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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello OCN.

I'm working on some upgrades on my 3-year-old Core 2 Duo system to make it last a couple more years and I need some advice on a CPU. I want to upgrade it to quad-core but I'm not sure which quad to get. I like high clock speeds, my E6850 has the highest clock in its line and it does pretty well in single-threaded apps. I want to overclock the new CPU to at least 3.0 to get its single-threaded performance to match or exceed the stock E6850. 3.4 would be really nice since that's what I have now.

Here is my current system:
  • eVGA 680i SLI motherboard
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 (4 MB cache, OC'd to 3.4 GHz on stock Intel cooler)
  • 6 GB 800 MHz DDR2 RAM 5-5-5-15 (3 x 2 GB, mixed brands)
  • Palit GTX 460 Sonic Platinum 1 GB (brand new, my 8800 GTS recently melted down because of clogged case fans
    )
  • Antec case--I don't remember the model, but it's a small mid-tower similar to the Sonata, it's about five years old
  • Ultra 650-watt PSU
  • 2 1TB hard drives (Seagate primary, WD Green for backup, don't remember the specific models)
  • Windows 7 Professional x64
Here are the CPUs I'm considering, along with their current Newegg prices:
  • Q8300 2.5GHz ($139.99) - Insanely cheap, same 4 MB cache as my E6850 so I won't notice a difference there
  • Q8400 2.66GHz ($169.99) - Higher clock, so I should be able to get a higher final clock speed
  • Q9505 2.83GHz ($239.99) - More expensive, I don't really want to spend over $200 on a CPU for an outdated platform, but it has a higher clock, higher cache, and it has hardware virtualization so I won't be losing a feature I had with my E6850
EDIT: Ignore the CPU list above. I just found out that the 680i board won't support Yorkfield chips, and every chip there is Yorkfield.
Okay, so looking around I've found two chips I'm interested. Here's the updated list:
  • Q6600 2.4 GHz - Cheap, I can find used ones for $150 or less.
  • QX6800 2.93 GHz - Found one for $220, unlocked multiplier. But I can only find one that cheap. Is it worth the extra ~$100 to get an unlocked multiplier and the higher starting clock?
I also plan to get a Corsair H50 but you can probably convince me otherwise if you have a good reason. I think I would have problems with any tower heatsinks because my case is pretty cramped, but I do have the 120mm exhaust fan so I'm pretty sure an H50 will fit just fine.

My max budget is around $300 for CPU and cooling. The more I can OC the new CPU, the easier it will be for me to resist the urge to scrap this system and blow away $2k on a new i7-based system. I'm also spending about $200 to replace keyboard and mouse, replace my barely-functioning ATAPI DVD drives with newer SATA models, and get a 2 GB stick of RAM so I can max my board out at 8 GB and get my RAM to run dual-channel again.

My system is pretty general-use. I mostly do web surfing and software development on it, I do some rare-to-occasional gaming (been playing Crysis again since I got the GTX 460, Supreme Commander, Sins of a Solar Empire, and some ancient 90's games lol).

Anyway, what are your suggestions? I'm really interested in the Q8300/Q8400 because of the amazing price, but I think I'd lose hardware virtualization (Windows 7 XP Mode requires it) and I don't care for losing features during an upgrade. How much of a difference would I see between a Q8300/Q8400 and the Q9505?
 

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I have bought many items from newegg, and have bought several parts from ewiz (superbiz). You can get better prices on the Q9550 there.

http://www.superbiiz.com/query.php?c...el-Core-2-Quad

There is a code to get $10 off the retail, and the oem version of the 9550 until 10/3. However, I think that codes are used frequently.

edit to add: I noticed that you do not list the Q9550, but the Q9505. The oem Q9550 will be slightly cheaper than the lesser Q9505 from Newegg if you take advantage of the code in the next few days. Since you are going to use a different cooler anyway, I don't see the need for the retail package.

edit 2: Does the 680 mainboard support the Core 2 Quad (9xxx) series? You may have some trouble overclocking with that combination, but I do not know for sure.

edit 3: I really need to read everything before responding. If you want to keep the cost down on a cpu, the link I gave has the retail Q9400 which will have virtualization for $194.99 -$10 if you use the code in the next several days (assuming you see if that board will work okay with that cpu). It has the same specs as the Q8400 except more cache and virtualization support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Never heard of SuperBiiz before but it seems they have more than Newegg. Any thoughts on the Q9400? I like the price better and it still falls in the Q9xxx line. [Edit: I see you edited your post to recommend this one, lol]

Just noticed SuperBiiz's description on the Q8400 says it supports Intel Virtualization Technology. Is this accurate? Newegg seems to indicate it doesn't support it.

Edit 2: Just found the Q9450, same as Q9400 but with 12 MB cache, running at $215. I'm really liking what I see on this one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK, I made my decision. I had to get a Kentsfield core because of limitations with the 680i platform, but I found a good condition used QX6850 for under $250 on eBay. That's a bit more than I originally wanted to spend but considering its specs are identical to my E6850 (except for double the cores and an unlocked multiplier) I think it's worth it.
 

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The normal Q6600's usually overclock really, really well as long as you have a good motherboard aswell as good RAM. If you're getting a Q6600, be sure you get one with a G0 stepping though, as they are the ones you want for overclocking.
 

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qx6850 doesnt oc that well man. Just get a q6600 as they oc just as well as the qx6850. You wont get the qx to 4ghz on air. Your lucky if you hit 4ghz on water on them. I had one and sold it.... Get a q6600 or a q9550. But make sure your board can support the q9550
 
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