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need help selecting a CPU...dual core E6850 or quad core Q6600?

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December 18, 2007 8:54:22 AM

I'm looking at buying a new Dell 720 desktop, and am trying to decide between the 2 CPUs below:

Intel® Core™2 Q6600 Quad-Core (8MB L2 cache,2.4GHz,1066FSB)
Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor E6850 (4MB L2 Cache,3.0GHz,1333 FSB)

I'm looking for high performance now for games (probably the E6850), but could take slightly lower performance today (Q6600) if the quad core will bring me advantages tommorrow, when more games are multi-threaded.

Any advice? Dell's not currently offering the Q6700 in this machine, and I don't want to shell out the $$ for the Extreme CPUs.
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December 18, 2007 10:26:38 AM

yes ... the quad is a bit more future proof ... sounds like you have already done a bit of reading.

Make sure you get at least a 3850 graphics card or higher - a 3870, 8800GT, GTS, GTX.

Then you can actually game at a decent res.
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December 18, 2007 10:42:52 AM

How much are you paying for the rig? Get the q6600 since you'll have more options with multi-threaded applications/games later. I'm sure you can build you own for less than what Dell is having, but I'm not the one paying for it :)  Yes, get at least a 3850,3870,8800gt and up for a decent gaming GPU.
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December 18, 2007 11:28:19 AM

q6600 is more than enough for any game and should be more futureproof. E6850 may be faster in some games but it doesn't really matter much in real life.
The way I see it, only downside of q6600 would be more heat/noise, but still nothing to worry about for most people.
December 18, 2007 11:48:36 AM

Advice (from one used to buy DELL): build your own. You'll get a better result, an upgradeble platform, *and* you'll learn how to maintain it yourself.
December 18, 2007 12:52:57 PM

Dont go Dell. Build your own or find someone like me to custom build to your needs.
Link to the Dell you want And I bet I could build one and overclock it to qx6850 speeds for less money.
December 18, 2007 1:11:09 PM

Q6600 FTW
December 18, 2007 1:11:28 PM

If it was my money, I'd go against what the majority of people say and unless you're doing video/photo-editing or more importantly rendering, a dual-core for gaming is more than enough.
I think buy the time developers get around to making quad-core enabled programs/games the Q6600 is likely to be massively outclassed!
Remember how we were told we'd all be running 64-bit systems & programs, within a year, what, 3 years ago :D 
Not to say I wouldn't upgrade my 6000+ if I thought a Phenom would give me more over the tasks I value from my processor (mostly gaming)
December 18, 2007 6:23:10 PM

Go for the quad mate. Even in games that dont have that many threads going on, you'll then have in effect a 2.4ghz core 2 duo, which is more than suficient for gaming. Plus youve got the option to overclock later if you feel its lagging behind a bit, and 3.0ghz on air should be easy peasy. Think to the future! A quad will last you for years.
December 19, 2007 8:52:47 AM

[#ff0e00]
lunyone said:
How much are you paying for the rig? Get the q6600 since you'll have more options with multi-threaded applications/games later. I'm sure you can build you own for less than what Dell is having, but I'm not the one paying for it :)  Yes, get at least a 3850,3870,8800gt and up for a decent gaming GPU.


Below is what I'm currently spec'ing from Dell.....it's around $3400 plus tax (I get a small discount through work). I'd love any feedback on the options I've selected. Specifically, anyone know of any issues with running the Raid 0 harddrives? We run that config at work on high end Dell 690 workstations, and the HD performance kicks butt. I don't want any compatibility problems with any software utilities (defrag, backup, partioning, etc).


Dell XPS 720 - Red
Intel® Core™2 Q6600 Quad-Core (8MB L2 cache,2.4GHz,1066FSB)
Genuine Windows Vista® Ultimate (32bit)
3GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz - 4 DIMMs
320GB Performance RAID 0 (2 x 160GB WD Raptor SATA 1.5Gb/s 10,000 RPM HDDs)
Dual Drives: 16x DVD-ROM Drive + 16x DVD+/-RW w/ dbl layer write capable
24 inch UltraSharp™ 2407WFP Widescreen Digital Flat Panel
768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX
Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ XtremeGamer (D) Sound Card
Dell USB Enhanced Multimedia Keyboard
Razer Copperhead Tempest Blue Gaming Mouse (ships separately)
Dell WL6000 5.8GHz Wireless Rear 5.1 Speaker System with Subwoofer


the E6850 CPU is about $50 more than the Q6600

I'm not really interested at this point in building my own or having one custom built by someone. I've had excellent experience with Dell PCs (the last 2 have run for 8yrs and 4 yrs without a hiccup).
December 19, 2007 8:58:42 AM

Looks very nice!
The only thing I would query is, 3Gb RAM - 4DIMMs?
That should be 4Gb RAM in 2 or 4 DIMMs, I woul assume :) 
December 19, 2007 9:04:34 AM

LukeBird said:
Looks very nice!
The only thing I would query is, 3Gb RAM - 4DIMMs?
That should be 4Gb RAM in 2 or 4 DIMMs, I woul assume :) 


4gb is an option, but 32bit windows can only use 3gb. need 64bit windows to access more memory
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December 19, 2007 10:34:28 AM

The_Andy said:
[#ff0e00]

Below is what I'm currently spec'ing from Dell.....it's around $3400 plus tax (I get a small discount through work). I'd love any feedback on the options I've selected. Specifically, anyone know of any issues with running the Raid 0 harddrives? We run that config at work on high end Dell 690 workstations, and the HD performance kicks butt. I don't want any compatibility problems with any software utilities (defrag, backup, partioning, etc).


Dell XPS 720 - Red
Intel® Core™2 Q6600 Quad-Core (8MB L2 cache,2.4GHz,1066FSB)
Genuine Windows Vista® Ultimate (32bit)
3GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz - 4 DIMMs
320GB Performance RAID 0 (2 x 160GB WD Raptor SATA 1.5Gb/s 10,000 RPM HDDs)
Dual Drives: 16x DVD-ROM Drive + 16x DVD+/-RW w/ dbl layer write capable
24 inch UltraSharp™ 2407WFP Widescreen Digital Flat Panel
768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX
Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ XtremeGamer (D) Sound Card
Dell USB Enhanced Multimedia Keyboard
Razer Copperhead Tempest Blue Gaming Mouse (ships separately)
Dell WL6000 5.8GHz Wireless Rear 5.1 Speaker System with Subwoofer


the E6850 CPU is about $50 more than the Q6600

I'm not really interested at this point in building my own or having one custom built by someone. I've had excellent experience with Dell PCs (the last 2 have run for 8yrs and 4 yrs without a hiccup).

Wow!!! $3400???? I'd love to spend that on a system, but I'd build myself the same performance for $2000 or less :)  I'd question the 3gb w/4dimm's, I'm thinking that they are saying 3gb with 4 dimm slots with maybe 2 or 4 of the slots taken up, but that is just a guess. The only other thing that jumps out at me is the 8800gtx. I'd opt for a 8800gt if there was that option. It'll run cooler and generally quieter than a 8800gtx and be pretty much the same performance. It'll also be about 1/2 the price too :)  With the setup that you have picked, I'd probably not get the wireless speaker system, since I'm sure it's quite spendy. If you really need it than get it, but I don't know if I'd get it. If that option isn't too much than by all means get what you want. Most of the time when I'm gaming I use a headset and don't need the use of speakers, so that's where I'm coming from, on the speaker issue. Get what you like, I'm just pointing out things to think about. As far as the CPU for gaming goes, I'd find it hard to spend $50 more for the e6850 over the q6600, IMHO. One other thing, since your getting a Raptor HD already, just get a larger 2nd HD (like 320-500gig) for your storage. I think the raptors now are just overrated and over priced for what you get for desktop applications. I don't know how well workstations do with RAID, but you would know that better than me.
December 19, 2007 11:46:22 AM

You'll be paying slightly less then double what you could build it for. You could build it around $1700.00 Or I could build it for you and OC it to 3.5 for $2300. A dell wont be overclockable.
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December 19, 2007 12:16:26 PM

roadrunner197069 said:
You'll be paying slightly less then double what you could build it for. You could build it around $1700.00 Or I could build it for you and OC it to 3.5 for $2300. A dell wont be overclockable.

Yeah, but will you support it for 1-3 years? He says that he doesn't want to build it or have someone build it for him. I just don't like to see $1k go down the drain. Most people salivate over the thought of building a system close to $1k, so you can see where I'm coming from there. Oh well, if he wants to buy a Dell, let him do it. It's his $.
December 19, 2007 12:40:48 PM

I myself think there's nothing wrong with Dell. I bought a laptop from the a while ago and the customer care has been great, certainly wouldn't have got that if i built it myself!

Fair enough, they cost a bit more but if you're not too good with technology they're great.
December 19, 2007 12:41:57 PM

Warranty? Sure no problem. My systems will last longer then 3 years so I'm not worried. Besides if you like to talk to Chinnese or Indoneise for support by all means get a DEll.
December 19, 2007 12:43:27 PM

Being in the repair career, I would never buy a Dell. 90% of systems I have fixed or replaced are Dells.
December 19, 2007 12:46:54 PM

:heink:  . o O (Errr Ummm... sounds like you wouldn't have much of a career, if nobody brought dells.)
December 19, 2007 12:50:08 PM

The only part worth buying from Dell is the monitor.

Vista is crap. The GTX is expensive and obsolete. Raptors are HUGELY expensive and RAID0 is worthless in terms of performance. Who needs a $70 mouse?

Go ahead, throw away your money. Come to a builder's forum and ask about an overpriced prebuilt ... I could take 2 grand off that price, still have the 24" Dell monitor and have a kick-ass system.
December 19, 2007 12:55:00 PM


roadrunner197069 said:
Being in the repair career, I would never buy a Dell. 90% of systems I have fixed or replaced are Dells.


be happy, u get ur salary+comissions because of dell. if i was in ur place. i would recommend dell higligy. :lol: 
December 19, 2007 12:58:11 PM

I had some Dells in the past, but eventually I started to build my own systems, and now I'm not getting back. Building is easy, cheaper, the warranty is the same and the performance is far superior. If you get a laptop then you have to get a brand computer since a laptop can't be built yet, but in a desktop is a no brainer to me.

...oh and I kept the monitor from my last Dell lol.
December 19, 2007 1:01:33 PM

roadrunner197069 said:
Warranty? Sure no problem. My systems will last longer then 3 years so I'm not worried. Besides if you like to talk to Chinnese or Indoneise for support by all means get a DEll.
What do you mean Chinese or Indoneise for support ?


December 19, 2007 1:15:15 PM

plguzman said:
I had some Dells in the past, but eventually I started to build my own systems, and now I'm not getting back. Building is easy, cheaper, the warranty is the same and the performance is far superior. If you get a laptop then you have to get a brand computer since a laptop can't be built yet, but in a desktop is a no brainer to me.

...oh and I kept the monitor from my last Dell lol.

Actually you can get parts to build laptops, but they are hard to find and very expensive.
December 19, 2007 1:31:44 PM

Actually you can get equal or better warranties through the manufacturer of each part, such as:

Some video card vendors offer free lifetime warranties. EVGA offers a lifetime warranty that protects from replacing the stock cooler AND overclocking (except over-voltage), and has the Step-Up program, so anytime within 3 months of the purchase, you can sell your card back to EVGA for the full purchase price and put that towards a better card and you pay the difference and shipping.

Most processors have a 3-year warranty.

Most RAM have a lifetime warranty.

Most HDD's have at least a 3-year warranty while some have a 5-year warranty.

Basically what I'm saying is that by having a little adventure and building your own, you will not only save a grip of cash which you can put towards better parts for an even more kickass rig, but you will have met or exceeded Dell's warranty. Customer Support? You will find better support over a forum such as this one. I've dealt with Dell for support and like others have mentioned, it's usually someone from India who spends most of their time trying to translate what you've said in to what they can understand vs. thinking about the actual issue (which they won't get). Search the forums or Google and get a better, clearer answer, and you learn something in the process. Overall it just makes more sense to learn to build and repair your own PC than to buy pre-built because not only do you save a TON of $$ on parts, but you get equal or better warranties without any additional cost.



BUT if you're still hell-bent on buying a Dell for no real reason other than you simply have zero time to build one (and if this is a gaming rig, you clearly have some time), I would suggest getting at least an overclocked 8800GT which will meet or exceeds GTX speeds with lower heat and power consumption at half the price, or get an 8800GTS 512 which is faster than the GTX but uses less power and is $200 cheaper. Today there is no reason other than pure memory capacity (768 vs. 512) to buy a GTX.

The Q6600 is a good choice vs. the other processor. IMO a dual-core is not "more than enough", it is JUST enough. Some games do use both cores, some don't, so you need at least a dual-core (which is your only option obviously). But a quad-core will allow a multi-threaded game to use 2 cores while Windows will have 2 cores to play with for background operations. Even if a game doesn't utilize all 4 cores, you will notice some performance gains just for the fact that your normal operations can be offloaded to the unused cores.

And lastly, if you do want a Dell, I would go with the cheapest possible upgradeable config and just throw in your own RAM, video, and processor. You will still save hundreds!

Good luck m8
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December 19, 2007 2:04:19 PM

Well my last pre-built was in 2000 (Compaq). That was a nice computer but didn't come with a AGP slot, so I was pretty screwed for GPU upgrades. Ended up with a Voodoo 2000 16mb! What a decent card at the time. Now I build my own and also have built about 8 others for friends/family. So I know RR where your coming from. Alot of people don't know what there getting when buying a pre-built system. It's easy to buy and is plug and play for them. That is why Dell/HP/Gateway make $.
December 19, 2007 2:25:43 PM

I'm quite pleased with my E6850, I chose it do to, at the time I needed a new CPU ASAP,since I was going to sick with 32bit possessing on "this" machine I thought, well why go with a quad if I'm not gonna go 64bit. (Not that I'm saying the Q6600 is bad or anything like that)

nhobo said:
Advice (from one used to buy DELL): build your own. You'll get a better result, an upgradeble platform, *and* you'll learn how to maintain it yourself.


And yes I totally agree! I quit buying pre-made machines LONG ago :D 
December 19, 2007 2:33:24 PM

Yea I have the E6600 and I love it. But if I were building new I'd go with quad for sure.
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