Q9550 or i7-860? DDR2 or DDR3? X48 or P55?

I just ordered the q9550 + ASUS ROG RAMPAGE FORMULA X48 RT Mobo but feeling some buyer's remorse because it seems like x48 is old technology and not completely sure if it was the right move? the mobo utilizes ddr2 memory @ 1066mhz which I'm not sure was a good move. I am looking for optimal performance so the newer P55 or X58 motherboards seem like a smarter choice. I am wondering if I should return my order and seek out the newer technology.

Questions: Is DDR3 much better than DDR2 performance-wise? Can someone elaborate on the timings and voltage consumption and if it has a significant impact on speed?

$450 for the q9550 + ASUS ROG RAMPAGE FORMULA X48 + 4 gb (2 x 2GB) ddr2 1066 PC2 - 8500

(is the quality mobo with older technology worth it? might be easier to OC?)


$530 for the i7-860 + GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX + 4gb (2 x 2GB) ddr3 2000 PC3 16000
(how much fast would this set-up be? is the significantly seemingly faster ddr3 worth the extra dollars)


$430 for the i5-750 + MSI P55-GD65 LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX + 4gb (2 x 2GB) ddr3 2000 PC3 16000
(performance-wise, would this top my first-set up?)
5 answers Last reply
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  1. Old tech 775 is well proven; some have reported issues with the newer i5 and i7. Depends on what you do with your system, and how often you build. I haven't needed the newer stuff yet, but some will spend $$ not matter what the cost. DDr3 will shine in i5 and i7, but not 775. Even amd with it's $99 quad core propus is looking pretty good. So don't feel like you have to change just for the sake of change.
  2. Well, this is my first time building ever, I decided to after buying from hp/dell too many times and having bad experiences with their proprietary mobos, weak PSUs, and horrible airflow/heat dissipating issues. However, I doubt I will build another system until 3-4 years in the future (cost-issue). Are you saying the 775 is more reliable than going with the newer LGA stuff? And can you explain why ddr3 is better in i5 and i7 but not 775. Thanks!
  3. The i5 setup would be faster than the q9550 setup. It also overclocks very well. The i7 860 would be the most powerful, although for not a lot more, you could go for the 'proper' 1366 i7's and get an i7 920 and an x58 board.

    Value-wise, the i5 is the best option. LGA 775 is an ageing socket, and whilst they can keep up in the vast majority of tasks, real differences are noticed when gaming with a decent GPU. 1366 will be the most future proof as Intels 6-core chips will be made for socket 1366, however the initial outlay is a little more.

    EDIT to answer post questions:

    Good idea to build, its a much better option.

    If you want to wait 3-4 years lga 775 is a no go. I'd go for 1366 if you want the possibility of upgrading to a chip with a decent performance boost over todays best - akin to going from a Q6600 to Q9650.

    DDR3 only comes into its own in socket 1366 (x58) boards. Intel have helpfully made i7's for both socket 1156 and 1366. The 1366 i7's use triple channel memory, giving them a huge memory bandwidth. The 1156 boards (p55) only use dual channel ddr3, and so will have less memory bandwidth. To be honest this is not that important unless you're wanting the best of the best.
  4. A LOT depends on exactly how you intend to use your machine.

    Case in point: ramdisks

    We just built a P45 machine with the Q9550 and we
    installed Corsair's "matched quad" of 4 x 4 GB DDR2-800 XMS2:


    Using XP 32-bit -- to maintain compatibility with all of
    our existing systems and application software --
    we installed RamDisk Plus from SuperSpeed LLC,
    and easily configured an 8 GB ramdisk in "unmanaged
    Windows memory" i.e. in RAM addresses above 4 GB.

    We looked at costs very carefully up front,
    and a Core i7 machine with 12 GB of DDR3
    was very close to a P45 machine with 16 GB of DDR2
    even with the premium for the "matched quad" above.

    Even though the triple channel architecture
    does have a much higher memory bandwidth,
    the 12 GB RAM option (3 DIMMs @ 2 GB)
    was less attractive than
    the 16 GB RAM option (4 DIMMs @ 4 GB)
    chiefly because the latter has 4 GB MORE RAM
    than the former.

    The cost of the 24 GB Core i7 option was flatly prohibitive.

    Core i7 memory bandwidth = ~ 25,000 MB/second at stock settings

    DDR2-800 memory bandwidth is 6,400 MB/second at stock settings

    Since our database is presently about 6 GB,
    an 8 GB ramdisk has plenty of room for growth,
    with room to spare for moving all browser caches
    to that same ramdisk.

    Later, as needed, we can enlarge our ramdisk
    to 12 GB without disturbing any of our systems
    or application software -- because all of the latter
    already reside comfortably in RAM addresses below 4 GB.

    Summary: the nature of your application(s) may
    be the deciding factor when choosing between
    triple-channel and dual-channel memory subsystems.

    p.s We just completed a technical paper reviewing
    RamDisk Plus version 10.0.1, and we are awaiting
    permission from SuperSpeed LLC to publish
    screen shots of that software's User Interface ("UI")
    in addition to graphs of our own performance
    measurements. Briefly, our 8 GB (8,192 MB) ramdisk
    measured a "raw read" with PerformanceTest 4.0
    at 2,600 MB/second (2.6 GB/second):

  5. The i5 build will perform better for a slightly lower price. You should get it instead.
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