This roundup will look at prices for selected processors to see which SA store is offering the cheapest deal. We’ll be looking at a few retailers familiar to MyGaming readers, and in the end we’ll pick a value winner; the chip (or chips) that everyone should be aiming for.
Intel’s Ivy Bridge-E is finally available in SA, and the processors are ready for a price war with the outgoing Sandy Bridge-E family. Ivy Bridge-E introduces the same improvements first seen on the desktop family, dropping to a 22-nanometer production process with lower power consumption and improved efficiency.
Ivy Bridge-E processors represent a significant efficiency leap over Sandy Bridge-E and still work on Intel X79-based motherboards (provided that your manufacturer has added in BIOS support for the new processor family).
Why would LGA2011 be attractive to buyers? It boasts quad-channel memory and four PCI-Express 3.0 lanes for multi-GPU action, allowing for some really high-end setups not possible on cheaper solutions.
The LGA2011 platform is derived from the Xeon server family however, and lacks some technologies such as built-in graphics, native USB 3.0 support, as well as extra SATA 3.0 ports.
The table below shows the prices of various Intel desktop processors available from local retailers. The lowest prices are highlighted in Bold. For the purposes of this roundup, products listed as “Sold Out” or “Out of stock” will not be included in the table. As Ivy Bridge-E is still in limited stocks, entries listed as “Contact for availability” will be included in the table.
Prices are listed in South African Rands (R). Please note that pricing on these products is tentative, and subject to change thanks to our fluctuating exchange rate.
|Core i7-4770K (Haswell)||3600||3999||4185||4349||4198.75|
|Core i7-3820 (SNB-E)||3551||3606||3699|
|Core i7-4820K (IVB-E)||3585||4074||3799|
|Core i7-3930K (SNB-E)||6942||7052||7088||7249||7073.24|
|Core i7-4930K (IVB-E)||6840||7214||7399|
|Core i7-3970X (SNB-E)||12204||10230||12620||12849||12489.53|
|Core i7-4960X (IVB-E)||12204||12761||13149|
Although we’re looking at Ivy Bridge-E specifically, Intel’s Haswell platform actually packs more features and more flexibility when you take into account that most Z87 motherboards support up to eight SATA 3.0 ports, two-way Crossfire and SLI, and DDR3 speeds of up to 3000MHz, along with better voltage control and lower power consumption.
At the low-end of the scale, the Core i7-4820K only makes sense if you’re upgrading from a Core i7-3820 or plan to run quad Crossfire or SLI with heavy overclocking on the CPU side. That is the only level at which LGA2011 makes sense today, because Haswell and the Z87 platform is more than enough for gamers and most power users.
On the pricing side, Rebeltech has the lowest pricing again; a consistent pattern in our roundups of late. Availability of Ivy Bridge-E parts is scarce at the moment, with most shops indicating that stock levels are low or that buyers must call in for availability details. Ikonix and Prophecy did not have the new processor family listed on their site.
And the winner is…
The value winner here is the Core i7-4930K, offering six cores, twelve threads and an unlocked multiplier for half the price of its bigger brother, the nearly identical Core i7-4960X. You’d really only want the Extreme Edition for overclocking and benchmarking due to it being binned for its higher capabilities, while some people with too much money may want it for bragging rights.
The Core i7-4820K isn’t really appealing to most people even with an unlocked multiplier. It’s ideally suited for Core i7-3820 buyers looking to upgrade to that unlocked multiplier, or power users who want the quad-channel memory and PCI-Express functionality, but is overshadowed by the Core i7-4770K which is better-equipped.
The i7-4820K also lacks functionality such as Quicksync, will consume more power for similar performance, and is running on the old X79 chipset, which hasn’t seen a refresh since it launched in 2011.
According to recent roadmaps, Intel will be launching the successor to Ivy Bridge-E and X79 in 2014. The replacement products are expected to be the Haswell-E family as well as a new X99 chipset, with a slightly altered LGA2011 socket.