i7 or e8600?

Discussion in 'PC Purchasing Help' started by weaksauce, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. weaksauce

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    I'm trying to puzzle together a computer for my friend. Right now he's got opteron 148, 3gb and x1950pro. And it sucks, it sucks so much that I am never going to buy AMD or Ati again. So I'm thinking of getting a gigabyte gtx260oc, and I am wondering if I should keep the cpu, get an e8600 or get an i7(920)? I like the i7 because it's *new* but I'm wondering if those extra cores are just waste. He's never going to upgrade it so the longer it holds the better, but it would also be good if you could have the greatest bang for buck right now (in gaming).
    (btw, is the e8600 only compatible with ddr2 or can I have ddr3 on it? Does it make a difference?)
     
  2. Neb

    Neb Iron "BEAST" Man
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    The i7 got better tech, latencies etc. No contest it wins easily.For th E8600 you got x38/x48 mobos that exists in DDr2/DDr3 and DDr2 + DDr3 versions. I reckon the gain is not that much, ~10% tops vs DDr2 6400 judging by some tests I read before I bought my Gigabyte x48 DDr2 mobo.
     
  3. ShaidarHaran

    ShaidarHaran hardware monkey
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    How is it AMD's fault that your friend has out-dated components? Those were fine parts when they were released, some of the best in their class, in fact.

    If you're referring to some problem with the components it would be appropriate to cite said problem before railing against the IHV.

    For gaming the E8600 will be the fastest CPU, for the foreseeable future. A few games can deliver higher FPS with > 2 cores but generally this is at low resolution, and are excess frames (i.e. > 60).

    It's a tough call though. Socket T is a dead-end, so whatever he buys now will have to last. Also, as time goes by we do see a greater need for > 2 cores. The question is when will games stop being playable on what is essentially the fastest dual-core CPU ever made. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone has an answer to that question.

    Intel CPUs prior to the i7 series do not have any memory restrictions, as their memory controllers reside in the chipset. Core 2 chipsets support both DDR2 and DDR3. Heck I think Asrock even put out a board for Core 2 that supports original DDR. Not that anyone should ever buy such a thing... DDR2 is more-than-sufficient for optimal dual-core performance. DDR3 would be a waste on anything other than a highly-clocked Q6/Q9 or i7.
     
  4. pjbliverpool

    pjbliverpool B3D Scallywag
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    The i7's got way more horse power under the hood for gaming though. It may not be apparent in most games that are GPU limited but once you pump up the GPU power the i7 flys ahead.

    And there are some games out there that can make excellent use of its power. GTA4 being the best example. That game runs faster on a 3Ghz i7 than a 3.6Ghz quad Penryn.
     
  5. ShaidarHaran

    ShaidarHaran hardware monkey
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    I think you'll need to qualify these statements before they can be accepted at face value.

    Are we talking about actual gaming scenarios, or are we talking about extremely low resolution for which excess frames are already being delivered on any capable platform?
     
  6. pjbliverpool

    pjbliverpool B3D Scallywag
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    I GTA4's case its at high settings:

    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showpost.php?p=3480506&postcount=1

    And given how CPU limited the game is, the i7 could actually make the difference between playable and not playable at some of the highest settings:

    http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,...U_benchmark_review_with_13_processors/?page=2

    There were also the benchmarks from Guru3d was it? That showed i7 being with high end multi gpu setups to deliver massive performance improvements over Penyrn at high game settings. Almost twice as fast as a 3hz dual Penryn in some cases.
     
  7. ShaidarHaran

    ShaidarHaran hardware monkey
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    Fair enough, but its just one game, and likely a poorly optimized one at that (at least all the other GTA PC titles have been). For all we know they're trying to render some things on the CPU still, a situation which is obviously optimal in the console world (particularly PS3) but not for PCs.

    I would argue that this falls into the category of unnecessary frames. I mean, if a multi-GPU setup can't deliver more-than-playable FPS, what can?

    Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather have too many FPS than too few, but in order to be truly useful we'd need to be examing scenarios in which a game is unplayable on a C2D and playable on an i7.
     
  8. Davros

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    I think you should go quadcore. If hes not going to upgrade it he'll be glad of them in 3-4 years time
     
  9. pjbliverpool

    pjbliverpool B3D Scallywag
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    I don't have the link to hand but I think I remember at least one instance were the average was taken over 60fps when using an i7 compared to a dual Penryn. So thats a pretty significant difference as it would allow a vsnyc of 60fps as opposed to 30fps.

    EDIT: found the link. On the HD48xx setups the use of the i7 is actually the difference between playable and not playable at 1920x1200 in Crysis Warhead:

    http://www.guru3d.com/article/core-i7-multigpu-sli-crossfire-game-performance-review/14

    And Farcry 2 shows the i7 breaking (smashing in some cases) the 60fps barrier were the dual Penryn is unable to do so. Look at the tri-sli performance, even at 1920x1200 and max details the i7 more than doubles the Penryns performance!
     
    #9 pjbliverpool, Dec 8, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2008
  10. ShaidarHaran

    ShaidarHaran hardware monkey
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    Something about those benchmarks strikes me as odd. Why do no other reviews out there show the same kind of multi-GPU scaling (or complete lack thereof) on Penryn?

    I think I may have an answer to that question, and it is that these systems are memory-bound, especially running Vista. The test system configuration has 3GB in the i7 system and only 2GB for both Penryn platforms.
     
  11. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    I think if the memory size is the main issue, the performance difference would be much larger since paging is in general extremely slow.

    Anyway, to the original poster, my opinion is, if your friend does not like to upgrade his (or her) computer too often, it's probably better to go straight for i7. There are two reasons behind this: i7 is faster and will last longer, and if you go for Core 2, it's possible when you want to upgrade it two years later there'll be no options available.

    The downside of i7 is mainly about the price. The CPU itself is not very expensive, but motherboard and memory are expensive compared to Core 2's options.
     
  12. pjbliverpool

    pjbliverpool B3D Scallywag
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    Don't they though? The only other high end SLI test I saw for i7 was with Farcry 2, I can't remember where, might have been Toms hardware, but that showed a similar level of scaling.

    Other than that I haven't seen any comparable benchmarks. They all tend to use single GPU's or at best, modest SLI which shows a smaller difference. Often they are also using lower graphics settings to "highlight" CPU power however it could be that some graphics settings being turned down are actually the ones stressing the CPU the most and thus this is masking i7's advantage.

    Either way though, think the GTA4 case alone proves that i7 has more power under the hood, whether it can been seen yet on the majority of todays games/GPU's is a different matter.

    Its not just pure framerate in GTA4 either, if you look at the CPU utilisation for the i7's its insane. While quad Penryns are hitting the 50's, 60's and 70's the benches with i7 i've seen are in the 30's :shock:
     
  13. ShaidarHaran

    ShaidarHaran hardware monkey
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    Just to clarify:
    I don't doubt that i7 has more "horsepower" than Core 2. I'm just skeptical of these bencmarks particularly WRT Penryn's results.

    Twice the threads = half the utilization.
     
  14. Bludd

    Bludd Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall
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    Funny, It Worked Last Time...
    I'd like to see some triple SLI 280GTX or CrossfireX 4870x2 benches with the different Core i7s in GTA4.
     

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