Is There Life Left in Socket 775?

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Many members here at Overclockers.com believe that since Socket 775 is a dead socket (meaning there are no more CPU’s coming out for it so no upgrade path) that it wouldn’t be worth purchasing.

To begin, even though there is not an upgrade path, I firmly believe most users that are at an enthusiast level would be happy with a lot of the chips on this socket as far as performance goes.

According to several reviews, the performance of the top of the line quad/dual core processor families still usually best AMD’s newest Phenom II offerings (1) even with an almost 400 MHz clock speed disadvantage for the Intel CPU (Q9550 vs X4 955). Currently the pricing for the Q9550 and the Phenom II X4 955 is about a $30 difference in favor of the AMD chip, according to NewEgg.com.

Comparable and solid over clocking motherboards can be had for $100 or so in both camps, so cost seems a bit moot at this point when building from the ground up with DDR2 or DDR3 for these platforms. What about overclocking? This is another answer that “depends”.

Most Phenom II X4 955’s can see 3.7-3.9 GHz with top of the line air or good water cooling for 24/7 stable operation. Intel however should be able to match if not surpass it with the same type of cooling. With a decent board, the Q9550 can easily be stable around 3.8-4 GHz (~450-470 FSB). And with a good board, over 4 GHz is quite possible as Yorkfields are motherboard FSB limited more so than anything.

So this begs the question, “Who is this socket good for?” My answer to that is pretty straight forward as well. If you are currently on S775 and have a motherboard with a P35/X38/750i chipset or greater, just drop a Yorkfield quad in your motherboard and be happy for another couple of years. If you have an older chipset or S939/S754 AMD, I would not go this route – I would look into i7, i5, the upcoming i3 or AM3 based processors and boards.

Of course a lot of this depends on your uses of the CPU. For example, if one is rendering using an application that scales well with more cores, the HT enabled i7’s would be a dream compared to even the fastest clocked AM3 or S775 PC. When not using such applications, just about any dual or quad will suffice.

In closing, the only drawback of S775 is the fact that there will be no other chips made for it. What you see on the market today is all that will be available in a year. With AM3, there is still another iteration or so until their next major socket change (Socket G34 is for servers) takes to the scene. Performance from these S775 chips can manage to beat out the best AMD has to offer almost across the board, even with a clock speed deficit. As an enthusiast currently on this platform, I can tell you I won’t be moving to i3/i5/i7 or AM3 any time soon. S775 still has plenty of life left in her for a dead socket.

Joe Shields (Earthdog)

“Links” Cited:

1. Anandtech.com/cpuchipsets

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