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Upgrading Question: Going for a new CPU and RAM, keeping the 680i mobo

Last response: in Systems
May 7, 2008 4:57:18 PM

You guys helped me build my rig a while back, now I'm thinking of making some upgrades. I overclock. Going to stay with my EVGA 680i A1 for now, but here's what I'm thinking:

1. CPU - want to upgrade from a E6600 to a Q6600 with G0 stepping, heard I can get at least 3 Ghz out of this, many people say 3.2. Heard the improvement was great over the E6600, in terms of Windows and multi-tasking. True? Should I be looking at another processor instead, or maybe none at all?

2. RAM - going to add at least 2 Gb more. I have two sticks of the TWIN2X2048-6400PRO, with Cas latency 5, timing 5-5-5-12, and voltage 1.9. They're out of this most everywhere, they stock the TWIN2X2048-6400C4PRO now, with Cas 4, 4-4-4-12, and 2.1 V. I was thinking about buying 2 Gb of this and mixing, but I don't know how that would affect my system. Recommendations? Maybe I can pick up 4 Gb of something new and better if necessary, but I don't want to waste good RAM or spend too much.

3. Miscellaneous - I'm trying to decide between a 1 Tb Seagate Barracuda ES.2 or possibly getting something more reliable, like two tried-and-true 500 Gb drives. I really need a hard drive that's going to work right out of the box and not give me any problems within a few weeks/months. Been reading the reviews at Newegg but no clear winners yet. Finally, I'm trying to decide on a monitor. The Dell 2408FPW is in my cross-hairs. The monitor is perfect for me in every aspect, but I would like it to be a bit bigger. The 2707FPW would be perfect, but has no HDMI inputs. Recommendations on a larger monitor with all these extra connections that Dell puts on their monitors? I need S-video and component inputs. Don't actually need the HDMI inputs YET, but I will soon.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2008 3:29:00 AM

Gateway XHD3000 30" HDMI WS Just the thing if you want to hook up your PS3/BluRay

Also the 24" Gateway FHD2400 is worth a look to compare to the excellent 2408FPW.
And it may still have the $50 off NewEgg coupon code.

a c 90 B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2008 3:35:04 AM

FHD2400 with $50 off coupon code: monitor5150

AnandTech review FHD2400 and Samsung 2493HM The Samsung with the Gateway should give you a good basis for comparisons with the 2408WFP. The Dell 2408WFP is mentioned and had been previously reviewed there.

Related resources
May 8, 2008 2:19:08 PM

Thanks for the information on the Gateway. 30" is too big for my purposes, unfortunately. As for the 24" model, I wouldn't buy anything other than the Dell if I was going to buy a 24" monitor. Especially not after reading a few reviews that went like this:

"Now this is the kicker - compared to other 24 inch TN screens this is not bad, but if you've ever used a good LCD like a Samsung 245T or a Dell Ultrasharp 24 the quality is just unacceptable."

Still looking for some help on points 1 and 2.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2008 3:06:24 PM

I agree that the 2408WFP is the best option. Im using the 2007WFP and Im very happy with it.
Fast Twitch gamers will want to seriously consider TN panels and lower prices.

1. The E6600 is also a multi-core multi-tasking CPU - only 2, not 4 cores. E6600 (being dual core) might OC a smidge higher than the quad. I don't see a real clear advantage to upgrading. If you do a lot of audio/video encoding work a Quad might make more sense then.

2. Be sure to visit your MB's forum and check out whats been shown to work in situations similar to yours. Ask recommendations there too. Thats the safest approach

3. I've always though of the ES models as being a higher spec than the desktop models as far as reliability goes. To me those choices are a wash also - no clear advantage to either except for possible small power consumption advantages over the 1 drive approach.
May 8, 2008 8:33:40 PM

I've got the 2005WFP, which is what I'll be replacing with the 2408FPW. I just wish that there was a 2608 or a 2708. The 2707 doesn't have the HDMI input that I need, unfortunately.

On the 680i board, the E6600 overclocks well. The Q6600 is iffy on this board, though most people can get 3 Ghz without trying when using the model with G0 stepping. There are places that sell this chip with guaranteed stepping. I don't necessarily _need_ the extra speed, though I like to multi-task and have A LOT of tabs open in Firefox. So I just thought I would upgrade, that's what a few people around here have told me to do. Also, I'm reading on Newegg and other forums like this one that a lot of people are replacing their E6600's with Q6600's, and they're "blown away" by the performance difference. I thought that might be something for me.

Regardless, I suppose I can wait another year and do a major upgrade then: new mobo, CPU and RAM at that point. Maybe what I really need is just a little more RAM for now, while it's cheap. I could probably go for a clean install of Windows and get these damn external drives disconnected. They spin up at stupid times and slow everything down. I've also heard that 64-bit XP is faster than regular. I suppose I can also try to get a better overclock out of my E6600 by going with a different bios revision... I completely forgot that EVGA has a forum. You're right about that being a great place to go for more information. I can probably find a lot of answers there to the stuff I'm wondering about.

Just to clarify, I only go shopping for "expensive" items about every 18 months. That's when I'm back in the States for a few weeks. Most of this stuff is prohibitively expensive where I live so I prefer to pack my bags full and bring it back. My current rig was entirely brought over, as well as my monitor :)  My next trip is coming up and I thought I'd get some new stuff while I can...
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
May 10, 2008 4:04:51 PM

I have an eVGA 680i motherboard running an E6600 OC'd to 3.6 GHz. Running the FSB much past 400 MHz really drives the MCP temps up. My motherboard did not like the Q6600. Anything past 3.0 GHz and I started running into strange stability problems.

I know the problem is not the Q6600. Right now, it's on a Gigabyte
EP35-DS3P running at 3.6 GHz in an Antec 900 case.

If you are going to push a Q6600 hard, you will need a pretty good HSF.

i_hate_flying: Me too. I am working in Saudi Arabia. I get back to the U.S. about twice a year (about 30 hours door to door). Like you, I can buy new stuff downtown, but it's expensive.

May 10, 2008 8:49:37 PM

jsc, do you know what bios you were running to get your E6600 to 3.6 Ghz? Mine wouldn't get that far, but it could have something to do with just my chip.

As for the Q6600 on the 680i boards, there's something known as the FSB Hole. You might not be able to post between, say 2.7 and 3.5 Ghz at a 9x multiplier, but then you put the FSB right up to 1600 and something amazing happens. It works and you're running stable at 3.6 Ghz, after working out the voltages of course. You might try that.

Saudi Arabia, wow. 30 hours door to door is a lot. It doesn't take me that long, and this is pretty much home now, but I'll never get used to the prices and the all the damn taxes! I bet you're getting fuel pretty cheap over there! We're paying about 9.50$US a gallon here.
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
May 14, 2008 3:48:10 PM

680i Bios? P30.

I did not see any sign of an FSB hole. Bought the 680i and CPU Dec. 2006. Using the E6600, my path to 3.6 GHz was 2.4 GHz, 3.0 GHz (stock HFS), 3.3 GHz (AC Freezer 7 Pro).

Brought back a TR120UE July 2007: 3.4 GHz, 3.5 GHZ, 3.55 GHz, 3.58 GHz, 3.6 GHz, 3.65 GHz. Vcore was 1.50 volts drooping to 1.42 volts.

Each step was tested for 24 hours using Orthos. 3.65 GHz ran Orthos with no faults, but I ran into a strange mouse stability problem. So I dropped back to 3.6 GHz.

I was also curious to see how well graphics performance scaled with CPU speed. In separate test runs, I went from 2.4 GHz to 3.6 GHz in 0.1 GHz steps. Using 3dMark, graphics performance pretty much leveled off at 3.2 GHz. I figure that's where my G80 640 MB 8800GTS bottlenecks.

With the Q6600, I could POST at 3.3 GHz, but it wasn't stable past 3.0 GHz.

Travel: of that 30 hour, "only" about 18 is in the air. Should be better now. KLM now has a direct flight from Amsterdam to Dallas, TX.

Gasoline here is about $0.45 for a gallon of "Regular" and $0.60 for "Premium". On the other hand, I need to go to Bahrain for ribs and beer.