Best chipset and processor for Crossfiring dual HD5870 graphics cards?

I have a bit of a problematic situation here.

I asked on another forum for a recommendation for a system upgrade. I'm still considering whether to go for it or not.

At the moment I'm using a Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66Ghz 1066FSB processor on an ASUS SKT-775 P5B S/L 1066FSB.

It was suggested that I upgrade to a Core i5 750 2.66Ghz quad on a Gigabyte motherboard. The cost including 4gb of DDR3 ram would be about £370.

I had also considered purchasing a bundle deal containing a Core i7 920 on an x58 motherboard with 6 gb of DDR3 ram. The cost for that would be £500 or so.

Now, the issue is that I read the Tom's Hardware CPU guide.

"Also, since the CPUs hold the PCI-E controller, it is currently impossible to have a 16X-16X SLi or Crossfire array, which will likely bottleneck high-end graphics solutions well before the CPU performance does."

Specifically that part, referring to the LGA-1156 socket.
So if I understand correctly, I'd have problems with Crossfire. I plan on getting a HD5870 graphics card. Then later on getting a second one and crossfiring them.

I believe the HD5870 requires a x16 PCI-e 2.0 slot. Would that not mean that I'd need TWO x16 slots for a proper crossfire arrangement? And also it seems it wouldn't work with that Core i5 even if I did have two such slots!

So, should I get the Core i5 or not? Should I get Core i7 920?

Or... should I perhaps get the Core i5, but instead of 5870s, get a single HD5970? Would that be fine with a Core i5, LGA-1156 socket type, and motherboard with only one x16 slot?

What's the most cost effective solution that would last me for a few years with excellent gaming performance?
4 answers Last reply
More about best chipset processor crossfiring dual hd5870 graphics cards
  1. An i5 would be fine, although OCing it would be a good idea. If I remember properly a x8 crossfire setup only marginally affects HD5870s, under 5% performance difference.
  2. But if I wanted to be prepared for the next gpu upgrade after that? Hopefully that wouldn't be for a few years, but just in case...
  3. I guess i7 then. Make sure the motherboard is actually dual x16 though. Those boards tend to be expensive.
  4. Thanks for that.

    It's been suggested in another thread on here that I should get an AMD Phenom II X4 instead. What do you think of that? Apparantly it wouldn't have the PCI-e controller problem of the Core i5 but I'm not sure how it compares in terms of performance. Roughly similar, I think...
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