Hello. I will just start this thread by saying the main reason I own a computer is to play video games. With that said, I have the chance to get a Q9550 Quad core clocked at 2.83 Ghz and I currently have a 2.33 Ghz E6550 @ 3.07 overclocked. Should I buy the quad core or is it a sure bet none of today's games will touch that clock rate of 3.07 on my current CPU?
My current system specs are:
-ASUS P5K-E Motherboard
-Nvidia 9600 GT Graphics Card OVERCLOCKED
-4 Gb of DDR2 RAM
-Intel 2.33 E6550 Ghz Processor @ 3.07 OVERCLOCKED
-650 Watt Power Supply
Well your E6550 is a 65nm dually and the Q9550 is a 45nm quad.
The 45nm quad will overclock a bit better generally and has a slightly higher IPC given the same frequency as the 65nm cpu (irrespective of number of cores).
The 45nm cpu has a larger cache (12Mb) than the 65nm cpu's (the best of the quads had an 8Mb cache by comparison).
Putting a quad in your rig with a mild overclock (slightly higher than what you have) will generate a noticeable gain on the newer games.
Also the 45nm cpu's run cooler at idle and under load.
Given the FSB that you are currently using the mobo and ram will easily handle what you want to do with the new cpu.
A sound investment given what you have.
I'd steer clear of the "Celeron" quads with the much smaller cache ...
Consider upgrading the graphics card next ... perhaps a 4850 / 4870 or a 260 / core 216 ... prices on these will spiral due to the ATI 5 series hitting the market (wait a couple of weeks till the volume of these arrive as presently a halo effect is keeping the 4 series ATI prices up and NVidia are trying to get volume up on their GT200 range to counter with a lower price point.