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Z87 (Haswell) v. x79 (Ivy Bridge-E) for GTX 780 SLI Gaming

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by JThorpe, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. JThorpe

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    Hello All,

    So I have somewhat of a simple question. I will be building a new (long lasting, 5 year) gaming system soon and I would like to utilize two GTX 780’s in SLI. I know that, for most games now, I really would only need one GTX 780, but I only build a new computer every 5-6 years, and I want to make sure that I build something that I can still play the new games down the road on high settings.

    With the recent information about Ivy Bridge-E (http://www.maximumpc.com/leaked_intel_roadmap_reveals_new_batch_haswell_chips2013) and the release of Haswell and the Z87 chipset, I have come to the conundrum that I am in now.

    I know that I can SLI on the Z87 motherboards, but I would be relegated to x8/x8 (unless I get a motherboard with a PLX chip, but I want to stay away from that). I have read a bunch of the forums and review sites, that say that x8 PCIe 3.0 is the same as x16 PCIe 2.0, and that the difference between the 3.0 x8 and 3.0 x16 is not major, in today’s games. Also, that most GPU’s do not fully saturate the PCIe 3.0 lanes. Further, I know that I would be able to SLI on the x79 motherboard and I would be able to utilize PCI3 3.0 x16/x16.

    My motherboard/CPU set up would be:

    Asus Z87 Sabertooth + i7- 4770K v. Asus X79 Sabertooth + i7-4920K (or i7-4930K)

    So here are my questions:

    1) Would the bottleneck caused (if any) by 3.0 x8/x8 be a big issue when gaming on a Z87 motherboard with 2 780’s in SLI, when playing today’s games on max settings?
    2) Would gamming on a Z87 motherboard with 2 780’s in SLI run into some performance issues later on (2-3 years), and would these issues be noticeable?
    3) Would the cost of an x79 motherboard and Ivy Bridge-E system be worth the ability to utilize PCIe 3.0 x16/x16?
    4) Would the loss of the Haswell and Z87 features be worth it to go the X79 chipset?
    5) Which one should I go for? :)

    **I really want to make sure whatever I buy now is correct, since I will not be upgrading for another 5 years.**

    Thank you in advance for the responses, and I apologize if this has been answered already.
     
  2. radrok

    radrok

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    This can all be answered easily :)

    You won't notice a lane bandwidth bottleneck unless you plan to run a raid card with SSDs/HDDs on it that make one of your lanes drop to 4x.

    The Z87 platform is the right choice for gamers atm, SB-E is just too behind to compete with it.

    BUT if you can manage to wait until the release of IVY-E I would honestly recommend you to get an Ivy-E quad or hexa and be done with it for 5 years.

    Also IVY-E will probably be soldered IHS which will probably give you a hefty overclock compared to Ivy/Haswell due to crap TIM underneath the IHS.
     
  3. Jack1n

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    In my opinion it would be better to get an X79 based system,but what you have to keep in mind is that for it to be worth it you need to get a 6 core CPU to go along with it which will increase the cost quite a bit,i dont really understand why you dont want a mother board with a PLX chip if you worried about your lane count.
     
  4. JThorpe

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    The main reason would be I would like to purchase the Asus Sabertooth. I know that Asus (which I want to stick with) has the Maximus VI Formula and Extreme, but the Sabertooth has the 5 year warranty.
     
  5. buildzoid

    buildzoid

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    X79 is good for using a crap ton of expansion cards (raid cards, pcie SSDs, HD capture cards, more than 2 you setups) RAM and will beat z87 in all multi threaded tasks if you own a six core i7 or 6/8 core Xeon.
    If only use 2 780s and a soundcard and don't video edit or render professionaly you will be a ok or better on a z87 using an OCed i5/i7 as you do get better single threaded performance as long as you get the chip to around 4.6 GHz
    Avoiding plx chips is a good idea if you want as much fps as possible because they add latency however pcie 2.0 x8 is sufficient for all of today's gpus so pcie 3.0 x8 is perfectly ok for your needs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  6. Jack1n

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    If you dont plan to add a sound card,raid card,capture card ect then both will give you ample Pci lanes.
     
  7. radrok

    radrok

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    ^^

    Sound card can easily go into a 1x/4x lane wired to the PCH without hurting the 8x/8x of Z87s.

    Some motherboards can do that.
     
  8. Random Murderer

    Random Murderer The Anti-Midas

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    Look, if you only plan on running two GPUs maximum, go Haswell. If you plan on running three or more GPUs or two GPUs and a RAID/SCSI card, go IVB-E.
    Really X79 only has two things over Z87: double the PCI-e 3.0 lanes and quad-channel memory. Z87 makes up for the lack of quad-channel memory with blistering speeds(some people are running 3000+ stable!). That said, I see no reason IVB-E won't run 2800+ when it's released. SB-E already runs 2400+ on most chips if you put the work in. Also, as far as lane bandwidth with high-end GPUs, take a look at W1zz's extensive testing here. You'll notice a 7970 running at PCI-e 3.0 x16 only has a 1% increase in performance over PCI-e 3.0 x8.

    To answer your questions directly:
    1) No. the reduced lane bandwidth will not cause bottlenecks in current games. CPU on the other hand, may cause some slight bottlenecking unless you plan to OC.
    2) Probably. It's hard to say, as improvements in tech have gotten slimmer and slimmer with each new generation.
    3) Subjective. Is the cost worth it to you to not have to change motherboard and CPU 2-3 years from now if/when you get new video cards?
    4) Again, subjective. Extra cores and lower latency RAM were the draws for me(when I built this system, I purposely bought the lowest end LGA2011 chip as I knew I would be going IVB-E later this year). Some people may benefit from extra SATA III ports, m-PCIe, m-SATA, onboard Wi-Fi, etc., and Z87 would be the choice there. I didn't need all those extras and planned on running at least three GPUs, so X79 was the choice for me. Instead of thinking about which would be better for you based on chipset, have a look around at X79 and Z87 motherboards and find the perfect board for your needs.
    5) See #4.
     
  9. JThorpe

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    Ok, I am only planning on running two GPUs maximum, one SSD, HDD, and DVD/BR drive, and I will not be upgrading. So once I build my computer that is it for the next 5 or so years.

    Also, I have seen the testing that you mentioned, could that 1% grow over time? I know that we cant predict the future, but looking back at previous tech can we somewhat take an educated guess. Also, in that article, there is a post that show a chart where multi-gpu has a scaling issue (http://i.imgur.com/7ZV3K.png), the poster stated that it came from xtremesystems scaling tests.

    I know with my system now, which was a AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE, and 2 HD 4890's in CF, I was able to play new games on High settings fine, up until Bioshock Infinite. Once Bioshock, I had to drop the settings to Medium and enable V Sync (I was pushing 80fps on high), due the fact that even with my GPU fans going 80%-100% both my cards were hitting 90c+. Further, on games that are CPU bound, I was hitting 100% and the games would lag, and it wasn't my network, since I have a laptop running and i7-720QM and it was doing pretty good.

    I just want to make sure that what ever I build (CPU, MB, and GPU) will sustain me.
     
    buildzoid says thanks.
  10. Jack1n

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    The main reason that i recommended an x79 build is because you have the option to go 6 core which in my opinion will increase the systems longevity by quite a bit.
     
  11. buildzoid

    buildzoid

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    An x79 hexa core @~4.8ghz setup should last until the arrival of skylake-e or it's equivalent if Intel continues at it's current rate of development. Though z87 would probably be just enough with better single core performance than x79.
     
  12. jsfitz54

    jsfitz54

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  13. JThorpe

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  14. JThorpe

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    Ok, so there might be one more item that I would like to add on top of the GTX 780's in SLI. If I wanted to add a Sound Card as well, would I still have the condurm (X79 Ivy Bridge-E v. Z87 Haswell)? :confused:

    I watched a video from ASUS where they were showing what 2 GTX 780s in SLI with the Maximus VI Hero (Z87) could do with a 4K monitor, and on the games that they were showing, it was not dropping below 50+ FPS. Would that be a good sign to go with the Z87 (Haswell) set up?

    Also, I dont think I mentioned what monitor I will be getting, but I will be planning on getting either a 1440p (27inch) or a 1080p, 120hz(27inch) monitor. I am still doing some research, but I know I will upgrade my monitor soon (I know that my set up might be overkill, but I am trying to build a 5 year system).

    Thank you again to everyone who has posted replies, they are greatly appreciated.
     

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