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Old 10-10-2008, 04:53 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Who's planning to upgrade to Nehalem?

It seems like we've been covering Nehalem forever (which we kind of have been), but it's finally right around the corner, with a 'leaked' launch of the week of November 16. My question to you guys is... who's excited enough about the new processor to upgrade almost immediately? The next six months? Not interested in upgrading at all?

The unfortunate thing about Nehalem will of course be the cost of entry. If the rumors are to be believed, then the motherboards are going to cost more than the smallest processor available, the Core i7 920, at 2.66GHz. I'm confident that more affordable motherboards will hit the market at the same time, but I'm not so sure we'll see many under the $300 mark, if any. I hope i'm wrong.

The CPU's range between $284 and $999, in quantities of 1,000. That means the cost at an e-tailer will be closer to $330 - $1,100. In truth, the processor prices are quite reasonable. The 2.66GHz Core 2 Quad Q9450 currently retails for around the same price that the Core i7 920 will, so it's hard to complain there. It's the motherboards that are going to be hard to stomach.

Then there is the memory issue. To keep things simple, I think most will just choose to pick up a new kit, and that's what I personally recommend. Nehalem has a completely revamped memory controller, so there's absolutely no guarantee that your current kit of DDR3 is going to work without some work. The SPD is going to cause some conflict on most performance kits, and that's just not going to be an issue worth dealing with. Unless you happen to have an 8GB low-latency kit installed, you'll want a new one, designed specifically with X58 in mind.

At launch, the most popular kit to be offered will be either 3GB or 6GB DDR3-1066. Some will feature CL6, others will feature CL7... we'll not see it go higher (unless some company wants to look awkward). Performance kits will also be available in speeds of DDR3-1600 CL7/8, which will appeal to the diehard enthusiasts who want to push as much performance out of their machine as possible. How memory benefits Nehalem will be a topic of discussion later, but sadly we're unable to talk much about it right now.

Let's say you want to go budget, but not too budget. At this point in the game, there is no sense of going with only 3GB of RAM, especially if you are a hardcore gamer, so 6GB it's most likely going to be. I estimate that a decent 6GB 'tri kit' will run around $250, although it could be as high as $300 or ever a little higher, given it will be more of a premium product right off the production line.

Then we have the motherboard, which we can estimate will run around $350 (hopefully). Pair those together with a Core i7 920 and a new CPU cooler (unless you can work out with the manufacturer of your current cooler for a new bracket), a Nehalem upgrade will run you around $975. There's no question about it... that's a healthy sum.

I wouldn't expect prices of the processors to go down for quite a while, but the memory and motherboards will be a different story. I'd estimate that the same setup could be had for closer to $800 two months after launch, or even a bit lower, but it's really impossible to predict. All my assumptions could be way off, really, I'm not sure. What I am sure of is that the Nehalem launch is going to be a fun one to watch.
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:49 AM   #2
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I will upgrade... but not primarily because of the performance. I am more interested in the platform now... the ability to have a real nice motherboard that is a pleasure to work on is alluring. Especially when you can run SLI, Crossfire, or 4 GPUs, whatever you can dream up an X58 board will be ready for it. 4GB of RAM not enough for Windows 7? No problem, plenty more memory slots. Some of those features I am seeing are downright sweet too... such as ASUS's voltage monitoring points for almost everything you would want. And those huge buttons... ah, it was the ASUS Rampage II Extreme. If it was actually going to be affordable, I might get it over the DQ6 or DS4. I liked the final revision of the DQ6's PCIe layout better though.

There's a reason I don't own a single module of DDR3... made the most sense to buy it as late as possible, as not only are new kits coming out but prices has steadily fallen for them. Some decent 2GB kits can be had for $50 now, very good enthusiast kits for under $200. With all the recent financial issues (Not just ours, but the memory makers are going negative and need to offload memory stockpiles they are already taking a hit to sell) I bet there will be some very attractive pricing on 3GB and 6GB memory kits when they arrive... 2GB modules are going to be the "premium" kit in my view... three modules for 6GB, or six modules for 12GB.

I'm not after Nehalem for the hype, in fact it should only bring moderate to small gains for typical apps outside of rendering applications. And games appear to be a wash, as Anandtech predicted with some very good theory awhile back. But I'm an enthusiast and I'm bored with my Q6600, and the motherboard no longer meets my needs. I haven't decided what model Nehalem to jump on, that'll depend on overclocking results, how Intel's "turbo" feature works in real world, and if the "turbo" option allows anyone to overclock their CPU with enough cooling...
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:33 AM   #3
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I'm pretty happy with my systems as of now. But when the reviews and comments of systems up and running, then I'll consider. This year I built two machines, I use both and have no room for a third.
So basically, I'll wait and see.

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Old 10-14-2008, 04:52 PM   #4
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Wait and see game. I'm not that interested right now.
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:37 PM   #5
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My Q6600 is far, FAR more than what I need now. Heck, even my E6400 was more than I needed! The only weakness in my system is the vid card (which is still good for the games I play), which I might touch when I have time this winter...

Unless Nehalem can do Calculas...
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Old 10-15-2008, 12:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar
4GB of RAM not enough for Windows 7? No problem, plenty more memory slots.
This is what I find odd about Intel's own DX58SO... it has four DIMM slots. It's odd, because they're the ones who should be promoting the fact that you can use lots of memory on the new platform, but they don't seem to be too concerned. Thanks to pricing, the maximum amount of memory you'd want on their new board would be 6GB, because 8GB would probably offer a latency hit, and 4GB modules are likely going to be expensive for a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by On_Wisconsin
Unless Nehalem can do Calculas...
Haha. That'd be one expensive calculator upgrade.
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Old 10-15-2008, 08:51 PM   #7
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Not a chance. I don't find the performance increase even remotely worth the price of admission. The only possible way you will see a Nehalem system in my signature is if Techgage decides to send me one and somehow I just don't see that happening! (Don't worry Rob, it is also nowhere near expected or needed). My current system is stupidly powerful as it is and can easily and handily do ANYTHING I need. Even my families Phenom system is stupidly powerful for what it gets used for. I personally believe that current tech is plenty and the next crop of "coming to a theater near you" products are not worth it for most of us. Time for the upgrade cycle to flatten out so that programmers get off their lazy asses and start doing some proper multi-threaded coding for EVERYTHING.
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Old 10-16-2008, 12:49 AM   #8
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You'll wind up with Nehalem at some point... that QX9650 won't last forever!

"Time for the upgrade cycle to flatten out so that programmers get off their lazy asses and start doing some proper multi-threaded coding for EVERYTHING."

I agree, and agree for the most part with your sentiments. There are many people who do take full advantage of their PCs (including me), and some even desire faster components (especially with video conversion and the like), but for those who aren't huge multi-media buffs or multi-task like there is no tomorrow, all current PCs should last a while.
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Old 10-16-2008, 09:14 AM   #9
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Well, a QX9650 is already a pretty hefty investment. Would be throwing money away to turn right around and upgrade again.

I bought an E6300 the same month Conroe debuted, salivating over the Q6600 as I watched it slowly drop from ~$850 down to $266. I don't have the money for a Core i7 Extreme, but I think this time I'll get a Core i7 920 from the get go and hold onto it for awhile... it worked well with the E6300. Again it just matters at what point in the upgrade cycle you are at... I never bought into Penryn, saved instead for a Nehalem.
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Old 10-16-2008, 11:48 AM   #10
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He's using a Techgage processor, so there is no wasting of cash. With the recent methodology revamps, it made sense for me to stick with the QX9770, since it will be on par with the launch Nehalem Extreme edition, and since he was using an ultra-hot QX6850, it made sense to make an upgrade there. The loss of cash comes only from FedEX ;-) I should have rephrased it a little differently. I would never push someone to upgrade an already expensive processor to another.

"Q6600 as I watched it slowly drop from ~$850 down to $266."

That's painful... Reading things like that always reminds me of when I paid $360 for a brand-new 8GB hard drive. How quickly things can change, when nowadays, $360 can net you 3TB worth of storage, haha.
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Old 10-17-2008, 10:29 PM   #11
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Painful?? Shouldn't be, the QuadCore pecking order used to be Q6600, QX6700. And that was it! In effect I got the 2nd best model, was a reason it used to be $800+! Made more sense to wait, and the E6300 was a huge upgrade over my P4 Northwood desktop... not to mention by the time it hit $266 they released the G0 versions, which was a nice deal sweetener.

Saw a deal for a $99 1TB drive, think it was a WD @ Newegg. 10 cents a GB is just insane, even the 1.5TB drives are 12 cents a GB.

Prices drop, it's just a matter of catching them at the right time... my only concern with Nehalem is if I can control the turbo overclocking feature to overclock the mutliplier. Because if I can, then it doesn't matter if I by the 920 or the 940, and I can put the saved money towards a better motherboard or RAM or something.
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:30 PM   #12
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I meant it was painful to just see such a massive price drop. I read it wrong... I thought you said you purchased it when it was originally that price. If not then it's good to see a price drop. It's too bad we can't all just wait ten years and then pick up what we need. This industry is nuts. If you wait six months, you are going to get so much more for your money. Makes splurging a little difficult.

As for the HDDs, yeah, it's incredible. I can't get over how affordable storage is now... there's no excuse now for not backing up all your stuff (though I goofed over the weekend here, and will post news about it on Mon).
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:27 AM   #13
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Not sure if this is public knowledge or if I am even supposed to pass the information on, but here are the SRP's for ASUS' launch boards:

ASUS P6T Deluxe w/ OC Palm: $309
ASUS Rampage II Extreme: $399

ASUS expects the prices to be a little bit lower once Core i7 actually launches.
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:28 AM   #14
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ow
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:22 AM   #15
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Only $90 more for the Rampage II? That's almost a bargain...
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