Deciding between i7 860 vs 920, assistance welcomed

xelis

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Sep 24, 2009
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Hello, I've browsed Tom's hardware for awhile, but posting for the first time.
So, I finally decided to upgrade my computer, and I am deciding between the i7 860 and i7 920.

Now, Microcenter has both processors for $229 currently, so price is not an issue.

As I understand it, I've been looking at both arguments for both processors, so be gentle since I am a fairly new. ^^

i7 860
-More aggressive turbo then the 920
-higher stock clock speeds then the 920.
-low power consumption
-hyper threading
-dual channel
-1156 socket P55 platform
-Better for Single GPU

i7 920
-Also has turbo, but not as aggressive as the 860
-lower stock clock speed then 860
-higher power consumption
-hyper threading
-tri-channel
-1366 socket (more future proof) x58 architecture
-Better for SLI/Crossfire

My question is, what is your recommendation if prices are the same.
I plan on running on air, stock speeds to little over-clocking. Also an argument I heard was, with lower power consumption, it won't suck as much in the electricity bill. ^^ As for tri-channel, is there that much of a difference? Correct me if I am wrong, but does it just share the load among 3 instead of 2, and can go to a max of 24gb instead of 16gb? Any help is much appreciated.

As for usage, I plan on doing basic things like web browsing, music, etc.
But I also wish to use it for enjoyable gaming as well (high resoultion etc.)
Yes, the processor is stronger then what I need, but I do not plan on upgrading for maybe another 2+ years, so I want it to last. (other then switching out video cards)

Additional information or help appreciated. ^^

Current plan
i7 860 / i7 920
p55 UDP4 / undecided
Radeon x5770
4 GB Ram



 

ulysses35

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Triple channel memory configuration of the i7 9** series cpu's gives you extra performance in some cases. If both CPU's are the same price and you can find a similarly priced mobo for the i7 920 then go for it.

Asus P6T series mobo works very well with the i7 920
 

Pailin

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Tri channel RAM gives almost No noticeable improvement over Dual channel - even in benchmarks. Is really something like maybe 5% ish if that even, from memory of all the benchmarks I have been reading recently.

Hyper Threading which both have even hurts a good proportion of benchmarks dropping up to 5% , but gaining maybe 14% ish in certain multithreaded apps like 3D Studio Max. Was Very surprised - Hyperthreading essentially uses more power and produces more heat for most users + reduces your potential OC!

I would still choose a Proc with it though, Just

I mention this as am soon to have to choose too and was quite surprised to see it.



As a buy now for now option to keep for a good number of years I'd take the i7-860 route + it will save you purchase money in RAM and MB. The 860's MB's can be a Lot cheaper for a loaded board than the 920's! And the power saving will help too.

But...

The i7-920 route though costing more etc etc --- Does allow a later upgrade path to a power efficient 32nm 6core GulfTown chip down the line...

The GulfTowns are said to be going to be Very expensive to start with!!! So you would probably want to wait a year or so for that upgrade.

All this in mind, I have decided to stick with my Q6600 @ 3GHz and will up that to 3.6GHz again when I need the extra power down the line...
...and buy a nice Crucial C300 128GB SSD next month and a 5850 or 5870 soonish :D
 

xelis

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Sep 24, 2009
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Thanks for the responses, I was also wondering about the power consumption. Is the difference huge? and is air cooling efficient enough to keep it cool?

Also, since I am a bargain hunter, if anyone has websites that has nice deals for the parts I am looking for, it will be much appreciated.

Currently I look at zipzoomfly and superbiiz. ^^
 

Pailin

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Am not sure about the exact differences in power consumption without checking and kinda short on time this Eve.

As to a great budget conscious cooler - I think the CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Plus is by far the best bet and can be had for about $29.99 over there I was told the other day.

Over at frostytech's Top 10 Coolers It still sits at 10 despite its low price tag and without being a complete behemoth! - is still big mind.

I have the older model of this and am very pleased with it. Hyper 212 Plus is also a pretty quiet cooler.
Now, I have to say I have not checked out the prices on the other top 10 coolers there... thought the Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme is an Excellent cooler, but is about twice the price of the 212.

Am sure someone here can help you with good US PC parts sites as am a UK boy ;)

 

Chad Boga

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Dec 30, 2009
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One of the biggest issues in deciding between either processor must surely be are you really going to upgrade your processor during the life of this system?

I think the notion of upgrading to Gulftown is ludicrous for probably 98% of users.

Gulftown is going to be uber expensive when it comes out and within 6 to 8 months of Gulftown's release, Sandy Bridge is due out, and is likely to be better performing and cheaper than Gulftown.

I was weighing all these sort of things myself and I figured that a stock i7-860 would be all the CPU performance I would need for probably at least two years and by overclocking it, I could lengthen again the time where I have all the CPU power I need.

The only component I will replace(and effectively throw away) in my computer's useful lifetime, is my GPU.
 

xelis

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Sep 24, 2009
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Yea, I am not an enthusiast so I do not upgrade very often. I generally make a pretty good computer that will last me for several years, and only upgrade necessary parts such as video cards. The only reason I was considering the 920 is because I've heard it is better in some regards generally after overclocking, and it was the exact same price as the 860 at micro-center. So, if I am not going to replace my processor for at least 2 or more years, then is the 860 the better buy for me? (Plus I am assuming if I do switch to 6 core later on, I would think it would be available for different sockets by then)

Pretty much on my thought process, I think the 860 is the better buy for me at stock speeds to only a little overclocking. Plus, the lower wattage may save some on the electricity bill. :) Just figured since there are alot more experts on the subject, various input on things I may not of known about is valuable.