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Good or Bad Idea? Plus a Note on CPU Scaling
We set out to discover if the decade old Core 2 Quad Q6600 could cut the mustard in 2017, and the answer is a resounding no. Of course, this won't surprise many of you -- testing 10-year-old computer tech is a bit like comparing steam trains against maglevs.
Out of the box, the Q6600 is only good for a Cinebench R15 multi-threaded score of around 250pts. By comparison, a $120 Core i3-6100 scored around 400pts and the i7-6700K hit over 900pts. Overclocking the Q6600 to 3.1GHz only boosted the Cinebench scores to around 320pts.
Pairing the Q6600 with either the GeForce GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 is a bad idea. Even the GTX 1050 and RX 460 seem like overkill. Given how much faster the Haswell dual-core Pentium processor was, we see no reason why anyone would bother with a Core 2 series system.
It's still possible to play games such as Rocket League and Dota 2 on a Core 2 Quad, so casual gamers will still find a use for them however that won't require a powerful GPU so the combination is still not justified. Also given the excessive power consumption and other shortcomings, we would suggest trying to pick up a more modern secondhand PC. Also remember that now Kaby Lake Pentium processors feature Hyper-Threading, essentially making them lower clocked Core i3 processors, so there's even less incentive in using older quad-cores.
Countless PC enthusiasts will have fond memories of the Q6600, but it's time to retire Intel's first mainstream quad-core desktop processor.
Moving past the Q6600 we also found that the fourth-gen Pentium G3470 processor shouldn't be paired with anything faster than the GTX 1060 or RX 480 when playing CPU-heavy games. The Core i3-6100 could at times benefit from the GTX 1070 though it was never able to fully utilize that GPU in the games tested. Still, the i3-6100 proved to be a decent pairing with the GTX 1060.
Soldiering on with its undying attitude, the 2500K consistently out-edged the i3-6100 and in titles such as Overwatch and Total War: Warhammer, the Sandy Bridge quad-core stayed several steps ahead. Considering how heavily the 2500K can be overclocked, those who invested in this processor six years are probably still grinning today.