I have some money coming in February 08 that I have to use on computer parts, so I want to build a fairly high end gaming/home movie production and editing rig.
Right now I'm trying to figure out what parts to target, and I think the first thing to figure out is the motherboard. What is the current favorite motherboard chipset for gaming and general high throughput tasks?
I know the 680i is the best for SLI. Is nvidia coming out with anything else soon (before april)? And I'm not actually sure that I even want to go with SLI at this point.
If I don't, what's the best intel chipset right now, the x38? The 45nm architecture chips aren't due out until late 08 right? I don't want to wait that long.
A lot can happen in three months. My main advice is go ahead and look around so you know what's out there, but don't make any final decisions until you have the money and are ready to make the purchase. A good buy today could be replaced by something a lot better for the same price in three months.
What do you got now? What is your budget? What is your timeline for any upgrades? Is Feb a fixed, must have date, or could the date slip for 1 month or 3 months?
Penyrn 45nm chips are going to hit the market strong in all flavors in Q1 08. Prices the first month can be expected to be the usual premium reseller first month on the market price. Waiting a month or more would let the prices settle down.
X38 boards will come down in prices as the Penryn chips flood the market.
So see, there are good reasons to wait a few months.
But at the same time, Penyrn is an upgrade over Conroe. In my opinion, the Penryn tick-tock stroke of the Intel clock (shrinking from 65nm to 45nm) is a weaker stroke compared to the tick-tock stroke of Nehalem (with the new architecture).
Thus building today with the Q6600, and upgrading to Nehalem in 1 year (1 year plus) might be a better option.
Taking a look at benchmarks, I like to evaluate chips on "what I can see" type benchmarks.
Take the AVG antivirus test. The QX9650 Extreme Yorkfield (Penryn) can scream through the test in 1min 2 seconds. The Q6600 takes 1 min 20 seconds. Yes, the extreme is faster. Noticeably faster. And the Q6600 can be had for under $300 while the Extreme will cost $1k. Is the Extreme that much better?
Adobe Photo 1 min 39 second for the Extreme versus 2 min 2 seconds for the Q6600. Now that is a really noticeable improvement. But could you live with the Q6600's performance?
Processor Load during HD DVD. 12.4% for the Extreme, 21.5% for the Q6600. Big time improvement.
No doubt that Penryn's are going to be great chips. But I compared the Extreme version of the Penryn to the top of the mainstream line Conroe. Mainstream Penryn's will not out perform the Conroe equivilents by those huge margins.
So I answered my questions on my computer and went with the Q6600 a couple months ago. The Q6600 is a solid performer that will let me wait until Nehelam is available in a low cost chip.
I'm in the same boat plan on taking some time off work and doing my first build in Feb. I've been looking at other people builds, and trying to decide also. I don't plan on buying the brand new stuff, but I was really hoping to get the 45nm for heat and OC'ing eventually. I'll post before I build also..
I'm presently doing the same thing. Plan on buying in the spring. Don't rush your decision for the sake of a couple of months. Buy when you're financially ready and spec out the best within your budget. Don't rule out any brand right now. Things are changing quickly and prices will only go down. Personally I am specking out two systems. I'm watching the quad cores from both Intel and AMD. This gives you time to watch current trends and use web sites like Tom's to make an informed decision later on. Remember, when you finally buy there's no turning back.
I guess my concern is more over when the next chipsets are coming out. I've heard that nvidia plans on releasing the 780i chipset in early 08. It will be able to handle the penryn chips, but will not be ddr3 until later in the year. I guess my question there is whether or not if will be able to take the nehalem chips?
basically i want the board to have upgradeablility down the road, so i would like it to be able to handle the 45nm architecture. ddr3 would be nice, but i guess not a necessity. i know the x38 chips can do both of these, but if i wanted to do dual gpu i'd have to go with ati there, and i've always been an nvidia person. i guess it's all a matter of pros and cons.
And to answer Stevie's questions. i have a p4 with ddr1 ram right now, so this is a major overhaul for me. it's fellowship money that's coming in that has to be used for computers, i have ~$600 to spend now, and then another $2000-3000 to spend starting in february (but i have a year to spend it, so it doesn't necessarily matter when). i am most likely going to go with one of the 65nm quad core chips for now, unless the price it right on the 45nm, but again, i'm trying to choose a board that will last for 2 years or more. (i don't make major upgrades very often). and like you said i would upgrade to the nehalem later - so i'd like a compatible board.
with the $600, i'll likely buy hard drives and software, and save the other purchases for feb and thereafter.
The 45nm Penryn Chips will actually be a bit cheaper as well as faster.
The 2.5ghz Penryn Quad will have a Tray price of $250 which is $16 less than the 2.4ghz Q6600. Retail prices may be slightly higher.
However the Penryns should OC very well.
I would wait. They are due out Jan 20th, 2008.
There should also be some major new GPUs out in Q1 2008.
As we get closer, better details should start leaking out.