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Conclusion - Intel Quad-Core and MSI P35 Neo2 get our Nod

Sibling Rivalry - Intel E6750 and Q6600 Overclocking Duel
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In general, we can say that overclocking definitely pays off, regardless of whether you choose the dual-core or the quad-core CPU. Either one of these processors is capable of a 25% speed increase, which is noticeable even with everyday computing tasks. The increased energy cost that results from overclocking is not especially pronounced with Core 2 processors – their share in the system’s overall power consumption is so small that overclocking always pays off. The question whether you should opt for a dual-core or quad-core processor is easily answered as well.

In video-editing and 3D-rendering scenarios the Core 2 Quad Q6600 is noticeably faster than the dual-core CPU. On the other hand, it still trails its sibling when it comes to gaming. In our benchmark suite, only one of the six games supported the additional cores, allowing the Q6600 to catch up with the E6750. Bear in mind though that upcoming gaming titles, especially those expected this holiday season, will change this situation, bringing much better quad/multi-core support to the table. Once this happens, the quad-core processor will get our recommendation even for the gaming enthusiast.

The quad-core can offer the user advantages even if applications offer “only” dual-core support, namely when background processes take up additional CPU time. Take anti-virus software scanning in the background, for example, or an archiving program that is extracting a file, stealing processor time from your main application. These interfere with the main task much less when there are more cores at the system’s disposal.

Seen from this perspective, the only argument remaining in favour of the dual-core Core 2 Duo E6750 is its lower price.

Even though the dual-core model is able to reach higher clock speeds, the quad-core wins in the final analysis thanks to multi-threaded software. If you have the extra €60 to spare for the Q6600, we recommend you choose it over its little brother. In our opinion, the dual-core version simply isn’t worth it any more. The situation is even more dire for the E6850, which costs as much as the Q6600, making it an even tougher sell.

That brings us to our other recommendation – the motherboard. Gigabyte and MSI provided us with review samples, and both boards proved to be excellent overclockers able to reach high FSB speeds. Of the two, we recommend the P35 Neo2-FR or P35 Neo2-FIR made by MSI. Despite their low price, these boards come with a heatpipe solution, which is the better choice for an overclocking board. As an added benefit, the MSI boards allow you to create a crossfire configuration and offer an indispensable CMOS-reset function, which resets the BIOS at the touch of a button without clearing your settings.

E6750 Q6600 Overclocking

To complete our overclocking system, we further recommend the CNPS9700 LED cooler by Zalman and GEIL’s Black Dragon GB22GB6400V4DC memory modules.

Summary
  1. E6750 or Q6600 – Which is the better choice?
  2. The Processors – E6750 or Q6600?
  3. Processor – G0 Stepping is a must
  4. Motherboard – Gigabyte or MSI with P35 chipset
  5. Highlights of the MSI Board – Affordable, Heatpipe on Board
  6. Highlights of the Gigabyte Board – More Features
  7. GEIL Memory – An Overclocking Natural
  8. Cooler - Zalman's CNPS9700LED is Ideal
  9. Looking at the Bottom Line – CPU, Cooler, Board, and RAM
  10. Overclocking I – Dual-Core E6750 at 3.00 GHz
  11. Overclocking II – Dual-Core E6750 at 3.30 GHz
  12. Overclocking III – Dual-Core E6750 at 3.40 GHz
  13. Overclocking IV – Dual-Core E6750 at 3.50 GHz
  14. Overclocking V – Dual-Core E6750 at 3.60 GHz
  15. Overclocking I – Quad-Core Q6600 at 3.00 GHz
  16. Overclocking II – Quad-Core Q6600 at 3.20 GHz
  17. Overclocking III – Quad-Core Q6600 at 3.30 GHz
  18. Overview of Core Voltages
  19. Power Consumption and Energy Cost – Less is more with Dual-Core
  20. Overclocking Yields 25 Percent Performance Increase
  21. Performance Winner – Q6600 Provides 5.3% More Performance
  22. Test Setup
  23. Software Configuration
  24. Benchmarks and Settings
  25. 3D-Games - UT2004, Prey
  26. 3D-Games - Quake 4, Warhammer
  27. 3D-Games - Supreme Commander, Serious Sam 2
  28. 3D-Rendering - Cinema 4D, 3D-Studio Max
  29. Applications - AVG, WinRAR
  30. Applications - Photoshop, PDF
  31. Applications - Deep Fritz
  32. Audio Encoding - iTunes, Lame
  33. Synthetic - Sandra CPU
  34. Synthetic - Sandra Memory
  35. Synthetic - Sandra Multimedia
  36. Synthetic - PC-Mark
  37. Synthetic - 3D-Mark
  38. Video Encoding - Xvid, Pinnacle Studio
  39. Video Encoding - Premiere, Mainconcept
  40. Video Encoding - HDTV, DivX
  41. Video Encoding - CloneDVD
  42. Conclusion - Intel Quad-Core and MSI P35 Neo2 get our Nod
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  • 0 Hide
    spuddyt , 5 November 2007 22:42
    so what you just said, is the newer stuff is better
  • 0 Hide
    dobby , 6 November 2007 05:31
    i dont know why they take 10 pages to show what can be said in 1 page + a few graphs
  • 0 Hide
    technogiant , 6 November 2007 14:20
    On top of that Crysis is meant to be very cpu dependant and prefers 4 cores - it's the way things are going
  • 0 Hide
    ilovemrdoe , 6 November 2007 17:09
    Hmm, if they'd have gone for a different motherboard they could have gotten the q6600 to 3.6 on air.
  • 0 Hide
    crisUK , 9 November 2007 04:28
    Dunno if you have a duff chip or mobo. I have a Q6600 and exactly the same cooler and I can do 3.41 GHz at stock voltage on a Gigabyte 965P-DS3P.
  • 0 Hide
    crisUK , 9 November 2007 04:32
    "Its stock clock speed is 2.4 GHz, which it operates at using a comparatively low core voltage of 1.3125 Volts – the lowest core voltage available for this chip"

    Wrong my Q6600 is 1.26V although it runs slightly higher in practice.

    http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s197/criskeys/Quad.jpg
  • 0 Hide
    anqe , 18 November 2007 01:31
    I guess this shows how OC'ing can vary depending on luck. Even hand picking the best S numbers is no guarantee. A bit of luck (unless you have deep pockets) can be key.

    Fortunately for myself, my Q6600 is 1.28v core, and hits 3.6GHz with only slight bump.

    Indeed electron migration is a significant issue at high Vcore but realistically most of us overclocking are probably running 6-12 month cycles on our hardware (at least from my experience) and the cost of killing a mid range part every year against taking a top end part is still more cost effective.

    That's given only one CPU in the past 15 that I've OC'd have failed (possibly luck?) on me and that was due to a faulty voltage regulator on my motherboard :( 
  • 0 Hide
    rune1980 , 31 December 2007 04:03
    Very nice review/test. Highly informative. I was gonna buy a 6850 or a quad core but now im just gonna grab the low cost msi board and a 6750 and spent my cash elsewhere.
  • 0 Hide
    rune1980 , 31 December 2007 19:56
    question, you end up recommending the MSI motherboard, but the test system states that you used the gigabyte for the test. Will i be able to get the same clocking abilities with the MSI?