New CPU for a Gaming Machine

Hello ladies and gentlemen,

I'm only marginally familiar with the finer points of system building; I built one machine from scratch several years ago, under the watchful supervision of a friend who's since moved away and can no longer provide guidance. I've upgraded most components since the system was originally built, and I think the time has come to finally replace my processor, due to mounting evidence that my GPU is not the be all, end all of gaming. My current system is:

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E6750 @ 2.66GHz (2 CPUs), ~2.7GHz
MoBo: ASUS P5N-E SLI
Memory: 8gigs of GSkill 5-5-5-15 (I have no idea what those numbers mean)
GPU: ATI 5850 (ASUS EAH5850)

I have a Seagate 1TB hard drive and a Kingwin 730W power supply.

My preference would be to spend less than $300 for a new CPU and MoBo, or around $200 for just a CPU (for the record, "CPU Socket Type" is what you want to match when picking a compatible motherboard, right?). I would also like this to be the last upgrade I have to perform for at least 18 months. As I said, this machine will be mainly for gaming; I'm a math student, and there is only a very slight chance my thesis will involve any sort of computing. In particular, I play World of Warcraft, Modern Warfare 2, and Company of Heroes, if that helps the reckoning any.

After doing some research, I've mostly found that I'm rather hopelessly undereducated. In particular, I don't feel equipped to evaluate competing arguments on clock speed vs. more cores ("threading"?), and I don't follow evaluations of different chips at all. For example, a recent review mentioned both the Athlon II X3 and the Phenom II X3 as good values for their price point, but I can't for the life of me figure out what makes the Phenom more expensive (the athlon has a slightly higher stock clock speed, and they're both three cores and 4000 "Hyper Transports" [which is Greek to me]). For similar reasons, I don't understand why the i5-750 was recently rated the best ~$200 gaming CPU recently rated the best ~$200 gaming CPU over (for example) the i5-650, which is significantly faster (though only dual core). I was under the impression that more than two cores wasn't that great an advantage in gaming, because most games aren't built to take advantage of multiple cores.

Any advice on a CPU would be greatly appreciated, and if you can point out a fundamental assumption I'm getting wrong, even more so. Choosing among video cards was so much simpler; I feel like I'm back in highschool, lost in chemistry or something equally arcane. One real frustration is that the numbers on these chips that are being recommend don't seem to be that much different than my old 2.66Ghz dual core; which means I can't even tell the difference between chips that are separated by two years and who knows how many generations. Am I just looking at entirely the wrong set of numbers?
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  1. Less than $300 will not move you to a new Intel platform i5 or i7 because of the CPU/Mobo/RAM bundle.

    Sticking to around a $200 upgrade and for mainly gaming, your best move is to replace the E6750 with an E8500 and play your games at 4.2 Ghz (9.5 X 444).

    Don't go quad core as they're difficult to reach 4.0 Ghz on air. And only a few games use 4 cores anyway.
  2. If your board supports it, I'd get a Q9550.
  3. symbolsix said:
    Hello ladies and gentlemen,

    I'm only marginally familiar with the finer points of system building; I built one machine from scratch several years ago, under the watchful supervision of a friend who's since moved away and can no longer provide guidance. I've upgraded most components since the system was originally built, and I think the time has come to finally replace my processor, due to mounting evidence that my GPU is not the be all, end all of gaming. My current system is:

    Windows 7 Pro 64bit
    CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E6750 @ 2.66GHz (2 CPUs), ~2.7GHz
    MoBo: ASUS P5N-E SLI
    Memory: 8gigs of GSkill 5-5-5-15 (I have no idea what those numbers mean)
    GPU: ATI 5850 (ASUS EAH5850)

    I have a Seagate 1TB hard drive and a Kingwin 730W power supply.

    My preference would be to spend less than $300 for a new CPU and MoBo, or around $200 for just a CPU (for the record, "CPU Socket Type" is what you want to match when picking a compatible motherboard, right?). I would also like this to be the last upgrade I have to perform for at least 18 months. As I said, this machine will be mainly for gaming; I'm a math student, and there is only a very slight chance my thesis will involve any sort of computing. In particular, I play World of Warcraft, Modern Warfare 2, and Company of Heroes, if that helps the reckoning any.

    After doing some research, I've mostly found that I'm rather hopelessly undereducated. In particular, I don't feel equipped to evaluate competing arguments on clock speed vs. more cores ("threading"?), and I don't follow evaluations of different chips at all. For example, a recent review mentioned both the Athlon II X3 and the Phenom II X3 as good values for their price point, but I can't for the life of me figure out what makes the Phenom more expensive (the athlon has a slightly higher stock clock speed, and they're both three cores and 4000 "Hyper Transports" [which is Greek to me]). For similar reasons, I don't understand why the i5-750 was recently rated the best ~$200 gaming CPU recently rated the best ~$200 gaming CPU over (for example) the i5-650, which is significantly faster (though only dual core). I was under the impression that more than two cores wasn't that great an advantage in gaming, because most games aren't built to take advantage of multiple cores.

    Any advice on a CPU would be greatly appreciated, and if you can point out a fundamental assumption I'm getting wrong, even more so. Choosing among video cards was so much simpler; I feel like I'm back in highschool, lost in chemistry or something equally arcane. One real frustration is that the numbers on these chips that are being recommend don't seem to be that much different than my old 2.66Ghz dual core; which means I can't even tell the difference between chips that are separated by two years and who knows how many generations. Am I just looking at entirely the wrong set of numbers?



    you machine has a 650i chipset in it..


    go for a either e8500 or a e8600.... and save money for later on, a e8500 will run all games now and later and you can overclock it like a dream as Hundred said

    Flash the bios though, youll need the new bios first..

    that will last for a couple of years until you can afford new - technology will change by then anyway youll have 32nm chips out with 8 true cores.
  4. cjl said:
    If your board supports it, I'd get a Q9550.



    nah it dont :(
  5. Budget Buster (but not by much) with RAMs

    The Athlon II X3 435 Rana will game in a similar fashion to the e6750, most likely OC much higher and possible unlock to a quad. And you have upgraded to:

    - Possible Future Crossfire
    - 2 SATA 6Gb/s (with 6 SATA 3Gb/s)
    - 2 x eSATA 3Gb/s
    - 2 x USB 3.0 (with 6 x USB 2.0)


    You could not pick a better time to sell your DDR2 RAMs. Sell a 2x2Gb kit, and then sell the other 2x2Gb kit with your CPU/mobo.

    You will then be in position to purchase a C3 Phenom 955 and another kit of 2x2Gb DDR3 at your leisure.

    The addition of the L3 cache will be beneficial to your gaming (see bottom of page)
  6. The fastest answer and the simplest is get another (newer?) dual and overclock the hell of it. U have to spend unwise for a new CPU and new Heatsink, all in all for a minimum of 220$. Your motherboard have good potential for overclock , yes, and some Intel E8xxx are very good overclockes, but u will be able to do it and is worth it? Specially with new hardware, is not recommended for a newbie to do overclock experiments. So... u will do with old hardware . Your chip is a good overclocker too.

    U will overclock what u have already and u will obtain the same results as with the new E8xxx Cpu with no extra nonsense spending. There fore u will buy just a good heatsik, compatible LGA 775 and 1156 also, for later use. For some year or so it will be enough. In time u will save money for an an i5 based system. Now this is a worthy upgrade. Trust me, in the near future a quad CPU will do better in games than dual core. The near future will have more complex games, programed to take advantage on quad cores.(they do already in some games)

    First step is to learn how to overclock, is not rocket science now, with our friend , internet, u will find proper information. Read this first:

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/240001-11-howto-overclock-quads-duals-guide
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/dual-quad,1720.html
    http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/core_2_duo_e6750_review/13.html
    http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=2156&page=1
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/taking-e6750-4ghz,1658.html

    Your motherboard was tested for a speed bus near 2 GHz so u will be able to reach CPU freq. of 3.4- 3-6 GHz with tranquility. A speed higher than 3.6 GHz will not get some big real improvement in game experience, for today's games u have all u need , a very powerful video card.

    Then u will need a good heatsink to keep a cool Cpu . I recommend these brands Xigmatek, OCZ, Cooler Master as good mainstream or u can get for some extra cash some Prolimatech, Tuniq, Noctua, Thermolab. See what u find more to your taste and pocket. Here an example :

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065

    Here u will find some guide:
    http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm

    I think u have good airflow in your case, if not, u will need.

    Good luck and i hope u will enjoy the new experience. If u will meed some extra help just PM.
  7. I don't think s775 is 'dead' as much as other folks ---- but you should not be investing $220+ in an upgrade when there are much better alternatives.
  8. http://asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=KyHOsOKWujC2QguJ&templete=2

    Your mobo will support the 45nm Core2 Duo but not the 45nm Core2 Quad line of CPU's (the 6 series NVidia chipsets had advertising to the contrary and ASUS and EVGA were quite annoyed as a result) and I would suggest you get an E8xxx series CPU, or look for a Q6600 G0 Stepping SLACR or Q6700 (65nm Kenty CPU as these are still quite good) ... if you can get one.

    Unfortunately you can't fit a 45nm Q9550 or Q9650 (Yorky)... which would be ideal.

    Personally I would get a Q6700 rather than an E8500 or E8600 Dual core (Wolfy) as I would make use of the extra cores with the newer games rather than the extra speed ... you can overclock a Q6600 from 2.4 to 3Ghz with a simple change - moving the FSB from 266 (1066) to 333 (1333) ... matching a Q9650 as these cpus all overclock well.

    A 65nm quad vs a faster 45nm dual is a better bet ... as you would have to overclock the dual to 4Ghz (not an easy proposition to cool or get stable without a bit of tinkering) to beat the older quad anyway.

    Anyway I am sure this will stir others up a bit but let the benchmarks tell you what to decide.

    Good luck with the upgrade and post back what you decide and some before and after benchies if you get the chance ... always interested in reading about that.
  9. Reynod said:
    http://asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=KyHOsOKWujC2QguJ&templete=2

    Your mobo will support the 45nm Core2 Duo but not the 45nm Core2 Quad line of CPU's (the 6 series NVidia chipsets had advertising to the contrary and ASUS and EVGA were quite annoyed as a result) and I would suggest you get an E8xxx series CPU, or look for a Q6600 G0 Stepping SLACR or Q6700 (65nm Kenty CPU as these are still quite good) ... if you can get one.

    Unfortunately you can't fit a 45nm Q9550 or Q9650 (Yorky)... which would be ideal.

    Personally I would get a Q6700 rather than an E8500 or E8600 Dual core (Wolfy) as I would make use of the extra cores with the newer games rather than the extra speed ... you can overclock a Q6600 from 2.4 to 3Ghz with a simple change - moving the FSB from 266 (1066) to 333 (1333) ... matching a Q9650 as these cpus all overclock well.

    A 65nm quad vs a faster 45nm dual is a better bet ... as you would have to overclock the dual to 4Ghz (not an easy proposition to cool or get stable without a bit of tinkering) to beat the older quad anyway.

    Anyway I am sure this will stir others up a bit but let the benchmarks tell you what to decide.

    Good luck with the upgrade and post back what you decide and some before and after benchies if you get the chance ... always interested in reading about that.


    he may not be able to fit Q9550 or Q9650 but he can fit a 45 nm Core 2 Quad Q9505.....
  10. I thought that was a misprint in the CPU supported list ... well your right.

    Looks like there is one ... wonder why ??

    2.83 with a 6Mb cache (rather than a 12 which the full Yorky's have) bit less than the 8Mb cache on the Kenty but the extra x86 entensions with the cooler process would suggest this would be a better purchase, plus at 2.83 it should be plenty fast enough and a doddle to push it up to 3Ghz.

    Well done for picking that up.

    I agree with warmon6's recommendation ... the Q9505.
  11. Go to ewiz.com and under combos you can get the i5-750 and P55-UD3L for $310. then use code TOUCHDOWN10 to take $10 off and theres you're $300 upgrade!

    Of course, you are then looking at a memory upgrade as DDR2 won't work. So i agree with everyone else that upgrading the processor is the most efficient way, but you said you want it for the next 18mos. so I don't know if it's a waste to buy only the processor now just so you can upgrade everything again in a year and a half.

    PS I'm jealous of that graphics card though
  12. Wisecracker said:
    I don't think s775 is 'dead' as much as other folks ---- but you should not be investing $220+ in an upgrade when there are much better alternatives.



    no its not really eol, the problem is it will be when intel run low on stocks of 775 chips and 1136 is pushed.
  13. OP here, and wow, I didn't expect so many detailed responses in such a short time frame. You guys are awesome.

    Wisecracker said:
    Budget Buster (but not by much) with RAMs

    I was intrigued mightily by the prospect of moving to DDR3 and a third core, but most of the benefits you listed were prospective and would require additional upgrades I can't plan for (crossfire, the Phenom X4)


    Since everyone (did I mention I really appreciate you all?) seemed to assume overclocking as a compliment to *whatever* I choose, I guess it's time I finally bit the bullet and learned how. Thanks for the intro articles technuttso; I'll be studying those this weekend and probably start experimenting on the holiday Monday (in the US).

    I figure I'll see if I can clock my E6750 up to 3.0GHz or 3.2GHz (a quick google shows multiple claims of having clocked this chip to the 3.4-3.6GHz range), see if that effects a noticeable change in performance, and save up for two or four months for a larger upgrade including considerations of DDR3 in addition to a new CPU and mobo.

    I downloaded CPU-Z, Everest and Orthos last night. Everest isn't giving me readings of my CPU temperate; does it require the case to have a thermometer installed? My case was supposed to, but it arrived nonfunctional and I didn't take it up with Newegg, as at the time I wasn't worried about having a temperature readout on the case. I've always wondered how temperature readings work for computers, and now the question is immediate (and urgent, if I am to run the risk of frying my first CPU). Is there a way for installed software to detect (or calculate) my CPU temp without installing some new device? Does it depend on whether the CPU/mobo come with a thermometer built in? (ATI Overdrive monitors my GPU temp, so I'm not worried about that for now.)

    For Orthos, I'm concerned because when I run a "Blend - stress CPU and RAM" test, Task Manager shows that only about 3.6GB of memory is being used, and only 1.7GB is being used by the ORTHOS.exe process. Keeping in mind that I'm running Win7 x64 and have 8GB of RAM, is it possible that Orthos is misdetecting my system? I can't find setting that might help that, nor have I been able to find an already written solution online.


    Anyway, I'm sure I'll eventually figure out how to OC my CPU, or fry it trying. I've enjoyed picking what I can out of Tom's Hardware articles for a while, but now I know to definitely come to the forums when I feel more financially equipped to upgrade. Thanks so much for all the advice!
  14. To have good temperature readings on CPU use Real temp, is a good program that never fails. For a bit of more infos u can use also CPUID Hardware monitor and Speed fan.
  15. Reynod said:
    I thought that was a misprint in the CPU supported list ... well your right.

    Looks like there is one ... wonder why ??

    2.83 with a 6Mb cache (rather than a 12 which the full Yorky's have) bit less than the 8Mb cache on the Kenty but the extra x86 entensions with the cooler process would suggest this would be a better purchase, plus at 2.83 it should be plenty fast enough and a doddle to push it up to 3Ghz.

    Well done for picking that up.

    I agree with warmon6's recommendation ... the Q9505.



    The board doesnt support core 2 quads with 1333 fsb... thats the limitation of the machines chipset is it not.. I would be dubious of this processor working imho.
  16. Hellboy said:
    The board doesnt support core 2 quads with 1333 fsb... thats the limitation of the machines chipset is it not.. I would be dubious of this processor working imho.


    Hmmm....

    Specifications
    CPU Intel Socket 775 Core™2 Quad/Pentium® Extreme/Pentium® D/Pentium® 4/Celeron Processors
    Compatible with Intel® 05B/05A/06 processors
    Support Intel® 45nm CPU
    Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology ready
    * Please update the latest BIOS to support Intel 45nm CPU
    Chipset NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI
    Front Side Bus 1333/1066/800/533 MHz
  17. I would just overclock what you have rather then dump money into a cpu. If you can get an e8400 for cheap then go that route. Other then that save up to move to core i-5.
  18. warmon6 said:
    Hmmm....

    Specifications
    CPU Intel Socket 775 Core™2 Quad/Pentium® Extreme/Pentium® D/Pentium® 4/Celeron Processors
    Compatible with Intel® 05B/05A/06 processors
    Support Intel® 45nm CPU
    Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology ready
    * Please update the latest BIOS to support Intel 45nm CPU
    Chipset NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI
    Front Side Bus 1333/1066/800/533 MHz



    it supports core 2 duo 1333 fsb but not quads

    I have a evga with a 680i and the highest quad it supports is a 6850 series, the chipset has issues with 45nm quads
  19. Read the other posts ... we worked out it would take a Q9505.

    Your confusing things by posting without reading first.

    Spend less time working that hand watching pron ...

    lol ...
  20. Reynod said:
    Read the other posts ... we worked out it would take a Q9505.

    Your confusing things by posting without reading first.

    Spend less time working that hand watching pron ...

    lol ...



    I havent recieved you 2tb hard disk of your pron, maybe the customs have confiscated it or they have a fetish on sheep :)


    The 650i and 680i has issues with 1333 quads. The only difference between a 9505 and a 9550 is 6mb of cache. So if the 9550 dont work why should the 9505 work.

    yep just checked it..


    Core 2 Quad Q9505(rev.R0,2.83GHz,1333FSB,L2:6MB) needs bios 1403

    bios link is here

    http://support.asus.com/cpusupport/cpusupport.aspx?SLanguage=en-us

    wow 6mb of cache stops it from working.. how dums that.


    make sure your buy revision R0 symbolsix
  21. Mate I agree the issue with the chipset has something to do with the size of the cache ... I couldn't come up with a better answer either.

    I bet a lot of mobo owners were unhappy.
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