A Warning

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I know the holidays are coming up, and since many of us are in the age range where we receive gifts, be it cash, toy, or tech. If it is cash, some of us may be looking to make a purchase or two in the way of a new computer or upgrading our existing one in various areas. It is at this time many sales come around, and we are thankful for the deals we seem to be scoring.

This holiday season however, the joke is going to be on us--That is, if we are not careful.

I draw your attention to the 1366 and 1156 processor sockets, the new kids on the block, boasting their DDR3, hyperthreading, among other things. I draw your attention to them and tell you that they are liars, deceivers wishing to part you and your money for performance gains that you will never see in real-world usage. They may destroy our 775 setups in benchmarking, but when it comes to your frames per second in your favorite title, the performance gains do not justify the cost.

And so I say to you, gamers, system builders, or just tech minded persons, do not be taken in this holiday season. Do not fall for these tricks, and play it smart.

This topic would simply be me trashing Intel's two new sockets, if I did not offer an alternative, and so I do:
Stick with 775 based systems.

Prices are at all time lows while the transition from this socket and its DDR2 memory takes place. Superior overclockers like the E5xxx series are dropping to sub 80$ and 4x2GB kits of DDR2 1066 are dropping below 60$ after tax and shipping when on sale.
For anyone who was going to drop enough cash for a i7 920, I say wait. I say grab a Q9550 and a P45, or even an X48 if you feel the need. You will save yourself a good deal of money on the RAM and motherboard by comparison, and you will still have roughly the same real world performance as if you went with the 920.

Now not all future sockets, architectures and advancements are doomed to these minimal price:performance gains. In fact, the entire reason I am saying to abstain from the current Core i5/i7s is because of what comes next: Sandy Bridge. (Future Intel microarchitecture, expected around 2010, based on a 32nm process.)

2010 is not far. It is a few months away, and since most of us will be acquiring our money around Christmas and the like, New Years will be right around the corner. I am project a Q1 to Q2 2010 release for Sandy Bridge, and it will be exactly what we have been waiting for.

We remember the step Core2 and Core2Quad were from Netburst (P4, PD ect.), but the Corei5/i7 are not that same step up. It is not nearly equivalent. There have been times where companies have outdone themselves to such a degree that advancement beyond said achievement becomes hard. I remind you of the Geforce 8 series, and how NV could not manage to have a true step up from their 8800GTX fast enough, prompting the 9 series to be minorly improved re-badges. If you could re-badge a CPU the way NV did with GPUs, that is what I declare the i5 and i7. Minorly improved Core2s and Core2Quads.

And I say this because I know soon, many of you will come to me, and ask me for build and upgrade advice. You will ask me about these Core i5s and i7s and you will ask me why I am recommending a socket that has already reached the end of its life. And I will point you here. Times are tough, none of us that I know of are overly wealthy, and we cannot afford to be wasteful or even unwise with what little we have. I will point you here and tell you of the Q9550 and of the cheap prices of DDR2 RAM. I will tell you of the minimal gains you would see with an i5/i7 /X58/DDR3 setup. I will tell you to wait if you can, and go with 775 if you cannot, because the money you save must go to Sandy Bridge if you want the best from your dollar.


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