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Build Advice i7's: 860 vs 920 vs 930

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by cjmUK, 9 Feb 2010.

  1. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    I've lost 2008's upgrade fund to a broken TV, I've now built up another fund and I'm preparing to spend.

    I'm looking at a new mobo/CPU/RAM and I'm heading into i7 country. However, I am having a cyclic debate about which combination to go for...

    We can roughly equate the performance of the 860 and the 920, though each has slightly different strengths.

    The 860 is lower power and thus lower heat, which is always good when you are concerned about noise. It's a few months newer than the 920, but although the technology differs slightly there is not enough to really distinguish it from it's older cousin.

    The 920 can use triple channel RAM and is a proven performer but it does it's (relative) age keep it at a disadvantage - not according to most benchmarks.

    In terms of cost, the 920 is cheaper, but the 1156 mobo more than make up the difference...

    I've wanted a 920 for a while and 6Gb is probably the amount of ram I'm looking for so opting for triple channel seems cool. However, the 860 is cheaper overall (including comparable mobo) and I could always opt for 2 x 2GB plus 2 x 1GB of dual channel RAM....

    If the decision wasn't hard enough, I then hear about the 930 coming - supposedly by the end of the month. Does this change the decision? What will the 930 entail and will it come in at teh 920 price point? When will stock be available? If nothing else, it should knock down prices of the 920 and probably the 860 to a limited extent. On the other hand, there will always be a newer component in the pipeline... I could be waiting forever. Besides, wouldn't there be firm facts in the public domain about the 930 if it was genuinely near to a hard launch?

    Other considerations? I suppose i need to consider the prospective futures on 1156 vs 1366. Is one likely to be better in the longer term than the other?

    Also, the P6TD seems to be well recommended for 1366, but it's a little pricier than I would like. But the corresponding recommendation is the P55-UD3R - highly thought of and £60 cheaper. are there any cheaper 1366 recommendations that will help close the gap? I'd prefer to keep under the £500 barrier so that would leave around £160 to spend on a mobo - the barrier is psychological rather than a hard budget, but nevertheless, the less I spend, the less grief the wife gives me - you know how it is! ;)


    Decisions, decisions....

    Any thoughts? Do I stick or twist?
     
  2. dec

    dec [blank space]

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    i believe the 930 is supposed to replace the 920 for whatever reason. The price and clock will be similar to if not the same as the 920.

    Id go for the 920 because in the event you feel the need for 6 cores you can get it without having to get a new board and you have oooooooooooooodles :clap: :naughty: of memory bandwith that can expand to 24GB.

    However, on a more practical basis, the 860 is better because you would spend less on RAM and the board and still get 4 hyperthreaded happy to OC cores.

    Hows this for a sub 160 board?

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Asus...-DDR3-2000-1866-1800-SATA-3Gb-s-SATA-RAID-ATX
     
  3. PureSilver

    PureSilver E-tailer Tailor

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    +1 on the P6T SE.

    I would also avoid the 860 as I fail to see any tangible advantage over a healthily-overclocked 750. I forgot to ask - do you have a cooler already?
     
  4. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    I'm re-assured by your answers, but I'm wondering if that's because you're saying what I want to hear... ;)

    From what I've read it's simply a 920 running @ 2.8GHz. Simply brought in to give the lower end 1366 chip a slight advantage over the 860 - i.e. marketing...

    A 4GB kit appears to be lightly worse value than the 6GB kits actually (though not by that much). Not sure when I'll have 6 or more cores and 24GB of RAM but future upgrades are a consideration - this platform will be expected to last at least a couple of years. My P5B Deluxe dates back to November 06, though I've upgrade the CPU and RAM in that time...

    I probably need to compare the SE, the P6T and the P6TD alongside each other - if there is a tangible benefit I'll stretch to £167 for the standard P6T.

    Any other boards from other brands I should consider? I'm happy with ASUS, but don't want to be blinkered...

    As for a cooler, I currently have a Thermalright HR-01 Plus with a Noctua NF-12P strapped to it, which is a brilliant combination even if I say so myself - cool but quiet. At heavy load, it runs at around +20C (Q6600 at stock).

    Scan have a bolt-thru kit for both socket types for around £7 so I'm planning on continuing to use it.
     
    Last edited: 9 Feb 2010
  5. azrael-

    azrael- I'm special...

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    I've pointed this out before, but all LGA1156 chipsets (P5x, H5x) are severely bandwidth-limited in regard to the PCIe lanes. Only the PEG x16 (or 2x PEG x8) slot has true PCIe 2.0 lanes. The other ones run at PCIe 1.1 speed, even though they support the PCIe 2.0 protocol. This poses a potential problem if you intend to have USB3.0 and/or SATA 6G in your system. It's really a shame since the LGA1156 platform is otherwise a very desirable platform.
     
  6. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    to be honest, it all comes down to money. if you can afford 920, then it won't disappoint you. otherwise 860 will save you £100 yet still offers same amount of performance.

    azrael's note on PCIe lanes is a problem with LGA1156 platform. so if you don't buy a USB3/SATA 6G motherboard or you will be going multi-graphics-card, 920/930 will be a better bet.
     
  7. azrael-

    azrael- I'm special...

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    I should add that the problem with USB3.0 and SATA 6G on LGA1156 motherboards exists both with add-in cards and with solutions implemented on the motherboard.

    The chips still need to be connected to the PCIe lanes provided by the chipsets, so the problem doesn't automatically go away, just because you buy a board with "on-board" USB3.0 and/or SATA 6G. Only the X58 chipset (for LGA1366) has enough true PCIe 2.0 lanes for this not to become a problem.

    As an interesting side note current AMD chipsets don't suffer from this issue. Alas, they're only good for AMD processors... :)
     
  8. Zero_UK

    Zero_UK New Member

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    to be honest... price: preformance ratio i5 750 > i7 860. So if your going for 1156 then get a 750.
     
    Last edited: 9 Feb 2010
  9. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    Well it's a done deal now... I made the mistake of checking the Today Only page on Scan...

    It was fate! A sign from the Gods, no less...

    They were offering discounts on the 920 + 6GB Corsair 1600 CAS8, the P6T SE, and even my Thermalright Bolt-Thru kit... £468 in total, which is a saving of £50 on a price that was competitive in the first place!

    Out of interest, it appear that the only thing of not missing from the SE is SLI which is not something I'm interested in generally. There are a couple of other minor things but nothing that I think will affect me.
     
  10. trig

    trig god's little mistake

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    nice choice.
     
  11. azrael-

    azrael- I'm special...

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    GL with your upgrade! :)
     
  12. Otis1337

    Otis1337 aka - Ripp3r

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    can recommend that board, happy user of it my self... see sig below
     
  13. Xtrafresh

    Xtrafresh It never hurts to help

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    aww too bad, i was going to plant a flag for the 750 here :)

    I've been testing the 870 and the 750 on a number of boards, and i came to a few conclusions that Intel wont like:
    1) HT is useless. The ONLY time it has any advantage is when you are using more the 4 threads at 100%, and even then the performance boost over switching it off is never better then 15%. It also adds a lot to heat, which means that by switching it off you unlock more OC headroom, making the performance gap even smaller. Unless you do a LOT of rendering, compiling or folding, switch it off.
    2) With the one redeeming feature of the i7's on 1156 gone (HT), the 750 comes awfully close to the 870. Stable OC performance has not 10% between them (4100 to 4500), and you are paying through the nose for it.
    3) The differences are only noticable on stock settings. Properly OCed, the 750 feels exactly the same to use as the 870.

    This means that the only real reasons to ever go for i7 over an i5 750 are that you want the extra memory (1366) or you want the upcoming 6-core chips.
     
  14. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    Your HT observations have been fairly well documented elsewhere: on occasion the 10-15% boost is welcome but generally not if you are o/c'ing.

    The o/c'ing potential of the 750 has also been well documented, but I've also heard that the 860 can often o/c as well which means that the gap can be somewhat maintained. But either way, the 750 is extremely good value for money - providing, as you say, that you don't need the extra memory bandwidth etc...

    The 750 is a great chip by all accounts - it certainly punches above it's weight.
     
  15. fingerbob69

    fingerbob69 Member

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    Out of interest, it appear that the only thing of not missing from the SE is SLI which is not something I'm interested in generally. There are a couple of other minor things but nothing that I think will affect me.

    I think you can still crossfire if you want to tho.
     
  16. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    Yes you can... but no, it's still not of interest to me. Rather than add an extra card for 1.7x benefit (approx average improvement with dual cards) and deal with the extra power, noise and heat concerns, I'd rather buy a much better card and partially fund it with the sale of the older card.

    FYI: Crossfire is free but SLi is licenced, hence why most boards have Crossfire and why only higher end boards have SLi. Seems like an opportunity missed by Nvidia.
     
  17. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Seriously.. who cares how "new" the platform is? X58 is still the best option for a serious power user, and still has the most promising upgrade path. It's still the fastest platform.. still offers the best bandwidth... still the only platform to offer 2 16x PCI lanes for SLI. Whether any of that is of use to you is up to you, but "newer" doesn't always mean better.

    The questions are, do you need absolute maximum memory bandwidth? 2 16x PCI? Upgrade to 6 cores? If not... then go with 1156.
     
  18. jonnypb

    jonnypb New Member

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    Apart from video encoding especially for AVCHD but like you say apart from HT the i7 860 doesn't have much over the i5 750
     

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