All the Guru3d Vets know me, and know that I tend to get into spurts of research when big new things are around the corner. Probably the highest poster when the Opterons came out. Well here it is the next big thing Intel Core 2 Duo, aka the Conroe. I want this thread to be a debate and an informative spot to try to guide the new people in the fray about there purchasing desisions on why to get or not get this new cpu and or upgrade/build a new system. The main reason for this is because I well know many many people are going to google up or read up on some Conroe benchmarks and see those awsome high numbers and thing OMG! this is the killer cpu and the fastest best thing around I have to get one!! Well just call me the "myth buster" because thats not all well and true. If you were in touch with things during the big SLI release and Crossfire you will know that the biggest problem we had with those setups was there was no cpu in exsistance fast enough to run 2 cards in a high end setup without creating a bottleneck. Even the FX-57 just couldnt do it. Well the new Conroe was just the solution to make that bottleneck smaller or eliminate it for now, thats why your seeing these awsome results in the game benchmarks. But look around at everybodies system profiles, how many people here have 2 7900GTX's or 2 X1900XTX's??? hardly anybody. Most of us have just 1 card or run a slower setup, In this case the Conroe will not show a major boost in performance in gaming unless you had a slow cpu to start with and had a bottleneck. So here is where the hard thinking comes in. Are you a big spender who wants the best of the best all the time at a premium and a benchmark freak, or are you a budget gamer? I think most of us fall in that budget part. Lucky for all those of us on a budget AMD is cutting there prices by a HUGE amount when Conroe comes out giving you the oportunity to build a golden system for dirt cheap. Now the final choice is very much dependant on your current hardware and what you want to do with your system. Lets break it down into a cost/upgrade description. To move to this new platform you will require: .) A new Conroe capable motherboard, I have seen 3 so far and they are all in the 250$ range. .) DDR2 Memory, wich I think most of us have DDR memory so its going to be tossed aside (ashame for thos who spent alot on high end memory) .) The CPU itself wich while not too expensive for the lower models is of course at a premium since its new. Thats the bare minimum required to just upgrade. These cpu's are very much FSB limited for the most part when it comes to overclocking and so your going to need high speed ram. I found that DDR2 800 is pretty much the minium for a good overclock on the 6600, and DDR2 1066 is optimal. Price range from about 350$ for the 800mhz stuff to 500$ for the 1066mhz stuff. So my personal system would be 2gb of DDR2 1066 ram, a good OC motherboard, and a Conroe 6600. Total estimated cost would be 250+500+316 = 1066$ estimated. Thats alot of money to shell out for a upgrade, unless like I said your a benchmark freak and have a nice SLI or Crossfire setup. Now lets look on the other side of the river. AMD is cutting there prices by a huge amount so you can pick up a 2.8ghz capable cpu for a fraction of the cost, I say maybe 200$ or so. If you already have a Socket 939 Motherboard, and already have DDR ram thats money you save. If your sitting back on an old computer and have none of these things, then building a new conroe system might be more appealing but if your already sitting on half the parts needed for a high end AMD system it makes sence in a budget to stick with it and upgrade. 2gb kit of high end DDR500 ram is about 200$ much cheaper than the DDR2 counterpart, and a high end OC motherboard is about 120-150$. I also expect prices to drop on both when conroe comes out. If you were building from scratch you can estimate 120$ mobo + 200$ ram + 200$ cpu = 520$ for a system just behind the conroe, and like I said much much closer than you think on a single card setup. Now lets take a closer look at these benchmarks and see just how much an upgrade we can get and what kind of systems were used in these benchmarks: http://www.hothardware.com/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=794&cid=1 System setup for there benchmarks was as follows: AMD: Athlon 64 FX-60 @ 2.8GHz 1GB DDR400 (512MBx2) RAM w/ 2-2-2 / 1T Timings DFI LANPARTY UT RDX200 (RD480) Radeon X1900XTX CrossFire ATI Cat. 6.2 Drivers Intel: Conroe @ 2.66GHz 1GB DDR2667 (512MBx2) w/ 4-4-4-15 Timings Intel DX975XBX motherboard (975X Express) Radeon X1900XTX CrossFire Intel INF 220.127.116.116 ATI Cat. 6.2 Drivers (Modified to support Conroe) as you can see just like I had guessed right off the bat both systems are using top of the line dual video card setups. Ut2004 bench (I love this game) Pretty big jump there, but outside of benchmarking what good is it doing? your already way up into super high FPS on eather cpu that your monitor cant even display, so to a gamer... usless. HL2 - same result but with a smaller gain Ahh here we go a good find: http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/914/1/page_1_benchmarking_intel_conroe_core_2/index.html This benchmark uses these systems wich feature a single card setup, this will pretty much show what I meant by the diffrence in the dual/single card setups. The systems are as follows: CONROE - Test System Setup Processor(s): X6800 Extreme, E6700 and E6600 (Conroe 65nm - 4MB L2 cache) Motherboard(s): Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 (Intel P965 Chipset) Memory(s): Corsair CM2X1024 8500C5 2GB Graphics Card(s): nVidia GeForce 7800GTX 256MB Hard Disk(s): Seagate Barracuda 250GB SATA 7,200 RPM Operating System Used: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2 Drivers Used: DX9c, nVidia ForceWare 81.95 and Intel 18.104.22.1683 AMD – Test System Setup Processor(s): AMD Athlon FX-62 and 5000+ Motherboard(s): MSI K9N Diamond SLI (NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP chipset) Memory(s): PC2-8000 Crucial Ballastix 1GB Graphics Card(s): nVidia GeForce 7800GTX 256MB Hard Disk(s): Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 120GB ATA/133 7200 RPM Operating System Used: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2 Drivers Used: nVidia ForceWare 81.95, DX9c and nVidia nForce4 Standalone Kit 6.70 With a single 7800GTX like I have here is what the benchmarks had to show: As you can see not a huge diffrence but there is a hidden catch here!!! look at the resolution! At that setting the rendering is very much more cpu based than when running at a higher resolution allowing the conroe to show thru more of its true colors. Same res but an even smaller gap This speaks for itself. Here is the 3rd benchmark link it will show you what happens with you kick in higher resolutions This is from: http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=5692&page=1 System setup: Single 7900GTX on each it wont paste in very well so use the link to view it. The results? Far Cry 10x8 res: Conroe - 162fps AMD - 130fps Quake 4 1600x1200 (finally a high resolution bench): Conroe - 113fps AMD - 107fps (only 6 fps diffrence) Splinter Cell 1600x1200: Conroe - 64fps AMD - 62fps Only 2fps diffrence!!! Our 4th up is from bit-tech.net with the closest benchmarkes yet. http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2006/07/14/intel_core_2_duo_processors/1.html System setup is sporting a single card again a 7900GTX with stock speeds on the cpus. The pictures will speak for themselves.