6 May 2009

i7 or not i7

I'm wondering what to do now. Put simply I have the following upgrade paths:

Common to both options:

GFX: 2xXFX 4830
PSU: 600W
HDD: *WD Raptor
Case: CM Storm Scout/CM Elite 335

Option 1: Core i7

CPU: Core i7 (2.66Ghz) D0 Stepping
Mobo: XFX MB (3 PCI-E x16)
RAM: 3GB DDR3 1600Mhz
CPU Cooler: CoolIt ALC

Option 2: Core2Quad

CPU: Quad core, very rare on HWBot (so I'm not saying yet)
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3L
RAM: *4GB DDR2 1066Mhz
CPU Cooler: Asus Extreme

* indicates already own

Basically, when I upgrade, I have to decide what to do with HAL. If I'm to use it as a crunching machine, I need a couple of 4830s or something in there, hence the XFX graphics cards. Ideally I want to stick it into a CoolerMaster Elite 335 Case, like Dutchie, with a 600W PSU. I decided on 4830s over 4850s because the 4830s are £76 each, the 4850s are £93 - £17 difference per card.

The CoolIt is really a main option for the Core i7 build, and would ultimately require a CM Storm Scout case. Until that point, the Verre V770 that HAL is in at the minute is simple enough if I went ahead with the Core2Quad. At some point I'm going to have to figure out what to do with that V770 case.

Costs are as follows:

Common: £347
Option 1: £495
Option 2: £284

Though given what's said, if I went Option 2, I could wait a while for the CM Scout, removing £105. On both I could wait for the GFX cards, and thus also the power supply for HAL, which is £246. So to initially build and start would require:

Option 1 start: £630 (CPU, Mobo, RAM, Cases, CPU Cooler)
Option 1 final: £212 (GFX, PSU)
Option 1 total: £842

Option 2 start: £314 (CPU, Mobo, CPU Cooler, 335 Case)
Option 2 final: £317 (Scout Case, GFX, PSU)
Option 2 total: £631

Thus Option 2 requires a lower starting amount.

However, we are talking Core2Quad vs. Core i7 here, what about the performance difference? Well, the Core i7 does beat the C2Q out of the water in every benchmark by about 25%, but the option 1 package is 33% more than option 2.

What I have here is do I pick a decent build from current tech, or take the leap into the back end of new tech? This will decide my direction ultimately for the build after, as I'll always be using the best of the current, but never with the benefits of the new (with regard to CPUs anyway).

Then there's another chip I want to test as well for HWBot, but that's a lot cheaper AM2 :) !

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