I'm debating between the Core 2 Duo E6850, which has two cores, and the Core 2 Quad Q6600, which has four cores. If I understand things correctly, the former runs at 3 GHz; the latter at 2.4GHz. The benchmarks at this site suggest the dual-core chip runs faster on games, but the quad runs faster on apps like Max. They are priced almost identically. I both play games and work with Max and zBrush.
So, which processor of the two do you all recommend? Many thanks in advance.
The E6850 does better at games because it is running faster and games are not optomised for 4 cores.
The quad does better at apps because the apps ARE optomised to use all 4 cores, and the extra 25% core clock speed of the E6850 cannot make up for the sheer horse power of the quad cores.
Although you amy want to have the quad for when the games ARE optomized for quad.
What is the "more" important aspect to you, the work or the gaming? Is higher FPS more importand then having your computer doing its "work" 25% faster. And what is 25% faster really? If in reality, it is only saving you 10 minutes over the whole day, then hell go for the FPS. Those are the questions your decision needs to be based on. And besides, a good video card will certainly have a better impact on gaming then the CPU. If your FPS is not CPU capped then one or the other CPU will not make a very noticeable differance anyways.
Thanks for the link to that Anandtech article; I couldn't ask for a more in-depth reply to my question!
One question I have about the advantage in 3D apps like Max is whether that advantage only appears when rendering something, or whether it also appears when modeling. Rendering is time-consuming, but it's not something I do all day long. Modeling, on the other hand, is a big part of using any 3D program like Max, Maya or ZBrush. Do you suppose the quad-core's features are used in modeling, or is that more akin to gaming, where FPS is king?
When THG tested, they were able to OC the Q6600 extremely close to what they could OC the E6850. The result is that the tests that the E6850 won, were so close that there would not be a perceptible difference. However, anything that could use 4-cores, then the Q6600 would destroy the E6850.
I went with the E6850 simply because I do not use the apps that would benefit multi-core. Multi-core optimized games will still be sparce for the next couple of years that by the time I am ready to upgrade again what we have now will look pitiful. I have never really been one to "buy for the future", I always buy for right now. For now, I am very happy with my choice but your mileage may vary with your computing lifestyle. Good luck on your decision!
EDIT: I forgot to mention that the E6850 easily OC's to 3.6GHz with little effort and very little extra heat.
If you run Max and zBrush, the Q6600 should be a no brainer???
The Q6600 also overclocks easily above 3.0Ghz if thats your benchmark speed and of course it will run warmer it has twice the cores and cache of the E6850, why wouldn't it??? It begins to have more thermal related problems above 3.6Ghz, but currently most Core architecture chips do unless special binned and very well cooled.
Thanks for all the great replies! I'm leaning toward the Q6600 because, as the previous poster said, I do use Max and ZBrush a fair bit. I just wasn't sure if the quad core advantage manifested itself only in rendering, or also in 3D modeling. 3D modeling can be a bit like running a game.
I worry about keeping either chip cool. I assume neither chip should be run with the stock HS/F if one has ideas of overclocking. Are there "cooler" motherboards to consider? Asus's Striker Extreme is interesting; it might tempt me to try overclocking, which I'm usually too chicken to attempt. It has big cooling pipes, but I don't know if that's a plus or a minus, since I also read that they can interfere with aftermarket HSF arrangements. My computer room isn't the coolest place in the world, so I worry about cooling whatever I choose.
I went with the E6850 because the current rig I built this for is a dedicated audio recording workstation. At this point in time the recording software I use (Sonar 6) performes better under raw power then multiple cores. Also, I figure that there is really not that much software out there making use of the extra cores. Sure this will be the trend from here on out but by the time it will effect me the Q6600 will seem outdated.
***Keep in mind I don't mind updating my CPU in a yearly cycle. Even with this in mind I still don't think we will see enough major software implemenations with in the next year to sway my opnion***