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Choosing a CPU

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October 28, 2009 9:52:40 PM

I'm still in the general reaserch phase (probably will actually get the thing Christmas) but I need some street expert help.

My motherboard is on the Nvidia hierarchy the top of the "performance" class (tier 2) and my GPU is at the bottom of the "gamer" class (tier 1) (Nvidia 750i, and GTX 260 core 216 respectivly).

On the toms guide GPU hierarchy chart my GPU is tier 4.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,...

I can't fin a chipset hierarchy on Toms (or anywhere else), nor one on the Intel site for their cores.

Again referencing Toms I found that Core 2 Quad Q6700, Q9300, Q8400, Q6600 & Q8300 are all tier 3 CPUs.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu,243...

I know a quad isn't "nessisary," but I want one. You still might talk me into a dual.

I know core 2 extreme is a fancy word for "Pay more for the same" so that rules out QXxxxx and Qxxxs

On to the actual question, I am a relative OC noob. I understand it from a mechanical perspective, but I lack the finesse (think virgin reading Kama Sutra). My RAM is PC-6400, and I wan't to hit 1600 FSB and 3GHz+ core (FSB is for 1:1 ram, core speed is so my single thread stuff won't crawl) and all with relative ease. The Q8400 and Q9400 have the same clock, but 4/6 L2 respectivly. Dose L2 really matter anymore? I have heard it both ways, technical answers are preferred. I have 2G of RAM in dual channel (will be adding an additional 512 pair later to fill the banks, and max the 32 bit RAM support). I want to stay under $150, yet above the Q8200 (Toms tier 4+). Also, I have heard some bad rumors about Q8xxx performance (mostly L2 related) and wan't to see if I can dispell some.

The Q8400 looks like my best bet. Been looking at the *legendary* Q6600 too ($170). Like I said though, if I can OC 500MHz I'm doin real good, so the 1.2 GHz needed to get Q6600 to 1600 FSB would be daunting for me, while the Q8400 would only need a 534MHz OC (probably within my range of ability... maybe).

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Oh, and the whole thing is on liquid cooling, so no worries on heat.

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October 29, 2009 12:27:59 AM

NVIDIA can't make chipsets for intel anymore

the licencse was revoked

L2 cache matters alot, u can havee great clockspeed and arch but not enough cache will kill the cpu.

CPU
the 82000 has horrible cache it is an example of the lack of cache i explained above
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October 29, 2009 12:36:55 AM

well u might have to get a new mobo
so look into AMD, u can get a proc about the same performance as the quad cores in intel for less. As well as a great mobo for less

like the Phenom 945 is way better than the 8200 or the 9400, it has more L2 cache and 3 ghz so u won't have to OC.

You will need new RAM and Mobo for this but it will be worth it

if u still want Intel, keep in mind that LGA 775 is going to be dead in year
but....

the 9400 is the best around ur budget but 20 above ur budget
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October 29, 2009 1:34:34 PM

Upendra09 said:
well u might have to get a new mobo
so look into AMD, u can get a proc about the same performance as the quad cores in intel for less. As well as a great mobo for less

like the Phenom 945 is way better than the 8200 or the 9400, it has more L2 cache and 3 ghz so u won't have to OC.

You will need new RAM and Mobo for this but it will be worth it

if u still want Intel, keep in mind that LGA 775 is going to be dead in year
but....

the 9400 is the best around ur budget but 20 above ur budget


I had thought about AMD, but I don't understand their FSB equivilent, nor do I wan't to. Archatectually AMD/ATI makes no sense to me (like the 1 = 1 & 4 1/2s core system for ATI). I undersatnd the FSB technology, and since my RAM operates at 1600, I wan't my CPU to operate at 1600 FSB to eliminmate clock gaps. I'm really just looking for a "final piece" so to speak, since I can't afford a mobo level upgrade. Valid suggestion though, and one I proably should have preempted. This is though a projct computer and I started collecting pieces for it back when 8800 Ultra was king, 3 mobos, 4 CPUs, and 3 GPUs later I just wan't to get a final CPU and stop chasing my other parts so the machine can run 5 years or so till I'm out of school, and have a career so I can build a whole new machine at once.

Now before I get flamed, and I know it's coming, I RESPECT AMD/ATI, I am just more comfortable in the Intel/Nvidia realm, despite the lawsuit. Not to be rude, but if you read this and your first thought is "you uninformed noob" keep it to yourself, I'm open to advise, but not "let me tell you something."

Also I don't feel asthough 775 is dead (please re-reference above paragraph). Yes, is dead in a manufacturers seanse, but ATI makes a 4000 class GPU for the AGP bus, and it gets comperable FPS to its PCIe counterparts. How long have quads been out? How many games are coded for quads, or even duals? Even Crysis fails to fully implement 4 threads. I think the future is in Windows 7s ability to allocate threads to cores on a software level, not the game programmers writing the code for it. But I digress.

Like I said, I have 750i, GTX260, and PC-6400, and I'm looking for a core to make it all click. The mention of the 9400 brings up perhaps my most presssing question though. How much L2?
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October 29, 2009 3:20:11 PM

IF you want it to last (and it sounds as tho you do) then L2 is the best investment you can make. Go for at least the Q9400, or if you can squeeze a few more $$ out, the Q9550.

The Q8xxx series really should have been called 'Pentium Quad-Core' as these are cherry picked E5xxx Pentium Dual Core dies double-cheeseburgered together. The low cache/low clockspeed of these chips hampers both performance and OCing, especially on an nVidia chipset. Do not forget that your going to hit FSB walls at 415-450 Mhz range, so you will want alot of multiplier.
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October 29, 2009 4:35:59 PM

B-Unit said:
IF you want it to last (and it sounds as tho you do) then L2 is the best investment you can make. Go for at least the Q9400, or if you can squeeze a few more $$ out, the Q9550.

The Q8xxx series really should have been called 'Pentium Quad-Core' as these are cherry picked E5xxx Pentium Dual Core dies double-cheeseburgered together. The low cache/low clockspeed of these chips hampers both performance and OCing, especially on an nVidia chipset. Do not forget that your going to hit FSB walls at 415-450 Mhz range, so you will want alot of multiplier.


Ok, so the Core 2 Quad 8xxx series is a dual of the Pentium core 2 repackages? Why can't Intel put a solid divider in their cores?

"But that would be too easy. Then we could go out and play."
-George Carlin

I looked up benchmarks on the Passmark site and the 9400 is 70 points above the 8400. Of course 1.) I don't know what a mark stands for, nor do I have a point of reference, and 2) I hate synthetics as they lack "real world" applicability when seen beside CPU bound FPS benches. Plus passmark says the GTX 260 is better than the 295. No, really.

http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

I'll be lucky to swing a $170 CPU, so the $300 Q9550 is out of my league. Besides, I have a GTX 260, and I doubt a Core 2 much of anything will bottleneck it. On a really weird side note though, my D950+8600GTS combo got better FPS than my D950+GTX 260. 8600 got wet though, so I can't box the 260 while I CPU shop.

So, basically we have two votes for the Q9400, and one against the Q8200 (that I eliminated as a choice earlyer, I mean even Tom himself couldn't get it to 1600 FSB). I'm not worried about 415+ FSB walls, I'm gonna stop at 400 so the RAM is fully utilized and everthing is 1:1.

I did though see an interesting article that said going from 2mb L2 to 4 yeilded a +5% aggragate in FPS in CPU bound resolutions. 6mb adds another 4-5% once normalized. Though the increases in databasing were higher (+20% 2 vs. 6 in Excel). Ofcouse that at resolutions like 1024x768, and I play at 1600x1200 (monitors max resolution).

Maybe the 2MB increase Q8400 to 9400 is worth $20. I know FPS isn't gonna move more that 3-5%, buy what about boot/load time?
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October 30, 2009 10:25:17 PM

about 5 seconds to 10 seconds less over the 8200

i don't what u mean by

1 = 1 & 4 1/2s core system for ATI

but the FSB of an AMD system is not very different from Intel's it is just the higher the better.
and yes 775 is dead, ATI makes 4xxx series in AGP but it supports them, after about 2 years intel will end all support for 775

AMD is the best in this situation because they have a new socket and the best gfx solution right now

for ur build
RAM should be a bit lower than the FSB or else u will have a bit of instability, like 1600 mhz FSB and 1400 mhz RAM bus speed
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October 31, 2009 1:56:20 AM

Upendra09 said:


i don't what u mean by

1 = 1 & 4 1/2s core system for ATI



I asked a question earlier entitled "ATI vs. Nvidia technical question," and that along with a technical document I found through that question that explaines why 800 ATI cores performes on par with 216 Nvidia cores. Basically, 6 cores form a cluster, one of which is slightly more powerful, and those 6 are apprximatly equal to a single nvidia core.

Anyway, like I said before I cannot afford a new MOBO, but I will strongly concider ATI in 5 years or so when I can afford a total rebuild (I'm currently a student). Thanks for the tip on the RAM stability BTW.

And I don't care if Intel stops supporting 775, I can support myself, I'm just challanged when comparing benchmarks (100 PC marks = 6% as far as I know, I know I'm wrong).

So Q9400 will cut system loading by 10s? Maybe that $20 buys me more than I thought.

Thanks.
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October 31, 2009 6:30:26 AM

Yeah, if you can get a Q9550 for about $220 and under it's totally worth it, but most places have it priced way too high nowadays. If not go for the Q9400. It is pointless to buy a new mobo and go AMD especially considering the Q9400 will nearly match if not beat any Phenom II clock for clock but won't OC quite as high. You'd be better off either saving up and going i5/i7 or waiting until AMD has something better to offer. But for now, Q9400 gets my vote.
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October 31, 2009 1:32:44 PM

no problem

and i meant 10s max depending on ur system

but yeah whenever u can get an AMD, give them a try

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October 31, 2009 5:35:58 PM

masterasia said:
If you have a Microcenter near you, the Q9550 is only $170 http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
It's the best bang for your buck on the LGA 775 socket. It overclocks very well. If you do get it, you'll want the E0 Stepping.


Thank you, Thank you!

You made a freind today! :D 

I actually live close enough to Florida I can smell Cuba, but my aunt lives in Marietta. I really need to recconect with my relatives. Is it still illegal to mail cash?
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