Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

I7 vs I5 with bonus physX and liquid cooling questions

Last response: in Systems
Share
June 25, 2010 6:47:26 PM

So, I'm looking into getting a new gaming rig. Don't want to spend a fortune, of course, so I'm choosing between an i5 and a 920-ish i7. I'm a bit confused on some of the P55 vs X58 differences, at least for how they relate to gaming. It's always mentioned, but never really elaborated on.

I'm also a semi-huge gamer, and plan to get an Nvidia 400-series card, but I'd also like to use my older 8800 (which is admittedly the newest part of my current rig) card for physX, or is that not a good idea / possible? Would it be better to get a cheaper, less power-hungry dedicated physX card?

I'm also really interested by the idea of liquid cooling, but horror stories have kind of put me in a wary place. I'm looking at a Corsair H50 closed system, but considering that I hear the 400 series video cards run hot, I might want to go VGA cooling as well (Or more importantly.) What would you folks recommend for a new liquid-cooling acolyte? I'm assuming I can't hook that H50 up to a VGA cooler due to the 'closed system' bit.

Finally, is there any notable difference between dual-channel and triple-channel memory? I've heard 'no' but again I'd like some user feedback. Anything's probably better than my current DDR-based 32-bit system.

I've been out of the loop a little over a year due to military deployment, so I'm missing out on a fair bit of data, and what I can find is mostly from the start of the year. Is there anything particularly groundbreaking due to be coming out in the next few months?

Oh! And did they ever take care of that whole problem with Vista/7 and the creative x-fi cards? I remember there being some grief with those when I left. I have one of the older x-fi cards, but it still works quite well and the initial problems with Vista were keeping me from upgrading from XP and... I confess, I never did get around to it. Probably for the best, now that 7's out.

Sorry for the massive ball of questions. Pre-emptive thanks for all the help!

Best solution

June 28, 2010 2:48:28 PM

There isn't a huge difference between P55 and X58 for gaming. People make a huge stink out of the 8x/8x PCIe 2.0 slots on the P55, but testing found it to only make a 4% difference, which is only noticable with the HD 5970. Which one you pick depends entirely on budget. If you've got $1,500 or more, the i7-930 is a better bet.

I'm going to go ahead and discourage you from getting the new 4xx series cards. They're expensive, offer almost no performance gain, use an incredible amount of power and put off a ton of heat. There aren't many games that actually use the stuff nVidia does better, so it's not really worth it. I'd recommend getting either the HD 5870 or 5970.

As for a dedicated PhysX card, it's possible. If it's a good idea, it really depends. If you run a lot of stuff with PhysX (which is unlikely), I'm sure you'll see some benefit. However, if you do get a 4xx card, the power draw would require an even larger PSU. To SLI the 4xxx cards, you already need a 1000W PSU to be safe, so you're looking at shelling out a ton of money for a 1200W unit if you want to keep the 8800. I doubt you'll see that much gain from it.

With that out of the way, water cooling is generally seen as a waste of money. To do it right takes at least $300 for the pump, blocks, etc., plus another $100 for BGA cooling, plus another $60 or so for a larger case. All told, that's nearly $500 extra. You can generally get the same temps and the same amount of noise with a much, much cheaper air solution. The best air HSF are at most $80, which is a far cry from $500.

On the dual vs. triple channel, there isn't a big difference for gaming. You just get whatever the board calls for.

I think it's going to be relatively quiet for a while. We've just gotten hex-core CPUs, DirectX 11 GPUs and (relatively) affordable SSDs. These technologies are going to be improved and exapanded for a while. The only major thing in the works is that Intel's moving to new sockets sometime in 2011, so both the P55 and X58 chipsets are pretty much considered dead ends at this point.

Vista incompatibilities don't matter any more. It would be insane to build anything without Windows 7 right now, and it's everything Vista was supposed to be and more.
Share
June 28, 2010 2:58:26 PM

Pretty much exactly what MadAdmiral said. The P55 boards when using 2 cards run the lanes at x8/x8 instead of x16/x16 )which the X58 boards run). The difference this makes is tiny. It would only matter if the x8/x8 was causing lag where a x16/x16 isn't...quite frankly if you are running two 5870s and you were in that situation then you have much bigger things to worry about - namely that your machine must now be very old and about 3 generations of graphics cards out of date
I would push towards the i5 750 build over an i7 build and use the money saved to get a better GPU. But then again I am tight with my money - even if my budget allowed for an i7, I wouldn't consider it a worthwhile investment and just keep the money saved by going i5 750.

I would like to reinforce the opinion on the 4XX Nvidia series. Crazy cash, disappointing performance and uneccesarry heat and power.
m
0
l
Related resources
June 28, 2010 3:41:02 PM

The only time I'd recommend a GTX 470 is if you're finding a deal that makes it cheaper than a 5850. It's a small performance increase for a big power and temp increase.

Same for a GTX 480 vs 5870.

Physx for gaming is dead, never was relevant to begin with.

Mad answered everything else.
m
0
l
June 28, 2010 3:59:33 PM

Hmm, thanks you three. I confess, I've been an NVidia man for quite some time, due to the fact that every ATI card I've installed (in someone else's computer) has gone bad just outside of warranty. On the other hand, I know those people to be absurdly hard on computers. Is there really a huge difference between 5970 and 5870, or is it worth the price difference? (Keeping in mind that I'll probably never go above 1920x1200)

I'm not huge on the whole SLI thing, honestly. Seems like it's a huge hassle to run two cards for any particular purpose, always something screwing up. But again, I'm out of date and the mere 5-10% improvement from installing a second card has probably been massively altered as well.

As far as hex-cores go, any game requiring, recommending, or even really using a hex-core as opposed to a new gfx card is probably 4-5 years away. So I feel secure not waiting for those, beyond the fact that I probably couldn't afford one right now anyways.

So. I5, air cooling, and good ATI card. What I'm currently running is an AMD 64 X2, DDR, and... practically nothing else worth mentioning. Hard drive and CD/DVD rom drive I can keep. Don't really have much need for blu-ray, and I don't forsee it becoming a must-have for PC gaming anytime in the future. The system runs (most of the time), but it's reach it's shelf life to the point where upgrading is pretty much 'start anew'.

Again, thanks. I'll probably buy the parts and start putting this system together in the middle of august after my two weeks for the military.
m
0
l
June 28, 2010 4:00:08 PM

asteldian said:
Pretty much exactly what MadAdmiral said. The P55 boards when using 2 cards run the lanes at x8/x8 instead of x16/x16 )which the X58 boards run). The difference this makes is tiny. It would only matter if the x8/x8 was causing lag where a x16/x16 isn't...quite frankly if you are running two 5870s and you were in that situation then you have much bigger things to worry about - namely that your machine must now be very old and about 3 generations of graphics cards out of date
I would push towards the i5 750 build over an i7 build and use the money saved to get a better GPU. But then again I am tight with my money - even if my budget allowed for an i7, I wouldn't consider it a worthwhile investment and just keep the money saved by going i5 750.

I would like to reinforce the opinion on the 4XX Nvidia series. Crazy cash, disappointing performance and uneccesarry heat and power.


I like the nvidia 4xx series. They use insane amounts of power(50percent more orso than their competetors).

But their performance is very good even seeing the benchmarks with the beta drivers you can see the 470gtx being worth the money over the 5850. And now they have another 5-10percent increase due to the new drivers.

Ati prices also dropped slightly so ati and 470 are bassically on par price/performance wise. Nvidia has some nice features and ati uses less power and puts out less heat. So IMO the 470 has some disadvantages but advantages as well. Also if you plan on xfire or sli Nvidia is definately the way to go. Sli scaling is really amazing http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-470-2-3-way-s... There you can see 470 sli on par with 5870 CF making nvidia actually cheaper price/performance wise. And I presume that was with the older drivers.

As for watercooling. A 200-300dollar system(without waterblocks) should let you OC your components to their voltage limits. But the waterblocks do cost you around 100 per gpu/cpu. So yea it expensive but it also very good just depends on your budget.

For the rest everything has been mentioned in the previous posts
m
0
l
July 7, 2010 2:31:31 AM

Best answer selected by Vdrake77.
m
0
l
July 7, 2010 2:33:43 AM

Thanks everyone. I'll probably stick to i5 with fans. As far as graphics cards go, I'll keep my eyes open for prices.
m
0
l
!