System Builder Marathon: Mid-Cost System

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 CPU

Our mid-range system was destined to be an Intel CPU; AMD doesn't offer any viable alternatives right now, although things might change when the updated Phenoms with B3 stepping are released.

With the new Core 2 Penryn CPUs difficult to find at retail, our real options were the existing Core 2 Quads: the Q6600 for $240 or Q6700 for $540.

With the Q6700 more than twice as expensive as the Q6600 for a mere 260 MHz speed increase, the Q6700 is a hard sell. Indeed, we used a Q6600 in our last system builder marathon to great effect.

However, since the system builder marathon machines are competing in multiple arenas - application speed in addition to graphics speed - we decided to give the Q6700 a shot and invest extra money in the processor. From a pure value standpoint the Q6600 is certainly superior, but we have some room under the $2000 price limit and we are very interested in seeing if the Q6700 will provide significant gains over our last mid-range machine. And we really want to find out if it can overclock any better than it's slightly slower Q6600 brother.

  • crites
    Why wouldn't you put 1066MHz (PC2-8500) memory on this machine?
  • OS43
    I assume they are using Cas 4 memory, which you are not going to find in this price range at PC2-8500.
  • AngryClown
    This build is identical to my current rig, except I chose an 8800GT, and the Q6600 oc'd to 2.88. It plows through AVCHD editing, and Oblivion.

    I spent weeks researching the best price points. Good job guys.