I am preparing to build a new tower, the first in a long time, and am aiming for it to be a "baseline" for upgrades for a long time.

It will be used with a dual boot Windows 7 / Debian, Windows for gaming and Debian for everyday tasks (multimedia) and programming (nothing CPU intensive yet).

The goal is to have it built for a relatively low price, performance be damned now if must be since I don't have a lot of PC games yet, but I value the future proofing above all.

I am hesitating between three processor, the difference in price is not that huge, but the sockets are different, and I'd like to know that when time's come, I ll not have to buy a new motherboard with the next processor too because I have choosen the wrong socket.
I'd also would like to have the more bang for my buck, since I am on a tigh budget for my ambitions.

  • i7-5820K, socket 2011-v3, 440€
  • i7-7700K, socket 1151, 410€
  • i7-4790K, socket 1150, 400€


To clarify a few point, my main worry is to, in some year when the processor will start to get old, have to change the motherboard with it because of a change of socket, followed by changing something else because X is not compatible with the new motherboard, and things cascading in buying almost a new PC.
I am also not in a hurry, so if the release date of a new socket type that will be supported longer is scheduled for soon (<1year), I am also comfortable waiting for it.

  • Could always wait for the launch of Zen :P Jan 19 '17 at 1:43

I suggest you to read these articles: for 2011-v3 successor http://wccftech.com/intel-x299-chipset-skylake-x-kaby-lake-x/ and for 1151 successor http://wccftech.com/intel-cannonlake-cpu-300-motherboards-2017/

They clearly explain that the x99 / 2011-v3 socket and x200 / 1151 won't last more than few months, since it's almost certain that intel won't support them with newer cpus (skylake-x and cannonlake/coffelake).

Since you repeated a lot the word FUTURE I have to say that you have chosen sockets/chipset that won't be upgraded anymore by Intel with newer CPU.

So one option is to buy something NOW, and I suggest to choose the 2011-v3 platform with the right motherboard because you are sure that can buy now a Core i7-5820K (3.3GHz, L3:15M, 6C, HT, 140W, rev.R2) and in the future update it to a, for example, Intel Xeon E5-2687W-v4 (3.0G,160W,L3:30M,12C,HT) with less money than today (also selling your first CPU).

The other option is to wait for the next first next platform between X299 or cannonlake/coffelake chipset 300 and you will be sure that for other 2 generations of processors you will be able to upgrade them. I would suggest cannonlake cpu that will be also 6/8 cores (plus HT) instead of the top cpu of 1151 that is only 4 cores (plus HT). Sadly my last phrase has no direct support from leaked slides (see: http://wccftech.com/intel-roadmap-kaby-lake-coffee-lake-cannonlake-leak/ and: http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/09/14/exclusive-the-secret-of-intel-corporations-coffee.aspx ) so it could be taken as a speculation.

Take into account also that this year AMD will show ZEN CPU and in function of the real value/performance of the platform I think that INTEL will be forced, or not, to push to an higher rate of cores on mainstream cpu sector

  • Are you sure Cannonlake is incompatible with Sunrise Point chipsets? Intel typically has chips of the same μarch on the same socket, and node shrinks are supported after a BIOS update
    – timuzhti
    Jan 18 '17 at 10:41
  • From this link wccftech.com/intel-coffee-lake-is-cannonlake-in-disguise it's impossible to say something, UP TO NOW intel changed their chipset every TWO families of CPU. I don't have any way to predict that 1151 socket with Sunrise/Union Point will support next year CPU. Can you say something more ?? Do you have resources to sya it ??
    – pm2r
    Jan 18 '17 at 10:46
  • Look at this link, that has intel table: wccftech.com/… . One socket has always two cpus families. Probably if they have stepped to a three phase process, it could be that actual 1151 would be able to accept new cpu, but up to now no one knows it
    – pm2r
    Jan 18 '17 at 10:52
  • I agree on your speculation, but do you have more information to substain it ?
    – pm2r
    Jan 18 '17 at 10:57
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – timuzhti
    Jan 18 '17 at 11:00

For longevity... I would go with the kabby lake processor. the i7-7700K. It is the most recent, and you will get the most life out of it.

Do I recommend upgrading from the 5820 or 4790 to the 7700? No. Because the difference between them is minor. Intel has been gearing their cpu improvements towards lower tdp not raw horse power. Now, the lower tdp does offer more overclocking headroom, but I'll save that for the bottom of this answer.

Here is a Linus Tech Tips forum article about it. It summarizes my feelings on the subject. If you have an i7 4790k or i7 5820k it's simply not worth the upgrade. BUT if your starting with a fresh build, its worth buying into it now.

My overclocking statement. The benefit to having a lower tdp is more overclocking headroom, and with proper cooling you can exploit that. Being able to overclock will definitely buy you some time when your computer is starting to show its age. I currently have a 4790k, I have not overclocked it yet mainly because I don't have an aftermarket cooler yet... but the minute it starts to slow down, its the first thing I'm going to do.

There are quite a few people here better prepared to answer this question and I would love for them to chime in as well.

  • One of my fear is the socket, in 3~4years, is it possible that the 1151 socket been phased out, forcing me to also change the motherboard for one that support whatever is dominant at this time? Or is the 1151 socket recent enought to not having to care?
    – DrakaSAN
    Jan 18 '17 at 8:59
  • @DrakaSAN It's unlikely for Intel to release a CPU that's massively better in the medium term, as Intel's tick-tock cycle has slowed down and stagnated with only a few percent performance increase per generation. All you'll likely be missing out on for future generations is fancy new chipset features like USB C and newer HDMI/DisplayPort
    – timuzhti
    Jan 18 '17 at 10:37
  • @Alpha3031 This is exactly right. The only way I could see a massive improvement from intel right now is if Ryzen or whatever AMD is calling it becomes a real competitor and starts taking business away from intel. Jan 23 '17 at 14:58

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