What's a viable alternative to the overpriced, overkill Intel Core i7 990X?

What's a viable alternative to the overpriced, overkill Intel Core i7 990X?

Summary: Interesting question in today's mailbag:"I want to build an extreme PC but I don't want to spend $1,000 on just the CPU. Any suggestions?"

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Interesting question in today's mailbag:

"I want to build an extreme PC but I don't want to spend $1,000 on just the CPU. Any suggestions?"

Intel's current 'King of the CPUs' is the monster six-core, 12-thread 3.45GHz Core i7 990X. But at $999 it's means dropping a LOT of money on silicon. Without a doubt this is an amazing CPU, but the truth is that few people need (or can even take advantage of) the level of power that it offers. Even if you have $1,000 to blow on the part, you're probably throwing money away. So if that's the case, what's a viable, cheaper, alternative to the 990X?

Well, here's an excellent alternative - the Core i7-2600K. This CPU is a quad-core part based on Intel's new 'Sandy Bridge' architecture and hums along at a stock 3.4GHz and can be hit 3.8GHz in Turbo mode. In fact, the i7-2600K stands up well next to the i7 990X, but there's one place where it totally excels - price.

Like I said earlier, a 990X will set you back $999, but the i7-2600K can be picked up for under $330. In my mind this makes the i7-2600K far better value for money.

What if you prefer giving your money to AMD in exchange for silicon? What does this company have to offer? Well, a lot, as a matter of fact. AMD's six-core Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition processor is a superb high-end piece of silicon. It runs at a whopping 3.2GHz and retails for around an amazing $199 - an absolute steal! Think about it - six cores for under $200 - That’s pure awesomeness!

So there you have it. You can get your hands on a fantastic 'ultimate' CPU without breaking the bank!

Topics: Intel, Hardware, Processors

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9 comments
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  • RE: What's a viable alternative to the overpriced, overkill Intel Core i7 990X?

    Does this than replace the AMD Phenom II X6 1055T on your mid range best kit list?
    MvdL
  • RE: What's a viable alternative to the overpriced, overkill Intel Core i7 990X?

    If you want the most bang for your buck and keep the 1366 platform it would have to be the i7 970 at 3.2 GHz. It is still a six core processor for 599.99 at newegg.com. The price on this dropped by almost half with the introduction of the i7 990x. This was the $1000.00 dollar processor 2 months ago. I would recommend this over the sandy bridge processor just for brute strength alone.
    mcfant
    • Except

      @mcfant Unless you're running lots of heavy CPU processes simultaneously or a seriously multi-threaded app - the Sandy Bridge @ 3.4GHz (turbo to 3.8) will provide greater fealt performance than the i7-970
      archangel999
  • RE: What's a viable alternative to the overpriced, overkill Intel Core i7 990X?

    My Phenom X4 920 is still providing all the power I need. We'll see how it handles BF3 at the end of the year...
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: What's a viable alternative to the overpriced, overkill Intel Core i7 990X?

    sitting here right now. a former die in the wool intel lover working on my new amd 6 core phenom 2 1090t and enjoying the money left in my bank account.
    it felt good to be able to buy a top line video card and better memory instead of having to cut back to buy a fast processer chip.
    as to under 1k for the build! yes you can! just forget the name intell when it comes to budgets.
    charlieg1
    • RE: What's a viable alternative to the overpriced, overkill Intel Core i7 990X?

      @charlieg1

      I agree.. better to invest the money into better/more ram, better video card or something like a faster RPM Hard Drive or SSD as those will do more in terms of performance for most people than the top end processor from Intel.
      bobiroc
  • Maximum bang per buck comes from a large HD.

    See http://www.mydefrag.com/Manual-TipsAndTricks.html
    peter_erskine@...
  • What a dual CPU motherboard?

    6-core = Warp Speed. Surely 2x 4-core = Ludicrous Speed?
    alan_r_cam
  • Absolutely FREE!!!! (plus shipping and handling)

    Calling $199 an "amazing" price and an "absolute steal" because it's "under $200" is ridiculous. In the real world, $199 is the functional equivalent of $200, $198, and $201 . The only people that should get excited about the $1 difference are advertising hacks.

    I like your column and your point of view, but please try to not sound like an OEM press release.
    donniebnyc666