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I7 or I5?

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October 27, 2009 8:05:05 AM

I really can't find anything comparing the two. I see people building one or the other. Is it the price vs performance? What are the pro's and con's of each? I mainly want to build a gaming setup with the ability to crossfire using the 5870/5850/5770. I did a search and like I said I can only find the pro's of building a I7 or the pro's of building a I5. A little insight would be helpful to this rookie. Much appreciated in advance!

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October 27, 2009 8:07:52 AM

Do you mean socket 1366 versus 1156? i7s are available on both sockets...
I recommend an 1156 i7.

Edit: if you mean 1156 i7 versus i5, the main difference is that the i5 lacks HT and is clocked a little slower.
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October 27, 2009 9:09:13 AM

This was the same question I asked myself, and, trying for a cheapish but powerful gaming rig, I've chosen the i5-750. I can't offer personal experience until I get a hold of the computer, of course, but I can give you the main decider, for me: an article on Anandtech.
Going by what knowledge I have and what charts they have, it seems that the $200 i5-750 nearly matches or beats the $300 dollar i7-920 about half the time, and sits quite close to the $300 i7-860, especially in gaming performance. As far as I can tell, that's looking at a $300 gaming processor for $100 off. As far as crossfiring goes, that's down to the boards, and the unfortunate thing about the i5-750, the i7-860, and the i7-870 is that there isn't a a lot of motherboards. A pretty slim selection for what I was looking for, at least. I ended up with my sights set on a board from a local company where I could get a good warranty and service: http://tinyurl.com/yjljumk . However, I would suggest you may want this combo deal from Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... .
As far as I'm concerned, 1366 socket processors are hardly a choice, unless you go with the i7-975.
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October 27, 2009 12:49:57 PM

Both the i5 and i7 have 4 physical cores. The i7 uses Hyperthreading to simulate 8 logical cores. You will rarely ever need 8 cores and those 8 logical cores don't perform the same as 8 physical cores. You're not really getting twice the number of cores. What the i7 gives you is the ability to run 8 threads simultaneously. Something you will probably never do. Even if you did, all things being equal, those 8 threads would not run as fast as 4 threads on an i5.

I have an i5 and rarely does my overall CPU usage go over 50%. I think getting the 4 extra logical cores would be a waste of money for me.

Both the 1366 and 1156 cores will increase clock speeds if some of the cores are unused, but the 1156 cores do a better job of it. In short, if you're running one or two programs that aren't multithreaded (few programs are multithreaded), you'll get better performance on a comparable 1156 processor.
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October 27, 2009 2:24:27 PM

Got question that might add more info for op.

Since he mentioned crossfiring, isn't the x58 better than the p55 for that since they can run 2 cards @16x?
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October 27, 2009 2:29:46 PM

^ It's a little better, but not a deal-breaker imo.
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October 27, 2009 4:00:40 PM

Sky03 said:
Got question that might add more info for op.

Since he mentioned crossfiring, isn't the x58 better than the p55 for that since they can run 2 cards @16x?


Depends on the MB. Most x58 boards have 2 x16 slots. Some of the higher end p55 boards have 2 x16 slots also.
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October 27, 2009 4:03:53 PM

KidHorn said:
Depends on the MB. Most x58 boards have 2 x16 slots. Some of the higher end p55 boards have 2 x16 slots also.

The P55 chipset can not support 16x crossfire or SLI. The only P55 boards that would have full 2 x16 slots would have to use a third party chip. I haven't seen any reviews of such a motherboard. The 8x link speed only SLIGHTLY affects SLI/crossfire performance, so it's not a big deal anyway.
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October 27, 2009 4:12:40 PM

Hey guys thanks for the quick responses! I have decided to get the 1156 I5 setup as it does seem to be better value for the $$$. It's reassuring one can ask a question here and get unbias responses! I will be crossfiring in the future so it sounds like a 16x/8x won't be a deal breaker. Again gentlemen I appreciate your input!
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