Final Words

Perhaps this is a bit anticlimactic, but the Core i7 860 performs exactly where you'd expect it to. It's faster than a Core i5 750, faster than a Core i7 920 and slower than a Core i7 870. As I noted in The Lynnfield Follow Up, overclocking is much easier on Bloomfield (LGA-1366) thanks to the absence of an on-die PCIe controller. It's not impossible on Lynnfield, it's just effortless on Bloomfield.

My recommendations from the initial Lynnfield review still stand, you'll want to opt for Bloomfield processor if you care about:

1) High-end multi-GPU performance (or other uses of high bandwidth PCIe)
2) Stock Voltage Overclocking
3) Future support for 6-core Gulftown CPUs

In terms of cost effectiveness however - the Core i7 860 is the way to go. With cheaper motherboards and higher operating frequencies than a Core i7 920, for the majority of users the 860 will be the better pick. Here's where the discussion gets interesting however.

A year ago, $284 for a Core i7 920 didn't seem like a lot for what you were getting. But with AMD shipping $99 quad core CPUs, and the Phenom II line being very competitive in the $130 - $200 space - is Lynnfield too expensive?

Our sources are telling us that Lynnfield isn't selling as well as expected, it's not a flop, but definitely selling under expectations. The reason? Price. Apparently the vendors (and their customers) were hoping for a sub-$200 Core i5 750. Remember that the majority of quad-core sales happen under the $200 mark. Fortunately for AMD, there aren't any cheaper quad-core Lynnfields on the roadmaps for Intel through Q3 of next year; the Core i5 750 will be the cheapest quad-core Nehalem for the foreseeable future.

Instead, Intel will compete with 32nm Clarkdale CPUs in the sub-$200 space. These are dual core parts with Hyper Threading; it remains to be seen how well they'll stack up to AMD's quad-core CPUs in that space, since it doesn't look like we'll see Lynnfield down there anytime soon.

Assuming that Clarkdale isn't overly competitive, Phenom II could dominate the ~$150 quad-core price point throughout much of 2010. The biggest threat to Phenom II appears to be the Core i5 650. We'll see how that plays out early next year.

Power Consumption & Overclocking
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  • mapesdhs - Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - link


    Blimey, even I'm surprised sometimes...

    http://www.sgi.com/company_info/newsroom/press_rel...">http://www.sgi.com/company_info/newsroo...releases...
    http://www.sgi.com/products/servers/octaneIII/inde...">http://www.sgi.com/products/servers/octaneIII/inde...
    http://www.sgi.com/pdfs/4177.pdf">http://www.sgi.com/pdfs/4177.pdf

    Without graphics, up to 20 x quad-core i7 XEON and 960GB RAM.

    With graphics included (various NVIDIA Quado FX options and CUDA), 2 x
    quad-core i7 XEON, 144GB max RAM, 2 x PCIe 2.0 x16, 4 x PCIe 2.0 x8
    and one PCIe 2.0 x4. Dual-GigE or Infiniband included.

    There's also an Atom configuration (19 dual-core Atoms, 38GB RAM).
    Atom does very well for performance/watt, attractive to datacentres
    for web servers, databases, etc.

    Renderfarm anyone? 8)

    Ian.

    PS. Nothing to do with the earlier MIPS/IRIX Octane/Octane2 systems of course.

    Reply
  • papapapapapapapababy - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    THE stupid upgrading path.

    NO SATA 6 GB /s...
    NO USB 3.0...
    NO PCI Express 3.0...

    NO THANKS. NEXT.
    Reply
  • haplo602 - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Where are Athlon II X4s in the graphs ? Where's Phenom II X2 BE ?

    Where is a 785G mobo roundup ? I am still hearing only i5/i7/P55. This is frustrating. You are not keeping up with your name. Drop the Intel hype and do something for the normal people that try to build computers on a budget.
    Reply
  • sicofante - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Sorry if this has been asked or commented before (I haven't read the full 11 pages).

    I build workstations for the animation and video industry and I factory-overclock them. Bloomfield has been very well received by my customers and I'm really happy with it. Now I'm studying Lynnfield and from what I've read, I don't feel quite comfortable with how Lynnfield is overclocked. Here are my two main issues:

    1. Anand mentioned in past articles that overclocking Lynnfield would imply overclocking the PCIe bus, since the controller is integrated. How does this affect graphics and other cards? I'm not talking only about gaming cards but also Quadros or RAID controller cards.

    2. Also, it seems Lynnfield OC needs voltage tweaking. This sounds not as nice as Bloomfield stock voltage overclocking, but what are the real consequences and drawbacks (if any) of voltage rising?

    Thanks in advance for answering these two issues and thanks to the Anandtech's staff for such in depth articles.
    Reply
  • ggathagan - Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - link

    This seems to get lost frequently, but Lynnfield is all about the mid-tier market.

    Going down the Lynnfield road for the workstations you describe would be a BAAAAD idea.

    Your industry is also one of the few that, in most reviewers opinions, has benefited from the triple-channel memory capabilities of the X58 platform.
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    It's been going on for a while now but the price increase for minimal performance increase is getting pretty silly. Back during the <1000MHz days a 100MHz bump was nothing to sneeze at, and even during the 1-2GHz days a 100-200MHz bump wasn't that bad. But honestly they (both AMD and INTEL) have gotten rediculous with their gouging of the higher end. Honestly ~130MHz difference between the 870 and the 860?!?

    Their only saving grace (for stock clockers, or very moderate OC'ers) is the higher turbo levels of the 870, but again in most situations (that is those that do not task 3-4 cores simultaneously) the clock difference between the 860 and 870 is <150MHz, which on a ~3.5GHz core is virtually nil.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    They have used pricing like this in the past, just that there were usually several options in the more sane ($300 and less) range before the final few clock bumps were disproportionately expensive. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    But in the past the performance jump was greater. We're talking a (theoretical) 4% difference between the 870 and 860! Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    When I bought my current E6600 it was a little over $300. The E6700 was over $500 for a 266MHz bump, so technically 10% but still nothing to write home about for the money. If the 870 were unlocked that price might be justified, as of now I agree with you that it is not so much. Reply
  • Proteusza - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Athlon X4: 300m transistors, no L3 cache, performs about 90% as fast as a Phenom X4
    Phenom X4: 758m transistors, 8mb L3 cache (or is it 6?)

    Does anyone think AMD isnt getting their money's worth out of the 458 million transistors used on the Phenom II to provide the L3 cache? I mean, more than double the manufacturing complexity for a small increase in performance?
    Reply

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