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GPU/ Processor help?

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January 26, 2010 9:10:20 PM

Okay, so I was looking at my benchmark results and realized my graphics processor (MSI 9500 GT [they made like 20 of them, and they suck]) is the main bottleneck in my build. It's not the highest grade build (GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L, Core 2 Duo E7400, 2 GB G.Skill DDR2) and I'm going to upgrade it soon and was wondering if it's possible that it can hold a Radeon HD 5850 until I get the cash for the rest of the parts? And on that note, what processor should I get, Core i5 or i7? Thanks in advance, and help is much appreciated.

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January 26, 2010 9:48:28 PM

Meh, I don't see why not, I ran a GTX 260 SP 216 on an E7200 for a couple of days, a 5850 should be okay. If you can afford it, avoid socket 1156, the i7 920 or an AMD build are much better options IMHO.
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January 26, 2010 9:51:48 PM

Thanks, but why not 1156? Is there something bad about it, or is 1366 just better? Thanks.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 26, 2010 10:07:18 PM

There are three possible downsides that I can think of. 1. It doesn't really allow two PCI-E slots to be at x16 speed, but seeing as this only produces a 4% loss in performance compared to dual x16 on Bloomfield; it's negligible. Source: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/p55-pci-express-scaling,r...
2. Foxconn sockets on this platform have shown to be a problem, it should only really influence your decision when overclocking tho. Just make sure that the CPU is seated properly, don't raise voltages very much, or get a mobo that doesn't use a foxconn socket.
3. It is more likely that you will be able to put a hexa core into a 1366 socket when they become available. A downside if you have any interest in upgrading to one of those when they become available.

And the i5 750 is actually a better gaming CPU than the i7 920.
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January 26, 2010 10:21:22 PM

Thanks so much, that clarifies a lot. But why is the i5 better than the i7 at gaming, if you don't mind me asking?
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 26, 2010 10:36:36 PM

I don't really know why, but in benchmarks I've seen it above the i7 920. And if gaming is the most important thing, then it's kind of pointless paying so much more for a Bloomfield system when the i5 750 is at least as good. This is another factor in why the i5 750 is better.
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January 26, 2010 10:49:21 PM

Hmmm, thanks for that. It's gonna get a hard decision, but eventually I'll make it. And just to clarify, if I get a higher graphics card than my mobo is designed for (say a GTX 260 with GDDR3) it will be able to hold it for a while, correct? Thanks.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 26, 2010 11:01:55 PM

The only compatibility issue between motherboards and graphics cards is the slot into which the graphics card fits, so yes pretty much any new card will be fine in your current system as long as the power supply has enough juice for it.
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January 27, 2010 12:05:23 AM

Thanks so much, this really helps. I hope to be getting a nice rig up and running soon enough, and now that I know this, I'll know what to do. Thanks.
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January 27, 2010 12:05:31 AM

Best answer selected by blu3flannel.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 27, 2010 1:38:49 PM

blu3flannel said:
Thanks so much, that clarifies a lot. But why is the i5 better than the i7 at gaming, if you don't mind me asking?


This is a two sided coin.

For single gpu solutions it's superior for 3 reasons.

1) It supports a much higher turbo multiplier than the i7-920, this is especially important in games due to the nature of most being single threaded. (Not too important for OC because this will more than likely be disabled)

2) Lack of Hyperthreading allows for easier and more stable overclocks (HT can be disabled on 920)

3) QPI - X58 uses QPI (northbridge) to interface the cpu to the rest of the system. It allows for higher bandwidth but also it's one more stop that anything has to make before reaching or leaving the cpu, hence higher latency. Lynnfield (i5 750, i7 860) has ondie pcie lanes. It's limited to x16 speeds (which is why you hear so much about x8x8 and P55 being suboptimal for multi-gpu configs) but it's faster than QPI because it removes the need to pass through a separate bus.


The flipside is that if you run more than one gpu then you're going to suffer 3-5pct loss due to bandwidth limitations of x8x8. Not much but it's more than enough to make up any ground the X58 loses to having a northbridge. Running anything above a 2 gpu solution is a not even worth considering on the P55 chipset.
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January 27, 2010 7:54:01 PM

So basically, if I'm wanting to run a single GPU system I go with i5, with 2 I go i7 920?
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 27, 2010 10:22:04 PM

It's not even that simple. P55 can handle crossfire/sli exceptionally close to X58. If you want a Tri/Quad solution then yes, X58 is an easy choice.

There are other things to consider besides just graphics. SATA 6Gb/s is here. Soon SSD's that support it will follow. 1156 is limited to 2 GB/s bandwidth from the southbridge. While this is 3.5 times faster than SATA 6Gb/s it also has to host all of your USB 3.0 connects, all of your normal SATA 3Gb/s and so forth.

X58 doesn't face this same restriction. Is it a problem? That's indeterminable at the moment.

There are also future upgrades to consider. We know that 1366 supports Gulftown. We assume that 1156 will support Sandybridge.

X58 supports triple channel memory (for what it's worth) P55 only supports dual.

1366 is 130w TDP, 1156 is 95w TDP. 1366 has a hot northbridge, 1156 doesn't. Overall 1156 is going to run cooler which means easier sustainable overclocks that are more stable. 1156 is also going to draw less from the wall which over the course of its lifetime could amount to a considerable savings in electricity.

There is value in 1156 and P55 in particular. It's the current mainstream chipset. X58 was always aimed at the Extreme crowd. P55 holds it own, but keep in mind there is a restrictive nature about it.
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January 28, 2010 12:07:16 AM

Thanks for clarifying that, it helps to have in slightly simpler terms. I think I'm going to go 1156 for now, and if I ever get the spare bank I can always switch it out for 1366. Thanks again.
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January 28, 2010 2:05:45 AM

"Switch out" is a poor choice of words. "Upgrade to" sounds much better.
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