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Thread: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

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    I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    This is gonna be my first new build in 7 years...! My Celeron D has done me proud but is way past its sell-by date!

    So I'm going Quad for future-proofing and I'm going Intel after seeing AMD getting battered all over the forum(!) but can't decide between the Q6600, Q6700, Q9300 or Q9450....

    Is there any real advantages to be had by any one of them?

    Now bare in mind my next build will probably be in another 7 years time...!

    All suggestions much appreciated.

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    I think most people are going for the Q6600 at the moment as it has the best price/performance ratio. The other chips are significantly more expensive but don't provide much additional future-proofing.

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    If you're wanting a system to last 7 years, I actually think you should consider holding out until the start of next year.

    I'm undecided as to if the best thing to do is to go with new technology upon launch, or build the best possible system as an old technology is wrapped up and price cuts are made in the old stock to clear it out.

    Either way, Nehalem is due to be launched at the end of the year, and should definitely be available by the end of Q1 next year. The changes to the system design that Nehalem is brining should allow any system built using them to be competitive upgradable for a long time into the future. And as Intel will be keen on clearing out their old stock, I would imagine that they would also issue some very nice price cuts on the current Core 2 generation kit, which should allow a very powerful build at a much lower price.

    The end of one generation of system architecture and the start of the next is about the only time when you can say for sure that it's worth waiting for, I suspect. Otherwise there is always something just a little bit better coming a few months away, and then systems just never get built.

    In fact, all that being said, what really matters is you Seriously, you can wait forever for a better time to build, but in practice a new computer, especially when it is such a big upgrade, will always be awesome and amazing and loved to bits So don't let anyone, myself included, suggest that any time other than when you want a new system is somehow going to be magically better, as the truth is companies can delay product launches and stock deliveries can take forever.

    When you are looking to build a system, there are three main aspects to consider for any components.

    First of all, how will you be using them? If you're not going to make full use of a component, then splashing out on all fancy bells and whistles is not at all worth it. For a CPU, this usually means are you simply going to use it for personal spreadsheets, document writing and internet browsing, or are you into gaming, music and video creation and 3D rendering? The processing requirements for general computer use are unlikely to rise that significantly over the years (there is only so much one can actually do), and perhaps it has only been the emergence of online video that has caused a need for greater processing power for that audience. Gaming, video editing, rendering and other power user type actives however will no doubt constantly grow in terms of processing demands. Another important aspect to this is overclocking. Not everyone is into overclocking, and it is risky, complex and if you are doing it properly, a very time consuming thing to do before you can play with your new system. But if you are into overclocking, then allowing a high clock multiplier on a CPU is seen as important.

    Secondly, there is the issue of how long you want components to be effective for. Newer designs typically have features that will becoming increasingly used, increasing the long term benefit for going with a newer product. Of course, the idea of 'tried and tested' solutions has to also be mentioned here, as does build quality, but thankfully these seem to not be issues with the current range of CPUs.

    And finally, there is the issue of budget. It is meaningless to be looking to select components without an idea of how much you want to spend, since the price ranges are so very great.

    From your post, I see that your budget is under £250, and helpfully you've listed all the processors that fit under that price bracket

    If you would really like to keep the budget down despite being willing to pay more, the Q6600 is an absolute must-buy. Even if you don't feel happy about overclocking it, it will keep you happy for a very long time to come If you are happy to overclock, then you should be able to get it to 3GHz with any luck

    Sadly I have little practice with overclocking, but as I understand it if you are into that and willing to spend then your best bets would either be the Q6700 (for highest clock multiplier), or the Q9450 (simply for future proofing features and lower temp).

    If you just want to play it safe, however, and are willing to spend nearly £250, then the Q9450 really is the best bet in my opinion. The additions made to the core 2 design should keep it competitive for longer, the smaller die size should help keep temperatures down, and of course you'll have a nice clock speed to keep everything running fast

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    Thanks for the awesome advice Rosaline! Unfortunately though, by adding another option, you've made my decision even more difficult! lol

    To wait or not to wait - that is the question...!

    I've never overclocked, so I like the sound of the Q9450, but will waiting till 2009 for Nehalem provide me anything I can't do with a Q9450?

    I do a lot of pre and post-processing with audio so I think it has to be Quad all the way!

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    I would recommend the Q6600 for price/performance. I`m not sure that the Q9450 offers much of an improvement even with regard to heat output, particularly when overclocked. If I was going to get a 45NM processor, I`d go with the Xeon X3350 (It`s a Q9450, but possibly better [as it`s designed for servers] & cheaper, typically:

    BX80569X3350 Intel Quad Core Xeon X3350 2.66GHz FSB1333 45nm 12Mb Cache (Components Processors)

    Although few places currently have stock.

    Although it`s Socket 775, you`d best check with your `board manufacturer to see if it`s supported.

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    I suppose if waiting is a real consideration, what you have to ask yourself is "how much will upgrading now improve my life during the waiting period, in comparison to the benefits available from waiting?"

    I suspect that Nehalem will be price-for-price more expensive for the same level of raw clock speed performance. However, on the other other hand, it will allow an additional thread per core, which may or may not be highly advantageous or of little use at all. It really will be a total gamble until engineering samples are released to the press, and this is not going to happen until the autumn.

    Similarly, the level of potential price cuts in the future are a total gamble also. When it comes to price cuts, you thankfully can just apply basic maths to give you an answer as to if it is worth waiting for them. You simply have to look at how much time you would save over the waiting period by upgrading now, give that time a cost (say, minimum wage), and multiply. Odds are, a significant upgrade like the one you are planning is worth doing sooner rather than later.

    If you are willing to gamble, and you really want to be sure any new system lasts around seven years, then waiting is the best thing to do.

    However I think a lot of people here at HeXus will agree that with your budget, it could well be better to build a moderate system now, put the savings into a nice high interest bank account, and then use them to build a new system in three or four years time Given the significance of the level of upgrade, you will really benefit a lot from even a modest system, there is no need to go all out now to feel that you have a more powerful system as that is, quite frankly, guaranteed

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    Rosaline, i love you... What fantastic posts these are... You make me remember that the internet is not full of dimwits or egotistical ****s, and that intelligence can actually be found in the world. considering i'm a pessimist that makes me hard to please.

    OP, get a Q6600 - the Q9450 is still somewhat of a dark horse, and IMHO not worth the huge premium. Not to mention, if you do decide to OC, it can do so with likely more success than the Q9450

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    Q6600, imo.

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    Depends on your budget too Mooreslaw..... Nehalem will be pretty pricey at first I'd imagine, but saying that they are supposed to be pretty good, 8 cores will be nice when they eventually arrive. Graphics card-wise you may be best waiting for a few months, as the new Nvidia and Ati parts are rumoured to be much better than the current offerings... saying that though DDR2 is dirt cheap currently, there are decent cheap motherboards (P35 based), Q6600s are great value..... I'd be tempted to buy now were I in your shoes.

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    So Rosaline, you're a hardware expert, technology forecaster and a financial advisor??!! Are you single lol?!

    I think all things considered, if I wait any longer I'll end up taking a hammer to my Celeron in frustration! An upgrade is long overdue so I think I'll go with your suggestion and build something half-decent now and welcome myself to 21st Century CPU technology!

    Now to select a motherboard...!!

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    Depends on your budget mate, this is supposed to overclock well, and is quite cheap:

    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    It looks well-equipped for the price. Ideally I'd like built-in Wifi for convenience but seems you have to pay another £30 for the pleasure - don't really wanna pay more than £75 for a mobo. Do you think it's wiser to go built-in Wifi or getting a cheap USB adapter?

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    You could probably pick up a PCI wifi card for £15 or so. Would something like this do the job?

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    Good call. Seems more sensible than shelling out for a WiFi equipped mobo. Although there is this: Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    Not sure about Asrock though - any good?

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    I wouldn't touch asrock personally. Both the abit board above and the asus P5K-E wifi would be good boards

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    Re: I'm going Quad - but which one...??!!

    Asrock are great budget boards, my brother uses them a lot and has no complaints..... they don't overclock too well at all, they aren't really designed for that, but they are well made certainly and have some quirky features, e.g. supporting two types of RAM, etc. Looking at the price of that one though it doesn't seem too budget.... . Does the P5-E wifi not have OCing issues?

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