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What exactly is the key difference between Core i7/PhenomII?

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April 15, 2009 2:11:35 AM

I've heard of the supposed awesomeness of the Core i7 and the bang-for-your-buck for the Phenom II....


But, is it something with the architecture of the Core i7 that makes it the king? What is it exactly?

I myself have a Phenom II x3 720 BE, and it's doing great for what i do (gaming, general stuff) but because i don't have the dough in the first place for a Core i7 setup. Am i missing out something or do i not really need it? as it, it's a benchmark thing where you got the hottest stuff in town and everyone's jealous of you?
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April 15, 2009 3:58:18 AM

The key difference for me is the Phenom II is that it requires less investment to make it work. With the i7, you'll need a new motherboard and memory, at the very least. Like you said, it's awesomeness vs. bang-for-your-buck :) 
April 15, 2009 4:05:53 AM

yea, i know.

Does anyone know what exactly makes the Core i7 the king of benchmarks? some superpower that resides in the processor or what?

That's what i hear on the praise of the core i7 though.
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April 15, 2009 4:23:55 AM

FPU performance.

...audio/video editing,encoding etc...that is where the difference is.
April 15, 2009 4:25:53 AM

Seriously r_manic ? Idk if your just being facetious but the key difference is the architecture and hyper-threading which essentially gives it eight cores.
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April 15, 2009 5:18:36 AM

mcnuggetofdeath said:
Seriously r_manic ? Idk if your just being facetious but the key difference is the architecture and hyper-threading which essentially gives it eight cores.

Ok sorry, missed the part about architecture and all that :pt1cable: 

I'm kinda new to the hardware game, so bear with me a bit: if that what characterizes the i7, what makes the Phenom II's performance relatively similar?
April 15, 2009 5:30:23 AM

theyve got relatively similar amounts of cache, both placed at a slower L3 level. both 45nm process so both stay fairly cool despite a large TDP of 125w ( phenom ) and 130w ( i7 ). Both are physically quad cores. other than that. cant think of much.
April 15, 2009 6:00:48 AM

ok... so what explains the benchmarks saying the Core i7 coming out on top? some newfangled mechanism i do not understand?
April 15, 2009 6:04:23 AM

tri channel DDR3 / Hyper Threading (SMT) / Instructions (SSE, MMx)
some architechtures are just better designed than others, you probably could explain it but it would take a very long time.
April 15, 2009 3:13:10 PM

hmm... can anyone pinpoint exactly why? or will it take a total computer wizard to know?
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April 15, 2009 4:46:59 PM

IN VERY broad terms, the two are highly similar in theoretical design. Integrated Memory Controller, 4 Cores on the same die, etc etc etc... So it's a bit difficult to answer your question in English without taking examples to some extreme: Stuff like equating the similarities in design to a couple cars (both have 4 wheels, engine, steering wheel on the same side, etc etc..), and saying the difference comes down to something like comparing a Chevrolet to a BMW. Both get the job done... One is faster and more efficient..

On some level that might be an accurate and reasonable analogy, but you can only take that stuff so far. Not to mention the Ideological aspects: Chevy Fans get upset if/when someone says a BMW is better, for example. And yes - Like Chevy/BMW fans, I'm pretty sure that if it were possible over the Internet individual AMD/Intel fans would physically brawl over the topic.


If you want to know technicals:

http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx...

http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3382



Most people will be concerned with how they work, though. So feel free to pick the benchmark that best fits your usage:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-q...



OR - You can decide that "The Processor I Have Works Wonderfully Well For My Use", and forget the whole thing. Probably the easiest thing for most. And besides, once you decide your stuff works great then the Fanbois become a great source of entertainment.
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April 15, 2009 7:33:05 PM

Scotteq said:


On some level that might be an accurate and reasonable analogy, but you can only take that stuff so far. Not to mention the Ideological aspects: Chevy Fans get upset if/when someone says a BMW is better, for example. And yes - Like Chevy/BMW fans, I'm pretty sure that if it were possible over the Internet individual AMD/Intel fans would physically brawl over the topic.



OH man, I was going to use Lexus/Kia..............but I'm too late.

To OP:

Take a look at SuperPi figures for both processors..........big difference.
http://forums.overclockersclub.com/index.php?showtopic=...
http://www.ripping.org/index.php

And YES it would take a computer engineer to properly explain all the differences in detail to you about the two different approaches to the technology. You have been given some reasons for some of the differences but that didn't seem to be what you wanted. If you could explain EXACTLY what PART of the technology you are having a hard time grasping, maybe someone could help.

April 16, 2009 2:31:14 AM

Knowing the theories of Electricity were not important to my 5 year old son. He was able to turn the light switch on and off and see the result.

If you really want to fully understand the answers to your questions, you will need to study long and hard and obtain a BSEE in Electronics Engineering.

As for benchmarks that you can create and compare easily, I suggest a visit to Phoronix.com. The results are similar to what Tom's provides, but you can compare your specific hardware to other real world hardware in near real time.
April 16, 2009 2:59:51 AM

ok, just to get this straight, superpi has always, and always will, prefer the intel cpu's. when you use superpi, compare it with results of the exact same architecture otherwise its not a fair comparison.

also, the i7 is built on silicon that contains different substances that help with its speed, along with the architectural differences that just make it more effiecient per clock.
April 17, 2009 6:10:12 AM

That Hyperthreading (thank God it's back!) on the Core i7's makes rendering 3D scenes ridiculously faster. It's a 3D artist's wet dream. My 3.8Ghz Core i7 setup is noticeably faster than my dual-quad core (8 actual cores) Xeon workstation at work. Sweet Jesus.
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April 17, 2009 10:09:47 AM

daft said:
ok, just to get this straight, superpi has always, and always will, prefer the intel cpu's. when you use superpi, compare it with results of the exact same architecture otherwise its not a fair comparison.

An unfortunate truth for AMD fans.
April 17, 2009 12:24:26 PM

Yeah, but who cares about superPi? It's nice and I agree it's great that intel always wins, but how often do you need to calc pi? Yes, the computer will use calculations and in real world programs similar things, but in the end, it's not about the score in 3dmark or superpi, but if your computer can play your games fine.

Both are great processors, both do a great job, in the end both cost a ton of money and you have to see which one is best price/performance for you.
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April 17, 2009 12:35:29 PM

If you were going to calculate Pi for a real purpose repeatedly you wouldn't use a program as prehistoric and slow as SuperPi anyway.
April 17, 2009 2:23:25 PM

r_manic said:
The key difference for me is the Phenom II is that it requires less investment to make it work. With the i7, you'll need a new motherboard and memory, at the very least. Like you said, it's awesomeness vs. bang-for-your-buck :) 


That investment is inevitable BTW. LGA775 was around for ages. I'm sure LGA1366 will be too. You're always going to have to upgrade all three core parts eventually. At least this upgrade yields a vast improvement. When P4's switched sockets (478 to 775), it sucked.
April 18, 2009 8:55:40 PM

krazynutz said:
That Hyperthreading (thank God it's back!) on the Core i7's makes rendering 3D scenes ridiculously faster. It's a 3D artist's wet dream. My 3.8Ghz Core i7 setup is noticeably faster than my dual-quad core (8 actual cores) Xeon workstation at work. Sweet Jesus.

That is awesome! I'm planning on getting a Core i7 setup soon and I'm curious... is your dual-quad xeon also running at 3.8Ghz? I think I remember seeing a benchmark test somewhere that showed Core i7 was just as fast/powerfull as the daul xeon...
April 18, 2009 9:07:46 PM

No...my dual Xeon setup is dual 2.33Ghz chips. But to put it in perspective, my dual 2.33Ghz Xeon workstation was faster than my Q6600 rig @ 3.2Ghz. My new Core i7 @ 3.8Ghz is faster than my Xeon rig.

Benchmark scene:

Q6600 @ 3.2Ghz: 61 secs
Xeon 2x 2.33Ghz: 46 secs
Core i7 @ 3.8GHz: 33 secs

Nice.
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April 20, 2009 7:50:00 AM

But but... didn't "multi-core" replace "hyperthreading" as the CPU buzzord? What brought the past back?
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April 20, 2009 8:08:53 AM

Now it's "multi-hyperthreading"
April 20, 2009 8:28:25 AM

wtf? isn't it 4 cores, yet people say it's like "having 8 cores at once!"

Core i7 may be more efficient, but it's still 4 cores... never understood the whole hyperthreading thing. Hell, some benchmarks show the core i7 to perform better WITHOUT it, but i said, some benchmarks, not all.
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April 20, 2009 8:56:47 AM

8 logical cores (4 physical with HT) is not usually as good as 8 physical cores, which in turn is not usually as good as 16 logical cores (8 physical with HT).
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April 20, 2009 2:05:40 PM

Chronobodi said:
wtf? isn't it 4 cores, yet people say it's like "having 8 cores at once!"

Core i7 may be more efficient, but it's still 4 cores... never understood the whole hyperthreading thing. Hell, some benchmarks show the core i7 to perform better WITHOUT it, but i said, some benchmarks, not all.



Think if it as building blocks or layers: There's a hardware level and a software level. If you build a (Hardware) foundation designed for a multi company office building (Hyperthreaded), but only install (1) one room apartment (single threaded software) on it.... the problem isn't the Hardware/Foundation. It's that the Apartment/Software you put on it isn't able to take advantage of the foundation it's built on.

That is why - if a given benchmark is not designed to be multi threaded - it may not perform any better.


What the superior foundation allows you to do is have more (single threaded apps) Apartments running efficiently at the same time, and/or support a larger and more demanding (Company) application. Or both at once.

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April 21, 2009 6:37:02 AM

randomizer said:
Now it's "multi-hyperthreading"

Ah... So I bet we're gonna see "multi-multi-core" then switch back to "multi-multi-hyperthreading"! :pt1cable: 
April 21, 2009 8:13:03 AM

What's next? 8 cores, 16 cores, 9,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 cores with quantum architecture with a spark of pixie dust?
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April 21, 2009 9:13:39 AM

Of course.
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April 21, 2009 2:32:54 PM

Chronobodi said:
What's next? 8 cores, 16 cores, 9,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 cores with quantum architecture with a spark of pixie dust?


Just don't forget the 11th commandment: "What Intel Giveth, Microsoft Taketh Away"
April 21, 2009 9:42:07 PM

where's AMD in all this grand scheme?
!