6-core i7?

My current system (quad-core Q6600) is acceptable for now. On very heavily loaded projcts with plugins with oversampling turned on, I get ASIO overloads. And I have to run my ProFire 2626 at a pretty high latency (500-1000 samples for 44.1kHz/32bit). And I’m very happy with the machine, a Pavilion Elite.

But I’m drooling over a new hex-core i7, because I’ve heard i7s are night-and-day improvements over anything before them for DAWs. I dream of a day I can run at sub-100 sample latency and load my project up without a care in the world. But the prices seem rather extreme now.

Anybody found deals on these PCs? i7 980x desktops here in the US seem to cost about $2,000. :open_mouth:

If you consider that the i7 980x alone is about $1,000; an entire desktop for about $2,000 is a fair price.
Everything is relative.


Not sure why you are only going with a 6 core. The i7 930 2.8 Ghz shows 8 logical cores in Windows 7 and by now (after christmas) is under $300. You might know these chips throtle up to around 4 Ghz on thier own. I am not much of an over clocker, even less so with a DAW. But there are tons of folks pushing this to just over 4ghz. Thus I submit you might read up on this CPU and see if it is for you. Take a look around as I see they are in short supply at newegg.com. Must have been too good to be true…

Now that I think about it I believe you are talking about an even higher end chip. but gosh, just how much can one toss at a DAW… lol - I know, allways need more speed… Thus the url below has one of the 6 cores at the bottom… wow $1k on a chip alone is pricey!

They have a a couple others like an i7-950 under $300 though:

Yea I’m sort of aware that the i7’s 4 cores can look to the PC like they are each 2 cores bcause they can run multiple threads at the same time. But isn’t each core really just one core being shared by time slicing?

The reason I want to go for a 6-core machine is that if I’m going to upgrade from a stable DAW that does pretty well as-is, it should be a stunningly big upgrade in my mind. It’s trivial to put a fresh copy of Windows on a DAW, but loading the gazillion disks that come with the 3 spectrasonics instruments, Native Instruments Komplete, and authorizing the many VST effects I have is going to be a big PITA.

As for building my own, I tried this with a home theater PC. Built it and the built it again. It was so much less stable and noisier than the stock Dell/HP PCs I bought that I vowed never to do that again.

Well I’m sure I’m wasting my money here, but I found this deal online last night:


So I went ahead and ordered this PC, which is supposedly the top consumer desktop according to the sales guy. I upgraded to the 980x, which he said is enabled for overclocking in the bios and that overclocking doesn’t violate the 2-year warranty.

So I guess I got what I wanted, a stock i7 980x PC that can be overclocked.

The total price before taxes was about $1680 (it’s $1499 with the i7 970 if you don’t want to overclock), but I figured for just $180 more why not go for the top one.

Be warned, most OEM (Dell,…) - don’t know for HP - use OEM motherboards with limited BIOS capabilities (ie: no room to overclock the system).
By the way, for the price the deal seems awesome.


Yea I’m surprised they let me overclock at all! I assumed I couldn’t but the sales rep made a point to say that on the 980x model HP allows it in the BIOS. I wonder how far you can go. Or if I’ll even need to at all to get the perf I want.

I am at the same point right now - running a quite oldschool Dual Opteron/Tyan system which is rocksolid but unfortunatelly outgrown after 5 years.

Now I can’t decide - going with the i7 950 which is bang for the buck or better go 980 extreme - which is incredibly expensive. But I want to have a system which does not need to be touched the next 5 years anymore again. I hate it to spend 3 days just to install/activate all that audio-stuff.

Sandy Bridge is hitting the fan very soon and will be much cheaper than i7 980x for comparable performance on many tasks. I would wait a little while and grab a 2600K based system.

Or perhaps the new AMD “Bulldozer” if it turns out to be well performing in DAW use. First reports promise good.

Ive been in this place for the last 6 months or so,…

anyway my ‘extensive’ research has lead me to consider the sensible choice as being the i7 950. im awaiting deleivery now. Ive seen these things run though on a friends studio. Its er,… well pretty impressive. Whether the i7 980’s are worth the price tag,… for the vast 99% of users i surely doubt it. Your not gonna be sitting there willing your 950 up a hill like some clapped out old banger with thoughts of a 980 ferrrari leaving you for dust. there all very very good. And a 950 i think is going to be a real pleasure for anyone whose been using 1st generation intels up til now. :slight_smile:

Not time-slicing; that’s something else. This is Hyperthreading. One core can run two threads because some parts of the core are separate (duplicated). But some parts are shared. So if one thread is using the shared part, the other thread has to stop and wait for that to be available. The threads do not run completely independent as they would on separate cores.

Years ago I used to buy Dell computers because they usually included quality components and were reasonably close to the price you’d pay buy buying pieces separately. But more recently PCs have gotten easier to put together yourself, so I’ve been building my own. The advantage, aside from getting to choose exactly which components you want, is that you don’t need to upgrade the whole computer. Last year I upgraded my motherboard/CPU/memory but kept the same case, power supply and video card. I like to do some research by going to a website like http://www.newegg.com and reading the customer reviews. Many people will talk about comparisons between different products, which is helpful when trying to decide which thing to buy. I can usually put a PC together in a couple hours and it can be fun actually, as long as you didn’t by chance get any defective hardware. I guess an advantage of vendors like Dell is that your box has been tested to work, I think.