I7 920 vs i7 860 now that a new gigabyte mobo supports 16x 16x SLi


Feb 5, 2010
I had a delimma in trying to decide between the intel i7 920 and the 860 cpu for my new "ground up" build. I was leaning toward the 920 because for full dual slot16x SLi support and the bonus of triple channel memory and tons of rave reviews saying to stick with the 920. Now Gigabyte is getting ready to release the GA-P55A-UD7 ( this month) which allows for that capability. Installing an Nvidia chip has given them an extra 32 lanes to play with and they used some of that to solve the whole SLi issue.

System is primarily for gaming, internet, university homework etc...emphasis on the gaming. I wish to overclock to a stable 4ghz and both CPUs seem easily overclocked to that speed on air..more with liquid cooling.

Not worried about the upgrade path of the 1366 because the new processors will be way out of my financial reach and by the time they are mainstream enough to afford they will probably be using a different chipset anyway.

The price of the 1366 boards isnt an issue because im pretty positive this new board for the 1156 is gonna be equal to the high end prices of the other..around 350.00 (so thats a wash).

CPUs are the same price and im not really concerned about moving from triple to dual channel.

I have read that the 860 puts out more heat when overclocking but i would have trashed the intel heatsink anyway and threw on a Thermalright Ultra 120 extreme. Ram slots are close to the CPU but i should be ok with some low profile Corsair DDR3 1600 and a really good Antec Case to maximise airflow.

So what it really boils down to is whether there is a reason that im just not thinking of that should sway me one way or the other...pound for pound they seem pretty equal im just starting to think that little things like USB 3.o etc may make 55 chipset more attractive down the road.

Sorry in advance if im just overthinking the whole thing...i tend to do that with new builds. :heink:

Specifications for the GA-P55A-UD7 mobo

CPU Support for an Intel® Core™ i7 series processor/Intel® Core™ i5 series processor/Intel® Core™ i3 series processor in the LGA1156 package (Go to GIGABYTE's website for the latest CPU support list.)
L3 cache varies with CPU

Chipset Intel® P55 Express Chipset

Memory 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 16 GB of system memory (Note 1)
Dual channel memory architecture
Support for DDR3 2600+/2200/1600/1333/1066/800 MHz memory modules
Support for non-ECC memory modules
Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
Go to Memory Support List for the latest memory support list.
Audio Realtek ALC889 codec
High Definition Audio
Support for Dolby® Home Theater
Support for S/PDIF In/Out
Support for CD In

LAN 2 x RTL8111D chips (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Support for Teaming
Support for Smart Dual LAN

Expansion Slots 2 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2) (Note 2)
2 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1, PCIEX8_2) (Note 3)
1 x PCI Express x1 slot (The PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2, PCIEX8_1, PCIEX8_2, and PCIEX1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
2 x PCI slots

Multi-Graphics Technology Support for 2-Way/3-Way ATI CrossFireX™/NVIDIA SLI technology

Storage Interface Chipset:
6 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2_0, SATA2_1, SATA2_2, SATA2_3, SATA2_4, SATA2_5) supporting up to 6 SATA 3Gb/s devices
Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
Marvell 9128 chip:
2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3_6, GSATA3_7) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
Support for SATA RAID 0 and RAID 1
1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices
2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (GSATA2_6, GSATA2_7) supporting up to 2 SATA 3Gb/s devices
Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD
JMB362 chip:
2 x eSATA 3Gb/s connectors (eSATA/USB Combo) on the back panel sup- porting up to 2 SATA 3Gb/s devices
Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD
iTE IT8720 chip:
1 x floppy disk drive connector supporting up to 1 floppy disk drive

USB Chipset
Up to 12 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 on the back panel (Note 4), 4 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)
NEC chip
Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel

IEEE 1394 T.I. TSB43AB23 chip
Up to 3 IEEE 1394a ports (2 on the back panel, 1 via the IEEE 1394a bracket connected to the internal IEEE 1394a header)

Internal I/O Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x floppy disk drive connector
1 x IDE connector
8 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x CPU fan header
3 x system fan headers
1 x power fan header
1 x Chipset fan header
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x CD In connector
1 x S/PDIF In header
1 x S/PDIF Out header
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1 x IEEE 1394a header
1 x serial port header
1 x clearing CMOS button
1 x power button
1 x reset button

Back Panel Connectors 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
2 x IEEE 1394a ports
6 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
2 x eSATA/USB Combo connectors
2 x RJ-45 ports
6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/ Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)

I/O Controller iTE IT8720 chip

H/W Monitoring System voltage detection
CPU/System temperature detection
CPU/System/Power fan speed detection
CPU overheating warning
CPU/System/Power fan fail warning
CPU/System fan speed control

BIOS 2 x 16 Mbit flash
Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
Support for DualBIOS™
PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b

Unique Features Support for @BIOS
Support for Q-Flash
Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
Support for Download Center
Support for Xpress Install
Support for Xpress Recovery2
Support for EasyTune
Support for Dynamic Energy Saver™ 2
Support for Smart 6™
Support for Q-Share

Bundle Software Norton Internet Security (OEM version)

Operating System Support for Microsoft® Windows 7/Vista/XP

Form Factor ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

Note (Note 1) Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
(Note 2) For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16_1 slot; if you are installing two PCI Express graphics cards, it is recommended that you install them in the PCIEX16_1 and PCIEX16_2 slots.
(Note 3) The PCIEX8_1 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16_1 slot and the PCIEX8_2 slot with PCIEX16_2. The PCIEX16_1/PCIEX16_2 slot will operate at up to x8 mode when the PCIEX8_1/PCIEX8_2 is populated.
(Note 4) Two share the same ports with USB 3.0 and another two with eSATA.
(Note 5) Whether the CPU/system fan speed control function is supported will depend on the CPU/system cooler you install.
(Note 6) Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.
Remark Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website.
Due to most hardware/software vendors no longer offer support for Win9X/ME. If some vendors still has Win9X/ME drivers available, we will publish on website.

It's all about Ondie PCI-E lanes.

P55 with a single graphics pcb is going to out perform an X58 in an apples to apples comparison. You can take an 860 and a 920 and disable HT, Turbo, C-States and overclock them both to 4.0. The 860 is going to win the battle.

X58 depends on QPI for graphics bus delivery. While this enables X58 to have a higher maximum bandwidth, it's also a slower delivery method.

For multiple cards, the edge goes back to X58. Now P55 is limited (slightly, but enough) by it's x16 ondie pcie lane. Each card is operating at x8 speeds, or is being throttled by the NF200, which creates its own latency.

Either way the two systems will be so similar to one another in either configuration that nobody, I don't care...


Dec 7, 2009
For gaming, you'll never notice a difference between an i7-920, i7-860, i5-750, or Phenom II 965 build. All are damn good.

Any 1156 board that supports multiple GPUs at 16x is going to very expensive compared to 1366 or AM3 boards that have the same offerings. Given that you're looking for a 4.0GHz OC, I would go with the i7, since it will be moderately better than a PII at that same speed.

By the way, there really isn't a huge difference between running at 16x/16x and 8x/8x. Even with some powerful cards, the difference isn't much - so Crossfire or SLI on a more affordable P55 motherboard is still perfectly doable.
ASRock X58 Extreme/920 - 449
UD7/750 - 549
UD7/860 - 640

How is it worth it again?

You are comparing a yugo to a mustang, sorry to give you the bad news but as far as gaming goes the 860/UD7 will obliterate the x58 extreme/920 (stock clocks) , The 860 can also achieve the same clocks as the 920 give or take.

I doubt the OP would consider an X58 extreme if he is looking at boards that cost over 300.00$+, now if the OP wants to save money and he is inclined to bump up the CPU clock then it would be smart to go LGA 1366.


Feb 5, 2010
Why would anyone need a mobo that high priced anyway? Jesus. :lol:

I dont need to save cash on this build...every so often I build a system sheerly because i want to. I dont try to cut corners and generally i overkill, overkill,overkill...and why not..its my cash, I have put it away for this purpose and I WANT TO SPEND IT ON THE COMPUTER.

Sooo laugh your ass off at 300.00 boards. I also spend a month and a half in Honduras each year scuba diving... :lol: who needs that when there are perfectly good places here at home.

I also bought my daughter a 500.00 prom dress because she really loved it but what a dork, ass, noob i am :lol: your right..i should have just knitted her one.

I suppose you dont have an interest or an area where you tend to splurge on your hobby. Im not working at Taco Bell on the weekends, I have the money. The next time you lace up those 130.00 tennies ask yourself if you really needed those or if you just wanted them... because im sure the 9.99 pair at Walmart would work.

I like building PCS with my family...personally i really DONT CARE about whether you think im spending enough or too much cash on a motherboard, ive spent that much on my wife and I for a romantic dinner.
If my situation was different and I needed to build the best PC I could but working under a tight budget, then I would do and consider things in an extremely different way.

I dont need 8 gigs of DD3 1600, I dont need a GTX 470 (that hasnt even been released yet) and I sure dont need a separate card to dedicate to PhysX to run with it, but this build will have both. I wont even see any real benefit from those pieces because there arent any games that support what the card can do. Non of that is the point................ Somewhere out there is a guy/girl in a brand new Porsche driving to the grocery store at 55 mph. Overkill? YES!...Does it matter? NO! They wanted the car..they could afford the car, without having to sacrifice....then by all means IMHO Buy the car!

What I do care about was sheer performance of the two CPUs. the 920 seems to be everyones favorite right now...if I take away the SLi advantage and dont care about the upgrade path and dont care how expensive the boards are....Does it still have a clear advantage or disadvantage over an 860. Right now Im leaning toward the 860.
People who buy LGA 1366 buy them for several reasons, some render/encode and are EXTREAMELY impatient, some just buy it for overclocking purposes (trying to break a record, etc) and some just buy them for e-peen purposes (we have a few here on Toms =)

If the OP does not fall under any of those catergories and he wants the UD7 there is no need to even consider LGA 1366 even if he will save money, he is just trying to get the best setup that will fit his needs.
Why wait for the Gigabyte Board when you have the Asus P7P55 WS Supercomputer $229


Asus fans will note that the P7P55 WS Supercomputer preceded MSI's Trinergy and uses the same NF200 connection method to supply four, rather than three, x16-length slots. The identical connection method should yield nearly identical performance results, but Asus' slot layout is more favorable to placing three double-slot cards into a standard ATX case.

As for the 1366 vs 1156.....Both have USB 3 and SATA II so that's not an issue....only ones left are:

a) yeah there's the GFX bandwidth thing but NF200 seems to have solved that
b) future availability of hexacore processors for X58-based platforms
c) the X58’s additional support for high-bandwidth devices such as professional RAID controllers
d) the 1366 interface’s ability to support triple-channel memory which will prolly only mean something on hexacore processors

If those things aren't of interest, stick w/ 1156


Tripple Channel Memory is useless when it comes to gaming, the benchies show that the 860 is superior using only 2 sticks of RAM ;)

It is funny how Intel fanboys are very hesitant to recommend LGA 1156 when it is clear that as far as
gaming, internet, university homework goes the 860/paired with a decent P55 mobo will be more than enough regardless.


Nov 27, 2008

The 860 only wins at stock clocks, which doesn't apply with the OP.

Tripple channel memory does make little to no difference but the difference is there, and since it looks like the op wants top end why not go top end? I don't think he is tied to a strict budget and 6GB of ram is golden.

Both setups will cost nearly the same if he wanted 6GB on the p55. It makes sense to go with the better one wouldn't you agree?

When it comes to gaming it does not matter what clock you are at when comparing the 920 vs the 860. The 860 will get more frames regardless, LGA 1156 was meant for gaming, meant to crush AM3 systems for more or less the same cash. If the OP was to get a high-end LGA 1366 board/ i7 920 paired with 6GB of RAM he would actually spend more and get less ;) .

Show me a gaming bench that shows the 920 ahead and I will give you the benefit of the doubt =)

Here is a perfect example ;)

Compare the 750 to the 920 :D , the 750 still managed to get a few more frames using only 2 sticks of ram and both CPU's at the exact same clock


That is embarassing IMO, cause the 750 is 80/90.00$ cheaper...


Feb 5, 2010
@ ovrclkr

can you provide more details and some reference as to why you think it was meant for gaming??? both processors are great period. the reason why the 1156 wins at stock speeds is because the turbo boost raises it clock rate way higher to 3.2-3.6ish ghz (when put to full use) I believe correct me if im wrong. thats the only reason why it wins.


Feb 5, 2010
I say toms hardware makes a chart with the new i5 and i7's(1156 based) with the turbo boost disabled against a i7 920 clocked at different speeds equally only then will we see which one is best!!!

Here what i can find.










Hmm.... with all the data i have seen. it really depended on the game, resolution, and set up.

Some articles show the core i7 860 wins, Some show the 920 wins, some show the 860 wins in small resolution while the 920 wins in larger resolution and vice versa.

Such confusing set of data. :pt1cable:
The chips use the same mfg technology and the same architecture. At the same clock rate, they perform the same. Or, at least so similar that differences are pointless.

I think there is some benefit with more than 4gb; 6gb seems about right. That would favor the X58 approach.

We know that a 32nm 6 core is coming to the X58, and I heat talk about a 4 core 32nm 930.

To the OP, I suggest getting a good 30" 2560 x1600 monitor for gaming.



That may be, but the 860 is not similarly clocked to the 920. it will go to 3.2 in turbo mode, vs 2.93 for the 920.

I had a choice when I bought my 860, where the two builds were just $20 apart (gotta love microcenter) and the very intelligent sales guy made a good point- if you're going to go dual vid cards, get x58. If not, the 860 would be slightly faster with most gaming until you start utilizing all 4 cores. If you take the dual card limitation away, well, then go for what's cheaper or has the features you want.

TBH, it sounds like OP wants to justify 1366. Here's some justification- you want it so buy it. By the time you need to upgrade, you'll have saved enough. And you *know* you'll want something new in 24 months or less :)


Latest posts