I7-920 $200 or i5-650 $120?


Aug 27, 2009
depends on if you plan to upgrade. the 1366 socket is the future and you will be able to upgrade you CPU further into the future than with the 1156 socket.

also depends on what you want to use your computer for.

based solely on cost vs. performance, the i5 provides a better bang for your buck. However it does not support triple channel memory, if that is something that you were hoping for.


Aug 21, 2009
I would personally go up to the i7 920 or down to an i3, rather than the i5 650. It’s a real quad core, so it’ll definitely outperform a dual core with hyper-threading like the i5 650.

An i3 will perform nearly as well as an i5 650 for significantly cheaper.

Or alternatively, you could go for an AMD cpu, since those are usually the best when you look into price/performance. With an AMD cpu, you could get a real quad core for the same price as the i5 650.

For reference, I suggest you look at:

Edit: I started writing before you said for photoshop. For that, you should go with the i7 920 in my opinion.

Probably a good choice. Your applications can make use of multiple cores. The more threads, the better.

A920 can be overclocked easier and higher than most anything else, if you are into that.

A fast duo is better for apps that are single threaded, and for many, but not all games.

You can always buy a usb3.0 add-in card. But it is probably cheaper to get a mobo with that capability up front. Those add-in cards are a bit expensive today. I see USB 3.0 as a very good way to connect to external backup drives.

The value of SATA 6gb is more iffy. It will be good for future SSD's. A SSD capable of using that speed is probably some time off, at least something affordable.

Still why not get a mobo with those capabilities? The Gigabyte motherboards with a "A" appended to the chipset will have that capability.
Here is an example:
I have to update a bit. It seems that we will get faster SSD's sooner:

They will be pricey, but will need a 6gb sata to run at full speed.
If I were to buy a new motherboard today, it would include 6gb sata and usb 3.0.

As to raid-0 for the OS, don't bother. It will work, but there will, on balance be no performance impact.

Raid-0 distributes alternating stripes of data on each drive. The OS mostly does random reads and writes which will be satisfied by one drive or the other. Only if you were doing sequential operations of large files is raid-0 of much help. Then, the reads could be done simultaneously.

If you want the best performing OS, get a good SSD with trim support. A 40gb drive goes for $100-$150. Pair that with a 1tb storage drive and you will have a good system for today.