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I7-965 or I7-870, need help choosing

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March 27, 2010 7:06:56 PM

My question is which cpu/platform should I build: a 1366 or 1156.

I have a friend who is giving me my choice of one of the above cpu’s for free. Knowing that, which platform should I build? I’ve read the article at anandtech where it compared a long list of I7’s, but it only had in its list an I7-975 and an i7-870. I Know that the 965 is very similar to the 975, minus the 133 clock, but I’m now confused on which platform I should build. I wasn’t overly impressed with the comparison of the 975 to the 870 in that the 870 came out on top for a few benchmarks and overall seems to be within just a few percentage points from the 975. Could it be then that the 965 may actually be slower than the 870? Specifically, I'm wondering if I would be at a disadvantage with the 965 in that it's turbo mode appears to be inferior to the 870? I should note that I’m the type of buyer who likes to get the best bang for their buck, but I don’t mind spending more if the tradeoff is there.

My current system is an oc’d 6600 to 3.2ghz and 2 4850’s in CF. I bought the first 4850 at $140 and then the second at $100, and will probably repeat this pattern when the 5850 reaches these price points. I’ve been trying to take into consideration the limitations of p55 MB’s with their limited pci lanes (16x by 4x, or some 8x by 8x) and wondering if it’s worth it to get the 1366 for this point alone. I am also wondering which platform has a longer life, and if intel is planning on releasing an 8 core for either platform?

The most taxing thing my system does is play FPS games at 1920x1200, and sometimes the occasional blu ray rip. Knowing that 1366 boards are about $80 to $100 more than 1156 which platform would you build on, and will the 965 truly be faster than the 870? Also, is triple channel memory going to be that helpful in the near future (2-3 years)?

Thanks in advance for everyone’s responses!

Link to anandtech article: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=363...

More about : 965 870 choosing

a c 133 à CPUs
March 27, 2010 7:41:35 PM

Well if you are getting this for free get the I7 965 overclocks better and easier with its unlocked multiplier and the 1366 socket has better motherboard options like triple channel ram and full 16x crossfire and SLI support. By all means though if you were actually paying for these chips I would never suggest the 965 it is way overpriced. If you do get the 965 make sure you get a good x58 motherboard to go with it.
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a b à CPUs
March 27, 2010 7:55:31 PM

Mmhm. The 965 has an unlocked multiplier, so it should OC better than the 870. It is also higher binned. The x58 platform also has triple-channel memory, 2 x16 PCIe lanes for graphics, and is fairly future-proof. (1156 doesn't have a solid upgrade plan after 2010).

If you're getting them for free, the 965 is the way to go.
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March 27, 2010 8:31:46 PM

Free? 965 ALL the way and never look back. It's a no brainer
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a c 172 à CPUs
March 27, 2010 9:20:19 PM

:bounce:  I'll take the 870 then. Yes, I will. :bounce: 
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March 27, 2010 9:21:24 PM

Thanks for everyone's responses so far. Yea it's my choice of either for free, I have a friend who sells cpus so he just asked me if I wanted to upgrade from my q6600.

Initially I thought the no brainer was to go for the 965 too, but after reading the benchmarks from the link I provided from anandtech I was confused. The 870 seems to nearly tie the 975 in most benchmarks...and with its pci controller being on the cpu die I'm wondering if it could be faster so long as you don't saturate the 16 lanes - which will probably take me quite some time to do as I'm still on 4850's.

I do plan on overclocking though so I guess that will make the difference, and I'm hoping to keep my vendetta cooler.
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a b à CPUs
March 27, 2010 10:44:25 PM

965, get a better cooler (I don't think you can even get a socket 1366 mounting bracket anyway), overclock the beast and never look back.
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a b à CPUs
March 28, 2010 1:12:54 AM

saaiello said:
Well if you are getting this for free get the I7 965 overclocks better and easier...
When you lead with a lie, everything that follows goes unread.
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a b à CPUs
March 28, 2010 1:20:01 AM

boomhowar said:
Thanks for everyone's responses so far. Yea it's my choice of either for free, I have a friend who sells cpus so he just asked me if I wanted to upgrade from my q6600.

Initially I thought the no brainer was to go for the 965 too, but after reading the benchmarks from the link I provided from anandtech I was confused. The 870 seems to nearly tie the 975 in most benchmarks...and with its pci controller being on the cpu die I'm wondering if it could be faster so long as you don't saturate the 16 lanes - which will probably take me quite some time to do as I'm still on 4850's.

I do plan on overclocking though so I guess that will make the difference, and I'm hoping to keep my vendetta cooler.


The 870 overclocks easier because it produces less heat. I've tested the full range of processors and all these people who tell you different are speaking out of bias. Having said that, there's a reason 1366 boards cost more, they have more features.

Of those features, triple-channel is nearly worthless but the extra PCI 2.0 pathways are awesome. If you ever want to upgrade to dual graphics cards, the extra sixteen pathways are a killer feature. If you want USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0 Gb/s controllers, the extra four pathways on top of those extra 16 are also a killer feature.

In other words, pick the i7-965 for its superior motherboard features, the CPU itself isn't a better choice on its own.

Both of these processors will top out at around 4.3 GHz, give or take 100MHz, but the 965 will run a little hotter. Even though you'll probably end up having to settle for a worse overclock as a result of the extra heat, the 1366 motherboard is still so much better-featured that you'll want to use it.

As for these guys talking about unlocked multipliers, those don't matter. You'll reach the limit of your CPU at around 190-210 MHz base clock using the stock multiplier. The CPU will go to somewhere between 215 and 260 MHz base clock using a LOWER multiplier, so you're really running out of CPU frequency before you even need to increase beyond the stock multiplier.
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March 28, 2010 11:31:11 PM

boomhowar said:
Thanks for all the responses. I'm going with the 965, now just have to find a good board.

How does this one look: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


That board was a recommended buy...basically for cheapskates. You'll want something a little beefier for long term use at high overclocks.

I think this would be the cheapest one I'd settle for, given your situation:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Even then another $11 could get you one with SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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April 4, 2010 3:57:47 AM

Crashman said:
That board was a recommended buy...basically for cheapskates. You'll want something a little beefier for long term use at high overclocks.

I think this would be the cheapest one I'd settle for, given your situation:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Even then another $11 could get you one with SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



Thanks for the advice! I bought the GA-X58A-UD3R and went with the 965.
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April 4, 2010 3:58:00 AM

Best answer selected by boomhowar.
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