Core 2 Quad 2.4 GHz Processor Review

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Intel™ Core 2 Quad 2.4 GHz Processor Review

Intel™Core 2 Quad - four processors in one socket...

The Intel™ Core 2 Quad processors bring a new facet to computing.

Another technology upgrade brought to you by www.diy-computer-repair.net!

You now can have the processing power of a server in your desktop. The Intel™ Core 2 is a package that houses four processors featuring the Core 2 technology that gives you Hyperthreading. This is a whole new ball game. Four processors in one sockett? Yes!

One of the main features of the processor with Hyperthreading is the processing speed. Hands down it a single processor running at 1.4 GHz is faster than the fastest Pentium 4 processor with out Hyperthreading (don't get confused about the Pentium 4 D, this is a first generation Hyperthreading processor and it is fast!)

Then there is the Core 2 Duo, this is two processors in one package. With this processor you can accomplish more with less power. Couple that with the ability to select which processor you want your program to run on (see the "Information" section: Affinity) you have the ability to put a processor intense program on one processor alone thus relieving the other processor to run services and less processor intense programs such as your email, a word processor, or browser while your spread sheet is doing calculations on the other the processor and not slowing your system to a crawl.

Now you have four processors. This means if you have a program such as setaffinity.exe you can dictate what program is using what processor.

You have a graphics program that uses a lot of processing power? Set it to run on one processor by itself.

Want to run a spread sheet at the same time, fine set it to run on another processor.

You still have two processors left.

Run all your services on one processor.

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Now you can have your email, browser, word processor, and what ever else you have open on a normal work day open and no discernable drag on the computer.

For years the server world has had multiple processors. Usually two but on occasion four. I have worked on a couple of servers that had sixteen and thirty-two processors.

One of the main reasons for having more than four processors is data base applications. Some data base applications are processor intensive to a point where anything less than eight processors will stop the computer, there is not enough processing power left to run the services and other process that keep the server running.

This review is for the Intel™ Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor.

I upgraded my computer from the Core 2 Duo to the Intel™ Core 2 Quad, the motherboard I am using is an ASUS P5K WiFi Deluxe. The system was also upgraded to four gig of ram that is 800 MHz FSB. I also added a Thermaltake Big Typhoon heat sink.

Two factors go in to the choice of the Q6600 -

Price, this is the low end of the scale for quad processors and is the cheapest

Memory - I did not want to upgrade to a higher FSB speed memory at this time so stuck with two additional 800 MHz 1 gig DDR 2 memory modules.

Over all the upgrade went smoothly, the only thing that slowed me down with the upgrade was the Thermaltake heat sink. The installation of the heat sink requires the motherboard to be removed to access a plate on the under side of the motherboard. This is due to the weight and a way to secure the heat sink to the motherboard. Once I had the heat sink installed I spent the rest of the time putting the system back together. Overall it took about an hour and a half to accomplish the upgrade.

Because I wanted the most heat dissipation possible I decide on the Typhoon heat sink, and with that the additional time to install it. Normally an upgrade of this magnitude should only take about twenty minutes. Remove the old heat sink, processor, install the new processor, install the heat sink, add the ram. Start it up and go through the BIOS setup.

So far I am very pleased with the upgrade. I have not found any problems with the processors at all. XP accepted the four processors with out reinstalling the OS, which had me a little worried that I would have to find and reinstall all my applications.

Using a program I found on the web called setaffinity.exe I can setup my programs to run on all, three, two, or one processor at a time.

Core 2 Quad Processor specifications

45 nm
Processor Cache Clock Speed FSB
Q9550 12MB L2 2.83 GHz 1333 MHz
Q9450 12MB L2 2.66 GHz 1333 MHz
Q9300 6MB L2 2.50 GHz 1333 MHz
65 nm
Q6700 8MB L2 2.66 GHz 1066 MHz
Q6600 8MB L2 2.40 GHz 1066 MHz

Overclocking the processors:

For the most part the processors and memory were overclockable. One of the problems I face living in the Desert Southwest of the USA in the summer time is the heat. Due to economic constraints my house is only cooled to 78* F. This means the air temp entering the computer is already at 78* and to cool it any further is not possible with out an elaborate water cooling setup.

I ran the clock speed up to 3.1 GHz and the temp went to 149* F (64* C) which is the max the processors are rated at so I backed off. Then at 2.8 GHz it was at 130* F (60* C) but that is still to high. So now I am setting at 2.4GHz the temp stays at 80-86*F (27-28*C) and the motherboard runs a little warmer by five to ten degrees (this is the additional memory I added is causing this).

Once it turns winter time and the house temp drops to 66* F on a daily basis I will bump up the clock speed again to keep warm :)

If you want a nice overclockable processor that will not cost you a small fortune then the Core 2 Quad Q6600 is good value for your money.

With the proper cooling you could get 2.8 GHz or better out of the Core 2 Quad processor and it would be stable.

Note:

I wrote this article in October 2008, in that time the PNY video card that I bought to upgrade this computer died. I have since replaced the video card with a BFG card that can also be overclocked. One of the features of this new video card is a variable speed fan, by increasing the speed (and noise level) I can also increase the FSB of the processor and now have this processor running at 3.05GHz full time.

02/14/14 Since writing this article I have upgraded again to a Core 2 Quad Q8400 that I run at 3.17 GHz constantly, the Q6600 I had went into a server that runs 24/7 with out any issues. My next upgrade will be a Q9550 if I can find one, they seem to be getting scarce...

01/19/15 I have upgraded my main computer to the Q9550 Core 2 Quad, the Q8400 is now in my server. Both motherboards accepted the upgrade. The Q8400 is running at the normal speed while the Q9550 is overclocked to 3.5 GHz with out any problems.



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