Upgrade from e6600 to e8400 worth it? My OC'ing results...

robx46

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Wanted to write this because some people say if you have a cpu along the lines of an e6600 that an e8400 upgrade isn't worth it. I disagree, especially if you like to OC (and I'm sure you do!). But how much it will help gaming depends on your gpu, among other things.

The e8400 was not a no brainer buy to me, but I did want a little more "umph" to go along with my GTX 280 SCC. Wasn't sure if my e6600 was going to cut it, even though it is OC'ed 2.4 ~ 3.2ghz. I've had that nice running overclock for a long time just with maybe slightly above average air cooling.

The e8400 runs at 3.0ghz by default, but of course it wasn't going to stay that way! Even if I didn't reach the .8ghz OC like on the e6600, I figured I would be happy with .6 or .7 OC, espeially considering that the 45nm & 6mb L2 cache also sweeten the deal.

As usual, before I installed it yesterday, I ran some final benchmarks, 3Dmark06, on my e6600. Cpu score right around 2700, most I've seen is 2750 on a fresh os install (vista).

In comes the e8400. The big test, could I get that .6ghz+ OC that would really justify this purchase by at least gaining the proper clock speed difference as if I didn't OC the e6600 or this e8400 (which is 2.4ghz to 3.0ghz, .6ghz being the difference)?

Well, as it turns out, much to my enjoyment, the e8400 was willing to OC far & beyond what I even wanted to go. In fact, turns out that my RAM was limiting my OC here & not the cpu.
Allow me to explain. I have 4gb of Mushkin EM DDR2-800 with nice, tightened timings. Default SPD is 5-5-5-18. I've been running 4-4-4-12 for the longest time, even with my .8ghz OC on the e6600! Only a notch bumped up on RAM voltage! Also, RAM was running at full DDR2-800 since I knocked down the multiplier on the e6600 & ran 3.2ghz @ 400 FSB.
Pretty cool to be able to run @ 1600 FSB while my value brand (although good brand name) RAM is running 4-4-4-12. That just doesn't happen for everybody that often.

That said, I did have some concerns with my only having DDR2-800 and the e8400 having the default 1333 FSB (the e6600 default was 1066).
So I kinda knew beforehand that my RAM might limit my e8400 OC potential unless I loosened timings.

However, that wasn't really the case. I actually managed a stable OC(tested with prime95, 2 threads) @ 3.71ghz while still keeping my RAM timings tightened at 4-4-4-12!!! On top of that my RAM is truly OC'ed as well, running @ DDR2-824, beyond 800 spec with my FSB being 412.

I gotta say, with those ram timings, I just might keep the 3.71ghz OC. Which, btw, is at stock vcore. So the only voltage bumps were a bit on the RAM, one notch on the MCH. Thats it!
That said, I guess I technically didn't quite achieve that .8ghz OC, but came close enough. However, I know the cpu would very likely OC to 3.8ghz & beyond if I loosened RAM timings. So I really couldn't be happier with the cpu and the overall OC, & since not raising the vcore at all, I still have amazing temps.

Lastly here, lets get to some results. As I said, my e6600 @ 3.2ghz (.8ghz OC) scored 2700 cpu on 3Dmark06. My e8400, with the exact same specs, including the tightened ram timings, @ 3.71ghz (.71ghz OC) scored just a notch under 3400! And I'm also probably due for a fresh OS install again.

Thus, if I weren't so stubborn about my ram timings & lossened them, I'm sure the score would be well over 3400 if I wanted to hit 3.8ghz+ (which I can if I want).
Don't have specific gaming benchmarks, but I can say that in the games I've tried, the e8400 is certainly making its difference felt. & a 700 point difference in 3Dmark.

In conclusion I guess I would say that if you are getting one of the new or upcoming powerhouse gpu's, an e8400 is a nice option to team up with the gpu (in my case the GTX 280), and I got mine at the egg, just $189.
And now I also have an e6600 with only about 7 months usage on it which I know I can sell and get back quite a bit of that $189. Not a bad deal.
However, if your gpu is a bit older or closer to mid-range, then the e8400 may not do you as much good. I should note though, that I don't have the GTX 280 installed yet. That 3dMark score posted, with the 700 point cpu boost, was with the 8800 GTX KO ed.
 

pcgamer12

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Honestly I would have upgraded to a Penryn or waited for Nahalem since E6600 OC can hold it's own. Nice OC though, what HSF are you using?
 

Evilonigiri

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I would also hold off or upgrade the a Quad, but the E8400 is simply astounding in terms of OCing potential. For those who are not in a budget, it's a worthwhile upgrade.
 

dagger

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Yep, get a quad instead. The performance between the 2 dual core cpus really isn't large enough to justify an upgrade. Besides, once 8 core Nehalem comes out and applications go multithreading, any dual, no matter how high clocked, will be toast. So it won't last anyway. Quad will still stand somewhat of a chance.

Benchmark of faster dual vs slower quad on non-quad optimized and quad optimized games.
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core2quad-q6600_8.html
 
G

Guest

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why do you seem so amazed at the timings on your ram?

i have a 400 fsb OC on my e6420 and its at 3.2 ghz... i also have my mushkin ram at 1200 mhz with timings of 5 4 4 12.... that doesn't seem that remarkable that you were able to keep 800 mhz ram at 4 4 4 12...
 

dagger

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There are multiple models of Nehalem. They wanted the Nehalem generation chips to cover multiple market segment, since it comes with a new socket. The performance model is 8 cores, 16 threads.
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2007/09/18/otellini_unveils_nehalem/1

As for e8400, you should really skip it. E6600 to e8400 makes no sense at this point. Ideally, wait for Nehalem with its new socket. If you absolutely have to upgrade, get at least a quad, as dual without ht is about to join the fate of single core cpus soon.
 

robx46

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why do you seem so amazed at the timings on your ram?

i have a 400 fsb OC on my e6420 and its at 3.2 ghz... i also have my mushkin ram at 1200 mhz with timings of 5 4 4 12.... that doesn't seem that remarkable that you were able to keep 800 mhz ram at 4 4 4 12...

Maybe it isn't so remarkable then, but you always hear of people often needing looser timings than spec (or at least spec) to reach pretty high OC's. Is your RAM DDR2-800? What are your original timing specs? I started with 5-5-5-18 at a low 1.8v (original specs), which didn't make things much easier.
And...I'm assuming you have DDR2-1066 (or higher). And if that is the case then it isn't as surprising that you can hit 1200mhz with those timings.

Anyhow, I do have the dirt cheap value ram. And so getting a 3.71ghz OC on my e8400 while only bumping up RAM & north bridge volts (everythign else stock) is a good deal, especially when the ram to begin with was 5-5-5-18 and at spec is a measly 1.8v and also running well beyond the 800mhz spec. Maybe not quite remarkable, but I'm sure not complaining considering what I paid for the ram (4 x 1gb sticks).
 

robx46

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Well, as I mentioned I spent $189 (not tax/shipping) for this cpu. And I know I can sell my e6600 and make a good chunk of that back, considering my e6600 will do 3.2ghz on pretty much any rig, including my old setup with the intel HSF!

I'm not as into the quad cores as most. You kinda get what you pay for as far as performance. You know how they say a 2.4ghz quad will perform like a 3ghz C2D. And both are in the same price range. When a handful of games come out that really utilize quad cores, but for now OC'ed higher end dual cores can still handle whatever you throw at them.

That said, there is a good chance I will skip quad core altogether depending on how soon and how expensive Nehalem is when it comes out. Or if there is a lower end one that will still blow any OC'ed C2D away and is affordable (the later likely being the road block).

This is why I mentioned this cpu upgrade is great for those like me who upgrade all the time anyhow. And it really only makes sense for those with gpu's that really need a 3.7ish ghz cpu to team up with, which of course isn't everybody. I have a GTX 280 SSC, so I might benefit from it more than most.

Yeah, if 6 months pass and I don't upgrade both my cpu and gpu, I need to check my pulse! Upgrading is fun!
Also, I've done pretty well selling off the parts I'm replacing, especially when I say that my cpu's and gpu's never see 6 months in my case and only have maybe just a couple weeks worth of gaming on them. And another 6 months down the road, some guy out there will be drooling to get an e8400 on their hands at a discounted price. There always is!