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HELP QX6850 vs Q6600 (re: XPS 630 - don't hate me)

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February 27, 2008 1:33:51 AM

Ok,

I know most of you are all do-it-yourselfers so are probably against buying commercial rigs and if hardware is anything like software giants, you probably especially hate Dell :) 

That said, I got an offer for their new XPS 630 which expires by tomorrow morning at 7am but it is almost a $500 savings so I am placing an order since the rig will cost pretty cheap and I don't have time or energy to put one together.

That said, my question: Is it worth the extra $950ish dollars to upgrade from the Q6600 to the QX6850.

Since I need to place my order tonight, I'm having trouble researching the differences in performance, especially on the gaming end.

I know the QX6850 should be faster but how much faster? I.e. worth the extra 1k? Part of my thinking is that this rig will hold me over for the next year or so until Intel releases their whole new shabang and next-gen video cards from NVidia are out and I can put together a real beast.

So in that case, probably better to pocket the $1k and save it for the real enthusiast rig but I wanted to be sure there isn't anything I'm missing.

Going with 4 gig and a 8800 GTX for now (yes I know they have a new card coming out in a month but...)

Thoughts?

I will check Tom's for more benchmarks in the mean time. Thanks!
a c 126 à CPUs
February 27, 2008 1:45:51 AM

Well the QX6850 stock is @ 3GHz. the Q6600 is @ 2.4GHz. Stock the QX6850 will be better. If you plan to OC a Q6600 will be better as 3GHz is great but the QX6850 does have a unlocked multiplier so OC'ing is easier.

In the end its up to you. So with the $500 dollars off you will be spending $450 for the CPU really but still its a Dell XPS so its costly compared to what you could get custom built for you.

But it depends on what you are spending on it customized? I mean I could have customized one from HP's Blackbird 002 with the same components as in mine and pay $3700 compared to $1500. For the price they usually want I can build an uber machine.
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February 27, 2008 1:51:42 AM

Thanks for the quick response. Sorry to confuse you but the $460ish dollars off is off the system regardless of processor so I'd still have to pay the nearly 1k$ regardless to upgrade from the 6600.

From what I can tell on some of the 2007 benchmarks, for gaming, the 6850 seems about 20% faster on FPS but since I mostly play online games like EQI/EQ2/WoW/Warhammer & Conan when they come out, etc. I don't need bleeding edge though I'd like it but might have to wait a year.

Here is the config for about $1850 or $1900 and yes I know I can build one cheaper but for time and energy...so it seems another 1k$ would kill the point of this type of system for 20% more FPS yes?

PROCESSOR Intel® Core™2 Q6600 Quad-Core (8MB L2 cache,2.40GHz,1066FSB) edit
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium edit
MEMORY 4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz - 4 DIMMs edit
HARD DRIVE 160GB - 10000RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache edit
ADDITIONAL HARD DRIVE 320GB - 7200RPM, SATA 2 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache edit
OPTICAL DRIVE Dual Drives: 48x Combo + 16x DVD+/-RW w/ dbl layer write capable edit
VIDEO CARD nVidia® GeForce® 8800 GTX 768MB edit
SOUND CARD Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ XtremeMusic (D) Sound Card edit
KEYBOARD Dell USB Keyboard edit
MOUSE Dell Optical USB Mouse edit
MEDIA READER 19 in 1 Media Card Reader edit


NOTE: Forgot to mention they use the NVidia 650i board which I think only supports 1066???? So if the 6850 gotes higher but the board doesn't, isn't that a waste as well or am I getting confused with what little facts I could dig up quickly?

Also, as for OC'ing, Dell used to lock down their BIOS settings for OC'ing so not sure of the 630 has those unlocked. I should re-check the review of it to see.

When I try and call Dell for any of that type of info, I usually wish I poked out my ears with a rusty coat hanger instead :/ 
a c 126 à CPUs
February 27, 2008 2:05:52 AM

I understand why you hate their tech support. Why Dell would lock a BIOS and offer a OC'ing chip is stupid. You are right. The Q6600 is great. I couldn't slow it down at stock and at 3GHz is harder.

I once ran 3 of one game, 2 others(all online), WMP, DVDShrink, WinRAR of a 4GB file, downloading and many many IE7 and it just laughed at me.

Even if its "official" support is 1066 some can be OC'ed to the 1333 FSB. Mine has super mem speed(Asus P5K-E WiFi/AP) and it can support 1333 which I have it set to right now.

I say go for the Q6600 and love it. Pay attention to it, feed it and tuck it into bed. It will love you back a lot.
February 27, 2008 2:20:40 AM

Thanks for the feedback.

And yes, with the new 'gaming' approach Dell has been taking, I think some of the 7xx XPS have some BIOS settings unlocked for OC'ing so I don't want to mis-spread any info that could be incorrect.

But I know at least a year ago they were still locking many OCing option on their BIOS. Hey, if I had to support 1/4 of the computers out there (ok I don't know how many Dell's are out there), maybe I'd lock it down to keep from issues and returns but as an enthusiast, I obviously hate that :) 

Ok, well then for $1800-1900 or so for the total package, I guess I'll give it a spin.

Either way it is an upgrade from the 2 machines I have and just cheap enough to hold me over until I see what Intel and Nvidia do for the real 'next-gen' architectures at the end of this year.

Thanks
February 27, 2008 2:29:18 AM

I'm almost certain that the Dell is locked, although as jimmysmitty said that's ridicules with the QX chip. It's unfortunate that you don't have the few hours to build it yourself the Q6600 gets a free OC to 3G/1333 by a simple FSB increase. If you absolutely have to buy the dell I would save the cash and get the Q6600. If you think it's not enough in a year buy a mobo and swap it out and OC it. $950 is just too much cash for the difference.
February 27, 2008 2:34:29 AM

You could find a reputable builder on ebay and get more bang for the buck. I build q6600 machines in the $1000-$1300 range depending on the graphic card. Not to mention if you get a custom build and specify a EVGA card you could step it up in 90 days.
February 27, 2008 2:36:06 AM

Thanks Zorg and Jimmy.

It is wierd because I grew up with Intell before the pentium after I got rid of my commodore and atari wayyyyy back and of course everyone built their own rigs.

As I've gotten older, it seems I enjoy to game, etc. but don't want to deal with the headaches of compatability and crashes and yadda yadda.

I just want it to work ;)  So yes you pay a premium for it if you order it from places like Alienware and Falcon. Dell is just good enough to get by when you can get great deals given the 2 year warranty for all parts, etc.

But I do hate not being able to speak to someone their who has any technical sense, at least higher than mine.

So yes, I'm guessing they locked down the settings too but with the ability to OC it, I'm going to pray and I guess go with the Q6600 and 4 gig of non-Corsair Dominator memory since I don't think the $290 extra is worth it for those either.

Save it all for the big big upgrade early next year or late this year I guess.
February 27, 2008 3:16:34 AM

drunkgamer said:
So yes, I'm guessing they locked down the settings too but with the ability to OC it, I'm going to pray and I guess go with the Q6600 and 4 gig of non-Corsair Dominator memory since I don't think the $290 extra is worth it for those either.
There is a very very slight chance that the QX6850 will be overclockable to a small degree, but I can guaranty that the Q6600 won't be overclockable at all, so be prepared for that. I would even be more receptive to the assemblers on Newegg or Tigerdirect. At least you would be able to get the QX6850 frequency for the price of the Q6600.
February 27, 2008 3:48:21 AM

Hey drunk,

You said it,

"Save it all for the big big upgrade early next year or late this year I guess."
February 27, 2008 4:39:07 AM

Yeah, thanks all for the quick input.

Part of me (since I use my computer for so much I get all the entertainment value x100 back from it) thinks 1k$ is worth it if x, y, and z.

But truth is, I don't think it will give me that edge in anything today to the point where it is worth it vs. what it will allow me to do in 1 year with the new processors and GPU's coming. Sure, I know there is always something new coming but I'm referring to those milestone release periods that come around every 2 years or so (i.e. what the dual/quad cores did to processors as an example).

X35/X48 is nice but nothing special. Penryn is also nice but not such a huge leap yet. The 780i is kaka compare to what you hope it was going to be...

So I'm going to ride the value vs. endulgence train this time even though after being stuck with my two previous rigs for almost 4 years of patchwork upgrades, I promised myself I 'deserve' something great but I guess it will have to wait :) 
February 27, 2008 10:35:48 AM

I have a computer that was originally a Dell XPS 720 H2C, with a QX6800 CPU, and now with a Q6600 CPU (the QX6800 is in another pc)

Dell lock all overclocking on all CPUs other than extreme editions.

You cannot control the FSB, vCore, vDimm, FSB:D RAM ratio, nothing.

It sets the RAM speed by SPD and thats what you get.

Extreme edition CPUs can be overclocked by multiplier but NOT by FSB. The motherboard selects a dell determined voltage for your multiplier.
February 27, 2008 11:13:39 AM

$1k is a lot to spend for a 20% increase. I'd save the cash and buy the cheaper rig. A Q6600 should be fine for the next year and if you're planning on upgrading next year regardless of what you buy now, you'll appreciate that extra $1k when you come to build your uber-rig.
a c 126 à CPUs
February 27, 2008 11:51:03 AM

Yea upgrading I would say wait till mid 2009 when Nehalem is released. Should have the mainstream/enthusiast ones and will be nice.

The RAM from corsair you are getting is nice. I have the non-DHX PC-8500(DDR2-1066 version) and it is great. The only difference is that the DHX version includes a better heat spreader that pulls heat from the RAM chips and to some nice fins up top so it helps it stay cooler.

darkstar782, thanks for the info. But Dell is just stupid. They offer a OC'ing chip and only allow you to change the multi. Only problem is that even with a unlock multi there is no guarantee that raising it to say 12(4GHz) will be stable without a slight voltage increase.

Thats a reason why I hate OEMs and gaming PC companies. They charge you a butt-load and screw you over.
February 27, 2008 4:05:10 PM

Hope this helps others as I managed to dig up a pretty indepth (more than Tom's in some areas to be sure):

It is quite clear Dell raised the bar (albeit nothing close to home-built but definitely higher than other very large OEM's, especially since this is a lower-priced rig):

Although typically frowned upon officially by the big manufacturers, this BIOS has two areas clearly labeled as Overclock Configuration and Overvoltage Configuration. Now, we're not going to go ahead and state that the options here rival a true PC enthusiast board, but it's a pretty good start and has just enough options to get your feet wet. To start, one needs to switch off the FSB - Memory Clock Mode, which allows the FSB and memory clocked to be linked, or unlinked, and the speeds dialed in directly. Memory timings can also be tweaked here as well. Switching over to Expert mode allowed us to input our timings directly when using a pair of Corsair Dominator DIMMs. No overclocking attempt would be complete without some power over the voltages, and while available, the choices are a bit limited:

CPU Core:
CPU FSB:
Memory Voltage:
Chipset Voltage: 1.00V-1.85V (0.05V steps)
1.20V-1.40V (0.05V steps)
1.80V-2.50V (0.05V steps)
1.20V-1.50V (0.05V steps)


Oddly, the CPU Range of Voltage starts from high to low, while the other three start at AUTO and then move up from there.

Using the set of options available in the Dell XPS 630 BIOS, we started raising the FSB 5 MHz at a time on the Core 2 Quad Q6600, not really knowing what to expect. Almost immediately, at a 1200MHz QDR Windows threw a message that there was a "Hardware Malfunction". A quick trip back into the BIOS led us to raise the Core Voltage to 1.35V and from there it was a smooth ride right up into the mid 1400's on the front side bus. We hit the proverbial wall at 1470MHz, where no raising of the Core, FSB, or Chipset voltages would get us back into Windows. Settling back down to 1467MHz, or a 3.3GHz clock for the CPU, we were able to get a stable environment. A quick run of 3DMark06's CPU performance module produced a score of 4553 3DMarks - a 32% improvement over the machine's stock performance.

February 28, 2008 2:28:26 AM

Cool, let us know if it is real when you get yours.
February 28, 2008 3:08:45 AM

Wow, I'm I reading that right, Dell will be letting you overclock their rig.

WOWOWOWOWOWOWWO!
a c 126 à CPUs
February 28, 2008 3:24:01 AM

Enjoy the PC. Just one thing though I know you will hate is their tech support. Some guy who claims his name is "bob" with an accent that will ask you to make sure it is plugged in.

Any problems ask us first then call them to replace the parts or what not.
February 28, 2008 4:53:54 AM

q6600 to qx6850 for $950 is definitely not worth it, imo.

Good luck with the overclocking, be sure to keep us updated.
February 28, 2008 5:14:41 AM

Yeah I've bought about 10 Dell's in my life for my parents, friends, etc.

To me, I like Dell because despite how enthusiasts might dislike them (and I very very very much hate their support), as a whole they give you a good, STABLE product that is quite user friendly and accessible.

For people who don't care to ever hear the words NIC or RJ-anything, this pays strong dividends. They just want to know where the on switch is and that it works day in and day out.

As for me (an enthusiast and gamer), up until recently Dell never had any options that I'd consider but as a stop-gap, I thought why not.

And yes, Dell allowing overclocking is shocking to me as well, especially on 'budget' gaming rigs. But maybe they gained some smarts and realized if just 10% of the people who might have built their own say 'ahh screw it, take my $1200 and let me get going tomorrow', that can mean a lot.

Also, I believe since they bought Alienware, they are careful not to take the top-tier systems from Alienware's space but they have learned quite a bit on how to appeal to gamers - at least those who don't treat Dell like Microsoft ;P

As for the extra cash, I thought about it and figured I spend $60 here to fill up another tank of gas, $150 for hits, $90 for this and yet I live on my PC and am debating spending an extra $600-$700.

Life is too short. Screw it. Take my $$$ and give me whatever happiness I can create until the next real reason to upgrade comes out late this year/early next.

Thanks again for the info *hic*
February 28, 2008 2:46:38 PM

I say stay with the Q6600, what the games need is strong VGA and lots of memory..

Now i see u have 4 gigs of mem so that's more then enough, if u really want to upgrade something put another VGA 8800gtx, still i don't think u need one ..YET.

IF U WANT YOUR PC FOR GAMES NEVER.. AND I REPEAT "NEVER" PUT 1st PROCESSOR, u don't need it. upgrade the ones above ;) 

cheers Alex
February 28, 2008 3:00:29 PM

Dell Tech support is not as bad as many assume.

When I call tech support, I usually already know what is wrong. In general, I only spend a few minutes on the phone since I've already tested everything they would have needed me to test.

I generally don't but their Desktops for me, but I buy the laptops with a nice warranty. They are at my house and have it fixed in 48hrs which is real nice since I can't hop done to the local computer shop to easily grabe a new mobo, keyboard, screen, etc....
February 28, 2008 3:01:43 PM

Although I agree with you in general, I also do development so the CPU helps churn compiles out as well as the extra horsepower with SQL Server, .NET, etc. all open and running.

In the end of the day it came down to $700 or not. Not an easy decision but the end of the world either.

After evaluating it, I'll decide plus I do have 21 days :p 

As for SLI, I've never ever been a fan. More problems than not unless you are a huge fan of a couple games in a particular you know benefit from it.

I've seen some interesting benchmarks many a time where two cards (say two GT's) perform far worse than a single GTX.

So as a whole I buy the best single video card available and use just one.

For now ;) 
February 28, 2008 3:24:12 PM

Just make sure you come back and give us first hand experience with the new OCing feature, BIOS cooling fan options etc. If they loosen up the BIOS a little bit they will sell a lot more PCs. He!!, I might even recommend them.
February 28, 2008 4:19:54 PM

With Q6600, you can still OC to 3.0G on Dell computer if it is G0. All you need is to cover the BSEL2 pin.
I am running Q6600@3.0G on a Dell Inspiron 530. with Dell stock HSF, Prime95 v25.6 4 threads shows maximum temp of 55C.
Just make sure you have a G0 before tape the pin.
i don't think QX6850 even worths $100 more than Q6600 on a Dell desktop.
a c 126 à CPUs
February 28, 2008 10:24:51 PM

lashrimp said:
With Q6600, you can still OC to 3.0G on Dell computer if it is G0. All you need is to cover the BSEL2 pin.
I am running Q6600@3.0G on a Dell Inspiron 530. with Dell stock HSF, Prime95 v25.6 4 threads shows maximum temp of 55C.
Just make sure you have a G0 before tape the pin.
i don't think QX6850 even worths $100 more than Q6600 on a Dell desktop.
http://upload.pbase.com/image/92337793/original.jpg


Interesting. Now does this also allow you to use the stock voltage? Or do you have to raise that as well. Kinda funny that its only a pin that does that lol.
February 28, 2008 10:49:32 PM

I do not mod the voltage, since voltage pin mod is much more complicated. But from CPU-Z, it is raised a little bit automatically
February 29, 2008 4:48:11 AM

@3G, you really want to lower the voltage. Are those Core Temps? If so they are good. That pin mod is great, I love circumventing lockouts by Dell, HP, Verizon Wireless etc.
February 29, 2008 11:26:43 AM

Yes, they are core temperature from Core Temp
February 29, 2008 11:59:28 AM

I guess the pin mod make the Q6600 rated fsb to 1333? Whelp, dat's different, since the pin mod for E4xxx was to make a connection for 2 pins to change the fsb strap. Heh, wish that could be done on my allendale. :cry: 
February 29, 2008 12:13:52 PM

900$ for 2fps youre crazy.
a c 126 à CPUs
February 29, 2008 12:36:05 PM

I like that idea. Might have to try it as that will basically give you a Q6850(non QX as there is no unlocked multi). But still nice.

This is for the OP:



Love this comic.
March 3, 2008 6:06:51 AM

^Priceless :lol: 
!