2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

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Izak Synthiemental
KVRist
496 posts since 4 Aug, 2010

Post Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:50 am

Hey fellow KVRians,

some years ago I bought a good value Lenovo Think Centre desktop computer, the kind of PC that is typically used as an office workstation in corporate environments.

It sports an Intel I5-2400, which is a second generation I5 CPU. As far as I understand the most recent generation is the 9th?

I thought about upgrading that computer with an additional SSD drive to serve as the main system and OS partition (with an upgraded Win 10 installation) and RAM increased from currently 4gb to 8gb.

I'm curious about your opinions:
would it still make sense to upgrade this rather old system, especially in the light of the quite old CPU?

As I understand I cannot just put a new CPU on the socket, since that would require a new mainboard aswell and then I could easily abandon the idea and buy an entirely new computer (which I want to avoid, since I don't want to spend a lot of cash right now and I actually kind of like my old Think Centre workstation).

I'm not planning on running Nebula plugins or anything that taxes the CPU to an unusually high extent. However, I mainly use software instruments in my productions (samplers, synths, a few Kontakt and sfz sample librariers) and I mix exclusively in the box (with moderately CPU-taxing algorithmic effects, such as reverbs, delays and of course dynamics and EQs).
http://soundcloud.com/samaritageto

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BertKoor
KVRAF
11010 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:44 pm

You'll get a great benefit from installing a SSD, mainly fast boot and load times. Does not break the bank, can be carried over to the next system.

If it does what you need of it, why change it. The clock speed and core count don't go up that much anymore. Sure the power goes up somewhat, but the exponential curve of Moore's Law has halted.
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Izak Synthiemental
KVRist
496 posts since 4 Aug, 2010

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:07 pm

Thanks, I share that rationale. Still, it seems that there are some differences in terms of performance between the various CPU generations, even if they have the same numerical clock speed.

However, I found this CPU benchmark tool @ ww.cpubenchmark.net/compare and it seems that a 8th generation i5 with the same clock speed as my 2nd generation i5 (3.10 GHz) performs around twice as good, which is a quite surprisingly drastic improvement over the early models.
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BertKoor
KVRAF
11010 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:26 pm

But do you actually require twice as much power? Wanna see cpu % go down from 40 to 20? ;-)

In the old days you got double power in one or two years, this took a whole decade.
We are the KVR collective. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Image
My MusicCalc is back online!!

Izak Synthiemental
KVRist
496 posts since 4 Aug, 2010

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:38 pm

Hmmm, to be honest I often reach 90% CPU consumption quite fast with my current setup when using a few quality virtual instruments and mixing effects (I like to premix during composition to sculpt the sound in the right direction).
http://soundcloud.com/samaritageto

Proper Education Always Corrects Errors

Passing Bye
KVRian
603 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:00 pm

In the same boat, got i5 2500k, best CPU I can put in this mobo is i7 3770k, already upped the RAM and added SSD, that made enough difference, than "clocked" CPU a little (just used that optimal internal option, which seems to clock it up to 4,3 Ghz) and that made 20% of difference according to Geekbench test I did before-after, still debating with myself for the time being to get second hand i7 3770k and clock it, seems like cheapest route, it will get me close to performance of stock i5 8600 system, at least judging by test bench numbers.

Izak Synthiemental
KVRist
496 posts since 4 Aug, 2010

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:05 pm

How does your system perform with the Ssd and RAM upgrade and the over clocking of the CPU ? Do you reach the performance limit quickly still or does it give you sufficient headroom to comfortably compose and mix projects? Do you use a lot of plugin instruments and effects or do you record mostly (less taxing)?
http://soundcloud.com/samaritageto

Proper Education Always Corrects Errors

Passing Bye
KVRian
603 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:59 pm

Sincerely, it's better than before, especially transitioning to an SSD, but still I crave for more CPU power, probably have similar workflow and expectations as you and kinda feel like these days some stuff tax resources more than before or I started using more taxing stuff, didn't had much issues before, could do my whole thing without single bounce.

Still, more I think about it, upgrading this thing is worth it in my opinion, spent 100 bucks total on both SSD and RAM and I could throw another 100 on i7 3770k and get in the ballpark of cheapest i5 build I could do now, but if I'm going to get new machine, would start from 6 core i7's, but that cost enough, anything lower than that just isn't worth over investing 200 bucks in upgrading what I got already.

Ultimately I feel with i7 3770k I could survive 2 years more, with clocked i5 I got scores around 12k on Geekbench, clocked i7 scores around 22k, that's massive difference for 100 bucks worth of upgrade, I got good cooler, great mobo for clocking, great power supply (burned out on that before), didn't cut much corners on this built and glad I didn't, now I can squeeze more life out of it.

I guess you can pull all this off too for the same money, if you ask me, it's totally worth it.

Kaine
KVRAF
1870 posts since 4 Nov, 2004 from Manchester

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:05 am

Izak Synthiemental wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:07 pm
However, I found this CPU benchmark tool @ ww.cpubenchmark.net/compare and it seems that a 8th generation i5 with the same clock speed as my 2nd generation i5 (3.10 GHz) performs around twice as good, which is a quite surprisingly drastic improvement over the early models.
We expect around 10% - 15% gains on the IPC (instructions per second) with each generation. Also, the current i5's have 6 cores, as opposed to your 4 core chip.

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S0lo
KVRian
676 posts since 31 Dec, 2008

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:27 am

SSD will almost always improve your overall experience compared to HDD. But it will not improve on CPU performance in your DAW unless your using very large sample library plugins which would require continuous waiting for the hard drive to load something while your performing.

For me personally, SSD is a no brainier. It's such a breeze to work with.

ghettosynth
KVRAF
11434 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:38 am

Can you still create excellent music with a second gen i5, yes.

Is it still way more power than most people really need to make good music, yes.

Is an SSD a relatively inexpensive and worthwhile addition to almost any old machine, yes.

Will you notice the difference with a new machine, yes.

Does that help?

Izak Synthiemental
KVRist
496 posts since 4 Aug, 2010

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:23 am

Thanks guys, I think I have a clearer picture now.

@Passing Bye You mentioned you paid 100 bucks in total for RAM and the SSD? May I ask what products or brands you did buy? It seems I would have to pay at around 150 Euros (around $180) here in Germany for a proper Samsung Evo SSD and RAMs
http://soundcloud.com/samaritageto

Proper Education Always Corrects Errors

Passing Bye
KVRian
603 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:44 am

Izak Synthiemental wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:23 am
Thanks guys, I think I have a clearer picture now.

@Passing Bye You mentioned you paid 100 bucks in total for RAM and the SSD? May I ask what products or brands you did buy? It seems I would have to pay at around 150 Euros (around $180) here in Germany for a proper Samsung Evo SSD and RAMs
Costed me even less, around 30 bucks for SSD, around 25 bucks for RAM, SSD is new Kingston A400 120Gb and RAM is Kingston HyperX Blu 2x2Gb's DDR3 second hand, sorry for wrong info.

Now I can easily sell my i5 for 30 bucks and add 70 for i7 3770k, so whole SSD+RAM+CPU upgrade will cost me around 130 bucks total, nice.

I don't think it matters that much which SSD you got, just get an SSD, what will matter the most is the CPU, so don't sacrifice CPU in favor of little faster SSD, you really need all 3 (CPU+RAM+SSD) to really notice an improvement.

acYm
KVRian
904 posts since 11 Sep, 2015

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:14 pm

the 8700k absolutely trashes my old 2700k with more than double the cinebench score. it had a legendary run but it has now come to an end.
also you really want a new mobo that has nvme.

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
5501 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: 2nd generation i5 CPU - still sufficient?

Post Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:37 pm

Without knowing the motherboard etc I can't be entirely sure, but it's probable you can put an i7 2600 in that machine (same family of processor) which would give a fairly decent improvement for around £50-60 second hand on ebay. You'd notice the difference, especially with an SSD as well. The scores are;

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cp ... 40GHz&id=1

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