To explain, this has been a never ending discussion.... there are a ton of threads asking the same thing. And it can get quite heated as none are a bad choice or the clear choice. You should be able to search it here and find loads of reviews linked each favoring a different cpu in different situations. Basically my take on it is for gaming they are all about equal at typically gaming settings, especially max overclocked. If not overclocking, the e8400's stock clock advantage may make it a bit better in games, but again this is more at low res cpu scaling tests not actual gaming resolutions/settings. I can and have provided links showing both the e8400 and the Q6600 beating each other in games . If priced the same I would buy a Quad.
well, pending on the game really, no game that i know of accually makes use of all 4 cores for the q9300 or q6600. so the e8400 would probably be the better choice of the 3. but if you multi task a lot, quad would be the way to go.. then again, the e8400 is highly overclockable. making it be able to match the q9300 at stock.
Does the "usual things" include overclocking it 'till it bleeds?
It's important to think about when you will upgrade your CPU after this one. Right now, the e8400 clocks higher and runs games better. In the next year, games should become multithreaded and run better on a lower clocked quad.
If you plan on upgrading withing a year or so, you should consider the e8400. That was my reasoning behind it. I'm a little dissapointed though because I got a weak overclocker (them's the breaks).
If you want a processor that will last you a couple of years, definitely go quad. The Q9300 has a lower multiplier than the Q6600. It will produce less heat and has more cache, but needs FSB of 480-500 to catch up with the Q6600.
I plan on upgrading to a quad in about a years time. By than the prices on the better quads should be nice and this will give nehalem awhile to mature after that.
In all honesty though, my e8400 paired with 4G of DDR2 800 ram doesn't run my games all that much better than my Opteron 170 with 2G DDR 400 ram. I think it's because my Graphics card isn't using all the information that the rest of my system is throwing at it.
remember quad cpu can have the cores set, set 1-2 cores to os and 3-4 to game
Sorry if this is a slight hijack, but i can't seem to find anywhere to do this. Also isn't the OS processes cycled evenly'ish over the four cores for a reason? And wouldn't setting the cores like that impact performance for quad core optimized games and utilities?
And if there's a clear benefit how do i do this, and how much benefit should a expect?
To the OP, so this isn't a total offtopic post, i'd recommend a quad core for more future proofing. But if u plan on upgrading again in the near future go for the best bang for your buck that's on the cheap end.