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Xeon vs i7?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Macpropro80, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Im really confused which is better: Xeon or i7? PC users* and gamers tell me i7 is better** but my friends who are mac users tell me xeon is better. Which one truly is better? Can someone explain it in an easy to understand way.

    * PC users: also known as suckers or lacking knowledge
    ** They also told me mac sucks, instantly making everything they told me untrue.

  2. macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Of COURSE gamers tell you that it is "better."

    The 3500 series is just Bloomfield with ECC turned on.

    Gainestown is genuinely far better than Core i7.
  3. macrumors member

    For gaming I7 is better bcos total cost of ownership is lower. 8 cores does not help gaming at all. Even 4 cores are debatable.

    Actually gaming is only category where I7 does not beat core 2. That is bcos I7 has small L2 and large L3 while core 2 has large l2 cache.
  4. macrumors member

    Actually if you go to any hardware forum, most folks prefer DIY and also over clocking. They obviously will not like Mac.
  5. macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Gainestown overclocks itself, though, so that's nice. :D
  6. macrumors 6502

    Thanks, Gaming forums are not the best place to ask mac related anythings. My best defense against gamers hating mac is this simple question:

    me: "so you say macs suck? Well how many cores does your PC have?"
    Gamer: "(insert $250-400 processor)"
    me: "well my mac has 8 cores running at 2.8ghz, so according to my math my mac is better then your pc"
    Gamer: "macs suck how many games do you have, roflcopter!"
    me: "every game you have, I have boot camp"
    Gamer: "i have blue leds in my case"
    me: "congratulations you obviously beat me do to the fact that it has a blue light!"
    Gamer: "your a noob"
    me: "and your a moron"
  7. macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    No. No. I refuse to believe this. No one on this planet is this blasphemously stupid. A forest slime mold would have a better argument than this. Archaebacteria would have a better argument than this. Wherever you were, leave and never go back. You're better than that place by LEAGUES. I can't finish this tuna salad sandwich now; I'm too disgusted at the state of humanity.

    You shouldn't have stooped to his level. You should have just thrown some benchmarks in his face, because that's all that gamers care about, anyway.
  8. macrumors 6502

    This is the kind of stupidity I deal with every day! There is a reason these people don't use macs.....
  9. macrumors 65816

    If all that separates them is ECC, shouldn't i7 be faster because the ECC slows the computer down as it checks for errors.
  10. macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    This would only affect the 3500 series, but we don't know yet. We'll need to do tests.
  11. macrumors 68000

    i have one game for you. GTA IV.
    takes advantage at least of 4 cores.
  12. macrumors G4

    Albiet mildly. ;)

    But if you do it yourself, you can eek out quite a substantial difference. Take a ~$300 CPU and push it to 3.8-4.0 on air, 4.2 on water. Sticking with air, I've managed 3.9 without turning it into a hot plate and cooking the CPU. :p
    ECC will slow it down slightly, typically ~4%. OC'ing ECC memory may be a little more tricky, as it wasn't designed for it. But it's by no means impossible. If attempted, get the lowest CL timings possible, as timings make a larger difference on overall performance with DDR3.
  13. macrumors 603

    Well the Xeon isn't made for gaming is it. the Core i7 will always be better for gaming, games are made to run on it and not the Xeon. The motherboard's and memory are better for games too. But try and render a HD video and the Xeon will pound the i7.
    If games were made to run on all 8 cores in a dual Xeon CPU machine then obviously they would be better, but there not, that's why the i7 wins. Games are made to work on it.
  14. macrumors 68000

    Thread filed under "Misinformation." :D
  15. macrumors Penryn


    I've found that Core i7 is more beneficial in a multi-socket and multi-threaded environment. A fast Core 2 Duo is more than enough for high end gaming and it's more GPU bound.
  16. macrumors 6502

    dude, you are giving Intel too much credit. They are almost identical (especially i7 compared to the xeon 3500 series)
  17. macrumors member


    They (Core i7 and Xeon) are absolutely identical except for the number of QPI links. Core i7 and Xeon X3500 have 1 link, Xeon X5500 has 2 links, forthcoming 4-way chips will have 4 links.

    There is absolutely no performance difference between a Core i7 and Xeon X3500 (or a single X5500) at the same clock speed with the same memory speed, on any type of app, game or otherwise. They use the same core.

    Likewise on a single-threaded app there is no difference between Core i7, Xeon X3500 and Xeon X5500. Once you get 2 or more threads on a dual X5500 the threads are allocated CPUA-CPUB-A-B... etc. so some differences would start to emerge.
  18. macrumors 6502a


    I read someplace that Empire: Total War takes advantage of 4 cores. That's whY I'm excited for.
  19. macrumors 6502

    As it should be. Man, there is some weird thinking going on in here.

    Thank you! Someone understands that changing the name of a chip does not make it perform differently.

    The only difference between the i7 and 3500 is the ECC memory. The only difference between a single 3500 and a single 5500 is... well nothing at all. 2 5500s have 2 QPIs, but thats only so they can communicate with each other and makes absolutely nothing faster unless it needs to send information from 1 cpu to the other. If you take the second 5500 out, it will just be a 3500 with a severed QPI so same performance.

    What I want to see is 2.26 octo vs 2.93 quad in single or few threaded apps. Thats the only interesting thing to me. For anything heavily multi-threaded, duh the octos are going to win, even a 2.26 vs a 2.93.

    Hopefully, the only difference in the motherboards will be the number of sockets. In 2 years, you'll be able to upgrade both equally, with the exception of being limited to single processor if thats what you started with. But if 8 core single chips exist/work in the motherboard then... cool
  20. macrumors 601


    Hmmm, I'm a bit confused by all this. I thought I understood that the i7 chips were not multi processor enabled. So they like the 3500 series, are limited to a single processor system. The 5500 series supports multiple multi-processor.

    It that correct or am I hearing some people trying to lead me to believe that the i7 procs can operate in a dual MB. :confused:
  21. macrumors member


    That's what I was talking about with QPI. QuickPath Interconnect is similar to AMD's HyperTransport and is a method for CPUs to talk directly to each other without having to go through a central hub. Nehalem architecture requires 1 QPI connection for the I/O hub, and 1 QPI connection to talk to each other CPU in the system.

    Core i7 or a Xeon X3500 has only one QPI link so they cannot support another CPU in the same system. That doesn't mean necessarily you can't put one of them in a single socket of a dual-socket board as long as the BIOS doesn't choke on it, but you couldn't put anything in the second socket. It remains to be seen if motherboard makers (or Apple) ship BIOSes that allow a Core i7/X3500 in one socket on a dual-socket board. There is nothing physical preventing it, merely possible anger from Intel.

    You need a Xeon X5500 with its 2 QPI links to have dual processors. Later on there will be a 4-way setup using a Xeon 7000 series with 4 QPI links per chip.
  22. macrumors newbie

    from your signature, it looks like you are geting the 3540. or are you getting the dual quad?
  23. macrumors member


    Wellllll..... the Intel Core i7 specification volume 2 contains ECC functions, and the Specification Update contains an erratum that ECC in early steppings is not able to properly calculate which DIMM had failed.

    So there is very good evidence that ECC support is not a physical difference between chips but a marketing difference.

    All of this adds up to the probable fact that all of the Nehalem chips include ECC support, but Intel is not letting ECC be enabled by BIOS when a Core i7 is detected vs. a Xeon. They're probably doing this through licensing restrictions to preserve feature differentiation between desktops and workstations.
  24. macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Gainestown. 5500 series. Eight core 2.93.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Wouldn't surprise me. Didn't intel just "unlock" the i7s to take the QPI from 4.something to 6.something GB/s? That would have been just a programing change somewhere, nothing to do with hardware.

    And apple marketing the quad core with an 8GB limit... seems like BS to me.

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