Question Whats your CPU upgrade history? Performance improvements gaps between upgrades?

Oct 26, 2005
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#1
Hey guys, I was thinking it would be interesting to go back look at our CPU upgrade interval. And then discuss what type of performance in you look for before upgrading.

  1. Pentium MMX 166 Mhz (1997)
  2. Pentium III 866 Mhz (2000) - I am thinking 4-5x performance boost.
  3. AMD Athlon 64 3400+ 2.4 ghz, Newcastle, S754 - (2004) - Estimating 4x performance boost
  4. Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3ghz, Wolfdale - (2008) - 2x single threaded, 3-4x multi-threaded performance
  5. Intel i5 2500k - (2011) - 1.5x Single Threaded Performance, 3x multi-threaded Performance
Right now still on my 2500k. Looking my own history, I had aiming at 3-4x performance improvement between upgrades. Do note I noticed looking at by 2008 and 2011 the single threaded gap went down to 2x and 1.5x. Instead, had look multi-threaded performance for 3x gain. Definitely, seeing that it probably would hard find a CPU today with 4x single threaded performance compared to 2500k. And will need to continue looking at multi-threaded for future gains.

Also, interesting enough I gave up on 3 year upgrades since late 2011. Looks like I will be moving to a 6/7 year upgrade cycle in future. Might result of Moore's Law ending.

Curious to see what kind of performance gaps other here wait before making their upgrade jump. Also, if there similar pattern of slowing down on upgrades in recent years.
 
Oct 6, 2016
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#2
oh wow, I really gotta think back here. I'm pretty sure I started with 166 Mhz also because MMX was a new feature over the 133 Mhz and right before the Pentium 2 came out.

1. Pentium MMX 166 Mhz (1997)
2. AMD K6-II and till the last rare K6-III 450Mhz w/ special L3 cache
3. AMD Thunderbird 800Mhz up to Duron 1.3Ghz ? It was the good ole' days of PC-133 RAM and Abit. IRQ Issues with Soundblaster when on a certain PCI slot..lol

I never used Pentium II, III or IV when DDR-233 and DDR-266 came out. So many issues back then.

I forget what I had for DDR-400 and DDR-800. I still have my first Intel i7-940 2.93GHz - Still using that and the Asus board is running solid with no popped caps on board.

Did lot of little upgrades and swapping parts around but currently using

i7-4960x Ivy Bridge Extreme w/ 64GB 1600Mhz RAM w/ 850w Power Supply - Nothing overclocked.
 

Harry_Wild

Senior member
Dec 14, 2012
334
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#3
I use to get excited about new technology and would get it as it was being release out to the public. I learn to buy new stuff at least 2 years after it been in the marketplace since price goes down and bugs are totally nonexistent. Now I ponder between a PC build or an used PC for a future replacement in 2020 time frame.
 

scannall

Golden Member
Jan 1, 2012
1,402
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#4
Hmm... There are quite a few. Really too many for me to list. Starting with a 1 Mhz 6502 in an Apple ][+. Overclocked that with a soldering gun. Up to my current Ryzen 2600X.
 

virpz

Junior Member
Sep 11, 2014
13
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#5
I will list my last four changes:

Xeon X5670 - Just greatness all around.

Xeon E5-2667 V3/5820K - Extremely expensive and buggy with it's memory support by the time. Really bad feelings about X99.

Ryzen 1700 - Cheap and powerful. Unlikely others, I never had problems with memory.

Ryzen 2700X - Nice upgrade.
 

Spartak

Senior member
Jul 4, 2015
298
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#6
1. Amiga 500 - 1991
2. Cyrix 6x86 P150+ 120MHz - 1996 >>my first real PC
Then I started building myself:
3. AMD K6II-233 - 1998
4. AMD Athlon XP 1800+ 1533MHz - 2002 >>biggest jump in performance ever!
Then I went SFF:
5. AMD Turion MT-42 OC@2.5GHz -2006
6. AMD Sempron 145 OC@3GHz - 2010
7. AMD Athlon II X3 @2.5GHz - 2013
8. Intel 8600K OC@3.3-5GHz - 2018

I tried the 2400G but for a similar power budget (65W) I can get a lot more out of the 8600K, as you can see it's both overclocked for 1C and underclocked for all cores to keep it in the lower power budget needed for my SFF.

I guess I'm averaging ~4 years between upgrades.
 
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ZipSpeed

Golden Member
Aug 13, 2007
1,252
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#7
I don't remember the years for my early stuff, but I've had 8088, 286, 386, 486, Cyrix-something, K6 300, Pentium 75, Pentium II, Pentium III, Athlon Slot A, Athlon XP & X2, Pentium 4 Northwood. I'm sure there's a few more CPUs I've forgotten about.

Later stuff include Conroe, Lynnfield, Yorkfield, Nahalem and rigs seen in my sig. I don't upgrade like I used to and it's crazy how my long my 3770K @ 4.2 GHz rigs have lasted. I do want something new this year or next.
 
Oct 6, 2016
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#8
My dad used to own a computer store in the early 80's. I remember using stuff from the Commodore V-20 & C64, Apple II, Atari 400/800. Some floppy discs will have a version for the C-64 and reverse side was for Atari 400/800. Both even used Cassette Tapes at one time

There was some IBM PC/XT stuff, but don't remember the systems. During the end times I remember my dad having a Panasonic or Epson 8086 but that was just for business apps.
 
Sep 22, 2007
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#9
VIC 20-->Commodore 64-->Commodore 128-->Amiga 2000-->486SX25-->Pentium 120-->Pentium Pro 180-->Celeron 300A-->Athlon XP 1700-->Athlon 2500-->Athlon64 3500-->Athlon64 4800 x2--?E8400-->i7-2600K-->i7-8700K.

I still have all of my original Commodore machines and added an Amiga 3000 a few years back to restore.
 

Markfw

CPU Moderator, VC&G Moderator, Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 16, 2002
18,000
1,809
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#10
I buy 5-10 CPU's a year, so just imagine virtually every CPU made since 1985.

HOWEVER when AMD started doing badly I bought very few of theirs, circa 2007-2017. And now as of 2017 forward, I am not buying any Intel for the same reason. I stick with winners and values.

I do spend high end however at times. 4 months ago I got a 2990wx, and I have a 2970wx coming next week.
 
Oct 9, 1999
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#11
Going from memory so maybe a little off but:

1. Commodore 64
2. 386 w/co processor(20mhz?)
3. Pentium 166MMX
4. AMD K6-2 450mhz
5. Intel Celeron 366@550Mhz
6. AMD duron 800@1ghz if memory recalls
7. Intel i7930@4.2Ghz
8. AMD Ryzen 1700@3.9Ghz.
 

mopardude87

Senior member
Oct 22, 2018
475
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#12
First computer i used was a buddies of mine who i lived with but it had a Celeron 1.8ghz,was a emachines and well before i knew anything about computers i found out quick how bad this thing was.This was back in 2005-2006 where i non stop had to deal with crashes.Found out before it up and died that perhaps a Windows Xp tower with no service packs and a whopping 128mb of ram upgraded to 628mb just had no business doing anything outside of maybe just being turned on let alone being used.This tower inspired me to build my first ever tower and the following upgrades are listed below.

1. Pentium 4 2.4ghz housed in a Dell Dimension 2400,when this tower died i scored a $50 brand new in box Asus P4c800-E Deluxe from a swapmeet and slapped the Pentium 4 in it.I had no idea what a deal i landed till i got home.I found the mobo and figured lets do it.
2. E4300 wow this one may be the biggest ever performance jump as BF2 went from borderline playable to downright smooth.This one was really jaw dropping
3. E6750 this one i got cause i saw it just debuted right after i got the E4300 so i exchanged the E4300 for it
4 Q6600 this one made UT3 much smoother, have had a few other towers over the years with it and even today it holds up
5. i5 4460 this one is still more then enough for my actively played games but dated when it sat in a H81 mobo

The i5 4460 just had to go when BF1 murdered it and the occupied 8gb of ram,add in the fact my 1070ti was also bottlenecked in all my titles at a then 1080p resolution. It led to me upgrading right to the i5 8400+16gb. The i5 4460 and 8gb my buddy uses now.Coming from a H81 mobo to a Z370 was like prob coming from a 423 socket to a 775.It has EVERYTHING.
 

maddogmcgee

Senior member
Apr 20, 2015
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#13
Childhood -486 @66 MHz . I can still hear the whirring it made as it tried to deal with Windows 95.

Uni- Core 2 Dell laptop @ about 2GHz

Proper job first build - Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale overclocked

The Beast- 2500k @4.4

Current- 6700k

Future- Probably a 8 core AMD CPU once their single threaded performance/clock speed improves a bit.
 

IEC

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Jun 10, 2004
13,680
728
136
#14
I think I started off somewhere in the 6 MHz range.

Only really got the bug with custom PCs in the Celeron 300A era.

Lots of budget rigs and back-and-forth between Intel and AMD until the Core 2 Duo era.

Then it was Intel exclusively until the launch of Ryzen.
 
Oct 6, 2016
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#15
Everything about Ryzen looks promising, I'm also an AMD stock shareholder. I love the idea getting a new CPU and Board, but major road block seems to be memory prices.

I got lucky and scooped up ton of DDR3-1600 for various machines when it was cheap and now expensive.

My next system I want 64GB of memory and perferably 4 Channel Memory. Today just running Quake Champions game with nothing else really running - My system is consuming 13GB of RAM. I don't really like the idea of having 32GB RAM and 1/2 my resources being used and 64GB sounds better ; like I currently have.
 
Feb 19, 2017
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#16
I will only do few of my steps :D

- C64 1MHz Motorola 6510
- Amiga 1200 MK68EC020 14.7MHz
- Amiga 1200 Turbo MK68030/68882 50MHz
- AMD K5 133+
- Intel Pentium 133
- Intel Pentium 166 MMX
- Intel Pentium 233 MMX
- AMD K6 233+ MMX
- AMD K6-2 266
- AMD K6-2 333
- AMD K6-2 400
- AMD K6-3 350
- Intel Celeron 300A
- AMD Duron 650
- and so on and on and on (Athlons, Athlons XP's, Athlons 64, Phenoms, various Intel Core machines, etc. the only major arch I've skipped for a personal rig was Bulldozer, but had HTPC with Trinity and newer iterations).

I've ran some Cyrix MX686 as well as Centaur and VIA CPU's on some of my platforms as well, but the bottom line is my upgrades were driven by discovering and playing with new architectures and steppings, not always by perf. upgrade.
Recently I had:

- I7 4770K
- I7 4790K
- Ryzen 1700
- Ryzen 2700X
- Threadripper 1920X (current main rig)

Trick to my CPU history was always to sell when the price was still reasonable and buy a good deal (like TR1920X for £350 while still selling R7 2700X for £290).
 

lakedude

Platinum Member
Mar 14, 2009
2,063
18
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#17
Started in 1996 or so with a Pentium 133 or perhaps 166 and had one of those fancy 3dfx cards that worked in conjunction with a 2d graphics card.

Don't remember all of the steps but definitely had a Cel 300A running OCed on a BX mainboard. That BX lasted a long time, supporting several CPUs.

Seems like there was perhaps a 600 and then a maybe 900 all on that same BX board, maybe on adapter cards...

Then an early 1.3 GHz P4 purchased for video coding, which it was good at in spite of all the noise to the contrary.

Enter the NewEgg era with a 2.6 GHz P4 and a year later a 3.0 GHz P4 (not worth it, must have been excited about the 3GHz barrier)

AMD Athlon 64 3200+

Intel Pentium D 820 Smithfield Dual-Core 2.8 GHz

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Toledo Dual-Core 2.2 GHz

An early Core2 Dell and then a Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale Dual-Core 3.0 GHz upgrade.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+

Looking back not all these would be for myself or at least not my primary system. Did Folding@Home on a dozen rigs at one point.

AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor Dual-Core 2.8 GHz

AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition Deneb Quad-Core 3.5 GHz

AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana Triple-Core 2.9 GHz

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield Quad-Core 2.66 GHz (most reliable system ever).

EDIT: forgot to put i5-2500K

EDIT: also forgot AMD Phenom II X6 1055T given by a friend on the condition that I crunch BOINC with it.

Curious that I forgot these 2 as they are among the more memorable CPUs of the bunch. The 2500K is a classic and having a 6 core was a big deal back then.

Intel Core i7-3770S Ivy Bridge Quad-Core 3.1GHz (3.9GHz Turbo)

And that is it! Video cards were my real addiction. Must have had 2 or 3 times as many video cards.

Historically while single I upgraded too often because money was not a big issue and I was excited about the new stuff. I had a real need for speed doing video encoding. Compressing a DVD to CD size was taking all night long back in the day.

Now I'm married with children so money is a bigger object but that isn't the only reason I stopped upgrading. Being on the cutting edge is frustrating because you end up spending a lot of money for equipment that the bugs are not all out of yet. This was especially true with the GPU. The biggest reason I've not upgraded is because at some point the CPU became fast enough so there is no huge motivation to upgrade. Heck my phone is fast enough for most things now...

I expect the next big desktop upgrade will be to support VR when you can get a Vive Pro for $500 complete.
 
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Apr 27, 2000
12,352
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#18
Hmm, let's see

Apple //c - not sure when? It was a long time ago.
AMD 386dx40 - 1993?
Intel Pentium P54c 100 - 1995
AMD k6-233 - 1997
AMD k6 II-350 (borrowed) - uh 1999? 2000? I forget.
AMD Athlon 1400 - I think 2002? Maybe late 2001, but probably 2002.
AMD Sempron 2800+ (Palermo) - 2004
AMD x2 3600+ - 2007
AMD Athlon II x4 640 - 2009

I later killed the 640 trying to get CLU off it (oops) and replaced it with a Sempron 140. I later replaced the Sempron 140 with an Athlon ii x2 of some kind and unlocked cores on it. It was ostensibly the same machine as the x4 640, though.

AMD A10-7700k - 2014

I later dropped in a 7870k that wasn't all that much better than the 7700k. It was also basically the same machine.

AMD R7 1800x - 2017
 

PeterScott

Platinum Member
Jul 7, 2017
2,605
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#19
Since I first got into it for gaming, I'll include my only console:

[Colecovision]
Commodore 64
Amiga 1000 (still have it)
AMD DX4-486
Pentium 133
Pentium Pro
Athlon XP 1700
Athlon XP 2500 (barton)
Intel E2140
Intel Q9400 (what I am still using today, OC the whole time to 3.2GHz)

That is pretty much the whole thing. Overclocked where possible...
 

kaizer777

Junior Member
Nov 30, 2018
4
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#20
I've not had many computers over the years, so the the upgrades have always felt significant.

~1996 - An old IBM machine that I cannot recall the model of. I know we started out with Windows 3.1 and it had a whopping 611MB HDD.

2000 - AMD (Athlon) K7 @ 750MHz

2003 - Gateway Laptop from 2003 with a Intel Celeron proc (1.2 GHz I think)

2008 - Intel P4 2.0 GHz (some Dell Optiplex my friend gave me because he felt bad)

2011 - AMD Athlon II X3 450 - I'm actually typing this message on this machine now. This was the first machine I built. It was a huge step up for games since I'd put a GTX 460 in it compared to some old FX card. I pretty much only use it for playing older games or RDP for working remotely.

2015 - Core i3 4160 - Second machine I built for a HTPC. This is what I use 99% of the time. It's hooked up to a 65" TV, so it makes for comfy couch gaming/browsing.

I use an i7 4790 at work, so I at least have some idea of what I've been missing out on, though in simple tasks like web browsing, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference from my 4160.

I'm planning to build a new desktop to replace this one this year. I was hoping to see what happens with Zen 2 and Navi before taking the plunge.
 

ozzy702

Senior member
Nov 1, 2011
978
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#21
I can't remember anything before Core2 (other than a bunch of early Apple Mac SE, some Quadras and early PowerPCs but here goes:

For my "main box"

E6600
Q6600
i5-750
i7-2600k
i7-3770k
i7-6700k
i7-7700k
i7-8700k
i9-9900k

I upgrade frequently and sell my "old" stuff to friends and family for cheap.

I've also owned:

1090T
FX 8350
Myriad mobile i5 and i7 cpus.
 

BigDaveX

Senior member
Jun 12, 2014
368
92
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#22
This list includes laptops, so there's a fair bit of overlap between them and my desktops here:

1. Pentium 75MHz (1996)
2. Pentium MMX 133MHz (1998)
3. Pentium III 450MHz (1999)
4. Pentium 4 (Northwood-A) 1.6GHz (2002)
5. Pentium 4 (Northwood-C) 2.6GHz (2003)
6. Turion 1.8GHz (2005)
7. Core 2 Duo (Merom) 2.0GHz (2007)
8. Core 2 Duo (Penryn) 2.66GHz (2009)
9. Core i7 920 2.66GHz (2010)
10. Core i7 5820K 3.2GHz (2015)
11. Core i5 8250U 1.8GHz (2018)
 

ehume

Golden Member
Nov 6, 2009
1,382
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#23
Apple][+ in 1982. Much modified thereafter. All slots filled, sometimes with jimmied cards.
wife's //c "laptop"
Mac-20
cobbled-together 286. The DOS version of Quicken lasted to 2000.
Dell XPS 266
wife's iMac (turn of millennium)
Dell 4600
daughter's, then wife's Dell 530s E7200 Core Duo
home-built i7 860
home-built i7 875k for heatsink testing
wife's Mac Air
home-built i7 4770k, that I am typing this on
home-built i7 4790k, for heatsink testing, handed off to a daughter for gaming; still in use
wife's Dell i7 7400
home-built i7 8700k, for heatsink testing, handed off to a daughter for photo editing; still in use
not counting all the laptops over the years
Conclusion: It's not always linear.
Across those years, SSDs came to supplement HDs. So, for example, I replaced the 500GB HD in the 530s with a 500GB SSD . . .
 

cfenton

Senior member
Jul 27, 2015
268
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#24
I can't remember the specific models of the early stuff, but it's something like:

1. Pentium 3 733mhz
2. Pentium 4 1.8ghz
3. Athlon 64 3200+ (Clawhammer, I think)

Then I didn't have a desktop for a while, so I was using laptops

4. Some kind of Core Duo marketed as a Centrino
5. Core 2 Duo P7350 2ghz

From there it's a mix of desktops and laptops as well as secondary computers

6. Core i5 3570K (desktop)
7. Core i7 4850HQ (laptop)
8. Celeron 2957u (mini-pc)
9. Athlon X4 860k (File server)
10. Core i5 3570s (Plex server mini-pc)
11. Ryzen 1700 (desktop)
12. Celeron N3450 (disposable laptop)
 
Jun 8, 2003
14,136
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#25
Commodore 64
Atari 400/800
Apple lle
Pent 2 , 233
Pent 3, 600
Pent 4, 1.4
Pent 4 3.06 @3.2
Core 2 8400@4.0
Core 2 quad q9550@4.0
I3 6100 @4.4
I5 6400 @4.5
Empty case right now.
 
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