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Help! Q6600 upgrade for gaming?

Okay, so i haven't posted much on this forum but lately i haven't been able to get the whole "I WANNA UPGRADE" out of my head! About 3 years ago i made my first real gaming computer and it went great. In-fact, i still have it and it runs well to this day. I just purchased a lap top about 2 months ago, and did a bit of research before i did, i wanted a sweet gaming laptop for the best price "Like we all do".

Well, i settled for the N61JQ ASUS that has the i7 (lower end 1.73ghz) and the ATI HD5730. Well it seems to be more of a nice multimedia laptop than anything, not quite living up to the FPS i crave! So i thought "Okay, maybe ill go ahead and upgrade the ol PC".

The case is awesome, i have the Thermaltake Armor+ full tower which still sells to this day for 200 bones.
The power supply is a beast at 750W so no shortage there
Monitor is sick, i just upgraded and HD etc. is good as well

What i am running is an Intel Core 2 Q6600 Quad Core. when the strong quads came out, this was the lower end model but was still such a solid CPU at the time i thought sure why not save some money and still get a nice cpu, well as it turns out with all this i3, i5, i7 3+ghz with hyperthreading and sandy bridge such and such, it has completely confused me! I am also running a P5ND SLI Motherboard with 2x SLI 9800 GT's (Fail, what a waste of money that was, those cards are terrible, and i def need to upgrade!). I am also working with 4gb of RAM but forget off the top of my head what it is.

So my question is, What processor / Mobo / Graphics card should i bother upgrading to!? I have heard so many mixed reviews, please someone tell me what these new processors have over mine and why i should upgrade the one i have. I can run games and what not at a moderate level but at ultra or high settings....well even WoW slows down a little, so i want something smooth and impressive without spending 800 bucks.

I NEED EDUCATION! :) Thanks guys and gals!
41 answers Last reply
More about help q6600 upgrade gaming
  1. the I5-2500k and I7-2600k are the best cpus on the market right now for gaming and there cheap compared to the extrems, you would have to get a p67 mobo and new ram other then that get 2 560 tis or 570s, 6950s or so on.
  2. Is the PCI Express slots on the older mobo's compatible with PCI E 2.1? (Btw i prefer radeon, i have been looking at the HD 6950). I did SLI with my Nvidia cards and when i took one out it didnt make a bit of difference at all, so thats why i was thinking maybe it was the CPU.

    I dont understand what Ivybridge, Sandybridge etc. are? I never understood those and when i look, its a overflow of info.
  3. i would just use your current cpu and oc to 3ghz. with an aftermarket cooler 3.4ghz+ is possible on that cpu. Core 2 quads are similar in performance to newer amd phenom x 4's. They are still a very capable CPU. Just get a new vid card, gtx570/6950, and oc the cpu.
  4. Im on my laptop right now, but off the top of my head i want to say 1920 X 1080. Why?
  5. Well heres my probelm, sometimes i know there is a fine line between "Is it the CPU/MOBO and RAM? Or is it the GPU?". The Q6600 is still a pretty sweet processor, i dont know how strong i really should need at this point with the "I series" out now. But i do know a 9800GT sucks...and i def do need a new one. So I have a 2 part question: 1- Should i get the HD6950? Or should I get the upgraded 6900 series and splurge a little more...money is a little tight but im tired of having a crappy gpu. So is the performance going to be awesome on the 6950 and not worth the extra money?
  6. HostileDonut said:


    Yea, i have actually put all of that in my cart, the MSI is sold out along with most any sandy bridge mobo except the $375 one. So that was kind of a no go, i figured okay, well....ill upgrade the video card FIRST and then if that doesn't make a vast improvement then ill go with mobo/cpu upgrade later.

    I am not a big Nvidia fan, i prefer ATI a little more. The HD9650 is pretty much the same thing anyway performance wise.
  7. Get yourself a 5870 or 6870 - same performance as the GTX560 while being $40-$50 cheaper on average.
  8. Bluescreendeath said:
    Get yourself a 5870 or 6870 - same performance as the GTX560 while being $40-$50 cheaper on average.


    I believe from the research i have done the HD6950 is the best bang for the buck, yea its about 35-40 bucks more (I found a nice deal for one on newegg) but the 6900 series is supposed to be pretty killer out of the box. 40 bucks more doesnt make too much of a difference if the performance is what im looking for. I have a HD5730 in my laptop with an i7 cpu and its not nearly as good as i thought it would be =\

    Need speeeed :)
  9. Paintrain84 said:
    Yea, i have actually put all of that in my cart, the MSI is sold out along with most any sandy bridge mobo except the $375 one. So that was kind of a no go, i figured okay, well....ill upgrade the video card FIRST and then if that doesn't make a vast improvement then ill go with mobo/cpu upgrade later.

    I am not a big Nvidia fan, i prefer ATI a little more. The HD9650 is pretty much the same thing anyway performance wise.

    Yeah, all the boards are sold out. I like AMD more too. Just wait a bit and grab these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127555&cm_re=hd6950_2gb-_-14-127-555-_-Product x2 of those unlocked into two hd6970s and you are set man. Also, these would be good too: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125326&cm_re=hd5870-_-14-125-326-_-Product Just wait for the Intel boards to come back. Also, you could get an older i7, but I wouldn't strongly suggest that. Also, you were running an old board, which means probably old RAM too, I would get these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145260&cm_re=4gb_corsair_1600-_-20-145-260-_-Product
    What is your PSU, you will be putting a pretty heavy load on the machine.
  10. iam2thecrowe said:
    i would just use your current cpu and oc to 3ghz. with an aftermarket cooler 3.4ghz+ is possible on that cpu. Core 2 quads are similar in performance to newer amd phenom x 4's. They are still a very capable CPU. Just get a new vid card, gtx570/6950, and oc the cpu.


    ^+100
    great answer
    then wait it out until IvyBridge (will be newest generation of Intel Architecture roughly
    coming out January 2012)
    or at end of year the higher end Sandybridge comes out
  11. the gtx 570 is to much for a c2d q6600 he would need to max out every setting and would still bottlekneck.

    i wouldnt recomend anything over a gtx280 or gtx460 1gig for the 6600.

    as for dadiggles post.... PFFT!!!

    if your gonna run at 1080p+ and a gfx card bigger than say a gtx560 or 5870 then you do need an am3 phenom 2 or a nephelim i5/i7 760/930 or 2500k, 2600k (when they sort the sata port chip on the motherboards) the reason i say this is not all games are gpu bound games like gta4 need a powerful fast cpu so it can use a fast gpu. if you make the pc to gfx heavy you will find a lot of your older games will be unplayable as the gfx will max them out easily and overwhelm the cpu.

    so yeah spend your money wisely.
    buy the motherboard, cpu and ram, then consider the gpu that will compliment the cpu and your monitor...
  12. i5 2500k - $230
    Asus P8P67-M Pro - $150
    EVGA GTX 560Ti - $260
    -----------
    Total - $640

    Done.
  13. if he gets a hd 6950 now and ocs the q6600
    it will be ok for now
    and he can carry over the 6950 to later build
    and use the hd6950 on the new build
    possibly in crossfire with a second card

    also you would want to read this to
    catch up with new arch
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Core
  14. king smp said:
    if he gets a hd 6950 now and ocs the q6600
    it will be ok for now
    and he can carry over the 6950 to later build
    and use the hd6950 on the new build
    possibly in crossfire with a second card

    also you would want to read this to
    catch up with new arch
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Core

    ^+1
  15. Well i toyed with the idea of an i7 instead of the i5 2500k (Why are you guys suggesting the i5 2500k instead of the i7 BTW??) , but i think the BIGGEST PROBLEM i am having, is this:

    1. I dont know which department i am lacking power, is it truly my CPU/Mobo/RAM combo and will that limit my GPU THAT much!? Or would the biggest increase be the GPU?

    2. I was thinking that if i just replace the GPU for now, i can build a newer system later on and enjoy the increased performance for now for a couple hundred bucks instead of over 600. But some of you have been saying that the CPU I have now, the Q6600 will be overloaded? Seriously? So would that make getting an HD6950 kinda pointless because my CPU is not going to push it to its potential so to speak?

    3. I have never overclocked a cpu so i dont really know how to go about doing it, although im sure its easy. I would be worried about cooling etc. Would it really even be WORTH it?

    I have a full size case and plenty of area for fans if needed, (Thermaltake Armor+) and a 750 Watt "SLI" powersupply so i think im okay in the power area. Thanks!
  16. OCing is pretty safe now and if you just go up to 3.0
    you probably wont even have to worry about
    increasing voltage or adding extra cooling
    there are many good overclocking guides
    just google "beginners guide to overclocking core2"

    with a mild 3.0 OC and the hd6950 you will
    see alot of extra performance over what
    you have now

    and then with a crossfire sandybridge board later
    and adding a second 6950 you will have
    a nice upgrade path good for YEARS
  17. remember the HD6950 OCs nicely
    and GPUs are even easier to OC
    and if you get a sandybridge later
    in the year OC that and OC the
    HD6950...
    Well you will be rocking any game out there
  18. king smp said:
    remember the HD6950 OCs nicely
    and GPUs are even easier to OC
    and if you get a sandybridge later
    in the year OC that and OC the
    HD6950...
    Well you will be rocking any game out there


    Nice, im a little afraid of the whole "Well its pretty safe so you SHOULD be okay without having to change anything" haha...would you recommend extra cooling anyway?

    Also, why is it that you think a i5 2500k sandy bridge is a more recommended purchase than the i7?

    And finally, i am using a Nvidia 9800 GT, i have another 9800 GT card here as well although i am only using one. I played with it trying SLI for both cards and then pulling one out and never noticed any performance increase at all...any advice? i know the card is kinda old but meh...
  19. You would have to talk to someone more experienced
    with SLI
    I do know having the latest drivers and not all games
    will take advantage of it.

    the performance difference vs price difference
    is the reason why most people recommend
    the I5-2500k

    the difference in performance especially in games
    doesnt justify the extra money for the I7

    also remember Intel
    has historically always released mainstream
    cpus first with new architecture then later the
    performance cpus so really both the 2500 and 2600
    will probably become the lower end within the year
    so waiting will pay off
  20. Paintrain84 said:
    Nice, im a little afraid of the whole "Well its pretty safe so you SHOULD be okay without having to change anything" haha...would you recommend extra cooling anyway?

    Also, why is it that you think a i5 2500k sandy bridge is a more recommended purchase than the i7?

    And finally, i am using a Nvidia 9800 GT, i have another 9800 GT card here as well although i am only using one. I played with it trying SLI for both cards and then pulling one out and never noticed any performance increase at all...any advice? i know the card is kinda old but meh...

    We recommended the i5 because 1) it's not a rip off 2) you won't really see a difference in gaming and 3) they overclock super super super well.
    GET AN i5!
  21. haha okay, and finally for you overclocking masters out there, i see all this crazyness about LIQUID cooling....is it really worth it or should i put together a friggen wind tunnel in my computer with some thermal squeezy stuff on my cpu? :)
  22. and core2's 2.4s will go to 3.0 easily on decent stock cooling
    and with no overvoltage
    when you start to up voltage is where the danger lies
  23. BTW i have a laptop that i use mostly for now with an i7 1.73ghz with hyper threading yada yada, there is also 6gb DDR3 1033 and an AT Mbility Radeon HD 5730in it.

    The gaming performance is slightly better than my PC. Im wondering if i could overclock my lappy or anything? Just wondering...
  24. king smp said:
    and core2's 2.4s will go to 3.0 easily on decent stock cooling
    and with no overvoltage
    when you start to up voltage is where the danger lies


    Hey king, is there a sort of "Standard" for "Safe overclocking voltage" or do you suggest i stop wasting your time and just go research the whole thing from the noob guide and up? :)
  25. Paintrain84 said:
    haha okay, and finally for you overclocking masters out there, i see all this crazyness about LIQUID cooling....is it really worth it or should i put together a friggen wind tunnel in my computer with some thermal squeezy stuff on my cpu? :)

    Don't do liquid unless you want a really really really high OC.
  26. Paintrain84 said:
    Hey king, is there a sort of "Standard" for "Safe overclocking voltage" or do you suggest i stop wasting your time and just go research the whole thing from the noob guide and up? :)

    3.0Ghz should be safe. Also, there are safe voltages, but it depends on the CPU. The Intel website might tell you like AMD does. I'll check, one sec.
  27. .85- 1.5v is okay on a core 2 quad q6600. You can overvolt a little I think. I would go 1.45v max though for long CPU life.
  28. Ah your not wasting my time
    I am not an expert at overclocking CPUs
    I am an "expert amateur"
    I do know that you can get decent overclocks WITHOUT
    upping voltage especially on Core2s

    for your reading pleasure and specifically talks about q6600
    http://www.overclock.net/intel-cpus/497993-newbie-guide-overclocking-updated-core-2-a.html

    i havent really OCd a rig since the Athlon XP days LOL
    so I have to read that guide thoroughly myself to catch up

    but the basics are the same
  29. HostileDonut said:
    .85- 1.5v is okay on a core 2 quad q6600. You can overvolt a little I think. I would go 1.45v max though for long CPU life.


    really if you can get a decent overclock without overvolting
    especially on air then the extra mhz you gain from overvolting
    will not be a big enough performance difference to make
    it worthwhile

    If you have a ten fan windtunnel or liquid cooling then
    that is where overvolting comes into play
  30. Don't forget to flash the 6950 to a 6970. :)
  31. Raidur said:
    Don't forget to flash the 6950 to a 6970. :)

    ^+1
  32. and it only works on reference cards...
  33. Is flashing the 6950 to a 6970 pretty easy and safe to do? Also, anybody have any insight on my laptop??? Im kinda curious
  34. Paintrain84 said:
    Is flashing the 6950 to a 6970 pretty easy and safe to do? Also, anybody have any insight on my laptop??? Im kinda curious

    If you knwo what you are doing, you can normally flash it. Sometimes, you can't though. As for your laptop, normally they can't be O.C.ed unless a you the ASUS ROG Connect by ASUS. I wouldn't recommend O.C.ing a laptop anyway though, they don't have sufficient cooling.
  35. Well heres the thing, I DONT KNOW WHAT IM DOING! lol!

    At any rate i figured the same thing about the laptop, was just curious. Ill have to tinker around with learning how to overclock my Q6600. Im def interested.
  36. I have never OCed an Intel CPU, so I don't know too much, but the basic concept would be the same. Put the FSB up, RAM speed down, RAM voltage up, and maybe even CPU voltage up. Look it up on youtube.
  37. king smp said:
    and core2's 2.4s will go to 3.0 easily on decent stock cooling
    and with no overvoltage
    when you start to up voltage is where the danger lies

    i had to increase my voltage on my core 2 duo e6600 to get it past 2.8ghz stable, but ive heard many can get close to 3ghz with no voltage increase. you can pump a fair bit more voltage into these things safely, but just increase small steps at a time untill you find a stable setting for 3ghz. id suggest to just go 100mhz at a time. if you get to 3ghz and everything is still running stable then dont worry about the voltage. if it wont run stable, just increase the voltage small amounts at a time and test for stability. there are plenty of overclocking guides for this cpu http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2007/07/25/overclocking_intel_core_2_quad_q6600/2
    heres a good ccomparison, using a gtx480 vid card (similar to gtx570 in performance) showing various cpu's. imagine your cpu as a phenom x4 in this articl, since performance is about spot on, clock for clock http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-core-i3-2100-phenom-ii-x6-1075t,2859-10.html you can see that in most games there isnt a huge difference with various cpu's.
  38. well the update: It turns out the HD6950 was really the answer to all my problems! LoL! Im SO impressed with how MUCH this graphics card has improved the performance of my games, it was insane. Changed 15-20fps into 60+fps maxed out! It was amazing. I guess i underestimated the ol' Q6600 setup i have lol. The i5 would def be a great addition when im ready but this card is AMAZING and wow what a difference. Impressed.

    PS: I flashed the 6950 to the 6970 and its even better, although prob not even really needed just yet, it was too easy not to do it! Just an extra tid bit of info!
  39. NICE! Good to hear it worked! ;)
  40. awesome
    that card is going to rock for years
    and you could always get a second crossfire setup later on when needed
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