So you’re thinking about buying or building a new computer with Ivy Bridge? And why not? It’s the latest generation of processors from Intel and its faster, runs cooler and is likely to make your computer ‘future proof’. Most people buy computers with the goal of future proofing which involves buying slightly more expensive components to make the computer last longer before you feel it’s too slow and needs an upgrade. But don’t jump the gun, I’m going to give you a few reasons why opting for Sandy Bridge is the better option for most computer users.
You don’t need the boost in power
Yes, Ivy Bridge is more powerful than its predecessor and there was a time where boosts in CPU speed were incredibly useful for visible performance boosts BUT now we have had reasonably high processor speeds for several years now. Clock speeds have hovered between 2.4 and 3.5GHz and mostly the number of cores a processor has is increasing. What you may notice is that quad core processors have basically become main stream while hex core and 8-core processors are still for the enthusiast market as they were last year. At this point processor speeds are high enough that the average computer user will not notice a difference in performance whether they have a 3GHz i5 or a 3.5GHz i7 and the simple reason for this is that the applications we run DO NOT NEED IT. They are perfectly capable of running on slower processors so adding a faster CPU will do almost nothing to improve how it runs. For this reason, upgrading to Ivy Bridge is not worthwhile. Something I would spend the money on instead is buying a SSD as these have been shown to significantly increase the general responsiveness of computers
Sandy Bridge is much cheaper
As Intel releases each generation of CPUs, the older ones need to be removed from the market. The quickest way to do this is to slash prices. You can get an i7 2600K 3.4 GHz processor for less than $300 while an equivalent Ivy Bridge processor is closer to $350. If you aren’t going to get a huge performance boost out of the product, why spend the extra money? This is money better saved or dedicated to other parts of your computer.
Every new product has teething problems. Ivy bridge is a new type of architecture with smaller transistors than the Sandy Bridge counterparts. Issues have been found where they are prone to overheating due to improper heat transfer to the heat spreader and heat sink. This obviously won’t be a problem for all people but it is something to consider with newer technologies.
So even though it might be tempting to buy Ivy Bridge, think again. You might be a getting a much better deal buying the previous generation of products with very little difference in performance. For the average consumer small increases in processing power will not help them with future proofing. Where it might be useful is with people who use graphics intensive programs such as AutoCAD and Premiere. It will also provide a bit of an improvement in gaming graphics for those who are willing to spend the extra dough. For those who browse the internet, play the occassional game and view photos; Sandy Bridge is the way to go.
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