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Need help choosing the right i7 cpu

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Anonymous
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December 30, 2009 4:31:40 PM

Been researching and asking questions, but cant decide on which processor to buy.

I am aiming for a high-end system for gaming,and the question is,first of all :

1) Has it been conluded which of the two platforms 1155 and 1366 that performs best for gamers?

When it comes to processors i am thinking about buying the 920 or 860. I am also considering buying the 950 or 870 even though they are close to twice the cost.

Hoping that someone can tell me whether to go for 1155 or 1366 (860 or 920) and if it is worth the money to upgrade to the 870 or 950.

I will most likely not overclock them.

For the record, i am also buying new high-end board, RAM and a GPU.

More about : choosing cpu

a b à CPUs
December 30, 2009 5:04:03 PM

Do you really need an i7 for gaming?

The following charts show that there's no noticeable difference between i5 and i7 at all in gaming.









However, get i7-860 if you can't live without an i7 as i7-860 is better than i7-920.

Oh and don't listen to peoples who say that i7-920 is better as LGA1366 board can support the upcoming 6-core i7-980x, because it's $999 USD which I doubt you can afford it.

In addition, you won't notice significant difference of CF/SLI between two 16x and two 8x with any graphic card worse than the current top, the HD5970.

BTW, You will have 16x speed if you insert ONLY one video card.
December 30, 2009 5:10:41 PM

unless you're doing some hard work loads, a 2.66ghz i7 will do anything.

From what I hear, get a 2.66ghz i7, go into the bios and set the FSB higher and instant OC. I heard lots of people hitting 4ghz with almost no probs. I'm sure you could hit 3ghz on a mild OC.

But any quad core hyper-threaded i7 Intel chip is more than most people can use.
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a b à CPUs
December 30, 2009 5:10:46 PM


Well.... you need to decide your priorities first. A good gaming system likes fast a CPU and lots of GPU.

For GPU's:
The 1155 pin CPU's (X55 chipset) have 1 x16 PCIe lane. The 1366 (X58 chipset) has 2 x 16 PCIe lanes for two graphics cards. The X58/1366 socket has potentially higher graphics throughput. Many benchmarks show little to small gains for the X58 - so you pay your money and takes your chances. What complicates all of this is X55 motherboard builders use bridges to give you 2 x16 slots but they are really only x8 slots... You cannot get over that 16 lanes coming out of the CPU.

CPU's:
If you are not going to overclock then you need to buy the fastest CPU you can afford. Over clocking is no big deal other than dealing with the heat that is produced - as long as you dont go too far. Go look at the countless benchmarks on this site on CPU speed versus gaming performance. The statement that you want to build a high end gaming system and put in a standard clocked 920 are contradictory.

So what is your driver? Money, speed, frames per second?

An X55/1155 socket system will do just fine on games. You wont get the performance title, but you didnt say you wanted that. It is well balanced, good price performance. I guess I wouldnt buy an X58/1366 socket system unless I was using crossfire (or SLI). But an X55 isnt considered high-end - its mainstream.

Which way to go?
a b à CPUs
December 30, 2009 5:14:35 PM

If you won't overclock at all you will end-up spending more for such CPU's. The 750 is faster than 920 when it comes to Gaming at stock speeds, but most here bump thier CPU's to at least 3.4Ghz just to make sure there are no bottlenecks. Specially with high-end cards like the 5870 and 5970.

High end-gaming machines do not run at 2.66Ghz. You want high-end you will need to either overclock or switch to an AM3 platform and get a 955 or 965. I doubt you will want to spend over 500 dollars on a 950 when you can get the same clock with a 920 just by going into the Bios and bumping up the CPU up a few notches...

http://anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3634

http://www.*****/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/22151-intel-lynnfield-core-i5-750-core-i7-870-processor-review-17.html
Anonymous
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December 30, 2009 7:26:33 PM

Thx for all the replies, seems like most ppl mean i dont need to spend extra on the 950/870 and should go for 920/860 instead.

I have limited experience with overclocking, but might do so if it is as simple as bumbing up the FSB in the bios. However, if i am going to overclock, should i buy a special mainboard or RAM, or will most do? Been planning on buying a standard ASUS mainboard and some DDR3 1600MHz RAM.

Anonymous
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December 30, 2009 7:55:14 PM

vvhocare5 said:
Well.... you need to decide your priorities first. A good gaming system likes fast a CPU and lots of GPU.

For GPU's:
The 1155 pin CPU's (X55 chipset) have 1 x16 PCIe lane. The 1366 (X58 chipset) has 2 x 16 PCIe lanes for two graphics cards. The X58/1366 socket has potentially higher graphics throughput. Many benchmarks show little to small gains for the X58 - so you pay your money and takes your chances. What complicates all of this is X55 motherboard builders use bridges to give you 2 x16 slots but they are really only x8 slots... You cannot get over that 16 lanes coming out of the CPU.

CPU's:
If you are not going to overclock then you need to buy the fastest CPU you can afford. Over clocking is no big deal other than dealing with the heat that is produced - as long as you dont go too far. Go look at the countless benchmarks on this site on CPU speed versus gaming performance. The statement that you want to build a high end gaming system and put in a standard clocked 920 are contradictory.

So what is your driver? Money, speed, frames per second?

An X55/1155 socket system will do just fine on games. You wont get the performance title, but you didnt say you wanted that. It is well balanced, good price performance. I guess I wouldnt buy an X58/1366 socket system unless I was using crossfire (or SLI). But an X55 isnt considered high-end - its mainstream.

Which way to go?


Thx for the reply, might not be right to call it a high end system, just thought of it as such since i was planning on buying a HD 5870 and one of teh best "stock" CPUs on the market.

My drive is that i want a setup that can run games at 1920*1200 with full detail at good fps.

I have been thinking of 2 setups :

1) 1156 socket with

ASUS P7P55D-E Premium, P55, Socket-1156 DDR3, 2xSATA 6Gb/s, USB3.0, ATX, 2xGbLAN, Firewire, 2xPCI-Ex(2.0)x16

2) 1366 socket with

ASUS P6TD Deluxe, X58, Socket-1366 DDR3, ATX, SLI&CrossFireX, Firewire, 2xGbLAN, 3xPCI-Ex(2.0)x16
or
ASUS Rampage II Extreme, X58 Socket-1366, DDR3, ATX, SLI&CrossFireX, 3xPCI-Ex(2.0)x16

I read abit about the 1156 and noticed that it runs in 8x8 mode when using crossfire even though it has 2xPCI-E slots,while the 1366 runs at 16x16 on both.

The 1156 supports 12800 RAM, while the cheaper 1366 supports 8500 (the expensice Rampage can support 14400).

Dont know if this makes any difference though but i was planning on buying a 2nd HD 5870 to run them in crossfire when the prizes drop suffivently in a year or so.
a b à CPUs
December 30, 2009 8:21:30 PM

For overclocking purposes, make sure you get a decent CPU cooler. The RAM and BOARD are not that important since you are looking for a normal (non-extreme) overclock.

Most people will tell you to get an X58 mobo paired with a 920 if you decide on using a dual GPU setup. Me on the contrary disagree since the performance hit it a mear 6-7% (at stock clocks) ... And that is not even noticible unless you are benchmarking and trying to break a record which I doubt is the purpose of your build. If you do decide on the P55 ( platform my suggestion would be to get a 5870 and later on trade it in for a 5970 (XFX) instead of adding a second GPU. I would recommend the x58 platform if you were going to actually benefit from the extra stick of RAM, as far as gaming goes I don't see the point unless you have cash to burn and can care less =)

a b à CPUs
December 30, 2009 8:36:00 PM

I'm gaming with the rig in my specs below (i5-750 @ 4Ghz with SLI GTX 260's). Does a fantastic job. :)  Were I going to get an i7, I probably would have chosen the i7-860. Faster base clock speed than the i7-920, cheaper P55 motherboards, and cheaper RAM. Ultimately, it's performance rivals the i7-920 anyhow. Why pay more for the same?

If you want i7, I personally like the i7-860. Otherwise, the i5-750 is great, is cheaper, and OverClocks very well, and very easily.

As OvrClkr said, get a good aftermarket cooler. If you do want to OverClock, I've heard of the i5-750 being pushed to 3.2Ghz (from 2.66Ghz) without even increasing voltages.
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December 31, 2009 1:08:24 AM

jerreece said:
I'm gaming with the rig in my specs below (i5-750 @ 4Ghz with SLI GTX 260's). Does a fantastic job. :)  Were I going to get an i7, I probably would have chosen the i7-860. Faster base clock speed than the i7-920, cheaper P55 motherboards, and cheaper RAM. Ultimately, it's performance rivals the i7-920 anyhow. Why pay more for the same?

If you want i7, I personally like the i7-860. Otherwise, the i5-750 is great, is cheaper, and OverClocks very well, and very easily.

As OvrClkr said, get a good aftermarket cooler. If you do want to OverClock, I've heard of the i5-750 being pushed to 3.2Ghz (from 2.66Ghz) without even increasing voltages.


Actually, you can hit 3.6GHz with merely a notch above the stock voltage if not at stock voltage.

Proof: From TOM's article "i5-750 Overclock on Air" and ME who also have an i5 at 3.6GHz.
a b à CPUs
December 31, 2009 3:24:07 AM

andy5174 said:
Do you really need an i7 for gaming?

The following charts show that there's no noticeable difference between i5 and i7 at all in gaming.

http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/corei7860_091709181820/20083.png

http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/corei7860_091709181820/20084.png

http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/corei7860_091709181820/20085.png

http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/corei7860_091709181820/20086.png

However, get i7-860 if you can't live without an i7 as i7-860 is better than i7-920.

Oh and don't listen to peoples who say that i7-920 is better as LGA1366 board can support the upcoming 6-core i7-980x, because it's $999 USD which I doubt you can afford it.

In addition, you won't notice significant difference of CF/SLI between two 16x and two 8x with any graphic card worse than the current top, the HD5970.

BTW, You will have 16x speed if you insert ONLY one video card.


+1 Well said.

I wouldn't recommend core i7 980x for the price and that there will be VERY limited programs even able to use 6 cores/ 12 threads. We haven't really use 4 core/threads fully.

As for the dual x8 and x16 pci-e. I have to agree with you again. Todays gpus is hardly using the the full Pci-e x16 2.0 bandwidth. In fact theres benches that were done a while back from techPowerUp showing the difference between x1, x4, x8, and x16 bandwidths while running a 5870.

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_5870_PCI-Expr...

In there test, there is little difference between x4, x8, and x16.
a b à CPUs
December 31, 2009 4:05:12 AM

OvrClkr said:
If you won't overclock at all you will end-up spending more for such CPU's. The 750 is faster than 920 when it comes to Gaming at stock speeds, but most here bump thier CPU's to at least 3.4Ghz just to make sure there are no bottlenecks. Specially with high-end cards like the 5870 and 5970.

High end-gaming machines do not run at 2.66Ghz. You want high-end you will need to either overclock or switch to an AM3 platform and get a 955 or 965. I doubt you will want to spend over 500 dollars on a 950 when you can get the same clock with a 920 just by going into the Bios and bumping up the CPU up a few notches...

http://anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3634

http://www.*****/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/22151-intel-lynnfield-core-i5-750-core-i7-870-processor-review-17.html


The PII-955 is worse than i5 when they are both at 2.66GHz, right?

Now ask yourself "Do you think that 955 will surpass i5 when they are both OCed to 4.0GHz?".
Anonymous
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December 31, 2009 5:43:12 AM

OvrClkr said:
For overclocking purposes, make sure you get a decent CPU cooler. The RAM and BOARD are not that important since you are looking for a normal (non-extreme) overclock.

Most people will tell you to get an X58 mobo paired with a 920 if you decide on using a dual GPU setup. Me on the contrary disagree since the performance hit it a mear 6-7% (at stock clocks) ... And that is not even noticible unless you are benchmarking and trying to break a record which I doubt is the purpose of your build. If you do decide on the P55 ( platform my suggestion would be to get a 5870 and later on trade it in for a 5970 (XFX) instead of adding a second GPU. I would recommend the x58 platform if you were going to actually benefit from the extra stick of RAM, as far as gaming goes I don't see the point unless you have cash to burn and can care less =)


Thx again for the input.

So it seems i will be buying a 1156 platform. If money is not an issue, and i am only planning on slightly overclocking it without increasing voltage, should i go for i 750 or 860? The 860 has higher stock speed, so would guess that one is better if you dont concider the prize.

About cooling, will a decent aftermarket fan do, or do i need to consider water coooling? Have only overclocked a core2duo before with stock cooling.
December 31, 2009 5:55:04 AM

andy5174 said:
The PII-955 is worse than i5 when they are both at 2.66GHz, right?

Now ask yourself "Do you think that 955 will surpass i5 when they are both OCed to 4.0GHz?".


Who said it would? All the guy is saying is it's not worth getting an i5/i7 if you aren't going to OC it properly.
a b à CPUs
December 31, 2009 7:26:40 AM

andy5174 said:
The PII-955 is worse than i5 when they are both at 2.66GHz, right?

Now ask yourself "Do you think that 955 will surpass i5 when they are both OCed to 4.0GHz?".


No :p  , of course not... The 750 is faster than the 920 in games.. I know, i built a P55 for a customer about 5 weeks ago.... My only complaint was the dam cooler.

The charts clearly show the 750 in/around 3rd place overall, behind the 860 and 870 (excluding 950 and 975)....The 750 is one hell of a CPU, specially when you can get one for as low as 150.00$ and overclock the crap out of it....
Anonymous
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December 31, 2009 7:34:26 AM

OvrClkr said:
No :p  , of course not... The 750 is faster than the 920 in games.. I know, i built a P55 for a customer about 5 weeks ago.... My only complaint was the dam cooler.

The charts clearly show the 750 in/around 3rd place overall, behind the 860 and 870 (excluding 950 and 975)....The 750 is one hell of a CPU, specially when you can get one for as low as 150.00$ and overclock the crap out of it....



But does the 750 have a better potential for overclocking compared to the 860? As mentioned i am now considering these two the prime candidates for my new build, and the prize difference is not an issue.
a b à CPUs
December 31, 2009 7:42:31 AM

I see it this way, if you have the cash get the 860, if not the 750 will do just fine....

I don't see much of a difference when it comes to overclocking both CPU's. There are a few here on Toms that have the 750 easily at 4Ghz and above on AIR and that is normally a good spot. Not that you will actually need to run it at that speed but the option is there...
a b à CPUs
December 31, 2009 7:43:56 AM

Quote:
But does the 750 have a better potential for overclocking compared to the 860? As mentioned i am now considering these two the prime candidates for my new build, and the prize difference is not an issue.


Where do you live?
Anonymous
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December 31, 2009 8:01:59 AM

I live in norway.
Anonymous
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December 31, 2009 8:09:35 AM

Another issue though, i have a Samsung 24" T240 with a native resolution at 1920*1200, which i assume means that i should run games at this resolution. However, i have seen on alot of test that even the HD 5870 will only give 30+ FPS on some demanding games like for instance crysis at 1920*1200 while it runs at 60+ on 1680*1050.

From earlier gaming experience i feel that the FPS should be around 40+ to achieve smooth gameplay. This is abit dissapointing though, so guess i will have to aim for 2x HD5870 in crossxfire in order to achive satisfactory FPS.

I assume that the earlier recoomandations to use 1156 socket applies even though i will run 2x GPU in crossfire at 8x8.......
a b à CPUs
December 31, 2009 2:02:01 PM

Quote:
Thx again for the input.

So it seems i will be buying a 1156 platform. If money is not an issue, and i am only planning on slightly overclocking it without increasing voltage, should i go for i 750 or 860? The 860 has higher stock speed, so would guess that one is better if you dont concider the prize.

About cooling, will a decent aftermarket fan do, or do i need to consider water coooling? Have only overclocked a core2duo before with stock cooling.


Look at the recent System Builder Marathon. The big advantage of the i7-860 over the i5-750 is hyperthreading, but that advantage only applies to certain multitasking scenarios. HT actually HURTS some games a little. And, the i5 in that series overclocked MUCH BETTER than the i7-860.

Also take a look at the RAM used in the expensive system, it reigned supreme. Funny it's also cheap!
December 31, 2009 2:07:35 PM

Crysis is an excellent way to compare graphics cards.

Its a horrible way to judge the overall performance of your system.

From what I have seen, almost any game on the market will run 60+ FPS at your resolution with a 750/single 5870, most will approach 100FPS.

a b à CPUs
December 31, 2009 4:48:38 PM

Quote:
But does the 750 have a better potential for overclocking compared to the 860? As mentioned i am now considering these two the prime candidates for my new build, and the prize difference is not an issue.

HT(Hyper Threading Technology) is actually the hindrance in OC and so you are likely to have to turn it OFF for the MAX OC which is gonna to DOWNGRADE your CPU to an i5 at max OC.

BTW, HT is turned off by many peoples who have i7-920 at 4.2GHz AFAIK.
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