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technoid
07-17-09, 01:21 AM
Okay, I got approval from the wife to buy some new computer parts so I'd like to get opinions on the two different ways I'm thinking about going. This isn't going to be a state of the art machine just a nice upgrade for me. If you look at the machine in my sig you'll know my current configuration.

First Question

What kind of a difference would I see between only upgrading the CPU in my current system from a e6700 (2.66 GHz ) to a Core 2 Duo e7600 ( 3.06 GHz ) or buying a new P45 board and a Core 2 Duo e8500 ( 3.15 GHz ). If I stay with my current board the FSB is 1066 and the MEMORY is 800, but if I upgrade the motherboard, cpu, and memory I'd be running a 1333 FSB and 1066 MEMORY. Also the cache in the e7600 is 3 MB but the e8500 has 6 MB, which brings me to the second question.

Second Question

What is the speed difference between having 3MB and 6MB cache in the processor. My current e6700 has 4MB and I wish the e7600 had 4MB but it only has 3MB.

I have my own thoughts about this of course but I want to get some input from you guys that upgrade more often than me and have more current experience.

Uberpwnage
07-17-09, 03:04 AM
The performance benefit from a relatively small 400-500MHz bump in clock speed wouldn't be noticable in many cases, and certainly not worth the $150+ price tag. Similarly, the added 2MB of cache in the E8500 wouldnt result in any noticable improvement. Clock for clock, the three should be roughly the same.

Your E6700 runs on a 1066MHz (266x4) FSB and gets its core clock via a 10x multiplier. If your motherboard allows it, simply overclocking the bus from 266MHz to 333MHz will get you a 1333MHz FSB and a 3.33GHz core clock (10x333). Your memory will become overclocked as well if you do this, as long as you keep it at the same ratio. But again, the improvement from 800MHz to 1066MHz ram isnt very noticable, and may even be non existant if the higher clock results in higher timings too. Using this method you will have better performance than a stock E7600 or E8500 basically for free.

Generally speaking, the E7600 was designed to be a low-midrange Core 2 Duo, hence the 3MB cache, while the E6700 and E8500 were designed as mid-high end Core 2 Duos. In a sense, if you went for the E7600 you would be downgrading in some respects. The E8xxx and E7xxx series are the exact same base architecture as the original E6xxx series, only shrunken from 65nm to 45nm which makes them consume less power and run slightly cooler. Some omptimizations were made so that the 45nm chips run slightly faster then the older 65nm variants, but these improvements are really only visible in synthetic benchmarks.

Already having an E6700 there is no reason to change to the E7600 or E8500 IMO, neither could really be considered much of an upgrade. I think you should stick with your current CPU and wait until you can upgrade to a Core 2 Quad or Core i7. If you can afford E8500 and are yearning for an upgrade, you might as well go ahead and buy a Q9550 instead, the difference is a mere $30. You'll get much more funtionality out of a quad core CPU simply in everyday tasks then you will from a clock speed bump, and if clock speeds are want you want, get the quad core and overclock it a bit.

I also recommend that whatever you decide on, you add another 2GB of ram to your system, a cheap $25-$30 upgrade that's well worth it.

mcolbourn
07-17-09, 03:36 AM
I agree with Uberpwnage, you would not see much difference withing going to another duel core you need to go quad really. either a Q9550 or I7 920 like Uberpwnage said.

If you didn't want to change the board out I would put an extra 2GB memory in your current build and look at maybe a new Graphics card as the 8800gts is now getting a little old and going to a Nvidia 200 series or a ATI 4870/4890 would show a better FPS increase in games if you are a gamer.

Also you could overclock your current processor to get a bit more millage out of it you should get over 3ghz out of it without too much issues.

I forgot to ask how much are you going to spend? or want to spend I should say.

technoid
07-17-09, 12:10 PM
Uberpwnage and mcolbourn,

I thought I'd answer both of you at the same time since you're in agreement.

I don't do much that a quad core would help, like video encoding. I do game but I'm retired now so I have to watch my expenses which means I'm off the state of the art bandwagon. When I worked I spent a lot of money on upgrades but as I got older I started slowing down. I say all that so you'll understand where I'm at right now. I'd like to spend a few hundred that I can spare right now so that's why the modest upgrade. I know the small difference in clock speed won't get me much but it will offset some of the overhead that's been building up since I got the E6700, by that I mean the larger and more complex programs and utilities I use. So what I'm looking for is a small but noticeable jump in performance for a few hundred dollars.

I just built a E8400 P43 system for my sister inlaw and the performance increase is noticeable from mine, like you say not great but a nice change. You might ask if I just build that system why I'm asking about it, and that's a good question. I wanted to see what someone else would say about what I'm thinking about doing. It's kind of difficult for me to spend a few hundred bucks to get the difference I seen in her system, thus the question. Plus since the E7600 only has 3MB of cache I was wondering what others that the difference would be from 3MB cache to 6MB cache. Oh, on the 4GIG memory upgrade. I'm still running Windows XP x86 so 2GIG is my limit.

Thanks a lot for your time and the information you shared.

I guess I could ask another quetion. Since I'm a silent PC freak, mine is so quiet I can't hear it sitting on the floor next to my desk. After looking at the I7 it seems they draw a lot of power, about 130 watts if I remember correctly. So how do you cool that without going water cooled and kept it silent?

Uberpwnage
07-17-09, 01:46 PM
I think I understand your situation. Concerning the E8400/P43 system you just built, the differences you saw were definetely, in part, due to the higher core clock, however they could also be partially attributed to a clean install of Windows. I don't know how long you've been running your current installation, but XP does have a way of accumulating a substantial amount of clutter overtime.

As far as the cache goes, you won't notice going from 4MB to 3MB or 4MB to 6MB in most cases. Here's a nordichardware review (http://www.nordichardware.com/Reviews/?skrivelse=514)comparing 4MB, 2MB, and 1MB core 2 based processors.

The biggest gains are seen in the game tests, but those were run at very low resolution and thus CPU bound. Normal gaming would run these at much higher resolutions, making them more GPU bound, negating alot of the 15-20% improvement cited in the review. Also, they didnt review a 3MB CPU, but the average between the 4MB and 2MB numbers they provide will give you some idea of the difference. As you will no doubt see, it's not really noteworthy. The 6MB E8500 will have improvements in those applications showing improvement from 2MB to 4MB, but sometimes the application doesn't require more then a certain amount, so the increase from 4MB to 6MB may show less of a benefit than going from 2MB to 4MB.

For the memory, a 32-bit operating system can address a theoretical maximum of 4GB of system memory, in your case you would probably see about 3.5 of the 4GB of RAM. That's still an 75% increase in usable RAM, and when you go 64-bit in the future, you can take advantage of the extra 512MB.

And I assume you don't want to overclock your E6700, because that would make things alot easier. Just something about spending $150+ to get this kind of improvement seems ill-advised but you know better than I do what you are looking for in an upgrade. mcolbourn's suggestion of a better graphics card in place of a CPU upgrade is a good option as well, certainly the best thing you can do for gaming performance.

Finally, quad core CPUs are beneficial even if you dont do encoding. Windows always has extra processes running in the background that take resources and processing power away from games or important applications. An extra two cores can help improve these environments even if the software isn't multithreaded. Additionally, it allows for much greater multi-tasking, you can have several windows open, and then launch into a game without really worrying about lost processor cycles (as long as the game isn't threaded for quad core).

You're right about the i7, it would be very difficult to cool quietly without watercooling. If silence is that important you should stick with Core 2 for now.

That's basically it, I still stand by my recommendation that if you are going to spend $150+ on an upgrade, you might as well go quad core, it's alot more processor for your money, even if you don't think you'll use it at the present time, remember it's only $30 more than the E8500.

Maverick123w
07-17-09, 04:11 PM
Uberpwnage and mcolbourn,

I thought I'd answer both of you at the same time since you're in agreement.

I don't do much that a quad core would help, like video encoding. I do game but I'm retired now so I have to watch my expenses which means I'm off the state of the art bandwagon. When I worked I spent a lot of money on upgrades but as I got older I started slowing down. I say all that so you'll understand where I'm at right now. I'd like to spend a few hundred that I can spare right now so that's why the modest upgrade. I know the small difference in clock speed won't get me much but it will offset some of the overhead that's been building up since I got the E6700, by that I mean the larger and more complex programs and utilities I use. So what I'm looking for is a small but noticeable jump in performance for a few hundred dollars.

I just built a E8400 P43 system for my sister inlaw and the performance increase is noticeable from mine, like you say not great but a nice change. You might ask if I just build that system why I'm asking about it, and that's a good question. I wanted to see what someone else would say about what I'm thinking about doing. It's kind of difficult for me to spend a few hundred bucks to get the difference I seen in her system, thus the question. Plus since the E7600 only has 3MB of cache I was wondering what others that the difference would be from 3MB cache to 6MB cache. Oh, on the 4GIG memory upgrade. I'm still running Windows XP x86 so 2GIG is my limit.

Thanks a lot for your time and the information you shared.

I guess I could ask another quetion. Since I'm a silent PC freak, mine is so quiet I can't hear it sitting on the floor next to my desk. After looking at the I7 it seems they draw a lot of power, about 130 watts if I remember correctly. So how do you cool that without going water cooled and kept it silent?

The stock i7 cooler is just about silent so you wouldn't really hear it unless you put your ear on the case.

It's hard to know what to recommend w/o knowing just how much you want to dump in the machine. Is your current gpu the gts 320/640 or the 512mb version?

IMO it's not really worth upgrading your gpu unless it's the 320/640, or your investing in a new board/chip as well.

Likewise, if you have the 512MB version, I don't think just going up to a 45nm dual core will make that big of a deal either.

I don't know if I'd really invest in 775 either, but that's just me.

TheBigOne
07-17-09, 04:47 PM
I would go with the quad Q9550 2.66ghz and 6mb ONLY $169.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0299412

Or for $200 I7 920 DO if you have the budget?
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0302727

As far as the motherboard
If you are going SLI
P7N SLI Platinum 750i SLI ATX Motherboard $99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0288822
OR
NON SLI P45 Neo-F 775 ATX Motherboard $107.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0294283

i7
P6T X58 1366 ATX Motherboard $230
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0304486

CaptNKILL
07-17-09, 05:00 PM
I would go with the quad Q9550 2.66ghz and 6mb ONLY $169.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0299412

Or for $200 I7 920 DO if you have the budget?
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0302727

As far as the motherboard
If you are going SLI
P7N SLI Platinum 750i SLI ATX Motherboard $99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0288822
OR
NON SLI P45 Neo-F 775 ATX Motherboard $107.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0294283

i7
P6T X58 1366 ATX Motherboard $230
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0304486

Damn... I wish we had a microcenter around here.

Wait... no I don't. I'd be broke. :o

Uberpwnage
07-17-09, 05:02 PM
+1, Those are great prices for the Q9550 and 920, and the Q9550 is actually 2.83GHz, not 2.66GHz, so even better.

TheBigOne
07-17-09, 05:23 PM
They use to be expensive, but now they are even better then Newegg on most of the prices and they even price match most online venders. Newegg have the I7 920 for $279.99

betterdan
07-17-09, 06:05 PM
Damn, just about a month ago I paid $219 for the Q9550 :(
That's a hell of a good price!

technoid
07-18-09, 03:58 AM
A lot of good information here, thanks for your input. My budget is about $400 so I can't get very much, just a motherboard, cpu, and memory. The quad core definitely sounds good so I'll give it some thought. The reason I like the 8500 is it's a 65 watt processor vs the 9550 which is 95 watts. Back in the day I had a P4 3.2 which was 89 watts and I couldn't cool it enough with an air cooler to get it as quiet as I wanted.

I guess my upgrade might look something like this.

ASUS P5QL PRO LGA 775 Intel P43 - $86.99
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.15GHz- $189.99
Kingston 2GB DDR2 1066 - $73.99

That should give me a noticable boost in performance from what I have now.

As for the graphics card I already have another one to put in it, a 9800GTX+ SCC 512, that should make things quicker too. And since I game at 1280x1024 it should put me just where I need to be. The 8800GTS 640 that's in there now runs very close to what I want.

So I think for someone trying to keep the price down this might work for me. Like everyone is saying I won't be swept away with the performance gain but it should be a nice improvement from where I'm at now. I have to admit, after working all my life retirement is really nice, but it does come with some finicial restraints. I'm sure some don't have them, but I do.

Thanks again for all your input.

mcolbourn
07-18-09, 05:00 AM
You must remember that the watt's you are talking about are the TDP (thermal design point) not the watts that they use.

betterdan
07-18-09, 08:34 AM
Why on earth would you pay more and get an E8500 when you could get a Q9550 for $20 less? Also why pay more for 2gb ram when you can get 4gb for less than $73.99?