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Reply 20 of 38, by momaka

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Considering I'm still using a P4 as a daily driver (to get on the web and do stuff)... a Core 2 system would be a nice upgrade already. 😁
I actually have numerous such systems around, but I just don't feel like migrating all of my files and programs over to a new system yet.

I'd say Core 2 Duo/Quad is better than AMD from the same era, mostly due to chipset reliability, especially in OEM PCs that often employed an nVidia chipset (MCP61 anyone? - YUCK!!) While AMD chipsets are much better than nVidia in terms of reliability, they still weren't quite on the same level as Intel from that era. Q965 is one of my favorites (despite its age), though P45 is also pretty nice.

That being said, I do get what O/P means about Core 2 when compared to equivalent AMD offerings or Core i-series from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gen - these are going for pretty much scrap prices now and just as plentiful (if not more) than Core 2. So it makes little sense to go out of one's way to get a Core 2 system when a 2nd or 3rd gen i-series system would be available for a similar or lower price. Not to mention that low-end DDR3 RAM modules (2 GB) are cheaper than dirt and can be found just about everywhere. In contrast, 2 GB DDR2 modules aren't usually as cheap or as easy to find.

Of course, I still pick up Core 2 systems if I happen to run across one for free / in a dumpster / trash can, or when being offered locally and no one else wanting it. They still make fine office machines with Windows 7 or a lite version of Windows 10. I personally choose to -XP them. But too many people frown at me when they hear XP and web browsing.

Reply 21 of 38, by bZbZbZ

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Fair point regarding chipset reliability. Intel chipsets are rock solid, with excellent driver support across a wide range of operating systems. I have found AMD Phenom II on AM2+ using the AMD 780g / 785g chipset to be quite stable as well, but Intel is definitely the benchmark in this regard.

There were some Core 2 systems that used DDR3 but I don't think they were all that common. Every motherboard I have that uses LGA775 or AM2+ is the DDR2 variety. I consider 8GB of memory to be the bare minimum to run Windows 10 and the modern web, so it definitely is a chore to find four sticks of 2GB DDR2. I agree that used DDR3 is so much easier to obtain these days for a modern-ish system.

In terms of performance I remember I built a family member a "budget" system with a Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition. I was shocked that it roughly matched my Q6600 (both CPUs modestly overclocked). We later upgraded that Phenom II to an X6 1090T and 4*2GB DDR2 800. At that point it absolutely crushed the Core 2 Q6600 and it's still in active service today (non gaming). All our Core 2 systems have since been retired and/or put into storage... but I did recently acquire a Core 2 Quad Q9400 so I'm interested to see how much faster it is than the Q6600. Can I overclock it enough to beat the Phenom II X6 1090T in single core performance? I'm curious to find out...

Reply 22 of 38, by VivienM

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bZbZbZ wrote on 2024-02-28, 16:46:

I consider 8GB of memory to be the bare minimum to run Windows 10 and the modern web, so it definitely is a chore to find four sticks of 2GB DDR2. I agree that used DDR3 is so much easier to obtain these days for a modern-ish system.

Four sticks of 2GB DDR2 should be easy to find; try looking for 4GB DDR2 sticks and now that's a challenge 😀 (I actually had 4GB DDR2 SODIMMs for a laptop at one point around 2011... now that was hard to find... and I sold them for a decent price on eBay when I was done with them too...)

(Sorry if this is against the rules, but since it seems like you are in Canada... I probably have some 2GB DDR2 modules untested in the drawer, trying to remember what I did with the RAM from a Vostro whose motherboard died...)

Reply 23 of 38, by kingcake

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Core 2 Duos also still run 64-bit linux really well. Especially with lots of ram and an SSD.

On my retro network I use a SFF Lenovo C2D PC as a Linux server. It serves telnet, web proxies, FTP, Fog (Ghost server clone for imaging), pihole, and other stuff I can't remember right now.

Reply 24 of 38, by momaka

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bZbZbZ wrote on 2024-02-28, 16:46:

but I did recently acquire a Core 2 Quad Q9400 so I'm interested to see how much faster it is than the Q6600. Can I overclock it enough to beat the Phenom II X6 1090T in single core performance? I'm curious to find out...

I'd be interested to see the results of that too. I have a Q9400 and a system that's waiting for it. Also have some similar "interesting" boards/CPUs from AMD (namely an FX6300 and A8-5500, among others) that I'm curious how they'll fare against the C2Q. I'm pretty sure the A8 would be weaker in terms of CPU performance, since I also have an A4-5300, and that performs roughly the same or worse than an X2 6000+ underclocked to 2.4 Ghz. Don't know when I get to testing all of this, though. I just recently moved across the pond and all of my stuff is still in boxes and not yet organized, to put it mildly.

VivienM wrote on 2024-02-29, 00:25:

Four sticks of 2GB DDR2 should be easy to find; try looking for 4GB DDR2 sticks and now that's a challenge 😀

Yes, 4x 2 GB DDR2 is still not hard to find, but it's not the same level of dirt-cheap and available like 2G DDR3 modules are. Reason why is because 2 GB DDR3 was pretty much bottom-end stuff, 4GB modules were somewhere in the middle, and 8 GB modules were expensive. In contrast, 2 GB DDR2 was already pretty much top-end... and for some Intel platforms, it was the most a motherboard could recognize per slot. From what I've heard, only AMD platforms were capable of utilizing 4 GB DDR2 desktop un-buffered non-reg. RAM.

VivienM wrote on 2024-02-29, 00:25:

(Sorry if this is against the rules, but since it seems like you are in Canada... I probably have some 2GB DDR2 modules untested in the drawer, trying to remember what I did with the RAM from a Vostro whose motherboard died...)

I used to live on East Coast in the USA... but now getting anything from USA / North America is pretty much prohibitively expensive due to shipping. There are some 3rd party shipping companies that can get me stuff from USA and the shipping is a little more reasonable... but I haven't tried them yet and the shipping could still end up being a deal-breaker for some items.

Reply 25 of 38, by bZbZbZ

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VivienM wrote on 2024-02-29, 00:25:

Four sticks of 2GB DDR2 should be easy to find; try looking for 4GB DDR2 sticks and now that's a challenge 😀 (I actually had 4GB DDR2 SODIMMs for a laptop at one point around 2011... now that was hard to find... and I sold them for a decent price on eBay when I was done with them too...)

(Sorry if this is against the rules, but since it seems like you are in Canada... I probably have some 2GB DDR2 modules untested in the drawer, trying to remember what I did with the RAM from a Vostro whose motherboard died...)

Thanks for the offer, but I'm out west... so nowhere near the center of the universe 😀

I guess I should clarify that 2GB sticks of DDR2 aren't extremely hard to find... just harder to find than 2GB (or even 4GB) sticks of DDR3. I recently bought four sticks of 2GB DDR2-800 (no heatsinks but passed several rounds of memtest86 in an AM2+ system) for $10 locally, which is an uncommon find. The next best listing I can find is $30 for 4*2GB. But as momaka says, small sticks of DDR3 are everywhere!

Reply 26 of 38, by VivienM

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bZbZbZ wrote on 2024-03-01, 16:24:

I guess I should clarify that 2GB sticks of DDR2 aren't extremely hard to find... just harder to find than 2GB (or even 4GB) sticks of DDR3. I recently bought four sticks of 2GB DDR2-800 (no heatsinks but passed several rounds of memtest86 in an AM2+ system) for $10 locally, which is an uncommon find. The next best listing I can find is $30 for 4*2GB. But as momaka says, small sticks of DDR3 are everywhere!

No heatsinks is a good thing, isn't it? Back then, at least, the heatsink RAM was basically overclocked (I remember buying some DDR2-"800" from OCZ that was really DDR2-533 that they told you to overvolt to get to 800), while the non-heatsink RAM was actually compliant with the proper JEDEC specs...

And yes, small sticks of DDR3 are everywhere, but... 8GB sticks are not. That's the sweet spot on DDR3 for non-retro purposes... 😀 4x8GB, a copy of Proxmox, boom, instant home virtualization server 😀

Reply 27 of 38, by kingcake

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momaka wrote on 2024-03-01, 14:44:
I'd be interested to see the results of that too. I have a Q9400 and a system that's waiting for it. Also have some similar "int […]
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bZbZbZ wrote on 2024-02-28, 16:46:

but I did recently acquire a Core 2 Quad Q9400 so I'm interested to see how much faster it is than the Q6600. Can I overclock it enough to beat the Phenom II X6 1090T in single core performance? I'm curious to find out...

I'd be interested to see the results of that too. I have a Q9400 and a system that's waiting for it. Also have some similar "interesting" boards/CPUs from AMD (namely an FX6300 and A8-5500, among others) that I'm curious how they'll fare against the C2Q. I'm pretty sure the A8 would be weaker in terms of CPU performance, since I also have an A4-5300, and that performs roughly the same or worse than an X2 6000+ underclocked to 2.4 Ghz. Don't know when I get to testing all of this, though. I just recently moved across the pond and all of my stuff is still in boxes and not yet organized, to put it mildly.

VivienM wrote on 2024-02-29, 00:25:

Four sticks of 2GB DDR2 should be easy to find; try looking for 4GB DDR2 sticks and now that's a challenge 😀

Yes, 4x 2 GB DDR2 is still not hard to find, but it's not the same level of dirt-cheap and available like 2G DDR3 modules are. Reason why is because 2 GB DDR3 was pretty much bottom-end stuff, 4GB modules were somewhere in the middle, and 8 GB modules were expensive. In contrast, 2 GB DDR2 was already pretty much top-end... and for some Intel platforms, it was the most a motherboard could recognize per slot. From what I've heard, only AMD platforms were capable of utilizing 4 GB DDR2 desktop un-buffered non-reg. RAM.

VivienM wrote on 2024-02-29, 00:25:

(Sorry if this is against the rules, but since it seems like you are in Canada... I probably have some 2GB DDR2 modules untested in the drawer, trying to remember what I did with the RAM from a Vostro whose motherboard died...)

I used to live on East Coast in the USA... but now getting anything from USA / North America is pretty much prohibitively expensive due to shipping. There are some 3rd party shipping companies that can get me stuff from USA and the shipping is a little more reasonable... but I haven't tried them yet and the shipping could still end up being a deal-breaker for some items.

Pirateship has a thing called "simple export" for going from US --> Canada and it's very cheap.

Reply 28 of 38, by Intel486dx33

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I think the Intel Core 2 or quad is still a good computer that can run MS Windows, Unix, Linux, OSX, etc.
Win XP and Vista and Win7

Probably best as a WinXP retro gaming computer.
Has good support, is dependable and proven reliable computer.
Supports AGP, PCI, USB, DDR2 and DDR3, IDE and Sata drives.
Serial and Parallel ports. Plug-n-Play bios and hardware.

Reply 29 of 38, by bZbZbZ

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So I got the Core 2 Quad Q9400 installed under Windows XP, and ran some Cinebench R11.5.

It was a remarkably easy overclock from 2.67 GHz to 3.2 GHz. I simply raised the FSB from 333 to 400, lowered the memory multiplier to keep the RAM at DDR2-400, and kept all the voltages on "auto". My specific motherboard won't let me raise the FSB any higher without overclocking my RAM which I'm not interested in doing...

Now, this isn't the fastest Core 2 ever, but despite the mild overclock the Q9400 still gets soundly beaten by the Phenom II X6, even in single core performance. It also looses in single core performance to my overclocked Clarkdale i3-540. I have two Ivy Bridge CPUs for reference, those are of course far faster.

cinebench_r11_xp.jpg?ex=65f68173&is=65e40c73&hm=8180762d4b54c35e36eec23359e6e9f4f2433f6471f2e7980ee3159bcc959adb&

Reply 30 of 38, by Warlord

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bZbZbZ wrote on 2024-02-21, 20:03:

Core 2 is borderline not quite period correct for Windows XP. There was definitely overlap, as Vista came out a year or so after Core 2 Duo and was adopted slowly. When I built my Q6600 I clean installed Vista (and had very few issues using my then-new hardware) so to me Core 2 doesn't give me WinXP nostalgia. I (and many folks I suspect) spent most of our XP time with earlier systems.

Working in a small computer shop in the DC suburbs at the time its not how I remember it. We didn't sell pcs with vista on them and our customers didn't want them. Vista was a dirty word in the business at the time. We were commonly paid to downgrade pcs to XP becasue vista was a seen as bad.. But thats also like saying 10700k is not really period corret for win 10 because even though there was no better OS at the time its too new.

Before c2d came out I was constantly pitching to my boss to spec out Athalon 64s becasue P4s were so bad at the time compared.

I still have my x38 with c2q and a gtx960 I use from time to time. Its runs XP good. Sure its not crazy powerful but anything more stronger than this can just run modern windows or better yet win 7.

Actually I find that C2D is the perfect CPU for XP and I connect C2D and Athalon 64 to XP more than any other CPUs. Sure some people may correlate earlyer CPUs to XP but windows 2000 was also a thing during that time too. And since 2000 came out before XP those CPUs like p4 really fit more into 2000 than XP.

Even if there is overlap XP had such a long run if there are drivers than its for XP no need to limit yourself based off idealology.

Reply 31 of 38, by H3nrik V!

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A friend of mine actually ran Win10 on an overclocked C2Q9550 as his daily driver until 3 years ago ...

Please use the "quote" option if asking questions to what I write - it will really up the chances of me noticing 😀

Reply 32 of 38, by Kahenraz

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Shponglefan wrote on 2024-02-21, 20:34:

I'd be looking at industrial Core2-supported (or moddable) motherboards with ISA slots and building a ridiculous retrorocket.

Socket 775 motherboards don't support DMA over ISA, which makes them mostly useless for this purposes. Adlib FM synthesis will still work though.

So long as you can get Windows 98 working, you can make up for it by running DOSBox in it. The CPU will be plenty fast for emulation.

Reply 33 of 38, by Azarien

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H3nrik V! wrote on 2024-03-03, 14:30:

A friend of mine actually ran Win10 on an overclocked C2Q9550 as his daily driver until 3 years ago ...

So did I until late 2022. And I didn't overclock it. And that was a 2019 upgrade from Q6600 that I'd had for a looong time.

Reply 34 of 38, by Shponglefan

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Kahenraz wrote on 2024-03-03, 14:40:

Socket 775 motherboards don't support DMA over ISA, which makes them mostly useless for this purposes.

This one does. It's a DFI ITOX G7S620-N.

I can vouch for its DMA/DOS sound card support as I've been directly testing and using it. More details in this thread: Re: What is the fastest practical DOS build?

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It admittedly doesn't natively support Core2, but reportedly can be modded to work with Core2 processors.

I'm hoping to attempt this mod myself one day. The idea of having a retrorocket with native ISA support and an unlocked processor like an X6800 would be incredible.

Last edited by Shponglefan on 2024-03-03, 14:58. Edited 1 time in total.

Pentium 4 Multi-OS Build
486 DX4-100 with 6 sound cards
486 DX-33 with 5 sound cards

Reply 35 of 38, by VivienM

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Warlord wrote on 2024-03-03, 06:37:

Working in a small computer shop in the DC suburbs at the time its not how I remember it. We didn't sell pcs with vista on them and our customers didn't want them. Vista was a dirty word in the business at the time. We were commonly paid to downgrade pcs to XP becasue vista was a seen as bad..

Yup... there was just this weird 'Vista is bad' vibe everywhere. Not really driven by enthusiasts I don't think, but the random person on the street just knew they didn't want Vista.

Part of the problem was just that XP was more mature than any PC OS had ever been allowed to get, and people had just forgotten that the first 6-12 months of a new OS are always shaky with software/hardware compatibility. (Back before SP1, everybody preferred 2000 to XP, which had its set of major bugs that SP1 fixed. And XP was seen as a huge resource hog compared to 2000, but Moore's law took care of that real quick...).

Then you have all the other things - badly written software triggering a ton of UAC prompts, the mess with the i915 graphics and the 'Vista Certified' stickers, etc. But I don't think the person on the street was really thinking about that when they were going 'Vista bad, give me XP'.

The other thing about the Vista launch is that there was a huge, huge marketing campaign right at launch. Trying to recreate the excitement of the legendary Windows 95 launch. I also think they did the same thing as with Windows 95 where all the major retailers got rid of their XP machines and like every computer in inventory the first week of the Vista launch had Vista. So, your average consumer who just happens to need a new computer the week after the launch is thrown into this immature OS with shaky app/peripheral/etc support and tells their friends how horrible it is. IIRC, this is the last time they tried to do a big launch of this type...

Reply 36 of 38, by Cameo5767

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Wanted to go back to playing the games that I used to play back in the day. 1980 - 1995 is the timeframe so definiteley DOS and C64. Had the C64 and 128 way back, then moved to 286, 386... There's just no way I can justify the prices of vintage machines today. Recently I got a hold of a couple of C2D machines and started building my vintage gaming rig. The machines are XP Pro certified and was able to restore with all drives and working properly. Unfortunately, I still have to use an emulator to play the games I wanted to play since the C2D is too new and I couldn't get XP to load and run a lot of the games I wanted to play. The compromise I ended up with is to install Linux and run dosbox-staging.
Somehow I'm still not satisfied. If anyone can give some guidance on how to run XP and play old games, it surely will be much appreciated. As far as I know DBGL and REMOVED will only work for newer rigs. Its like the C2D is both too old and too new at the same time.

Last edited by DosFreak on 2024-03-15, 23:02. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 37 of 38, by bZbZbZ

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Cameo5767 wrote on 2024-03-03, 18:52:

Wanted to go back to playing the games that I used to play back in the day. 1980 - 1995 is the timeframe so definiteley DOS and C64. Had the C64 and 128 way back, then moved to 286, 386... There's just no way I can justify the prices of vintage machines today. Recently I got a hold of a couple of C2D machines and started building my vintage gaming rig. The machines are XP Pro certified and was able to restore with all drives and working properly. Unfortunately, I still have to use an emulator to play the games I wanted to play since the C2D is too new and I couldn't get XP to load and run a lot of the games I wanted to play. The compromise I ended up with is to install Linux and run dosbox-staging.
Somehow I'm still not satisfied. If anyone can give some guidance on how to run XP and play old games, it surely will be much appreciated. As far as I know DBGL and REMOVED will only work for newer rigs. Its like the C2D is both too old and too new at the same time.

Dosbox Game Launcher version 0.83 (with Java 7) works well in Windows XP. If you go to the DBGL website's download section, click the slider "Also show previous versions" and you can get v0.83. Dosbox itself runs in XP.
Check out my XP retro time machine here, or this user's running Dosbox ECE.

I believe Dosbox staging, an advanced port of Dosbox, only runs in Windows 8 x64 or newer, but a Core 2 Duo can run Windows 8 (or 10) easily. Not sure I'd feel like installing a separate OS just to run Dosbox staging though...

Last edited by DosFreak on 2024-03-15, 23:03. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 38 of 38, by Cameo5767

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bZbZbZ wrote on 2024-03-04, 03:59:

Dosbox Game Launcher version 0.83 (with Java 7) works well in Windows XP. If you go to the DBGL website's download section, click the slider "Also show previous versions" and you can get v0.83. Dosbox itself runs in XP.
Check out my XP retro time machine here, or this user's running Dosbox ECE.

I believe Dosbox staging, an advanced port of Dosbox, only runs in Windows 8 x64 or newer, but a Core 2 Duo can run Windows 8 (or 10) easily. Not sure I'd feel like installing a separate OS just to run Dosbox staging though...

Thanks so much for the advise.