So i'm working on a build for the middle of may, and i'm trying to decide between the q6600, q9300, or e8400. I pretty much have all the other parts in order besides the processor. I want to play games, but that will be the secondary purpose after schoolwork (internet, word processing etc.) So I'm not looking for super outrageous frames per second or resolutions or aa (whatever that is) I will game casually at a MAX res of 1680x1050. I like the idea of a quad core for multi-tasking and what not, and since i wont be hardcore gaming, i thought it might be wise to go in that direction with mild overclocking. What would you guys recommend for my build?
For a gaming build, look at E8400. If you like quads, pick up a $200 Q6600 which is the best bang quad. You could overclock the Q6600 to 3ghz with stock cooling. The only drawback is that the power consumption of overclocked Q6600 is quite huge.
The E8400 @ 3.6Ghz will probably out-perform Q6600 @ 2.88Ghz (mild 20% OC's on each) even for heavy multi-tasking. The difference in quad-enabled games will have the E8400 out in front (by a fairly small margin) but the E8400 will have a much higher performance advantage in most games out now and in the near future.
1680x1050 with either E8400 or Q6600. The 8800GT/OC will probably be the limiting factor for highest quality graphics options at decent framerates. The price difference between the GT and GTS is only about $20 and should be a nice upgrade.
The Evga 8800GTS KO is only $35 difference. And we're getting close to the 90 day StepUp window for 99xx GPU new releases. MSI & Evga 8800 GT / GTS compared
I was originally set on the q6600, but then i started reading about how much power it consumes which is why I started looking at the 45nm chips. It's actually not a huge deal for me since i dont pay the bill at home but why not save some energy when you can, right? So thanks to WR2, I think I may go with the e8400 so I can hippie out and save the environment and not sacrifice multi tasking performance!
FSX makes the CPU and GPU choices slightly tougher. You probably know FSX SP1 enabled quad core support. And Acceleration (or SP2) makes FSX the first game faster in DX10 than in DX9. FSX - SP2 and DX10 Performance
If you're interested in what a 3.0Ghz quad QX6850 (or OC'd 3.0Ghz Q6600) does on FSX at max quality settings check this link: Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX Review
You'll probably notice that the 8800GTS has essentially the same performance as the 8800GTS. The 9800GTX has the reputation of being a "slightly overclocked 8800GTS" but the chart in that article don't seem to confirm that.
From trolling around in the AVSIM forums it's my opinion that it's near consensus is that an stock or OC'd E8400 will still beat a stock or OC'd (same % of OC) Q6600. For a safe 24/7 OC of around 25% that would have the E8400 @~3.75Ghz and Q6600 @~3.0Ghz AVSim Forums
For most other games and general multi-tasking the clear leader would be the E8400. Two cores at higher frequencies still seems to trump 4 cores at slower clocks in most general apps. Quad really come into their own when you start with the audio and video applications. This article will give you more background on where E8400 and Q6600 (and other quads) stand compared head to head. Overclocking Intel's Wolfdale E8000
It's pretty close for FSX but I think overall E8400 is still your best choice.