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Cant decide on i5 or i7

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April 9, 2010 1:27:12 PM

I've been back and forth trying to decide on what CPU I should go with. I am not new to computer technology, but I am also no guru neither. My desktop burned out about 1 year ago so it was time for a upgrade. I did alot of VOB editing which would take 10+ hours to convert into different formats using Pinnacle Studio 10 and I dont want to run into the same issues with this build. I currently have these components:

Tower: Antec 1200

PSU: Antec TruePower New TP-750 Blue 750W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: (5) 2TB WD Caviar green drives, (5) 1TB WD Caviar green drives.

I have a ridiculously large DVD collection that I keep stored on the drives (5.5 TB's filled already and still growing) and I like to cut scenes out to make my own movies and convert them into different file formats....avi, wmv, mp4, etc. I've been stuck on trying to decide which CPU+MOBO I should use which is why I'm here(thanks to previous tomshardware opinions I was able to nail down the tower+PSU).

Im down to 2 options, go with an i5 setup with this board:

$120 - GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or the i7 setup with this board:
$210 - GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

There's about a $300 difference in the builds. Can someone explain the difference between the

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor and the

Intel Core i5-661 Clarkdale 3.33GHz 4MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 87W Dual-Core Desktop Processor

Also, - Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

From what I've read, the GHz is the graphics processing speed, which Im assuming I need more of for my demands, but can anyone confirm this? And Im totally lost on the Cache.......

Do I go for higher MHz in a Dual Core or more cache in a Quad-Core?

Im trying to avoid spending another $700 to get my build running because its gonna take alot longer to save the money up, and I want to get up and running asap.

Ultimately, the CPU is gonna determine the board, which is gonna determine the memory.....so all advice and opinions ae very much appreciated. Sorry in advance for the long post, but I wanted to give as much info as possible early to answer any possible questions. Thanx

More about : decide

April 9, 2010 2:39:37 PM

Do not get the i5-661. It's a waste of money when the vastly superior i5-750 is the same price. The benefit of the new Intel dual cores is the integrated graphics, which you can't use if you've got a P55 board.

If you don't want to spend close to $700, then the i7-930 (an updated 920) is definitely out of your budget. The CPU, board and RAM alone will cost $680, and you'll still need a GPU.

Here's what I'd build:

CPU/RAM: i5-750 and G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $310
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3 $135. Feature USB 3/SATA III supports, which means you'll eventually be able to add faster HDDs and have faster backups. It also make the board much more future proof.
GPU: HD 5770 $150 (if you're a gamer. If not, the HD 5450 for $43 makes a great media playing card.)

Total: $595 w/ 5770 or $488 w/ 5450
April 9, 2010 2:47:29 PM

How much do you want to spend for the proc?
Choosing proc is actually combining the needed/wished performance with your pocket.
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April 9, 2010 3:10:36 PM

I dont really want to spend $300 for a CPU, but I also dont want to tie up my computer for 5+ hours converting video. I do a ton of VOB splicing. So if I can get away with $200 for the i5 and still have good speed I will go with that.

MacAdmiral: Im not much of a gamer on the computer so a pricey GPU isnt really a concern. as long as I have HDMI output im ok. If I read ur post correctly.....the dual-core has integrated graphics and the quad-core doesnt?

Since Im gonna need a GPU for HDMI output should that concern me hugely?

I need a MOBO with alot of sata ports since I intend to eventually use all of my drives and dont want to run into the problem of needing PCI-E to sata cards. I may as well spend the extra $40 on the board. The one you suggested is nice as well, since it supports i5 and i7 CPU's. The $210 board I was looking at only supports an i7.

How much of an advantage is having the chipsets on north and south bridges on a MOBO?
April 9, 2010 3:22:51 PM

The dual core AND a H55/H57 board will have integrated graphics. The dual core by itself will not. Also, the dual cores will be painfully slow for converting videos. I would not get anything less than a true quad core.

A quick note on the CPU compatibility. The i5/i7 support is extremely misleading. The P55 board (LGA1156 socket) supports the i3s, i5s and the i7-860. The X58 board (LGA1366 socket) supports the i7-930. The i7-930 would be the preferred CPU to recommend. After that, you'd do better to just ignore the i7-860. Most everyone does that anyway.

The chipsets don't really matter. You just have to match the socket of the motherboard and the CPU and get what comes with it.
April 9, 2010 3:47:49 PM

I've noticed the different socket types on MOBO's and CPU's.....which is 1 reason I've been hesitant to get a board that only supports i7's.

Will I be able to boot the board without the ram or CPU installed? Im anxious to get all my wiring done in the case asap, but I dont want to open the MOBO and not be able to tell if its working properly. I know my best bet is to wait until I can buy the MOBO, CPU, and ram together but i get impulsive at times and its been torture looking at this sexy case filled with HD's and not be able to use it yet.....lol

Thanx in advance for your help MacAdmiral!
April 9, 2010 3:58:09 PM

Also, would having more memory on a GPU translate to faster converting or does that help just with gaming?
April 9, 2010 4:00:26 PM

KingT said:
Will I be able to boot the board without the ram or CPU installed? Im anxious to get all my wiring done in the case asap, but I dont want to open the MOBO and not be able to tell if its working properly. I know my best bet is to wait until I can buy the MOBO, CPU, and ram together but i get impulsive at times and its been torture looking at this sexy case filled with HD's and not be able to use it yet.....lol


The computer will not boot without RAM or CPU. Also, it won't be much good without a graphics card.

Larger/more expensive graphics cards are generally just more useful for gaming, except when you're looking at workstation graphics cards, which are optimized for rendering and similar tasks.
April 9, 2010 4:05:06 PM

The socket type is the only (technical) aspect that determines if a CPU can be used with a board. If you match the CPU's socket type with the boards, it will work (the board's BIOS may need to be updated). The chipsets within a socket type (i.e. LGA1156's P55 and H55/H57) determine what special features of the CPU can be used.

Nope. To post (i.e. enter BIOS), you need the CPU, RAM, and heatsink installed. To actually boot, you'll need to add the HDD (with an OS) and a video device (oboard graphics or a GPU).

You can generally buy the case and a quality PSU ahead of time because these items have almost no chance of being defective or unusable. Everything else should be bought together IMO.
April 9, 2010 7:34:55 PM

After some research I found a store called Micro Center that sells the i7-930 for $199, which I plan on getting now since its the same price as the i5 online. With that said Im gonna use this MOBO:

$210 - GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128423

Now that those 2 are done its time for the memory. The MOBO says it supports triple-channel memory so Im assuming dual-channel memory wont be compatible. I've been told that corsair or G. Skill are the better manufacturers of memory. Can any-1 confrim this?
Also, what type would be best for my MOBO and i7? Im not at all familiar with timings or overclocking, but I did find 1 set of 6GB that looked pretty solid.

G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9T-6GBNQ - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $170

If anyone knows of better performance memory that's compatible with the i7 and the above mentioned MOBO, I would greatly appreciate your advice and opinions
April 9, 2010 7:37:27 PM

G.skill is a better choice. Corsair's sticks are overpriced.

A better choice is the G.Skill Pi 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7. They'll be faster and better for overclocking.

Something else to point out is that Microcenter also sells the i5-750 for a discounted price. So if you're near one, buy the CPUs from them.
April 9, 2010 7:38:19 PM

also, should I consider purchasing a CPU cooler? Is that something isolated to gamers or will it apply to me due to the video editing load Im gonna be putting system under?
April 9, 2010 7:40:58 PM

If you're planning on overclocking, you will need an aftermarket cooler. It would be useful to overclock your build because you're heavily using the CPU. Overclocking would just make it faster. A great cooler is the Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus for $35.
April 9, 2010 7:50:48 PM

I checked Microcenter for the cheaper i5, but it was priced at $189 for the i5-750. Since the i7 930 is only $10 more it makes sense to go with that. I have absolutely no idea how to overclock......Is that something a novice should be able to handlewith a little research?
April 9, 2010 7:52:23 PM

Everything can be handled with some research. I don't think it's that difficult, but I'm not an expert on overclocking.
April 9, 2010 7:57:29 PM

The G. Skill memory you suggested........will that be compatible with the i7 and the MOBO for $210 I chose?
April 9, 2010 8:46:13 PM

Thanx for your help Admiral......I'd buy you a beer if I could!! I now have all the info I need to purchase the products. 1 more question. that G. Skill memory is DDR3 1600, but the MOBO I want is

Memory Standard DDR3 2200/1333/1066/800

How will it affect my build? Im guessing it would auto drop down to 1333 right?
April 9, 2010 8:50:33 PM

It doesn't affect it in the slightest. The way they list the memory compatibility on Newegg is the defaults (i.e. 800 mhz, 1066 mhz and 1333 mhz) and the fastest speeds available (i.e. 2200 mhz). So everything from 800 mhz to 2200 mhz can be used with the board, you just might have to manually set the specs of the RAM in BIOS (which you should anyway).
!