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I7-870 or i7-950? Mobo? Want USB3,SATA3, 16Lane Gfx

I am ready to build a new system now and I don't know what processor or motherboard to get. I am planning to purchase either a i7-870 or i7-950. I would really like to have the option to have USB3 and SATA3 and use 16 lanes of PCIx for video at the same time. It looks like the i7-870 architecture doesn't allow for that, but I'm not sure...?? I'm fine with adding a USB3 card at a later time if I have to as long as I don't lose the 16 lanes of PCIExpress for graphics. I would really like a fast SATA connection as well.

Here are my requirements:
Processor = i7-870 or i7-950
I want to start with one graphics card using 16 lanes and have the option to upgrade to two cards. (I could use a recommendation for the one graphics card as well as motherboard and processor)
I want a fast HDD controller so I can use a fast SSD. SATA3 is the fastest standard now right?
4 Gigs of fast RAM (I'm really not sure what fast means any more, but best bang for the buck)


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Must have in hand before March 1st. (Win7 RC expires)
BUDGET RANGE: $1000-$1500
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (e.g.: gaming, ripping movies, surfing the internet, etc)
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS, keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: None
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe - I'm open do overclocking...
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not in this build, but motherboard must be upgradeable
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I don't care about bling. Quiet would be nice, but I understand that's difficult w/ high power.
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about mobo usb3 sata3 16lane
  1. The Intel Core i7-870 Lynnfield is a socket 1156 cpu.

    The Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield is a socket 1366 cpu.

    Since you stated you are a gamer and want to use multiple video cards that rules out socket 1156 cpu's. Intel designed the 1156 cpu's for use with commercial/professional applications. The socket 1156 motherboards do not come with multiple x16 PCI-e slots.

    The Intel Core i7 950 socket 1366 cpu, an appropriate X58 motherboard with mutiple x16 PCI-e slots, and DDR3 triple channel memory alone will cost in excess of $1,000.00. The rest of the pc components and the monitor will put you over budget.
  2. I think Johnnylucky typo'd there a bit in the last line. In any case....

    The Intel Core i7-8xx Lynnfield CPU is socket 1156 and P55 motherboards. If you want USB3 and SATA6 the Asus P7P55D-E series of boards are the way to go as they will allow for 1 x16 PCI-e slot. If you SLI or Crossfire it will go to x8/x8. The Gigabyte boards go to x8 even for one card if the USB3/SATA6 is used.

    If you are certain you want x16/x16 and still have USB3 and SATA6 the only way to go is with socket 1366 and the Intel Core i7-9xx.

    So in your case if you are certain you are going to use more than one card and want more than one lane of x16 PCI-e, I would recommend i7-950 of the two you selected. You will also then want a total of 6gb of ram (3x 2GB sticks).

    SATA6 really is the fastest out now but in general that kind of bandwith isn't necessary yet.

    I hate to break it to you but with a budget of $1500 I don't think you'll be able to get everything you want. A MOBO that has USB3/SATA6 able to do x16/x16 PCI-e lanes which would require an x58 board and hence i7-950. The Intel Core i7-950 will be $570. The cheapest MOBO that meets your requirements is Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R $210. Combo'd those two are still $753 and half your max budget. Throw in at least a $310 GPU with the 5850, and one of the cheapest fast SSD Intel X25-V 40gb for $130 (which I really would only be good for your OS so you wouldn't see any benefit in gaming then), the cheapest Triple Channel DDR3 kit at around $150, the best bang for your buck cooler with the Hyper 212 at $30, and you'll need a PSU that will be able to run your system and Xfire so you are looking at probably at around $120. And that would be your budget. Now I guess you could just leave your components on your desk to run wihtout a case.

    Unfortunately I think you will have to reconsider what you want out of your build because trying to get everything will leave with a great CPU but poor components which will not provide the gaming performance you are looking for.

    If you are flexible about CPU I would recommend the i7-920, and holding off on SSD at this time. That way you'll be able to budget a better GPU like the 5870 and a computer case, optical drive, quality ram etc.
  3. YUP! That was a typo. Corrected.
  4. Thanks for the reply's. There are a few tricks I can play to get the cost down in the short term, I just want to make sure I get a quality motherboard, RAM and processor that will allow me to upgrade as time permits. Basically, my wife is going to freak out if I spend too much all at once. I'm stuck on the i7-870 or i7-950. I have a friend that I'm going to buy one from at a slight discount, $500 for either.

    If I really have to, I can use an old PCIExpress2 graphics card from my old machine for a while (till my wife forgets how much I spent). If I do that, I may as well cannibalize my old case as well... I still need a new PSU though. Remember, I already have a nice display.

    Knowing that my budget is a little too low, I'll change my requirements slightly...
    I don't think x16/x16 is a requirement for me (I like gaming, but am not a HARDCORE gamer), I just don't want to go down to ONE x8 when I use USB3 or SATA6. I could probably be happy with one x16 as long as I could use it at the same time as USB3 and SATA6. From what I understand, another pretty good configuration is if it goes down to x8/x8 graphics. Is that correct?

    So, I'm starting to think this suggestion from letsrahk is the best choice for me... What do you think?
    "The Intel Core i7-8xx Lynnfield CPU is socket 1156 and P55 motherboards. If you want USB3 and SATA6 the Asus P7P55D-E series of boards are the way to go as they will allow for 1 x16 PCI-e slot. If you SLI or Crossfire it will go to x8/x8."

    Thanks,
    Brian
  5. Best answer
    The PCI-e lanes depend on the socket/chipset. If you get the i7-870 I would definitely recommend one of the Asus P7P55D-E boards. The Pro version seems to be the best bang for the buck price point at around $190. I say the ASUS boards because they have another onboard chip that allows you to use USB3 and SATA 6 and still have an x16 PCI-e slot. Gigabyte the other main MOBO manufacturer right now that has USB3/SATA6 on board is set up so if you use it you won't have a x16 slot. The tradeoffs is the ASUS USB3 and SATA6 is actually slightly lower bandwith but no devices today need that much yet.

    Now the x16/x16 vs x8/x8 issue is covered very well here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/p55-pci-express-scaling,2517-11.html goes into how x8/x8 is only slightly slower than x16/x16 with modern GPUs. So if you buy one GPU now and add a second one later, it shouldn't matter much ~4%.

    The P55 (i7-870) vs X58 (i7-950) has been debated quite a bit. The main sticking points are that X58 has triple channel memory, but as of yet this does not yield any noticeable extra performance. X58 will have hex-core processors coming this year but those will be in the >$1000 range. X58 has more PCI-e lanes so are better suited for HARDCORE gamers running like triple or quad SLI/xfire. Once you start running 3 cards, the difference becomes huge. 2 cards not so much. Benefits of P55 include cheaper memory since you only need dual channel. The CPU's run cooler and are more efficient and overclock better.

    Personally, I think P55 is the way to go right now. I wrote a lengthy, wordy article about this here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/279646-31-futureproofing Not necessarily worth the read, but I felt like writing it!

    So in short, if x16/x16 is not a requirement, I would tend to recommend the i7-870 on the Asus P7P55D-E Pro MOBO as that will give you USB3, SATA6 and if you use it you can still have on x16 lane or two x8/x8 lanes. But don't bother triple or quad GPUs.

    I don't have time to do a complete build or costs now but some Parts I would recommend/for you to consider would be:

    CPU: Core i7-870
    MOBO: Asus P7P55D-E Pro
    GPU: At least 5850, or more http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-graphics-card,2544.html has a quick overview
    RAM: Cas 7 dual channel DDR3 like G.Skill Ripjaws 1600, should be about 115 on newegg
    PSU: 750W+ brand name
    Cooler: Cooler Master 212, best bang for the buck cooler around. If you want more overclocking ability there are betters though
    HD: Best SSD right now is probably the Intel X25M G2, but SSD's are still at premium and I consider them still a luxury item.
  6. Here is a Tom's Hardware solution for you. It is an article with detailed information about a $1,300.00 "enthusiasts" pc system:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-own-pc,2503.html
  7. Thanks a lot guys. You are extremely helpful. I'm going to put together full pricing, etc for the ASUS P7P55D-E solution and see how high-end a graphics card I can afford and see if I need to wait on an SSD.

    I really appreciate all the help. It think having the option of x16 or x8/x8 will be perfect for me along with the ability to have USB3 and SATA6.

    THANK YOU ALL
  8. Hi Guys,

    Help me out!!!!
    My budget is 2k (After the CPU, already got a new I7 950, 3.06)

    So I have a brand new Intel Core i7 I7-950 3.06 CPU. Got it for $350.00 No BS!! I work for a hardware company.
    So here is the deal, I want fast, love to game and also catch up on large data tables at home.
    ! I want to go with at least 6gb memory, 2-3 Vid cards SLI and 4 SSD's for RAID. (Undecided on RAID Config)
    So, here are my questions from you guys!

    Best/Fastest motherboard (SLI ready, supports memory up to 12-24GB)???
    Whats the best low latency (fast, stable) memory (I like Corsair)???
    Best/fastest SSD Sata drives 40GB?? ?


    Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. Best answer selected by brimante.
  10. surferjoee said:
    Hi Guys,

    Help me out!!!!
    My budget is 2k (After the CPU, already got a new I7 950, 3.06)

    So I have a brand new Intel Core i7 I7-950 3.06 CPU. Got it for $350.00 No BS!! I work for a hardware company.
    So here is the deal, I want fast, love to game and also catch up on large data tables at home.
    ! I want to go with at least 6gb memory, 2-3 Vid cards SLI and 4 SSD's for RAID. (Undecided on RAID Config)
    So, here are my questions from you guys!

    Best/Fastest motherboard (SLI ready, supports memory up to 12-24GB)???
    Whats the best low latency (fast, stable) memory (I like Corsair)???
    Best/fastest SSD Sata drives 40GB?? ?


    Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    You should probably post this in a new thread so it gets more attention. This one has been answered.
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