[CPU Options] (click for full spreadsheet)
Due to a much more extensive list of CPU options than other builds, recommendations will be made - but ultimately it’s up to you to choose what’s right for your build. Take a look at the CPU sheet above as well as the advice below.
Typically, you can use both E5-1600 and E5-2600 v1/v2 processors with single socket motherboards. With Intel X79 chipsets, you can overclock the CPU if you use E5-1600 v1/v2 which have an unlocked multiplier. Personally, I’ve been able to get a stable 4.6GHz overclock on all 6 cores of an E5-1650 v2. This is especially handy for gaming and single threaded game servers and applications. Keep in mind that X79 chipset motherboards are generally more expensive, less available, and require more expensive and lower capacity DDR3 non-ECC UDIMM.
Other single socket motherboard options generally are not very cost effective, but sometimes you can snag a deal. For the most part, single socket 2011 is only affordable through prebuilt systems.
Value recommendation: E5-1620 v2 - $30.00
The E5-1620 v2 is only $5 more than the E5-1620 v1, but it has higher clock speed and slightly better power efficiency. It’s equivalent to an i7 with 4C/8T, and can be had for only $30. Stock, it has just under 10k passmark, overclocked you’re looking at least at 4.5GHz with around 14k passmark. (overclocking requires an X79 motherboard)
Overclocking recommendation: E5-1650 v2 - $85.00
The E5-1650 v2 is a great all around processor. 6C/12T is a lot with 3.9GHz turbo speed, reaching around 13k passmark on stock clocks. I’ve personally overclocked one of these to 4.6GHz with just air cooling. I’m sure it’s capable of more with a better motherboard and better cooling. It’s well under $100 and provides great single threaded performance with 50% more cores/threads than your average i7.
Jack of all trades… but master of none: E5-2680 or E5-2650 v2 - $55.00
Both are 8C/16T, around 12.5k passmark, and have similar base/turbo clock speeds. These are a great mix of core count and single core performance, but don’t top out in either category. Personally I’d buy whichever is cheapest, perhaps favoring the E5-2650 v2 slightly for increased IPC.
Multi-threaded recommendation: E5-2695 v2 - $170.00
12C/24T with 16k passmark in a single processor. Maximum clock speed isn’t particularly high, but the sheer amount of cores makes up for it somewhat. If you plan on running a lot of VMs/dockers, this is the way to go.
Dual socket 2011 doesn’t allow for overclocking and requires the use of E5-2600 v1/v2 processors (if you’re using two). Some dual socket boards allow for the use of a single E5-1600 v1/v2 processor, but… why would you do that? Unless you have one already, there’s no reason to purchase such a configuration. It’s likely you’d move to dual CPU in the future anyway, so you might as well get an appropriate CPU.
Extreme budget recommendation: 2 x E5-2620 v2 - $16.00/pair
I’d really only recommend these if you are trying to shave off as much money as possible from your build. That said, sometimes you can get a pair of these for $12 after OBO…
Value recommendation: 2 x E5-2640 - $26.00/pair or 2 x E5-2630 v2 - $40.00/pair
A pair of these CPUs probably costs less than the RAM that you’re using, while offering 14.7k-16k
passmark and a combined 12C/24T. They’re great.
Most people should start one of these options and upgrade from here.
Mid range recommendation: 2 x E5-2667 - $78.00/pair or 2 x E5-2665 - $78.00/pair
Go for E5-2667 if you favor clock speed and fewer cores, go for E5-2665 for more cores and slower clock speeds. Both have around 17k passmark and are outstanding processors. You can’t go wrong with either one!
Top of the line (reasonable) recommendation: 2 x E5-2650 v2 - $120.00/pair
These have a good combination of cores (8C/16T each) and clock speed (2.6Ghz Base /3.4GHz Turbo). If you’re looking to upgrade past these, you’ll be spending quite a bit more, but there are options out there.
To the moon…
Other options for more cores (up to 12C/24T) or higher clock speeds (up to 4.0GHz) are available, but they come at a cost. Just evaluate your options and needs carefully before you start to consider moving past E5-2650 v2.