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Best balanced build...and yet another i5-750(i7-860) vs i7-920 thread!

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January 28, 2010 10:17:15 PM

I have been mulling over the i5-750 vs i7-920 decision and I’ve read a lot of the debates on this forum. I have laid out a reasonably priced i7 build below, which is only $95 more than my lowest-cost i5 build (also below).

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this week
BUDGET RANGE: 600-800 (after shipping and rebates )
SYSTEM USAGE: occasional gaming, multi-tasking/internet usage (I like to have a lot of browser windows open at once!), occasional video editing/rendering, photo editing, music encoding

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:
Monitor (though will upgrade soon and suggestions welcome)
GPU (reusing Radeon 4850 512MB for now, will upgrade in a year or two)
Mouse, KB, optical drive, speakers
OS (windows 7)

PREFERRED WEBSITE FOR PARTS: newegg.com, Microcenter (near by),
PARTS PREFERENCES: No brand preference, just prefer quality
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe someday
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe, future upgrade

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This will be my 1st build. I want a good balanced system that will last me a few years (assuming occasional upgrades over time). I know the 1156 vs 1366 debate rages on and there are good attributes of both from everything I've read, but this debate is keeping me from making a decision. Bottom line, I need to understand if the i7/1366 is worth the $80-100 premium over the i5/1156.

Also, I'm not too worried about USB 3.0 for now and will just buy an add on card later for that.

Aready purchased:
PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W
Case: LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 500GB
Total: $204 (After shipping and MIR)

Build option 1: Intel 1366
CPU: Core i7-920, $200 (+$16 tax) @ Microcenter
MoBo: ASRock X58 Extreme
$170
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: OCZ Gold XTC 6GB DDR3-1600 CL8
$130 (After MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total for 1366 (including already purchased items): $720

Build Option 2: Intel 1156

CPU: Core i5-750 +
MoBo: EVGA P55 SLI 132-LF-E655-KR (is this Mobo okay? I see Tom's used it for some benchmarking and it did okay)
$333 (Combo, after shipping and MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Or

CPU: Core i5-750
MoBo: ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA
$350 (Combo)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM: OCZ Gold 4GB DDR3-1600 Gold CL8
$88 (After MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total for 1156 (including already purchased items): $625 to $642
(depending on Mobo selection)
January 28, 2010 10:24:56 PM

The advantages of the 1366 socket may come into play for you with the video encoding/rendering. The HyperThreading could help in that regard, as does the triple channel memory.

It is a close call, though. I built myself the i7 rig and feel the few extra dollars was worth it. I do rendering, also.
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January 28, 2010 11:28:51 PM

Based on your builds... I would go with the i7 920 over the i5 750 based on the overall difference of $78 on the highend of the i5 750. The ASRock Extreme is a nice board for the price!! You have more of an upgrade path down the road with the i7 920 with the hex core being released later this quarter.

Also, I would recommend adding a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus to either build you go with, so you can have the option to overclock down the road to get the full potential of either CPU's.
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January 29, 2010 1:05:49 AM

Thanks for the responses.

Yeah, I was almost ready to pull the trigger on an i5-750 due to the price, high efficiency/lower power consumption, and the merits of the chipset's turbo boost... but the recent price drop of the i7-920 at microcenter brought me back to the drawing board.

I've had a lot of people tell me that there's a good chance that the next generation of intel chips might fit the 1366 socket, but that they'll be far too expensive or still might not be backward compatible with todays mobos. How have things worked in the past with Intel's upgrade path? (I know they're not as friendly in that aspect as AMD, but I've ruled out an AMD build.)

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January 29, 2010 1:36:00 AM

tecmo34 said:

Also, I would recommend adding a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus to either build you go with, so you can have the option to overclock down the road to get the full potential of either CPU's.


Meant to ask about the cooler in my previous response... would that cooler only provide a real benefit if/when I overclock, or would it be good to have regardless?
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January 29, 2010 12:38:56 PM

To add to my growing list of follow-up questions, I'm thinking i might throw in a monitor too.
Anyone have opinions on these two options?

ASUS VH236H Black 23" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$170 (after MIR)

Hanns·G HH-251HPB Black 24.6" 2ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$180

I'm leaning towards the Asus because I've heard good things about them. I'm not familiar with Hanns G, but it's only $10 more for a bigger screen, so it intrigues me.
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January 29, 2010 1:15:22 PM

CPU:Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$280

Motherboard:EVGA P55 SLI 132-LF-E655-KR LGA1156 Intel P55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$175, $140 after rebates

Memory:G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$115

Total:$570, or $535 with rebates

It is a bit more pricey, but the core i7 860 outperforms the 920 in all aspects. The only reason to go to 1366 is if you plan on upgrading to hexa core in the future. Many people are going crazy for Hexa core, but it is truly pointless if all you are doing is gamming, and daily application. It is only valuable if you are using a workstation PC.




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January 29, 2010 1:25:32 PM

Um, Intel's whole tick tock strategy is basically to have a new architecture every 2 years, and a die shrink every 2 years in btwn. So basically, any given Intel build last 2 years max before it's no longer relevant.

Currently we're in an architecture release year so Sandy Bridge CPU's will be out later this year.

Next year we get a die shrink to 22nm so basically ANY CPU you buy now will be outdated by next year. i9 are estimated to be $300-600 minimum.

What you should do is just get a i7-860 from microcenter for $220. Beats the i7-920 in all benchmarks.

Also doesn't suffer from the i7-920 minimum frame rate issue.
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=363...

In fact, hyperthreading actually hurts the i7-920 gaming performance, and makes is run worse in gaming than the half price Phenom II x4. Everything was normalized to 2.8ghz in this test so speed step is not a factor.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/quad-core-cpu,2499-...

Then grab
This Biostar board, which has dual PCIE x8 for future xfire. $134.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hanns G is a great company, they make LCD's for Dell Monitors. Their stands are barebone (but then again Asus is even MORE barebone) but their displays are top notch for a low price.


The Stock HSF for P55 CPU's is a piece of junk, unlike the i7-920 ones which is at least usable for stock voltages. Make your CPU happy and just get a Hyper 212 Plus. Great HSF for a great price, $30.
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January 29, 2010 1:31:46 PM

Do not get a core i5, you are better off going with i7 860 I mentioned earlier. Motherboards all you are looking for is a brand you trust, and probably a P55 board, that at least offers some crossfire with X8 X8 PCI-E slots.
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January 29, 2010 1:42:25 PM

banthracis said:

Then grab this Biostar board, which has dual PCIE x8 for future xfire. $134.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


If I opt for the p55 and Biostar board as you recommend, should I be concerned about that mobo's "4+2 phase power design"?

To be perfectly honest, I don't understand how the "phase power" affects the build. I see several that are 8+2 or pricier ones that are 12+2.
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January 29, 2010 2:00:09 PM

thebluebus said:
If I opt for the p55 and Biostar board as you recommend, should I be concerned about that mobo's "4+2 phase power design"?

To be perfectly honest, I don't understand how the "phase power" affects the build. I see several that are 8+2 or pricier ones that are 12+2.


Short answer is unless you're planning on a high OC (4.0ghz+), it's not an issue.

Long answer would require some electrical engineering background, but basically has to do with the amount and stability of power going to the CPU. Really not an issue, especially since you can get a 3.6ghz oc w/o raising voltage on many i7-860's.
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January 29, 2010 5:55:34 PM

So as of last night, I was ready to buy i7-920... but now the i7-860 has put me back on the fence. (This process can make a guy crazy!) The thing I like about the i7-860/1156 is that it's appears to be far less power hungry, both at idle and when busy.

Based on all the performance testing I've read, the two chips are about even when set to the same clock speeds with a slight edge to the 860 (obviously this varies somewhat based on which benchmarks you read).

Since my total prices are going to be about even for the i7-920 and the i7-860 builds, is the general consensus among the community that it's better to have the more efficient i7-860 now, despite the potential future limitations of the 1156 socket?

I'm not a big gamer, but I'd like to keep my future options open for upgrading to a gamer-friendly rig some day. Is it safe to assume that it will be a fairly long time before future GPUs need 2 lanes of x16 PCIe and triple channel memory? And that by then everyone will need new CPU/mobos anyway? I know you're not fortune tellers, but I just don't want to try to upgrade my GPU in two years and find out that I should have gone with a 1366 socket! ;) 
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January 29, 2010 6:04:14 PM

As I said earlier, in 2 years ANY CPU/Mobo you buy form Intel will be outdated since next year 22nm Sandy bridge CPU's will be out. By the year after, we'll be in the next architecture.

Short version, any mobo you buy today will be outdated next year with 22nm.

GPU wise, the difference btwn x58 and P55 in xfire is only 4%. That's not noticeable outside benchmarks and is not a big issue.

Heck, most benchmarks put the i7-860 4% faster than the i7-920 so end result is no difference.

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January 29, 2010 6:28:39 PM

thebluebus said:
To add to my growing list of follow-up questions, I'm thinking i might throw in a monitor too.
Anyone have opinions on these two options?

ASUS VH236H Black 23" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$170 (after MIR)

Hanns·G HH-251HPB Black 24.6" 2ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$180

I'm leaning towards the Asus because I've heard good things about them. I'm not familiar with Hanns G, but it's only $10 more for a bigger screen, so it intrigues me.


I recently purchased an Asus 24" VW246H LCD, which is only slightly up from what you're considering. They look like identical models bar the 1 inch size difference, and the obvious price change that comes with it.

All I'll say is that the VW246H is fantastic, so I doubt you'd be disappointed!
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January 29, 2010 6:28:51 PM

Yet another question about 1156...

Does anyone know if I buy a P55 mobo today that doesn't have USB 3.0 and I chose to add a USB 3.0 expansion card down the road, will that have any conflict if I choose to also do crossfire/sli down the road?

I know that some of the lower priced mobos that already have USB 3.0 have limitations when 2 GPUs are utilized and there are higher priced mobos that can overcome that, but I'd rather wait to get USB 3.0 later.
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January 29, 2010 7:42:47 PM

The answer would depend on how the USB 3.0 is being implemented by the addon card maker.

It's only gigabytes mobo's that have USB 3.0 limitation since they achieve it by stealing PCIE lanes.
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January 29, 2010 7:52:47 PM

I guess that segues to my next question...

If I opt to go with the i7-860, I'd like to keep my mobo in the $140 to $175 range. Which of these would be the best option for the price?

EVGA P55 FTW SLI 132-LF-E657-KR
$175 (after MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Gigabyte GA-P55 - UD5 Intel Core 1156 ATX Motherboard
$170
http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-GA-P55-Intel-Core-Mother...

ASUS P7P55D PRO
$170
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA P55 SLI
$140 (after MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock Extreme
$140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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January 29, 2010 8:48:39 PM

I would go with ASUS P7P55D-E series if you really worry about USB 3.0, or just go with the regular P7P55D.

Or go with the EVGA P55 SLI, FTW isn't really worth the upgrade in price.
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January 31, 2010 3:25:24 PM

hopkiller said:
I would go with ASUS P7P55D-E series if you really worry about USB 3.0, or just go with the regular P7P55D.

Or go with the EVGA P55 SLI, FTW isn't really worth the upgrade in price.


I'm not looking for a Mobo today that has USB 3.0 because there aren't a lot of components that utilize the standard. My concern is that I want to keep this computer for 3-4 years and I don't want to limit my upgrade path. So in 2 years from now, let's assume I have decided to Crossfire my rig and that USB 3.0 is in widespread usage, so I then decide to get a USB card to prolong the life of my computer.

Does any know if these cards require an x8 slot, or if they go in an x4 slot do they rob bandwidth from the two x8 slots being utilized for crossfire?

It was my understanding that most P55 mobos (those without NF200) have a limit of 16 PCIe lanes, so it seems bandwidth would be jeopardized somewhere...
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January 31, 2010 4:37:10 PM

thebluebus said:
I'm not looking for a Mobo today that has USB 3.0 because there aren't a lot of components that utilize the standard. My concern is that I want to keep this computer for 3-4 years and I don't want to limit my upgrade path. So in 2 years from now, let's assume I have decided to Crossfire my rig and that USB 3.0 is in widespread usage, so I then decide to get a USB card to prolong the life of my computer.

Does any know if these cards require an x8 slot, or if they go in an x4 slot do they rob bandwidth from the two x8 slots being utilized for crossfire?

It was my understanding that most P55 mobos (those without NF200) have a limit of 16 PCIe lanes, so it seems bandwidth would be jeopardized somewhere...



Quote:
The answer would depend on how the USB 3.0 is being implemented by the addon card maker.


Also you are aware that outside a PCI card, SATA/USB bandwidth has nothing to do with PCIE lanes right? (Well except on those silly gigabyte boards).
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January 31, 2010 5:03:44 PM

banthracis said:

Also you are aware that outside a PCI card, SATA/USB bandwidth has nothing to do with PCIE lanes right? (Well except on those silly gigabyte boards).


I wasn't aware that there was no effect. All the add on cards that I've seen today all look like they connect in PCIe slots, so I would have assumed that it would affect the PCIe lanes to get the full bandwidth advantage of USB 3.0. I figured I'd better ask the experts!

Here are examples of cards I was looking at, all appear to be PCIe cards(again, not to buy today but to make sure I'll be okay in the future).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

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January 31, 2010 7:20:29 PM

Both those cards appear to be using PCIE lanes.

If you xfire with them you'll have PCIE lane issues. Those cards are adding USB 3.0 same way gigabyte does, by stealing PCIE lanes.
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February 2, 2010 8:36:19 PM

I still say go with i7-920. The X58 won't give you the USB 3.0 add-on upgrade issue that P55 might. and, again, you'll get triple channel memory, not dual channel.

The i7-860 is an awesome cpu, but P55 has its limits.
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February 3, 2010 4:12:02 PM

My old PC is dying and I was suddenly in a rush to make a decision, so this weekend I pulled the trigger and went I7-920. It was a tough decision since I really like the better/lower power consumption of the 860, but I felt the 1366 socket would provide me with a better upgrade path in the future.

I'm probably foolish to think that any Intel path would be upgradable, but oh well... too late now!
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February 3, 2010 8:09:24 PM

LOL at the upgrade path...yeah, who knows with Intel. Though, they seem to be willing to support both 1366 and 1156 for awhile.

You'll love the i7, especially when you do any rendering. Enjoy!
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!