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A8N-SLI Premium (SATA II + Ram help/tips)

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January 27, 2006 3:23:13 AM

I have had my new setup running for about a week with no major issues or problems(knock on wood). However, compared to the last computer I built (p4 2.4 northwood on a p4p800 deluxe) the upgrade hasn't really felt like that huge of a performance upgrade. I obviously know that it is(running all games on highest frame rate and booting up in 5sec), but I am taking it for granted so far. My two biggest questions/thoughts so far are about my sata II drives and ram. So any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

1.) I have two sata II drives in a non raid setup. When I hooked up my drives I just plugged them in, partitioned them and installed xp. Is there drivers or any specific thing that I should have done to make sure they are running at sata II and not sata I. + How can I know if they are actually running at 3Gb/s?

2.) I was being cheap and bought a gig of corsair valueselect ram. I didn't really do my homework when I purchased my a8n sli premium and just grabbed the cheapest ram thinking I would just add another gig down the road. I have noticed that I use a lot of ram running apps/games and because I am a notorious multi-tasker I think 2 gigs will improve performance. However doing some research I have seen that many people have issues using all 4 ram slots. So I would imagine that I should purchase 2(1gig) sticks of ram instead of adding another 2(512).
Is upgrading to 2gigs well worth it or is it not worth the extra 200bucks. And if the upgrade it worth it which ram do u suggest?


*feel free to leave any other tips/ideas to get the most out of this board

OC 10% and running beta 1011 bios(no issues so far)
January 28, 2006 6:50:56 AM

Listen JT..........I wish I could help u, but I wrote the post! Good luck though!!!!
January 30, 2006 4:05:37 AM

Not to worry JT- there's nothing wrong. Let me explain.

Question 1: First let me point out that there's almost NO increase in speed between SATAII and SATAI. SATAI allows for a maximum bandwidth of 1.5GB/s. Currently, the drive that comes closest to achieveing that bandwidth is the brand new Western Digital Raptor 150GB 10,000 RPM drive. It's maximum measured bandwidth is just 88MB/s. That's a little more than half of the maximum theoretical bandwidth of SATAI. So having/using SATAII will make absolutely no difference. But if you want to be 100% sure you're actually using SATAII, make sure the drives are plugged into the BLACK SATA connectors on your motherboard and install the latest nForce drivers from nVidia's website. If you want to see the fastest SATA drive on earth, here's a review:

http://www.storagereview.com/articles/200601/WD1500ADFD...

Question 2:

Part A: The RAM you got is actually OK. It's CAS 2.5, but benchmarks show CAS 2.0 doesn't actually make that big of a difference. In games, we're talking about around a 5% gain in frame rate. In video/audio encoding applications we're talking about a 10% gain. In general usage (internet, word processing, video playback, loading large files, etc) there's no difference.

Part B: You will no see almost no difference in gaming w/ 2GB of memory. In fact, in most games there is absolutely no difference. Now, if you're doing a LOT of multitasking (we're talking about video encoding, surfing the net, runnning adobe photoshop, running bit torrent, and listening to some MP3's)... you might see an improvement. I can say that I've done all those things at once and Windows XP was just barely using all 1GB of my physical memory. Here's a review in regards to gaming performance w/ 1 and 2GB of memory:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/12/13/how_much_ram_do_...

I hope this helps. :-)

-mpjesse
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January 30, 2006 4:10:44 AM

BTW, I have a nearly identical setup to yours. Check out my profile and click on my website to see what I've got.

If you really want to increase the speed of your system, buy 2 Western Digital Raptors (74GB or 150GB) and run them in RAID 0 mode. You'll be floored on how much of a difference it makes. I'm not exaggerating. Ask fishman, he's got 2 raptors in RAID 0 as well.

-mpjesse
January 30, 2006 4:27:22 AM

mpjesse-

I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my question. Initially my thought was to go for the raptors. I needed storage however and was trying to keep some what of a budget(+ I read reviews on noise being very loud with the raptors, but I am sure u know more than I). Are the raptors that much faster in a raid 0 then if I put 2 sata drives in raid?

thanks again for the help..
January 30, 2006 3:23:27 PM

Rotation/Spindle speed is everything. The jump from 7200rpm to 10,000 rpm makes a pretty big difference. As for drive noise, they are kind of noisy. When they're in idle they're no loud than any other drive, but the second they write/read they get kinda noisy.

Certainly, any two identical drives you put in RAID 0 are going to much faster than no RAID 0. So if you get a wild hair and decide to put two 7200 rpm drives in RAID 0- you will see a positive difference.

But two identical Raptor drives in RAID 0 is ridiculously fast! :-)

-mpjesse
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