Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Upgrade SandyBridge to IvyBridge-E this September?

Haswell for desktops was a flop. Now it is time to leave that sad incident behind and move on. Moving on means, looking forward to the next launch. The next launch from Intel is IvyBridge-E. IvyBridge-E CPUs are coming out this summer - September to be precise. That's only couple of months away from now. Fun times!
The IvyBridge-E CPUs
There are 3 models announced. The Core i7 4820K, 4930K and 4960X. Contrary to SandyBridge-E, all the CPUs are fully unlocked this time around. If you remember, Core i7 3820 was only partially unlocked.

The following is a detailed list of specifications of the upcoming IB-E CPUs. (image courtesy of Xbitlabs article)


Some more facts

The heat spreader is soldered to the die:

IB-E CPUs will have the die soldered to the heat-spreader. (Well, they have only confirmed it for the 4960X) IB didn't. IB simply had a thermal paste interface between the die and the heat-spreader. This caused IB to become hotter than SB when overclocked. Hence IB-E will have more thermal headroom for overclocking, which means it would be possible to overclock it higher than IB. Having a larger die (i.e. more surface area to dissipate heat) and having no iGPU would also help.

No x89 chipset:

It looks like there is no X89 core-logic coming out with IB-E. Intel's chipset roadmaps show X99 after X79 and X99 is for Haswell-E. The issue with X79 is that it lacks a lot of newer tech, such as native USB3.0 and more than two SATA-III ports. And a die Shrink would have improved thermals as well. This is good news for people who are running a Core i7 3820 because they can upgrade to a 4930K and enjoy a massive performance increase without spending a lot of money. You'll only need a bios upgrade at worst case. People running 3930K's or 3960X's won't see much of an improvement though.

So, upgrading to IB-E would be worth it?

The question remains. Is IvyBridge-E going to be a worthwhile upgrade from SandyBridge? You can receive a 50% increase in core count, unless you are stupid enough to get the 4820K. And there is 10% or so IPC boost. That would translate to about 60% more performance boost.

You will lose QuickSync support, which is not a big deal because Handbrake doesn't support QuickSync yet.

There will definitely be newer motherboards but sadly with the same old X79 chipset. I prefer having the controllers integrated with the chipset. I always disable the 3rd party controllers because they are not fast enough and I don't need that many ports in the first place.

But for most people, other than for bragging rights, this won't be a necessary upgrade. Games wouldn't benefit much for having two extra cores. But it would, if you are using quad GPUs, because the x79 platform provides 40 PCI-E lanes from the chipset (but this would be CPU in the case of IB-E), which allows you to use Quad GPU setups with hardly any performance drop or lag. Generally speaking, only the video editors will benefit from the added horsepower.

I guess I will wait and see how badly these Japanese shops will price the new CPUs. If I've learned something from the history, the pricing would be really bad. A 3930K costs ¥58,000 these days. That's about $580. Even if Intel releases 4930K at the same price, these bastards would sell them for like ¥70,000. Spending that much money only on the CPU is not going to happen in my book. When you think of it, I'd probably be stuck with my 2600K for eternity. The ugly truth!

Wait! I will have to renew my Internet connection in January. That means, I will get like ¥40,000 or so discount on select items when purchased with the internet connection. I hope the 4930K will be in that group of select items. :)
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