Mainstream Quad-Core CPU Comparison

By on September 14, 2009, 3:12 AM
Update: Based on your phenomenal feedback, we have added benchmarks results for the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 to our mainstream CPU performance shootout published last Friday. While the original intention for this article was to compare the current outgoing platforms and CPUs in the mainstream price range (at least for us, enthusiasts), many of you pointed out that comparing against the old mainstream champion (Q6600) would give you the perfect information to evaluate a potential upgrade. Also please note that in our review of the Intel Core i5 750 we compared this CPU against the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650, giving you a bigger picture for comparing directly against older generation platforms. Original news post is below Looking back, quad-core processors have had quite the run already. Intel's first quad-core CPU, the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 was released almost three years ago, with the much more popular Q6600 following up months later at a rather steep $850. As you may recall it was quite the luxury then to have one of these at your disposal. Today we find ourselves with very different and diversified offerings from both companies, that are not only cheaper but also significantly faster. Just take for example AMD's Phenom II X4 945 that can be purchased for as little as $170, not to mention Intel's most recent release, the Core i5 750, which is meant to crush its competitors offering top notch performance at the $199 price point.
With more powerful quad-core processors becoming mainstream, and with so many options currently available, we wanted to know which CPU provides users with the most value at under $300. That said, we won't just be evaluating the value of the individual processors, but also their accompanying platforms. Read the complete review.




User Comments: 51

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LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Love this review. The truth is...everyone wants a quad core pc. Dont lie, yeah I'm looking at you too. Well maybe not everyone, but for those of us that build are more often than ever(pre 2007 when "dual core" was dominant) wanting more out of our computers. To make a review with a specific price point is/was a great idea for people jumping into the multi core pc market. So again, great read and review.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Love this review. The truth is...everyone wants a quad core pc

. Dont lie, yeah I'm looking at you too.

Geezus your mean! :p

anyway great review. the quad core market just more exciting and it seems that quad computing is on the verge of actually arriving. im accumulating parts for an i7 build, and setting aside $$ to snap up four of the DX11 cards this fall......oh yes, and waiting for some benchmarks....(ahem)^

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Yea yeah Red I know. I'm on a netbook as we speak, working on reassembling my desktop with vertex ssd's a new case and flashy lights.

gguerra said:

Best bang for the buck (IMO)

Intel Core I7 CPU's

This one is $299 Intel Core i7 860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz

This one is $279 Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz

These prices will fall. There are many good deals popping up lately on these CPU's

gguerra said:

Next step down would be the Core 2 Quad series

[link]

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Yea yeah Red I know. I'm on a netbook as we speak, working on reassembling my desktop with vertex ssd's a new case and flashy lights.

LOL , just givin ya the needle

I thought you hated flashy lights!

glad you brought that up, are those the best?, and what case did you decide on?

Staff
Steve Steve said:

@gguerra

We were well aware of those prices when writing the article. While you are certainly entitled to your opinion I think there is little denying that the Core i5 750 is by far the best value quad-core processor right now. In fact I will be proving this very soon in an upcoming clock to clock performance article.

On another note thanks for all the great feedback guys.

gguerra said:

, post: 794826"]We were well aware of those prices when writing the article.

Sorry, I was not aware of the article. I was only responding to Julio's question (thread). I was also not aware of the Core i5. I will read more about it.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Sorry, I was not aware of the article. I was only responding to Julio's question (thread). I was also not aware of the Core i5. I will read more about it.

Ahh no problem I thought you just read the article, enjoy

Ritwik7 Ritwik7, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Brilliant review. Hope the i5 releases in India soon. Will definitely make it my first preference when building my friend's rig later this month.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

If you have a MicroCenter near you then here's a deal you should pay attention to - they never adjusted their prices when they started going back up:

[link]

Guest said:

That's where I got it for my son's computer. I expected the new line-up to come out and screw me royally price-wise but wanted to build a computer in time for my son's birthday. I'm, personally, now looking at the i5 for my main machine.

howzz1854 said:

the best bang for the buck right now is still the Q6600. overclockable up to 4ghz with a mere $180 price tag, not to mention what really makes it the bang is the low price of DDR2 (you can easily get total of 8gigs of them for dirt cheap), and a decently priced P45 mobo.

gguerra said:

the best bang for the buck right now is still the Q6600. overclockable up to 4ghz with a mere $180 price tag, not to mention what really makes it the bang is the low price of DDR2 (you can easily get total of 8gigs of them for dirt cheap), and a decently priced P45 mobo.

Don't mean to hijack the thread. I OC'd my Q6600 to a modest 3.0Ghz with a cheap cooler (slightly better than stock). I only increased FSB to 333 and didnt mess with any other settings. Running on a Asus P5K-VM Mobo with integrated graphics. What other settings would I change to go higher speed? Isn't 4Ghz kind of stretching it? What type of cooling would you use to OC it to 4Ghz.

howzz1854 said:

it all depends on the temperature of your overclock and the quality of your mobo. when the above two are satisfied, all that limits your speed is the quality of the cpu silicon and the amount of patience you have. from the looks of your specs, you're limited by both of these factors. you need at least a Xigmatek S1283 heatsink or equivalent, and a quality mobo like an Asus P5Q Deluxe or Gigabyte P45 UD3P. these are just the two major factors (aside from speed of your ram, and quality of your power supply).

4Ghz is a bit of a strech for most general public, but not for a water cooled setup. I've got two Q6600 at home one does 3.5ghz while the other at 4Ghz. the one @ 4Ghz requires water and voltage of 1.5v to the core. but with decent air cooler, it does 3.5~3.6ghz easy.

most of the Q6600 G0 stepping are well capable of 3.4ghz and above, so it's really a good deal consider how cheap DDR2 and P45 mobo is.

Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

One benchmark I would like to see with these processors is a video encoding or DVD ripping test, using a software like Handbrake. I'm interested in seeing if hyperthreading would have any significant benefits there, as those processes are highly thread-able.

Badfinger said:

I'd like to see how the much more expensive 9xx Intel series CPUs faired, just for comparison sake.

I'm still satisfied with my E8400 dual core rig, waiting as long as possible before upgrading, atm.

I was on newegg and several users said these aren't a big upgrade from good dual cores, and QX6600's.

If upgrading from lower, definitely go for it, however! 8)

Regular hard drives are still holding Windows back, no surprise really, damn resource piggy.

Guest said:

Sir very nice review :) I totally agree with it except the pricing Point of view. You yourself have posted the link of AM3 motherboard , please look once I saw a $77 AM3 based Mb then why you have only included $180 while you have given a price range in i5 segment .?

Please edit it as it creates FUD. a 400$ system for Phenom II with top of the line CPU makes more sense :) http://techspot.pricegrabber.com/search_attrib.php?form_keyw
rd=AM3&topcat_id=&Search=Go&page_id=40&st=
ilter-query

Edit : Just a $60 Am2+ Mb in which Am3 based processor will work http://techspot.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid
728644330/search=AM3/st=product/sv=title

There is plethora of options there why you only included $180 Mb ?

Regards

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Before I begin let me just say that we are going to add Core 2 Quad Q6600 results in the next 12 hours or so

At howzz1854, how can the Q6600 be the best bang for your buck at $180 US right now? You can't but it as far as I am aware and have not been able to for quite some time. In any case the Q6600 is orders slower than the Core i5 750 and at $20 US less you would have to be crazy to go for the Q6600 instead and DDR2 memory is going to save you just as little as will a good quality P45 motherboard.

At gguerra, we were able to overclock the Core i5 750 to over 4.0GHz on the ASUS P55 motherboard by doing nothing more than increasing the base clock, no other settings were messed with. You can probably reach 3.4 - 3.6GHz with a little fine tuning.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

LOL , just givin ya the needle

I thought you hated flashy lights!

glad you brought that up, are those the best?, and what case did you decide on?

I got a mountainmods ascension case, and its huge.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

, post: 794994"]Before I begin let me just say that we are going to add Core 2 Quad Q6600 results in the next 12 hours or so

At howzz1854, how can the Q6600 be the best bang for your buck at $180 US right now? You can't but it as far as I am aware and have not been able to for quite some time. In any case the Q6600 is orders slower than the Core i5 750 and at $20 US less you would have to be crazy to go for the Q6600 instead and DDR2 memory is going to save you just as little as will a good quality P45 motherboard.

At gguerra, we were able to overclock the Core i5 750 to over 4.0GHz on the ASUS P55 motherboard by doing nothing more than increasing the base clock, no other settings were messed with. You can probably reach 3.4 - 3.6GHz with a little fine tuning.

The core temp threshold is a lot higher on a i7/i5 model as well. I think intel says 80C, but I've primed mine for over 5 hours at 95C. You also couldnt oc a q6600 on a stock cooler to 4ghz, and from what I read getting it that high is a little more luck than ease. So by the time you purchase 40dollar heatsink and hours spent trouble shooting you'll just say, man I should have got that i5.

windmill007 said:

Running a Intel Wolfdale E8500 Overclocked to 3.8GHz. Would I really see much more performance from a I7 or even I5 for everyday use and gaming? For the price right now there is really no benefit going to the new I7 or I5. Sure if you are doing major video editing or just have to have a quad core to say u have one...then by all means...but for the majority they will see nothing any faster. Save some bucks... The Wolfdale cores rock and are very overclockable. I overclocked one of the cheap ones E5300 ($69) to 3GHz and it was super fast.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

For gaming no its not worth it, not now at least, maybe next year, but for production software sure.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

For gaming you can get away with a lot less than an overclocked E8500 like supersmashbrada said. At least for now

Guest said:

"Please edit it as it creates FUD. a 400$ system for Phenom II with top of the line CPU makes more sense http://techspot.pricegrabber.com/search_attrib.php?form_keyw
rd=AM3&topcat_id=&Search=Go&page_id=40&st=
ilte r-query

Edit : Just a $60 Am2+ Mb in which Am3 based processor will work http://techspot.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid
728644330/search=AM3/st=product/sv=title

There is plethora of options there why you only included $180 Mb ?"

My thoughts exactly. There are tons of users with AM2+ Mobo's that will benefit from a mere cpu upgrade...as my friend and I did.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

If someone was to build a Phenom II X4 965 system today why on god's green earth would they buy a $60 ASUS M2A74AM motherboard? Okay spend well over $200 on a processor to pair it with a motherboard featuring just 4-SATA ports, a single PCIe x16 port and two DDR2 DIMM slots.

We are not creating fear, uncertainty and doubt; it's really just more about common sense.

The Phenom II X4 965 system was slow enough as it was when compared to the Core i5 750 and now you are saying save $100 on the motherboard to drop a heap of essential features and overclocking performance to make it even slower.

In the past we have done budget building guides and we have featured processors such as the Phenom II X4 940/940 and paired them with cheap DDR2 motherboards as it makes sense. We are hardly going to suggest buying the AM3 version of these processors at a significant price difference to stick it on an old $60 motherboard.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

"We are not creating fear, uncertainty and doubt; it's really just more about common sense."

That's such a great quote, just insert it in your sig and it may increase a person's IQ by 15 points if they learn to understand it.

Steve I agree with your argument of why drop your budget on a motherboard 100usd to save money. Its Equivalent to taking cylinders out of a honda accord, or chopping a leg off a 3 legged horse, or cutting the roof off a shack.

From my experience I'll never purchase a motherboard with less than 6 sata pots. All mine are now full, and not from just hdd/ssd's. My blueray drive has a home there too. I would never suggest spending 400 dollars on a mobo like I have myself to just get 6 sata ports, there are some msi, gigabyte and even cheaper brands that offer you "most for your money" effects and with at least 8 sata ports. That goes for both intel and amd setups.

Ritwik7 Ritwik7, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Exactly as you put it Steve. Especially the fact of how important a good mobo is considering system stability for OCing. (The Phenom II is a highly overclockable chip. If you're spending money on it, it's a loss not to OC.)

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

, post: 795336"]If someone was to build a Phenom II X4 965 system today why on god's green earth would they buy a $60 ASUS M2A74AM motherboard? Okay spend well over $200 on a processor to pair it with a motherboard featuring just 4-SATA ports, a single PCIe x16 port and two DDR2 DIMM slots.

We are not creating fear, uncertainty and doubt; it's really just more about common sense.

The Phenom II X4 965 system was slow enough as it was when compared to the Core i5 750 and now you are saying save $100 on the motherboard to drop a heap of essential features and overclocking performance to make it even slower.

In the past we have done budget building guides and we have featured processors such as the Phenom II X4 940/940 and paired them with cheap DDR2 motherboards as it makes sense. We are hardly going to suggest buying the AM3 version of these processors at a significant price difference to stick it on an old $60 motherboard.

now thats hard to improve on!

Staff
Steve Steve said:

"We are not creating fear, uncertainty and doubt; it's really just more about common sense."

That's such a great quote, just insert it in your sig and it may increase a person's IQ by 15 points if they learn to understand it.

Haha if only it worked like that

Exactly as you put it Steve. Especially the fact of how important a good mobo is considering system stability for OCing. (The Phenom II is a highly overclockable chip. If you're spending money on it, it's a loss not to OC.)

Agreed and thanks for commenting.

now thats hard to improve on!

Yes but I am sure my point is flawed, the guest will find a way Thanks for the feedback though!

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Lets gets the responses back to basic standards, the review was meant to show bang for your buck of the most competitive quad core processors that will be mainstream for some time to come. The i5 will eventually replace the core 2 duo/quad(at least the duos at 130usd+ price range). AMD has a competitive mainstream chip, which I'm happy about and it wont cost you 1k usd to put it together. So for goodness sake, lets come with some complimentary post here.

Guest said:

I would not recommend the p55 platform to anyone... Both 790FX and x58 chipsets have enough PCIe Lanes for 2 GPUs (at least 2x16 Lanes PCIe2.0) but noone seems to care (not only here at techspot!) that the new platform only supports 16PCIe Lanes (+4 over the Southbridge=crappy ****) so if you want a second GPU the performance is falling down the stairs (2x8 vs 2x16 lanes). You could say: "I don't want a 2nd GPU either so it's great" .....ehhmmm nope, you see there is only 4GB/s throughput between the southbridge and the CPU so "all the other things" (PhysX card, Sound card, SATA3 Raid controller, Networking, USB, FireWire, Wlan, Bluetooth, DVD, Blu-Ray, Card Reader, TV-tuner or whatsoever) have to share this tiny bandwitch so it can get pretty full pretty fast, for example the x58/Bloomfield(QPI-Link) can communicate with each other at 25,6GByte/s nearly 7x times faster.

BTW intel shows with its i7-920 how cheap a high-end processor could get (which is way more complex to build/make than Lynnfield i5/i7) and then on the other side those x58 Boards (which production costs are the same as P55 because theres no northbridge at all, but Intel wants them to be expensive) so you can choose: cheap cpu with expensive board or expensive cpu (the pricing of the i7-870 is a joke) and cheap board..... oohh thank god for the almighty Intel :/

Staff
Steve Steve said:

You have to ask yourself if no one seems to care, is there anything to really care about? All the technical information that you have used to build your case was included in our original LGA1156 platform review so we are obviously well aware of these points.

First let me address your PCI Express lane concerns. As you said what if you don't want a second GPU and I think we should start with that since the vast majority of gamers don't. Then those that do will go for something like the Radeon HD 4870 X2 or GeForce GTX 295 removing the need for a second slot.

However more importantly have you run a PCI Express x16 graphics card in a PCIe 2.0 port using x8 bandwidth? Given that PCIe 2.0 has twice the bandwidth of PCI 1.0 x8 is essentially x16 so a pair of GeForce GTX 285 graphics cards running SLI using PCIe 2.0 x8 bandwidth should see almost no performance loss.

Now for your argument about the limited chipset to CPU bandwidth. Yes you only have 4GB/s using the DMI chip-to-chip interconnect but how do you think past chipsets have worked? Only the X58 features QPI and that is only required because the PCI lanes are in the chipset and not the CPU.

You confused me with your statement about 4GB/s being a tiny bandwidth for devices such as (PhysX card, Sound card, SATA3 Raid controller, Networking, USB, FireWire, Wlan, Bluetooth, DVD, Blu-Ray, Card Reader, TV-tuner or whatsoever). Let's assume for a second that real live people use add-in PhysX cards which they don't, most of them are PCI and the same goes for sound cards limiting them to a little over 100MB/s of shared bandwidth.

Let's do the math's based on your examples shall we. PhysX card = 100MB/s, Sound card = 100MB/s (not even close but I will be generous), Networking = 100MB/s (if you are lucky which you won't be), USB/ FireWire = 20 - 30MB/s per device, DVD/Blu-Ray = not a lot. Then you have the SATA3 Raid controller that you mentioned. Now if you are going to spend hundreds of dollars on an add-in RAID card then it stands to reason you are not after a P55 motherboard in the first place...

So when all is said and done the most bandwidth demanding devices you have is a Gigabit Ethernet controller using just under 100MB/s and a 6-port SATA controller which when loaded with normal hard drives wouldn't even use 500MB/s if all drives were going berserk at the same time. Therefore by my modest calculations I estimate that the average user would be able to consume about a quarter of the available memory bandwidth.

On a final note you were right about the Core i7 870 processor, the pricing is a joke

Guest said:

I must admit my arguments were a bit exaggerated, but my concern come as I'm up to buying me a new rig so I read a lot about pros and cons of different platforms. The first thing I thought of seeing the new ASUS boards: "ohh, great! those look awesome! triple SLi and 24!!! hybrid power phases " and then after a few minutes: "wait, theres no triple Sli?" as you said i wouldn't propably ever use it, but then why 3 PCIex16 slots? I think every average user would think it supports 3 Graphic cards.

As I started to build up my new PC (in my mind) I thought of having double GTX275/1,7G as they supports 3D gaming (I saw it at the gamescom in cologne and i think it's really great) and 24" 3D display (which should be coming this fall/winter) so this could be a great setup to play at FullHD-3D, but then I saw this Crysis Warhead benchmark of the new HD5870 (AMD claims it being 50% faster than a GTX285 = must have) + a comparsion of running graphics at 2x8 lanes and 2x16 lanes (i think it was on tomshardware.com/us) where the performance boost on lynnfield was smaller then bloomfields by about 10% a little overclock will do i thought, but then would it really do having a Radeon HD5870 and then maybe a second one in a year or two?

Even if it isn't an issue at this point, it could be in two years... and if I spend over two grands on a PC I surely want that it lasts High-End or at least mainstream as long as possible.....

btw I would never buy a HD4870x2 cause its way too loud neither the GTX295 because it has only 896MB vram per chip which is no good running high-res(downscaling) +/or hybrid aa

Next, the DMI... the first thing: I thought the DMI is for everything BUT ram and gpu(s) so PCI slots are affected the same way PCIe slots are, but even then it would be hard enough to clog it, but one more time i am not interested in the past but future and i think (in 2 years or so) having 2 SSDs cracking up 2GB/s+, 10Gbit LAN, multiple USB3.0 devices and HDTV running at the same time isn't that far from plausible...

You're propably right too if you say i'm not after a P55, but as we both know Intel has no interest in selling the 250$ i7-920 longer than December making the x58 platform exclusive for enthusiasts. With their new i7-960 which will have a hefty price tag it isn't affordable anymore and what if I don't get the cash before the end of the year or if I want to make an upgrade by sometime?

My PC is already 8 years old (xp3200+,2GB ddr400,GF FX5900) so i want the new one to last at least the same (no i'm not having bad time owning all the consoles^^) so i really have hard time deciding which platform i should take this time Lynnfield, Bloomfield or maybe even Deneb...

And now to you "Steve" I really do think you're making great job answering all the posts, response to my first one came already in 20 minutes after I wrote it, impressive.

PS: this shouldn't get this long ;)

Staff
Steve Steve said:

I see what you are saying but let me address a few of your concerns/questions.

Triple SLI is a waste of time and money, the performance boost you get from the third graphics card is pathetic. This technology is only for the rich and has no place in a build with any kind of realistic budget.

When talking about heat and operating volume the GeForce GTX 295 is no worse than a pair of GeForce GTX 285 graphics cards and in a lot of ways it is better. If you are concerned with volume upgrade the cooler, there are now a few options available. That said I see no reason why most gamers would not be more than happy with a single GeForce GTX 285, its bloody fast, or at least it has been over the past year or so.

As for your argument of wanting to add another graphics card down the track such as another Radeon HD 5870, that just never goes to plan. Everyone thinks "hey that's great I can add another graphics card to boost performance when this one becomes to slow" but the problem is by the time this happens there will be a new single card that will slay a pair of your current graphics cards.

Again SLI and Crossfire are in no sense designed to save you money or make things easier down the track. They are for extreme high-end systems where users want every last bit of performance no matter the cost.

It is going to be a long time before you can buy an SSD capable of even 1GB/s for less than what you paid for your car and when are you expecting 10Gbit LAN? Furthermore how are you going to get 10Gbit LAN and USB 3.0 out of your X58 motherboard that clearly doesn't support it anyway? Expensive add in cards down the track, it would just be cheaper to buy a new motherboard.

The simple fact is computers no matter how grand you make them do not last 8 years in the gaming industry. At best you will have it last 3-4 years without an upgrade but even then a 3 year old graphics card is not something you want to be caught gaming with.

It sounds like to me you are going about your situation all wrong (no offence). Those that can only afford or justify a major upgrade once a decade should be building a system from our budget guides. A budget system that you upgrade once every 2 years will serve you much better than a high-end system you upgrade once every 5-8 years.

Anyway food for thought... ohh and you should really look at signing up for the TechSpot forums, its a great place to get help and even ideas about new computer builds.

pmkrefeld said:

Re

As you can see my PC is really old, past years I was using consoles only cause they're cheaper... therefore I don't have any real-life experience with up to date hardware, everything I know is what I read on sities like this one. As i'm going to spend a lot of money on my new setup, I think my concerns are justified seeing benchmarks with today top of the line 300$ cards going under 20fps in crysis (or stalker) all over the internet, (or better nVidia claiming the 8400gs to be a great card for DX10 gaming) I also had the opportunity to play Warhead on the new Fujitsu Celcius Ultra and even there frames were going down to 25fps from time to time, so I'm thinking of Sli/Crossfire as of the only possibility to play future games havin smooth framerates... I'm propably over reacting again, but you have to admit that it's really hard to trust manufacturers and believe their claims about their hardware.....

One more time, thanks for the feedback

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Crysis is an extreme and rare case, that said the game looks very good and can be enjoyed using medium quality settings. Other new games and those upcoming such as Modern Warfare 2 will play extremely well on a GeForce GTX 285. In fact despite having every latest graphics card at my disposal I only use a GeForce GTX 275 as it is capable of playing the latest games in all their glory with Crysis being the exception.

If you would like to discuss graphics card performance more check out this section of the forums...

http://www.techspot.com/vb/menu8.html

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Again SLI and Crossfire are in no sense designed to save you money or make things easier down the track. They are for extreme high-end systems where users want every last bit of performance no matter the cost.

Hi Steve,

I need to add a note on this. I agree that CrossfireX is not for everyone, it is much more driver dependent for its performance than a single card, however, I have put together crossfire machines for others, and for myself with 3x HD 4850's and at a $200 savings over a GTX 295. I am also getting better frame rates in Crysis/Warhead on very high/Enthusiast settings than I have seen with a GTX 295 setup.(i posted my FPS in my budget build guide in the guides area if your interested) if done correctly, and again its not for everyone, it can fit a need and do very well performance wise.If not for DX11 emerging,(I'm one that has to have it) I believe that my configuration would easily perform through the next gen of games.

anyway, just wanted to get that in there. you don't seem to chime in on the comment side to terribly often, but when you do its always insightful. keep up the great reviews

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Excellent article, especially with the Q6600 marks added (which made a respectable showing). Think I'll hang on to my mildly o/c'd Q9550 for a while longer.

Guest said:

"We are hardly going to suggest buying the AM3 version of these processors at a significant price difference to stick it on an old $60 motherboard."

To each his own. I would hardly suggest paying $300 on a new AM3 motherboard and DDR3 when you have a perfectly capable AM2+ mobo and 1066 DDR2 already. Just doesn't make sense unless you have lots of $$ to spend.. in that case go with Intel. BTY I happen to have a Gigabyte GA-MA790FX board..which is a well optioned mobo. No offence or anything. Techspots rocks. Usually your articles are excellent.

aaron86 said:

Steve: I do agree that the new core i5 are very interesting, but I think you dismiss the AMD offerings to fast. I just bought a Phenom II 945 for 160 and paired it with a 60 dollar AM2+ Gigabyte MB that I got 7 months ago. The processor is great and the MB is solid. You dismissed 60 dollar MB's earlier because they usually only have 1 PCI Express slot, but so what? I thought this article was for "mainstream." If that includes people who shell out for dual graphics cards then I have a completely different definition of the word.

Also the new Phenom II 945 that I got reduced the TDP from 125 to 95W, so that should help in the way of power consumption.

Now you say that someone lacks common sense because they use an AM3 CPU in an AM2+ board. Can I ask you though, lets say someone somehow is using the same CPU, GPU, and RAM in both an AM2+ board and an AM3 board. Other than extreme overclocking, would there really be any difference in performance? I stuck with AM2+ because the MB are a LOT cheaper and at the time I didn't think the price difference between DDR2 and DDR3 was worth it (I got 4GB of DDR2 for 20 dollars after rebates while 4GB of DDR3 was > 100 at the time). Thanks for the article.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

"We are hardly going to suggest buying the AM3 version of these processors at a significant price difference to stick it on an old $60 motherboard."

To each his own. I would hardly suggest paying $300 on a new AM3 motherboard and DDR3 when you have a perfectly capable AM2+ mobo and 1066 DDR2 already. Just doesn't make sense unless you have lots of $$ to spend.. in that case go with Intel. BTY I happen to have a Gigabyte GA-MA790FX board..which is a well optioned mobo. No offence or anything. Techspots rocks. Usually your articles are excellent.

You are comparing apples to oranges I think. The cheapest you can get a 790FX motherboard of any sort is $130 - $140. The AM3 boards that we suggested were just $40 US more, that is hardly going to break the bank and it allows you to jump on the latest platform. I would much prefer to recommend someone spends a little more to invest in the latest platform that will likely provide them with a better upgrade solution in the future.

As for the memory we price the same stuff for both the LGA1156 and AM3 platform and it was for quality memory. However you can buy crummy 4GB DDR2 and DDR3 memory kits for $40 - $50 so these days you are not really saving by going for DDR2 memory. Furthermore perfectly capable DDR2-1066 kits start at $65, just $15 more than the DDR3 memory we were recommending anyway.

Hi aaron86, I have spent the last month doing nothing but testing the Core i5 750 against the latest Phenom II X4 processors and trust me I am dismissing nothing fast.

That is great that you were able to buy a Phenom II X4 945 for $160, it's a nice processor and with a $60 motherboard it will get the job done. In fact I have built similar systems for friends on tight budgets but for those looking to spend a little more I often advise they get a much better motherboard as I believe it is the last component you should skimp on.

I believe you are taking my issues with SLI out of context here, let me explain. I did not dismiss the cheap motherboard simply because it lacked a second PCI Express x16 slot. I recommended gamers and the like avoid them as they are "cheap" you get what you pay for. These boards lack SATA ports, many of the do not offer RAID, there is no Firewire, cheap onboard Audio, often poor overclocking and in many cases just two DIMM slots.

Of course if none of that bothers you then sure save the money but we are not going to assume that our readers do not want all these things. Furthermore how can we compare a full stocked P55 motherboard that has every single feature you could possibly want to a lemon?

"Now you say that someone lacks common sense because they use an AM3 CPU in an AM2+ board. Can I ask you though, lets say someone somehow is using the same CPU, GPU, and RAM in both an AM2+ board and an AM3 board. Other than extreme overclocking, would there really be any difference in performance?"

If you read our past AM3 processor reviews you will see that we strongly recommended using these processors on AM2 boards with DDR2 memory. This was because the AM3 platform only offers a slight performance advantage and at the time the boards and DDR3 memory was fetching quite a high price premium. However today that is no longer the case and with the AM3 platform and DDR3 being the way of the future why not invest now and save yourself money in the future?

At the end of the day we could have used a low-end budget motherboard with our $250 Phenom II X4 965 processor and we could have saved $20 on memory and when all is said and done the total build would be about $400.

So here is my new conclusion then, buy the Phenom II X4 965 with a cheap and nasty motherboard and DDR2 memory for $30 less than the faster significantly more efficient Core i5 750 with a high-end feature rich motherboard and DDR3 memory, you can't go wrong. - (*Not necessarily the opinion of TechSpot).

On a side note you do not want to see how the Phenom II X4 945 compares to the Core i7 750, it gets absolutely destroyed. So if you were to build today saving even over $100 by going with the Phenom II X4 945 would not be worth it in my opinion unless you were looking for the cheapest possible build in which case why even by a quad-core processor in the first place?

I should also mention that I initially hated the LGA1156 platform and I hated even the very idea of it. Why does Intel need two platforms I keep saying? But now that I have seen the madness behind it the end result makes much more sense. The Core i5 750 is an impressive processor and I have found it to be clock for clock exactly the same as the Core i7 870 in almost every test.

Guest said:

Over at anandtech their Far Cry 2 bench is very different to this, there the Phenom II x4 wins the FPS race.. the same holds true in H.A.W.X. So, from a gamers point of view, which results should I trust?

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Where are you looking? These results look very much like ours...

[link]

spikester48661 spikester48661 said:

for me AMD is the way to go.intel,s CPU are good but for the $$$ and mobos its not for me. its a good post all to see.

Guest said:

Re. the chart on the first page of the article.

I believe the Max TDP on the i7 920 is 130W vs. 95W.

See http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=37147

Cheers.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Re. the chart on the first page of the article.

I believe the Max TDP on the i7 920 is 130W vs. 95W.

See http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=37147

Cheers.

Not sure where you are looking still but it doesn't matter, you cannot cross compare results using different hardware.

Why are you now randomly quoting TDP ratings that are given by the manufacture? When it comes to power consumption the Intel processors are much lower and much more efficient if you were trying to argue the point!??!!

Guest said:

Sorry Steve.. I should have been more precise. The Anandtech artickle I tried to referre to is this one on the Farcry 2 bench results:

http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3639&p=3

Guest said:

I think you should have mentioned, due to Intel's new roadmap, the i7 920 is proably going the way of the dodo.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

I think you should have mentioned, due to Intel's new roadmap, the i7 920 is proably going the way of the dodo.

because its being replaced by the i950

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