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Core i5-750 vs. Core i7-860 -- It's About Hyper-Threading

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February 3, 2010 5:37:45 PM

I'm obsessing about whether to choose Core i5-750 or Core i7-860 for my next PC (with Windows 7 x64.) Since obsession is not healthy, I'm looking for a dose of sanity. :lol: 

This will be a pre-built system. I'm not building my own - yet - and I'm definitely no over-clocker.

What it really comes down to is whether I need to have Hyper-Threading. When I look at the real-world tasks that Tom's uses to benchmark CPUs -- audio encoding, video encoding, compressing hundreds of megabytes -- these are things I hardly ever do. I'm no gamer, either. For now, I wouldn't miss Hyper-Threading.

However, I'm hoping to keep my next PC for as much as 3 years or more, which is a long time in terms of computing technology. Over that span, more and more applications might be re-written to take advantage of Hyper-Threading. So I'm thinking that by spending the extra money for a Hyper-Threaded CPU today, I might be extending the life of my next PC. Is this a valid argument?

Somebody please, knock some sense into me.
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February 3, 2010 6:08:44 PM

Why buy it if you don't need it now or even for the next year? It sounds like a question of value and that you're concerned with getting a good return on your hard earned cash you will plunk down for this PC.

When it comes to value, research AMD. You might wind uo paying about half for an AMD quadcore system that if you can overclock will perform almost as fast (90%?) as an i7 system. AM3 socket mobos are on Newegg's daily deals often for less than $50 while i7 motherboards are over $150.
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February 3, 2010 6:14:43 PM

hundredislandsboy said:
Why buy it if you don't need it now or even for the next year? It sounds like a question of value and that you're concerned with getting a good return on your hard earned cash you will plunk down for this PC.

When it comes to value, research AMD. You might wind uo paying about half for an AMD quadcore system that if you can overclock will perform almost as fast (90%?) as an i7 system. AM3 socket mobos are on Newegg's daily deals often for less than $50 while i7 motherboards are over $150.

+1

You may find what you want in AMD, but if you're really stuck on Intel you better get I7 920. I really don't know where is it all coming from that everyone is even considering LGA1156... It is a dead end platform and doesn't cost much less than I7 for less performance.
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February 3, 2010 6:26:28 PM

Bulldog17 said:
I'm obsessing about whether to choose Core i5-750 or Core i7-860 for my next PC (with Windows 7 x64.) Since obsession is not healthy, I'm looking for a dose of sanity. :lol: 

This will be a pre-built system. I'm not building my own - yet - and I'm definitely no over-clocker.

What it really comes down to is whether I need to have Hyper-Threading. When I look at the real-world tasks that Tom's uses to benchmark CPUs -- audio encoding, video encoding, compressing hundreds of megabytes -- these are things I hardly ever do. I'm no gamer, either. For now, I wouldn't miss Hyper-Threading.

However, I'm hoping to keep my next PC for as much as 3 years or more, which is a long time in terms of computing technology. Over that span, more and more applications might be re-written to take advantage of Hyper-Threading. So I'm thinking that by spending the extra money for a Hyper-Threaded CPU today, I might be extending the life of my next PC. Is this a valid argument?

Somebody please, knock some sense into me.


Well lets get started. :D 

Quote:
However, I'm hoping to keep my next PC for as much as 3 years or more, which is a long time in terms of computing technology. Over that span, more and more applications might be re-written to take advantage of Hyper-Threading. So I'm thinking that by spending the extra money for a Hyper-Threaded CPU today, I might be extending the life of my next PC. Is this a valid argument?


In my personal option, it is.

See i have an old computer with HT (Hyper threading) Pentium 4 cpu. Back in 2004/5 when i build my current computer , HT was not big (and it still isn't) but yet 5 years later it keeps my computer running decently fast today. Im able to run multi threaded programs just fine even though it not a dual core.

If this was a non HT cpu, i think i would have switched to a dual core cpu by now.


Quote:
I'm obsessing about whether to choose Core i5-750 or Core i7-860 for my next PC (with Windows 7 x64.) Since obsession is not healthy, I'm looking for a dose of sanity. :lol: 

This will be a pre-built system. I'm not building my own - yet - and I'm definitely no over-clocker.

What it really comes down to is whether I need to have Hyper-Threading. When I look at the real-world tasks that Tom's uses to benchmark CPUs -- audio encoding, video encoding, compressing hundreds of megabytes -- these are things I hardly ever do. I'm no gamer, either. For now, I wouldn't miss Hyper-Threading.


Well what will you be doing? web surfing, word docs, ect?

If your just web surfing, word docs, exel files, ect then all you'll need is either a cheap quad core or a fast dual core.

In truth I would recommend getting AMD athlon II x4 620. It the cheapest quad core cpuever made and it's no slouch either.
Most applications cant use a quad core fully yet (even the majority of games thats coming out wont use the power a quad core has. ) So getting this cpu should last you a very long time.
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February 3, 2010 6:40:09 PM

Im big into intel. I own the i7 920 and ive had it for a while now and i can safetly say for what you need in a comp its completely overkill.
So +1 for AMD 620 and might i suggest this board
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
has onboard graphics should be able to keep up with you especially if your not gaming.
i just bought this same combo myself to build a system for my parents finally giving in and saying goodbye to their single core.
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February 3, 2010 6:46:18 PM

More and more Application use the quad core like photoshop CS4, the quad is the better way for encoding, compressing... My mate has got Q9550 o/c 3.5 ghz and he is start winrar to compress or uncompress any files, I feel the difference between his Q9550 and my E7200 o/c 3.8 ghz.

If you want audio encoding, video encoding, compressing, go buy I7 920 (s1336) or I7 860 (s1156)
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February 3, 2010 7:07:03 PM

Quote:
I'm not building my own - yet


Folks, please keep the above in mind. Telling me about motherboards and CPU packages at good prices doesn't get me where I need to be.

An X58-based computer is for sure overkill (for me) and therefore not cost-effective. AMD may well be a good option, but it's taken me long enough to understand the Intel world, so that's where I'd rather stay.

I don't 'push' a computer much. I have little occasion (and patience) to do complex work with media files. I do basic photo editing. The only applications I use on a regular basis that can tax a computer are my security and encryption software, and my security software is running all the time.
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February 3, 2010 7:21:54 PM

Okay, then I guess LGA1156 is the only option for you after all... If that is so, perhaps you should consider getting the more future proof option with Hyper-Threading. Then again, you might not ever need it... I am really unsure of what to tell you. I'd gladly recommend you an upgradeable AM3 platform that you can later upgrade to an X6 processor, but since you're unwilling to buy anything AMD, I don't know what to say.
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February 3, 2010 7:23:57 PM

Without using software that specifically can use Hyperthreading there's not a lot of point in doing the i7-860. The i5-750 performs quite admirably as it is. Gaming wise, there's not much difference.
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February 3, 2010 7:27:59 PM

Bulldog17 said:
Quote:
I'm not building my own - yet

...
An X58-based computer is for sure overkill (for me) and therefore not cost-effective. AMD may well be a good option, but it's taken me long enough to understand the Intel world, so that's where I'd rather stay.
...


That's fine, but understand that you will spend more money and get nothing visible from it. If you buy a high-end i7, you will get a lot more CPU muscle than you need; likely the same from an i5-750. The lesser dual-core i5 CPUs cost too much for what you get, and the i3's are even worse for value. I believe it would be worth the time to look into an AMD Athlon II x4.
Some CPU benchmarks are available at http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=106&p2=11...
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February 3, 2010 7:32:35 PM

Yeah, that proves just how much software is Intel-optimized... You can have an Intel dual and still beat AMD quad at several occasions due to grand Intel optimization.
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February 3, 2010 10:51:31 PM

What's the price difference between the i5 750 machine and the i7 860 machine that you are looking at?
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February 4, 2010 12:46:40 AM

Cryslayer80 said:
Yeah, that proves just how much software is Intel-optimized... You can have an Intel dual and still beat AMD quad at several occasions due to grand Intel optimization.



Wrong. The dual wins because those apps do not take advantage of 4 cores. And the i3.i5 is faster clock for clock/core for core or whatever you want to call it. If Intel or AMD made a 4ghz SINGLE core with its current cpu archs it would still kick the crap out of a quad core with a lower clock in single threaded apps.
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February 4, 2010 1:06:48 AM

ekoostik said:
What's the price difference between the i5 750 machine and the i7 860 machine that you are looking at?


For the major OEMs, the price difference is about $100. Not a whole lot of money.

It's not about $100 today...it's about whether that $100 invested in the 860 is likely to buy me an extra year or two out of the computer.
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February 4, 2010 1:10:55 AM

Not unless you drastically change your usage habits of the computer the main components will never need to upgraded.
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February 4, 2010 12:14:25 PM

Bulldog17 said:
It's not about $100 today...it's about whether that $100 invested in the 860 is likely to buy me an extra year or two out of the computer.

It's actually about both, but that's why I asked. You have to know what the difference is and how much that extra amount is worth to you. If it was $20, you'd go for it. If it was $250 you likely wouldn't unless the money wasn't that important to you.

Since you're struggling with this I gather the $100 is not chump change. Seems to me the decision is between spending the money now on either 1) the potential to get a benefit in the future, or 2) the immediate realization of a benefit. In other words, spend the money on the PC now hoping to get some extra use a few years down the line (but you may never see any benefit); or you don't put the money towards the PC and instead spend it on something else that's important to you.

If you don't spend the extra $100 on the computer, ask yourself what will you spend it on? Now, is that thing, whatever it is, more valuable to you then the possibility that maybe you'll get some extra life out of your PC?

Personally I think if you find your PC to be outdated in 3 years or so it won't be because you don't have HyperThreading. It will be because of other continued improvements in architecture such as faster processors and advanced standards for things like USB, SATA, PCIe, FireWire, DisplayLink or whatever they think of next.
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February 4, 2010 12:55:41 PM

Best answer selected by Bulldog17.
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February 4, 2010 12:59:17 PM

someguy7 said:
Not unless you drastically change your usage habits of the computer the main components will never need to upgraded.


Now that's what I call plain old good sense. Dude, you rock. :sol: 
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February 4, 2010 1:02:22 PM

The next 'big' thing people will need /want in their computers will be ssd's.
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February 4, 2010 1:33:24 PM

I still think AMD in this price bracket is your better option. It will allow for easier upgrading in the future as AM3 isnt a dead end like 1156 is. Getting a i7 860 is pretty much the pinnacle of the 1156 and there is no mention 6 cores becoming available for 1156. With AM3 there are future benefits...cheap upgrade options where all you would have to do is buy a new chip and drop it in apposed to an entire new system.

I dont even like AMD so whatever. Just trying my best to save you money and get you exactly what ya want. Maybe you should just buy 775 as its basically the same exact boat at the end of the day. That way you can buy intel and get a chip that will do what ya want cheaply. Of course there is no future in 775 but hey its intel right.
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February 4, 2010 1:47:55 PM

ekoostik said:
Seems to me the decision is...spend the money on the PC now hoping to get some extra use a few years down the line (but you may never see any benefit); or...spend it on something else that's important to you...

Personally I think if you find your PC to be outdated in 3 years or so it won't be because you don't have HyperThreading. It will be because of other continued improvements in architecture such as faster processors and advanced standards for things like USB, SATA, PCIe, FireWire, DisplayLink or whatever they think of next.

You hit it out of the park, bro.

I'm thinking of betting $100 that a) applications I use often will be re-coded to take advantage (or better advantage) of SMT; b) the re-coded software will have a worthwhile performance improvement; c) the re-coded software won't introduce new bugs or other problems; and d) Hyper-Threading itself won't develop problems. Not the smartest of bets.

I stand to gain more benefit - now and in the future - by spending the hundred on my wife. ;) 

Then I have to take into account your good point about all the new technology coming down the pike that may be more interesting and ultimately more beneficial to me than Hyper-Threading...like USB 3.

And I have to consider "someguy's" wise observation that it's really about how I use my computer in the first place. If I'm the kind of user for whom SMT is a big deal - which I'm not - then I'd also want a fast Core i7-9xx (or something hot from AMD!) and lots of other bells and whistles.

See, I've been using PCs for a long time. Back in the day, when a PC for home use easily cost $1,500, the conventional wisdom was to buy as much computer as you can possibly afford, since you never know what you'll ultimately want to do with it. Nowadays, when a perfectly good PC costs less than half as much, and technology changes so quickly, the old way of thinking no longer applies.

Thanks for everyone's help.
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February 4, 2010 2:03:53 PM

Quote:
The next big thing i want is for WD to produce some nice 15K raptor and price them right. 500GB for 199.99 would be fine by me.

Actually I LOVE the specs of that new 2tb caviar black, but for 299 I coudn't do it.
Got the 1tb for 99.00 at Best Buy.
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/western_digita...
Quote:
The 2TB Caviar Black is spec’d to impress, with four 500GB platters, two processors, 64MB of cache, and a dual-stage actuator system that puts a fine-tuned piezoelectric actuator head at the end of the standard magnetic actuator, enabling fine-tuned tracking for speedy seek times. The Caviar Black also comes with WD’s standard No-Touch ramp loader, so the read/write head never comes in contact with the platters, increasing the drive’s lifespan.
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February 4, 2010 4:06:27 PM

someguy7 said:
Wrong. The dual wins because those apps do not take advantage of 4 cores. And the i3.i5 is faster clock for clock/core for core or whatever you want to call it. If Intel or AMD made a 4ghz SINGLE core with its current cpu archs it would still kick the crap out of a quad core with a lower clock in single threaded apps.

Not exactly what I meant. I was referring to certain apps and games. But okay, you got a point.
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July 3, 2010 2:45:33 AM

someguy7 said:
Wrong. The dual wins because those apps do not take advantage of 4 cores. And the i3.i5 is faster clock for clock/core for core or whatever you want to call it. If Intel or AMD made a 4ghz SINGLE core with its current cpu archs it would still kick the crap out of a quad core with a lower clock in single threaded apps.



Very true! A slow quad core will get crushed in single threaded games and apps by a fast single core.

That being said I would still suggest a dual core as a minimum for multitasking reasons.

I have a i7 920 at 3.4ghz (it can do 4.3 but it really does not feel any faster and sucks more power at 4.3) The nice thing about having the extra cores is its butter smooth at everything, if some background task kicks in you won't know it like you do on a single core. '

Also today just about all the good games need an extra core, SC2, borderlands, Crysis etc..

A fast dual is pretty nice and most people will not notice a big (feel faster) when going to a quad.

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July 3, 2010 12:50:43 PM

Raj,
Welcome to Tom's. We hope you enjoy your stay become a frequenct contributor. However, please check the date before replying to a thread. Bringing back a five month old thread from the dead really serves no one.
Again, welcome to Tom's.
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