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I7 860 or i7 920 OR wait for 2010?

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October 5, 2009 9:46:22 PM

So! I know this question has been asked countless times, but I have to ask it anyway because its always good to hear everyone's thoughts on the subject. As of right now, i'm running an AMD 939 Dual Core 4800+ w/2gb Ram, Asus a8n-sli, Xfx Gtx260 Black Edition... I know my cpu has been limiting my gpu, but i've never really had any problems gaming with the exception of CPU intensive games like Demigod. I also use my computer for photo and video editing, and honestly wish that it could be a bit snappier. Here's what i've been thinking:

Intel i7 860 - $230 at microcenter
ASRock P55 Extreme LGA 1156 - $140 at newegg
Not really sure about what kind of ram (any suggestions would be good :D )

OR

Intel i7 920 D0 - $200 at microcenter
ASRock X58 Extreme LGA 1366 - $160 after MIR at newegg
again, not really sure about the RAM but im assuming it will cost more than the p55 dual channel build (est. $100?)

Both systems will pretty much cost the same after the RAM is added in, so I just wanted to hear everyone's thoughts on the matter. As of right now, I know:

i7 920 vs i7 860
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triple core vs dual core memory (pretty irrelevant)
older hyperthreading tech vs newer hyperthreading tech
easier to overclock vs pretty much overclocks itself
Full 16xpci-e channels vs shared 16xpci-e channels


As a gamer and video editor, should I finally retire my dual core system or just wait it out until 2010 when the new line of intel processors come out and the prices go down?? Thanks for reading!!! :]

~ mrcrybaby

More about : 860 920 wait 2010

Anonymous
October 5, 2009 9:58:21 PM

i7 920 recommended its nehalem vs lynfield. nehalem is in upper tier. better buy some asus or gygabyte mobo, that asrock is cheap brand. i7 920 can oc more than i7 860. i7 920 is overall better proc and highly rec.
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October 5, 2009 10:01:48 PM

You're right, this topic has been beat to death. Why don't you just check the benchmarks between the two chips for your intended use?

1. The triple channel vs. dual channel is irrelevant like you said.
2. Both chips use the exact same hyperthreading. Neither tech is "old" or "new", hyperthreading is hyperthreading. I think maybe what you're thinking of is the more aggressive turbo mode of the new chips.
3. Both chips overclock very well. The 860 might take a little more voltage, but nothing crazy.
4. The latest benchmarks also show that the 16x vs 8x PCI-E performance is very close, so that's also basically irrelevant.
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October 5, 2009 10:23:39 PM

The 920 is better for overclocking, and there are plenty of guides for it.
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October 5, 2009 10:34:24 PM

Honestly, the comparison between these two chips are on an application-by-application basis. One is better than the other based on the apps being run, nothing more. The 860 will outperform the 920 on most applications, but some memory intensive apps will favor the 920. The PCI E bandwith is negligible, but it also favors the 920 as well (slightly). From what I've read, the 920 also overclocks better than the 860 (but I haven't seen much reviews on the OCing capability of the 860).

Personally I went with the 860 because it is faster on the apps I will be running. I think that is what you should do. Consider these articles:

http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=364...
Good article showing the 860 vs 920 benchmarks in various applications. Though 860 beats 920 on most, this is still app-by-app situations.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5850,2433...
Good review on the 5850 as well as the X58 vs P55 16x vs 8x bandwith on the PCI E slots. Again, slight advantage to X58, but not enough to say it is much better than P55.

Educate and make your own decisions.
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October 5, 2009 11:36:18 PM

I recommend the i7-920. Great overclocker, and very easy getting there. Great performance/value X58 LGA1366 MOBOs available in the market as well. The best is yet to come around 2010, but these prices are very attractive as it is.
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October 6, 2009 12:25:33 AM

Im just curious where the i5 stands as im looking to purchase a i5 build for gaming.
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October 6, 2009 12:41:11 AM

I am also trying to decide between an i7 860 and i7 920 system. I have read most of the performance reviews, and have decided that these two systems are nearly equal for all intents and purposes. However, the one thing that draws me to the i7 920 system is that the X58 motherboards have been out for about a year, and have had time to undergo several revisions of hardware and BIOS. The manufacturers and users have had time to work out the compatibility issues with the X58 systems.

The P55 motherboards are brand new designs that are only a couple months old. Furthermore, the i7 860 CPU is somewhat of a radical design because it integrates most of the Northbridge and Southbridge functions onboard. Just look at how bare the P55 motherboards look compared to the X58 motherboards. Once they get the bugs out of the i7 860 system it has the potential to offer great performance at a very reasonable price.

Another advantage of the i7 860 processor is that it runs at a much lower wattage, and therefore, should not only save energy, but also produce less heat. The only thing stopping me going the i7 860 route is the newness of the system and uncertainty associated with being an early adopter. I may wait a few months to see how things shake out.

Good luck with your decision!
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October 6, 2009 1:32:10 AM

Ah ha! Thats what I forgot to add in, the idle wattage performance... knew I was forgetting something lol. And yes, when I said hyperthreading i was thinking about the more aggressive turbo mode mentioned :] So overall, i've started to lean more towards the i7 920. I pretty much agree with all of you... The only difference i'm seeing between the 2 is idle wattage/heat performance and more aggressive turbo modes, which either anandtech or tomshardware claimed made the i7 860 more "snappy". dpaul8, good call on the 'newness' factor. I believe you're right, in that even though the P55 mobo's seem solid, it's quite possible that with a few more revisions we'll all see better stabilization and performance in the future. Deadcell, your comment about 2010 really makes me curious about the new tech around the bend, as well as the price drops that follow. If I could buy a new system right now, i'd 920 that shiznit... but it seem's these relatively close benchmarks keep bringing back to which one is cheaper. Thus, I shall wait until 2010 and grab the one which is cheaper. I hope this topic helps out anyone else that had the same questions or concerns that I did.

~mrcrybaby
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October 6, 2009 10:48:29 PM

Good call mrcrybaby. I am also interested of how the new AMD 6-core technology chip codenamed "Thuban" will stack up with Intel's heavy weights upon its release 1stQ of 2010. Again, in time, we shall see...
deadcell
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November 4, 2009 12:25:12 PM

I just went through this process and finally decided on the 920. I had to upgrade, my mobo toasted and I could not wait for next year, besides I know from many years of system building that you can't ever get that far ahead of technology.

The future does play a role and a lot depends on how frequently you upgrade your system.

I tend to keep mine a long time and try to improve it without rebuilding everything, thus, I look to what I may be able to use next year when prices drop on such things as Extreme chips. Also the x58 mobo should be upgradeable to next years chips but may lack some new features. Of course the P55 chipset may evolve as well, but as of now the x58 seems to have more potential.

So, if you don't plan to spend all your money on new toys annually then a bit of crystal ball work may help you decide.

Either chip is a good buy form Micro Center but the x58 boards a a bit higher. I opted for the Asus P6T SE which does not support SLI but does Crossfire.

Good luck.

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