I7 980 Alternative?


I am planning on buying a gaming rig, I have heard that intel is the best cpu to go for when it comes to gaming performance.

The very expensive six core 980 appears to be the best out there but the price isnt very friendly. So what would you recommend as an alternative for this cpu ? 920/930/950 or maybe amd?

I do plan on overclockign the processor so maybe instead of getting the 980 getting the 920 and just overclocking it to get somehow closer to its performance.

I heard the six cores dont have much improoved performance over the quad cores but would you say that in the future the games and applications will make the use of those six cores?

What about the triple channel memory setting would you say it gives performance boost in games or 3d modelling applications?

Lastly I don't want to upgrade the system for atleast 2-3 years so I would like the setup to have great performance with games within this time.

At the moment I only have problem choosing the CPU.


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  1. For gaming, the best CPU is the i5-750. The i7 CPUs do not offer much improvement, and the only reason I would go for the i7-930 is if I wanted the maximum crossfire/SLI performance.

    i5-750 is the most CPU you need for gaming. It overclocks like a champ, and will last you for a good while. The sweet spot for gaming right now is 3 cores, as most newer games can take advantage of 2 cores, and the third keeps the system running well.

    DDR3 RAM is faster than DDR2 RAM, and is the new standard, any purchase you make these days should require DDR3 RAM. 4GB of RAM combined with the i5-750 is a great target for gaming needs.

    3D modeling relies moreso on the CPU and GPU, specifically CUDA enabled cards.

    My vote is the i5-750.
  2. To be honest I am quite keen on getting the newer parts into the rig and heard quite a bit about the 930... The heat shouldnt be a problem I will be getting a third party cooler, probably the corsair H-50.

    the i7-930 can be easylly overclocked to possibly match the performance of the high-end cpus?
  3. As mentioned above, the i5-750 is excellent for gaming.

    I would personally recommend getting an i7-930 (ESPECIALLY if you are by a Fry's Electronics or Microcenter- $199.99). The i7-930 supports triple-channel memory, more friendly in crossfire setup, and is a bit more "future proof" than the i5-750. Additionally, the i7-930 offers hyperthreading, which can help the cpu function as if it had 8 cores; not really useful for gaming, but helpful if you are running CPU intensive processes.

    The "downfall" with the i7-930 is that it does run a little hot compared to the i5-750, meaning you may need to spend a few more $ on a better heatsink. Provided you have a good heatsink, the i7-930 overclocks like a champion.
  4. Certain application will pretty much never benefit from parallel processing/multi threading.

    Stuff like internet browsers, Basic MS office usage, surfing the internet. For gaming, the biggest CPU hog, AI, is also notoriously difficult to thread.

    Yes, games are slowly benefiting from more cores, but the part of gaming that really benefits from parallel computing, the graphics portion, is handled by GPU's which are already hundreds of cores.

    Triple channel and multi threading does benefit rendering, encoding and other workstation stuff significantly.

    FYI, no such thing as future proof, specially with Intel.
    Intel is replacing socket 1156 and 1366 this year and next. All current sockets will be obsolete as a result.
    A new architecture is coming out end of this year.
    A new southbridge enabling native USB 3 SATA 6 and light peak is coming out this year.
    Socker 1156 replaced with 1155 end of this year.
    A completely new chipset and new socket replacing 1366 2011.
    A die shrink end of 2011.
    8 cores CPU's 2012.
  5. My loose definition of "future proof" is the equipment being able to stand up to user preferred applications for an extended period of time. For a gaming computer, the i7-930 is fairly "future proof" in that respect.

    Classifying something as Future Proof with the intent to say it will be top of the line (or at least competative at the top of the line) is rediculous, because there has/will always been/be a component timeframe similar to the one you've outlined above. It sucks that computer components lose value faster than cars; then again, I don't mind supporting an ever-evolving computer market (bigger/faster toys!)
  6. i find it hard to recommend any cpu higher then the i7 960 if you got the cash
  7. Have you guys got any links to websites that show performance of current CPUs on the market ?
  8. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-phenom-ii-corei-i5,2647.html

    No point purchasing anything over i7-930; the factory overclocks are the same chip, they just include the factory waranty at the designated clock speed.
  9. The website you're on is one of them.

    Another good one is Anandtech.
    i7-920 vs 15-750 here

    HardOCP and legion hardware are also good.
  10. Had a look at 750 and 920 they both seem quite good in comparison to the six core AMD cpu. But what would you say about the triple channel memory versus the dual channel? Has it got a big impact on performance?
  11. Gaming, no.

    Workstation stuff, yes.
  12. As for the motherboard what you think of EVGA X58 SLI LE? its quite an atractive looking board.
  13. eugene1 said:
    As for the motherboard what you think of EVGA X58 SLI LE? its quite an atractive looking board.

    For MOBO's you look at features, value and reliability, not aesthetics. Features and value wise, the EVGA is worse than the GA x58 UD3, or ASus P6X58D-E. That board is missing USB 3, SATA 6.0 and lacks dual x16 PCIe slots. Dual x16 slots is the main reason to go x58 over P55, so it's really, an obsolete useless board.
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