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Advice on processor upgrade please

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October 1, 2008 7:53:31 AM

Hello. I have a HP home computer (with Intel Core2 Quad Q9400) running computationally intensive application. From the task bar, I found that when I did simulations, all four cores were used at 100% usage. Will I gain much by upgrading to Core2 Duo E8600 (3.33GHz)
or the Core2 Quad Q9650 (3GHz)? In this case, which one would you recommend? I have to run simulations 24/7. I assume that the motherboard, power supply and case and the fans should be able to handle either of these processors (please correct me if I am wrong).

October 1, 2008 8:27:43 AM

Your speed is basically #cores * frequency.

So let's do the calculations:

Q9400: 4 cores at 2.66 ghz : 4 * 2,66 = 10,64
E8600: 2 cores at 3,33 ghz : 2 * 3,33 = 6,66
Q9650: 4 cores at 3,00 ghz : 4 * 3,00 = 12,00

So basically your program would run slower with E8600 and slightly faster with Q9650.
Depending on your budget, I would either stay with what you have or get the fastest 4 core intel cpu you can find, which is the QX9775 (i think)

There is also the possibility to overclock it, but thats another story, and unless you have someone to help you, I would not recommend it.

Your computer should be perfectly able to run any modern intel cpu you throw at it.
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October 1, 2008 8:35:34 AM

hajime said:
I have a HP home computer...


Sorry but odds are that you will not be able to upgrade your CPU.
Most prebuilt systems have their BIOS' locked and are unable to work with a different CPU.
Before trying, phone Hp Tech Support and ask them which CPU's can be supported bye your BIOS and check the product page to see which other CPU's are supported with in the product line.

If the CPU's you list are supported and you really want to spend the $$, go for the Q9650.
As it sounds as you app can take advantage of multi cores, a dual core (like the E8600) would give you less performance than your current Q9400.

I do not think you will have any issues with your PSU or case cooling with such a minor upgrade but you may wish to consider a new CPU cooler. The stock Intel Hs' (what you are most likely using) are JUNK! A quick, cheap and simple upgraded cooler you should look into would be the Artic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro.

Also, forget about overclocking.
Your BIOS will not support it.
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October 1, 2008 8:54:50 AM

Just remember the Q9650 will only get you a slight speed increase (10% or so).

You also want to make sure you don't run out of memory at any point. It could severely impact the speed.
I would think you should be at least be able to upgrade that, but outlw6669 sounds like he knows these systems.
October 4, 2008 1:55:21 AM

Thanks for all the useful information. I just heard from HP that the cpu on my computer is upgradable. DasKrabbe mentioned a very simple and useful formula to calculate the speed of the computer as: #cores * frequency

Is this an educated guess? Has this formula been proven scientifically to work in general?
October 4, 2008 2:56:12 AM

DasKrabbe was somewhat misleading since the E8600 can overclock to extreme heights which allows it to best quads in many applications. However, overclocking is impossible on an HP system since the BIOS is locked and can not be replaced anymore without a new motherboard. Upgrading your current CPU would be frivolous and an extreme waste of money. Despite DasKrabbe formula, the Q9650 would not even give you a 10% boost in performance since the architecture is limited by the GHz of the CPU to the point where the .44 ghz increase would make very little difference. Also, your system will most likely bottleneck the difference even further with the slowness of hard drives, likely lack of memory speed or capacity, and the limitations of the FSB in general. Long story short, there is not simple answer except that the difference would be minimal at best. Your only real option at this point is to spend a month or more researching how to build and overclock computers and buy a new case, cooler, PSU, and motherboard then overclock the Q9400 to a healthy 3.2-3.6 Ghz. DasKrabbe was very right that lack of memory could be the true culprit here. If the memory is adequate, then you should just try to be happy with what you have, sorry.
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