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Core i7 920 build for $1250

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Last response: in Systems
January 3, 2009 5:32:47 PM

What do you guys think about these parts and their compatibility with each other?

Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115202

EVGA 132-BL-E758-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188039

COOLER MASTER V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103055

NZXT TEMPEST Crafted Series CS-NT-TEM-B Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146047

PC Power & Cooling S75CF 750W EPS12V SLI NVIDIA SLI Certified (Dual 8800 GTX and below) CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341011

G.SKILL 3GB (3 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9T-3GBNQ - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231224

EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130434

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148288

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model DH-20A4P-04 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106228

ASUS Black SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model DVD-E818A3T - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135176


TOTAL = $1,360.90 (Without rebates/deals that I can get)

$1195.90 (With rebates + deals from connections)

The Coolermaster V8 comes with the LGA 1366 bracket, and can fit on my motherboard right?

More about : core 920 build 1250

January 3, 2009 5:55:15 PM

Parts look fine, yes the v8 will fit with the bracket, What OS you running? Also, is this a strict budget? Are you asking opinions about how to save money... or make it little stronger? what would you like to know exactly, you could save a little, spend a little more using faster Parts/beter versions etc, Are you going to Overclock? Shark
January 3, 2009 6:06:10 PM

I'll most likely be running Vista 32-bit, might be 64-bit, not sure yet. My budget is pretty confined, $1500 is the maximum, and I'd prefer to spend around $1200. My main purpose of this thread was to see if everything would run smoothly together. If you guys can suggest ways for me to save money, then I'd be happy to welcome your suggestions.

I do plan to overclock as well
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January 3, 2009 6:06:15 PM

Your build is completely compatible, but what monitor size do you have? I'm not sure that GTX 260 will be necessary if you have anything less than 22"
January 3, 2009 6:10:22 PM

Looks fine, are you a gamer at all? Only other concern i would ask yourself is... if you run vista 64, it can utilize more memory and if you want to upgrade memory later you'll have to buy all new ram example 3x2 gb of ram to use Triple channel...
January 3, 2009 6:13:43 PM

I have a 22" monitor, but I might upgrade it later on.

And yes, I'm a gamer. Mostly FPS's and some RTS's. I'm currently looking at these 3x2 gb of ram for 179.99 but still debating on whether or not its worth it for the extra $100
January 3, 2009 6:15:29 PM

Right, its up to you, the price will come down eventually, but again if you use 64 and play an intensive game, who knows, it should all work fine either way, you can get an OC version or superclock with rebate same price as what your paying for Graphics card too
January 3, 2009 6:17:04 PM

Great. GTX 260 is perfect if you want the eye candy.

I read through your list again and that Lite-On IDE DVD-R will NOT work. Your motherboard, as far as I know, only takes S-ATA, no IDE.
January 3, 2009 6:20:01 PM

Good catch
January 3, 2009 6:20:46 PM

Ooh nice catch on the drive thanks :wahoo: 
January 3, 2009 6:28:07 PM

Looks good.
I would change to a 6gb ram kit 3x2gb, and use vista-64.
Based on some benchmarks I have seen, slower ram makes very little difference in i7 performance, so that should reduce the bite a bit.
January 3, 2009 6:40:03 PM

Thanks :>

Personally I would get a different CPU cooler. The V8 is pretty noisy when on full (which it will have to be on if you're overclocking), and the actual cooling performance is not overwhelming for what you're paying for. The V8 is a good cooler; no doubt about that. But the size, the price, the weight, the noise... all negatives.

Here is a review of the V8. It shows a table of where the V8 compares to other coolers, based on its cooling ability. The noise, even though its not terrible compared to others, is something that I do not enjoy. If its no biggy to you, then fine. Get it. It will be perfect for you then.

I do not know of many 1366 socket coolers so sadly I cannot make a recommendation. If you're trying to save money then look further into the CPU cooler industry. There are some great value coolers from Scythe, Xigmatek, Thermalright and Zalman. But if you don't mind the price, noise and weight of the V8, by all means get it. Apart from those I just mentioned the V8 has no negatives!

Good luck
January 3, 2009 6:51:36 PM

For a cooler i could suggest the Thermalright 120 Ultra. iTs a veary good heatsink by itself and add a fan to that its very good at cooling, and depending on the fan you could use depends on the noise. All you have to do is buy a 1366 bracket for it and its better then the V8.
January 3, 2009 6:54:54 PM

+1 to Thermalright ultra 120 extreme, Using one best i have ever used. Great reviews
January 3, 2009 9:26:58 PM

coolerguys.com

thats off the back of my head.
January 3, 2009 11:03:07 PM

Hmm, are there any ways for me to make this build a bit cheaper? Since, w/ tax and stuff it turns out to be around $1400
January 3, 2009 11:19:12 PM

infeckted said:
Hmm, are there any ways for me to make this build a bit cheaper? Since, w/ tax and stuff it turns out to be around $1400


Newegg only charges taxes in California, New Jersey, and Tennessee. So if you don't live in any of those states you'll be free of any taxes.
January 3, 2009 11:19:46 PM

I don't think you'll need a 750W PSU with one GPU and one CPU. You'll need a minimum of 550W I'll say. With depreciation in mind, you should get a 650W I'd say. I'd recommend the Corsair TX650. Check it out.

Try out this calculator: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

It is fairly accurate. Add about 50W leeway. If it says 500-600W get the TX650 as I recommended. 600-700W get the TX750.

(everything I wrote is useless if you plan to SLI your graphics card in the future. Stick with the 750W if you do plan on it)
January 3, 2009 11:28:53 PM

I live in California so the tax sucks.

I might be planning to do SLI, so yeah I don't think I can change any parts to make it cheaper...

Thanks guys
January 3, 2009 11:45:54 PM

is that for gaming? if so, save $200 ish and get a core 2 system. spend that extra $200 or so on better graphics. it will give you LOADS more fps than the i7 over the core 2... if you've building it for work or something that needs a CPU.. fine.
January 4, 2009 9:53:09 AM

Infeckted, I heard recently that a new CPU socket will be released next year, so getting the i7 is not worth it.

What I recommend you do, is buy everything as you listed above, but rather get the Core 2 Duo E8500 (3.16GHz). It is great value for money and is easy to overclock. It even gives better performance in games compared to Core 2 Quad (I have been told). Get a cheap P43 chipset motherboard (check out Gigabyte's P43 motherboard. Great value). It will have one PCI-E 2.0 slot, but by the time you plan to go SLI the new chipset would have been released. So buy a great graphics card instead of the i7. Maybe wait for the GTX 295.

So here is basically what I would buy in your situation:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(If your planning on overclocking soon then you will have to buy a cooler. Maybe the V8. If your only going to overclock in a year, wait for the next Socket to come out and then buy a cooler, and then overclock.

NZXT TEMPEST Crafted Series CS-NT-TEM-B Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(Personally I would get the CoolerMaster HAF932 case, but thats just me. The HAF is a monster of a case. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

PC Power & Cooling S75CF 750W EPS12V SLI NVIDIA SLI Certified (Dual 8800 GTX and below) CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(I still recommend the Corsair TX750W PSU instead of the PC P&C, but again, thats just me.)

CORSAIR XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(You won't need DDR3 with this motherboard. Another way to save money)

Get the EVGA GTX 280 or wait for the GTX 295.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(Get two of these. Its been evident that these HDD's are NOT reliable. Many complain about random failures where they lose all data. Get two of these and run them in RAID 1 for backup.

ASUS Black SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model DVD-E818A3T - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

When the new socket comes out you can SLI your GTX280/295 and you can get a new motherboard, RAM and CPU then.

Off the top of my head you will save about $300. If you do actually plan on getting the GTX295 you still save about $100.
March 3, 2009 7:12:44 AM

I'm not sure this is good advice. The i7 is NOT another semi-upgrade. The new chips will be full 8-core processors. Almost nothing fully utilizes 4 cores now, it will be a few years before 8-core CPUs are utilized. Everything is slowing down in this recession. The people who hunger for this new technology (gamers) really don't have all that buying power. In light of the current economic climate and stuff that I get from the Intel scuttlebutt, I'd say that the i7 is the best hedge for about 2-3 years out. It's cheaper than Core2Quad, it's about 15% faster than Core2Quad and you can overclock the **** out of it. I'm running a 920 at a little over 3.6GHz on air (Zalman 9700) and this processor runs rings around my 9550 overclocked to 3.4GHz.
March 3, 2009 9:01:26 AM

Vixe said:
Infeckted, I heard recently that a new CPU socket will be released next year, so getting the i7 is not worth it.

Yes intel is going to be releasing a new chipset P55 and P57 and a new socket (LGA 1156 I think it is). However this socket will most likely not replace LGA 1366. It will be for the Core i5 processors which will be a cheaper alternative to the i7's. LGA 1366 will still have an upgrade path from current i7's. i7 will be Intel's flagship processors, i5 will be the mainstream midrange processors, and Core 2 will become the budget processors.

An interesting read:
http://www.hardwarezone.com/articles/view.php?id=2806&c...

That being said, if this rig is for gaming, then an i7 build is not the best use of your money, a core 2 build will perform admirably for $200-300 less, or for the same price will outperform an i7 build. An i7 is only worthwhile if you will be using your PC for video encoding, CAD, media file creation, or other highly CPU intensive task. Otherwise Core 2 or Phenom II will do just as well for your purposes and your money is better spent there.
March 3, 2009 2:50:35 PM

Ok, I'm obviously missing something here. How, exactly, is i7 more expensive than Core2 if you are starting from scratch? The 17 920 system I just built cost $49 more than the C2Q 9550 system I built 2 months ago. It has 2GB more RAM, and when both are overclocked to what I consider stable, the i7 system blows the 9550 out of the water. So, tell me, how do you save $200-300 based on processor choice (i.e., C2Q vs i7) alone?

John
March 3, 2009 5:03:48 PM

The mobo's that you have to buy for i7 cost $250 or more if you want quality. Some cheaper ones are available but lack features that I for one consider to be necessary for future upgrades. Then you have to spend around $150 on a decent kit of DDR3 memory.
March 3, 2009 6:54:40 PM

I guess you have to define quality. Also, I'm not arguing that a complete i7 system would necessarily be less expensive than a high end LGA 775 system, and of course there will be somewhat of an early adopter penalty for the motherboard. However, to a large degree the costs offset by productivity improvements, the obsolescence factor is decreased going i7 now, and if you were going to do two builds (considering an inevitable upgrade to the i7 in a reasonable amount of time) there is an obvious cost mitigation. If you are arguing that you could just pass on i7 and wait for Intel's next cycle, then yes, I guess you are correct. But, I stand by my position that a complete new build using i7 doesn't have to cost a lot more than building a reasonably comparable LGA 775 system.

Here is a comparison of oranges to oranges. I'm a DFI, guy and have been for some time. About a year ago I bought A DFI LP UT P35 (which was their highest performance MB at the time) for which I paid $220 (it now costs $150). So in about 1 year the board depreciated about 32%. The comparable (in status among the DFI products in a given processor class) i7 DFI board is the DFI LP UT X58 which now costs $299. I didn't buy that board for my i7 build because I was looking for a micro-ATX board for portability purposes so I chose the DFI LanParty JR x58 board which cost me $230 (if you compare the two boards the only thing you actually give up in going the micro route is 3 expansion slots and Firewire capability). I would argue that the DFI micro board provides all the "quality" I will ever need. But back to my point... assuming some kind of comparable depreciation rate (but given Obamanomics any projection for a year out from now could be way off, especially if we see hyperinflation) if we take 32% as a comparable value, in a year the top end DFI board will cost about $203 (i.e., you save about $97 if you wait a year).

So, for the motherboard you are correct, if you bought DFI's best LGA 775 board today you would save about $150 over buying the i7 board. But think about the real cost in terms that you are building something today and theoretically upgrading it later (say a year). Even if you buy a junk MB today you will still be stuck with legacy stuff when you upgrade. One would have to think that it would be worth a lot more than the theoretical $97 you save by waiting.

Now, as to your speculation that you need to spend around $150 for a "decent kit of DDR3 memory", I would suggest that the 6GB (3x2GB sticks) of OCZ Platinum 1600MHz (CAS: 7-7-7-24) that I bought for $119 (when you include the $20 rebate) is "decent" memory. So lets go comparison shopping again. First of all no DDR2 memory will go 1600MHz, and it isn't triple channel if it did. So you really can't compare oranges to oranges here. Right now you can get 4GB (i.e., 33% less memory) of OCZ DDR2 1200 MHz (CAS: 6,6,6,18) for $105. If you really want to have the best DDR2 OC timing control 4GB of OCZ DDR 1200 (CAS: 5,5,5,18) will set you back $130. And if you want more voltage control with the same timing specs 4GB will cost $190. So, you really see some kind of savings, here? Remember, you were the one who brought up decent memory.

Finally (since everything else will be the same for either system) you have the Processor. Since the i7s are all quad core (with hyperthreading again enabled, so you do have 8 processing streams) you have to make comparison with Core 2 Quad products. As I said in my past post, I am using an i7 920 in my current build. I paid $268 for it when I bought it together with a Corsair power supply. When I bought the DFI LGA 775 board last year I bought a Q6600 to go in it for which I paid $239 (current cost is $197). In late November I sold the Q6600 for $180 on ebay and bought a Q9550 for $295 (with assured clocking) (current price $280). Under Zalman 9700 cooling, the best I could ever get out of the Q9550 was about 3.8GHz stable, which I throttle back to 3.4GHz. The i7 was running stable at 4.0GHz (some have reported in various forums that they get stability under air up in the 4.3GHz range) but I throttle back to about 3.6GHz. Anyway, there is almost no comparison that you could fairly make between the two builds. I'm not a gamer, I use the machines a Digital Audio Workstations. In terms of number of instances of virtual synthesizers and audio effects I can run in my DAW software (SONAR 8.0.2 PE), I see almost 30% improvement in the i7 system with 6GB RAM under Vista 64 in comparison to the Core2 system with 8 GB RAM under Vista 64. I'll take a 30% productivity improvement for about 97 bucks any day of the week.

John
March 3, 2009 9:20:45 PM

Yes if you look for super deals, then you can cut down the cost of a build. If you hunted for those deals on the core 2 platform you could do it there too and get a similar price difference.

You sacrificed a lot going for that cheaper board IMO and limited your upgrade paths considerably. 3 expansion slots is a huge loss.

mosspa said:
I'm not a gamer, I use the machines a Digital Audio Workstations. In terms of number of instances of virtual synthesizers and audio effects I can run in my DAW software (SONAR 8.0.2 PE), I see almost 30% improvement in the i7 system with 6GB RAM under Vista 64 in comparison to the Core2 system with 8 GB RAM under Vista 64.

infeckted said:
I have a 22" monitor, but I might upgrade it later on.

And yes, I'm a gamer. Mostly FPS's and some RTS's. I'm currently looking at these 3x2 gb of ram for 179.99 but still debating on whether or not its worth it for the extra $100


If you aren't a gamer then you aren't comparing oranges to oranges. You aren't even comparing fruit at that point, in the interest of keeping the analogy alive its like comparing meat to vegetables. The OP said he is a gamer and for a gaming build i7 is not a good idea. Of course the i7 will whoop all other processors at what you do, those tasks are highly CPU intensive and an 8thread processor will obviously be better. Gaming is much more dependant on the GPU. The only truely multithreaded games are FSX and GTA4, all other games only utilize 2 threads and the rest are just wasted. There is maybe 5% performance increase at best using an i7 with 6gb of memory over a Core 2 with 4gb of DDR2-800. Put the savings into a $200 more expensive GPU and you will get 50% more performance than the i7. The OP is a gamer and your comments are therefore moot points.
March 4, 2009 4:08:18 AM

Your points are well taken. However, my comments were made in regard to the future. One has to assume that as many-threaded CPUs become more common, this power availability will be used even in the gaming community. Unfortunately, I have no idea what the cycle for generational change in games is so, you are correct, nothing I may have written may pertain to the OP's initial question. However, if the cycle is less than a year, having more available processor threads may be an advantage then. Which brings me back to the overall speed issue. First of all, I don't go shopping for bargains. I buy all of my stuff at Newegg. I have a bias toward high-end DFI MBs, but for memory I'll choose either Corsair, OCZ, Geil, or G.Skill and buy whatever is cheapest given the speed I'm interested in with a strong weighting given to CAS timings. I haven't really looked at Core 2 Duo CPUs in quite some time, and I really don't know how to compare a Wolfdale core to a Yorkfield core, let alone to an i7 core, except by looking at core speed and reading user comments on how fast they can OC them. When I looked at the Newegg comments it seems that the OC potential of the Q9550 is somewhere between the E7500 and E8400 CPUs, but only the E8600 can be OC'd as high as an i7. So, you are correct, if the CPU speed really doesn't matter (which appears to be the case based on comments made by gamers), if you bought the E7500 over an i7 you would be saving about $150 in the CPU alone. However, if CPU speed does matter in the future (even if only 2 threads are being used), the correct comparison would be to the F8600 ion which the savings would only be $10. So, again with the MB cost differential you are looking at possibly saving as much as $300 on a sufficient Core 2 system vs an i7.

Also, about my choice of the Micro ATX board. I've been doing a lot more 24-channel live road work lately and having a smaller case to haul around makes more sense for me than an extra PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot (somehow I doubt I'll be needing a 3-way SLI video implementation :)  .. although my little board will do 2-way SLI with 2 x16 transfer lanes) and a spare PCI slot (I was wrong, usually DFI full ATX boards have 7 slots, but the i7 board has 6, probably to make room for 3 SLI video cards option). Right now I have a mid-level video card in one of the PCI-E x16 slots, and my audio interface board in the PCI slot. That leaves me room for 2 PCI-E boards, but I can't imagine what I'd stick in there, other than some hardware audio processing boards. Just out of curiosity, what do gamers and people not working in Pro audio or video stick in all of those slots? A few builds back, the only other things I would have in the slots would be 4-port USB 2 cards or 3-port Firewire cards. The little board has 12 USB 2 ports, and Firewire is going the way of the floppy disk (USB 3.0 is going to be a monster when it finally arrives).

Except for an answer about what goes in the other slots, I'm just about ready to let this thread die :D  .

John
April 7, 2009 5:22:01 PM

Hi John,
I got a kick out of finding your post, mainly because I just ordered a VERY similar system that this guy is questioning - I am not a gamer, I actually am building my 3rd DAW - and I am a Sonar 7 guy myself - I am also going to be upgrading to Vista 64 bit, due to the limitation of 4 gigs on the XP platform. I am very curious ad to whether my VST's will be working in this new 64 bit environment ie EZDrummer Symphonic Orchestra Gold, etc. - this seems like a big crap shoot right now. I was very excited to hear the performance you are getting out of your i7 and am looking forward to using this new system and 6 gig of ram. I am also planning on buying a 32" LCD TV from best buy for $350 and hooking this up - one bigass screen - one bad mofo LOL

mosspa said:
I guess you have to define quality. Also, I'm not arguing that a complete i7 system would necessarily be less expensive than a high end LGA 775 system, and of course there will be somewhat of an early adopter penalty for the motherboard. However, to a large degree the costs offset by productivity improvements, the obsolescence factor is decreased going i7 now, and if you were going to do two builds (considering an inevitable upgrade to the i7 in a reasonable amount of time) there is an obvious cost mitigation. If you are arguing that you could just pass on i7 and wait for Intel's next cycle, then yes, I guess you are correct. But, I stand by my position that a complete new build using i7 doesn't have to cost a lot more than building a reasonably comparable LGA 775 system.

Here is a comparison of oranges to oranges. I'm a DFI, guy and have been for some time. About a year ago I bought A DFI LP UT P35 (which was their highest performance MB at the time) for which I paid $220 (it now costs $150). So in about 1 year the board depreciated about 32%. The comparable (in status among the DFI products in a given processor class) i7 DFI board is the DFI LP UT X58 which now costs $299. I didn't buy that board for my i7 build because I was looking for a micro-ATX board for portability purposes so I chose the DFI LanParty JR x58 board which cost me $230 (if you compare the two boards the only thing you actually give up in going the micro route is 3 expansion slots and Firewire capability). I would argue that the DFI micro board provides all the "quality" I will ever need. But back to my point... assuming some kind of comparable depreciation rate (but given Obamanomics any projection for a year out from now could be way off, especially if we see hyperinflation) if we take 32% as a comparable value, in a year the top end DFI board will cost about $203 (i.e., you save about $97 if you wait a year).

So, for the motherboard you are correct, if you bought DFI's best LGA 775 board today you would save about $150 over buying the i7 board. But think about the real cost in terms that you are building something today and theoretically upgrading it later (say a year). Even if you buy a junk MB today you will still be stuck with legacy stuff when you upgrade. One would have to think that it would be worth a lot more than the theoretical $97 you save by waiting.

Now, as to your speculation that you need to spend around $150 for a "decent kit of DDR3 memory", I would suggest that the 6GB (3x2GB sticks) of OCZ Platinum 1600MHz (CAS: 7-7-7-24) that I bought for $119 (when you include the $20 rebate) is "decent" memory. So lets go comparison shopping again. First of all no DDR2 memory will go 1600MHz, and it isn't triple channel if it did. So you really can't compare oranges to oranges here. Right now you can get 4GB (i.e., 33% less memory) of OCZ DDR2 1200 MHz (CAS: 6,6,6,18) for $105. If you really want to have the best DDR2 OC timing control 4GB of OCZ DDR 1200 (CAS: 5,5,5,18) will set you back $130. And if you want more voltage control with the same timing specs 4GB will cost $190. So, you really see some kind of savings, here? Remember, you were the one who brought up decent memory.

Finally (since everything else will be the same for either system) you have the Processor. Since the i7s are all quad core (with hyperthreading again enabled, so you do have 8 processing streams) you have to make comparison with Core 2 Quad products. As I said in my past post, I am using an i7 920 in my current build. I paid $268 for it when I bought it together with a Corsair power supply. When I bought the DFI LGA 775 board last year I bought a Q6600 to go in it for which I paid $239 (current cost is $197). In late November I sold the Q6600 for $180 on ebay and bought a Q9550 for $295 (with assured clocking) (current price $280). Under Zalman 9700 cooling, the best I could ever get out of the Q9550 was about 3.8GHz stable, which I throttle back to 3.4GHz. The i7 was running stable at 4.0GHz (some have reported in various forums that they get stability under air up in the 4.3GHz range) but I throttle back to about 3.6GHz. Anyway, there is almost no comparison that you could fairly make between the two builds. I'm not a gamer, I use the machines a Digital Audio Workstations. In terms of number of instances of virtual synthesizers and audio effects I can run in my DAW software (SONAR 8.0.2 PE), I see almost 30% improvement in the i7 system with 6GB RAM under Vista 64 in comparison to the Core2 system with 8 GB RAM under Vista 64. I'll take a 30% productivity improvement for about 97 bucks any day of the week.

John

April 7, 2009 8:00:32 PM

VirgilGuitar said:
Hi John,
I got a kick out of finding your post, mainly because I just ordered a VERY similar system that this guy is questioning - I am not a gamer, I actually am building my 3rd DAW - and I am a Sonar 7 guy myself - I am also going to be upgrading to Vista 64 bit, due to the limitation of 4 gigs on the XP platform. I am very curious ad to whether my VST's will be working in this new 64 bit environment ie EZDrummer Symphonic Orchestra Gold, etc. - this seems like a big crap shoot right now. I was very excited to hear the performance you are getting out of your i7 and am looking forward to using this new system and 6 gig of ram. I am also planning on buying a 32" LCD TV from best buy for $350 and hooking this up - one bigass screen - one bad mofo LOL


I'm the SONAR guy for Recording Magazine. Send me email to my alias email account:

klausspringfield at yahoo dot com

if you want to discuss DAWs, SONAR, and plug-in compatibility.

John
April 20, 2009 8:41:53 PM

xthekidx said:
The only truely multithreaded games are FSX and GTA4, all other games only utilize 2 threads and the rest are just wasted.


About the second part...if the game is using 2 cores...wouldn't Windows, Steam, and any other bloatware you're running use a third one, meaning that only one is really idle? Not sure that'd be a huge improvement over running everything on "just" two...but there should be a little bump, anyway...

Anyway...I think adopting i7 now sets you up for a mid-term upgrade with a high cost/benefit ratio...the chip itself is probably good for four years (not that there won't be better 1366 chips down the road) if you aren't a nutjob who has to spend $2k+ a year on puters...so if you go i7 now with some $80 worth of DDR3, and you got a decent MOBO, you should be set to jump to some 2.1Ghz cas-5 RAM in 12-18 months for cheap...get a 4870 or 4890 now....crossfire in a second (third?) one in a year or two...Well, that's my plan...I'm dropping $1600 now and OCing my 920 to a very conservative 3.4, and then waiting till 2010 to get faster RAM (probably cheaper than the 1600 8-8-8-20 that I'm getting now) and a second 4890....and MAYBE a SSD to put my OS on.
September 21, 2010 8:22:18 PM

I apologize if this has been mentioned already. With regard to which processor you choose, the Operating System you intend to use makes a difference as well considering that the 32 bit OS not only recognizes only up to 4gigs of RAM but also only utilizes TWO cores, making a 4-core processor a waste of money.
September 22, 2010 3:39:42 PM

~shrug~

That is true, and my OS is 64 bit, so I have access to all four...but.... Using two cores of an i7 has to be better than using all four cores on a lesser chip (not to mention that four cores are still only marginally better than two), and last I heard, the performance advantages of increasing to three gigs of RAM are dramatic, but after three, they fall off dramatically...I vaguely remember hearing something along the lines of 6 gigs being 15% better than 3, and 12 being 2% better than 6. So the upside of a 64 bit OS isn't as great as advertised, and I'm still not aware of a way to run "oldie but goodie" 10+ year old games on my current rig. They worked, eventually, after much trial and error, on 32 bit vista...but no power on earth seems to be able to coax them to run in 64 bits.