I7 at 2.66GHz or 3.00GHz

Hi Im buying a new desktop computer. I plan to use it for gaming (games like farcry2, gta4 etc). I dont really plan to max out the resolution/graphics or anything, just want the game to look decent. I also plan to use the computer for CAD. The graphics card is Nvidia geforce GTS250.

The question I have is regarding the processor. I was going with the i7. However I am trying to decide between i7-920 (2.66GHz, 1MB L2 + 8MB shared L3 cache with QPI technology) and i7-950 (3.00GHz, 1MB L2 + 8MB shared L3 cache with QPI Technology).

Now obviously the i7-950 @ 3.00GHz is better than i7-920 @ 2.66GHz. But it also costs me $400 more. So what Im asking is whether the speed boost is worth it.

Im not a hardware expert, Ive always known that more GHz equals faster processor. However with these i7 processors I believe there are 4 cores (8 simultaneous processes) or something like that. So each core will be running at 2.66 GHz in the case of the i7-920. Do computer processes usually require more than 2.66GHZ ? I assume for basic tasks like internet surfing with google chrome and word editing with microsoft office 2.66GHz is enough. Is this assumption correct? From my understanding of things this is only a problem if a software running a single process actually needs 2.66Ghz or more. Do the everyday softwares that usually run on one core/one thread really require more than 2.66GHz for their processing?

What about in the case of more complex tasks like games and CAD. Do games running on a single thread/single core routinely need more than 2.66GHZ? Do games nowadays even run on a single core or will they automatically make use of multiple cores? I assume if theyre using the multiple cores than 2.66GHz should be enough considering theres 4 cores and even if the game/software were to use only 2 cores that would work out to 5.3Ghz. Is that assumption correct?

Or do you guys feel the i7-950 at 3GHz will provide significant improvement over i7-920 at 2.66Ghz. Please let me know what you think, any help will be appreciated.
16 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    there is no reason you cant overclock the 920 to over 3ghz.
  2. If I am not mistaken CAD is far more GPU intensive than CPU.
    So therefore you should be looking at getting a better graphics card.
    Here take a look at these 2 posts:
  3. Quote:
    920 will go past 4Ghz. Limit with my 920 is 4.3Ghz

    Umm Ive never overclocked anything in my life... is it easy to overclock it or do I need to learn some programming language? Also does overclocking a CPU damage it or reduce its lifespan? I mean why would anyone buy the faster CPU if you can just overclock the slower one... is it risk free as such?
  4. kc5sym said:
    If I am not mistaken CAD is far more GPU intensive than CPU.
    So therefore you should be looking at getting a better graphics card.
    Here take a look at these 2 posts:

    You are right that my graphics card isnt the best for CAD, however I dont use CAD full time, only when engineering courses/research requires it. As such Ive been running CAD softwares on my present PC with a ge force 7600 without too much lag/framing, so I think the new graphics card will be suitable for my purposes. Thanks for the links tho, will go thru them.
  5. Most motherboards come with overclocking software these days if you don't feel comfortable messing around in the bios, but it is a lot easier than you think. Also, you don't have to worry about cpu damage when overclocking unless you raise the voltage too high...a nice way to avoid that for beginners is to NOT raise the voltage at all, and get the best overclock you can on the stock voltage. This will usually be in the 3.2 - 3.6 range on a 920.
  6. the i7 920@2.66 competes with a rival @ 3.2 the 400 xtra is completely unfounded, get the 920 and dont overclock it, its a beast just as it is.
  7. Toms tested the i7 with crossfire 4870 against pII 955 with crossfire 4890. The 955 was clocked .3 higher. Even with weaker video cards and a lower clock the i7 won most of the benchmarks.,2360-3.html
  8. I never understood the point of using the 2 different video card set-ups, AMD shill site, lol
  9. Well, the point of the article was not performance, but value. All of the AMD people claimed in the original review that the money you can save with the AMD platform meant you could get better graphics cards compared to a similar priced i7 system. Of course, the review proved that theory wrong...and with the falling prices on the x58 boards and 6gb memory kits the Phenom 955 has pretty much lost its place in the market except for diehard AMD enthusiast.
  10. the 965 will beat the 920 in a few tests, but i believe as always in rendering, u just cant beat 8 threads
  11. why not just get the Phenom II 955 @ 3.2Ghz AND SAVE MONEY

    i7 is a waste of money for this user and you guys all know it.
  12. not really....any system costing over $1000 is better off going i7....unless you want to pair that $250 955 with a cheapo $100 board, the platform cost are now the same with x58 boards available for under $200. And EVERY benchmark shows the i7 outperforms the 955, it overclocks better, and it will be the best processor available for at least the next year or so...Why would we recommend a lower performing platform for the same price?
  13. my post was a joke, but back on topic, the i7 920 is much better than the amd 955 for cad work.
  14. yes it is
  15. Well guys, I guess that settles it, I think the unanimous decision is the i7-920, and i guess i can overclock it if i need to. thanks for the help.
  16. well, without a budget i would recommend dual Xeon 55XX's on a workstation board
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