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Did I choose the right motherboard? Newbie (somewhat)

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October 22, 2008 8:46:34 PM

Hi folks! I'm new to this forum and have a quick question for you. To explain, I do have some experience building systems, but not a bunch. I've built just 3 or 4 over the past 15 years or so, but feel pretty comfortable with it (I hope!)

But I haven't kept up on computer components, so to save money and get the system I wanted, I bought all the components from Newegg, mostly based off reviews, research, etc.

Now I'm wondering if I made a mistake buying the Asus P5Q-E motherboard? Not that there's anything wrong with it, but it seems to be geared for OC'ing, which I don't plan to do (not much of a risk-taker). The stuff I bought:

ASUS P5Q-E LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Antec EA650 650W ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
SAPPHIRE 100243-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
ASUS VW222U Black 22" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP support - Retail
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9550 - Retail
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ - Retail
SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S223Q - OEM
Microsoft FA6-00010 Black USB Wired Ergonomics Keyboard Mouse Included - OEM
Seagate ST3640323AS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
SUPER TALENT INTAIN1MCR All-in-one Card Reader - Retail
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM

I'm just curious if anyone thinks that this MB was a bit of overkill considering I don't plan to overclock. Also, any general thoughts about compatibility, anything missing, or how this system will work, once put together? Wish me luck! :) 

Thanks so much for any feedback!
a b V Motherboard
October 22, 2008 8:56:50 PM

No That board is a solid board. If you went with the Rampage Formula or any other ASUS ROG board. The P5Q-E is a great board.

Just because you do not overclock does not mean you should buy a real cheap board.

Real good choice on all of the parts.

1Haplo
October 22, 2008 8:58:49 PM

It's a decent motherboard. I wouldn't replace it unless it has problems on arrival. It's not the best for crossfire, but it's not bad. The x38 and x48's have x16 + x16 crossfire, but the p45's have x16 for single cards, and x8 + x8 for crossfire. You'll only notice the difference between the two with a 4870x2.
Related resources
October 22, 2008 9:07:46 PM

1haplo said:
No That board is a solid board. If you went with the Rampage Formula or any other ASUS ROG board. The P5Q-E is a great board.

Just because you do not overclock does not mean you should buy a real cheap board.

Real good choice on all of the parts.

1Haplo


1haplo,

Thanks! That makes me feel quite a bit better. Especially that all the parts are a good choice. :)  Now putting it all together - that's where I'll be very nervous, considering I've only done this a few times. For instance, I've never applied Thermal Compound. :) 

br3nd064 said:
It's a decent motherboard. I wouldn't replace it unless it has problems on arrival. It's not the best for crossfire, but it's not bad. The x38 and x48's have x16 + x16 crossfire, but the p45's have x16 for single cards, and x8 + x8 for crossfire. You'll only notice the difference between the two with a 4870x2.


br3nd064,

Thanks to you also. Here's where I prove my ignorance: What you're saying here is that my MB won't perform as well with two 4870's as would an x38 or x48 MB? Crossfire = two video cards, right? At this point, I don't see buying another 4870, as I'm not a REAL hardcore gamer, but would like to play more than I do, now, now that the kids are old enough to take care of themselves. :)  Just curious, what's the "x8" and "x16" stand for?

Thanks!
a b V Motherboard
October 22, 2008 9:20:19 PM

Read this article.
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=761&p=8

Basically, with a single HD 4870 card, your choice of PSU and motherboard are just fine, no worries. For a gamer who wanted to add a second card later, you would have been better off with a 750W PSU and an X48 motherboard like P5E Deluxe. Again, since you won't add a second card, you're fine.

x8 means "8 lanes" i.e. half of the bandwidth available to the PCI-E slot. Reviewers have shown that a HD 4850 or HD 4870 suffers a bit when forced to run at x8 (half of the max bandwidth) instead of x16 (full bandwidth). With a single video card, you run it at x16 so it's not hurt at all. With two video cards, on the P5E Deluxe, both run at x16 again and are fine. With two cards on the P5Q-E, both run at x8 and you lose some performance. It doesn't damage the cards or anything, you just get fewer frames per second in games.
a b V Motherboard
October 22, 2008 9:25:56 PM

I forgot to say: I have no clue about the card reader and the keyboard, but I like all your other choices. Nice work :love: 
October 22, 2008 9:27:57 PM

Quote:
Thanks to you also. Here's where I prove my ignorance: What you're saying here is that my MB won't perform as well with two 4870's as would an x38 or x48 MB? Crossfire = two video cards, right? At this point, I don't see buying another 4870, as I'm not a REAL hardcore gamer, but would like to play more than I do, now, now that the kids are old enough to take care of themselves. :)  Just curious, what's the "x8" and "x16" stand for?


Yes, crossfire is 2 video cards. If you're only running one card, then your motherboard will perform just as good as a x38 or x48. x8 and x16 both stand for the max bandwidth of the pci-express slot. Your motherboard will run at full x16 bandwidth with one card, but will reduce to x8 and x8 bandwidth when in crossfire. The bandwidth differences are minimal, and if you're not planning to crossfire, then you don't have to worry about it.
a c 260 V Motherboard
October 22, 2008 9:28:31 PM

What you picked is good. Over time,everything will get better and cheaper, but if you wait, you will wait forever.

X8 and X16 refer to the speeds if the pci-e slots. It does not make any real difference to any of today's video cards.

Push pin coolers can be tricky to install.
A bad installation can lead to higher temperatures, and even cpu throttling.

Push pin coolers are best installed while the motherboard is outside of the case.
You need to be able to look at the back of the board to verify that
all 4 pins are completely through and locked.
Play with the pins on the cooler first, so you can see exactly how they work.
Read the instructions that came with your retail cpu.
When pushing down on the pins, do a diagonal pair first.
If you don't, it is hard to get the last pin in.
Don't forget to clean the parts and reapply fresh thermal compound every time.
Don't try to reuse the TIM.
Rubbing alcohol is OK as a cleaner.
I use a paper coffee filter to clean with because it is lint free.
Any name brand TIM should be OK(as-5, Mx-2, etc.)
When applying the TIM, don't use too much, because it can act as an insulator.
Don't apply too little, either, because it won't spread and fill the microscopic
imperfections in the surfaces. A dollop about the size of a grain
of rice should be about right.

---good luck---
a b V Motherboard
October 22, 2008 9:38:44 PM

modfather said:

SAPPHIRE 100243-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9550 - Retail
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ - Retail


...how this system will work, once put together?



You can find some benchmarks on the Web. Mostly about the HD 4870 512MB, since it's been around longer, but in general add 2 or 3 fps and you get the results for the 1GB version. Look at resolutions like 1680x1050 or less, since that's what your 22" monitor can deliver.

For example you can expect 38.7 fps in Age of Conan at 1680x1050, according to this page:
http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3415&p=3
That's quite playable IMO.

You might get more or less than what they got, because you have a different CPU, but your CPU is almost the best available and besides the CPU matters less in games than the video card.

In Crysis they got 39.8 fps at 1680x1050, or 49.5 fps at 1280x1024. Either should be enjoyable if you're into that kind of game. These numbers are with very high quality graphics - which IMO is the only reason to play Crysis :) 

48.6 fps in Oblivion at 1680x1050 with 4xAA 16xAF is very good too.
http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3415&p=5

The Witcher: they got 30.9 fps at 2560x1600 on highest quality, and they don't say what they got at 1680x1050. I'm guessing around 50 fps (the 2560x1600 numbers are better than in Oblivion, so I assume they will be better at 1680x1050 too).
http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3415&p=8

In short, you'll like gaming on that box, no worries :) 


Good luck!!!




October 22, 2008 10:46:54 PM

aevm said:
Read this article.
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=761&p=8

Basically, with a single HD 4870 card, your choice of PSU and motherboard are just fine, no worries. For a gamer who wanted to add a second card later, you would have been better off with a 750W PSU and an X48 motherboard like P5E Deluxe. Again, since you won't add a second card, you're fine.

x8 means "8 lanes" i.e. half of the bandwidth available to the PCI-E slot. Reviewers have shown that a HD 4850 or HD 4870 suffers a bit when forced to run at x8 (half of the max bandwidth) instead of x16 (full bandwidth). With a single video card, you run it at x16 so it's not hurt at all. With two video cards, on the P5E Deluxe, both run at x16 again and are fine. With two cards on the P5Q-E, both run at x8 and you lose some performance. It doesn't damage the cards or anything, you just get fewer frames per second in games.


Ah, makes much more sense now. Thanks!

br3nd064 said:
Yes, crossfire is 2 video cards. If you're only running one card, then your motherboard will perform just as good as a x38 or x48. x8 and x16 both stand for the max bandwidth of the pci-express slot. Your motherboard will run at full x16 bandwidth with one card, but will reduce to x8 and x8 bandwidth when in crossfire. The bandwidth differences are minimal, and if you're not planning to crossfire, then you don't have to worry about it.


Awesome.

geofelt said:
What you picked is good. Over time,everything will get better and cheaper, but if you wait, you will wait forever.

X8 and X16 refer to the speeds if the pci-e slots. It does not make any real difference to any of today's video cards.

Push pin coolers can be tricky to install.
A bad installation can lead to higher temperatures, and even cpu throttling.

Push pin coolers are best installed while the motherboard is outside of the case.
You need to be able to look at the back of the board to verify that
all 4 pins are completely through and locked.
Play with the pins on the cooler first, so you can see exactly how they work.
Read the instructions that came with your retail cpu.
When pushing down on the pins, do a diagonal pair first.
If you don't, it is hard to get the last pin in.
Don't forget to clean the parts and reapply fresh thermal compound every time.
Don't try to reuse the TIM.
Rubbing alcohol is OK as a cleaner.
I use a paper coffee filter to clean with because it is lint free.
Any name brand TIM should be OK(as-5, Mx-2, etc.)
When applying the TIM, don't use too much, because it can act as an insulator.
Don't apply too little, either, because it won't spread and fill the microscopic
imperfections in the surfaces. A dollop about the size of a grain
of rice should be about right.

---good luck---


So do them in a star pattern? In other words, top-left, then bottom-right, then top-right, then bottom-left? So if I only use a dollop about the size of a grain of rice, what do I do with the rest of the tube? :lol:  Thanks!

aevm said:
You can find some benchmarks on the Web. Mostly about the HD 4870 512MB, since it's been around longer, but in general add 2 or 3 fps and you get the results for the 1GB version. Look at resolutions like 1680x1050 or less, since that's what your 22" monitor can deliver.

For example you can expect 38.7 fps in Age of Conan at 1680x1050, according to this page:
http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3415&p=3
That's quite playable IMO.

You might get more or less than what they got, because you have a different CPU, but your CPU is almost the best available and besides the CPU matters less in games than the video card.

In Crysis they got 39.8 fps at 1680x1050, or 49.5 fps at 1280x1024. Either should be enjoyable if you're into that kind of game. These numbers are with very high quality graphics - which IMO is the only reason to play Crysis :) 

48.6 fps in Oblivion at 1680x1050 with 4xAA 16xAF is very good too.
http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3415&p=5

The Witcher: they got 30.9 fps at 2560x1600 on highest quality, and they don't say what they got at 1680x1050. I'm guessing around 50 fps (the 2560x1600 numbers are better than in Oblivion, so I assume they will be better at 1680x1050 too).
http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3415&p=8

In short, you'll like gaming on that box, no worries :) 


Good luck!!!


To be honest, I was hoping you were going to say I was going to "LOVE" gaming on this box. Cost enough! ;)  Glad to see these numbers. My (21 year old) son may be coming back home to play on this, now. :) 

Thanks so much again to all. Another question or two to follow below.

October 22, 2008 10:47:29 PM

Finally, I'm just wondering if anyone has a link or two to a website that tells how to put everything together. I'm just a bit scared of the thermal compound (how much to use, how to apply it), the cpu heatsink/fan, and other install issues. Like I said, I've done it before several times, but I don't do it very often - once every 4-5 years.

Oh yeah, and of the items above, which would need me to check for firmware updates? I'm not sure I even know how to install a firmware update, for instance, on a motherboard. Do I have to get it all up and running, with Vista installed, before I can do that?
a c 260 V Motherboard
October 22, 2008 11:32:39 PM

Go to the arctic silver web site. They have a pictorial tutorial on how to apply as5 thermal paste. It differs, depending on the cpu. Many have their own pet ideas on the best way, but it really is not critical.

I find the key to pushpins is to simultaneously push down diagonal corners. Then do the other two diagonal corners.

The tube is small, good for a handful of reapplications. Just save it in case you want an oem cooler in the future.

Do not try to apply any firmware or bios updates unless you have a problem that the update addresses. A failed bios update can ruin your motherboard with no recovery.
If you must, then research how to do it thoroughly.
October 23, 2008 10:20:04 PM

Folks, Thanks so much for the opinions and help. I don't know why, but I'm sort of hyperventilating over replacing the thermal compound on the heatsink and replacing it with Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound. Will I really notice a temperature benefit from doing this? Should I not be so hyper and just go ahead scrape the compound off (then clean it with alcohol) and replace it with Arctic Silver 5? I just noticed on Intel's website that they don't recommend doing that, and if you knew me, you'd know that makes me nervous. lol.
a c 260 V Motherboard
October 23, 2008 10:51:20 PM

It's not that big of a deal. Go ahead and use the pre-applied stuff. If you have to remount the cooler for any reason, you will need to take the old stuff off first. AS5 will do a slightly better job, but nothing that great. We are talking a few degrees c.
October 23, 2008 10:51:34 PM

Yes, you probably will notice a temp drop. It won't be anything crazy, like 10c, but I'd expect a 2-5c drop. Alcohol isn't required, but I'd recommend it because it gets all the old compound off that you may have missed. It won't harm anything as long as you dry it off before applying the new compound.
October 24, 2008 5:34:18 PM

Oh, what the heck! I'll throw caution to the wind and do it. Just scrape it off with a credit card, and then wipe off the rest with alcohol? Then I plan to follow the instructions on the Arctic Silver 5 website, by putting a line across of the new compound. Some folks have said to spread it evenly over the whole bottom, though. Does it matter which?
a c 260 V Motherboard
October 24, 2008 6:00:13 PM

Use a paper coffee filter(which is lint free) and alcohol to clean the stuff off. It does not matter much which method you use. It is more important to put on the proper amount. If you put on too much, it acts like an insulator, which is just as bad as too little. A small amount will spread out, filling microscopic pits and small air pockets. I figure that the AS5 people know something about their own product, so I use that method.
October 25, 2008 8:05:04 AM

Thanks, all for all the help and support. So I got everything today, and put it all together, tonight. Everything seemed to go perfect - until I tried to load Vista x64. When I first booted, I saw on my screen:
"Adapter 1"
"Disks information:"
"No hard disk is detected!"

So I found out by searching around, that I needed to disable the IDE port on my mb, via the bios. I did that, and tried again, but this time (and I actually got this problem before, as well), Vista starts to install, and then I get prompted for my CD Key, and finally, it asks me about my hard drive. When I partition it all to one partition, it tries to copy files and then comes back with this error:

"Windows could not format a partition on disk 0. The error occurred while preparing the partition selected for installations. Error code: 0x80070057."

I've looked around at this error message, and it seems to be somewhat common, but I haven't found any great replies to how to fix the problem. And most people having the problem are trying to set up RAIDS. I'm not, here. I'm so confused and depressed! :( 

If anyone can help, I'd sure be appreciative!

Thanks!
Steve
!