Time to build a new workstation using intel's new I7
Posted on Nov 12, 2008 by Paul White
The new Intel i7 ( hits retailers Nov 17th 2008 ), is the next major leap in desktop computing. Come December I will be building a new Tower using the latest from intel.
My evolution of Computing
1998 - Starting college. Bought a Laptop Pentium 2, 300 mhz with 64 Megs ram. Cost $2500.
2003- Still using the laptop although the touchpad had been polished to a mirror finish due to my sliding finger, and I had upgraded the memory to 192 Megs. Decided it was time to move to a mouse and a real computer for web design. I build a mid tower using a intel Pentium 4, 2.6 Ghz and 1 GB of ram. Added a couple of 17" displays and I was good to go. Cost of the computer $1500, Cost of displays $900.
2005 - Bought a third display matching the other 2 off ebay plus a second video card to support it. Cost $200
2007 - Third display started to have problems. Bought 2 x 25 Inch widescreens. Rotated them 90s for a nice long panel for coding. Cost - $700
2008 - About to build a completely new computer.
The specs of my new computer.
Case - XCLIO Windtunnel Full Tower case with 640 Watt power supply, dual 250mm fans and temp display
CPU - Intel core i7 2.66 Ghz
Motherboard - Motherboard with LGA 1366 pin socket
Ram - 6GB total, 3 x 2GB DDR3
Video cards - To be Determined. All I know is they will be at least PCI Express x 16 and there will be two of them for 4 ports.
Sound - hopefully the motherboard will have this built in.
Network - Linksys N band network adapterHard drives
- 4 x 1 TB drives mounted in hotswap assembly ( fills 3 external slots ), configured in a RAID
OS: Windows XP
until windows 7
comes out. Vista is a resource hog.
Here is the board I have decided on for my system. the ASUS X58 P6T and yes I will be running 2 x 146GB 15K SAS
drives on it in RAID
Why buy a new computer now?
With all the new ways Intel has named its chips it hasn't been very obvious to the average consumer where we are in the evolution of CPUs. It used to be pretty easy. 386, 486, Pentium, Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium IV, Then finally intel ditched the Pentium name. For marketing
reasons they really need to stick to a new pattern that consumers can easily recognize what is better. the core i7 should do this. Ever since Pentium there hasn't really been that much change in CPUs with the exception of clock speed and cache. The new core i7 is different. In the past chips used what is called a northbridge to access the ram. Now the core i7 has this build in and no longer needs to go through a northbridge to do this. Plus instead of having dual dual cores in a single package, they now have 4 truely individual cores, that are all independently controlled. The core i7 can also overclock individual cores if they detect they are under a heavy workload. Plus unlike past multicore chips. the core i7 will have hyperthreading on each core. This means 4 cores with 2 threads each or 8 total threads. Once of the biggest reasons I feel now is a good time to build a new computer is because the new chip uses the 1366 pin socket. This should stay the standard for some time, making it easy to upgrade to faster chips without having to upgrade all your other hardware.
When I build the my first comptuer, it was using a socket 478. then came along the 775 sockets. Now they have jumped to 1377 pin sockets. Even though all this power is great. We are still years behind in software that can realistically utilize multicore processing. Forever programmers have written software that ran in a linear fashion. Writing software that divides up tasks to multiple cores will be a challenge. I am not sure that even the new Windows 7
OS will fully take advantage of the Multicore power these systems have.
If there is one stock to buy it would be Intel. They are timing the launch perfect for black friday. They gave the Hardware blogs a good month to play with the chips and run their benchmarks. Thus far I haven't seen one negative review on the core i7. The core i7 are going to sell like the Iphone when it first came out. I wouldn't be surprized if I saw people camping out to make sure they get their hands on one.
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