Is Conroe right for you???

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by 古強者死神, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. 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 7.2.2.1006
    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)
    [​IMG]

    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
    [​IMG]


    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 7.3.3.1013

    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:

    [​IMG]
    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.

    [​IMG]
    Same res but an even smaller gap

    [​IMG]
    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2006
  2. Finaly a 5th benchmark from Hardocp.com
    http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTEwOCwxLCxoZW50aHVzaWFzdA==

    This really shows what I was talking about with the single card setup's on a higher resolution. Some of those first benchmarks in the 640x480 res were just trying to fool people who plays a game in that res this day and age??

    Here is the system setup:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And the Benchmark Results:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That concludes the data part of the thread.

    As you can conclude from all the data, the benchmark results vary alot depending on the setup and the gains are eather small or meaninless in alot of places.

    You can clearly see from a budget gamers perspective now its not all its cracked up to be.


    Now what are the advantages I didn't list for the Conroe??

    Well all the above is game data wich works between cpu and video card. Clearly if your working with video editing, encoding, compressions, and things like that that are 100% cpu based the Conroe is going to have a pretty good lead on the AMD by a few seconds for each task. If those seconds are worth the money to you than go for it.

    I love the Conroe and plan to get one, so this is not a Conroe bashing thread... However I do not plan to get one for about a year probably.

    Here are the good reasons:

    1.) I simply dont need a system stronger than what I have right now I can play any games at max settings no problem with my AMD setup.

    2.) The cost on DDR2 memory, the Conroe motherboards, and the Cpu are bound to go down once the newness wears off. In addition the bugs can get worked out, and more mature bios and motherboards can be made.

    3.) I want to wait for Vista and DX10 video cards and just build a whole system at once, instead of just "waisting" my 3ghz Opteron, nice mobo, and DDR memory, I will wait for the new stuff to come around and pair the conroe with a video card it can really work with and thus squeeze it for all its worth making the upgrade much more worth while and also cheaper.

    Thats pretty much my view on things, let the debate/feedback begin!!!



    Tossing this in from another thread to give you the idea on the AMD prices after the Conroe release:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2006
  3. LA-z-BOY

    LA-z-BOY Member

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    Good Work 古強者死神 (nice name too :p). This thread should really help a few rushed buyers that seek new tech :). Btw .. in the Price Picture . If it says N/A does that mean that the processor will not be cheaper? because i planed on getting amd x2 4000+ because it's only a few bucks more expensive in my country but it does have 2 mb cache and 2 ghz fsb :D
     
  4. JimmyFox

    JimmyFox Master Guru

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    I agree in general. The Conroe is a much better CPU than the Pentium IV but most users tend to ignore that in some applications, the Conroe is actually slower or just a bit faster than the current AMD-939 platform. It seems to perform better in gaming but as you said, the difference can only be seen when the system is multi-GPU based. Also, real life tests (using normal-to-high resolutions like 1024x768 or 1280x1024) showed that performance differences were small to trivial. And that because its the GPU that in most cases cannot handle the Graphics. Not the CPU.

    The best thing is that the Conroe seems to overclock like hell, so it manages to outperform all other CPUs in virtually any test/application.
    But, we must not forget that the CPUs that the benches were performed on were ES (Engineering samples) which basically means that they were hand picked by Intel after testing and verifying that they could be overclocked like hell. It is not definite that every CPU overclocks well. There are always bad pieces.

    In addition, we must not forget that most games/apps are not multi-thread optimized. I do not believe that a Dual Core cpu shows what it can do, yet. Anyone having an AMD-X2 has not fully taken advantage of his/her CPU capabilities. As the time goes by and more and more games become multithreaded, the performance will take a boost. So i think is not a smart move to "upgrade" to Conroe for someone who already has a Dual Core CPU.

    In conclusion, Conroe looks like a wise choice for someone who is builiding his/her first computer or upgrading from a P3/AthlonXP or sth. But, having a powerful PC based on a Dual Core CPU, it just doesn't feel right. It is really not worth the trouble. The cost is unacceptable. You have to change CPU, motherboad and RAM! And the last 2 are pretty damn expensive...
    Something else that has to be mentioned. Have you noticed that the new mobos (Intel and AMD AM2) have only one IDE channel? I have four IDE devices (2 optical drives and 2 HDDs), and surely i am not the only one! This means that we will have to spend more money to get more SATA devices.

    It just doesn't feel right...

    Edit* I also believe that AM2 is not a good choice. I consider DDR2 a fluke and the upcoming AM3 may be worth the wait (DDR3 etc.)

    Edit 2* http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=32818

    Edit 3* http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTEwOCwxMSwsaGVudGh1c2lhc3Q=
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2006

  5. Im glad to see everybody agrees, and you hit the same points I did about new system buyers might find it a good place to start but its a big waist for a Skt 939 users to "upgrade" to.

    Unless the circumstances permit it like a perfesional 3dart producer, or some other kind of massive cpu intensive program.

    For most guru3d members primary focus is gaming, and for gaming video card will still play a more important role.

    That 500$ you save getting a Skt 939 system can easily get you the best video card around and you will have a very kick ass system to last you untill conroe has matured and you can roll over onto better/cheaper motherboard/ram and get a DX10 card or somthing.

    Being the first onto a new platform is always tedious too, working with chaning bios constantly and the bugs and kinks. I think Conroe wont be to buggy as its nothing super new, just an improved dual core.

    Intels big advantage over AMD is there more mature manufacturing process, the smaller die allows higher clock speeds and less energy use. Once AMD can catch up I think they will be neck to neck again. However for now while AMD has lost its crown on top performing cpu, we can sneak in and pick up the little gems for cheap and thats good for us, and the people on budgets.


    I assume N/A meaning Not Avalible just means they really dont know what the new prices will be yet, but you can expect similar drops across the cpu line.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2006
  6. Bulica

    Bulica Member

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    Actually N/A means that they will not be available anymore from that date.
    All orders must be placed before that date. Afterwards they are just supplying until the stock runs out.
     
  7. DrFreeze

    DrFreeze Ancient Guru

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    very nice thread natsume maya!

    i know conroe isnt for me, but a lot of info in here, and some good views
     
  8. Scief

    Scief Ancient Guru

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    Whoa, amazing 古強者死神. That is the best post I've read in like 6 months. My friend is buying a completely new PC in a month, and well, he doesn't know much about HW so I'm going to plan the PC for him. It was a though one deciding between 3800+ X2 and E6300, but it didn't cross my mind that the SLI setup affects the tests that much. He won't be getting one, gaming is the priority for (it doesn't matter if he rips an MP3 in 35 instead of 30 seconds) and money is important for him. We'll just wait for the AMDs new price slashing (AMD is going bankruptcy, 5000+ now 56% cheaper!) and buy a X2 3800+ dirt-cheap. And socket AM2 will be compatible with AM3 CPUs, I believe AMD strikes back. Oh and he's not going to OC either, at least not for a while. Right now he's playing BF2 with 2.6ghz P4 and 5700nu, and refuses to OC.
     
  9. Glad I can help, the E6300 wouldnt not really make a great cpu choice in my opinion anyways, it has a very low cpu multi and to reach any decent clock speeds via overclocking your taking FSB speeds higher than 500mhz wich pretty much no motherboard can support.

    If anybody does decide that they want a conroe I think the 6600 is your best bet for a good OC cpu and a decent price. Also you get the full 4mb of cache.
     
  10. double_cut

    double_cut Ancient Guru

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    Nice post. Of course whether a Conroe would be the right cpu for you is a matter of personal choice and situation.

    However, the bottom line is that the Conroe is the fastest cpu core out there atm, and in some cases by a pretty decent amount (I appreciate in many cases the differences are minimal). If people want the best, a Conroe based cpu is the chip to get.

    As with anything new there will be improvments over the coming months, hopefully in the northbridge department for us budget buyers so we can clock the hell out of the lower end chips, and as with any new products you pay a premium. I would expect prices to settle in somewhere just above AMD once the newness has worn off.

    Again nice post and some good information, but lets not be under delusions; the Conroe is the king. :)
     

  11. Yep its definitly the fastest CPU, and I imagine as long as Intel keeps ahead of AMD with the smaller micron process they will continue to have the best chips.

    Once AMD gets there die shrink done they might have somthing that can compete/beat the conroe, I still prefer the on-die memory controller too.

    The theads basis obviously is to wipe away some of the issusion that conroe is the omega cpu that instantly gives you killer performance, and to make it well known the cost of changing over to conroe and evaluate the cost/performance ratio.

    And in that aspect of course AMD is still wining.

    So King of Speed - Conroe
    Best for the buck - AMD

    That seems how it stands right now.

    For ULTRA high systems with 2 of the highest video cards Conroe is definitly going to fit the nitch better, When I build my conroe system in about a year I plan on getting a 24" monitor so I can crank up the ultra high resolution goodness, maybe it will drop the frame rates down enough to where it makes a diffrence on the cpu.

    I hope what ever video card is out then is good enough to keep me in a single card solution, I really dont care for SLI/X-fire.
     
  12. {LOD}PITBULL

    {LOD}PITBULL Master Guru

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    In one word...YES!!!
     
  13. bug77

    bug77 Banned

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    Those A64 X2 EE look pretty sweet (with the new pricing), but nobody seems to notice. I'm guessing once AMD starts producing them in 65nm process, they'll be o/c monsters.
     
  14. Mechachrome

    Mechachrome Member

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    This has to be the best un-biased article ive read on the Conroe vs AMD topic thanks for the effort put into it. While theirs no doubt the Conroe is faster i'll continue to stick with AMD (w/o them we,well im sure you know) regardless i'll be waiting till next year also.
     
  15. LA-z-BOY

    LA-z-BOY Member

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    what does 65 or 35 EE stand for :|
    (off-topic i guess)
     

  16. bug77

    bug77 Banned

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    EE = Energy Efficient. And 35/65 is the TDP (Total Dissipated Power). Basically the same chip, but with lower power consumption.
     
  17. ScoobyDooby

    ScoobyDooby Ancient Guru

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    This is indeed what I have been thinking.. at this moment, I have no system, and am planning on building a new one once I get back to Canada.. this processor seems like the best for the $, and since I have no gear, buying the mobo and ram is not a problem for me..
    That said, if you all are out there with nice machines, you should definitely be considering what has been mentioned here.. there is no reason why anyone here should be making a sudden move just because its a "new" tech, because, as mentioned, if you aren't needing the extra bit of performance, and you aren't demanding the top of the line performance in gaming along with a couple good cards in SLI, the upgrade is costing you more than its worth.

    My main reasons for wanting to move that way, are a) the initial pricing of the Conroe's are nothing short of astonoshing, b) they consume far less power and give more performance, c) this cpu will crush anything out there with audio and video production.. that's wicked!
     
  18. QuadCannons

    QuadCannons Ancient Guru

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    Wow, someone needs to make a spreadsheet for these results, there's so many variables.
    Single/dual videocard, high/low detail, high/low resolution, AA-AF on/off

    I appreciate that some of the tests show the most likely resolutions we'd be playing at (1024x768, 1280x1024) but I wish they'd turn on AA and AF for those resolutions.

    So as it stands right now:
    Conroe is useful for dual vidcard, not useful for single vidcard
    Conroe is useful for low res/details, but not for high details regardless of res
    Conroe's usefulness in mid details/res (i.e. 1024x768, no AA AF) varies based on the game.

    Did I get that right?
     
  19. SamW

    SamW Master Guru

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    average fps is nice but what about load time and fps stability.
    i'd think the 4mb cache and ddr2 memory would have some affects on stability. kuss cache misses and less harddrive access can always be a good thing.
    also with more empasis on real time physics in games, i think there will always be a use for the extra processing power for future games to use.
     
  20. mason666

    mason666 Master Guru

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    Sorry this is a little off topic but the people posting in here seem unbiased and knowledgeable so could anyone tell me if my decision to buy Corsair DDR2XMS2 667mhz was a good idea considering I will be buying a Conroe E6600 when they're released? Sorry to be off topic but any help would be much appreciated, I'm just not sure on the optimum ram since I want to O/C to around 3.5ghz
     

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