Strolling Through Lynnfield: Intel's New SuperFast SuperAffordable CPU! Part 10
Of course, there's RAM and then there's RAM. I'm a huge believer in DDR3 sticks, but only only only in a triple channel setup. I am always completely astonished whenver I see some computer manufacturer shipping out Core i7 systems with 8 GB of RAM. If you have 4 GB, 8 GB, or 16 GB of RAM in your Core i7, you've been taken for a ride by your computer salesman. You see, those configurations are strictly dual channel and the fact of the matter is that DDR3 RAM in dual channel setup simply does not utilize the majority of the benefits of DDR3!
A Core i7 system has to be configured with triple channel memory, therefore, 3 GB, 6 GB, 9 GB, 12 GB and ongoing multiples are the hot setup.
Keep in mind that although computer racers have been plunking outrageously fast DDR3 RAM onto their Bloomfield systems almost from the very first day they were placed on computer retailer shelves, Intel has only ever officially supported DDR3-800 and DDR3-1066 for the Bloomies. Lynnfield takes one step forward in the "official RAM category" by fully supporting DDR3-1333 in its specification sheet. Yes, "there aint no substitute for lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of RAM" but if that RAM is faster than your buddy's then you have even more cause to celebrate!
Now we get to the main reason I recommend the Core i7 to almost anyone who is interested in anything more powerful than a basic web surfing system is because when you calculate the cost, it really is roughly equivalent to any other much less powerful system
The i7 920 is currently at newegg.com at $279. If you poke around the net you might find it close to $250. Compare that to newegg.com's current price for:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 2.5GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80580Q8300
of $179 and is the hundred bucks or less difference really going to break the budget when you consider the overwhelming performance advantage?
I had a Q8400 before my i7 920 and it was like going from a Commodore 64 to a Blue Gene/Q running at 20 Petaflops.
One of the very vocal arguments voiced by the very vocal minority of Core i7 detractors is the cost of motherboards. Yes, you can easily spend $450 or even much more on a megazoomy motherboard for your Core i7, but the question is do you truly and actually need it?
My system is a Dell, so it's about as basic as it can get. The motherboard does an admirable job of running the Core i7 920 at 21x multiplier and I don't overclock at all. That's a darn good thing since the Dell motherboard which is a proprietary part produced by Foxconn exclusively for Mike's company won't allow for any overclocking. It's not available in the BIOS, not supported in any way, and as far as I know no hacker has been able to slap together a BIOS flash that will let you overclock the motherboard. So much for overclocking on my computer!