new quiet system: Core i7, or stick to Core 2?

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Evert
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new quiet system: Core i7, or stick to Core 2?

Post by Evert » Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:10 am

Hi all,

About to put a new system together. I've been looking a bit at the various Core i7 CPU's, but am actually tempted to use a Q9550S instead.

Would a Q9550S still enable me to build a Win7 gaming system which can handle most/all current games at a good speed?
(provided I use a swift GPU. Thinking about a HD 5770).
Greetings,
Evert

DonDon17
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Post by DonDon17 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:47 am

Hi,

I'm not to sure what you are after from your post, but I guess by posting here that noise is a concern for you too (?). I would go with the i7 CPU as the platform is quite new and should offer upgrade paths for the future.


I've just finished building myself a new PC and had a similar dilema at the choice of processors to use. In the end I opted for a D0 920 i7 . The main reason for this was to have a powerful platform for a gaming rig and still have an upgrade path for CPU's in the future. Having a quiet PC was also in my criteria, as my PC is located in my living room.

I spent quite a bit of time and effort to quieten down my old PC based on an Athlon 3200+ ( all air cooled not water ) and used modified GPU /CPU heatsinks, quiet PSU, and dampening foam.

I can honestly say the my new build is much quieter than my old PC.

My build was main components :

CPU - D0 920 i7 undervolted and overclocked at 3.6ghz
Motherboard - Asus PT6 SE
Case - Antec P183 - no using middle cage
PSU - Antec CP850
HDD- Crucial M225 128GB + Samsung 1TB F3 Spinpoint
Heatsink - Prolima Megahalem
RAM - 6GB Crucial kit
Soundcard - Asus Xonar D2X
Fans - 4x Akasa Apache pwn fans
OS - Windows 7 Pro
GPU - Radeon where is my 5850 :cry:

The main changes I made on the case was to not use the middle cage and add an intake Fan there ( Apache fan ) controlled using a Zalman fanmate2 ( had to mod slightly ).
I replaced the Antec tricool fans with 2 more Apaches and attached the
last one to the Prolima HS. All the exhaust fans were connected the motherboard pwn controller via an Akasa 4 in 1 pwn connector.
I changed the fan profile in the BOIS to 'Silent'.

Unfortunately I could get hold of the 5850 card I wanted so I butchered my Sister's Crossfire setup and used one of her 4770 cards :) .

Last thing I did was to play around with overclocking and undervolting. I had it stable at 1.1v @3.36Ghz, but decided to go with 3.6Ghz @ 1.1875.
Temps at idle are around 39 degrees ( 21 room temp ) and prime 95 had this max out at 60 degrees.
Last edited by DonDon17 on Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

Evert
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Post by Evert » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:58 am

Noise, but also # of Watt... The Q9550S is 65W, so should be easier to keep cool, right?
Greetings,
Evert

DonDon17
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Post by DonDon17 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:23 am

The power consumption of the Q9550s is quite similar to the i7 920, but in terms of cooling it comes down to the solution you use. For my rig, the HS easily handles the 130w TDP 920.

Look up an article from AnandTech, to quote
"Over the past few pages of performance, power and efficiency graphs we’ve proved that the Q9550S offers lower power, but also lower efficiency than other Intel CPUs. In particular, the Core i7 is a far more power efficient processor thanks to its significant performance advantage. Then why on earth would anyone ever consider the Q9550S or any of the other new 65W parts for that matter?
The answer lies in the thermals. ".

So for the same cooling solution the i7 would run hotter than the Q9550s. But I took that into account with my build and choose an relatively expensive but great cooling solution in the Megahelam.

You also pay quite a premium for the Q9550s vs the non 's' parts.


Btw for your graphics card if you can afford it go for the 5850, or if out of budget I've seen 4980 vapor x cards at reasonable prices.

In terms of lower power consumption , my move to win7 over xp in my new pc has lowered my overall consumption due to it's better power saving features.

Evert
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Post by Evert » Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:41 am

DonDon17 wrote:The power consumption of the Q9550s is quite similar to the i7 920, but in terms of cooling it comes down to the solution you use.
65W vs. 130W TDP? Not quite similar imho... 130W is 2x 65W!
So if I run them both at full blast the i7 will be sucking twice as much juice as the Q9550S...
Greetings,
Evert

DonDon17
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Post by DonDon17 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:17 am

I'm not sure running all cores on the processors full blast is indicative of a real world test..

Probably best to check out this article at Anandtech...Google 'Anandtech Q9550s' .
(I can't post the link yet due to being a newbie forum user).

Which includes the i7 920 and the Q9550s.

If you are using the rig for gaming for example the above article compares overall power usage for selected games.

For example in Fallout 3 :
"While all of the Core 2 Quads consumed around 2800 - 2900J of energy the Core i7s used 2625J and 2479J for the 965 and 920, respectively. Remember that a feature of Core i7 is the ability to completely cut power to one of the cores if it’s not being used. This feature is thanks to Intel’s power gate transistors, which aren’t used in the Core 2 Quads. In a game where all four cores aren’t taxed, Core i7 can pull ahead in energy efficiency despite using a similar amount of power to the rest of the contenders.

The i7-920 actually uses less energy in this test than the lowest power quad-core Penryn we have on the chart.".

Evert
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Post by Evert » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:21 am

Another quote from the same(?) article:
[quote]Remember the Core i7-920 that’s got such better power efficiency than the Q9550S? Well that doesn’t really matter if the CPU puts out too much heat. The i7-920’s cores got up to around 73C, the QX9770’s cores managed just under 60C while the Q9550S ran at a “coolâ€
Greetings,
Evert

Jay_S
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Post by Jay_S » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:26 am

I don't know where you live, but in the US market, the Q9550S is 20% more expensive than a Core i7 920. Add to this that facts that it's a) slower and b) locks you into the dead-end LGA775 socket. I can't see any reason to pay more for a dead socket. Will the Q9550S handle all your games, etc.? Certainly. But 18 months from now, when you're itching to upgrade again, you'll be tossing everything.

In any case, you should be looking at the Lynnfield i5 and i7 products. The 95W TDP Core i5 750 is the budget gamer's choice. The 95W Core i7 860 is cost-comparable to the 920, but faster and takes advantage of cheaper LGA1156 motherboards and only needs dual-channel RAM, etc.
it's the only jib I got, baby

NeilBlanchard
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:54 am

Hi,

It is a very rare game that is limited by the CPU, if I recall correctly. Maybe only flight simulators? All other games (most games!) are limited by the video card and/or RAM -- so I think "just" a Core 2 Duo would be fine for a gaming machine -- and spend your money/watts on the video card.
Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/

smilingcrow
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Post by smilingcrow » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:12 am

[quote="Evert"]Another quote from the same(?) article:
[quote]Remember the Core i7-920 that’s got such better power efficiency than the Q9550S? Well that doesn’t really matter if the CPU puts out too much heat. The i7-920’s cores got up to around 73C, the QX9770’s cores managed just under 60C while the Q9550S ran at a “coolâ€

Shamgar
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Post by Shamgar » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:15 am

LGA775 boards are increasingly being phased out by many retailers. So while you might find a cheap Core2 or Pentium Dual Core, finding a good board to pair it with may not be so easy. Most top tier manufacturers are focusing on the new platforms now. The only boards left in stock are low end models and also those from lower tier manufacturers.

The phasing out of LGA775 and Core2 and introduction of LGA1336/1156 and Core i7/i5 is leaving a degree of uncertainty for users in the low-middle end of the market. Because i7 is too high end, not to mention out of the question budget wise for someone like myself, while the benefits of i5's quadcore (plus lack of HT) is also questionable for me. That leaves next year's long awaited core i3 Clarkdale platform with IGP on the CPU. Yet so little information on that at present, and still questionable whether it's something that is suitable to my requirements. I'd rather choose my own GPU, rather than be forced to pay and be stuck with something I may not particularly like.

Okay, you might at this stage be thinking to suggest, go AMD. Well, I am an AMD user. Have been so for almost a decade. But I've had enough of them. Seriously so. Waiting on something Intel wise but holding off until sometime 2010.

RBBOT
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Post by RBBOT » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:28 am

I would also go for the 920. Bear in mind you can probably undervolt it to reduce the heat and still have it outperform a Q9550S.

Also, it's not just the CPU. DDR3 memory runs at lower power consumption than DDR2. Also, have you considered a Lynnfield processor? Then you don't have a northbridge to add heat either.

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