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Hardware Thread, Core 2 Duo - Worth the upgrade? in Technical; Hi All, As you know Christmas is on its way, and I'm thinking about asking Santa for some upgrade parts ...
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    Core 2 Duo - Worth the upgrade?

    Hi All,

    As you know Christmas is on its way, and I'm thinking about asking Santa for some upgrade parts for my main workstation.

    I'm currently running Windows XP Pro on a Pentium 4 540 (3.2GHz HT, 800MHz FSB), Asus Socket 775 board, with 1Gb PC3200 RAM and a NVidia GeForce 6200TC 256Mb. I'm finding this rather sluggish (re-installing Windows makes little difference) and want to make some improvements.

    I've been looking at a package deal with a Core 2 Duo E6300 and 1Gb DDR-2 RAM on a Gigabyte board, for about £300, which is slightly over budget, and I'd want a graphics upgrade too - the 6200TC is poor.

    I've also been looking at keeping the board and P4, but going for another gig of RAM and a much better graphics card.

    I was wondering what other people thought of the two options. I'm not big on games, but want to be able to run Flight Simulator 2004 (and hopefully X) well, along with Office apps, Photoshop Elements 4, Premiere Elements 2 and general stuff.

    Any suggestions would be very muchly appreciated - I can't figure out what to do for the best at the moment!

    Cheers,

    Chris/

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    StewartKnight's Avatar
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    Re: Core 2 Duo - Worth the upgrade?

    The core 2 Duo really is an evolution, but, you need a motherboard that supports something like the Intel 965 chipset, and they aren't cheap!

    FSX isn't that startling an upgrade compared to FS9, unless you're REALLY into flight sims.

    Stuff like premier would hurtle along with the new processor. For example, to convert a 1 3/4 hour film from .avi to dvd used to take 2hrs on my 3.4 Pentium with a gig of ram, now, on my Core2Duo (e6600), and 2 gig of ram, it's a little over 1/2 an hour.

    Small films (say 350mb) used to take 30 odd minutes to convert, now it's less than 5 minutes.

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    Re: Core 2 Duo - Worth the upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by crc-ict
    Hi All,

    I've been looking at a package deal with a Core 2 Duo E6300 and 1Gb DDR-2 RAM on a Gigabyte board, for about £300, which is slightly over budget, and I'd want a graphics upgrade too - the 6200TC is poor.

    Chris/
    Why not just go for the Core 2 duo and 1 gig of ddr 2 ram and use your 6200TC to start with and then later on upgrade the RAM and the graphics card when you can afford it, I know the graphics will be poor for a while but with the speed difference would be worth it imo.

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    Re: Core 2 Duo - Worth the upgrade?

    get an E6600, which can be overclocked without any difficulty to 3GHz and above, however I would wait until the E6x50 range come out in ~feb 2007, lowering the other prices a bit.

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    Re: Core 2 Duo - Worth the upgrade?

    Thanks for the comments, guys, some real food for thought.

    Certainly seems worth the upgrade, looks like it might make a formidable Vista machine with some decent graphics added...

    Will certainly think about doing the main bit and waiting for funds to allow a graphics update...

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    Re: Core 2 Duo - Worth the upgrade?

    Defo get the Core2Duo chip, the E6600 is the one to have if you are going to do it well. I am just holding out for them to drop in price more, although from my use of the final RTM vista Ultimate on my current rig:
    P4 530 (3ghz)
    2GB ram
    Radeon 9600
    Vista seems to run faster and smoother than XP Pro does! Although it could be because my XP install is rather old now, its about 2 years since I reinstalled but I am very impressed with Vista.

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    Re: Core 2 Duo - Worth the upgrade?

    If your P4 Motherboard has a PCI Express * 16 slot then you could do it the other way around and just get a good graphics card but then obviuosly if you buy the extra ram for your P4 motherboard / system , would it be the same type of ram as what the core 2 duo would use on the motherboards that the core 2 duo's use ie DDR 2 or w/e they use ?

    If not then you will obviously be buying RAM that you cant use later on down the line.

    If thats the case then it would be easier to just get a core 2 duo as per the suggestions above even if you cant get a decent graphics card right away.

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    Re: Core 2 Duo - Worth the upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by john
    Vista seems to run faster and smoother than XP Pro does! Although it could be because my XP install is rather old now, its about 2 years since I reinstalled but I am very impressed with Vista.
    I've been toying with Vista, but changed to serious trials just this week, and I'm finding a similar experience with RC1, although on a P4 540 (3.2GHz), 1Gb RAM, NVidia 6200TC. Some things are a bit like cold treacle, but on the whole, it just 'seems' more responsive than the about 9-month old XP install on this machine

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    Re: Core 2 Duo - Worth the upgrade?

    I've just upgraded from a P4-1.8Ghz 1GB (RDRAM!) and built myself a new Core2Duo 6600, 1Gb RAM and Nvidia 7600GT. I'm currently using Vista RC1 and everything's running pretty smoothly. It could probably benefit from another Gb of RAM though the official release of Vista is apparantly less memory hungry than RC1 so it might be OK in the short term. It's definitely a massive improvement over my old P4 which was struggling with counterstrike CS2 and took forever when encoding video.
    I scrimped a bit on the video card as I didn't want to spend a lot of cash what with the new Nforce 8800's and DX10 around the corner cause I know I'll want one 8)

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