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New Build Opinions-i5 vs i7?

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Last response: in Systems
July 1, 2010 6:18:51 AM

Working on a new build. I primarily play EQ2 right now, potentially playing newer MMOs in the future. Occasional photo editing, but that's really not a big deal... I think any system I end up building will work well enough for what I do photo editing-wise. I tend to buy a new system from the bottom up every 4-5 years or so (in the past, I've often "tried" to future proof, but never ended up using the 'extras' I thought I might use someday... by the time I "need" them, I'm fed up with the system, and end up upgrading just about everything.) Looking to buy probably in the next month, unless there's a really good reason to wait.

Here's my current potential build:

1 Cheapo SATA DVD Burner
1 Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
I have a few other sata hard drives I'll be using for data storage... This may end up a 1TB drive
1 ASUS VW266H Black 25.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor
Still debating here. I'd like something in the 25" range. Is XXXx1200 worth it? I see a lot of options in the x1080 range, and that is what I have on my current 22"
2 GIGABYTE GV-R583UD-1GD Radeon HD 5830 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
As I said, in the past, I've normally gone for the single high end card thinking "i'll just get a second one and [xfire/sli] when they get cheap. And by the time I'm ready for that, my video card is so out of date it's pointless.
1 CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Debating on memory - any recs? Looking for at least 4GB, I think (see later)

My biggest question:

I started this build thinking I was certainly going i7... but looking at benchmarks, the i5 750 seems pretty close to the i7 930, which is my other option. Going with the i5 would save me $100 or so... worth the savings?

1 Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor BX80605I5750
1 ASUS P7P55 WS SuperComputer with NF200 LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard

My other option is:

1 Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80601930
1 GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

I don't quite understand the difference between the i5 and the i7. I want crossfire ready. Do I need 6GB (2x2x2) ram in the i7? (should I get 6+ in the i5?)

I'm looking at staying around 2k total, and still need a case for sure - for that, I'm debating. I have a custom built desk with a vented (fan) cabinet, but it's small, and can only hold a case ~18longx20 high. I'm not sure I can get 2 large video cards in such a space, while maintaining cooling. If computer has to come out of that cabinet, quiet operation is a must.

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July 1, 2010 6:29:57 AM

The Core i5 750 would suit you best, Photoshop doesn't use the extra threads from HTT on the Core i7, and the Core i5 750 would be more than enough in this case. A few things I would suggest too.

The ASUS P7P55D-E Pro would be a better motherboard.

I also suggest the SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 500 GB or 1 TB.

As for the graphic card, a single HD 5870 wouldn't perform as well as HD 5830 CFX, but it would leave more room for expansion, and the HD 5870 won't be outdated that soon, it's ATi's current flagship single GPU card. Your power supply is a bit overkill, if you do plan for dual HD 5870s later on then a HX750W would suffice, if you plan to do just dual HD 5830s then an HX650W would be enough.

With memory, just go for the CL7 blue G.SKILL Ripjaws 2x2GB kit.

July 1, 2010 6:45:22 AM

Lmeow said:
HD 5870 won't be outdated that soon,.

For my last 2 or 3 builds, I've thought that way, except I never, EVER, end up getting that 2nd GPU. And by the time I'm thinking 'hey that would be a good idea', they practically don't make my gpu anymore.... so says my x1900xt ;)  So unless the second 5870 is going to be worth it 4 years from now (vs. another full system upgrade) I think the 2 5830 CFX are a better bet for me.
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July 1, 2010 6:54:26 AM

If you're going to spend 2k, you might as well go the i7 route and the 1366 chipset, which is better for OC'ing, performance, on board features like USB 3.0, SATA3, eSata for some boards.

If you live near a Microcenter, the i7 is $199 in store pick up, and you could get the GA-X58A-UD3R for $209. = $409

Otherwise if you're set on the i5, just swap the MOBO / CPU / RAM with what's listed below.

i7 930 + asus p6x58d-e combo - $489.99


i5-750 + ASUS P7P55D-E Pro $339.98

Case - CM 690 II - $89.99

Depending on your preference, or if you want somthing more high end, there are lots of case to choose from, how much are you looking to spend on a case?

Stick with 2 x GIGABYTE GV-R583UD - $420

PSU + RAM combo: ( $35 savings )

1. CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-650HX ( -$20 Rebate )
2. CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 1600c7

Combo Price - $274.98

ASUS VW266H Black 25.5" - $299

HDD - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3

HS - Scythe SCMG-2100 Sleeve CPU Cooler - $35

i7 Grand Total - $1608


To answer your question - i5 boards do not support tri-channel, they operate off Dual Channel mode.

That's why on the i7 builds, the Ram is always 6GB ( 3 X 2GB ) , 12GB ( 3 x 4GB )

On the i5 u're looking at 4GB or 8GB
July 1, 2010 12:56:15 PM

kg2010 said:
If you're going to spend 2k, you might as well go the i7 route and the 1366 chipset, which is better for OC'ing, performance, on board features like USB 3.0, SATA3, eSata for some boards.

If you live near a Microcenter, the i7 is $199 in store pick up.

Well I don't HAVE to spend 2k, in fact, I'd rather spend less, then I can replace my chair, which is also desperately needed. I don't really care about usb 3.0 (rarely use peripherals that need speed, it's not like my keyboard is gonna run faster!), where does SATA3 come in? That's slightly tempting, but if it pushes up prices for everything, probably not worth it for me.

....but that i7 at microcenter IS tempting, there's one nearby....
July 1, 2010 9:46:41 PM

Well, if you get the i7 for $199, then going the i7 route is a NO BRAINER, since you're paying $5 more for the processor. And if you don't want USB 3.0 or Sata3, then you can find an x58 board for under $200 or in the $200 range, and you'd still be at or around the same price as the i5 build.

The i7 + UD3R would be $410 total - $70 difference between i5 & i7 build.

That brings your build price to $1528!

The rest of my recommendations remain the same.
July 1, 2010 9:51:37 PM

kg2010 said:
Well, if you get the i7 for $199, then going the i7 route is a NO BRAINER, since it's only a $50 difference between the i5 build and i7 build, and if you don't want USB 3.0 or Sata3, then you can find an x58 board for under $200 or in the $200 range.

+1 the GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R is $210 at newegg, and it has all the latest controllers. Boards without the them arent that much cheaper, as its intel's top of the range socket
July 3, 2010 6:08:08 AM

Ok, so here are my two options.

First off the common to both build items:

From Amazon (for the free shipping, plus bonus points on our CC)

Cheapo SATA DVD Burner $29.80 (I think this may end up a few bucks cheaper at Newegg when you add in shipping, but whatever)
Logitech Keyboard $19.06
intellimouse $23.88
Cooler Master CM 690 II Case I'm a bit nervous about this case. I really really want quiet. My husband just recently got this and it's pretty darn quiet. I don't have the room for that on my desk, i'm hoping this one wont be too much noisier. Quiet is key, and if anyone has a suggestion for mid tower, let me know. $89.99
Asus VW266H Monitor $304.96

From Newegg:

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 79.99
Arctic 5 Thermal Compound (is there REALLY any difference between that and this, which comes free with something else on my list? $9.99
Scythe SCMG-2100 Sleeve CPU Cooler Fits both LGA 1366, and 1156, my two options. $34.99
EVERCOOL HD-F117 just one, for my system hard drive. I may throw in 2 more for my backup data drives. $6.99 (for 1)
2X GIGABYTE GV-R583UD-1GD Radeon HD 5830 199.99 ea - $399.98

Now for the differences:

Option 1 - i5 system.

Intel Core i5 750 $194.99
CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-750HX 750W $149.99
ASUS P7P55D-E LGA $159.99
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH $129.99
-$30 PSU/Mobo Combo
-$10 mail in rebate (power supply)
-$30 mail in rebate (monitor)

i5 sub-total: $1634.59
+12.15 shipping
-combos/rebates ($40)
i5 total: $1606.74

Option 2 - i7 system:

Core i7-930 $199.99
CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-750HX 750W $149.99
Corsair XMS3 6 GB 1600MHz Triple Channel CAS 7 DDR3 $189.99
-$30 PSU/Mobo Combo
-$30 Mail in Rebate (monitor)
-$20 Mail in Rebate (memory)
-$10 mail in rebate (PSU)

i7 subtotal: 1749.69
+$12.16 shipping
-$90/rebates/instant discounts
i7 total = $1671.75

It seems a small enough difference in price to justify the i7 (so says me. My husband says, and i quote "pfft"... but I think that's because he just got an i5 6 months ago, because at the time, the price difference was more like $200)
July 3, 2010 7:11:38 AM

You know how I feel about this - it's a mere $70 difference between the 2 systems, and you're getting:

An i7, which will overclock better, and is a newer processor
You're also getting 6 GB Tri Channel RAM vs 4GB dual mode
A much better 1366 chipset with future proofing technologies in USB 3, SATA3, eSata3

Thinking long term, it's definitely worth the $70 difference, it's very minimal compared to how much more you're getting.

I just built a very similar rig, and the i5 didn't even cross my mind, due to such a small difference, and I didn't even have a Microcenter near by, lucky YOU! ;) 
July 6, 2010 1:26:15 PM

Best answer selected by Ophelia.
July 6, 2010 1:26:57 PM

I ordered my new system last night, now just gotta get to Microcenter!

July 6, 2010 5:35:42 PM

Congrats - I'm sure you will enjoy your new build!