I upgraded my desktop pc recently. I bought a new CPU, motherboard, memory and graphics card. With Ubuntu in mind, I went for:
- Intel Core 2 Q6600
- MSI P35 Neo2
- 4Gb Corsair TwinX RAM
- Gigabyte Silent nVidia 8600GT
- Akasa Evo 120 CPU Cooler
- Artic Silver 5 Thermal Paste
I overclocked my 2.4Ghz Q6600 to 3.2Ghz quite easily. This was done by setting the CPU multiplier to 8, and the FSB to 400Mhz (8×400 = 3.2Ghz). I left all the voltages at their lowest possible setting. I also set the memory multiplier to 1 so that the RAM runs at 800MHz. I have the CPU fan set at 50% so it’s near silent.
With that overclock I get the following temperatures:
- Idle – Core 1/2 = 39C, Core 3/4 = 32C
- 100% Load – Core 1/2 = 58C, Core 3/4 = 52C
Those temps are taken via CoreTemp and Intel Thermal Analysis Tool (and after 1 hour of 100% load for the load temperatures). They’re not too bad. I never get anywhere near 100% load, even when encoding so I’m happy to leave it as is. Plus with some “burn in” time for the thermal paste, it should improve.
Overall I’m happy with the Q6600 although it’s not as good value as my previous E6300 (1.86Ghz overclocked to 2.94Ghz), Gigabyte 965P DS3 motherboard, and Scythe Ninja heatsink. I do however prefer the Akasa Evo 120. It’s much smaller, has a screwed mounting system (instead of the plastic click mechanism of the Ninja) which provides a more solid attachment, and I can actually get it in and out of my case!
In retrospect getting 800Mhz RAM has restricted me slightly. I would have had more flexibility with 1066Mhz DDR2 RAM in terms of how I could have set the FSB and cpu multiplier. I can overclock my Corsair TwinX RAM quite a bit (it can do around 930Mhz no problem), but I’m not going to bother for now.
Also the MSI P35 Neo2 motherboard is very good, but it doesn’t allow you to undervolt your cpu which some cpu’s are capable of doing. This helps reduce the temperature they run at. The Gigabyte 965P DS3 did allow me to undervolt my E6300, but the North and South bridge on it ran so hot (to the point I could burn myself) that I had to run an extra fan over them. The MSI doesn’t suffer from this problem, so my new system is a little quieter.