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Old November 28th, 2009, 01:44 PM   #1
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Intel Hex-Core i9 processor

Slated for early 2010, the new Hex-Core i9 processor will be 50% faster than the fastest i7, and, get this, video encoding gets benefited using this processor as well. It runs cooler than the fastest i7 and can even be overclocked from 2.8GHz to 4.3GHz.

Here is an article;
Intel's six-core Gulftown processor benchmarked months early - TechSpot News

If i9 comes to $1k I will save up to get it, upgrading from my turtle Q6600. Too bad one needs a new motherboard for this chip, I am considering to move from ASUS to Gigabyte, any thoughts on this?
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Old November 28th, 2009, 02:11 PM   #2
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Rather premature.

I don't know if you have seen the benchmark comparisons on a Polish website, also based on an engineering sample and later removed at the request of Intel, but the increase in speed was not 50% but far less. Of course, being an engineering sample running on beta BIOS on established mobo's also makes any comparison at this stage premature.

It will be a significant step forward, but the question is, does it justify the price tag alluded to, around $ 1K? A properly overclocked i7-920 D0 stepping has no trouble achieving 4.0-4.2 GHZ at nice voltages.

As to your last question, ASUS and Gigabyte are from the same company and all X58 mobo's will support the Gulftown with a BIOS update. Both are good.
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Old November 28th, 2009, 05:01 PM   #3
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Thanks Harm,

Do you think it's best not to wait for i9 and settle for the i7 extreme edition (975 I think)?

Also, what do you consider a reliable motherboard brand aside from ASUS or Gigabyte. My current rig uses ASUS one and experience shows that this is not that reliable brand.

Thanks again
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Old November 28th, 2009, 06:21 PM   #4
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I heard the next generation of CPUs will be faster. ;p Not exactly a shocker. This will always be the case. My mantra is never spend too much on a given system because you'll want to buy a new one in a few years that will blow it away. If the lack of speed is costing you business then by all means upgrade. If its just an annoyance live with it until you have the money.

ASUS and Gigabyte are not owned by the same company. In 2006 they formed an alliance but always remained separate entities. Sometime after they parted ways. http://news.softpedia.com/news/Will-...ss-50911.shtml

Gigabyte has been gaining market share and in my opinion gives more value. Asus is still a quality mobo but a little over priced. All mobos can be quirky since they're on the cutting edge of tech, which often leads to driver issues with Windows or bugs they fix on subsequent revisions. People personal good or bad experiences can lead them to strong brand opinions like hard drive brands. People tend to have a worse opinion of the mobo they own because they know of all of its bugs and have a "grass is greener on the other side" view to other brands.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 03:46 AM   #5
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Renat,

I would doubt that the i7-975EE is worth the quadruple price of an i7-920 overclocked.
Both are available now and you can work on a very fast machine tomorrow (you still need to build it).

No doubt the Gulftown is much faster when it is available somewhere in Q2/3 2010. All the components you get now for an i7 system will remain usable, all you need to do is exchange the CPU and install a BIOS update. It seems like a waste of money to go for an i7-975 and exchange it next year for a Gulftown. So yes, I think getting an i7-920 now is the more sensible approach and you can see if the first benchmark results on the final Gulftown justify the investment. If not, you will have been working from tomorrow on a very fast and bang-for-the-buck system.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 12:05 PM   #6
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I'm with Harm. EE CPUs are just awful, from a price/performance perspective. You can get a 920 for about 5 times less than a 975. The 975 isn't even anywhere near 500% faster.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 12:29 PM   #7
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I'd love to have that if I had money to burn. Seems that desktops are leaving laptops in the dust. There was a time when they were using similarly powered cpu's.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 12:39 PM   #8
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Brian,

If you look at the results on a very decent laptop with an Intel P8600 in comparison to a high end desktop, it is about 7 times slower. http://ppbm3.com/benchmark.html
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Old November 29th, 2009, 01:30 PM   #9
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First, the i9 isn't slated for release until Q2, as it says right now, which means it'll be almost Q3 before you could properly configure a motherboard and get it ready for usage on your desk. You could do a lot of rendering on an i7 before Q3 of 2010! (some Intel schedule info: Intel's desktop roadmap leaked, with faster i5 and i7, introduction of i3 -- Engadget)

The good news of a new CPU release is actually not the CPU itself, but what it does to the pricing of all the CPUs preceding it, and THAT is the real win, allowing you to step up in the i7 you could otherwise afford, and/or allowing you to spend more money on a faster hard drive configuration, more RAM, etc.- where often the bigger performance impact can be felt.

But, Renat, I also wouldn't just jump on board with the highest spec configuration on a CPU, because the particular usage you are going to be interested in (probably) is stuff like video/audio rendering time (and what that means to working real-time editing with previews, etc.). Often times the results can be surprising. For example take a look at this breakdown on Toms (Intel Core i5 And Core i7: Intel?s Mainstream Magnum Opus : Introduction - Review Tom's Hardware). Very interesting as you consider the price vs. performance value proposition. Pay special attention to some of the media applications in the tests- where, for example, an i7-870 at 2.93Ghz is running neck and neck and sometimes outperforming an i7-920 at 2.66Ghz, even though the 920s are more expensive than the 870s. Basically, going with the 870 allows you to afford a higher Ghz with an end result of better performance. And jumping to the 'Extreme' edition of any of the Intel CPUs is often only minor improvements for what we video editors use CPUs for, but at exorbitantly higher cost.

On Asus vs. Gigabyte, it really depends on the model and the cpu configuration you're going for. They are both excellent brands, and frequently best each other model by model. You can't go wrong with either brand. I do like Gigabytes and they often are, as Pete mentioned, are probably generally a better overall value. I used to be a computer tech and I can say though, Asus has a loooong history of great product.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 02:54 PM   #10
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Imran,

I don't know where you live, but in the US and Europe the i7-870 is more than twice as expensive as the i7-920.

> where, for example, an i7-870 at 2.93Ghz is running neck and neck and sometimes outperforming an i7-920 at 2.66Ghz, even though the 920s are more expensive than the 870s.

The P55 mobo's are severely hampered in comparison to the X58 mobo's , since there is no upgrade to the Gulftown and they only have 16 PCIe lanes, versus the 36 lanes on X58 ones.

If you are content with the current state of technology, invest in a P55. If you want something future-proof, get X58.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #11
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I dont know why Intel marketed the Lynnfield/Clarksdale chips as "i7" when clearly physically they are different from the original Bloomfield i7 processor. These all use different sockets from the original i7 Bloomfield processor LGA 1366 (pins). The new processors use LGA 1156 (or uPGA-989 for mobile). Plus these new i7 processors only support dual channel memory needing memory installed as pairs. Whereas the original i7 Bloomfield offered much better triple channel memory requiring memory to be installed in triplets.

I mean they should have simply marketed these chips as "i6" instead. Because clearly they aren't as good as the original i7 Bloomfield but somewhat equivalent performance wise to the original i7 aimed for high mid range mass consumption. They do however offer some improvements like having PCI express and Direct Media Interface onboard the chip replacing the need for northbridge on the motherboard. Overall, unless you delve into processor specs, the branding could easily confuse people.

Intel calls its evolution roadmap "Tick-Tock" for its chip designs starting with last Pentium 4 design aka Netburst architecture. Every "Tock" introduces a new microarchitecture and every "Tick" introduces a shrinking of that same process to make improvements.

Tick - Netburst
Tock - Core - Conroe/Merom/Woodcrest/Kentsfield 65nm (marketed as Core 2/equivalent branding)
Tick - Penryn - Wolfdale/Yorkfield 45nm (marketed as Core 2/equivalent branding)
Tock - Nehalem - Bloomfield/Lynnfield/Clarksfield 45nm (marketed as i5 or i7 branding)
Tick - Westmere - Clarkdale/Gulftown/Arrandale 32nm (marketed as i3,i5,i7 or i9 branding)

So right now, with i3,i5 and i7s we are on the "Tock" with the introduction of Nehelam architecture which is a big leap from the last "Tock", the CORE architecture introduced in 2006. Nehalem is a new breed havng hyperthreading enabled, a memory controller on the chip, and an added L3 cache. Gulftown (and its mobile counterpart Arrandale and midrange desktop Clarkdale) will be an improvement shrinking the transistor size to 32nm allowing more space to squeeze in more stuff.

Sure you can overclock the current i7 processors to 4ghz or little more with proper cooling but the reason for wanting the next Gulftown processor is more multiprocessing threads. It isn't 50% faster because of raw clock performance but because there's roughly 50% more transistors processing power. So thats 6 CPU cores doubling to 12 processing threads with hyperthreading. Also it does run cooler - 50% less at idle and 10% at load from latest tests.

And yes Intel already has a roadmap for future chips being hard at work with the next processor Tock - "Sandy Bridge" with 8 cores. We should hear more buzz about it end of next year - and possibly slated release for 2011. Then the next Tick: "Ivy Bridge" shrinking it to 22nm, Tock: "Haswell" and so on....
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Old November 29th, 2009, 09:09 PM   #12
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The future in video rendering/processing/encoding is not CPUs but rather GPGPUs. Adobe has showcased their new tech, hopefully coming in CS5, using a nvidia card and Premiere with 5 full res 4k R3D layers playing in REAL TIME. Only the 2.8GHz+ dual-Xeons (Nehalem) systems can barely play a single red layer.

Currently, there is the Elemental Accelerator which comes bundled with nvidia Quadro FX cards (for $100 extra) and greatly speeds up H.264 and MPEG2 encoding from Premiere/AME.

The next step will be CPU+GPGPU in the same physical die. AMD has just released specs on upcoming chips and they will be offloading everything they can to the GPGPU even if the software is not coded for it.

Autodesk has been utilizing Quadros for real time work in their high end systems (ie Flame, Smoke). Its just a matter of time for Premiere and AE to utilize GPUs better, which should be seen in CS5.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 01:04 PM   #13
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Harm, you're right I made a mistake in my writing. My intention was to basically suggest that the Ghz to Ghz comparison puts the 800s cheaper than the 900s.

For example, currently the 2.8Ghz 860 is the same price as the 2.66Ghz 920 on Newegg, and when you compare the two, the Ghz is going to win out over the newer model.

That's what I meant to say, I got all tangled up with all the numbers.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 02:01 PM   #14
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Imran,

Do you realize we have been brainwashed by the computer industry, that made us believe that higher clock speeds are indicative of better performance. Well, that is not true. Consider a P4 3.4GHZ versus an i7-920 2.66 GHz. The P4 is left in the dust.

Clock speed means absolutely nothing. It is about efficiency and the i7-8xx is just not as efficient as the i7-9xx at the same clock speed. The i7-860 is about comparable in performance to an i7-920, even though the latter has a lower clock speed (2.8 vs. 2.66).

However, the most important point (at least from my point of view) is the mobo. The P55 is not future proof, the X58 is future proof for Gulftown, the P55 is crippled in PCIe lanes, the X58 has enough to satisfy future needs.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 03:59 PM   #15
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Actually Harm, Ghz is very important, but not by itself as a metric, so we're sort of saying the same thing but differently. Of course the particular cpu matters. The point is, when you have two cpus that seem identical but one is newer, and the one that is older has a higher Ghz in your price range, go with the higher Ghz even though it's older, because the higher Ghz will prove more valuable between the two models of the similar cpu.

You're right, Ghz can't be used as a metric by itself, but as a piece in a greater puzzle. Toms and other sites' metrics explain this much better than I can.
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