Intel make our buying decisions easy to make. Wait! They have. “Do no upgrade”. That’s the easy way out.

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