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Upgrading a 775 socket CPU

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May 23, 2011 4:17:20 AM

Hey guys!

So here is the deal. I have a intel E8400 @ 3.0 Ghz, on an older gaming rig.

I was planning on a new sandy bridge build, but due to the circumstances, i wont be doing that; instead i want to upgrade my older rig and possibly inject another 1-2 years of life into it.

I was planning on buying Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 @ 3.0 GHz, but that stuff goes for like $350.00 and the cheapest i've found was on ebay for like ~$210.00 (used); f*** me if i pay that much for a 775.

Anyway, i found the Q8400 @ 2.66 GHz for like $100 (new), and i was considering picking that up. Now i have a few questions:

1. Is the Q8400 good for gaming? Or should i just keep scavenging for a Q9550 and hope i get lucky enough to find it cheaper than $350.00?

2. Can i just OC the Q8400 to Q9550 speeds?

3. (Sort of related) If i plop in a Radeon 6970, will it be bottle-necked by the Q8400 (or even the Q9550 for that matter)?

4. If i do buy a CPU can i just replace the existing one, or will i have to do a fresh install of Windows 7?

5. Will i see noticeable difference between the Q8400 and the E8400?

If anyone can be so kind as to answer these 5 questions, i'd be really grateful.

I knew i should have payed an extra $200 and opted for the quadcore back when i was building my rig 2 years ago... :( 
a c 81 à CPUs
May 23, 2011 5:03:32 AM

Since you are mainly concerned about gaming performance, give the Q8400 a pass.. The E8400 is a far better processor in gaming regards.. I'll not mind spending 200$ if I can get a Q9550 though.. But the best course of action seems like to overclock that E8400 to something like 3.6 GHz and add in a powerful video card.. Its not like that these high end dual cores are any lesser in gaming.. They are still good..
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May 23, 2011 5:07:54 AM

Emperus said:
Since you are mainly concerned about gaming performance, give the Q8400 a pass.. The E8400 is a far better processor in gaming regards.. I'll not mind spending 200$ if I can get a Q9550 though.. But the best course of action seems like to overclock that E8400 to something like 3.6 GHz and add in a powerful video card.. Its not like that these high end dual cores are any lesser in gaming.. They are still good..


i see, thanks.

I'm just trying to keep up with the current gen games, especially the upcoming BF3 and Skyrim. Most of them seem to have quad cores as the recommended cpu.

What exactly do you look for to decide if a CPU is is a "good" gaming chip?
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May 23, 2011 5:21:11 AM

clydefrog said:
i see, thanks.

I'm just trying to keep up with the current gen games, especially the upcoming BF3 and Skyrim. Most of them seem to have quad cores as the recommended cpu.

What exactly do you look for to decide if a CPU is is a "good" gaming chip?

Nice high clocks.
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May 23, 2011 5:26:04 AM

clydefrog said:
Hey guys!

So here is the deal. I have a intel E8400 @ 3.0 Ghz, on an older gaming rig.

I was planning on a new sandy bridge build, but due to the circumstances, i wont be doing that; instead i want to upgrade my older rig and possibly inject another 1-2 years of life into it.

I was planning on buying Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 @ 3.0 GHz, but that stuff goes for like $350.00 and the cheapest i've found was on ebay for like ~$210.00 (used); f*** me if i pay that much for a 775.

Anyway, i found the Q8400 @ 2.66 GHz for like $100 (new), and i was considering picking that up. Now i have a few questions:

1. Is the Q8400 good for gaming? Or should i just keep scavenging for a Q9550 and hope i get lucky enough to find it cheaper than $350.00?

2. Can i just OC the Q8400 to Q9550 speeds?

3. (Sort of related) If i plop in a Radeon 6970, will it be bottle-necked by the Q8400 (or even the Q9550 for that matter)?

4. If i do buy a CPU can i just replace the existing one, or will i have to do a fresh install of Windows 7?

5. Will i see noticeable difference between the Q8400 and the E8400?

If anyone can be so kind as to answer these 5 questions, i'd be really grateful.

I knew i should have payed an extra $200 and opted for the quadcore back when i was building my rig 2 years ago... :( 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Answer #1: If your system isn't OEM, grab a q8400 and OC it like crazy. I think you could get 3.5Ghz fairly easily.

Answer #2: You should be able to OC it past he q9550 levels.

Answer #3: Grab a hd6950 and unlock it into a hd6970 and save the cash.

Answer #4: You should just be able to put in a new CPU and call it a day.

Answer #5: Yes, it new games such as BFBC2 and BF3, and future games.
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May 23, 2011 5:34:51 AM

HostileDonut said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Answer #1: If your system isn't OEM, grab a q8400 and OC it like crazy. I think you could get 3.5Ghz fairly easily.

Answer #2: You should be able to OC it past he q9550 levels.

Answer #3: Grab a hd6950 and unlock it into a hd6970 and save the cash.

Answer #4: You should just be able to put in a new CPU and call it a day.

Answer #5: Yes, it new games such as BFBC2 and BF3, and future games.


So for a gaming cpu, i just need to look at the clock rate? No need to look into hyperthreading, L2 cache and all that jazz?

1. What is OEM? I built the PC myself, is that OEM?

2. It's not locked or anything right?

3. When you say unlock, you mean just OC it?

4. Thank you

5. Thank you

Thanks for the answers.

Anyone else have some feedback before i forfeit $160?

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May 23, 2011 5:52:59 AM

would I want a quad core for gaming ? you betcha. but not that one. one thing the 9550 has going for it is the L3 cache... ( 8m ). it does make a difference. i'd hold on to what i have until i could replace the whole 9 yards.

Yes L3 cache does make a difference for gaming.... the more the merrier. Not much to worry over hyper threading right now. Quad cores minimum and the best graphics card you can get.

I run a 775/9550 with a 2gig 6950 and 8gig of ram in my gamer. nothing stops it. You didn't mention your graphics card or the resolution you game at... ??? Makes a difference too. ( i did trade up from a dual core 6850.. ) not worth it this late in the game IMO.
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May 23, 2011 5:57:08 AM

Lots more than clockrate, hyperthreading and cache matter. This is useful for comparing gaming CPUs: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...
It does not account for overclocking, which will jump any CPU up about two tiers.

1. OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer, usually refers to a computer manufacturer like Dell, Gateway, HP, etc.

2. It's locked. If it's not a Sandy Bridge "K" series or Extreme Edition (or Black Edition for AMD), it's a locked CPU.

3. "Unlock" Radeon 6950 2GB means that the only difference between 6950 2GB's and 6970's is the bios and some clock settings. You can flash an unlocked 6950 2GB bios onto the card to use all of the shaders locked by the original bios.

Feedback: What is your motherboard? Not all motherboards are compatible with all Quad Cores. In fact, the last 775 I tried said it was Quad Core compatible but couldn't run a Q9400 because it was released when Q6600/6700's were the only C2 Quads out there.

Also, $160 is a ripoff. You can find Q9400's, which are a bit better, for $125 or so. But personally, I don't think you should buy an upgrade. An E8400 is near the top of the 775 CPUs you can get.

Just overclock your E8400 to 3.6GHz and sit on that until you can afford $300 for a new CPU, mobo, & RAM.
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May 23, 2011 5:58:04 AM

swifty_morgan said:
would I want a quad core for gaming ? you betcha. but not that one. one thing the 9550 has going for it is the L3 cache... ( 8m ). it does make a difference. i'd hold on to what i have until i could replace the whole 9 yards.

Yes L3 cache does make a difference for gaming.... the more the merrier. Not much to worry over hyper threading right now. Quad cores minimum and the best graphics card you can get.

I run a 775/9550 with a 2gig 6950 and 8gig of ram in my gamer. nothing stops it. You didn't mention your graphics card or the resolution you game at... ??? Makes a difference too. ( i did trade up from a dual core 6850.. ) not worth it this late in the game IMO.


So you recommend i wait it out until i can find a Q9550 at a reasonable price?

Also my specs:

E8400 @ 3.0
Radeon 4870 x2 2GB total
8GB RAM

I game at 1680x1050

Thank you :) 
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May 23, 2011 6:02:18 AM

dalauder said:
Lots more than clockrate, hyperthreading and cache matter. This is useful for comparing gaming CPUs: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...
It does not account for overclocking, which will jump any CPU up about two tiers.

1. OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer, usually refers to a computer manufacturer like Dell, Gateway, HP, etc.

2. It's locked. If it's not a Sandy Bridge "K" series or Extreme Edition (or Black Edition for AMD), it's a locked CPU.

3. "Unlock" Radeon 6950 2GB means that the only difference between 6950 2GB's and 6970's is the bios and some clock settings. You can flash an unlocked 6950 2GB bios onto the card to use all of the shaders locked by the original bios.

Feedback: What is your motherboard? Not all motherboards are compatible with all Quad Cores. In fact, the last 775 I tried said it was Quad Core compatible but couldn't run a Q9400 because it was released when Q6600/6700's were the only C2 Quads out there.

Also, $160 is a ripoff. You can find Q9400's, which are a bit better, for $125 or so. But personally, I don't think you should buy an upgrade. An E8400 is near the top of the 775 CPUs you can get.

Just overclock your E8400 to 3.6GHz and sit on that until you can afford $300 for a new CPU, mobo, & RAM.


Oh okay.

So i assume the E8400 is not locked correct? As i can OC that beyond 3.0 GHz?

Thank you for that link; that is extremely helpful! :D 

My mobo: Asus P5Q Deluxe

So in your opinion i shouldnt even bother with a q9550?

thanks
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May 23, 2011 6:04:44 AM

You don't need a quad for for gaming, but it can be helpful and really depends on the game. Usually three cores is enough. But it's not worth upgrading until you can afford a CPU, mobo, & RAM.
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May 23, 2011 6:12:27 AM

dalauder said:
You don't need a quad for for gaming, but it can be helpful and really depends on the game. Usually three cores is enough. But it's not worth upgrading until you can afford a CPU, mobo, & RAM.


Oh i see what you're saying.

Yeah i think you're right.

Maybe i ought to just wait until i can afford to make a i5-2500K build...

The funny thing is that the i5-2500K costs about $150 less than the q9550; that makes no f***ing sense! i thought the sandy bridge i5's were newer; what gives?

why are the old quad cores so much more expensive? Are they antiques lol? :lol: 
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May 23, 2011 6:23:59 AM

clydefrog said:
So for a gaming cpu, i just need to look at the clock rate? No need to look into hyperthreading, L2 cache and all that jazz?

1. What is OEM? I built the PC myself, is that OEM?

2. It's not locked or anything right?

3. When you say unlock, you mean just OC it?

4. Thank you

5. Thank you

Thanks for the answers.

Anyone else have some feedback before i forfeit $160?

By unlocking a hd6950 you flash the BIOS to a hd6970's BIOS and you have a hd6970. You must have a reference model to get the extra BIOS though.
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May 23, 2011 6:39:22 AM

@HostileDonut--You can also flash it with an Unlocked 6950 bios, which is supposedly safer than the 6970 bios because it uses the right voltages and clocks.

@clydefrog--Antiques...yes, more or less. Especially when something is the absolute best that can go in a socket, you'll find a jump in price. That's why a Q9550 costs so much more than a Q9400. It's better, but not 2.5x better.

"Locked" refers to the multiplier on the CPU. The CPU clock speed is the base clock (aka front side bus [fsb]) times the multiplier. With most CPUs, you have to increase the base clock to overclock, which increases memory speeds and everything else on the system bus.

On some motherboards, when you increase the fsb (base clock) too high, SATA controllers will stop responding and you won't be able to access your hard drive (like my cheap mobo at work). There are various other issues related to increasing your fsb that makes it favorable to just increase the CPU multiplier and not affect the rest of your system.

But the CPU multiplier can only be adjusted on "unlocked" processors like "K" series such as i5-2500K and not i5-2500. Also, "Extreme Edition" and "Black Edition" CPUs like the QX6850, i7-965EE, and Phenom II x4 955BE are unlocked. Intel charged a very high premium for unlocked CPUs prior to the Sandy Bridge "K" series.

Your motherboard should be a great overclocker and will help you get the most out of your CPU. If I were you, I'd buy a Hyper 212+ CPU cooler, if I didn't already have a good CPU cooler (because it's the cheapest and one of the best performers and quiet too). Then overclock that E8400 as high as it'll go (keep an eye on temps). Also, the Hyper 212+ comes with adapters for all recent sockets.

Overclocking that CPU is a subject for another thread. PM me if you start a thread on that.

Here's a thread where I walked through a lot of useful benchmarking/bottlenecking/overclocking issues: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/298353-28-bottlenecki...
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May 23, 2011 10:09:48 AM

Few points, hyper threading is not at all useful in games.. For the one who mentioned, the Q9550 does not feature L3 cache.. It has 12 MB of L2 cache though.. However, even cache difference does not translates into any direct or significant performance difference while gaming..

Now, for a playing resolution of 1680 x 1050, you have a pretty high end build.. Just grab a good air cooler (which you can use later for newer build also) and overclock that E8400.. With good components, you can even reach 4GHz easily.. That combined with your current cards is plenty for gaming for atleast another year or so.. The only upcoming game which might face any problem is the Arma 3 IMO..
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May 23, 2011 11:13:28 AM

clydefrog:........ no, i don't recommend waiting til you get a better price on the 9550. i wouldn't touch 775 processors anymore. they're "too slow" in comparison to what you can get now for a little more money.

your "Radeon 4870 x2 2GB total"........ you still only have 1gig. it doesn't double in xfire. even though you have 2 "decent" cards a 6950 would trounce them. and for the over clockers and bios flashers. i can see over clocking the cpu a little but the bios flashing on the cards...... morons.

whoever mentioned hyper threading benefits gaming...... i don't see it.

and the "don't need a quad for gaming" should check your facts....

the L3 cache doesn't matter in gaming...... YES it does. and on the intel's processors it matters a lot. that "extra" ( 12 not 8 ) makes a difference vs the 4 on some of the other chips. nature of the chip.

save your money...... upgrade for Christmas.
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May 23, 2011 3:27:53 PM

dalauder said:
@HostileDonut--You can also flash it with an Unlocked 6950 bios, which is supposedly safer than the 6970 bios because it uses the right voltages and clocks.

@clydefrog--Antiques...yes, more or less. Especially when something is the absolute best that can go in a socket, you'll find a jump in price. That's why a Q9550 costs so much more than a Q9400. It's better, but not 2.5x better.

"Locked" refers to the multiplier on the CPU. The CPU clock speed is the base clock (aka front side bus [fsb]) times the multiplier. With most CPUs, you have to increase the base clock to overclock, which increases memory speeds and everything else on the system bus.

On some motherboards, when you increase the fsb (base clock) too high, SATA controllers will stop responding and you won't be able to access your hard drive (like my cheap mobo at work). There are various other issues related to increasing your fsb that makes it favorable to just increase the CPU multiplier and not affect the rest of your system.

But the CPU multiplier can only be adjusted on "unlocked" processors like "K" series such as i5-2500K and not i5-2500. Also, "Extreme Edition" and "Black Edition" CPUs like the QX6850, i7-965EE, and Phenom II x4 955BE are unlocked. Intel charged a very high premium for unlocked CPUs prior to the Sandy Bridge "K" series.

Your motherboard should be a great overclocker and will help you get the most out of your CPU. If I were you, I'd buy a Hyper 212+ CPU cooler, if I didn't already have a good CPU cooler (because it's the cheapest and one of the best performers and quiet too). Then overclock that E8400 as high as it'll go (keep an eye on temps). Also, the Hyper 212+ comes with adapters for all recent sockets.

Overclocking that CPU is a subject for another thread. PM me if you start a thread on that.

Here's a thread where I walked through a lot of useful benchmarking/bottlenecking/overclocking issues: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/298353-28-bottlenecki...


Wow thanks; that was very insightful!

I'll send you a PM with just a few questions about OCing, as it seems that route is the best option.

In the mean time, i'll try reading up on OCing my CPU as i've never done that before...

Emperus said:
Few points, hyper threading is not at all useful in games.. For the one who mentioned, the Q9550 does not feature L3 cache.. It has 12 MB of L2 cache though.. However, even cache difference does not translates into any direct or significant performance difference while gaming..

Now, for a playing resolution of 1680 x 1050, you have a pretty high end build.. Just grab a good air cooler (which you can use later for newer build also) and overclock that E8400.. With good components, you can even reach 4GHz easily.. That combined with your current cards is plenty for gaming for atleast another year or so.. The only upcoming game which might face any problem is the Arma 3 IMO..


Thanks.

I have a Dark Knight cooler.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Is that adequate or i need something more "specialized"?

swifty_morgan said:
clydefrog:........ no, i don't recommend waiting til you get a better price on the 9550. i wouldn't touch 775 processors anymore. they're "too slow" in comparison to what you can get now for a little more money.

your "Radeon 4870 x2 2GB total"........ you still only have 1gig. it doesn't double in xfire. even though you have 2 "decent" cards a 6950 would trounce them. and for the over clockers and bios flashers. i can see over clocking the cpu a little but the bios flashing on the cards...... morons.

whoever mentioned hyper threading benefits gaming...... i don't see it.

and the "don't need a quad for gaming" should check your facts....

the L3 cache doesn't matter in gaming...... YES it does. and on the intel's processors it matters a lot. that "extra" ( 12 not 8 ) makes a difference vs the 4 on some of the other chips. nature of the chip.

save your money...... upgrade for Christmas.


Yeah, i dont think i'm gonna bother upping my CPU; especially not after hearing what you guys have to say and seeing the price difference between a Q9550 and an i5-2500K.

thanks
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May 25, 2011 3:09:09 PM

Best answer selected by clydefrog.
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