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I7 930 vs i7 980x

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July 9, 2010 2:57:06 AM

Hey guys,

I'm currently picking out components for a system upgrade/rebuild and I'm debating on whether to go with the i7 930 or the i7 980x. I know there are several similar threads, but I felt that my requirements are slightly different in being an almost hybrid workstation/gaming machine. My current system is:

Mobo: xfx 750a
CPU: amd phenom 9600 BE
RAM: 2x2GB g.skill ddr2 800
GPU: 2x9800gtx+ in sli
SSD: Intel x-25 80gb
HDD: 2x500gb storage drives
PSU: OCZ 600W stealthxstream
CASE: CM HAF 932
MONITOR: 2xHanns.g 28"
OS: Windows 7 Professional x64

Just a bit of (I think) relevant background - I'm going to be a sophomore in engineering in the fall, am an amateur photographer and am a gamer. On a day-to-day basis I multitask fairly heavily, running itunes, outlook, firefox, word, excel and assorted other programs including the windows sidebar, fraps, etc. The more processor-intensive things I do are:

Running Lightroom 3.0 and Photoshop simultaneously editing several hundred photos at once
Editing video with Premiere Pro, Photoshop and Encore simultaneously
Video encoding/transcoding
3d solid modeling with Autodesk Inventor 2011
Solid part stress analysis with Autodesk Inventor 2011
Gaming (the most processor intensive game I play is probably Supreme Commander 2)

*(all adobe programs are CS5)

I perform these more intense tasks from every several days to once every few months depending on school assignments and free time.

I would like my new system mainly to be able to handle the photo and engineering workload for the next 2-3 years. That is the first priority. The second priority is gaming. The third is video transcoding, editing, and general multitasking.

The components I'm considering are as follows:

CPU: as mentioned, the i7 930 or the i7 980x
RAM: Corsair Dominator ddr3 1600
MOBO: EVGA FTW3 or ASUS P6X58D Premium
PSU: Corsair TX950W (I am hoping this will give me headroom for future upgrades)
HSF: Scythe SCMG-2100

GPU: 2x9800gtx+ in sli (keeping from old rig)
SSD: Intel x-25 80gb (keeping from old rig)
HDD: 2x500gb storage drives (keeping from old rig)
CASE: CM HAF 932 (keeping from old rig)
MONITOR: 2xHanns.g 28" (keeping from old rig)
OS: Windows 7 Professional x64 (keeping from old rig)

I am more than happy to take any suggestions or substitutions. Any advice/recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

More about : 930 980x

July 9, 2010 3:09:12 AM

EDIT: I'm also planning on overclocking whichever processor I go with to around 4.0-4.1 ghz
a c 131 à CPUs
July 9, 2010 5:55:31 AM

You didn't mention how much ram, so I am going to recommend 3x2GB so you can upgrade to 9GB or 12GB if you ever feel you need it.

As for the CPU, i7 930, hands down. It should be enough for what you intend to do, especially if you overclock. I doubt you would notice a difference moving to the i7 980X. Even if you did, it certainly would not be worth the price premium. It would also make zero difference in gaming.
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July 9, 2010 6:07:09 AM

Yeah, I was intending to go with the 3x2GB modules. Sorry I forgot to mention that. Also, I know there will be zero difference for gaming. For CAD work, do you think I would notice more of a performance increase from more ram instead of the 980x?
a c 131 à CPUs
July 9, 2010 6:19:30 AM

I honestly don't know. I don't know much about CAD work. But if it is RAM intensive enough, then you would notice a difference.
a c 203 à CPUs
July 9, 2010 12:41:22 PM

I think the advice to stick with the i7-930 is spot on.
I don't think you'd get the kind of performance increase you'd expect for the price differences between the i7-930 and i7-980X.

July 9, 2010 8:51:55 PM

If I went with the i7 930, in order to be keeping up with the engineering work I'll be doing, will I be looking at another upgrade in 2 years or will it be sufficient for 3-4 years? On the other hand would it be worth stepping up to the i7 960 instead of the i7 930 now? Also, between the two mobos I have listed, which would you recommend? Thanks again for all the advice!
July 9, 2010 9:34:01 PM

If you plan on overclocking, No !
July 9, 2010 9:49:25 PM

Yeah I do plan on overclocking, so no i7 960.

I don't mean to keep harping on this, I'm just tired of having my computer sit for 45-60 min while doing FEA (finite element analysis - stress modeling) for engineering projects. I guess that's my main concern - to be able to handle FEA for several years to come on mid-sized school assignments/projects.

I have to ask, does anyone have any experience with CAD programs and how well they respond to scaling, either by adding more cores or clock speed?
a c 203 à CPUs
July 9, 2010 9:53:48 PM

bwiltse2620 said:
I don't mean to keep harping on this, I'm just tired of having my computer sit for 45-60 min while doing FEA (finite element analysis - stress modeling) for engineering projects.
What computer are you using now?
July 9, 2010 10:05:24 PM

WR2 said:
What computer are you using now?


He lists it at the top of his original post.


>>
Mobo: xfx 750a
CPU: amd phenom 9600 BE
RAM: 2x2GB g.skill ddr2 800
GPU: 2x9800gtx+ in sli
SSD: Intel x-25 80gb
HDD: 2x500gb storage drives
PSU: OCZ 600W stealthxstream
CASE: CM HAF 932
MONITOR: 2xHanns.g 28"
OS: Windows 7 Professional x64
<<
July 9, 2010 10:07:47 PM

Also, I'd say that with the bills you'll save with the i-930 you can seriously up your GPU's, your memory, AND ESPECIALLY YOUR COOLING.

Those will help you big time with the FEA
July 9, 2010 10:10:04 PM

You might also consider going with a Dual CPU motherboard with Professional GPU's.
July 9, 2010 10:42:16 PM

I was at the point the original poster was a couple of months ago. My old core 2 was being thrown to the mat repeatedly when rendering in Cinema 4D and Adobe CS4/5. Instead of doing the upgrade thing I opted to go for the big gun 980x i7 12GB system. I actually got a fantastic deal from HP for a then 190t for about $2200. I can tell you in all tests I've thrown at it, it has beaten our Nehalem 2.26Ghz Octo Mac Pro with 16GB at work. If you use the Cinebench 11.5 benchmark, the 960 is about 40% slower than the 980.

The way I look at it, I might need to upgrade sometime in 2014 :) 

-PDX
a c 203 à CPUs
July 9, 2010 11:10:02 PM

That works out to be about $337 for each extra core. $665 extra for both.
Four cores for $290 and then $337 for each extra core? You're not getting a lot of extra performance that price.
July 9, 2010 11:19:32 PM

WR2 said:
It's a pretty big step up in CPU power going from the Phenom 9600 to the i7 930, even before overclocking.
Passmark CPU scores:
AMD Phenom 9600 Quad-Core = 2436
Intel Core i7 930 @ 2.80GHz = 5845

Here are some benchmark comparisons between Phenom X4 9650 - 2.3GHz & i7 965 - 3.2GHz (representing an OC'd i7 930)



Thanks for all the awesome comparisons WR2. So if I went with the i7 930, would the best value then be to put the money that would have gone towards the 980x into water cooling, more ram, a new gpu, or some combination of those?
July 9, 2010 11:33:30 PM

You linked to the 975 which actually costs more than the 980 on your comparison, not the 920. Probably some kind of sale going on Newegg to reflect that price difference. Performance wise this would be closer to the mark to your comparison:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/47?vs=142

My point being that it could be cheaper to set up a multi computer render farm for the power you get out of one processor but you make up for the cost in power consumption and at least one of those computers is going to need a smoking video card. In comparison, the Mac Pro 8 Core 2.26 (16 logical) I have at work is considered a professional workstation and I can kick it to the curb for about $1600 less. In fact, because of the 3.33GHz speed on the 980, it's actually closer to the much more expensive 2.66 Mac 8 core in speed (at least in Cinebench)

If the original poster is looking for a workstation that won't need upgrading for quite a while and can handle anything you throw at it in a small amount of time then I would recommend the 980. If time is not so much of an issue (i.e. You can set thing to render overnight or no demanding client for short render times) you can get away with an overclocked 930.

The reason I bought the 980 was simply that I wanted to be able to tell any freelance client that asked me that I can get things done on time without worrying about system speed. That kind of peace of mind is worth alot.
a c 203 à CPUs
July 9, 2010 11:35:17 PM

I'd stick with one of the better air coolers. http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm
RAM you could always upgrade at some later point. Same with the GPUs.
You're already set with a good case, two monitors and your HDDs/SSDs.
How are you set for peripherals? Maybe an upgrade to the keyboard and mouse?
Have you checked to see hardware & software what pro users of your CAD software use to increase productivity?
a c 203 à CPUs
July 9, 2010 11:36:28 PM

pdxgfx said:
You linked to the 975
To represent a lightly overclocked i7 930 in the benchmark results.
a c 203 à CPUs
July 9, 2010 11:52:46 PM

That Scythe Mugen 2 you mentioned for your CPU cooler would also be an excellent choice. It probably deserves to be on that FrostyTech list. It matched the cooling performance of at least one cooler in the top 5 list in a review I saw @ XbitLabs
July 10, 2010 12:26:30 AM

WR2 said:
That Scythe Mugen 2 you mentioned for your CPU cooler would also be an excellent choice. It probably deserves to be on that FrostyTech list. It matched the cooling performance of at least one cooler in the top 5 list in a review I saw @ XbitLabs


I don't remember exactly where I read it, but I believe the Scythe Mugen 2 came in 3rd of the several HSFs in whichever review it was I read. At any rate, I'm currently leaning towards the i7 930 with the Tuniq tower 120 extreme HSF. How far would I most likely be able to push the i7 930 with that HSF? I don't want to do anything crazy with the voltages as it needs to last several years.

On the peripheral note, I currently have an Logitech LX710 Laser mouse/keyboard combo. Now that you mention it, I think it might be time to upgrade those. I love my media buttons though, so any keyboard I get I would like to have zoom, play/pause, next/prev, and browser buttons. I don't have any preference between wired and wireless. It also might be nice to have a backlit keyboard as I'm up late a lot. As for a mouse, I've never had one with on-the-fly dpi switching and I think that is something I'd like to have, both for Photoshop and gaming. Does anyone have any recommendations for keyboards and mice I should look into? Thanks.
a c 203 à CPUs
July 10, 2010 12:57:06 AM

A Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme owner mentioned in the NewEgg customer reviews his TT 120E was running @ 4Ghz on 1.265v 30c idle & mid 60s under prime 95. Look for mike @ 6/13/2010 10:14:07 PM
You should be able to get something close to that.

July 10, 2010 4:20:37 AM

Ok that'd be awesome. So which motherboard should I go with then?
a b à CPUs
July 10, 2010 6:10:13 AM

As a reply direct reply to the opening post, If you have the money, I think you should go for the i7 980X. The unlocked multiplier and extra 2 physical cores I think should help you greatly for the applications and tasks you do on your workstation. In addition. As I said earlier, if you have the money...why not?
a c 203 à CPUs
July 10, 2010 6:26:20 AM

I'm always leery of not having an independent review (or even customer reviews like NewEgg has) and I couldn't find either on the the Dominator-GT 2K. You might be able to get better info over in the Memory section of the forums. And other recommendations.

That 1600 Cas8 set sure has good reviews by the NewEgg customers. It's out of stock at the moment @ NewEgg.
There is a DOMINATOR 1600 Cas7 that looks good too. Maybe look at Mushkin Enhanced Redline 6GB DDR3 1600 review @ HardwareLogic
a b à CPUs
July 10, 2010 6:40:23 AM

WAIT Before you actually choose one to buy. Intel Taiwan announced around this Quarter that they would drop the prices of the i7 line. If you do decide the i7 930, which i would think since the 980x is just a waste of an extra 700ish. I think you should wait till they drop the i7 950 to the equivalent price of the 930. :p  Just saying. Or you could get the i7 875K :D  or even wait for the upcoming chips this quarter.
July 10, 2010 6:51:45 AM

Any ideas which month they'll choose to drop prices? And if they do drop the i7 960 to the price of the i7 930, would it be worth it to go with the 960 then? I was hoping to purchase parts by the end of July.
July 10, 2010 7:02:32 AM

Thanks for the article. So let's say we put the future i7 970 on the table. I'm willing to wait a bit as long as I have a working computer by the end of August. What would everyone recommend: 930 at its current price, wait for the price drop, or wait for the i7 970?
a b à CPUs
July 10, 2010 7:09:17 AM

Hard to say if the 930 will drop dramatically, but the 950 for sure would be a good choice, since it is a 200$ drop. :p  But like many who commented on the article, if you waited to buy the 970, you'd be robbed. for 80 more $ you could get the 980X with unlocked multiplier, etc, etc. So I think the best bang for the buck is pull out the old rubix cube and waste your time till the 950 drops price. :D 
July 10, 2010 7:18:28 AM

aznshinobi said:
Hard to say if the 930 will drop dramatically, but the 950 for sure would be a good choice, since it is a 200$ drop. :p  But like many who commented on the article, if you waited to buy the 970, you'd be robbed. for 80 more $ you could get the 980X with unlocked multiplier, etc, etc. So I think the best bang for the buck is pull out the old rubix cube and waste your time till the 950 drops price. :D 


Do you think the price on the i7 960 will drop as well? I know only the 950 is mentioned in the article. Also, does the 950 (and/or 960) overclock better than the 930?
a b à CPUs
July 10, 2010 8:56:24 AM

They should all OC the same in my opinion, i've never owned an intel chip cept pentium D on an HP, but uhhh... In essense they should be the same, but which ever has the higher stock clock it would oc easier to a higher clock be cause of the stock settings. But umm i'd think since they are all bloomfield's they'd oc the same.

Best solution

a b à CPUs
July 10, 2010 1:05:20 PM
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as far as mobos go for either one, the p6x58d is a great board, practically a classic now, but as far as new boards, this is the best, or the best value:

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

it has some good combos with the 480, 470, 980x, 930, and a few others. that will likely get you a higher, more stable oc, but nothing amazing. but considering it is the same price, i think its a no brainer. And if you are to lazy to oc, just press the OC Genie button :lol:  back to the question, even though its a pretty lame discount, intel is releasing the 970x for a tad over 800 bucks i believe. i think they underpriced the 980x according to their overpricing pricing scheme, as usually a few MHz down equals about a 500$ discount :lol:  but that might be worth looking into. the 980x wont be terribly better than the 975:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/47

of course, you arent going to be buying a 975, but it represents it in a clock for clock comparison, as both will likely be around 4 GHz. going to all the comparisons:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/142?vs=99

you can see the 975 and 980x are very close in a lot of benchmarks, the 975 wins a few, the 980x wins most (especially ones that take advantage of all the cores). now this, is a comparison of the 9650, and i7 920:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/23?vs=47

as you can see, the i7, as expected, pretty much halves the time it takes to do things, or doubles the amount of performance. im assuming it would be a very sufficient upgrade for you. now, for the last few benchmarks, i know you are tired of them:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/146?vs=47

it is the amd 1090T vs the i7 920. in my non biased opinion, the 1090T is barely, marginally better. however, if gaming isnt your primary concern, and modeling, photos, engineering, cs5, all those things are, the 1090T wins in a larger portion of those kinds of benchmarks, such as here, and almost all other places:

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

and so on. not only would the 1090T be a logical choice, it is also cheaper (as a build), and most importantly, has an upgrade path. when you 980x cant perform how you want it (dont ask me why :lol:  ) you have to get an entire new mobo, set of ram, and cpu. when the 1090T isnt as good as you want it, or better is out there, all you have to do is buy bulldozer, or something like it, and put it in. bulldozer may or may not beat the 980x, but if you want my opinion, i think it will in a greater part of the benchmarks, but probably lose in gaming and memory. but my 2 cents, actually more like 9 cents, that was a long post! :lol: 



July 15, 2010 4:31:41 PM

Best answer selected by bwiltse2620.
a b à CPUs
July 15, 2010 6:02:02 PM

:lol:  so what part of all that did you take as advice? :lol: 
a b à CPUs
July 16, 2010 12:38:49 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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