KEeping the old horse running (E6600 upgrade)

Morning,

I'm looking to keep my current desktop running for up to another 2 years; i will be looking to replace it with an i7 system by the end of this year, but when i do so my brother will be using my current system for a while to come. The motherboard has known unresolved stability issues with the Q9000 series CPUs, so with that inmind i am looking at the following upgrade:

CPU: E6600 -> E8400 / Q8400 (~£130)
OS: XP x86 -> 7 Pro x64


Do you think that upgrading the CPU will make a considerable difference to gaming? and if so, should i go for the Dual core or Quad core?

Current specs:

CPU: Core 2 Duo E6600 (stock 2.4 ghz, 1066 FSB, 4MB l2 cache)
Motherboard: Asus Commando (775, P965 http://uk.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=wWs3CTw57UtxaaHw)
RAM: 4GB Corsair Dominator DDR2 800 (4x 1GB)
PSU: Corsair HX 1000w (will be replaced with a 620-750w)
GPU: Geforce GTX 280 1GB
OS: Windows XP Pro SP3 x86

I play every game i own in native res (1920x1200) with 2x AA/AF, and the system is beginning to struggle with newer games such as Metro 2033 and Fallout 3. I think that the dated CPU may be bottlenecking the rest of the system, and hence am looking to upgrade the CPU to up its performance in games as much as possible.

I've been looking at the Q4 2008 Tom's Hardware CPU charts which show the E8400/Q8400 considerably outperforming my E6600, but i am not sure how this would translate to a real life performance increase in my current system.

The other issue is which one of the of the 2 core E8400 (3.0 ghz, 6MB l2 Cache http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=33910) vs the 4 core Q8400 (2.66ghz, 4MB l2 Cache http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=38512) is the superior CPU for gaming.

Thank you very much for your help, i really appreciate it

Cheers

-Dan
13 answers Last reply
More about keeping horse running e6600 upgrade
  1. E8400 for the short-term gaming, Q8400 for longer term general purpose use.

    Though I'd go with the Q8400. You can overclock anytime, you can't add cores though.
  2. Well, considering that you're mainly gaming, the lack of cache on the Q8400 will definitely hurt its performance in games. Overclocking might help, but the Q8000 series do not overclock well apparently, while the E7000 and E8000 overclock very well, 4GHz on air is easily possible with a decent aftermarket cooler. Look at the benchmarks on Anand - the E8400 wins in 3/4 games. Most games will eventually adapt to three cores or more, but considering this is a temporary upgrade, the E8400 will do fine. If you do intend to do a bit of multitasking or video editing, and/or your brother intends to game on the machine or multitask/video editing or Photoshop etc., then you should get the Q8400 and a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ instead.

    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/56?vs=89
  3. Thank you very much for the replies, some good food fro thought.

    The third option is to leave the E6600 in the system, but i am concerned about the bottleneck factor.
  4. Why dont you just overclock the E6600?
  5. The E8400 is great I had an E8200 and it OCs beautifully too but any upgrade should atleast go to a quad. Now the E8400 isn't all that bad it can overclock into the mid 3ghz and will have a longer life when it comes down to usability.
  6. Thank you for the replies.

    It seems to be a fairly tricky decision to make.. At this point i'm edging towards the E8400, as both myself and my brother will mainly use the system for gaming.

    The system im looking to build to replace my current is very similar to Lmeows base unit. I'm still undecided on the GPU issue, but i've still got several months to come to an informed decision (the 480 Fermi is looking pretty disappointing so far :()
  7. Zalgradis said:
    Thank you for the replies.

    It seems to be a fairly tricky decision to make.. At this point i'm edging towards the E8400, as both myself and my brother will mainly use the system for gaming.

    The system im looking to build to replace my current is very similar to Lmeows base unit. I'm still undecided on the GPU issue, but i've still got several months to come to an informed decision (the 480 Fermi is looking pretty disappointing so far :()



    Since you'll be mostly gaming, then an overclocked E8400 would be the ideal solution.

    You do have to take into account that the Xbox does only have 3 cores, and since most games are console ports, thus the E8400 would still perform well for some time. If they come out with a new Xbox, or if the game you're looking at is specially made for the PC, then those might be the only times you would be concerned with getting a quad-core.
  8. What about a Q9400? It should be available at a reasonable price and it can overclock pretty well too. Add a good aftermarket cpu cooler before you overclock.
  9. The Q9400 would be better, but I'm not sure if OP can squeeze it into his budget.

    If you live near a Micro Center, you could possibly pick up a Q9550 for $169.99.
  10. Unfortunately my motherboard (Asus Commando) has unresolved stability issues with the Q9000 series CPUs, limiting me to the Q8000 range.
  11. Will a BIOS update solve that?

    I would suggest an Q8400 over the E8400. The Q8200 is known to be a poor overclocker, but the other Q8x00 series overclocks better.

    http://hothardware.com/Articles/Intel-Core-2-Quad-Q8400S1/?page=2

    The Q8400 in this review OCed from 2.6 to 3.9 while staying at Intel's max stock voltage range, at 1.36v.
  12. Overclock your e6600. You could reach 3400Mhz easily. In my opinion, buying another cpu for that mobo is a waste of money. Wait until you can upgrade the computer properly (i7 930 at least).
  13. Hi
    As Henry Chinaski said that you must overclock your current cpu. You should wait for a complete system upgrade because an upgrade on the old technology is a waste of money. Core i7 is too fast as compared to the old technology and if you plan to buy a i7 later this year then i suggest you buy a top notch cpu cooler, which will support i7 and other new cpu sockets, and overclock the hell out of this processor. im sure u will see much difference. this is the cheapest way to get performance and you wont be wasting money. hope i helped.
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