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Upgrade an e8400 to Q9550?

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October 29, 2009 9:42:57 AM

Hey gang,

First time poster here, and haven't been in the game in a while (the last machine I built was a KT266A chipset with a Athlon XP 1800+ if that gives you any idea...) and I'm looking for some advice.

I recently came into a Dell XPS 630i sporting the following:

Intel E8400 (Dual Core, 3.0 GHz, 1333FSB, 6MB cache)
nVidia GeForce 8800 GT 512MB
4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz - 4 DIMMs
Win XP Pro SP3

and I was wondering:

a) would it would be worthwhile to drop in a Q9550? (I can get one locally for $170)
b) will that present any power/cooling/installation issues with the stock Dell setup?
c) I see NewEgg has a "Yorkfield" Q9550. Is that something different, or are all Q9550s Yorkfields?
d) Never overclocked (can you even do it on a Dell BIOS?) so do I need to worry about the E0 stepping?
e) are there any unforeseen issues I haven't considered?

I see from these benchmarks that there is a large difference in some areas: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=56&p2=50

This PC would mostly be used for general computing, with the exception of FSX, which is the only reason I'm considering the upgrade. Would I see a big improvement with the new CPU?

How about a new video card? Would a new one improve FSX? Should I do that instead of, or in addition to the Q9550? What card would you recommend? I've had good luck with nVidia in the past, but am open to suggestions. It looks the mobo has an PCIe x16 slot, and there appear to be some pretty decent cards out there in the $100-$150 range.

Keep in mind, I'm only looking to upgrade this box . If I was going to build from scratch, the Core i5/i7s seem like the way to go. If I do build a Core i7, etc. box in the future, could I run Win XP? Are there drivers available?


Thanks in advance everybody.

More about : upgrade e8400 q9550

October 29, 2009 10:35:47 AM

-q9550s is the lower tdp one (65w) so it's better than the q9550

-i think the c1 stepping is not around anymore.
- it will increase performance in fsx since fsx is made for quads
- you will notice performance increase in multithreaded apps and games , such as far cry 2 , gta 4 , fsx ets and Rendering, encoding.

-Your pc will be faster , q9550 is better at multitasking


whats you power supply?

$150 ~ range would be ati 4870 if your psu handles it, get 1gb if you can find it.

also what res is your monitor?



I have q9550 :) 

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October 29, 2009 10:37:45 AM

I wouldn't spend the $170 to upgrade from the E8400. It is a plenty capable proc and upgrading it for the uses listed would be minimal improvement at best.

As for drivers available for XP on an i5/i7 machine, that will depend entirely on the manufacturer of the motherboard and video card you pick.
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October 29, 2009 10:43:31 AM

In my opinion the upgrade would be a good one.

a Q9550 will be a good processor for a long time now, as the true successor to the king of quad cores, the Q6600.

It OC's like a dream, its got a huge amount of power, and at the moment it can keep up with almost all of AMDs offerings.

You WOULD see a huge difference in Mulithreaded apps such as FSX, which now has support for Quadcores I beleive, and if you like to have plenty of things going at once, this processor will work perfectly.
Its great for Zipping, Unzipping, Rendering, Virus Scanning, infact, its pretty good at everything :) 
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October 29, 2009 11:59:23 AM

+1 for the upgrade...

deadjon said:
... It OC's like a dream...

yeap... mine is @4.23 GHz.. of course you'll need a good motherboard for that...
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October 29, 2009 1:22:40 PM

+1 for the Q. I have one and its fan-bloody-tastic. 3.4Ghz will be a breeze with a good air cooler, and at that speed it will do anything you want. Encoding a dvd and playing a game at the same time? - No problem!
Great upgrade IMO and should give you enough horses to last out the i7 gen until the next big thing arrives.
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October 31, 2009 6:24:09 PM

Thanks everybody, sounds like it's worth a shot.

Any comments on the stock cooling setup in the Dell? Can I use that with the new chip?

How about the Heatsink/Fan that comes in the box from Intel...should I use that instead?

Is Arctic Silver 3 still the thermal compound of choice?
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October 31, 2009 6:36:17 PM

seamus517 said:
Thanks everybody, sounds like it's worth a shot.

Any comments on the stock cooling setup in the Dell? Can I use that with the new chip?

How about the Heatsink/Fan that comes in the box from Intel...should I use that instead?

Is Arctic Silver 3 still the thermal compound of choice?



Depending if the intel retail cooler fits in the dell, I would try both cooling setups, while monitoring the temps, to decide which one is best. Arctic Silver 5 is the paste of choice now.
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November 2, 2009 5:47:26 AM

Just one note on the cooling - with stock cooling from dell or intel, you will not be able to overclock much...
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