I am brand new at this so please bear with me. I've retired early for health reasons; so decided to build a computer as a hobby.
For exactly the same amount of money. I can use either the Q6600 or the E8500 cpu on the mobo i bought. I realize the 8500 is a little faster. But what about overall performance?
If gaming the higher clock speeds have a slight advantage.
For anything else the Quad is superior eg decoding, photoshopping, running lots of apps at once. The Quad will also offer more in the way of future proofing as new apps utilise more cores. In order to fully realise the power however you would need Vista 64 as it supports multicores much better.
If you intend to overclock, the Q6600 will reach 3.0GHz with ease, and many here reach 3.3-3.6GHz.
Aye scrap my comment about 64 bit, i must admit i heard it in passing. Just did a bit of research and it doesnt seem to make any noticeable difference whether you are on 32 or 64 bit with a quad so apologies for that.
Q6600 vs E8500, E8500 wins in game by only a small %. The new video card drivers from both ATI (next upcoming driver 9.1) and Nvidia are Quad optimize and the Quads are getting better in games and the lead the C2D had over the C2Q is getting smaller.
Whats your GPU budget? If you want to slay everything then the Nvidia 295 / 285 are out imminently, supposedly the 295 tops the Radeon 4870 marginally.
Best bang for buck is still Radeon 4850 imo, and would compliment your CPU well.
I narrowed things down to these same two choices last aug. I am happy with my Q6600 oc'd at 3.0. A lot of apps may not be optimized for quad yet but in a year or two the upgrade I will have to consider is Q6600 vs. Q9550. And chances are it won't be worth spending any $$ on an upgrade since I did not buy the E8500.