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X79 PCI lanes, Non-GPU PCI-e cards, and X79 vs Z77 build

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by reeltape, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. reeltape New Member

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    Hi everyone, I know most of the discussion surrounding x79's 40 PCI-e lanes has to do with bandwidth for 3 way SLI/Crossfire and the bandwidth advantages. MY question is: what happens when you use 3 non-GPU PCI-e cards, does that have the same impact on bottlenecks as a video card? Or is that mostly a concern for GPUs? I am not a newb when it comes to building etc, or computers for that matter, but I am a bit unclear on using multiple PCI-e slots with, for example, 2 GPU (680+quadro card) and 1 sound card or 1 GPU+audio card, and some other controller card or something that is not a GPU.

    Also, I am in the middle of a build, have not yet picked up the board and cpu - considering X79+3820 and getting IB-E or 3930k when I feel the need. Alternatively, I am looking at Z77 with Ivy but I am not really sold on the previews, nor the 32gb RAM max on the boards (yes I need lots of RAM so please don't tell me I don't). I am not really into gaming, but want it as an option - 90% of my work is actual work (renders, video editing, 60+ tabs running, day trading, 3-4 monitors, file sharing, networking between multiple computers, 3D Studio, AutoCad, CS 5.5, Protools, cakewalk etc....)

    Other question: RAM - 8x4gb latency of 9 (Corsair Vengeance) or 4x8gb cl10? I have read some opinions about low vs high density and all that jazz, but, if I might go with 32gb, and getting the best bang for my buck, 4x8gb seems the way to go? Or do you think that in a year 8gb sticks will be more common and cheaper? There are rumours that RAM is going up in price...

    OC needs = moderate to none at first, if I need more than a 4.2 I will just get the 3930k

    Cooling = Noctua Air
    RAM 32-64gb
    HD - SSD M4 crucial, caviar Black 2tb, several externals @ 3.0
    GPU: quadro (used 1gb 128bit as a start - if someone is selling ;...will use my old FX 1700 until I find a deal)
    2nd GPU: 680
    Sound card: TBD + DAC via Firewire
    Power: antec 1000w platinum
    Case: corsair 550D

    Question marks:
    Motherboard (all are Z77 or X79 equivalents and Asus unless someone can convince me otherwise)
    Sabertooth X79 LGA2011 vs X79 WS vs X79 Deluxe
    Sabertooth Z77 1155 vs Z77 WS vs Z77 Deluxe
    CPU - 3820 SB-E or IB 3770k

    I am reading the discussions on x79 vs z77 now...leaning toward x79 as the extra RAM capacity of these boards it very appealing to me down the line as I find having the ability to open just about everything I can think of more appealing than being able to OC my CPU to 5+ GHZ (and maybe a ram disk etc)

    So the bottom line questions are:
    1) PCI-e bandwidth, is it significantly affected by non-GPUs? and if so, will the 40 lanes be beneficial with 1 gaming GPU, 1 Quadro GPU, and 1 sound card/other card?
    2) RAM: 4x8gb with 8 or 9 latency vs 8x4gb with latency of 10 (assuming they are 1366 or 1600 - as this really does not matter in the real world and can be OD'd right?)
    3) X79 vs Z77 for expansion, RAM capacity and maybe IB-E in a year or 2 - I do not really understand what advantage there is in a new 1155 with less DIMM slots, less lanes, and no ability to put in an extreme processor when there really isn't much of a difference in price?
    If max RAM was the same in BOTH board, x79 and z77, and cost was the same, what would you pick? leaving the CPU out of the equation...curious.
    thanks a lot for reading!
    I will post pictures as I build
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  2. Feänor

    Feänor New Member

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    1) Each pci-e, if there's enough available lines, will work at it's rated speed: a modern gpu will run at 16x @ 2.0, most raid cards runs on 4x and the high stuff at 8x. Z77 has a total of 16 pci-e 2.0 lanes: a 8x gpu can work with a 4x raid card and a 1x audio card. Add anything to two 8x gpu and one of them is gonna get only 4 lanes (8x/4x/4x Gpu1/Gpu2/RAID) Just throw that option out of the window. If you've got enough device to start counting lanes, go x79

    2) Ram price are so low just go for the max you can without filling all the slots/channel (4 sticks out of 8 dimms on the borad for exemple). The overclok is always lower with all slots filled. My personal experience with the samsung 30nm ddr3-1600 cl11 1,35v is just awesome. Best performance/overclock/money at the time. Period.

    3) Again, go x79. Do your home work on the motherboard layout (fan headers, sata/usb/whatever connector, etc.) and pick one from a trusted manufacturer. Asus and gigabyte are great exemples.

    4,2 with decent aircooling should be doable no problem with a 3820.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2012
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  3. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    1) Between the PCH and CPU SB-E has 40 PCI-e lanes. This can be used in a variety of ways, but generally you get either x16x16, x16x8x8, x16x8x4x4, or x8x8x8x8 (2 3 4 4 cards). This means you're using 32 of the 40 lanes. Taking off 4 between SATA, USB, and other features, you're left with 4 lanes. Most boards have at least a x1 slot, or a pair and a pci slot.

    If the question is do these lanes share bandwidth (older pci shared a single bus, so more cards meant all were slower), then the answer is no. Pci-e doesn't share a bus, so 32 lanes occupied is no faster than 40 lanes occupied.

    2) Tricky question. If you're not overclocking, save money and go with the 8x4GB sticks. They might require a little bit of a voltage bump, but you'll save money and have a bit more speed if the timings (CL9, 10, etc...) are lower. Just make sure the RAM is rated for at least 1600 MHz operational frequency.

    3) Simple answer here, unlocked processors in the 1155 socket cost as much as a locked 2011 socket processor. You'll hear people reaching 4 to 5 GHz with a 2600k, but the overclocking on a 3820 is "limited." As most people here use computers for gaming, the extra RAM capacity and pci-e lanes aren't as important as 4 cores and a high CPU frequency.

    As far as what I'd pick, I'm biased. I've got a 3930k, and it flies through video encodes (when paired with a ramdisk or SSD). Gaming is nice, but power consumption is substantial. 1155 is an excellent socket for budget users. With the inclusion of pci-e 3.0 (spotty adoption in SB-E), you can have two graphics cards run at full performance (none currently run faster than pci-e 2.0 x16, which is ~pci-e 3.0 x8).

    What it boils down to is budget. It sounds like you've got a reason and budget for SB-E, so go for it. If you were building a gaming rig then stick with socket 1155 and save some money.
     
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  4. reeltape New Member

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    Thanks for the fast reply, no wonder everyone raves about this site! I picked one of the million tech forums to join and it looks like this was a good one ;)
    #1) --- that's a good way to put ti alright, I do not want to limit myself and have to start that, this alone makes the decision easier!
    #2) I have read a lot about this RAM for sure, it sounds killer! Do you throw on a heatsink or do you find that you can OC this with air, and it's cooled as a function of the lower voltages alone? Has anyone got an opinion of corsair or muskin bare ram? (ie no sinks) such as the silverback or "value select" corsair" I presume a lot of these (which spec out the same as their more expensive brands) are just the same modules less the sinks/spreaders? I am just concerned about the heat sinks/spreaders interfering with a noctua CPU cooler, but I will be looking into that in depth before I buy it. Mos likely going to go with that samsung RAM as it seems to be the hidden gem. However, I have had a bit of a hard time finding 8gb dimms of the samsung, any ideas where I can snag some? I am Canadian if that matters...
    #3) Looking at the Sabertooth and Deluxe x79 as I need firewire and I like the 5 year warranty too (sabertooth). Good advice though, nothing worse than getting a $350 board to find out it aint gonna be exactly what you need!!

    Thanks again!
     
  5. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    you have to check the configuration of the motherboards, read the manuals off the websites to see how the slots will configure themselves with certain slots being occupied with boards.
     
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  6. reeltape New Member

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    thanks for replying!
    1) that was a very good and clear explanation, probably the best I have heard that explained, thanks for clarifying my concerns and yes that is precisely what I was asking.
    2) good advice there, I think I am going with the samsung 30nm ram 8x4gb sticks, might start with 16gb total in 4 dimms and save the others for down the road,see how they OC (from what i read they are killer at 1.55v)
    3) you are making me want to just go for that 3930k! Do you notice a big difference when you use it in applications other than gaming? say, super heavy multi-tasking in day to day usage? I think it must be nice not to have to worry about the cpu ever slowing you down right? Probably worth the extra $300....and for the amount I game I can handle it I think, in terms of power $$ and I also have a 94% efficient psu (antec 1000w platinum)

    Bias is always good if you are happy with it, that's what I wanted to hear, one more reason to go for the 6 core ;) thanks again for your feedback
     
  7. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    Super heavy multi-tasking? There are 12 threads (effectively, each core runs two threads) if you've got hyper-threading enabled. Even under my heaviest use (ie 20+ windows open in a web browser and various background programs chugging along) I haven't noticed substantial slow down.

    This isn't exactly a lot of praise for the CPU though. 32 GB of RAM allows for a heck of a lot of slop in even the poorest memory allocating programs.

    Where the 3930k really shines is highly threaded programs. Programs like Auto Cad, Handbrake, and Photoshop work like they were completely new. I went from a core 2 quad to the 3930k and cut rendering times from 20 hours down to 2. There is no more amazing example of what the 3930k can do than that.


    Considering that this rig is meant to last 5+ years, I can't say that I am displeased with anything. There are a variety of people who will say that power consumption is too high (compared to 1155), but I haven't noticed a substantially higher power bill yet (4 months of on-off usage). Beyond the painful hit to the wallet, I couldn't be happier.
     
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  8. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    Sounds cards don't use more than PCI-E x1 so I don't see where that would get any benefit, RAID might see a benefit, but X79 has plenty of bandwidth and lanes to give you
    x16/x16/0/x8/x1, where the x8 and x1 are connected to the PCH which is more than enough for what you propose. A Z77 board could do what you need it to do, however x8/x8/x4/x1 might work, but only if your video cards are happy with x8 (they typically will be,) and as long as the "other" card which could be RAID likes x4, a lot of fast, hardware raid cards will be x8 so you might lose I/O performance on that end.

    LGA2011 is geared more to be a workstation though, and as you said, if you're going to have a regular GPU and a quadro. Honestly I think this is a bad idea, just choose if this computer will be a workstation or not because it's not like you can easily switch between which video card is going to drive your display, unless the quadro is for CUDA.

    Depends on the application, large variations in frequency and timings will tend to show at least some benefit to a user if you're doing something that is metered or timed like video encoding. I don't recommend going lower than DDR3-1600 since SB-E runs 1600 natively, which means 1333 will (and I think Cadaveca has shown in his reviews,) that 1333 tends to take a performance hit.
    (Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.)

    LGA2011 supports quad-channel memory, and many motherboards support 8-dimms because of that. This enables SB-E to essentially support twice as much memory as SB and IVB on z68 and z77. SB and IVB might have better single-threaded memory bandwidth, but quad-channel helps more in multi-threaded situations.

    Same cost? That's a little skewed because the LGA2011 should have XMP 1.3 memory and will take twice as much as SB so it is likely that the same memory will cost about twice as much.

    I personally am really happy with my 16gb of DDR3-2133 of G.Skill Ripjawz, which was something like ~150 for the set of 4 sticks, which would be twice as much as that to fill the board with 32gb of 2133. Slower memory might let you do 64gb for the same price.

    I hope that was less of a rant and at least kind of helpful. :ohwell:
     
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  9. reeltape New Member

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    1 - I will be using 2 or 3 monitors, the Quadro will be used for it's CUDA ability and running a separate monitor just for graphics. So When I do not use it that monitor is off. I have read that this is fine. Can anyone seconds that? I do not have the funds to buy 2 separate computers - or I guess I could - but I would have to scale back on both and prefer one 6 core with 2 GPUs. I have not bought the gaming gpu yet, but, I don't see why this can not work with both in a multi display set up (maybe I should have mentioned that).

    2- I think that's right but I am going with the Samsung love voltage 30nm DIMMs (8x 4gb) and slightly bumping the voltage to 1.5 (can be clocked to: 2133 9-10-10-28-1T @ 1.5125V), if it doesn't play nicely, I will probably go with the G Skill as selling these DIMMS will be no problem. It took me almost a week to decide on RAM and I looked at every flavor of Corsair, G Skill and Crucial etc... Unless there is some truth to the rumors of rising RAM prices, I will buy 64gb on matching sticks when I am ready for 64gb. I think I will try 32 for now, maybe RAM disk with 16gb and see how it works in my application (also using a crucial M4 128gb so if load speeds are ok I might just leave the RAM )

    3- See above...I will give the 30nm samsung a go and see I think? There are many benchmarks around that I have read since posting that tend to indicate that the samsung memory, even if only 4 dimms x 4gb, will clock off the map fast, if it's no good for me I will take your XMP 1.3 into consideration, but my fingers are crossed!
    here is that ram: SAMSUNG 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 1280...
    out of stock now...

    It wasn't really a rant! I really love all the feedback, so thank you. Ans, like I think I said, things are so different now than say 2004 when I stopped building previously, it's been a bit of a steep curve to get back into this even for one build. I set out to buy my parts a month ago and I am now down to 2 remaining decisions: cpu and board. X79 2011 Asus WS vs Sabertooth and the 3820 vs 3930k - leaning to the WS+3930K though - what's $400 when you want to be happy and ensure you can squeeze an extra year or 2 out of it right? Has anyone got an opinion on the WS build vs the sabertooth? I know the sabertooth has the 5 year warranty, but I cannot see the WS being a hunk of junk either ... opinion?
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  10. reeltape New Member

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    That's definitely huge: 20 hours down to 2?? Amazing. Any idea what that would be on a 3820? Probably another hour or more...hard to guess because of how 8 threads works vs 12 I suppose. So, with your setup, you can have autocad open, PhotoShop, 20+ browser windows etc and you are still good hey? I don't mean when you are rendering but just day to day work? The reason I am building one semi-fast PC (not dual 8 core Xeons) is cost and I think it will be sufficient for my needs - all around needs that is - so that I can do everything on it during the day day (40 browser tabs, music, email, autocad, photoshop, p2p, etc) and render at night with only that one program of choice open. Your setup must be a nice change over your last one, and I am looking forward to an almost identical setup. The best I had was a dell workstation in 2004 that was a Dual Xeon (2cores) with 8gb of RAM ($5k+ back then) which is now a dinosaur. Cheers
     
  11. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    I have the 3820. It's a good CPU, it's like a 2600k/2700k but with all the bells and whistles to go along with it. Locked multiplier, but that doesn't stop you from hitting really nice speeds. I wouldn't consider the P9X79 WS unless you have a chassis that can fit SSI CEB, this isn't an ATX or even eATX motherboard.

    Personally, I was happy with the P9X79 Deluxe and the 3820. Is the Quadro necessary? If you're only using it for CUDA, why can't you just use the GTX 680?

    I don't know where you live, but if you're in the US, I got the (P9X79 Deluxe from NewEgg here.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  12. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    Sorry for the lag in response.

    I haven't experienced huge lag with autocad and a large number of browser tabs, or photoshop and a lot of browser tabs. Given the memory usage, I generally limit myself to one or the other (if the program is just open I've had all three running at once, but the other program is generally idling rather than being used).

    I came from a medium to medium-low end core 2 quad (9400 series). The difference was exactly as big as I thought it might be. Tripling my threads, and increasing physical core counts by 50%, is an awesome improvement. The substantial increase in cache, step down in manufacturing technology (i.e. 32 nm production size rather than 45 nm), and architecture improvements more than justify a four year wait.

    Back from the gushy side, I can't tell you exactly how much faster the 3930 is than a 3820. Programs influence thread usage, memory bandwidth plays a role in data processing, and raw RAM quantity often influences programs. I'm sorry to say, but all I can give you is "it'll be a substantial improvement." I wish I could be more specific...
     
  13. reeltape New Member

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    Oh no worries! I appreciate this, no need to apologize for a late reply! I'm getting the 3930k for sure! Now all I have to do is decided whether my new case will fit the asus x79 WS (I have a new corsair 550d (silent case) and I got it for this build) but the Asus WS is not atx (CEB) and is one inch wider than the sabertooth (which should fit with some modification) If my case won't fit the board I'll grab the sabertooth. I did notice that the Deluxe had better power stages though...not sure it'll be a big deal though. If this is a big deal, and someone knows something about this, can they please comment? Otherwise I'll probably just go with WS or Asus. It's funny how Asus doesn't have a board that's just decked out, they all have a little of this and that which make picking one really hard! Thanks again for your input, you helped me. Make up my mind, which seems to be getting harder to do as the years go by ;)
    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  14. nleksan

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    Have you considered the Rampage IV Extreme? They just got back in stock at the Egg... If/When I build a 3930K rig, it would be my board-of-choice... The Formula just seems like a waste to me, though; one of the benefits of X79 is 8x RAM DIMMs, and the Rampage Formula only has 4?? WTF!
     
  15. reeltape New Member

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    I know right? 4 DIMMS on any board now would make me feel ripped off. 32gb on an x79 will probably do until 8gb DIMMS are a bit cheaper. I just picked up some of that 30nm samsung ram to OC. I am leaning to that R4E board now...I have been staring at the eggs "compare" page for the WS, Deluxe, Sabertooth, Extreme and a Dual Socket ASUS Lga 2011 for the e5-2600 xeons....I think the cost of the xeon board ($600) and the cpu's is just too high. So, I think the Rampage 4 Extreme is probably the best bet as it does allow 4 way SLI/X-fire as does the WS board. The deluxe has better power staging, but I think in terms of scalabilty and a board you could easily sell down the road when it's time to upgrade the r4e is the best really...that or sabertooth but the sabertooh lacks a few features....I will post back when I finally buy the board and cpu (this week) and start my build. Can anyone tell me a good reason to go with the WS board over extreme? I am mainly using it as a WS but will take advantage of all the PCI-e slots for sure, 5 pci-e is better than 4....
     
  16. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    You have an SSI CEB case? If you don't, it isn't worth it to adjust to get the WS board. What do you use your computer for and what do you have now?
     
  17. nleksan

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    The 150% increase in PCI-E slots over Z77 is what has me strongly considering going with the X79 platform myself... I am looking at throwing a lot of drives in my pc, not to mention I am somewhat of an audiophile so a high end sound card is needed.
    I am waiting to see how the "real" Kepler cards (GTX685 4GB?) perform, but I am in no way interested in limiting myself to 1 card, as I want the scalability of dual Cards and not one overheating PCB with 2 GPUS on it.
    Add in the sound card and a decent hardware RAID Controller Card and I would be choking a Z77 Board to the point of reduced performance for all components...

    I am just not sure if I can fully believe that Socket2011 is not a "dead-end" platform, at least not until they make a real announcement...
     
  18. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    Intel has announced that 1155 is dead end already with z77 and is to be replaced with 1150

     
  19. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    IVB-E is still on the way which could sport some improvement to their 22nm process (wishful thinking?). The problem with 1155 is that if you get a 3770k (2600k, or 2700k), you have nothing to upgrade to. Also Intel RSTe isn't bad. My nVidia chipset raid on my last rig could run smart tests on the drives inside your RAID, and I'm starting to miss that. It rebuilds damn fast though. I have a 3x1tb RAID-5 and it doesn't take more than 5 hours to rebuild where my nVidia chipset would take about 8 or 9 hours on a good day.
     
  20. Raw

    Raw

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    Where was THAT announced by Intel?

    Where was THAT announced by Intel, if I may ask?
    I can't find it announced by Intel anywhere yet but I am not such a good "searcher".
    Thanks for the info.
     
  21. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    Raw says thanks.
  22. Raw

    Raw

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    Not to sound difficult but after searching the internet for half the morning, do I find anywhere this statement..."Intel" has announced that 1155 is dead end already.

    And I don't see that statement in the 2 links you provided either. But I'm getting older and can't see without my glasses.

    Is the statement just a personal statement based on newer technology coming A YEAR from now (((((soon?)))) or did Intel actually say that?

    And yes (tongue in cheek) I do know where the search feature is.

    Thanks for the info though.




    :laugh:
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  23. theoneandonlymrk

    theoneandonlymrk

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    its fairly widespread knowledge by now (1150 for Haswell) and was allways on the cards , intel dont do an upgrade path beyond 3 years these days in some cases less.
    Haswell is some ways off yet though ,but they wont be an upgrade option for any present motherboards as its new socket time Again, and thats one reason why i wont be going intel for a while
     
  24. reeltape New Member

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    This is pretty much the same logic I'm looking at too, I really will use those slots, maybe not with GPUs but I too am an audiophile and the primary use of the board (or use I'm most concerned with is being able to use multiple sound cards - 1-2gpus, RAID etc - have you thought about going with a firewire DAC? That firewire port is a concern for me and why I'm leaning to the WS or deluxe. The rampage iv is really nice too and you can add in a firewire controller but you'd use a slot.

    Regarding the comment about the possibility of x79 being dead end - well, I guess these are all dead end at some point? The thing is, I think many of us get tired of waiting. The x79 will support ivb-e (which I'm not hopeful for anyway considering the early benchmarks of ivy and the heat issues. So, I think buying into x79 at this point is a better choice than z77 if you need 32+gb RAM, 40pcie lanes, 4-5 pci-e slots. I figure that an 8 core down the road will suffice for most users. Without going dual xeon, I think this platform will last someone a good long while. On the flip side, you will have no problem selling this x79+cpu in a year or two if you need to upgrade right? Even if you recoup half your money to upgrade I think now is a decent time to jump on it. Especially considering the ivy cpus on 1155 aren't that much of an improvement and run hot at certain voltages.
     
  25. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EA-H6yuARps

    Intel announces Haswell. It then shows a processor, that is not the same as the 1155 layout. To my knowledge, they never say "socket ____ is dead," for obvious marketing reasons.
     

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