Upgrading CPU - Intel 6600 Dual Core What's Best
I'm upgrading a system I built a couple of years ago that has an Intel Dual Core 6600 CPU on a Gigabyte N650SLI-DS4 motherboard. CPU Form Factor is LGA775. The mobo supports Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-core/Intel Core 2 Extreme Dual-core. I would like to be able to run Windows 7 64bit and take advantage of virtualization. What is my best bet for a CPU that will give good performance, but not break the bank? I would like to keep it around $200. And yes I do use it for gaming. I recently upgraded the Video card and the RAM and the CPU is now the weakest link.
Welcome to the forums!
Looking at your CPU Support List and checking prices on newegg, it looks like your best CPU upgrade for under $200 would be the Q9400 for $190.
To be honest though, your current E6600 is no slouch.
It has the same basic architecture as the newer Core 2 CPU's, has Intel Virtualization Technology and is highly overclockable.
I would recommend overclocking your CPU before spending cash on a new one.
Even though your motherboard is a very pore overclocker, you should have no issues running your current CPU at 3Ghz, probably at stock voltages even.
Scratch that recommendation.
Seems I read that confusing CPU support list wrong
Unfortunately it seems your motherboard only supports the 65nm Core 2 generation.
About the best upgrade you could hope for is the discontinued Q6600 or Q6700.
These CPU's will double your core count but offer little more in terms of raw performance.
As such, I recommend getting a better CPU cooler and sticking with your current CPU overclocked.
I had an E6600 that I was running at 3.6 GHz. After I upgraded, I put it in a low-spec ECS motherboard (free from Frye's with a Q6600) with almost no overclocking capabilities. I was, however, able to select bus speeds (266, 333, or 400 MHz). It's been happily running at 3.0 GHz (333 X 9) for more than two years.
It is worth pointing out that according to the "Best Gaming CPU Chart," a Q6600 is three tiers higher than what you have. It is also good for overclocking.
For $200, another possibility that may be worth considering is to buy an AM2+ mobo and put a X3 720BE or X4 630 on it. You could re-use your DDR2 RAM, and this would also be a three-tier jump on the CPU chart.
The first choice is quicker and cleaner, and the second may give you some additional upgrade options later.
I just remembered...
There is an overclocking bug with the 680i. When it struck it would corrupt the harddrive so you'd lose all your data. Nvidia promised a bios update to fix it, not sure if they ever did. You might be better off buying a new system. If you get one that uses DDR2, you'll only have to buy the mobo seeing as you were planning on buying the CPU anyways.
Thank you all for your comments. When I built the system, I did not use the stock Intel CPU fan. I put in a good Zalman fan. Heat has never been a problem. I put lots of fans in the case. You are absolutely correct about the overclocking bug. The first time I tried even a modest overclocking the hard drive was corrupted. I'll check online and see if an updated BIOS was released to fix the overclock problem. The only reason I want to upgrade is when gaming both CPU cores are always maxed in the red, even on Left4Dead 2. Performance could be better. I just put in a new Nvidea GeForce GTS 250. http://img.tomshardware.com/forum/uk/icones/smilies/pt1cable.gif
An Athlon X2 250 is on the same CPU tier as what he already has.
An X3 435, X4 630, or X3 720BE would be the way to go for a three-tier jump, or X2 550BE for a couple of tiers.
Onus said:An Athlon X2 250 is on the same CPU tier as what he already has.
Yes, you are correct.
I was working off memory and seemed to remember the Phenom II arch matching the Conroe arch clock for clock and the Athlon II dragging about 5% behind the Phenom II.
After refreshing myself with some benchmarks I see I was incorrect.
Seems my memory is getting a bit rusty....