Intel E3 1230

While glancing around I came across the Xeon E3 1231 cpu. After doing a bit of research, it turns out that this little server processor is basically an i7-4770 minus the onboard GPU. Since most editing system builds will need a decent GPU budgeted in, the lack of onboard graphics isn’t really much of a problem.

Priced at $242, the Xeon E3 1231 is kind of a hidden treasure. It’s not a huge savings, but this Xeon labeled cpu will knock $70 or $80 off an i7 build. That bit of savings could give you room for a better GPU, 32GB of ram, or any number of other upgrades, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, this is a locked down chip, so if you are interested in overclocking, this probably isn’t your best option. Also you’ll want to check on motherboard support. It took me about 15 minutes of digging around to come up with a cheap $90 MSI motherboard with Xeon support and from the research I’ve done, most newer boards have support. That said, if you are trying to use an older Z87 motherboard, you might want to look at the slightly older Xeon E3-1230V3 varrint.

Despite being a Xeon processor, the E3 1231 doesn’t require ECC memory so you don’t have to worry about that added expense. Also, the benchmarks I’ve seen put it just under the 4770 and 4790 which isn’t bad for the price.

I think I might give this guy a try in my next HTPC build. When I do, I think some rendering tests comparing this to my current i7 4790 build would be interesting.


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