Upgrade from Dual Core to Quad

Today I bought an Intel Quad Core Q6600 to replace my old Dual Core.  I was amazed at how easy it is to swap processors.  The box I was upgrading was an old Dell Dimension E520 .. when I say “old” I mean more than 12 months and hence out of standard warranty <g>  

First step is to identify if you can upgrade. I searched the web for my model along with Q6600 and found success stories on Dell’s forums.  I then checked the Intel site where you can select multiple processors and compare the chipsets and all looked good. So I bought the Q6600, which are pretty cheap at the moment 🙂

The Dimension E520 has a better heat sink and fan combination than what came with the Intel Q6600, so I kept my old heat sink, giving the base a wipe over and a clean with isopropyl alcohol.  Removing it for cleaning was a breeze, only two screws holding it onto the motherboard then it hinges off the processor. I also gave the case and heat sink a blast of compressed air to remove the dust that was in there. 

Removing and swapping the processor is really easy… you just push the wire clip out and up, and the retaining brackets lifts off the processor chip. The chip just lifts out, no prying or tools needed. It’s so easy I feel ashamed I haven’t done it before ;)  (but then again I generally replace systems, not parts).  A quick squirt of heatsink gunk, slap the heatsink back on, and everything was done.  A quick check with SIW.exe showed the temperatures are good too 🙂

And now the fun begins !!  With 4 cores I can start playing more seriously with parallel (concurrent) programming.  2 cores wasn’t enough really, and although 4 is just the start, it should be enough to run basic tests 🙂