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Best card for a Intel Q6600

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 17, 2010 1:44:03 PM

Hi,
I was originally going to buy a GTX 460 as an upgrade from my current 9600gt until I found out the my processor, a intel q6600 quad 2.4gz, would more than likely bottleneck the 460. Now I am thinking of maybe going with something like a gtx 260 or gts 450. I would appreciate any advice as to which card would give me a significant performance boost with out having to worry about it being bottle necked by my cpu. I have a wide screen monitor so I like to play games at 1680x1050. Thank to anyone who can help me out.

More about : card intel q6600

September 17, 2010 1:58:19 PM

Ur q6600 can go up to 3.0 / 3.5+ ghz, nothing can bottleneck u then. So gtx 460/470/480 should work at full I guess..

I'm using xeon E5530 x2 which reach max 2.5 ghz with gtx 480 and I'm maxing out 60 vsync in almost every game...
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September 17, 2010 2:03:54 PM

any of the GPU you mentioned will work with your resolution. It seems you favor Nvidia so the GTX 460 768 would be a good choice. If money is an issue then get one of the other two, I would personally get the GTS 450 over the GTX 260 unless it was extremely cheap. The GTS 450 is more power efficient, slightly better performance and supports DX11.

OC your CPU would give you nice gain in gaming performance.
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September 17, 2010 2:19:39 PM

I would like to oc the cpu but my machine was originally built by HP and I have just been upgrading it as i'v gone along. Is there a way to oc the processor when you have a prebuilt machine?
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a b Î Nvidia
September 17, 2010 2:22:31 PM

cadefoster said:
I would like to oc the cpu but my machine was originally built by HP and I have just been upgrading it as i'v gone along. Is there a way to oc the processor when you have a prebuilt machine?


no the BIOS is locked for over clocking options in most acer, HP, DELL units.
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a b Î Nvidia
September 17, 2010 2:24:15 PM

No, I doubt you will be able to OC without replacing the motherboard, which is a shame. As is your CPU will be a bit weak for games that only use 2 cores but pretty decent for games that use more. I wouldn't avoid a more powerful video card(within reason) because of it myself. IMO the HD5770 is just about perfect for your processor and resolution.
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September 17, 2010 2:54:42 PM

Depending on the pricing where you are I would go for either a 5770 as jyjjy suggests or the 460 768mb version. The 460 wont bottleneck your CPU to any noticable degree if at all and will give you a decent boost in those games that need that bit extra.

Mactronix
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September 17, 2010 4:20:26 PM

Thanks for the advice. So in theory, If I wanted to pick up a new motherboard and use my current q6600, should I then be able to oc it?
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a b Î Nvidia
September 17, 2010 4:26:41 PM

Yes, that would work but swapping out the motherboard, especially on a prebuilt by someone like HP is a bit of a hassle. It will also require a reinstall of Windows. Not sure if it is worth the cost an effort really.
The better question is actually what kind of power supply do you have in there. There's a good chance the cards we are discussing will be more than it can handle unless you replaced it at some point.
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September 17, 2010 4:39:22 PM

jyjjy, you suggested the 5770 for my current set up. What would be the closet in a nvidia card? thanks
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a b Î Nvidia
September 17, 2010 4:52:35 PM

A GTS 450 when OCed to around 900mhz(not hard to do) can match an HD5770. This one would be a good choice;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's already factory OCed to 850mhz and has good cooling. Raising the clocks up to 900mhz or beyond should be easy. It also comes with MSI Afterburner which is the best overclocking software around.
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September 17, 2010 5:09:54 PM

I just had a look at that gts 450 and it looks good. My power supply is a 450w, think that is enough to run that card?. Thanks again.
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a b Î Nvidia
September 17, 2010 5:23:07 PM

A 450w should be fine unless it is particularly poor unit.
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September 17, 2010 5:30:01 PM

Oi a 460 will hardly get bottlenecked by a quad core except in possibly some older, non mulithreaded games in which case it still shouldn't make much difference since the FPS would more than likely be beyond 60.

That said, I would also recommend a new mobo and heat sink to OC the CPU and gain some more performance all around, and at the same time extend the useful life of the CPU.

A new PSU is a good option too but you might be ok.
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September 17, 2010 5:41:49 PM

Thanks for the info. Just one more question. With my current cpu and with a new gts 450, should i be able to get a fairly constant 60fps with most games?
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a b Î Nvidia
September 17, 2010 5:46:23 PM

Sure, if you reduce settings in many demanding games.
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September 17, 2010 7:14:21 PM

Look forget all this q6600 bottlenecking crap. It won't bottleneck a 460. It won't bottleneck a 470.
Simple solution is run task manager under performance tab. Run your game and after say 5 or 10 mins alt tab back and see what impact your CPU has had. As long as your not running a CPU intensive game such as FSX I bet a pound to a dollar your CPU load won't exceed 60%!
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September 17, 2010 7:57:21 PM

Do you guys understand that even now most games still only use 2 cores? For those games he has the equivalent of a dual core at 2.4ghz. If you don't think there will be some bottlenecking going on you are just wrong, don't know how else to put it.
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September 17, 2010 8:24:09 PM

Still depends what kind of bottleneck we're talking about. Can a 2.4ghzdual core put out more than 60fps in any game? I can't see why not. Maybe in a few very CPU intensive games it'll cause lower than 60fps, but on the whole games are more worried about GPU.

FurMark is a great example. It runs a single thread. I can bottleneck a single 5850 on my i5 750 because of this, running at 720p. Go up to 1080p and suddenly no bottleneck. In fact, two cards show a 90% improvement over 1 (at 1080p) so you can argue that the bottleneck has completely shifted to the GPUs (compared to only a 4% increase at 720p).

The point is, while you can bottleneck a 460 on the Q6600, at 1680x1050 you're already getting into the realm of putting the most stress on GPU. Turn on AA settings, AF that sort of thing and you can pretty easily shift the burden onto the GPUs. Games like Crysis, Metro 2033, Batman, Cryostasis, NFS Shift, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, Dragon Age Origins etc will see GPU bottlenecks before CPU bottlenecks.

Even STALKER, which is very poorly multithreaded, will easily shift the load onto GPUs. DX11, tesslation, increased draw distance, dynamic lighting etc.

And again - a new mobo ($70?) and you can OC away.
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September 17, 2010 9:05:02 PM

wolfram23 said:
Can a 2.4ghzdual core put out more than 60fps in any game? I can't see why not. Maybe in a few very CPU intensive games it'll cause lower than 60fps, but on the whole games are more worried about GPU.

Here's just one prominent recent example;
http://www.techspot.com/review/305-starcraft2-performan...
Starcraft 2 has a GTX 480 bottlenecked down to 25/18 avg/min fps at 1920x1200 on a Q6600. Lowering the res to 1680x1050 and changing the card to an GTX 460 isn't going to help that at all.
The bottlenecking concept is really a red herring of sorts. The more appropriate question is usually just "Is this processor good enough for current games?" The answer is that the Q6600 at 2.4ghz or any processor at 2.4ghz will indeed struggle with a lot of current games. That it is a quad mostly alleviates the issue in games that take advantage of the other cores but sadly a lot still do not.
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September 17, 2010 9:59:13 PM

Well point taken, but at the same time SC2 is a very CPU intensive game. If we were to rule out RTS games, looking at FPS, platforming, and driving games the CPU usage is generally significantly less.

Still, I fully support the idea of a simple mobo upgrade, because that CPU is capable of a lot more. (Or else, if the stock mobo supports it, upgrading the CPU itself to maybe a Q9xxx)
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September 18, 2010 2:25:13 PM

mactronix, thank you very much for bringing that article to my attention, very interesting stuff. I feel much more confident purchasing a new vid card now knowing that even if my cpu isn't the best for gaming, I should still get a pretty solid performance boost out of a new card. Thanks.
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September 18, 2010 4:18:03 PM

Not a problem glad I could help

Mactronix :) 
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