that I can simply drop an Athlon X2 into it? Is it really that easy? I think it would be a good upgrade since my PC is at least 2.5 years old now. I see a Athlon X2 4000 can be had for less than 100 USD so if it's possible I would like to try!
Only thing is that on the Asus website that seems to be a "Premium" version of the A8N SLI and I don't think thats what I have....
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I found the info on the Asus website - their support section is amazing!
You were 100% right, I needed a new BIOS update (and new chipset drivers), both of which I have installed now. After 10 heart stopping minutes re-creating my RAID array (which I completely forgot how to do after 2.5 years) I'm back!
Now, off to the shops to find a new GFX card and CPU.... in you view the CPU upgrade is worthwhile? I didn't even look at any spec's but I am guessing that the new CPUs are a big upgrade.
Thanks again for the reply. I am planning on getting Geforce 8800GT if I can find one.... you are correct, I'm on 32 bit Windows XP.
The reason I am going for this card (actually the reason driving this whole upgrade cycle) is I just got a 52 inch 1080p LCD TV so I need to find some way of connecting it to my PC to play downloaded hi-def movies... I think purevideo and the DVI output will destory my current non-pure2 S-video link!
Thanks for taking the time to help me, much appreicated.
Believe it or not ATI actually tears nVidia apart with HD Playback. The only big issue with HD2000 Series is an AA bug... it gets really slowed down with 8xAA and 16xAF so nVidia destroys them in Benchmarks.
That's the only market segment ATI has nVidia beat on.
Also: November 15th (I think) ATI is releasing a new line of GPUs to compete with the 8800 GT. The HD3870 and 3850. They are basically just die shrunk (80 nm -> 55 nm) HD2900 XT/Pros but also support the new DX10.1 Standard in Vista. Most benchmarks I've seen have the 3870 (highest end for now) losing to the 8800 GT in gaming by 5-10% FPS but beating the 8800 Ultra in HD Playback (Based on CPU Utilization). The pricepoint for the 3870 is actually supposed to be low 200s to compete with the 8800 GT. ATI is actually gaining OEM market share from nVidia because of it's CPU Utilization for HD playback. They can skimp even more on the processor since it won't be heavily utilized.
If it's not the 15th, it will be sometime in November. The only other cards that might be coming out this year are the 8800 GTS (an updated version and basically an 8800 GT with more stream processors [112 vs 96]) and possibly the RV670 (two HD3870s sharing one PCB priced in the low 400s).
Anyways, my advice would be to determine what you want to use it for (like your HD playback) and get the one that is right for you. Check up on Benchmarks of what you want to use it for. Look for Benchmarks using VC1, H.264, and AVC codecs. Supposedly the 8 series from nVidia also has a bug with decoding VC1 so the benchmarks I've seen from nVidia omit that codec (a common codec used in HD playback).
I can actually play HD content fine now, with my current rig (just output to my LCD 1920x1200 monitor rather than the LCD TV)... generally I'm not doing anything CPU-intensive when playing movies anyway, maybe the maximum is downloading the next one :-)
So I'll take a look based on price & availability - both seem like superb cards which will be five times better than my current one... availability is probably going to be be an issue here in Japan since some manufacturers just don't seem to be represented at all (e.g. I've never seen a single Samsung TV, laptop or sound system!)