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4 or 6 core processor?

Hey guys

I'd like some advice on new processors please.

I'm upgrading and can't decide between a 4 core or 6 core professor. i7-6600k or i7-5820k. The 6600k has 4 faster, newer more efficient individual cores whilst the 5720k has 6 slightly older, slightly less efficient individual cores.

My PC will mainly be used for work, Max, Zbrush, Photoshop, Substance Painter, Marmoset etc. I'm also upgrading for VR, Rift or Vive haven't decided yet.

From research the 5820K is better for intense programs like video editing. The i7 6600k is better for games and whilst I'll admit I mostly play games on my consoles I play the odd big game on my PC and want it to sing. Also as ive already said...VR... I want a pretty flawless experience.

My current rig is 2500k with a GTX 670. Both upgrades will be big and very noticable.  My question is, given the massive performance increase for both the 5820k and 6600k over my current build, would the 6600k be noticeably slower compared to the 5820k in work related tasks? Is the extra 5820K 10% increase noticable when your already getting 90% with the 6600k. I fear the 5820k will be noticeably slower than the 6600k for VR tasks.

I also want to think of her future. X99 or 1152 motherboard going forward. What will future Intel processors, skylake E require for example. Is my best bet going forward for games in a few years is too get a second graphics card as I hear VR is mostly GPU dependant.

I can't get the thought out of my head that regardless of core numbers having newer, more efficient single cores is better in the long run.

I decided to research my work programs to see if they actually do make more use of 6 cores.

Photoshop CC... doesn't look like 6 cores  make much difference when painting big textures.

Substance Painter... The GPU is key, I'm getting a GTX 989Ti so that takes care of that.

Marmoset... again GPU.

Max / Maya - the viewport is GPU whilst rendering is CPU. I don't render so once again GPU. I need lots of polys in the viewport.

ZBRUSH.... I was unable to find any concrete info on whether 6 is better than 4 cores.

So yeah, it's looking like the programs I use won't really make much use of the 5820k over the 6600k. I will be doing some video  editing going forward but only in small amounts and yes... the 5820k would be better for that. Need to go off what I use most though.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Replies

  • Millenia
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    Millenia Polycount Sponsor
    I'd go for the 5820k, I've had the 6-core 3930k in my machine for 4 years and it still runs everything I throw at it with ease.
  • kolayamit
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    kolayamit polycounter lvl 12
    Go with 6 cores, that is 6 cores with hyper threading. So task manager will show total 12 CPU's. More cores is always better.
  • EarthQuake
    It really depends on what you do. With apps that are multi-thread well, many cores (as long as the sum performance of the cores is better) tend to be faster. Apps like xnormal or offline renderers like Modo and some others that can properly thread will tend to work better with more cores (assuming similar efficacy).

    However, many apps are not threaded well. For the longest time, texture baking in Maya only used a single core (maybe that has improved?) and many other apps will be optimized for 2, 4 at most cores. In this case, a CPU with less, but more efficient cores is faster. Additionally, many apps may be threaded for multiple cores, but performance is not spread linearly over all cores, in which case, less, but more efficient cores are better.

    So that is the general info.

    Now, when it comes specifically to the 6600k vs 5820k, the 5820k's cores are no slower individually than the 6600k, so price is the only real negative (be sure to check motherboard prices though, the cost differences may offset). The 6600k is a very good cpu that will easily last you for the next few years. Also, if you're not doing a lot of texture baking and/or offline rendering, you probably will not notice the difference in speed. On paper the 5820k is about 33% faster, but ONLY at full load/when you're maxing out all 6 cores. If you're using 4 or less cores, there will be no difference in performance. So don't expect your system to be any more responsive with the 5820k outside of max load.

    For the record, Marmoset Toolbag is 100% GPU dependant, so a fast video card is what you want there. I'm not sure about Substance. Zbrush is entirely CPU based, but I'm not sure how well it threads.

    Now, as to "future proofing", this is a silly thing to worry about. By the time there is a new cpu on the market worth upgrading to, it will require a new chipset and motherboard! You're not going to upgrade your CPU in a year for a 10% boost, so the chipset type should have zero bearing on your choice.

    kolayamit said:
    Go with 6 cores, that is 6 cores with hyper threading. So task manager will show total 12 CPU's. More cores is always better.
    Except when it's not, or when it makes no difference, which is often.


  • walter
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    walter polycounter lvl 13
    The Skylabe generation is very efficient in render engine like Mental Ray or VRay, the 6700K 4 cores is as fast as the 5820K 6 cores. Take a look to this bench (sorry in French, but the graph is easily understood):
    http://www.hardware.fr/articles/940-9/cpu-rendu-3d-mental-ray-v-ray.html

  • repete
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    repete polycounter lvl 6
    It's not always more = better, look at the benchmarks
  • battlecow
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    battlecow polycounter lvl 9
    Unless you are using offline renders like vray , the impact will be minimal. Of course if you have the extra cash go for the 6 cores. 
    If money is tight I'd rather put it in a good ssd, a gpu or a nice monitor :smile: 
    It will make absolutely no difference when playing games, modelling or texturing, none that you might notice anyway.
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    I don't think you are comparing the right processors - 6600k is actually i5, a tier down from i7-6700k, which should have similiar performance to the 5820k. 5820 is also more expensive if you take the motherboard into consideration. I have the 3820k from 2012, and thought I'd buy it with upgradeability in mind, but it never happened, and the socket was replaced anyway, so I wouldn't worry about that. I also wouldn't upgrade now, since performance increase is something like 30%, but if I had to buy something, I'd buy the 6700k, since is cheaper overall, and unless you're doing some heavy rendering (like with vray), it's fast enough for game art.
  • Sevv
    Thanks for the thoughts guys. 

    Sorry Huffer, typo... I do mean the 6700k. How can I write that entire post and not notice that :(

    Yeah I think I agree with most people. Unless I'm doing offline renders or similar the efficiency of the 6700k is better. Even though I do a lot of work on my PC, the specifics of each program I use on a daily basis won't notice the difference. I push realtime polys, paint textures and use my GPU in Marmoset or Substance. As Earthquake pointed out most things are only optimised for less cores.

    Still researching but atm the 6700k is looking like the one I'll get. Plus it's cheaper.
  • thomasp
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    thomasp quad damage
    assuming there is no large difference in clock speed or cache i think 6 cores in generally are more preferable assuming the OS makes allocation of cores to tasks easy. is there a way in windows to conveniently assign cores to processes? as in: 'dedicate 2 cores to application X, leave the rest to the OS to utilize as needed'?
  • Treidge
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    Treidge polycounter lvl 9
    There is an option in Task Manager to set core affinity to the processes in Windows — so basically yes, that can be done.
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
  • thomasp
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    thomasp quad damage
    Treidge said:
    There is an option in Task Manager to set core affinity to the processes in Windows — so basically yes, that can be done.
    ah, so affinity is the keyword.

    this looks interesting: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/windows-and-office/change-the-processor-affinity-setting-in-windows-7-to-gain-a-performance-edge/
    especially the ability to run this from shortcuts. i think experimenting with fencing off certain tasks that normally take over the entire computer would be interesting. like xnormal renders - i don't need them yesterday and would rather prefer to be able to work uninterrupted while that AO is cooking in the background. :)
    will try this on my 4 core 4790k. but i think for such cases 6 cores or more to distribute would actually be great to have.

  • Treidge
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    Treidge polycounter lvl 9
    Actually, instead of setting up core affinity for something like this it may be more beneficial to just lower the process priority to the lowest possible. In such way something like xNormal that has a bake in progress will allocate all "spare" CPU resources available, but will "step aside" when any other software (browser, Photoshop, etc.) calls for a CPU power. In fact, processes with "Low" priority will run like a background process, and users generally shouldn't see any significant lags while doing something else in the same time.

    Also bakes will finish faster, as all CPU cores still will be loaded by 99% of time. So, with process priority it's pretty easy to balance the running tasks in favor of real-time activity instead of "background" baking. What's even better, there are some tools available that can watch for a high-CPU processes and assign them a lower priority once they're passing a certain threshold of CPU usage. For example, ProcessTamer and Process Lasso can do that kind of thing.


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