Monday, January 12, 2009

Overclocking: Core i7 Vs. Phenom II : Conclusion 2

So What Do I Buy?

The Core i7 and Phenom II seem suited to two different customers. Indeed, there will undoubtedly be gamers who go all-AMD and are willing to sacrifice a bit of speed in order to save money and Intel loyalists who adopt i7 at a bit of extra cost for its newer technology. We thus see distinct advantages to each platform.

For the gamer or multimedia aficionado with a mind to performance, Intel’s Core i7 920 overclocked to 3.8 GHz simply delivers the most compelling experience. The ~$250 hardware price premium is the cost of entry over AMD’s solution, and we think it’s worth paying. AMD is planning its own shift to DDR3 in the first half of 2009, and less-expensive X58 boards are trickling out (the cheapest right now being Gigabyte's $210 EX58-UD3R), so the cost-difference will continue getting smaller.

If you’re instead buying for a more productivity-oriented purpose, the Phenom II makes sense. After all, it’s able to handle every task nearly as well as i7 does (both platforms overclocked, of course), it drops into existing AM2+ motherboards, it costs less, and in a majority of situations, will use substantially less power—even highly-tuned, as we've done here. We didn’t have as much luck overclocking the Phenom II as we expected, but the chip is still a notable improvement over AMD’s 65 nm Phenom series. [Read More Details]

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