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Building a new system, Stuck on deciding on Motherboard etc.


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#1
rocknje

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Hello,

I am editing this post because I have decided on a few things. I have picked my processor. I went with the Core i7 over AMD because of the sweet price at Microcenter $199. Here is the rest of the thread.

I am building a new system and I am not sure which route to take in terms of which motherboard etc. Here is some info on what I am building a computer for. I am building this computer for music production and not gaming. Software I use is FL Studio and Protools as well as plugging in instruments to the computer for recording. I need a computer system that won't bogg down when I have all these softwares and plug-ins open. I already bought some parts and I am looking to spend $500 more, but no more than $600 more.

Once again, I am not a gamer, but when it comes to overclocking, I might do a small overclock, but I will not be overclocking like most gamers do.

For a motherboard, I am really not sure which one to decide on. Here are a few brands I have been looking at are EVGA, Gigabyte and ASUS. What about other brands like Intel, Foxconn, MSI, DFI?

Since I am not a gamer, do you still recommend I get a cooler for the CPU?

Any recommendations for Memory to go with my Core i7 processor. I bought this video card from Best Buy the VisionTek HD 4350 ATI Radeon Video Card, should I keep or upgrade it?

For Sound card people have recommended M-Audio an EMU for music production, What do you guys think?

Any recommendations for a good thermal paste?

I am using Windows XP 32bit, but I will need to get a 64bit so I can take full advantage of the memory. I am leaning towards the Windows Vista 64bit. Should I go with this? Anybody have any issues with vista?

Here is a copy of my build so far.

Jeff's Final Build -- http://secure.newegg...Number=11266892


Thank you very much for your time

Edited by rocknje, 11 July 2009 - 07:06 PM.

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#2
W-Unit

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As for the processor, it's true that AMD is cheaper, but you get what you pay for. Pricing on procs is very competitive and I've found that you never really pay for a brand in this case; if you spend more, you generally will get more (of course, the converse is true as well). Intel is also undeniably the current leader in technology, and given their history, it's a good bet they'll stay this way for a while, so you're also looking at good forward-compatibility. So, I would highly recommend the Core i7 as it is a far more advanced processor than any AMD chip currently available.
Remember, though, that a Core i7 will demand a more expensive setup in other areas, such as the PSU (the one you've already got looks fine though), mobo (most LGA1366 mobos are pretty expensive), and memory (you'll need DDR3 triple-channel). If this adds up to too much, you may want to look at the Intel Core 2 family, as these are great processors as well, but, like an AMD chip, they will be compatible with cheaper motherboards and memory.
Nothing against AMD; I'm not one to have brand loyalty. I do actually believe that the Phenom triple-core processor has better value than any Intel processor besides the i7, however it is not as powerful as Intel's Core 2 Quad processors.

As for the mobo, you need to decide what all you want, and then look for the mobo that best accomodates (sp?) this. Obviously you need to know whether you're going the Intel or AMD route first as this is the most important part of choosing a motherboard. Most LGA1366 mobos (meaning the ones that are compatible with the Core i7) are fairly expensive and high-end, and every one that I've seen uses DDR3 triple-channel memory, so that also answers your memory question if you're going the i7 route. If you were considering buying DDR2 or DDR3 dual-channel for an i7 rig, my advice is simply this: don't. To me that would be like putting regular-grade gasoline in a Lamborghini.
If you decide on an AMD chip, then it's up to you. However I would still strongly recommend going with DDR3 triple-channel memory as it is only marginally more expensive and even at a lower operating frequency performs much better than any other type.

In either case, you'll want to look for a mobo with good forward-compatibility. Motherboards are probably the least fun thing to upgrade, so don't be afraid to spend a lot to get a good one, even if it means making sacrifices in other areas. Make sure there are ample PCI-E x16 slots- I recommend one that is capable of running three PCI-E cards at x16/x16/x1 or better. I got the Asus P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard for my i7 build and am very satisfied with it. I personally tend to stay away from Intel motherboards as they seem to have compatibility issues with various brands of memory.

I don't know much about sound cards because I'm the type of person that just tends to use onboard sound, but last I heard Creative was the dominant brand in that department. You may want to double-check that though. Will you be using this PC for editing, though? Because usually the only people who need a discrete (meaning non-onboard) sound card are the ones who are interesting in audio mixing/editing/etc. Almost all motherboards come with quite good onboard sound, so be sure this is something you really want before you get it.

As for your video card, it depends largely on what you'll be using the PC for. If you're a gamer, you'll want to upgrade to Radeon 3800 or 4800 series. Based on your current budget I would avoid Nvidia cards as you'll get more bang for your buck with ATI, although if you later want a cutting-edge card and have some extra money to spend Nvidia usually is the way to go. If you're not much of a gamer, then just get a card that does what you want- e.g. Blu-ray capability if you're interested in that, and don't worry too much about its performance. The difference between high-performance and low- or medium-performance cards is in their 3D rendering capability. It's important to realize that this does not include things such as video watching or editing, and that in fact the only common use for 3D rendering is gaming.
Also keep in mind that upgrading the video card is a breeze and you can do it any time you want. So if you find that you need every penny of that $600 you've got for other things, don't sweat it- you'd much rather get a great mobo and processor now than have a video card that your system can hardly keep up with.

As for the case, I love my Antec Nine Hundred and would certainly recommend it. But it really boils down to personal preference. If you're worried about room, I would say don't be; a mid-tower case will almost certainly suffice for what it sounds like you want. It's difficult to give recommendations here though because like I said it's mostly personal preference.

I haven't done a price check, but tbh with the Core i7 processor costing about $275, a compatible mobo costing probably somewhere around $250 upwards, and still needing a sound card (possibly?), case, and memory, it sounds like an i7 rig may be a bit out of your budget. Still do your own check first if this is really want you want, though. Otherwise, look at a Core 2 Quad and Phenom x4 builds as these are very good value, and while they may not be too far in price from a Core i7 they will generally allow you to save quite a bit on the motherboard and memory. Phenom x3 is also a good choice if you really need to save money; it outperforms Core 2 Duos and is wayyy cheaper.

Hope this helps and happy building!
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#3
rocknje

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As for the processor, it's true that AMD is cheaper, but you get what you pay for. Pricing on procs is very competitive and I've found that you never really pay for a brand in this case; if you spend more, you generally will get more (of course, the converse is true as well). Intel is also undeniably the current leader in technology, and given their history, it's a good bet they'll stay this way for a while, so you're also looking at good forward-compatibility. So, I would highly recommend the Core i7 as it is a far more advanced processor than any AMD chip currently available.
Remember, though, that a Core i7 will demand a more expensive setup in other areas, such as the PSU (the one you've already got looks fine though), mobo (most LGA1366 mobos are pretty expensive), and memory (you'll need DDR3 triple-channel). If this adds up to too much, you may want to look at the Intel Core 2 family, as these are great processors as well, but, like an AMD chip, they will be compatible with cheaper motherboards and memory.
Nothing against AMD; I'm not one to have brand loyalty. I do actually believe that the Phenom triple-core processor has better value than any Intel processor besides the i7, however it is not as powerful as Intel's Core 2 Quad processors.

As for the mobo, you need to decide what all you want, and then look for the mobo that best accomodates (sp?) this. Obviously you need to know whether you're going the Intel or AMD route first as this is the most important part of choosing a motherboard. Most LGA1366 mobos (meaning the ones that are compatible with the Core i7) are fairly expensive and high-end, and every one that I've seen uses DDR3 triple-channel memory, so that also answers your memory question if you're going the i7 route. If you were considering buying DDR2 or DDR3 dual-channel for an i7 rig, my advice is simply this: don't. To me that would be like putting regular-grade gasoline in a Lamborghini.
If you decide on an AMD chip, then it's up to you. However I would still strongly recommend going with DDR3 triple-channel memory as it is only marginally more expensive and even at a lower operating frequency performs much better than any other type.

In either case, you'll want to look for a mobo with good forward-compatibility. Motherboards are probably the least fun thing to upgrade, so don't be afraid to spend a lot to get a good one, even if it means making sacrifices in other areas. Make sure there are ample PCI-E x16 slots- I recommend one that is capable of running three PCI-E cards at x16/x16/x1 or better. I got the Asus P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard for my i7 build and am very satisfied with it. I personally tend to stay away from Intel motherboards as they seem to have compatibility issues with various brands of memory.

I don't know much about sound cards because I'm the type of person that just tends to use onboard sound, but last I heard Creative was the dominant brand in that department. You may want to double-check that though. Will you be using this PC for editing, though? Because usually the only people who need a discrete (meaning non-onboard) sound card are the ones who are interesting in audio mixing/editing/etc. Almost all motherboards come with quite good onboard sound, so be sure this is something you really want before you get it.

As for your video card, it depends largely on what you'll be using the PC for. If you're a gamer, you'll want to upgrade to Radeon 3800 or 4800 series. Based on your current budget I would avoid Nvidia cards as you'll get more bang for your buck with ATI, although if you later want a cutting-edge card and have some extra money to spend Nvidia usually is the way to go. If you're not much of a gamer, then just get a card that does what you want- e.g. Blu-ray capability if you're interested in that, and don't worry too much about its performance. The difference between high-performance and low- or medium-performance cards is in their 3D rendering capability. It's important to realize that this does not include things such as video watching or editing, and that in fact the only common use for 3D rendering is gaming.
Also keep in mind that upgrading the video card is a breeze and you can do it any time you want. So if you find that you need every penny of that $600 you've got for other things, don't sweat it- you'd much rather get a great mobo and processor now than have a video card that your system can hardly keep up with.

As for the case, I love my Antec Nine Hundred and would certainly recommend it. But it really boils down to personal preference. If you're worried about room, I would say don't be; a mid-tower case will almost certainly suffice for what it sounds like you want. It's difficult to give recommendations here though because like I said it's mostly personal preference.

I haven't done a price check, but tbh with the Core i7 processor costing about $275, a compatible mobo costing probably somewhere around $250 upwards, and still needing a sound card (possibly?), case, and memory, it sounds like an i7 rig may be a bit out of your budget. Still do your own check first if this is really want you want, though. Otherwise, look at a Core 2 Quad and Phenom x4 builds as these are very good value, and while they may not be too far in price from a Core i7 they will generally allow you to save quite a bit on the motherboard and memory. Phenom x3 is also a good choice if you really need to save money; it outperforms Core 2 Duos and is wayyy cheaper.

Hope this helps and happy building!



Thank you very much for your intake. Please keep on eye on this thread, I will have more questions a bit later as I ingest more of what you said. The Core i7 looks like it will be out of my range. I didn't get a chance to put a comparison wish list together to see what the price differences are. As of right now, I am leaning towards the AMD 955 processor I have listed. Affordable and I can purchase other things as well. I am going to make my final decision by the weekend.

I will have more thoughts later. Thank you again.
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#4
MoNsTeReNeRgY22

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I just ordered parts for my new pc today, and I went with i7 because if you have a MicroCenter near you they have the 920 D0 for only $199!
http://www.microcent...duct_id=0302727

I was in the same boat as you because I was going to go with AMD until I saw that. If you decide to go with AMD, wait a week or two. The AMD Phenom II X4 965 is suppoused to be on the way with a clock speed of 3.4 GHz! It is also said to be priced at about $250. But it is up to you, but in the end, Intel will beat out AMD 99% of the time.
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#5
MoNsTeReNeRgY22

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**Double Post**

Edited by MoNsTeReNeRgY22, 08 July 2009 - 01:13 AM.

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#6
MoNsTeReNeRgY22

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**Double Post**

Edited by MoNsTeReNeRgY22, 08 July 2009 - 01:13 AM.

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#7
mpascal

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The 955 is a fantastic processor, I know a few people personally that have had great success with it. Good luck with your decision :)

-mp
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#8
rocknje

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I just ordered parts for my new pc today, and I went with i7 because if you have a MicroCenter near you they have the 920 D0 for only $199!
http://www.microcent...duct_id=0302727

I was in the same boat as you because I was going to go with AMD until I saw that. If you decide to go with AMD, wait a week or two. The AMD Phenom II X4 965 is suppoused to be on the way with a clock speed of 3.4 GHz! It is also said to be priced at about $250. But it is up to you, but in the end, Intel will beat out AMD 99% of the time.



Thank you for your response. Where did you get your info on the new AMD coming out? When I do a regular search for the Intel processor I can't find it anywhere on the site. When I click your link I find it. What is a private label processor? What is the difference?

When it comes down to the Core i7 which is at 2.67ghz and then the AMD 955 which is at 3.2ghz, why would I go with the Core i7 920 when the AMD 955 is faster? Probably a dumb question, but I am new with these sort of things.

Anybody have any suggestions on what I should do about the operating system?

Thank you again.
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#9
stettybet0

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When it comes down to the Core i7 which is at 2.67ghz and then the AMD 955 which is at 3.2ghz, why would I go with the Core i7 920 when the AMD 955 is faster? Probably a dumb question, but I am new with these sort of things.

You're comparing apples and oranges. The Core i7's microarchitecture is, clock-for-clock, much faster than anything AMD has come up with thus far. The raw speeds (2.67ghz and 3.2ghz, respectively) don't really mean anything unless you are comparing within the same processor family (ie. a 2.67ghz Core i7 vs a 3.0ghz Core i7).

Also, the Core i7 920 that MicroCenter is selling is the normal retail version. The reason you might not be able to find it on their search is mainly because their search system is pretty awful.

For operating system, get Vista Home Premium (64-bit), and then use the free upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) in October when Windows 7 is available.
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#10
rocknje

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When it comes down to the Core i7 which is at 2.67ghz and then the AMD 955 which is at 3.2ghz, why would I go with the Core i7 920 when the AMD 955 is faster? Probably a dumb question, but I am new with these sort of things.

You're comparing apples and oranges. The Core i7's microarchitecture is, clock-for-clock, much faster than anything AMD has come up with thus far. The raw speeds (2.67ghz and 3.2ghz, respectively) don't really mean anything unless you are comparing within the same processor family (ie. a 2.67ghz Core i7 vs a 3.0ghz Core i7).

Also, the Core i7 920 that MicroCenter is selling is the normal retail version. The reason you might not be able to find it on their search is mainly because their search system is pretty awful.

For operating system, get Vista Home Premium (64-bit), and then use the free upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) in October when Windows 7 is available.


Thank you for your reply. Is this retail version the same as what NewEgg is selling? Would you say that the i7 is way faster than the AMD 955 or just a small margin?

OS Wise, even though you recommend Vista, do you think I should just use the Win7 RC version?
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#11
rocknje

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When it comes down to the Core i7 which is at 2.67ghz and then the AMD 955 which is at 3.2ghz, why would I go with the Core i7 920 when the AMD 955 is faster? Probably a dumb question, but I am new with these sort of things.

You're comparing apples and oranges. The Core i7's microarchitecture is, clock-for-clock, much faster than anything AMD has come up with thus far. The raw speeds (2.67ghz and 3.2ghz, respectively) don't really mean anything unless you are comparing within the same processor family (ie. a 2.67ghz Core i7 vs a 3.0ghz Core i7).

Also, the Core i7 920 that MicroCenter is selling is the normal retail version. The reason you might not be able to find it on their search is mainly because their search system is pretty awful.

For operating system, get Vista Home Premium (64-bit), and then use the free upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) in October when Windows 7 is available.


Thank you for your reply. Is this retail version the same as what NewEgg is selling? Would you say that the i7 is way faster than the AMD 955 or just a small margin?

OS Wise, even though you recommend Vista, do you think I should just use the Win7 RC version?
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#12
stettybet0

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Yes, it is the same retail version that NewEgg is selling. As you can see here the Core i7 920 bests the AMD Phenom II X4 955 in every single test, except for some gaming tests where it comes up roughly equal due to the fact that the GPU is the limiting factor.

Honestly, Vista SP2 and Windows 7 are pretty much the same. If you like the Windows 7 RC, go ahead and use it.
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#13
W-Unit

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The i7 is way faster than the AMD 955. Probably the biggest reason for this is that, while both are quad-core processors, the i7 is hyper-threaded, which means that it can support two data streams per core. It is accurate to call the Core i7 an octo-core processor for this reason, since each physical core acts as two logical cores. There are other more technical reasons that the i7 outperforms any AMD chip as well, but this is probably the biggest reason.
Also, I think this was mentioned before, but ever since the Pentium-series processors went out of the mainstream, comparing processors has been much more complicated than comparing their operating frequencies. For instance, those antiquated Pentium 4 processors operated in the 3.0-4.0 GHz range (maybe even more than 4.0; I can't quite remember), while today's Core 2 and Core i7 processors operate around 2.5-3.2 GHz, yet the modern processors are, obviously, many times faster than the Pentium. This comes from such aspects as being multi-core, cache sizes, word size (x86 vs x64), etc. If you are comparing two processors in the same family, for example two Core i7 processors, however, the operating frequency becomes a more meaningful point of comparison.

As for your OS question, I wouldn't advise having ONLY an RC or beta operating system on a machine, just as an issue of principle. More often than not, there's a reason why it's a release candidate and it's not quite ready to be a full release. Moreover, I haven't looked into Windows 7 very much, but I would be afraid of running into some backward-compatibility issues. I do have a couple friends who use Windows 7 as their primary OS and they report some minor problems with networking, but generally it seems to be stable.
If it's money you're concerned about here, keep in mind that even if you go with the Windows 7 RC, you'll inevitably have to buy the real Windows 7 release once it comes out. Which is not a problem really, just worth pointing out that you'll either spend money now on Vista then get Windows 7 free later, or save money now but then have to buy Windows 7 later. If the cost of Vista is getting in the way of the hardware you want, the second option might be better.

Also remember, since it looks like you're really squeezing your budget here, that you want to focus on the processor and motherboard. These parts are the heart of your PC and are generally the least upgradable. Most everything else you can swap out later- the case and PSU might be tedious components to change out but it can be done, and besides these 4 parts everything else is pretty much plug-n-play. So if you need to sacrifice on memory or anything like that, don't be afraid to- adding or upgrading memory at a later time couldn't be easier. Also if the build you want is really close to budget, I would highly suggest holding off on the sound card unless you feel it is very important, as the sound card is the one part of your build that is totally optional. Most onboard sound chipsets these days are quite good and will certainly tide you over for general computing purposes until you can afford a discrete card. I currently have my Logitech 5.1 surround sound speaker system connected to my onboard sound and have been totally satisfied with it.

Hope this helps!
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#14
rocknje

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The i7 is way faster than the AMD 955. Probably the biggest reason for this is that, while both are quad-core processors, the i7 is hyper-threaded, which means that it can support two data streams per core. It is accurate to call the Core i7 an octo-core processor for this reason, since each physical core acts as two logical cores. There are other more technical reasons that the i7 outperforms any AMD chip as well, but this is probably the biggest reason.
Also, I think this was mentioned before, but ever since the Pentium-series processors went out of the mainstream, comparing processors has been much more complicated than comparing their operating frequencies. For instance, those antiquated Pentium 4 processors operated in the 3.0-4.0 GHz range (maybe even more than 4.0; I can't quite remember), while today's Core 2 and Core i7 processors operate around 2.5-3.2 GHz, yet the modern processors are, obviously, many times faster than the Pentium. This comes from such aspects as being multi-core, cache sizes, word size (x86 vs x64), etc. If you are comparing two processors in the same family, for example two Core i7 processors, however, the operating frequency becomes a more meaningful point of comparison.

As for your OS question, I wouldn't advise having ONLY an RC or beta operating system on a machine, just as an issue of principle. More often than not, there's a reason why it's a release candidate and it's not quite ready to be a full release. Moreover, I haven't looked into Windows 7 very much, but I would be afraid of running into some backward-compatibility issues. I do have a couple friends who use Windows 7 as their primary OS and they report some minor problems with networking, but generally it seems to be stable.
If it's money you're concerned about here, keep in mind that even if you go with the Windows 7 RC, you'll inevitably have to buy the real Windows 7 release once it comes out. Which is not a problem really, just worth pointing out that you'll either spend money now on Vista then get Windows 7 free later, or save money now but then have to buy Windows 7 later. If the cost of Vista is getting in the way of the hardware you want, the second option might be better.

Also remember, since it looks like you're really squeezing your budget here, that you want to focus on the processor and motherboard. These parts are the heart of your PC and are generally the least upgradable. Most everything else you can swap out later- the case and PSU might be tedious components to change out but it can be done, and besides these 4 parts everything else is pretty much plug-n-play. So if you need to sacrifice on memory or anything like that, don't be afraid to- adding or upgrading memory at a later time couldn't be easier. Also if the build you want is really close to budget, I would highly suggest holding off on the sound card unless you feel it is very important, as the sound card is the one part of your build that is totally optional. Most onboard sound chipsets these days are quite good and will certainly tide you over for general computing purposes until you can afford a discrete card. I currently have my Logitech 5.1 surround sound speaker system connected to my onboard sound and have been totally satisfied with it.

Hope this helps!



Thank you very much for your time and assistance. I really do appreciate it. Thank you for the great reply. Helped a lot. Please keep an eye out on this thread. I am going to sit down more thoroughly on what you said as well as others here this weekend. I will probably have more questions then. Good thing is I am getting great info and I am hoping to make a decision by Sunday or I might even wait one more week to make sure.

I am leaning towards going the vista 64bit with a free upgrade to Win7 deal. Do you guys think since Microcenter has that deal for $199, I should then take the Core i7 route then? Is this the decision decider?
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#15
stettybet0

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The i7 is way faster than the AMD 955. Probably the biggest reason for this is that, while both are quad-core processors, the i7 is hyper-threaded, which means that it can support two data streams per core. It is accurate to call the Core i7 an octo-core processor for this reason, since each physical core acts as two logical cores. There are other more technical reasons that the i7 outperforms any AMD chip as well, but this is probably the biggest reason.

It would not be accurate to call the Core i7 an octo-core processor; it would be accurate to call it a quad-core processor with hyper-threading. As we learned back with Pentium 4s, hyper-threading doesn't come close to providing the benefits that a native dual-core (in the case of Pentium 4s) or octo-core (in the case of Core i7s) would provide. In addition, even if the Core i7 was an octo-core processor, there are very, very few programs that would utilize eight cores. The Core i7, however, bests any AMD CPU even in programs that only utilize one or two cores. So, the number of cores and/or the presence of hyper-threading clearly aren't the "biggest reason[s]" why the Core i7 outperforms any AMD CPU. The actual reason, as I stated earlier in this topic, is that the Core i7 microarchitecture is far superior. That is, the way the Core i7 handles instructions is more efficient than how AMD CPUs handle instructions.

Pentium 4 processors operated in the 3.0-4.0 GHz range (maybe even more than 4.0; I can't quite remember), while today's Core 2 and Core i7 processors operate around 2.5-3.2 GHz, yet the modern processors are, obviously, many times faster than the Pentium. This comes from such aspects as being multi-core, cache sizes, word size (x86 vs x64), etc. If you are comparing two processors in the same family, for example two Core i7 processors, however, the operating frequency becomes a more meaningful point of comparison.

Again, the performance discrepancy comes largely from differences in microarchitecture, not from the things listed. Additional cores only provide benefit in programs that can utilize multiple cores, yet the Core 2 and Core i7 CPUs still beat Pentium 4s in applications which only utilize one core. Cache size causes a small difference, though it doesn't come close to accounting for the large performance difference we see, and only 64-bit programs running on a 64-bit OS will take advantage of 64-bit instructions on the CPU, yet the Core 2 and Core i7s still beat the Pentium 4s in 32-bit programs.

As for your OS question, I wouldn't advise having ONLY an RC or beta operating system on a machine, just as an issue of principle. More often than not, there's a reason why it's a release candidate and it's not quite ready to be a full release. Moreover, I haven't looked into Windows 7 very much, but I would be afraid of running into some backward-compatibility issues. I do have a couple friends who use Windows 7 as their primary OS and they report some minor problems with networking, but generally it seems to be stable. If it's money you're concerned about here, keep in mind that even if you go with the Windows 7 RC, you'll inevitably have to buy the real Windows 7 release once it comes out. Which is not a problem really, just worth pointing out that you'll either spend money now on Vista then get Windows 7 free later, or save money now but then have to buy Windows 7 later. If the cost of Vista is getting in the way of the hardware you want, the second option might be better.

As someone who has looked into Windows 7 RC, I can say it is completely stable, and just as backward-compatible as Vista. That is, anything that runs on Vista will run on Windows 7. The later point is a good one though. Either way, you will end up spending about the same amount of money.

Also if the build you want is really close to budget, I would highly suggest holding off on the sound card unless you feel it is very important, as the sound card is the one part of your build that is totally optional. Most onboard sound chipsets these days are quite good and will certainly tide you over for general computing purposes until you can afford a discrete card. I currently have my Logitech 5.1 surround sound speaker system connected to my onboard sound and have been totally satisfied with it.

The OP stated in his first post that he was building the computer for music production and running digital audio tools, which may very well require, or at least function better, with a particular discrete sound card.

rocknje, if the Core i7 fits in your budget at $200, I'd definitely recommend you get it. As stated earlier, what you do with the operating system is up to you, as you will end up paying the same in the end.
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