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How important is socket compatibility (CPU upgrade path) to you?

How important is an upgrade path to you when it comes to buying a new CPU?

  • Very important, it's one of the key criterias

    Votes: 31 22.5%
  • Somewhat important, good to have but not a deal breaker

    Votes: 58 42.0%
  • Not important, I usually upgrade my CPU and motherboard at the same time

    Votes: 49 35.5%

  • Total voters
    138

epsilon84

Golden Member
Aug 29, 2010
1,016
743
136
In light of Coffee Lakes need for a brand new motherboard and the numerous comments surrounding the lack of upgrade path on Intel platforms, I'm curious just how important is a viable upgrade path to you when it comes down to purchasing a new CPU?

Personally, for me, it's good to have, but not a must have. I'm still running a 2500K for example, and whilst I can upgrade to a 3770K and get a big boost in MT performance, it doesn't make sense because I can get a new (and far superior) i5 8400 for approximately the same price.

Yes, I will have to get a new motherboard and RAM, which adds to the cost, but I can also sell my existing motherboard and RAM to recoup some of that cost. I will also be able to finally take advantage of new IO standards like NVMe and higher bandwith PCI-E lanes, something I wouldn't be able to do if I stay with my current motherboard.

What about you? How important is an upgrade path to you when it comes time to purchase a CPU?
 

scannall

Golden Member
Jan 1, 2012
1,826
1,342
136
Just out of curiosity, what CPU and mobo do you own and what did you upgrade from?
Started life with an i7-920. Switched to an i7-960 later on. Now it has a X5660 with a 4.2 Ghz overclock.

Yes, it's a bit old now. And after we move next month, it will be retired to the guest bedroom, and a new Threadripper will take its place.
 

TheGiant

Senior member
Jun 12, 2017
748
353
106
Pretty much zero importance.

At the first thought it looks important, but the experience tells otherwise.

Through the years from 486DX25 (oced to 50MHz) to 14C broadwell Xeon and i5-6600K I upgraded CPU to the same board only once- core 2 duo e6300 (oced from 1.86GHz to 3,43GHz) to core 2 quad q9650. And it was a useless upgrade. I was disappointed by the pretty much zero gains on desktop and gaming.

The core i5-6600K (now oced to 4,4GHz ) used for som gaming a excel precalculations I will upgrade probably to i7-8700K when its available and the price is reasonable (I am going to keep my 32GB of 3200MHz RAM). Too bad optane is too pricey now- intel needs competition as always now.
The 14C Xeon I will upgrade most probably to next generation of Epyc or Xeon. And I will definitely keep 256GB of ECC DDR4 even if it bottlenecks the CPU somehow unless the RAM prices go down reasonably.

Cannot say that about graphics cards thou... with the core 2 duo I had radeon 1900pro, then gf8800gt, then gf280gtx
 
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Crono

Lifer
Aug 8, 2001
23,720
1,499
136
It's preferable to have longer socket compatibility, but I can't remember the last time I upgraded just the CPU, if ever. The past couple of years it's been back and forth AMD and Intel (you can call it tick-tock - I also tend to do the same with AMD and Nvidia for GPUs) with new builds. FX-8350, i7-6700K, Ryzen 7 1700X, and in a couple of days, i7-8700.

If I stuck with a PC for a few years it would probably be more important to me.
 
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whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,566
96
I did it once and only once back in the Socket A days. Damn near broke the motherboard during it too.
 

CakeMonster

Golden Member
Nov 22, 2012
1,053
130
106
None. When I want to upgrade I want a platform upgrade too. I usually sell my old setup with CPU+MB+Cooler as it is. Rather install it fresh than re-fit the heatsink with all the added work of that.
 

Qwertilot

Golden Member
Nov 28, 2013
1,589
243
106
Definitely agree with Insomniator above for most people - unless you've got the sort of job where every ms saved is useful then any sort of decent high end CPU you buy these days will last a long time. Might of course feel the need to have the fastest anyway :)
 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
23,138
1,380
126
Not important at all. If I buy just a CPU and reuse my motherboard, I get a slight speed bump on one computer. If instead, I buy a CPU and motherboard, then I get that speed bump and new features on that computer but also get to shift the old CPU/motherboard to my wife, her old CPU/motherboard to the HTPC, that old CPU/motherboard to a relative, and that old CPU/motherboard to charity.

For the (pretty cheap in the scheme of things) cost of a new motherboard, that means 5 people get upgrades and my upgrade is far better than what I'd get if I just changed a CPU. I never have, and probably never will, upgrade just a CPU. Even if I could, I can't imagine even wanting to castrate a new CPU in my existing motherboard.
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
33,301
11,431
146
I recently upgraded my video card. My CPU? i7 4790K. Why would I need to upgrade that. When I do upgrade it will most likely be the entire platform. CPUs last a long time these days. I haven't upgraded my CPU since I dropped in an X2 to replace my first Athlon 64. Unless you are just trying to stay on top of the benchmark crowd.

On the flipside, I am building a dual Xeon with an upgrade path in mind. Server parts that are designed to last a long time. I'll upgrade the CPUs down the road when the businesses dump them into the market when they upgrade their equipment. But for my main rig, I see myself upgrading every five years (even if I really don't have to) and just replacing the entire platform.
 
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Dribble

Golden Member
Aug 9, 2005
1,933
464
136
I don't upgrade unless there is a sizeable performance boost and there's not enough improvement of cpu performance between generations to be bothered about. If there was to be a huge upgrade it would be a new architecture and that would always need a new socket. Hence I don't care about the motherboard lasting several generations.
 

dlerious

Golden Member
Mar 4, 2004
1,003
258
136
It's somewhat important for me with something like X299 and X399. On the mainstream side, I'd like to be able to bring my CPU over to a new motherboard that has new features like USB 3.2, PCIe 4.0, NvMe, etc.
 

scannall

Golden Member
Jan 1, 2012
1,826
1,342
136
I don't upgrade unless there is a sizeable performance boost and there's not enough improvement of cpu performance between generations to be bothered about. If there was to be a huge upgrade it would be a new architecture and that would always need a new socket. Hence I don't care about the motherboard lasting several generations.
Upgrading from say a 6600K to an 8700K for example would be a huge boost. No other reason than product segmentation keeping you from doing that without buying a new motherboard. Coffee Lake is now the third generation of no IPC increase, just process massaging, so I think it's fair to say that the Core architecture has been wrung about as far as it's going to go.
 

Indus

Diamond Member
May 11, 2002
6,937
2,441
136
Its really nice to have when you don't have money lying around to throw away but still feel the itch to upgrade your slow system.

I upgraded my E6550 core 2 duo to a Q9550 before I gave it to my dad.
My friend didn't have the money for Ryzen so we upgraded his FX rig to a FX- 8 core.

I still have a i5-3470 and I've felt the need to upgrade to i5-3770k but put it off for Ryzen 1600. I do know fully that in 3 years I can throw an 8 core 7nm cpu in there without researching what ram/ motherboard I need.

Really handy. Not essential but really handy.
 
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LTC8K6

Lifer
Mar 10, 2004
28,520
1,573
126
I rarely just upgrade the CPU.

Usually that is done for someone else's computer where they don't want to see anything change, they just want it to run faster.

For my own systems, I generally am tired of the whole thing when I upgrade, so the board gets upgraded as well.

The idea of putting a new expensive CPU in an old mobo with an old PS sometimes scares me.
 

Mr Evil

Senior member
Jul 24, 2015
464
186
116
mrevil.asvachin.com
AM3 was around for so long that I ended up with several compatible motherboards and CPUs around the house. These were mixed+matched as people upgraded, which was very convenient.
 

PingSpike

Lifer
Feb 25, 2004
21,618
461
126
Its important to me because if the motherboard dies in 3-4 years and I've seen no reason to upgrade during that time I want to be able to find a replacement part. CPUs are expensive but hardly ever fail, motherboards I can't say the same of. The longer the same socket is used the longer the supply of usable new motherboards remains available, and the availability of refurbs and used after that.
 

John Carmack

Member
Sep 10, 2016
123
138
116
Its important to me because if the motherboard dies in 3-4 years and I've seen no reason to upgrade during that time I want to be able to find a replacement part. CPUs are expensive but hardly ever fail, motherboards I can't say the same of. The longer the same socket is used the longer the supply of usable new motherboards remains available, and the availability of refurbs and used after that.
This here is the answer. I've had many motherboards die after a few years in service and the only options were to either get gouged for a new old stock board, buy dodgy used boards, or throw the CPU out... hate throwing perfectly good chips out.

I did upgrade CPU's a few times during the P2/P3/Athlon days, perhaps it's not as important during times when the 90% marketshare leader has been limiting their top mainsteam offering to 4C/8T for what seems like forever, but now with them going from 4C/8T to 6C/12T to 8C/16T within a comparative blink of an eye (with what looks like a new chipset/socket for each step) even the most ardent fanboys have to be grinding their teeth.
 

fleshconsumed

Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2002
6,162
1,567
136
I've been using Intel for the past 6 or so years simply because AMD was so far behind. I now have a new shiny AM4 desktop and I hope AMD keeps its word about AM4 longevity - it would be really really cool to get 5GHz 8 core Ryzen2 or even better 5GHz 12 core Ryzen 2 on the same motherboard.
 

epsilon84

Golden Member
Aug 29, 2010
1,016
743
136
Actually now that some of you have mentioned it, I also only recall ever upgrading my CPU on an existing motherboard once, way back when Celerons were a viable alternative to the Pentium!

It wasn't a straightforward upgrade either, as I was using a slot CPU and Intel had just moved to socketed CPUs so I used something called a "slotket" which was an adaptor so you could use new socket based CPUs on your old slot based motherboard. How cool was that?
 
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coercitiv

Diamond Member
Jan 24, 2014
4,601
6,397
136
A decent CPU upgrade path widens the pool of available options when buying new systems and/or when replacing parts. It affects prices for both new and old parts.

Whether or not I intend to keep my current motherboard when I upgrade the CPU is not that relevant, what's important is the very existence of my compatible motherboard will directly influence the selling price of the new and shiny motherboard I plan to acquire. More options, more leverage.
 
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Reinvented

Senior member
Oct 5, 2005
489
77
91
I voted for upgrading both at the same time. It's not worth upgrading at all, unless you go all out. I went from a Q6600 to a 3770K, and from that to a 7600K to a full out Ryzen system. It's a lot nicer when you go all out.
 
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Phynaz

Lifer
Mar 13, 2006
10,140
817
126
Zero. The last CPU I upgraded was a 486-33 to a DX2-66.

Socket compatibility is actually a red herring. It doesn't matter if the socket is comparable if the motherboard manufacturer doesn't provide EFI updates to support new CPUs.

For example, the last time I checked, less than 50% of AM3+ boards received updates for post Bulldozer CPUs. Motherboard manufacturers would of course rather sell you a new motherboard than provide continued updates to old boards.
 
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