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Core2 Q9550 Daily Driver

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First post, by MMaximus

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I built this system in 2007 and used it as my main PC until last year - definitely the longest use I've gotten from any computer so far. Had photos of it laying around so I thought... why not open a thread about it. Even though it's nothing special, I liked using this PC over the years and think it still performs well enough for daily tasks.

Original specs:
ASUS P5K-E WiFi AP
Core2 Q6600
4gb DDR2-667
Some lowly Geforce (don't remember the model)
WD Raptor 150gb + Maxtor 200gb
Windows XP

Over the years I added or upgraded parts to keep the system a bit more up to date.

Current specs:
Core2 Q9550
8gb DDR2-1066 (overkill)
Intel Pro Gigabit Adapter (onboard LAN port died)
Radeon HD4850
D-Link USB3 Card
D-Link Wi-Fi Card (gave away the original ASUS antenna so couldn't use the onboard WiFi anymore)
Creative Audigy 4
Seasonic PSU
Intel X25M 80gb SSD
Windows 7 64-bit

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Reply 1 of 25, by Errius

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Intel Pro Gigabit Adapter (onboard LAN port died)

I was going to mention this issue in the "Modern motherboards lifespan" thread but forgot about it. How many people out there are happily running mobos with malfunctioning subsystems, like sound or Ethernet, but with all other systems OK?

I used to have an Asus board that suffered multiple failures over a period of about a year: first the sound stopped working, then the Gigabit Ethernet turned into Fast Ethernet, finally the entire board died completely. The Gigabyte I'm using now seems to be heading down the same path, with one of the SATA channels malfunctioning - whenever I plug a drive into it the whole system freaks out and I have to reboot. However everything else (including the other 9 SATA channels) is OK. I can live with this, but worry that it's just the start of a more serious problem.

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Reply 2 of 25, by dr_st

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Errius wrote:

I was going to mention this issue in the "Modern motherboards lifespan" thread but forgot about it. How many people out there are happily running mobos with malfunctioning subsystems, like sound or Ethernet, but with all other systems OK?

You know, it's funny. Among all mobos I have had, I think I only encountered one case of a malfunctioning subsystem (one of the inner USB headers gave out). The rest of them, all subsystems continued working up until the mobo itself died (which is usually due to the failure of the power subsystem).

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Reply 3 of 25, by jesolo

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Interesting thread.
I upgraded my PC in 2008 and the specs were:
Asus P5QL Pro motherboard.
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
2 GB DDR2-800 RAM
Sapphire Radeon HD4850
250 GB SATA HDD
Windows 7 Pro with SP1
Everything else, I use what is onboard (sound, LAN, etc.)

I upgraded the RAM to 4 GB, replaced the CPU with a Q6600 (overclocked to 3 GHz) and replaced the graphics card with my brother's older HD3870 (due to my graphics card starting to exhibit artifacts on screen).

It's still my main PC and it does what it needs to do.
It's obviously no longer suited for modern gaming, but I don't have the time anyway to play games. So, to upgrade now would be a waste of money.

Maybe someday I might consider using this as my ultimate Windows XP build (considering that this has drivers for XP).

Reply 4 of 25, by Arctic

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@jesolo
You could try to upgrade / mod it with a socket 771 cpu (with an adapter and BIOS mod)
I upgraded from an E8400 to a Xeon 5450 (Q9650) for little money.
I also used to have 3 Radeon 4850 that died one after another. After I got my refund I swapped it for a GTX480, runs great!

Reply 5 of 25, by dr_st

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Somehow I got the impression that the Radeon 4850 series was really crappy and tended to die a lot. And that in general, high-end cards die more frequently than middle-range ones. I didn't collect statistics to back it up, though.

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Reply 6 of 25, by jesolo

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Arctic wrote:
@jesolo You could try to upgrade / mod it with a socket 771 cpu (with an adapter and BIOS mod) I upgraded from an E8400 to a Xeo […]
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@jesolo
You could try to upgrade / mod it with a socket 771 cpu (with an adapter and BIOS mod)
I upgraded from an E8400 to a Xeon 5450 (Q9650) for little money.
I also used to have 3 Radeon 4850 that died one after another. After I got my refund I swapped it for a GTX480, runs great!

I was actually looking out for a Q9550 or a Q9650 when a buddy of mine offered me the Q6600 for free.
So, after overclocking it, it performs quite well.

On the matter of graphics cards. This isn't my first card that failed. I think the previous card was a 9800XT or similar.
Strangely enough, they were both Sapphire brands.

Reply 7 of 25, by MMaximus

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The 4850 still runs fine and I got it second hand on Ebay years ago. I also got a second one to upgrade the PC of a family member a while ago and it works fine too. None of these cards are used to play games though, so that might make them less likely to fail I suppose.

I found a pic of the Geforce I likely had on this PC when I built it, maybe someone recognises it as I can't tell which model it is. Anyway it was very low-end as I didn't want to spend much, but I remember iT even felt slow for web browsing as the scrolling wouldn't feel smooth on a 1920x1200 screen. That's why I eventually swapped it for the HD4850.

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Reply 8 of 25, by .legaCy

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Wow i never had any motherboard failing on me, but i had several vga cards failing.
I had one geforce 4 mx440 , geforce fx 5200, radeon 9250, radeon hd 4350, geforce 8600 gt, geforce gts 450.
Every single one died, but i never had any issue with my motherboards subsystems failing, only some capacitors and voltage regulators failing, but replacing them made the board work like new.

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Reply 9 of 25, by fyy

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The older Core2Quads are still able to hang with the best of them today for the average user. The thing is, they came out at a time when what only 1-2 GB ram was common in a system? Their 4 dimm boards usually support 8-16GB though, and due to them having 4 cores, they can keep afloat and have been for years now. I myself am typing this on a Q6600 with 8GB DDR2-800 and have like 30 tabs open + playing a youtube movie on another screen. Sometimes I watch movies on one monitor + play Skyrim on another + have all my tabs open and system runs like a champ.

One thing thats shitty though is YouTube changed from Flash+h264 codec to html5+vp9 codec. And very few video cards support hardware accelerated vp9 decoding, in contrast to h264 which goes all the way back to the GeForce 8800GT IIRC. In other words, we're all doing software decoding again through our CPU's which can stress the older quads when you want HD content.

Reply 10 of 25, by dr_st

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There are tricks to force Youtube to use Flash still. Not sure about the codec it uses in this case.

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Reply 11 of 25, by BSA Starfire

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I used a core2 system until very recently as my main machine until the caps on the ASUS P5B motherboard gave up the ghost, I lost one memory bank. I replaced it with a AMD FX 4300 & ASUS M5A78L-M, it was cheap and I'm really happy with it. The FX is noticeably faster that the Q6600(as it should be) but not as much as I was perhaps expecting giving the MHz difference and age. Core2 is still upto the job for 90% of users I reckon.

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Reply 12 of 25, by Nvm1

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MMaximus wrote:
I built this system in 2007 and used it as my main PC until last year - definitely the longest use I've gotten from any computer […]
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I built this system in 2007 and used it as my main PC until last year - definitely the longest use I've gotten from any computer so far. Had photos of it laying around so I thought... why not open a thread about it. Even though it's nothing special, I liked using this PC over the years and think it still performs well enough for daily tasks.

Original specs:
ASUS P5K-E WiFi AP
Core2 Q6600
4gb DDR2-667
Some lowly Geforce (don't remember the model)
WD Raptor 150gb + Maxtor 200gb
Windows XP

Over the years I added or upgraded parts to keep the system a bit more up to date.

Current specs:
Core2 Q9550
8gb DDR2-1066 (overkill)
Intel Pro Gigabit Adapter (onboard LAN port died)
Radeon HD4850
D-Link USB3 Card
D-Link Wi-Fi Card (gave away the original ASUS antenna so couldn't use the onboard WiFi anymore)
Creative Audigy 4
Seasonic PSU
Intel X25M 80gb SSD
Windows 7 64-bit

I had exactly the same motherboard and CPU as my latest pc before upgrading to the socket 2011 system in late 2012.
When I did build it I equiped it with 8GB of RAM and added a XFX 260GTX after my 8800gtx died.
The board worked for about 5 years very well, except the onboard audio which had some quirks so I added a leftover audigy in it.

The Q6600 was really a beast, it overclocked well even on air and it ran rock stable.
I still have the board lying in reserve in case I need a pc somewhere quick. 🤣

Reply 13 of 25, by tayyare

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MMaximus wrote:

I built this system in 2007 and used it as my main PC until last year - definitely the longest use I've gotten from any computer so far. Had photos of it laying around so I thought... why not open a thread about it. Even though it's nothing special, I liked using this PC over the years and think it still performs well enough for daily tasks.

I have the very similar rig as a daily driver, but the difference is, it is still my daily driver. 🤣 Mine is from 2009

Original specs:
ASUS P5K-E WiFi AP - Asus P5Q Premium
Core2 Q6600 - Core2 Q9550
4gb DDR2-667 - 4GB DDR2 1066
Some lowly Geforce (don't remember the model) - Geforce GTS 250 from Asus
WD Raptor 150gb + Maxtor 200gb - 2x300GB Seagate, 4x500GB WD Black in 3 separate RAID1 arrays
Windows XP - Same

MMaximus wrote:

Over the years I added or upgraded parts to keep the system a bit more up to date.

I did the same:

Current specs:
Core2 Q9550 - same Q9550 above
8gb DDR2-1066 - still the same 4GB above
Intel Pro Gigabit Adapter (onboard LAN port died) - still using the onboard - it has a ridiculous amount of 4 of them
Radeon HD4850 - Asus GTX 560 Ti 1GB
D-Link USB3 Card - a Orico USB3 card
D-Link Wi-Fi Card - Linksys AE3000 USB Wifi Adapter
Creative Audigy 4 - onboard
Seasonic PSU - Same Aus PSU I installed in 2009
Intel X25M 80gb SSD - 6 x 1TB WD Blacks in 3 separate RAID 1 arrays
Windows 7 64-bit - Windows 7 32 bit

It also has a noname PCI Parallel/Serial port card from the beginning, a PCIe Firewire 800 card again from the very first day, a PCIe Syba SATA3 RAID / eSATA controller (replaced the Asus U3S6 card together with Orico USB3 card), A bluray recorder/player (replaced the old DVD RW) and a 3.5 floppy/card reader combo drive, which replaced the old 3.5" floppy driver.

It's still going well. I think I might have problems in the near future with the GPU though, since it started giving "Display driver stopped responding and has recovered" error annoyingly frequently.

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Reply 14 of 25, by Nahkri

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I also use a Core2Quad 9550 as my secondary system.It's still a strong system,even for games.
Specs:
Core 2 Quad 9550-i keep mine overclocked at 3,6ghz.
Asus P5Q using it'a onboard network adapter.
6g ram 2x2gb 1066 and 2x1gb 800
PowerColor Radeon Hd 6850 1gb ram
Samsung 840 Evo -120 gb ssd
Western Digital Caviar Blue 640gb
Audigy 2 ZS Souncard.
Sirtec 550w modular PSU.

Mb:JetWay 542C Ali Aladdin 5
Pr:Amd K6-3+:400MHZ @ 550 mhz
Ram:256mb
3D:Voodoo 3 3000 16MB
Sound:Turtle Beach-Montego A3dExtreme(Aureal Vortex 1)
Hdd:Maxtor Fireball Plus 8 40g,7200rpm,2mb cache
Os:Windows 98SE

Reply 15 of 25, by dr_st

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As long as we are discussing contemporary rigs, I also have a similar one:

ASUS P5Q PRO (would have gotten the PRO Turbo, but it wasn't yet available when I built this system)
Core 2 Extreme QX9650 (sometimes overclocked at 3.6GHz)
8GB DDR2-1066 (4x2GB OCZ Reaper sticks)
Zotac GeForce GTX660 (upgraded from the 9600GT which was bought originally when the system was assembled)
Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer (was chosen as it's the only in the original X-Fi lineup with a standard front panel audio header)
1TB + 2TB Seagate Hard Drives (originally bought with 500GB+750GB)
Enermax Modu 625W PSU
Gigabyte Aurora 570S Case
DELL Ultrasharp U2410 WUXGA (replaced an Ultrasharp 2007FP UXGA)
Creative Inspire T2900 2.1 speakers
Vista Ultimate 64bit

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Reply 16 of 25, by brassicGamer

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dr_st wrote:
ASUS P5Q PRO (would have gotten the PRO Turbo, but it wasn't yet available when I built this system) Core 2 Extreme QX9650 (some […]
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ASUS P5Q PRO (would have gotten the PRO Turbo, but it wasn't yet available when I built this system)
Core 2 Extreme QX9650 (sometimes overclocked at 3.6GHz)
8GB DDR2-1066 (4x2GB OCZ Reaper sticks)
Zotac GeForce GTX660 (upgraded from the 9600GT which was bought originally when the system was assembled)
*snip*

It's funny how systems can be in the same kind of bracket generation-wise but probably be worlds apart performance-wise. The above system would have kicked ass at the time, I imagine and probably still does quite well. I'm also running a Q9550-based system like those above as my 'main' system now, because I'm always at least two generations of CPU behind by the time I upgrade. So when I first bought this system (which was new at the time, but an upgrade from a S754 Pentium 4 3.2Ghz system) it was definitely the budget end of the spectrum:

Gigabyte GA-EP43-DSL3
Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200
Sapphire Radeon HD4850 512MB
2x Kingston 1GB 800Mhz DDR2

This is literally the most I could justify at the time. The motherboard included the features I was looking for (Firewire was a prerequisite at the time for DV stuff) and was a reconditioned model so was cheap. The CPU is an awesome overclocker on air cooling and cheap. The RAM is probably as expensive now as it was then which is why I haven't upgraded it still. I also got a deal on the video card, which is the highest-end card I've ever bought and it has performed without issue since day one.

I scored the Q9550 upgrade for £30 second hand - it has made a nice difference to the system in the interim. I did buy a Phanteks cooling solution for it (also cheap) as it was running at 80 degrees with the stock cooler. This was probably because I was using the one that came with the E5200 🤣. It is also overclocked. For some reason I also bought a second 4850 recently just because it was cheap, even though my board doesn't support CrossfireX so it's still in the box. So what next?

Option 1: get a 775 board that will support twin GPUs to get a jump in graphics performance (these are not cheap) and get more RAM (also not cheap) but be stuck on the same architecture as a result.

Option 2: get a newer socket with an older CPU that can overclock well and supports CrossfireX (I know that a 6850 would be a better solution but I'm not buying a new graphics card now) and get more RAM for less than the DDR2 would cost.

Option 1 obviously represents the absolute end of the line for value-worthy upgrade options on that platform. Option 2 represents the bottom rung of the next generation piecemeal upgradeable system.
Whenever it comes to the upgrade point it takes me weeks of research to catch up with the latest stuff, and then work out what's what and where's the best place to get it, until I've sourced all the parts for a system that is absolutely best value for money.

I have been doing the same thing since 1995!

Check out my blog and YouTube channel for thoughts, articles, system profiles, and tips.

Reply 18 of 25, by dr_st

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brassicGamer wrote:
dr_st wrote:
ASUS P5Q PRO (would have gotten the PRO Turbo, but it wasn't yet available when I built this system) Core 2 Extreme QX9650 (some […]
Show full quote

ASUS P5Q PRO (would have gotten the PRO Turbo, but it wasn't yet available when I built this system)
Core 2 Extreme QX9650 (sometimes overclocked at 3.6GHz)
8GB DDR2-1066 (4x2GB OCZ Reaper sticks)
Zotac GeForce GTX660 (upgraded from the 9600GT which was bought originally when the system was assembled)
*snip*

It's funny how systems can be in the same kind of bracket generation-wise but probably be worlds apart performance-wise. The above system would have kicked ass at the time, I imagine and probably still does quite well.

It sure does. It's the quad core vs dual core that makes all the difference these days. The architecture is inefficient compared to today's CPUs, but having more cores allows it to stay well above water for general responsiveness, and apps that can take advantage of multi-threading with more than 2 cores.

MMaximus wrote:

Care to elaborate? I know that the cables are a bit all over the place but it's clean and in good nick...

Don't worry about it. All my desktops look just the same, sometimes worse. There are absolutely no issues with them operating this way, if your systems are for working with, and not for showing off. 😀

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Reply 19 of 25, by brassicGamer

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dr_st wrote:

It sure does. It's the quad core vs dual core that makes all the difference these days. The architecture is inefficient compared to today's CPUs, but having more cores allows it to stay well above water for general responsiveness, and apps that can take advantage of multi-threading with more than 2 cores.

It's more complicated now than its ever been and there is practically only one CPU manufacturer! My wife has just bought our daughter a laptop for her 16th birthday and nearly bought an 800MHz Asus Zenbook because of the name. I told her the CPU was gash (it was a Core M or something?) and we found a nice mid range i5 for her instead. Wasn't even that much more expensive, if less slimline.

Check out my blog and YouTube channel for thoughts, articles, system profiles, and tips.