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Intel Q9550?

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April 27, 2009 11:53:25 PM

I am currently looking for a good deal on the Q9550.
I was debating between the Q6600 and the Q9550. I figured the extra power was enough to justify the extra $80.

I just missed Dells deal on these (something like $203 shipped) and am wondering if anyone knows of any good deals out there right now?
I was planning on purchasing through Newegg ($270), but wanted to see what you guys think.

Also, the entire reason I'm upgrading (currently have a Core 2 Duo 1.86) is because I am a graphic designer and photo retoucher. I use photoshop and illustrator everyday, all day. My current processor just isn't enough power. I get errors (not enough RAM) when trying to apply filters sometimes. I'll check my available ram and thers 1.5gb free. Also when doing a minor edit, I'll watch my CPU jump from 5-10% up to 80%.

My set up:

Windows XP SP3
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86
GIGABYTE GA-G31m-S2L
3GB of Kingston memory: (1) 2GB stick and (1) 1GB stick. Only because I heard Windows XP can only use 4GB of ram total, and 1GB is reserved for the system. So you only need 3GB. Someone want to correct me on this?
Built-in Graphics Card (Intel G31)
Couldn't tell you what power supply I have. Its been in there for about 5 years and I didn't know computer knowledge then as much as I do now.

More about : intel q9550

a b à CPUs
April 28, 2009 7:57:23 AM

Do you have a budget? You don't have to get a quad-core IMO, when you get something like this:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400

That, like the quad-core you want, also maximizes your motherboard. Yet it consumes less power, and costs only $168 on the egg.

I think you're also not maximizing your RAM because you're using a 2GB and 1GB stick together. IIRC, the 2GB stick has to "slow" itself down so that the 1GB stick can keep up. Here's suggested replacement RAM:

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ

Also maximizes your motherboard.

Take note, I've limited my suggestions based on your current motherboard; if you have a bigger budget, maybe you can consider a new motherboard which can support a more powerful processor and more RAM.

Regarding memory limitations, 32-bit OSes like Windows XP SP3 can only "see" at most somewhere around 3.25GB. If you're going to stick with your current OS, I recommend you still get the 4GB RAM I suggested above, since running with different kinds of memory reduces overall performance. Hope this all helps!
a b à CPUs
April 28, 2009 8:09:00 AM

That link is to a 2GB kit, not a 4.

Definitely go for the 4GB RAM kit and it's worth checking if your version of photoshop supports multi-threading to utilise a quad. Some versions of photoshop also support CUDA so a cheap NVidia GPU might be worth a look...
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April 28, 2009 4:24:49 PM

Ya, if you want to stick with windows xp (32 bit edition), then the 3 gb will be showing up as 3 gb, or whatever difference is between the video card you have. Ie: if your video card is 1GB, then only 3 GB of ram will be shown equalling 4.
If its only a 512 MB card, then you should be able to see 3.5 GB of ram.

Only applies if you have 4 gb installed.

If that motherboard supports a quad core Q6600 or a 9550, go based on the price comparison. Either one would be good for what you want, but, the q9550 has more juice compared to the older one, not a huge difference, all about your budget.

If you choose to upgrade to windows vista 64 bit or for some reason windows xp 64 bit, then get additional ram and the upgraded cpu, if not, stick with what you have and get the cpu upgrade only.
April 28, 2009 5:52:15 PM

The story on RAM is as follows:

32-bit operating systems are capable of addressing up to 4GB of memory. This includes your graphics card RAM, any memory addressing requirements your motherboard has, and last system RAM. Therefore, you will always see less than 4GB when you have that much installed on a 32-bit OS.

Now, do not be concerned about 'wasting' RAM as having 2x2GB in dual channel mode is much faster than your current setup, even tho you wont be able to fully utilize all 4GB.

Also, if you decide a move to 64-bit is in order, I advise waiting for Win7 rather than blowing the money now on what will soon be an 'old version'. Vista works fine, but XP-64 has very shoddy driver support.
April 29, 2009 12:42:32 AM

Thanks for all of the replies guys!
My motherboard does except Core 2 Quad processors.
I am using both Photoshop and Illustrator CS4, which is capable of utilizing the quad-core processors.

Photoshop bogs down on me. Which eventually causes me to have to shut down photoshop and reopen it.
As for the graphics card, I heard the photoshop doesn't utilize really unless you're doing 3D stuff.
Its using the processor to do everything.

As for memory, I'll pick up another 2GB stick of the same one that I have in there now.
I only bought the 1GB because of what I heard. Right now its in SmartRam mode or something like that that my motherboard has. It does dual channel for 1GB on each stick.

I'm not planning on upgrading my OS anytime soon. Not unless Windows 7 blows me away, and all of the hiccups are taken care of.

I think the Q9550 would be a good choice for me.
Unless you think the Q6600 will be plenty of power? I can't complain about saving money. :) 
Is there a notable difference between 8mb of cache and 12mb of cache...?
Also 65nm versus 45nm...?
And lastly 1066fsb versus 1333fsb?
a b à CPUs
April 29, 2009 1:43:45 AM

Sorry, 'bout that, meant to link to a 2x2GB kit:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Anyways, as everyone says, don't worry about "wasting" the extra 1GB Ivoryplum. If you're going to replace your 1GB stick with another 2GB, make sure you match your first 2GB exactly.

I think the dual-core I originally suggested would be suitable for your purposes. The quad-core sounds a bit too expensive for my taste for a PS-oriented upgrade, unless you work with 600dpi billboards regularly.

Obviously a higher fsb would mean things would go faster. With your current motherboard, you'll need to overclock it o get to 1333, and that might require extra cooling and a bit of know-how on your part.
April 29, 2009 1:56:01 AM

I have Kingston ram in my setup (tried using G skill first, but it wouldn't work properly).
I just ordered another 2GB stick from Newegg. Should be here Thursday/Friday.

I currently have a Core 2 Duo though.
Even though the one you suggested is faster, I don't see it as enough of an upgrade, and wouldn't want to spend the money.
I am a freelance graphic designer/photo editor. None of my stuff has been blown up that big YET, have only done magazine spreads, ads, etc...
Basically, if I'm going to spend the money, I want to get something that'll last me for awhile.
If I'm throwing $200 on the table for a Q6600, why not an extra $70 for the Q9550?

My motherboard supports FSB up to 1333, so we're good on that part.
I will most likely overclock the Q9550 (if I get it) to 3.0-3.2ghz. No need for me to go higher as I don't want to increase the power to it, or add more cooling.
!