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I5 or i7

Last response: in CPUs
September 9, 2009 11:14:22 PM

Hello, I have read some things about how i5 performs up against i7, but I am still not sure.

I don't really plan on building a PC until SATA III comes out, because I have been spoiled by SSDs, and I don't want a saturatable SATA II bus on motherboard with SATA III so close to come out.

I use Fruity Loops Studio, pretty much am considered a Power-ABUser, and I like to keep my programs open, so I don't have to open them again or wait on them opening. Yes, this isn't entirely possible at all with an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ 1.8Ghz with 1GB of RAM. It really sucks.

I originally planned on i7 920, Asus P6T, Noctua heatsink, PC Power and Cooling 750W PSU, 2x OCZ Vertex 120GB in RAID 0, 4x 1TB harddrives, Asus Essence STX, 6-12GB of DDR3 Triple Channel RAM, 1x 4870x2 since I am not much of a gamer, but enjoy it from time to time, Sennheiser 650s, Windows 7 Professinal. (It's that good)

However, since I'm already going all out, since I wanted this bad boy to last me 5+ years (I'm not a gamer, I'm sure it can), I figured I might as well go with water cooling. Also, this means that a lot of what I picked out is generalized and will be considered upon purchase, due to fluctuating prices, for instance, RAM.

Since I'm terrible about learning new things, I've stuck to using Fruity Loops Studio and third party VSTi plugins for better quality. This uses a LOT OF FPU resources. So no, a Q6600 at 4Ghz isn't enough for me, because it still takes quite some time to render a 17 plugin, 4 minute song, and I still endure skipping due to not being able to buffer as much in one time. I have heard the i7 is 80% better than the Q6600 in FPU performance. And I was fine with it not doing so well in the gaming department, I don't really game too much.

I use Photoshop among other things. About the least intensive task I do is IRC. I also plan on using 1-2 Virtual Boxes on a Linux distro of my choice and XP if necessary. So that will eat some resources in itself. I really hate dual booting. I like my uptime.

And again, I'm waiting for SATA III to come out, so I just want to see how i5s versus i7s are doing now. Particularly the i5 750 versus i7 920. The i7 920 is going for $200 at Microcenter currently, for until I get my setup, I don't know.

I'd like to see clock for clock speed, since I obviously plan to overclock. On the overclocking world record website (, i7 920s on an Asus or Gigabyte x58 are able to overclock to 4Ghz on Air. I'm seeing the i5 750s overclocking to 4.5Ghz on air, and 4.7Ghz on water (I'd imagine it could be pushed more if the water setup was better).

So, I'd like some opinions and benchmarks focused on what I plan on doing. I've already went "shopping" around for benchmarks, but perhaps you guys can give a little more push in that direction. Searching the correct terms is not my best functionality. ;) 

Edit: I forgot to mention specifically why I plan on getting the newest technology for a computer to last me 5+ years. I have been burned by using Socket 939 AMD. Just as I got a computer, it suddenly wasn't upgradeable within a year. Socket 478 is still very upgradeable in comparison. Having very upgradeable SATA III, DDR3, and newer CPU and motherboards make this easier on me just in case I need something more. AMD has burned me so bad, that even though it might be cheaper to go with a Phenom II, I refuse, because they seem to change sockets every year. On top of this, I've already seen the performance difference in the department of what I do. i7 pricing is something I can tolerate for it's awesome performance.

Thanks much,

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September 9, 2009 11:38:31 PM

with all the programs you want running and since your going all out, you mine as well get the i7. hyperthreading will be a huge plus for you and i've read the new i7's have improved their hyperthreading.

the i7 920 will be more of an enthusiest choice and may cost a bit more by the time SATAIII comes out.

You could do just fine with the new i7 but i'm no PC genius either. Hope this helps.

September 9, 2009 11:43:11 PM

If I were building today, I'd check out the i7 (LGA 1156) 860 and a solid P55 board. That to me would be a fine build as the LGA 1366 is a little more geared toward enthusiasts.
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September 9, 2009 11:56:05 PM

LGA 1366 i7 is only worth it if you plan to have 3-4 GPUs or use MASSIVE memory bandwidth, neither seems to be you.

That all said if you do indeed wait for SATA III before upgrading then i9 will likely be out (rumor is early 2010 for SATA II and late 2009 or early 2010 for i9), which is a 6 core 12 thread monster of a CPU that will more than likely help you. Rumor is that the budget (LGA 1156) i9 won't come out until late 2010, if at all since it is totally unconfirmed.

If you buy now, get a system built around an i7 860. If you wait till 2010 then get an i9 since they are almost certainly coming out around then.
September 10, 2009 12:03:44 AM

Well, this is all good news for me. And you guys have good opinions and lovely benchmarks (But shame on you for directing me to an Apple item! Lol, just kidding, I won't be a Nazi about it this time around. ;)  ).

I haven't seen much on the i9, and last I heard 6 cores might reduce performance. But it sounds like multi-core support is on the way to every software available. Though I wonder if FLS already has this yet...

I really need to start learning something better. I want to have my songs in 3D not terrible 2D like FLS has. :p  Ah well, I meddle in software anyways, that's probably down the road for me to do anyways.

Further comments and opinions appreciated. I can appreciate more of those. Y'all seem to know where it's at. I forgot to even look twice at something like the i7 860.
September 10, 2009 12:11:44 AM

i9 wont be a step BACK in performance, just not a very noticable step FORWARD. It will be built with the 32nm fabrication which means it will be clock for clock faster than the current i7s without even considering the extra 2 cores. And while these extra 2 cores will likely not be used in games or mainstream applications for awhile, they will be very much used in the space of 4 years!

However even it will be dragging pretty bad after 5 years, a 5 year plan is kind of wishful thinking in the PC business.
September 10, 2009 12:18:56 AM

Well, as you can tell, I'm stuck with a Socket 939 motherboard currently. It will be what will get me through until then:
AMD Athlon 64 3000+ 1.8Ghz
1GB of DDR-400 RAM, 4x256mb at 2-3-3-7 timings
8200GS AGP with 128mb of VRAM
Needing a new SATA harddrive, but the motherboard only supports SATA I.

Basically, I've already taken a step back. Long story short, I lived in a place that had a dirty power source. I had a cheapo, but newer socket 939 motherboard, and bought a Thermaltake TW2 430W PSU to accomadate a 7800GT PCI-e graphics card. Dirty power source destroyed terrible cheapo PSU. PSU couldn't ground itself, killed my motherboard. It died a slow death, even though I got a PCP&C 500W PSU immediately after. It died within a year. I've been stuck with my EeePC until I get a PSU and a harddrive to rebuild that setup,which is going to last me until iWhateverthehellI'mgettingnext, lol.

I can push 5 years. I've already pushed a few on this setup, and I'm dealing with an EeePC 4G Surf for my main computer as of now, and have been since Janurary. Like I said, I'm a PowerABUser. I've pushed through with Pentium II 400mhz with 384mb of RAM, 32mb of VRAM on a diamond graphics card, Soundblaster POS PCI 64 before this setup. However, as you can see, I'm tired of being behind, but I really don't want to deal too much with needing to recycle my computers every 2 years. :p  This desktop setup will turn into a storage server when I'm through with it.