Intel has released a series of new processors that offer lower price points than previous Core i7 processors (see blog post on Core i7 Processors).
The new models of the Core i7 have a double-channel memory interface where the 900 series chips have a triple-channel memory interface. This provides a little less throughput and saves you money since only two sticks of RAM need to be purchased for each RAM increase. The Core i5 processor also eliminates hyperthreading which probably isn’t as useful in the entry level market.
Let’s look at the specs and pricing for each Core i7 and i5 chips so we can compare.
- Intel Core i5-750, 2.66 GHz, $250 at Amazon (new)
- Intel Core i7 860, 2.8 GHz, $356 at Amazon (new)
- Intel Core i7-870, 2.93 GHz, $695 at Amazon (new)
- Intel Core i7-920, 2.66 GHz, $279.99 at Amazon (released in November 2008)
- Intel Core i7-940, 2.93 GHz, $602.38 at Amazon (released in November 2008)
- Intel Core i7-950, 3.06 GHz, $569.99 at Amazon (released in May 2009)
- Intel Core i7-965 Extreme, 3.2 GHz, $1044.99 at Amazon (released in November 2008)
- Intel Core i7-975 Extreme, 3.33 GHz, $999.99 at Amazon (released in May 2009)
As you can see, the newer processors provide a slightly lower entry price. In some cases, the newer processors actually cost more than the existing processors. I think part of this is that the new processors have yet to be discounted by Amazon. The good news is that there are more choices available so that you can find the right bang for your buck. Of course we all know that processors will continue to get more powerful and we’ll spend less money for that power. If I were buying today, I’d have a tough decision between the Core i7-920 and Core i7-950. I will be buying soon and I’ll post the list of my choices once the decisions have been made.