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irreversible

Planning an i7 setup

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I'm trying to put together the best possible i7 setup from scratch and there are a few questions I'm not too clear on: Currently I've come up with: Asus Socket 1366 P6T mobo Intel Core i7 920 4GB A-DATA DDR3 PC-16000 (2000MHz) RAM I'm moving my hard drives, sound card (a somewhat outdated Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro with an external rack) and graphics card (nVidia 7600GT) from my current setup. - The tower. I'll be using my current RAID0 setup, but I'd like to exapand it to 2xRAID0 (eg I don't have the money to buy a new pair of hard drives right now, but I'd like to add a terabyte mirror pair later on). Since I can't seem to find a really good resource on towers, I'm wondering if I should save up for a full tower or would a miditower do? What's the big different between ATX and ATX2? Or can anyone suggest a specific tower? - my current hard drives are IDE drives, but I'd like to add a pair of SATA drives later on. Will I need to consider something when mixing them? Would it make a massive difference (speed-wise) if the boot drive was an IDE drive rather than a SATA one? - will a 500W PSU cut it or should I go for something like 550 or 600? I have no current plans to upgrade the graphics card, but I would probably consider it if I got some more money. I'm gearing the computer primarily for audio/video production, not gaming.

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I would consider getting an 1156 mobo and cpu instead. They are marginally cheaper and the i7 860 is an excellent CPU which is often faster then the 920 you're looking at. From what I've read, the only real reason to go with a 1366 mobo is if you want to do SLI.

When I rebuilt my computer, I waited for the i5 release because I don't care about SLI. I got the i7 860 and it's plenty fast and has a lot of room for overclocking if that is what you're into. It runs cooler and more effeciently then the comparable 1366 CPU (the 920).

On the subject of cases... That's almost entirely up to personal choice. I tend to go a bit overboard on my case since I like it to look nice as well as be functional so I went with the FT01 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163120&cm_re=ft01-_-11-163-120-_-Product).

For the PSU, try to add up your components to find your minimum requirements. PSUs are most effecient when they operate at around 50% to 70% load. So you don't want to go too high or too low if you're concerned about the most effecient power usage.

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Quote:
Original post by tstrimp
I would consider getting an 1156 mobo and cpu instead. They are marginally cheaper and the i7 860 is an excellent CPU which is often faster then the 920 you're looking at.


Correct, there are a couple of cases where the 920 pulls ahead but for the majority of tests I've seen the 860 keeps pace and in some rare cases, due to a slightly higher clock, beats the 920.

Quote:

From what I've read, the only real reason to go with a 1366 mobo is if you want to do SLI.


SLI is a reason, they also have triple channel ram which while not really any faster in the real world can allow for greater capcity (I'm running a 12gig rig atm over 3 channels) and there is the compatibility with the coming 6core/12 thread chips although this isn't a compelling reason given the price its likely to launch at.

If I was building a system now I'd probably build a 860 based (with 16gig of ram "because I can") rather than a 920 based setup.

(My current setup will probably last me into 2012 at which point either the world will end OR I'll be jumping on the Haswell train (or whatever AMD have assuming they are high end competative).. mmmm vector co-processors [grin])

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Oh, and 1366 is a waste of money unless you're planning to run six sticks of RAM. Go with 1156.

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I have further inquiries - however my early Sundayish physical condition doesn't really make formulating those that easy.

My main points however (as far as I've understood) are:

(some what relevant to the discussion)
i7: lower FSB (RAM) clock speed (capped at 1033 MHz, which would make my 2GHz RAM choice from OP quite pointless) - *could use some confirmation on this
i5: faster clock speed, but no triple channel RAM, better turbo (not sure what that is TBH)

(irrelevant to the discussion)
i7: extensible in the future
i5: antiquated technology by definition

In the article posted by tstrimp most people seem to be voting for 920 and since I'm not in the UK right now I can see the price difference being around 6-7 euros between 860 vs 920 right now (the 920 being really marginally more expensive). This is trivial. Do you guys mean that cooling would be an issue? I've read some stuff about the 9xx series hitting almost 100C with stock cooling. I can't really get the big difference between the two.

I have absolutely no intention of even considering SLI. This is not going to be a gaming platform (I actually use my mid-grade laptop for that, which is more than enough for me).

What about the PSU? Can I feel confident with 500W?

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I don't know much about intel chips, I'm an amd fanboy.

but as for towers, the antec900-2 has been my pride an joy for 3 years now, everything ran cooler after getting it. I've been temted to invest in the newer antec1200, more room more airflow.

The main thing I'd point out is make sure the power supply is bottom mounted, I got a dinky raidmax tower, my old rig is in, that I modified so that the psu could be on the bottom and it lowered my cpu temps almost 10 degrees at full load.

If you're a big gamer, that plans to upgrade in the future get a full tower, running 2-4 graphics cards in a mid case really leaves you no room, not even for airflow. that raidmax is a mid tower and the 9800gtx in it blocks 3 of the hard drive slots.

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Quote:
Original post by Promit
Oh, and 1366 is a waste of money unless you're planning to run six sticks of RAM. Go with 1156.


while this is true, I wanted to point out, the 1366 platform with 6 sticks of ram is the only almost affordable way to run 12 GB of memory for hosting a virtualized rig (if you plan want to run multiple virtual servers on 1 machine, that would be the way to go).

Otherwise, 1156 is just fine for any normal workstation needs. If memory hadn't doubled in price in the last 6 months I would have been building a 920 x 12 GB rig myself soon, but since they did I'm just going to stick with my current quad core 4 GB rig for another year.

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Quote:
Original post by irreversible
(some what relevant to the discussion)
i7: lower FSB (RAM) clock speed (capped at 1033 MHz, which would make my 2GHz RAM choice from OP quite pointless) - *could use some confirmation on this
No. The RAM clocks can be dialed in at whatever you want, and then you set the CPU multiplier to get whatever frequency you want there. There is one nasty catch here, which is that some motherboards don't support 2000 or 1800 -- even if they support 2200.
Quote:
i5: faster clock speed, but no triple channel RAM, better turbo (not sure what that is TBH)
No 1156 platform has triple channel, i5 or i7. Triple channel is ineffective anyway.
Quote:

(irrelevant to the discussion)
i7: extensible in the future
i5: antiquated technology by definition
Not at all. i5 is simply the lower model dual core processor (hyperthreaded so 4 threads). The socket is what matters; 1156 and 1366 target different markets.

Personally I find it laughable to spring for an i7 at all while you're still running IDE drives, but suit yourself.

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