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Thread: Z77 Pro4-M -- Need help choosing the right CPU for my needs

  1. #1
    snowshed is offline Junior Member
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    Question Z77 Pro4-M -- Need help choosing the right CPU for my needs

    Partly for the challenge, and partly because I can't find what I am looking for in an off-the-shelf computer, I am going to try to build my own computer.

    I went to a Micro Center store in Denver, Colorado, and got very good advice, IMO. I appreciate the help I get in the stores, so I was buying what I needed based on items in the store plus the recommendations and information I was receiving. But somewhere a mistake was made, and I left the store with out a CPU, even though one was selected.

    I want a finished product that has good to excellent speed and power, but not the bells and whistles. Rather like a mid-range Ford sedan, but with a Mustang engine!

    Off the shelf products don't seem to have that combo, plus I'd like to choose the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. In addition, I don't need 1TB of storage in the computer, and I don't store my data on the boot drive, I prefer a 2nd data drive.

    Parts already purchased are:
    ⁃ Widescreen 16:10 monitor
    ⁃ Intel solid state drive for the boot partition(s)
    ⁃ Western Digital Caviar Black drive for data
    ⁃ 8GB RAM
    ⁃ Z77 Pro4-M motherboard
    ⁃ Thermaltake TR2 500W power supply

    I have a case to use, so do not need to purchase one.

    This will not be my primary computer, it's for learning Win 7 and eventually Win 8. I'm not a gamer, movie maker, photo editor, etc. I don't watch movies or listen to music on the computer, my living room and theater system is for that. So I don't need a top of the line graphics card or high end sound card, for instance. I suspect the onboard graphics and sound of the Z77 will more than suffice.

    For the eventual software install, I'll just select a range of software the average person will use, and some to simply play with. Office productivity, various utilities to play with and enhance the OS, etc. Mostly Open Source/freeware/shareware. The odds are excellent I will win a lottery before I install a game.

    I just like using them, and setting them up so I enjoy using them. For instance, on my netbook with Win 7 Starter, I don't care for the Vista/Win7 Start Menu, so I've installed Classic Shell, which I like much better.

    After looking at the CPU support list I knew I was in deep trouble picking the best (hopefully) CPU for what I need.

    I'd like some help and advice choosing a supported CPU and cooling fan. Ask any questions you'd like, even if the question is "Are you stupid????" LOL

    Also, feel free to offer any assembly procedure advice you feel is warranted.

  2. #2
    Addicted is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Z77 Pro4-M -- Need help choosing the right CPU for my needs

    I love i5s and this is only $30 more than a i3. It will have plenty of speed for everything you need and more.
    Intel Core i5 3470 3.2GHz LGA 1155 Boxed Processor BX80637I53470 - Micro Center

    If you really want a budget build then i3 all the way. Most computers that are designed for office work, like
    Word/Excel and light internet use i3s. Yes, the onboard graphics is plenty.
    Micro Center - Computers, Electronics, Computer Parts, Networking, Gaming, Software, and more!

  3. #3
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is online now Senior Member
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    Default Re: Z77 Pro4-M -- Need help choosing the right CPU for my needs

    One main FYI for you, the "on board graphics" on your platform/board are provided by the CPU itself. All compatible CPUs for your board will have graphics included, but there are differences, there are differing level of graphics performance.

    Your board can use the current generation Intel CPUs (Ivy Bridge, generally identified as ix-3xxx) and the previous generation CPUs (Sandy Bridge, ix-2xxx). The lower end Pentium and Celeron CPUs are generally Sandy Bridge, with some exceptions. The main "bells" difference between the better Ivy and Sandy is Ivy has USB 3.0 support on the CPU, while Sandy does not. Also, the better Ivy CPUs will have a better graphics core on the CPU, than any Sandy CPU.

    Actually, it is hard to generalize about these CPUs, as Intel has a confusing mix of options, one has this, the other does not, if you care you must do your homework.

    You did not mention over clocking your CPU, and if you don't care about that, don't bother with any of the 'K' CPUs, which are meant for over clocking. The K CPUs (ie, i5-3570K) trade the ability to OC for other features. While those features may not be of any use to you (such as virtualization) you may find them more valuable in the long run than the ability to OC.

    If you want to save some money compared to the i5-3470, consider the i3-3225. While you don't get the slight Turbo boost with the i3-3225, and it is a dual vs quad core CPU, it does have Hyper Threading (two virtual cores) and better graphics than the i5-3470. It is also a cooler running CPU than the i5-3470. The i3-3225 does not have USB 3.0 support, but most new boards have an add on chip that provides that. Microcenter mistakenly lists it as a Sandy Bridge architecture CPU, but it is really an Ivy Bridge. Both are good CPUs, just discussing the options.

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    snowshed is offline Junior Member
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    Post Re: Z77 Pro4-M -- Need help choosing the right CPU for my needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Addicted View Post
    I love i5s and this is only $30 more than a i3. It will have plenty of speed for everything you need and more. Intel Core i5 3470 3.2GHz LGA 1155 Boxed Processor BX80637I53470 - Micro Center]
    I did some comparison shopping, and Micro Center is $30-$40 cheaper than everyone else. Just musing/speculating, I wonder if they use this chip as a loss leader to get people into the store to buy additional items.

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    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is online now Senior Member
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    Default Re: Z77 Pro4-M -- Need help choosing the right CPU for my needs

    Yes, that's Micro Center's thing, super low CPU price, plus mother board deal with the CPU. But they are not bad about prices on other things. Not the absolute best but you could do much worse. A few thing are more pricey (fans) but they are not bad at all. Plus their return policy is great.

  6. #6
    snowshed is offline Junior Member
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    Post Re: Z77 Pro4-M -- Need help choosing the right CPU for my needs

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Your board can use the current generation Intel CPUs (Ivy Bridge, generally identified as ix-3xxx) and the previous generation CPUs (Sandy Bridge, ix-2xxx). The lower end Pentium and Celeron CPUs are generally Sandy Bridge, with some exceptions. The main "bells" difference between the better Ivy and Sandy is Ivy has USB 3.0 support on the CPU, while Sandy does not. Also, the better Ivy CPUs will have a better graphics core on the CPU, than any Sandy CPU.
    I think paying attention to maximizing the lifespan of the unit is a good thing, so I think including USB 3.0 support would be a good move. I just purchased a 3.0 USB drive for external backup for my Mac. Bought it for storage size, not USB 3.0, as my Mac doesn't have USB 3.0.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Actually, it is hard to generalize about these CPUs, as Intel has a confusing mix of options, one has this, the other does not, if you care you must do your homework.
    I was poking around the Intel site just last night. I ran into this phrase, "Smart Security and Manageability" on Desktop Processor Comparison Guide and it means nothing to me. The more info question mark just says I can use it, not what it is. Short explanation, please?

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    You did not mention over clocking your CPU, and if you don't care about that, don't bother with any of the 'K' CPUs, which are meant for over clocking. The K CPUs (ie, i5-3570K) trade the ability to OC for other features. While those features may not be of any use to you (such as virtualization) you may find them more valuable in the long run than the ability to OC.
    I vaguely understand overclocking, but I don't know fully understand its advantages and ramifications, nor what is needed to implement this. In reading about Turbo Boost, the article I scanned made it sound like Turbo Boost is automatic overclocking. I'm not sure I came away with the correct understanding.

    I'm trying to wrap my head around Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading in a nontechnical manner, but not getting very far at the moment.

    Do I understand you correctly, overclocking diminishes the ability to operate virtual machines? While I don't have any VM's on my current Windows computer, I do have them on my Mac.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    If you want to save some money compared to the i5-3470, consider the i3-3225. While you don't get the slight Turbo boost with the i3-3225, and it is a dual vs quad core CPU, it does have Hyper Threading (two virtual cores) and better graphics than the i5-3470. It is also a cooler running CPU than the i5-3470. The i3-3225 does not have USB 3.0 support, but most new boards have an add on chip that provides that. Microcenter mistakenly lists it as a Sandy Bridge architecture CPU, but it is really an Ivy Bridge. Both are good CPUs, just discussing the options.
    Discussing options is exactly the "core" reason for the post. <-------- Pun intended!

    So please feel free to ask and add anything to this conversation.

    What would the average cost of the 3.0 add on chip be? How do I determine if the chip can be added to this board?

    Within a subjective cost reasoning, i.e. how much am I willing to pay for x, y, and z, I will pay more to get what I want rather than go for the absolute lowest price. I tend to buy what I want, rather than based on cost. I'm old enough to know that most of the time, if I don't buy what I want, I'll end up being disappointed in the decision.

    As I write this, I think some of the decision will be based on understanding the advantages of both Hyper Threading and Turbo Boost. If both boost the speed of the computer, I'd consider the i5-3470T if it ultimately performs faster than the 3470 or the i3-3225. I'm sure the cache size plays into this, but I don't know how it plays in real world performance. I do know what a cache does, just wondering how much of an effect on apparent speed/feel it actually has.

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    snowshed is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Z77 Pro4-M -- Need help choosing the right CPU for my needs

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Yes, that's Micro Center's thing, super low CPU price, plus mother board deal with the CPU. But they are not bad about prices on other things. Not the absolute best but you could do much worse. A few thing are more pricey (fans) but they are not bad at all. Plus their return policy is great.
    I may be one of the few who will trade slightly higher prices for a brick and mortar store so I can actually touch and feel the product, plus (hopefully) have someone honest and knowledgeable to brainstorm with.

    With the distance I drive, though, a lot of any savings now goes into the gas tank!

    When it comes to small things like fans, by the time I pay for the freight........ So for smaller items, I'll use WalMart and their Site-to-Store shipping option.

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    Addicted is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Z77 Pro4-M -- Need help choosing the right CPU for my needs

    In that case, get the i5-3470 and you won't regret it.

    Microcenter does have some things overpriced, but not the 3470. Gas + time = money out of pocket.
    If the store is close, grab it and your Office computer will be fast! Done!

  9. #9
    snowshed is offline Junior Member
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    Post Re: Z77 Pro4-M -- Need help choosing the right CPU for my needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Addicted View Post
    In that case, get the i5-3470 and you won't regret it.

    Microcenter does have some things overpriced, but not the 3470. Gas + time = money out of pocket.
    If the store is close, grab it and your Office computer will be fast! Done!
    This is my feeling at the moment. But it's not etched in stone, depending on what else I learn in this thread/forum.

    As for the drive to MC this next time, I won't be the only one going, so gas + time isn't as important. For other trips, visits to MC usually coincide with trips to see relatives that live in the area. I've been lucky to be able to most of my trips to MC part of trips with other goals.

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