Rate my Intel Core i7 860 build

I am getting ready to build a new pc. I selected the components for use with mainstream applications. Specifically, the system will be used quite a bit for high end professional digital image editing, video editing, and other mainstream applications. The decision to use an Intel Core i7 860 cpu was based on competent technical reviews that contained benchmark results for high end digital and video editing applications. In this situation occasional gaming is secondary.


Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I7860

ASUS SABERTOOTH 55i LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Motherboard

Crucial Ballistix 8GB (two 2 x 2GB kits) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model BL2KIT25664BN1608 (8-8-8-24, CAS 8, 1.65 volts)

Two XFX HD-477A-YDFC Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Cards in Crossfire mode

WD Caviar Black 500GB 3.5in SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive, 32MB Cache, 7200 RPM, Model: WD5001AALS. OEM

SeaSonic X650 Gold 650W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Lian Li Dragon Lord case

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM


Original ThermalRight Ultra 120 cpu heatsink providing I can get an LGA 1156 bracket for it. If a bracket is not available, then I’ll get a new cpu heatsink.

Plextor optical drive

AFT multi-card reader

IC Diamond 7 Carat Thermal Compound. I’ll also try Indigo Blue and see which compound works best with my system. Results typically vary.


XFX 4770 – I already have one. The easiest thing to do was to just get a second one. No need to make recommendations

Dragon Lord case – I already ordered it. No need to make recommendations.

Hard drive – Extra large capacity hard drives are not required. Raw digital images and finished products are transferred to cd-rom disc for storage and security.

Monitor - I haven't kept up with professional LCD monitors suitable for high end digital image editing. Feel free to make recommendations.
19 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about rate intel core build
  1. PSU wise a Corsair 650TX modular is same quality and cheaper

    HD- Get a Samsung Spinpoint F3. It rivals a velociraptor in performance as is cheaper than the WD.
  2. Also, these graphics cards are really weak. I'd get a single 5770 or a 4890 (both cost about as much as your current setup I believe). Both are great performers, while these cards will be fairly weak even in crossfire.
  3. banthracis - I normally hang out and answer questions over in the Power Supplies, PC Cases & Case Mods and Cooler and Heatsinks sections of this forum. I also build pc's for others and do case mods. I use Corsair exclusively. When answering questions I normally recommend Corsair, Seasonic, and PC Power & Cooling. This situation is a bit different. The SeaSonic X650 Gold 650 watt power supply is a brand new design with new internal architecture that earned an 80+ Gold Certification for energy efficiency and it's quiet. It's also built to provide 100% of it's rated power at 50C which is more like a heavy duty server psu rather than a desktop psu. Seasonic also increased the mean time between failure (MTBF) estimate from 100,000 hours to 150,000 hours. I thought I would give a try. Otherwise I would have recycled my Corsair HX620.

    Here are links to technical reviews:

    Initially I was going to get a Samsung Spinpoint F3 hard drive. However, I did quite a bit of research and came to the conclusion that based on the primarry use of the pc I would get better performance with the Western Digital Caviar Black hard drive. I just had to find a 500GB version with a single platter. Newegg and several other popular online vendors were sold out.
  4. Silmarunya - You are absolutely correct.

    When the ATI Radeon HD 4770 was introduced earlier this year it was perfectly clear that it was an excellent mid-level general purpose video card. It just happened that when two 4770's were used in Crossfire mode one could play games reasonably well. They were by no means high end gaming cards. I'm just getting a second video card to see what Crossfire mode is like.

    When it comes to high end digital image and video editing the processes and rendering are cpu intensive rather than gpu intensive. It's the cpu that makes the difference. The gpu is not as important.

    Here are links to the original reviews Tom's Hardware published when the 4770 was first inroduced:,2281.html,2288.html
  5. Best answer
    Is there a reason you went with the Sabertooth over a ASUS board like ASUS P7P55D-E Pro?

    Have you looked at the new G.SKILL ECO DDR3 1333 Cas7 1.35v RAM? It has tighter timings and will perform better with than the DDR3 1600 you selected.

    Great fine on the PSU, but I would expect nothing less from you on that. :D
  6. I chose the Sabertooth because:

    1.additional support features:

    Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
    Supports the Intel Core i7 and Intel Core i5 Processors in the LGA1156 Package
    Intel P55 Express Chipset
    CeraM!X Heatsink Coating Tech.
    CoolMem! Fan Frame
    E.S.P. [Efficient Switching Power]
    TUF Caps. & MOSFETs
    Supports NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI Technology
    Supports ATI Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology

    2. I spent 30 years in the military and I am familiar with pc's built for combat conditions and harsh environments. The Sabertooth was built to exceed military standards for ruggedness by 30%

    3. I liked the name! :bounce:

    The choice of memory was based on Toms Hardware memory articles this year. Crucial memory was often recommended over other brands. I also got the impression that when it came to performance there was a point of dimishing returns. I'll take a look at G.Skill you recommended. G.Skill is on the ASUS qualified vendor list and some of their memory modules are recommended.
  7. JohnnyLucky said:
    I chose the Sabertooth because:

    3. I liked the name! :bounce:

    It would've been better if the name was.... Wolverine instead :lol:
  8. Sounds OK to me. I happen to like Acronis True Image WD Edition so I think the WD drives are really a bargain.
  9. b_boomer - Thanks for posting about Acronis True Image WD Edition. Looks like and interesting backup utility.
  10. If you are wanting the best for LCD montior for high end professional digital image editing, video editing, and other mainstream applications., this is pretty much the top of the line... IMO


    It s a little expensive for a 24" monitor but is worth it for high end professional work!!
  11. Here's the monitor I got for my build, completed 2 weeks ago:

    Terrific realistic colors even before I used Spyder 3 Pro to color calibrate it, unbelievably sharp.

    You can read about my build if you wish, although it seems you're pretty much finished:

    Good luck!
  12. tecmo & Brett - Thanks for the links. Much appreciated. I had read about those two monitors a long time ago. Unfortunately I am gowing old disgracefully and I forget stuff. I just couldn't remember the brand names. All I could think of were the very very expensive LaCie, NEC, and Eizo monitors. It's all coming back to me now.

    GEE! This is going to be an expensive build.
  13. UPS delived my new Dragon Lord case an hour ago. It's a real beauty! The black textured exterior finish is outstanding and the narrow widow on the side panel looks great. The window is fastened to the exterior side of the panel with screws so the edges of the window are exposed. To my surprise the edges are beveled and very smooth. Excellent craftsmanship!

    Happy Camper Time! :bounce:

    It's time to order the components but memory modules are confusing me. There are too many choices. I read all the Tom's Hardware memory articles. Crucial is mentioned quite often and appears to be a good choice. I also checked the Asus web site and looked at their list of recommended memory for my motherboard. I also checked the Crucial recommended memory for the Asus motherboard. I'm a little confused. Does anyone have any last minute recommendations for memory?
  14. I'm a fan of the G.Skill or OCZ Platinum RAM myself. The G.SKILL ECO version I listed earlier in your thread is a great alternative and has low power consumption.
  15. tecmo - Just looked at the very first technical reviews of the brand new G.SKILL ECO memory. Looks good to me. OK! I'll try them and see what happens. Just hope the Asus BIOS likes them.
  16. ^ That is a good build you have come up with...
    But am still not convinced with the CPU option...True the i7 860 is a very good choice...But the LGA 1366 is a better option for you...
    Reasons :
    1. The reviews that you would have read, most probably would have tested the CPUs(Obviously would have compared the i7 860 to i7 920) at stock speeds or with Turbo boost. So obviously the 860 would have performed better because of the better turbo and higher stock clock speed...But when you overclock the i7 920 and i7 860 to same clock speed, then you would know the difference...

    2. You would know that the high-end photo and video editing apps take very good advantage of all the available memory bandwidth...And I dont think there is any other platform other than the 1366, that can offer higher bandwidth(Tri-Channel memory controllers). And also the more RAM you include in your build, the better as these apps would take good advantage of it...

    3. Intel has once again confirmed that the LGA 1366 would be for the enthusiast market and LGA 1156 for mainstream...
    But finally its your decision to make...

    As for the other parts, like tecmo said, even I would expect nothing less from you on that... ;)
    But the only thing that can be improved on is the HDD... The Samsung F3 500GB ones are surely better than that WD Black 500GB...If it were the newer 640GB/ 1 or 2TB ones, then its fine...but the 500GB ones are old...
    And any specific reason why 2 HD 4770s? Do you already have them ?
  17. gkay09 - I seriously considered LGA 1366, tri-channel memory, and the Samsung hard drive until I finally found reviews and benchmarks that included batch processing, rendering, and encoding with the photo and video applications I use. They were were for systems operating at default settings. I hadn't even considered overclocking. I'm not really into it. I'll delay purchasing and take another look to see if I missed anything.

    I have to admit the hard drive was odd. The Samsung was my initial choice. Again, it was the benchmarks for the applications I use. Those really surprised me. I would have thought a newer drive would do better. Part of it was the particular features that worked well with the applications. Part of it was the single 500GB platter that had a slight edge over multiple platters. I'll take another look at the Samsung 500GB.

    I already had a 4770. I waited until XFX came out with a model that had an enclosed fan shroud that exhausted warm air out the rear panel like the ATI HD Radeon 5000 series cards. I just wanted to see how well it worked. Same thing with a second 4770. I just want to see what Crossfire is like. Actually an old 7600GT I've got in my spare parts box would do just as well for my applications because the apps are cpu intensive rather than gpu intensive.

    Looking back in retrospect it was the different benchmarks I found for my specific mainstream applications that influenced me. I think it's very similar to selecting components appropriate for a specific game. It's my understanding different games play better when matched up with the most suitable pc components.
  18. ^ Well that is very true...
    I have seen that some photo editing apps(Most importantly the CS4) is more dependent on the clock-speed than other factors...So that is the reason why the 860 would have beaten the 920...
    As for overclocking, I dont think it will be not talking about extreme overclocks here...A 3.4-3.6GHz would be the sweet spot for the 920 chips and is easily achievable and with your understanding level, I dont think it would pose any challenge...
    If you will not be making the purchase anytime soon, then you can wait for this CPU - i7 930 - Would replace the 920 at the same price point...This is clocked higher at 2.88GHz and would be a better binned chip...

    As for the GPU, ATI has come up with STREAM - Similar to CUDA from Nvidia...And they might help you decrease the processing time with editing apps(Adobe CS4 has a plug-in to utilize STREAM, that speeds up the processing)
    And if you wont use the PC for games, I dont see any real use of adding 1 more HD 4770...
  19. OK guys! I took another look and paid attention to overclocking. I'll get the G.SKILL ECO DDR3 memory. I'll also get the Samsung F3 500GB single platter drive. However, I'm sticking with the Intel Core i7 860. The cpu has been pushed to around 4.2GHz and the motherboard and memory can handle it. However, heat becomes a problem. Ideal cruising speed is around Mach 3.3 to ......errr....I mean 3.3 to 3.6GHz.

    The kicker was an overclocking comparison that included mainstream applications. The overclocked Core i7 860 did just a little bit better than the overclocked Core i7 920. The slight edge was similar to results with stock settings.

    Video cards and a new monitor will have to wait for a while as this is going to be an expensive build.

    Thanks to everyone for the comments, advice, and suggestions. Just in case there are any last minute comments I'll delay ordering until tomorrow.
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