1 2 Previous Next 23 Replies Latest reply on Apr 16, 2011 10:01 AM by varuna718

    Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?


      In my latest build, I am running:

      i5-750 on an

      Asus P7P55D Pro motherboard,

      8 GB DDR3 dual channel Corsair Ram

      ATX Radeon 5770 1 GDDR5 Ram video card

      OS is W7 Ultimate.

      I am not big into overclocking. I do a lot of photo, video and audio work.  I have had this build up and running for a year and while I have been satisfied with what I got for the prices, it has never reached the benchmarks published in various sites online.  I am now reading about all of the new i7 chips, particularly the i7-960 and the i7-2600, with the prices being about what I paid for my current processor and motherboard.  I understand that with either I will also have to upgrade my motherboard, however if possible, I would like to stay with my dual channel Ram and am happy with the calibration between my monitor, video card and Espon Photo printer.  In reading all of the online reviews, I am looking for feedback as to which would provide me with better performance:

      Simply upgrading my Ram to 16 GB 1333?  (When I built my machine, they did not have 4 GB DDR3 Ram chips.)

      Replacing my i5-750 with either the i7-960 or the i7-2600?  From what I can see from the online reviews and blogs the i7-2600 is more geared to overclocking, has new Turbo Boost and contains onboard video processing.  I have no interest in any of the three, but it will still take my dual channel Ram.  Am I correct in these understanings?

      As for the i7-960, it seems to be almost as fast as the i7-2600, but I do not see anything about its overclocking or video features, so I assume it has neither, which is fine.  Hoever, I do not know if I will have to replace all of my Ram with triple channel chips?

      I welcome any intelligent suggestions regarding upgrading my processors or just upgrading my Ram.


        • 1. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

          The I7-960 and the I7-2600 use a different socket , so if you wanted the the I7-2600 you need a new board .

          • 2. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

            The I7-960 uses a 1366 socket the I7-2600 uses a 1155 socket.

            • 3. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

              Your sys sounds my best sugestion would be to get another HD5770 and crossfire them . Give you much better graphics and take the load off the CPU. I use dual Gigabyte HD5770 soc ver, getting about 80-90 FPS , This would help with your graphics intenisve work .

              • 4. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

                I would keep what you got until Intel works out all the SANDYBRIDGE and COUGAR POINT BUGS , Than and only than would I even consider switching MOMBP & CPU . The rest of your components you can reues.

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                • 5. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

                  Thank you as always Robert.  After some more reading, I was coming to a similar conclusion.  I knew that I would need a new MoBo if I changed processors, that was never the issue.  Mine is the age old question in technology:  When to upgrade and when to wait.  Typically I have always waited the better part of a year after introduction before making a leap (see Sandy Bridge), and even with most OS I like to wait for the first SP.   I believe you and I had a similar discussion not too long ago about how fast technology is forging ahead.  I hit upon a blog in which there was a very cogent and somewhat convincing discussion about waiting until Sandy Bridge calmed down and Cougar Point came fully online (and of course when the prices come down somewhat).  At its current price, certainly doubling up on my 5770 card is painless and I can see how it would be advantageous.  My last question concerns my 8 GB of Corsair DDR3 1333 10600 dual channel RAM.  In years past, before new processors were coming out yearly, I simply increased my Ram for some additional speed.  Would upgrading from 2 GB RAM chips to the 4GB that I see now (doubling my RAM from 8-16 GB), using basically the same type of chips make a significant difference, as it did durint the Pentium years?  I ask this question as I seem to be doing more video editing than before and I see a significant difference in image processing time between that and the photo work that I have been doing for the past 10 years.  That is why I think a second card is a great idea.  Has the nature or physics of Ram changed so significantly that doubling it would not make a clearly noticeable difference?  Again, thanks.  You provide a fabulous service for tinkerers like me.

                  • 6. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

                    Yea , I went with the Gigabytes because there alreary Overclocked  and the have great coolers on the one thing I can say is that are heavy . But as you already have the XFX you have to stick with the same brand or atleast you should . But adding that second card would be a big jump in you pictures how they print out as well how they look on your monitor.

                    • 7. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

                      If you think yours is Old I am using a intel DX48BT2 but with a Xeon , In performance test I can run dead even with most of the I7 sys out there .

                      • 8. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

                        I don't know that doubleing the RAM is such a great idea , you prob. don't use half of what you got now if you wanted to make a improvement you may want to look at going to DDR3-1600 if your board can handle it , that would get you moving.

                        • 9. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

                          I had tried the 1600 chips when I had finished the build and found out that the i5-750 would only use two of the four channels on my Asus P7P55D Pro MoBo. I read a white paper on the Intel website that it was a limit built into the processor.  I don't know if I can get by that by overclocking the processor or underclocking the 1600 Ram, but I am not that interested in either (unless you tell me that two 1600 MHz chips will outdo four 1333 MHz chips). From what I am continuing to read, at this point we are not yet talking about significant speed, particularly since I am not running a large number of programs at once that would require the i7 threads and I am not ready to upgrade to software that I would probably require to take advantage of the i7 on a price point basis.  I believe as you said, that if I looked using some of the utilities (that you had pointed me to in our last discussion-regarding my machine registering less than full use of the speed of the 2.67 MHz of my i5), it is probably using the full Ram as infrequently as it uses the full speed of the processor.  This brings up another issue implied in your answer, that increasing the Ram will not signficantly speed up my processing, unlike the XP-Pentium machines I have in my office nor my prior (5 year old) Vista 32bit Pentium build (which my better half uses and enjoys-although that also has that 3.1GB Ram limit built in).  I guess my key is to keep myself more current with the new technology, rather than just checking periodically.  We have come quite far since my Tandy double 5 1/4" floppy, with no mouse or hard drive.  It appears from what you have said that the very nature of Ram has changed as has the physics of the processors.  One drawback for me is that the people who are most involved in the newest technology are gamers, and while understanding that they need to get every erg out of their systems, I just need mine to do my jobs, but to do them as quickly and efficiently as possible.  While the needs of gamers make a good benchmark and are the driving force behind the new rush of technology, currently it appears that my needs will always be about a year or so behind theirs.  Financially, that is not a bad thing.  if you have any other suggestions, I would welcome them, but as always, your knowledge and experience and willingness to share them is very much appreciated.

                          • 10. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

                            Hello, I do not have your configuration but will tell you my experience with an I7-860 relative to adding additional memory. First let me just say I have 5 exact copies of the same I7-860, all using an Intel DH55HC Motherboard, and all have 8 Gig Ram excluding the system where I do all my DVD creation, video editing, and HDMI to our TV, so there is one system used differently than the other 4. The others are dedicated to the Einstein at home project and run full tilt doing that effort. What I learned regarding the memory was the following. First to use any memory beyond the 4 Gig the OS must be 64 bit. I happen to be using Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit. When the system runs out of the Ram (8 gig in my case) it will start to use the hard drive's space in a file called: pagefile.sys you can tell a lot by the size of this file as most of these are managed by Windows, the file size is an indication of the maximum overflow to the hard drive the system experienced in times past. For example on the systems doing only the Einstein work the size of that page file is 3.92 Gig so in my simple way of looking at this, on those systems the amount of Hard Drive space used (Used as RAM memory Overflow) since I built them has never exceeded 4 Gig, the Ram is 8 gig. However the file size on the system I use for the video work is 7.93 Gig, again it had 8 Gig Ram. I figured the "video" computer needed additional memory, as you know when using the hard drive to supplement the ram, the system is likely going to run much slower, so I put the 16 Gig Ram into that computer and was very very pleased with the increased response times. I am not using the SSD typed Hard Drives however I don't think even the SSD drive (that is considerably faster) is as good as having enough Ram. In my case the one computer that was using more than 4 gig of hard drive space to supplement the Ram, that system needed additional Ram and it ran significantly better after installing the 16 gig. Regarding the ram, use the fastest buss speed available, if you can use 1333, use it, and if you can use 2000 use it. The Motherboard determines the Ram capabilities, including any voltage considerations.

                            • 11. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

                              Your ASUS mother board (and all Intel i5 CPU boards) has two memory channels, not four.  It has four slots for RAM, but that does not mean it has a four channel memory architecture. Intel Core i7-900 series CPUs have three channel memory architecture, and the yet to come Intel socket 2011 CPUs will have four channel capability.  AMDs best CPUs have two channel memory architecture, so four channels of memory is something that is yet to be.


                              Your four RAM slots allows you to have up to 8GB per channel, with two 4GB RAM cards, for a total of 16GB.  The standard memory speed of the Integrated Memory Controller (IMC) of your CPU is either 1066 or 1333.  Those speeds are usually easily surpassed on good mother boards such as yours, with good memory of course.  In fact, your Corsair memory may be able to run at 1600 via it's XMP profile, which you can enable in your BIOS with one simple setting.  It would be worth while to check into that.


                              You can easily check the amount of RAM memory you are using, in Windows 7, by using the Resource Monitor, available via the Performance and Information Tools option in Control Panel, and then clicking on Advanced tools.  The Memory tab in Resource Monitor will show the amount of memory in use out of all that is available, among other attributes.


                              If you find that you are using all the memory in your PC while doing your work, then adding some will likely increase your systems speed, as the I/O speed of RAM is much greater than disk drive virtual memory I/O using a pagefile.


                              Regarding memory capacity and speed that is related to an individual memory chips capacity, I am not aware of any memory chips that are faster or slower, for a stated speed of a RAM DIMM card.  That is, a 4GB DDR RAM card at a data transfer rate of 1600MHz will be the same as a 2GB DDR RAM card at 1600MHz.

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                              • 12. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

                                Frankly I tried the DDR3-1600 Mhz , 2X4GB . But could not get stable , so I went with  8GB DDR3-1333, but than overclocked the RAM back up to 1400Mhz Now Rock solid and stable , No matter what I run I'm Not even using half of the available Ram . And it's still pretty fast.

                                • 13. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

                                  To both Michael and Parsec, I greatly appreciate your input and the time you have given to my questions.  However not having participated in my other discussions, it is possible that you are unaware of the fact that in addition to having a full time profession, I am a published photographer and videographer and professionally assemble complete home theater systems.  All require significant computer capacity, speed and reliability.  My present personal computer which I briefly describe above is running 6.64 TB of internal drive space and 3 external drives holding 7 TB of data, two of which are connected via USB 3.0 and one of which is connected via eSata.  I have also been a computer administrator in my office for 16 years, in which I manage a 3 location centralized network with 33 workstations, 2 high end HP servers, two HP BDR servers, a drobo and a 16 TB San.  All of the workstationswhich I built (and over the last 16 years have built another 30-40). Typically my workstations have a technological life span of over 5 years.  I also have five children, each of which has both a desktop and a laptop, all of which I built (including the Apples).  Since my first build in 1986 I have built at least one, usually 3 or more machines for every technological advance in computer science. My questions are more geared toward the technical side even though couched in terms of speed. The physics and resulting architecture in the issue of computing capacity is relatively simple for me.  For instance, since the implementation of hard drives, I have never built a machine that required any significant page filing.  That would be a waste of my time and that of everyone involved.  That said, with the pace of processor and Ram advancement, I no longer have the time to read all of the Intel white papers issued every year, and while in the past a new processor would come out every year or so, new Ram architecture every 3 years or so and new chipsets, rarely, in the past 2 years alone there have been more than 4 major architectural advancements in processor technology, at least three in Ram technology and more than 4 new chipsets, and all of this is just in the Intel user community.  I can no longer keep up and I have begun to rely on the extreme generosity of people such as yourselves in forums such as this to see where the technology is presently and where it is going.  My livelihood literally depends on the knowledge which you are so kind to share with me.  It is all greatly appreciated and I would not take the liberty of pointing out the minor misstatements in your posts as my need for your knowledge renders them inconsequential.  I apologize if I was not clear in my questioning.  Of course the i5 MoBos have dual channel memory and four Dimms and while my particular Asus MoBo can handle greater Ram than 1600 MHz and significantly more if I was into overclocking, as you point out and as Intel is very clear, the i5-750 chip cannot handle more than 1333 MHz.  I have indeed run my Ram in its XMP profile and have made voltage and other adjustments and while achieving higher benchmarks, the real-life computing and task time remained virtually the same.  Again, and it is my fault in not being more clear, I could never consider that any Dimm or any controller could run Ram faster than its capacity,  My question was far more basic.  Having made the decisions that upgrading my processor and MoBo at this time would not be cost-effective and would remain so until there is a cocommitent upgrade in software and a stablization in the new processors and chip sets, that adding a second XFX 5770 graphics card would be signifcantly advantageous, would doubling my exising 4 GB of 1333 Ram decrease my processing time, as it always has up to and including the two duo core processor architecture?  

                                  • 14. Re: Upgrade i7 960 or i7 2600 or increase RAM?

                                    Just to be clear, if I ran 4GB of 1600MHz which I can without overclocking, I would get better results in computing speed than if I doubled my existing 8 GB of 1333 to 16 GB?  Or would neither make a real life difference?

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