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First Build i7 860 for CS5/Graphics/Video - $1600

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June 8, 2010 6:30:37 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1 week
BUDGET RANGE:$1600 (After Rebates)
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Adobe CS5 (Graphic Design using Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash), Adobe Premiere Elements (Video Editing & DVD Encoding), General Office Apps (Office, Quicken), Entertainment (Movies, Music, Internet).
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, microcenter store is 2 hour drive, open to others
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: Nothing set in stone. i7 860
OVERCLOCKING: Probably Not
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Probably Not
MONITOR RESOLUTION: would like 1920x1200 (IPS)
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I’ve spent many hours over several months reading this forum to get a better understanding for my own build. “Thank You” to all who have posted for the knowledge I’ve gained. This will be my first build and I have come to the point where I need a little guidance as I think I’ve narrowed it down and would like some assistance in choosing the best parts for performance and compatibility.

I am not working with any of these programs professionally but would like a build that can take me in that direction. I do graphic art work and will use Premier Elements for creatively transferring old home movies to DVD as well as stitching together .mov files from my digital camera. I can see it’s easy to buy more than one needs so would greatly appreciate any input you can provide.

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CPU/MOBO Combo
Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I7860 GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3P LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - 279.99 + 159.99 – 22.00 (combo) – 15.00 (MIR) = 402.98 + 7.87 S/H = 410.85
GPU
Palit NE5T2400FHD01 GeForce GT 240 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card – 109.99 - (25 MIR) + 6.98 Shipping = 91.97
RAM
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Desktop Memory Model F3-8500CL7D-8GBRL - 229.99 Free Shipping
HDD
Samsung 1TB Hard Drive 79.99 - 10.00 = 69.99 x 3 = 209.97 Free Shipping
Drive 1 (OS/Programs)
Drive 2 Files/Storage
Drive 3 Scratch Disk
PSU
Case combo 500W EarthWatts PSU
CASE
Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - 149.99 – 30.00 – 20.00 MIR – 12.00 (10% promo) = 87.99 Free Shipping
DVD BURNER
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Writer LightScribe Support - 25.99 Free Shipping
MONITOR
Dell UltraSharp U2410 Monitor - 599.00 - 100.00 = 499.00 Free Shipping
OS
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade 109.99 + 1.99 S/H = 111.98

Sub Total = 1650.90
Tax = 143.64
Environmental Disposal Fee = 16.00
S/H = 16.84
Total = 1827.38

I’m really looking forward to some feedback.
I've been at this all day and feel like this -----> :pt1cable: 
June 8, 2010 11:26:29 AM

+1 i agree with gkay09 AMD will outperform the i7 for your purposes possibly pricewise
i reserve the right to change my opinion
upon further review this build will require extensive research
for your intent and purposes it would be advisable to research what hardware is best suited for your software
some software favours Intel while others AMD
a tricky build indeed.
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Related resources
June 8, 2010 4:29:50 PM

I'm sorry but do you have any evidence of these comments? Every single benchmark I've seen shows the Quad-Core/8 Thread Intels destroying the AMD.

As far as monitors are concerned. In my humble opinion it's the most under valued, overlooked, and under appreciated component of any build. You're going to spend your time looking at your monitor, not your cpu. I've used cheap TN panels, I've used CE LCD TVs, and I've used nice (current) IPS panels. There is no comparison, and there should be no doubt in your mind. Spend the money to get something that's worth it. Your eyes will thank you.
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June 8, 2010 5:12:44 PM

a4mula said:
I'm sorry but do you have any evidence of these comments? Every single benchmark I've seen shows the Quad-Core/8 Thread Intels destroying the AMD.

As far as monitors are concerned. In my humble opinion it's the most under valued, overlooked, and under appreciated component of any build. You're going to spend your time looking at your monitor, not your cpu. I've used cheap TN panels, I've used CE LCD TVs, and I've used nice (current) IPS panels. There is no comparison, and there should be no doubt in your mind. Spend the money to get something that's worth it. Your eyes will thank you.


Yea this build is prodominatly for use with Photoshop. And the IPS monitor will be more important then almost ANYTHING else in this thing in my opinion. Who cares if you have to wait .5 a second more for some filter to render? Whats important is seeing colors EXACTLY as they should be. You'll be amazed for sure. And it'll give your work a whole new level of clarity/quality to strive for, that woulden't be noticable on a TN panel.
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June 8, 2010 7:50:59 PM

Hey, thanks for the feedback.

gkay09 & Davcon - I did briefly consider AMD but I've always bought intel and being a first build I'm trying to stick with what I know. I can't tell you how much information I've processed and I'd like to stick with the i7 860, I think it's a good choice for my needs. It's predominantly for graphic design so I really should be going for a mac ;0 Maybe amd next time if I survive this.

a4mula & ashkaji - Thanks for the words of wisdom regarding the monitor. You are absolutely right. When starting the build I was committed to an ips monitor but it's hard to find one that gets consistent good reviews in the under $500 range. The 23” Dell I listed started with great reviews but some users are unhappy with it lately and it seems to have a long shipping delay due to it's popularity. Still, I think it’s at the top of my list.

I’m looking forward to more responses on this build.
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June 8, 2010 9:34:12 PM

Davcon - great site and very helpful. Thanks.
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June 9, 2010 3:02:50 AM

Picking a monitor can be very difficult, especially if you cant see it in person. Best of luck to ya :D 
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June 9, 2010 4:20:15 AM

@a4mula I would like to see some of the reviews/ benchmarks where the i7 destroys the AMD...
As for AMD's performance, did you go through the link that I had linked ??
Here are some more...
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3674/amds-sixcore-phenom-...
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/04/27/amd-ph...
http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/amd_...
http://hothardware.com/Articles/AMD-Phenom-II-X6-6Core-...

Please go through the articles and reviews before giving your views on the product...
For his needs, the Phenom II X6 is a very good option IMO...
In Photoshop, the Phenom is just a tad slower, but in video encoding, it performs better...

But I would completely agree with the IPS monitor though...Richer colors and better contrast...Also the Ultrasharp range have very minimal backlight bleed when compared to other monitors...So no doubt they would be my 1st choice...
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June 9, 2010 4:54:20 AM

gkay09 - thanks for the links to those articles. Since I mainly work in Photoshop & Illustrator I still think I'm good with the 860. I'm using Premiere Elements on a P4 so anything current is going to be a huge improvement and since the video encoding isn't my primary focus the 860 seems like a good fit. I appreciate the information none-the-less...like I said...who knows next time.

Since I'm pretty set on the i7 860 I'm really looking for some advice on the motherboard, gpu and ram I have posted. I've always appreciated, when reading other posts, how the information from those more experienced can help one make better choices. ie: alternate parts for less money or for a slight budget increase a superior part. Was hoping for a little dialogue from the experts. And in my eyes your all experts!
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Best solution

June 9, 2010 5:13:22 AM

^ Well I wont say that the i7 860 is not good for the job, but seeing your requirements, the AMD came to my mind thats all...that is the reason why I suggested that...
But like you said, if you are comfortable with Intel, then its fine...

Now for the parts...
IMO the Gigabyte UD3 would suffice for your needs...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM - Of late OCZ RAMs have nott been that good...Get this cheaper better GSKillz
DDR3 1066MHz CAS 7 -> This is theoretically equivalent to DDR3 1333MHz CAS 8...So you get a better timings one too...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And get the HDD from ewiz...It has a good combo deal with the OS...
http://www.ewiz.com/combo.php?cat_id=270

And as for graphics card, any of these...
Reason - Nvidia cards generally have better support for Adobe products and also these are specifically Open GL3.2 cards...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And maybe this PSU + CASE
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
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June 9, 2010 5:37:20 AM

gkay09 said:
@a4mula I would like to see some of the reviews/ benchmarks where the i7 destroys the AMD...
As for AMD's performance, did you go through the link that I had linked ??
Here are some more...
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3674/amds-sixcore-phenom-...
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/04/27/amd-ph...
http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/amd_...
http://hothardware.com/Articles/AMD-Phenom-II-X6-6Core-...

Please go through the articles and reviews before giving your views on the product...
For his needs, the Phenom II X6 is a very good option IMO...
In Photoshop, the Phenom is just a tad slower, but in video encoding, it performs better...

But I would completely agree with the IPS monitor though...Richer colors and better contrast...Also the Ultrasharp range have very minimal backlight bleed when compared to other monitors...So no doubt they would be my 1st choice...



1090T and 920 both at 4.2:
http://www.techreaction.net/2010/05/06/amd-phenom-ii-si...

1090T and multiple others all at stock:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3674/amds-sixcore-phenom-...

1090T and multiple others at stock:
http://www.techspot.com/review/269-amd-phenom2-x6-1090T...

The list goes on and on, and when you actually compare the processors in reviews that don't go out of their way to shine the AMD in a positive light it's easy to see that it still isn't in the same league as the i7s.

299.99 vs 289.99 930 and 279.99 920/860. And what do you get? Better 2x pass H.264 encoding and artificial runs through Handbrake.

CS4, Photoshop both performed better with Intel. Encryption, Decoding, Compressing, Decompressing were all significantly better on the i7s. I won't even bother bringing up gaming.

Fanboi's rejoice your savior is here... :sarcastic: 
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June 9, 2010 5:58:03 AM

^ Well you go by synthetics ?? I go by real-world performance...

From our own Tomshardware.com article -
Quote:

As a result, it’s easy to recommend the Phenom II X6 1090T for folks able to employ its six cores. Video work, threaded Photoshop filters, rendering—in those workloads, AMD’s new flagship is, in many cases, able to keep up with the quad-core Core i7-975.


Quote:

AMD’s hexa-core Phenom II X6 1090T is decidedly a productivity-oriented part designed to improve the performance of threaded apps.


I dont think I am being a fanboi here, but you certainly do look like one ;) 
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June 9, 2010 6:47:37 AM

For what you do the 860 is a Great chip....Make sure you get at least 8Gb of RAM go with 16 Gb if you can !
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June 9, 2010 8:18:15 AM

gkay09 - so what I lose by switching to the UD3 is 2 eSATA ports. Hard to second guess what one will use in the future but I think I am OK with that as I don't envision needing them.
- I have been reading the OCZ ram discussions and will take your advice on a switch to the ripjaws.
-thank you for the link to the ewiz HDD/OS combo. That is perfect for me. The drives are cheaper too.
-now on to the gpu. This is a difficult choice and where I feel most uneducated. I do want to go nvidia for the very reasons you state - plays well with adobe. I think I'll stay away from the Zotac 20204 as it's fanless. Choosing between the others will have to wait until tomorrow. *yawn*
-case. I really like the look of the Sonata III. It's purty! It also came highly recommended by a friend. I'm not one for flashing lights. That being said I will also need to take a look tomorrow *yawns again* I think it's bedtime.

foxmulder13 - thanks for the input. Starting with 8Gb ram populating 2 slots with the intention of upgrading to 16Gb.

Thanks again for the feedback. It's been very helpful.
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June 9, 2010 10:28:42 PM

I've updated the original post to reflect some of the changes suggested and some places I am still undecided.
Re GPU: I like the Palit of those recommended by gkay09 but came across this PNY?
PNY VCGGT2405G5XEB GeForce GT 240 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card – 84.99-(20.00 MIR) = 64.99 Free Shipping
PNY OpenGl 3.1 / 512MB / effective memory clock 850 - 64.99
Palit OpenGl 3.2 / 1Gb / effective memory clock 3400 - 91.97
Will I notice a difference?

As for cases. I do like the specs of the Antec 300 and can get a combo on the Lite-On DVD. Anyone have an opinion on these two.
LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support Antec Three Hundred + BP430 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply 90.94 – 15 MIR = 75.94
Still, I like the look of the Sonata III and think it may be quieter. Any opinions?
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June 10, 2010 4:21:41 AM

^ The PSU that comes with the case is not of good quality...
And the reason why I suggested the Palit is because of the Open GL3.2 support...But I dont think it would matter much though...
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June 10, 2010 7:48:01 AM

Cleaned up the original post to reflect new build. Since the CPU/MOBO combo price is the same for the UD3 & UD3P why not opt for the extra 2 eSATA ports.
Have decided on the Dell U2410 & the Antec Sonata III.

Still looking for advice on the GPU.

gkay09 - Thank you for your diligence. your dialogue has been very, very helpful.
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June 10, 2010 8:32:13 AM

^ Well there would be a $15 difference...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
But I think its worth it if you want to have eSATA...

As for the monitor, the U2410 is a very good one...but you will be able to get 2x 21" monitor for the same price...Going with multiple monitors will be advantageous when multitasking...
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June 10, 2010 8:56:32 AM

There you go again...throwing more choices at me just when I thought I'd made up my mind. I have agonized over the dual monitor vs single monitor set-up for days.

Am I correct in that the best option for dual monitors would be a GPU with 2 DVI ports? I thought about getting a 2 x DVI gpu so I had the option of going dual monitor in the future. To match the specs of the Palit (OpenGl 3.2 & GDDR5) gets expensive. Perhaps, since I am not gaming, I don't need those specs?
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June 10, 2010 9:21:22 AM

Hey Deriq,

I am building an IDENTICAL system to yours right now, with the exact same budget,
and after much due diligence here's what I ended up with. I was even able to fit
an SSD drive for the OS, which will greatly improve OVERALL performance all within
the $1500 budget. Ever seen Photoshop open in 2 seconds?

You'll notice the video card I've gone with, it'll probably help your build, since it has
Open GL 3.2 Support, and it's the ZOTAC GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit DDR3, this
came recommended by Alvin Smith.

One significant difference in our builds is the monitor - I'll be working on a 47" 1080p LCD, so I didn't have to buy a monitor...Anyway...

You can see how it all went down here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/287639-31-video-editi...

Originally, my FIRST choice was the i7 930 route, but after a lot of research, benchmarks that are specific for my needs, feedback and advice from several people, I ended up with this:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1055T Thuban 2.8GHz - $215 ( I originally wanted the 1090T, but will overclock this to 3.6 GHZ instead - Saved $115 )
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

MOBO: ASRock 890GX Extreme3 - $159.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

GPU: ZOTAC GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit DDR3
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

The RAM I want is Out of Stock:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $262.49

OS DRIVE
- Intel X25-M Mainstream 80GB Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - $245
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Hard Drive: - 1 Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB - $105.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced Black Steel
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Plus I'm still looking for a heat sink.

And one last thing FWIW - gkay09 was very helpful in my build ;) 
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June 10, 2010 9:27:30 AM

^ Well not necessarily 2 DVI ports...you can use 1 HDMI and 1 DVI...
And get a the PNY GT 240...though the website says Open GL 3.1 support, but Nvidia states that GT 240 in general has Open GL 3.2 support...But still unclear though...
http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_gt_240_us....
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June 12, 2010 5:20:56 AM

gkay09 said:

I dont think I am being a fanboi here, but you certainly do look like one ;) 


The fanboy comment was aimed more at the blatantly biased reviews and attitude of AMD enthusiasts, not you personally.

You are wholeheartedly correct about me being an Intel fanboi however. As of right now I feel they produce a superior product. I'm also an ATI fanboi, an ASUS fanboi, Corsair fanboi, the list goes on and on. I could care less about what the name is, only that it provides me with what I personally feel is the best product.

Does AMD make a viable alternative? With out a doubt. If they didn't they wouldn't remain in business. That does not however equate to superior product, or one that even rivals their competition.

If it makes you feel any better, at the end of the day you convinced someone that was dependant on your advice into purchasing a vastly subpar product. While the 1090T was capable of performing near i7 standards the 1055T was consistently out performed by an i5-750 and the less expensive 965BE.


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June 12, 2010 7:18:33 AM

kg2010,
Thank you for the input...I was following your thread. It's great to see you happy with your build. I think you are into more serious video editing than I will be, as you see I am only working in Premiere Elements not Premiere Pro. I still think sticking with the 860 is a good choice for my needs as I will be predominantly using it for Photoshop & Illustrator with the intention of learning some web design. Thanks for the link to your choice of gpu as I am still struggling with choosing one. Everything I read tells me I don't need too powerful/expensive a card so why do I want one so bad?

Reading all these gamer builds gives one gpu envy ;) 
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June 12, 2010 7:24:28 AM

Good luck with your build bud.

Can you tell me why you're set on the i7-860 - do you have any benchmarks that is making you stick with it? Why aren't you considering the i7-930? One key component that will boost your build's
performance is an SSD for your OS and apps.

I'm still going back and forth on my build - I decided to wait until Monday before I purchased the parts,
and I may wait even longer until I fully understand both sides of the coin.

So long as I stay somewhere near the $1500 budget, and I'm willing to budge.

So far, I've only gotten the case.

I don't mind going with an Intel build, and just weighing all options right now, once the build is done, I don't want to have to think about it, and just be happy with it.

a4mula said:

Does AMD make a viable alternative? With out a doubt. If they didn't they wouldn't remain in business. That does not however equate to superior product, or one that even rivals their competition.

If it makes you feel any better, at the end of the day you convinced someone that was dependant on your advice into purchasing a vastly subpar product. While the 1090T was capable of performing near i7 standards the 1055T was consistently out performed by an i5-750 and the less expensive 965BE.


Can you please share some benchmarks, performance tests, etc so that I can further my research...

I am still up in the air on which way to go, as I do not want to have any regrets later down the road.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I am still not convinced on which way to go, Alvin is also recommending an Intel build now...

I can go either way right now... If you have seen my thread, and were to recommend an i7 intel build, which processor / mobo / ram combo would you recommend?
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/287639-31-video-editi...

Deriq, sorry bro - I'm not trying to hijack your thread - I just want to get more feedback that can
potentially help us both ;)  we're building pretty similar builds right now with similar budgets,
though a 1/3 of urs has gone into the monitor unfortunately, but well worth it, I'm sure this
thread will help many to come who will have similar rigs in mind.
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June 12, 2010 7:34:05 AM

kg2010 said:
some benchmarks, performance tests, etc to back this up.


http://www.techspot.com/review/269-amd-phenom2-x6-1090T...

No tricks, no sleight of hand, no oranges to apples comparisons. It's a straight review of the 1090T and 1050T in which they're compared to multiple other cpus including the 930, i5-750 and 965.

Handbrake was the ONLY benchmark that saw the 1050T outperform both the i5-750 and 965. Even in the multithread happy CS4 which supports 6 cores it couldn't outpace the 4 core limited 750.



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June 12, 2010 7:49:54 AM

Thank you for sharing that review, after reading those benchmarks, and people's comments, it's pretty clear that Intel is the way to go.

The Final Thoughts Pretty Much Summarize It:
http://www.techspot.com/review/269-amd-phenom2-x6-1090T...

Starting with the Phenom II X6 1090T, this processor can be matched to the Core i7 930 processor as they are both priced around the $300 mark. Unfortunately for the Phenom, the Core i7 930 processor was faster in most of our real-world tests. The Intel CPU dominated in all of our application benchmarks and was much faster in all of our gaming benchmarks.

Now, the question is i7 930 vs i7 860, one reviewer wrote:

"The i7 860 is an amazingly fast chip. The combination of Hyperthreading and a faster Turbo Boost makes this chip faster than the Core i7 920 in most benchmarks. The differences are especially stark single-threaded applications because the 860 regularly runs at 3.33 Ghz in single-threaded apps yielding a 15-20% increase over non-turbo mode. That means - for regular desktop and game usage- this chip will crush the 920 since most apps are at most optimized for dual-core setups. In addition, 1156 socket motherboards are $50-100 cheaper than 1366 motherboards."

Now, I gotta get myself some benchamrks on the 930 vs 860 ;) 

On paper the 1090T is a great processor since it's a hexacore processor, but in the real world, most apps are not designed to optimize those extra cores, and thus the Intel chips are outperforming them, Handbrake is the one exception, since it uses all those extra cores really well, and thus gets full performance out of the chips. However..

Since most gaming is optimized for 1 - 2 cores, this is giving Intel the edge, the i7 920 consistently outpeformed the 1090T in photoshop, gaming and other apps, and once again the i7 has become a new contender for my build...

Thanks for pointing this out!

The quest continues...
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June 12, 2010 1:53:28 PM

If you guys like quiet computing which i'm sure you do this is a good site for case,heatsink,fan,and psu recommendations.

http://www.silentpcreview.com/
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June 12, 2010 5:14:01 PM

Hey kg2010,
I'm really appreciating your input on this thread. It's keeping it active and it's very informative for me (and you it appears). Most of the reasons I have decided on the 860 have to do with reading extensive postings on this board, other boards, talking to friends more knowledgeable than I and reading more documents than I care to remember on the internet. I can't give you benchmarks etc. because that is not my strong suit. I imagine that when all is put together and used side by side I personally wouldn't notice much of a difference between the two builds. Others would and could quote you paragraphs of data. I just want a solid build that will take me through the next 4 years. I'm going i7 860 :p 

Davcon, that is a great site and one I spent a lot of time at as I am interested in keeping it quiet. Most of my parts are selected but unfortunately haven't the time for a day or two to look further into other gpu options. Damn the real world!
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June 13, 2010 6:08:04 AM

930 vs 860 (heh.. I feel like I've done this before)

Major difference is chipset. 930 runs on X58, 860 P55.

First lets talk about the cpus themselves:
930 2.8-3.06 stock speeds, 130w tdp
860 2.8-3.46 stock speeds, 95w tdp

Alright, you'll notice that at stock speeds the 860 has the advantage. This is due to a more aggressive turbo boost. You'll also notice that the 860 has a lower power draw. This means at stock speeds you'll have less heat, less consumption, easier overclocks (in theory).

860 is the clear winnner? Not really. Nobody runs these chips at stock speeds. Once you start pushing up to the 3.8-4.0 range Turbo Boost is no longer a factor and the starting tdp becomes pretty much moot. In reality these chips run neck and neck.

Ok, now chipsets... the real difference:

X58: Supports Gulftown (Hexacore), has 40 pcie lanes, has 4.8 GT/s QPI (northbridge), supports triple channel memory.

P55: No future upgrades currently, has 16 pcie lanes, has 2.5 GT/s DMI (No northbridge: direct cpu link), supports dual channel memory.

Ok, now we've flipped the coin and the X58 rules on paper. Much like the previous comparison however that's pretty much where it stays. In reality the X58 is only able to edge the performance of P55 in multiple gpu configurations due to it's increased pcie lanes. In single gpu situations the P55 comes out on top due to DMI and not having to run through a northbridge.

I've said this many times before, I'll say it again and probably 100 more times. If you were to sit 2 rigs next to each other, one with a 920 and the other with an 860 and ask the greatest experts on the face of the planet which was which... they'd get it right 50 percent of the time.

These two cpus are interchangeable in performance. The question becomes, do you want to spend the extra for 1366 which nets you 6GB ram vs 4GB ram and support for 6 core cpus? That's the only question you need to answer.
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June 14, 2010 2:11:27 AM

Thanks for that great input, and I have already come to that conclusion and will stick with the i930. I don't mind spending extra for the 1366 chipset, along with Tri-Channel memory, plus I like knowing that later down the road I'll be able to upgrade to a hexacore when they go down in price, if it's absolutely necessary.

Based on my current computer experience, I like knowing that I can easily upgrade later on.

The i860 is a much more affordable build though, since mobo's and RAM are in the sub $200 range, for as you said very similar performance, and the research I'm finding does support that.

Thanks again
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June 16, 2010 8:56:01 PM

THANK YOU to all who responded for their input and wisdom. I have updated the first post to reflect my current choices, ordered the parts and will soon start the build. This forum has been a great help.
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July 18, 2010 1:48:12 AM

Best answer selected by deriq.
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