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Question New computer build, mulling processor choice (strong ST performance needed)

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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The computer is going to be running a piece of Windows software called 'Exact' (running as a server for about 5 clients), some dental practice management software by a company called 'Software of Excellence'. The previous version had been reasonably happily running on a Core i5-2400, but the latest version is a heck of a lot slower. I've been monitoring the resource usage on the server, the only component that gets hit significantly is the CPU, 2 cores at best seemingly. The current server runs Windows 10, has 8GB RAM (which is at less than 50% usage the entire time), and SATA SSDs in RAID1.

A CPU that can do triple, even quadruple the single-threaded performance of that Sandy i5 would be handy! The server doesn't get used for anything else so I don't think any more than 4 cores are likely to be of particular use at any point soon.

Recommendations would be much appreciated.
 

Saylick

Golden Member
Sep 10, 2012
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What's your budget?

If you're not trying to go ham and spend too much, I think Intel's i5-11400F might be a good upgrade for the price. Less than $200, should be widely available, can boost decently high, it's got the latest Intel microarchitecture (and thus IPC gains, in theory), and has 6 cores to boot.

If you're okay with spending a bit more, then AMD's 5600X is a decent upgrade choice, but you're going to be paying $150 more, at least.

According to Guru3D's ST Cinebench score, the i5-11400F gets 219 CB points. The closest thing to your i5-2400 is likely the i7-2600K, which got 131 CB points. In theory, your i5-2400 should be even slower than that, so at best you're probably looking at 2x the ST performance if you went with a new system. Not sure if you'll get triple or quadruple given today's processors.
 
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Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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Recommendations would be much appreciated.
This might be a bit unorthodox, but have you looked at the Comet Lake Pentiums? Particularly the G6605? Doesn't cost a fortune, has two Skylake cores with HT, and does 4.30GHz all day.

Almost seems custom designed for old single threaded software...
 
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mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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Thanks for the responses. I guess the quandary I'm having is that I wish I could find more out about what makes this software tick. The client software for this system also seems to have some odd performance quirks, despite also seemingly being ST-heavy, that a Ryzen client (2200G IIRC) seems to handily beat a Skylake (i3-6100) one. I quite like the idea of a high-clock CPU that doesn't rely on turbo to get there, but I'm wondering what else must be going on with this software, like whether a chunky L3 cache might come into play nicely.

I doubt the software maker will be particularly forthcoming with useful details (e.g. their specs say "a 3.5GHz processor"), but finding out what the db backend is might allow me to find out what yanks that db's crank.

My initial feeling was that Intel has a rep for stronger ST performance, so maybe I should aim for a chunky i7 with a high non-turbo clock as a safe bet. One of my suppliers has some 9700K/KF CPUs which I've bookmarked, though I then started looking through anandtech bench stats specifically for ST performance and the Ryzen 5600X seems to handily beat the 9700K in most tests.

I'm not sure what my client's budget is yet, I have the feeling they'll be happy to pay (though likely not for a >£500 UKP CPU) provided it is a noticeable improvement over the current server.
 

moinmoin

Platinum Member
Jun 1, 2017
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Thanks for the responses. I guess the quandary I'm having is that I wish I could find more out about what makes this software tick.
The best solution for that would be a demo of the software you could use for performance tests.

The client software for this system also seems to have some odd performance quirks, despite also seemingly being ST-heavy, that a Ryzen client (2200G IIRC) seems to handily beat a Skylake (i3-6100) one.
PassMark ST listing contains all CPUs you mentioned so far.
Core i5-2400 is 1577 on there. i3-6100 is 2226 vs. 2200G's 2057, so if the latter ran the software faster there may be a general advantage for AMD CPUs.

My initial feeling was that Intel has a rep for stronger ST performance, so maybe I should aim for a chunky i7 with a high non-turbo clock as a safe bet. One of my suppliers has some 9700K/KF CPUs which I've bookmarked, though I then started looking through anandtech bench stats specifically for ST performance and the Ryzen 5600X seems to handily beat the 9700K in most tests.
Looking at the above ST listing both Ryzen 5000 and Intel's 11th gen (that are not refreshes) seem to be ahead of the rest, starting at 3365. Going by this Ryzen 5600X seems like a sensible choice. Hope you can get it.
 

Thala

Golden Member
Nov 12, 2014
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Looking at the above ST listing both Ryzen 5000 and Intel's 11th gen (that are not refreshes) seem to be ahead of the rest, starting at 3365. Going by this Ryzen 5600X seems like a sensible choice. Hope you can get it.
Or even better the Intel i5-11600K.
 

amrnuke

Golden Member
Apr 24, 2019
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I mean... he said 4 cores is enough. Why are there proposals for 6C/12T chips?

Getting a 5600X means dishing out $300, and may mean buying a GPU depending on his setup (not sure if it's a headless server or not).

Getting a 11600K means laying down $250, has integrated graphics, but uses double the power of the 5600X (hence producing double the heat) while producing worse SPEC scores on raw ST and MT as well as IPC compared to the 5600X.

If 4 cores is adequate, a 10100 at $115-125 would be hard to beat from a cost-effectiveness standpoint. Getting 3x to 4x his previous ST performance is not possible this generation, therefore we can only try to get the best possible within the realm of his other information provided. What's the fastest 4-core chip? And how does it compare to the 10100 at $115 from a price-to-performance standpoint?
 
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coercitiv

Diamond Member
Jan 24, 2014
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I mean... he said 4 cores is enough. Why are there proposals for 6C/12T chips?
Because most 6-core CPUs have higher amounts of L3 cache, which the OP suspects may help more than clocks. Power is also not an issue, since we know core usage is low. The OP could really use a way to perform benchmark tests (or at least find out more about the db backend as mentioned earlier) since L3 in the new CPUs varies today from the same 6MB L3 as in the old i5 2400, to double that in 10400/11400/11600K, and even 32MB in R5 3600(X) or R5 5600X.

Personally I wouldn't bother with the 10th gen i3 and go at least with the 11400. Relative to the cost of the entire machine the cost delta will be minimal. If budget would allow for something more expensive then I would consider 5600X over 11600K, although the 11600K might be able to tick all the performance scaling boxes already. (I'm sure availability will count as well)

@mikeymikec no matter the CPU you choose, try to aim for some low latency RAM as well. Price difference will be minimal, and if the software does hit memory a lot... you have your next bottleneck.
 

moinmoin

Platinum Member
Jun 1, 2017
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Or even better the Intel i5-11600K.
If the i3-6100 vs. 2200G comparison applies to the lastest gen by AMD and Intel as well 5600X may well be still preferable.

I mean... he said 4 cores is enough. Why are there proposals for 6C/12T chips?
Because we are looking at the best possible ST available right now, and chips with lower amount of cores are segmented to offer lower ST as well to not to rival more costly chips.

Personally I wouldn't bother with the 10th gen i3 and go at least with the 11400.
Do 11400 and 11500 actually use Cypress Cove? The ST rating by PassMark of those is pretty far below 11600 and right within Intel's 10th gen.
 
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coercitiv

Diamond Member
Jan 24, 2014
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Do 11400 and 11500 actually use Cypress Cove? The ST rating by PassMark of those is pretty far below 11600 and right within Intel's 10th gen.
Yes, 11400 and above are all Cypress Cove. Whatever differences you see between 11400/11500 and 11600(K) may have more to do with memory subsystem and/or power limit configuration than anything else.

Performance can easily vary by 20% just based on memory speed & gear mode & power limits.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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Because most 6-core CPUs have higher amounts of L3 cache, which the OP suspects may help more than clocks. Power is also not an issue, since we know core usage is low. The OP could really use a way to perform benchmark tests (or at least find out more about the db backend as mentioned earlier) since L3 in the new CPUs varies today from the same 6MB L3 as in the old i5 2400, to double that in 10400/11400/11600K, and even 32MB in R5 3600(X) or R5 5600X.
If you have a workload which benefits from cache, the 3500X would be a perfect fit. Same 32MB L3 as the 3600non-X/X/XT, with only 100MHz lower boost.

If only they weren't impossible to get hold of.

AM4 has PCIE4 NVME cheap, don't underestimate high IOPS for DB work.
An NVMe drive would definitely help, depending on how hard the application hits the disk.
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
Moderator
Aug 22, 2001
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Since this seems to be for a dental practice, people in this thread, quibbling over a couple of hundred dollars is LULZ worthy imo. As is all the fuss over core count. Don't need all the cores? Turn some off, problem solved. It also provides futureproofing if the ISV updates to a more threaded version down the road.
 

Zepp

Member
May 18, 2019
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i3-6100 is 2226 vs. 2200G's 2057, so if the latter ran the software faster there may be a general advantage for AMD CPUs.
that's very curious. Seems it may have to do with the 2200G being a quad core while the i3 is a dual core. maybe the software doesn't like hyperthreading.
 

dr1337

Member
May 25, 2020
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Since this seems to be for a dental practice, people in this thread, quibbling over a couple of hundred dollars is LULZ worthy imo.
I agree but sadly this is the real world and people with the most money also typically are the most tight fisted penny pinching bunch out there, especially when it comes to a system thats still working albeit slower. However to be fair it does sound like OP has barely talked to the client about the upgrade so far so who knows what they're really willing to pay.
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
17,785
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I agree but sadly this is the real world and people with the most money also typically are the most tight fisted penny pinching bunch out there, especially when it comes to a system thats still working albeit slower. However to be fair it does sound like OP has barely talked to the client about the upgrade so far so who knows what they're really willing to pay.
Only number mentioned so far is that the CPU shouldn't cost more than 500 GBP.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,828
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There wasn't any more useful spec information in the official docs for the software, so I've sent an e-mail to the software company asking which database engine their software uses. Hopefully that might give me more room for research into what would make the best investment.
 

coercitiv

Diamond Member
Jan 24, 2014
4,544
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Based on advice here, I'm thinking of going with the i5-11600K, but I'm worried about the motherboard choice after this thread: https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/setting-a-power-limit-on-rocket-lake-can-cripple-performance.2593564/

Normally I'd be happy to throw money at a problem to make it go away, but apparently one can pay absurd prices for boards these days, so I'd prefer to go with a more evidence-based strategy :)
The boards Hardware Unboxed is having problems with are some of the cheapest ones. Go with a decent board that can run 11900K at stock and you'll be all set since the 11600K will use considerably less power.

You should also know that the information in that video is nothing new, one needs to pay attention to motherboard VRM on cheap boards ever since Zen and Coffee Lake. Each motherboard maker has weak SKUs, pick from their better models. For example MSI has good quality VRMs on their Tomahawk (ATX) and Mortar(mATX) lineups for both AMD and Intel. They use solid power stages and properly sized heatsinks.
 
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aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
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For example MSI has good qualityVRMs
...
MSI is not the first company i would think about when it came to quality at the price the OP is looking to build his system.

lol...

But then again when i do class the MSI Quality boards with other Quality vendors, they lose out really hard to EVGA DARK series.
But again, I do not think the OP is interested in a 450 dollar + board. lol...

For budget, as much as i hate these company, Gigabyte UD series and ASUS TUF has always been my first choice.
As long as you say away from AORUS MASTER GURU DESIGNER ONIPOITENT tags for Gigabyte, and ROG GAMER ESPORTS - for ASUS, it should not break your wallet.
 

coercitiv

Diamond Member
Jan 24, 2014
4,544
6,257
136
...
MSI is not the first company i would think about when it came to quality at the price the OP is looking to build his system.

lol...

But then again when i do class the MSI Quality boards with other Quality vendors, they lose out really hard to EVGA DARK series.
But again, I do not think the OP is interested in a 450 dollar + board. lol...
Let's just go beyond your personal bias, lol... heck, let's lol again for good measure.

I clearly stated all brands have good value boards and lemon boards, so the OP needs to do his homework before choosing. I did not recommend MSI, but rather picked the minimum models to start from.
 

Leeea

Golden Member
Apr 3, 2020
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There is a 5600x with stamped with mikeymikec waiting for you. Be sure to set the memory up dual channel, suggest 3600 sticks /w xmp on.
 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
85,606
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There wasn't any more useful spec information in the official docs for the software, so I've sent an e-mail to the software company asking which database engine their software uses. Hopefully that might give me more room for research into what would make the best investment.
I am going to guess MS Jet Database Engine :awe:
 

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