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Upgrade recommendations for A8N32-SLI Deluxe

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October 27, 2008 12:22:45 PM

Hello all. I'm going to upgrade my aging gaming machine so I can get rid of chug in Warhammer Online.

This applies to both motherboard/memory and graphics cards but I'm just going to lump it together.

What memory upgrade do you recommend? I'm going to drop 4 GB in (still using XP but w/e)

What graphics card for PCI-E x16? I'm running an EVGA 7800 GTX Ko Pro at the moment. I'd like to stay with EVGA, but have only just started poking around on Newegg. It's been a while.

Shall I keep the 4800+ X2 AMD I've got in there? I'm out of the loop and don't know if 939 has received any serious upgrades in the years since I've built the machine.

Thanks for your input, I eagerly await it so I can newegg some new treats.

peace,
Syz
a b } Memory
a b U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 12:55:39 PM

Well, socket 939 was discontinued long ago. The 4800 X2 is still a decent processor. Few processors are available at all unless you get the Ebay version. The A8N32SLi-Deluxe has a host of issues with XP SP3. I was in contact with M$ support trying to deal with those issues as my machine was reduced to nonfunctional. I got the idea to install Vista. M$ support agreed, Vista 32 works fine so leave it that way and forget XP SP3. I use 2 x 1 GB OCZ PC3200 Platinum and a pair of cheap 8600GT's. Two 7800GT's performed athe same, but I had the newer DX10 cards available. The machine works very well especially for a dual core I almost scrapped. Before you spend any serious money consider scrapping the system and getting a C2D/C2Q. A Q6600/9450 or E8500 with P45 MB can be had for a reasonable price. Intel core is the way to go if you have a little extra cash.
a b U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 12:56:51 PM

Welcome to the forums!

Intel choices:

If you want SLI get a 750i/780i.
If you want Crossfire get a X38/X48
Otherwise get a P45.
Or wait for Nehalem, coming out next month.

Yes, you will need to change your processor.
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 12:58:56 PM

For graphics card I recommend AMD HD4850 or HD4870 1 GB.

a b } Memory
a c 143 U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 1:18:15 PM

+1

eVGA doesn't make cards like that. Pick a Sapphire or a Visiontek.
October 27, 2008 1:35:00 PM

Seems like the PCI-E 2.0 cards won't be compatible with a PCI-E mobo though, right? So I have to stick with nvidia or w/e?
a b } Memory
a b U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 1:37:15 PM

SyzygyThree said:
Seems like the PCI-E 2.0 cards won't be compatible with a PCI-E mobo though, right? So I have to stick with nvidia or w/e?


PCIE 2.0 work fine in the A8N32-SLI. Two nvidia cards will work in 16x crossfire. Or a single ATI card will work.
October 27, 2008 1:39:56 PM

Thanks. So now a pair of reasonably priced PCIE 2.0 cards is the objective. I'm pretty much settling on some Corsair 3200 RAM, and I have a copy of XP I can upgrade to. (might even be a 64 bit version)
a b } Memory
a b U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 1:42:02 PM

Vista 32 works great on the A8N32-SLI. Windows XP with SP3 (service pack 3) has many issues.
a b } Memory
a b U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 1:42:46 PM

Your 2 GBs of Corsair PC3200 LL is fine. I have the same RAM on another board.
October 27, 2008 1:43:57 PM

Gah meant to say a copy of Vista. I always wanted to unlock the 64 bit CPU I have... choice choices
a b } Memory
a b U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 1:45:20 PM

My system:

4800 X2 dual core
A8N32-SLi deluxe
2 GB OCZ PC3200 Platinum
Vista 32
2 x EVGA 8600GT
Zalman 9500 HSF
2 x 250 WD SATA HD
2 x DVD RW


a b } Memory
a b U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 2:10:34 PM

Vista 64 will perform better with 4 GBs RAM, Vista 32 does fine with 2 GBs. So, Vista 64 (you have), 2 GBs RAM and a ATI 4850 would be about as cheap an upgrade as you can do. Maybe even a 8800/9800GT would work for you, cheaper yet. Your system is a dead end. It's old technology. Although the 4800X2 is still a decent processor (the first dual core ever released at that), you may want to think seriously about investing in a C2D/C2Q system I mentioned earlier.

Here's a recent article adressing older systems and their capabilities:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-gaming-bench...
October 27, 2008 2:42:06 PM

If you're upgrading for Warhammer, you're gonna be sorely disappointed. I just upgraded to a q6600 @ 3.0, 4g ddr2 800, 2x4850s in crossfire, and 2 160gig HD's in raid 0, and I STILL notice slowdown. It's the only game that I have any kind of stuttering with. It's shoddy coding I was led to believe. The rig you have now is probably plenty of horsepower by looking at specs. You might notice a little less stutter much as I did, but it's still there and it's drivin me crazy.
a b } Memory
a c 143 U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 2:49:29 PM

When you play Warhammer, the game is actually hosted on a remote server, isn't it? Maybe your Internet connection is causing the problem, or the server is overloaded.

Of course, shoddy coding is very likely too. You should have seen Hellgate London when it was released - that was shoddy indeed. They're rushing to release games without taking the time to test them. :( 
October 27, 2008 2:56:38 PM

keep ur 4800+, OC it, stick with ur 2 gb of ram, get a 9800gtx or 4850. Tom's just did an article called can ur old A64 still game? some can't, but yours can. read it.
October 27, 2008 3:48:31 PM

Hah, I have the same setup as you. I thought the same thing as you too. Ok, so I have good news for you have not so good news.

You currently are using the 2nd best socket 939 processor. There is only one more better than the 4800+ before they discontinued 939 and switched socket types to AM2. That is the Athlon FX-60. However, shoota is correct that you should read that other article. If you like to play games as I do on max settings, upgrading to the FX-60 is NOT going to mean better framerates. You MIGHT get a +1 or +2 fps with the FX-60 compared to the 4800+ if you play on max settings. Read the article. Not worth it getting the processor upgrade.

Ok, onto ram and video card. For your ram, 2gb is ok, that is what I was using. 4gb might be a bit better, but if you are sticking with a 32-bit os, ie windows 32 or vista 32, you will only be able to use 3gb if you stick 4gb in. o.s. limitation. Nothing you can do about that unless you go to 64 bit windows xp or vista64.

For the graphics card, yes PCIe 2.0 is backwards compatible. I'm pretty sure on the a8n32-sli that both pci slots are full x16 and are pcie v1.1, which means I think sli would work with two 2.0 nvidia cards. However, there have been problems reported in the past that having a motherboard with a v1.1 on the first slot and v1.0 or v1.0a on the second slot that that difference would prevent you from putting two 2.0 cards in the system as it would fail to recognize one of them. I know the 1st pcie slot is v1.1. I THINK with the a8n32-sli the second one is also (though on the normal a8n-sli board, I think the second pcie slot is v1.0). However like I said I think with the a8n32-sli you are fine.

As far as the best video card for you, your BEST bet is installin a 4870X2 into your system. Its really powerful, and may require you to get a different power supply with different connectors into your system. Honestly though, shelling out $500+ for that card isn't worth it. You can pick is a 4850 off of newegg for around $150 bucks. This ONE card will KILL your dual 7800 gtx's in sli mode. The performance difference you'll see by this simple updated is phenominal.

The 4850's performance compared to nVidia's latest GTX260 and 280 are sooo minute, that the additional benefits from DirectX 10.1a that you get from the Ati card is sooo worth it. Once again though, you can't use DX10 with windows xp though, so you'd have to switch to vista to get that.

With that said, my recommendation for you is almost the same as what shoota recommended (and its the same I did to my system!), is buy the HD4850 from newegg, get yourself 4GB of ram instead of 2gb, and upgrade to windows vista64. You'd be able to use the full 4GB of ram, you'd now have DX10.1a support in your gaming, and with the ATI card 10.1a directx means you will get even better graphics than the nvidia card (granted, the difference is not HUGE, but I have 2 systems here once using ati and one using nvidia, and within Warhammer I notice a major difference with the ATI card and how the darks and shadows look a lot better. The nvidia card looks more bright and cartoony like WoW.

Ok, onto the not so good news. A LOT of people have been having performance problems with Warhammer. Even people with the latest and greatest best of everything $6000 systems. This is a WARHAMMER issue, not a system issue. So the 'studdering' issue you are seeing might not have anything to do with your current system anyway (though I still recommand the upgrades!) They recently released a patch that toned this down a bit, but its still noticable. I was able to *almost* get rid of this studdering by changing some settings. I think it was turning off grass and off or down something else too and kept everything else at max...can't remember what off the top of my head. It *sounds* related to system performance, but everyone across the board, doesn't matter what your system is, is experiencing the same issue. Just google 'warhammer studdering' and you'll see what i mean.

Hope that helps!
October 27, 2008 3:55:18 PM

Right on, bigdog. Thanks for taking the time.

I'm going to leave the processor alone. They're expensive.

I'm going to upgrade to 4gigs of 3200 from Corsair. Seems like it'll be a good fit.

I'm going to drop a single 4850 in for now. Sapphire and Visiontek are putting out the best ones right now, I'm open to persuasion at the moment.

I will wait until I get home to see if I bought a 64 bit or 32 bit version of Vista. I haven't upgraded to SP3 for XP because it killed my PC last time, so for the moment I'm on XP SP2 and I think it's time to move on so I can unlock my CPU and RAM capabilities.

I've never been too into overclocking. It took me long enough to get a regular rig properly cooled (My first two or three PCs had the CPU fan pointing in the wrong direction!) so running things on stock settings has a bit of an appeal to me.

peace,
Syz
October 27, 2008 4:23:08 PM

Oh yeah, forgot to mention. Make sure you get 4x1gb modules for your ram. You want to fill up all your memory slots to take full advantage of the DDR2 interface. :) 
October 27, 2008 4:24:32 PM

Badge, ditto on the thanks. The input really helped.
a b } Memory
a c 106 U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 4:36:56 PM

I'm pretty sure that 4800X2 is the fastest chip you can get for a socket 939. You may want to just overclock it for now. If you can find another 7800 somewhere cheap you may just want to SLi what you have for now. The biggest cause of slowdown in Warhammer seems to be from the internet connection so if you have a long RTT time to the server you're going to lag no matter what..
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October 27, 2008 4:37:27 PM

Vista 32 works great for me. I have two A8N32-SLi deluxe MBs (one running) and an A8N-SLI running also. Vista 32 is the answer to solving the XP SP3 problem, it's a great upgrade. I know what you mean about 'heat' issues when overclocking. The A8N32-SLI Deluxe is the 'hottest' MB ever released. I have a fan velcroed to the floor of my case blowing air up under the PCI cards and video cards. Also a PCI 'extension' fan (92mm) blowing directly onto the NB and CPU. I maintain a conservative OC, but heat is a major problem with the board. A 200/300MHz OC is about all you can expect without temp problems with the board. Anyway, I still use the two system as workstations every day. The A8N32-SLI w/Vista 32, 4800 X2 and two 8600GT's performs well for me. But no where as good as C2Q at 333Mhz. FSB. You are processing data through the system about 50% faster with each clock cycle with a Q9450. A 200Mhz. FSB is all right, but it hasn't a chance against a modern 45nm quad. 8). I like my systems and enjoy them nonetheless.
a b } Memory
a c 143 U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 4:49:25 PM

yobigd20 said:
Oh yeah, forgot to mention. Make sure you get 4x1gb modules for your ram. You want to fill up all your memory slots to take full advantage of the DDR2 interface. :) 


But 2x2GB lets you add more RAM later if you need it...
a b } Memory
a b U Graphics card
October 27, 2008 4:56:22 PM

A8N32-SLI Deluxe uses DDR, not DDR2. FTR, ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe is the number one performing socket 939 MB released. ABIT released a 16 x 2 PCIE 1.0 version, but the ASUS was better. A8N32-SLI deluxe is 'blacklisted' by M$ as far as being Windows XP SP3 compatible. Use Vista with the board and your problem is solved.
October 27, 2008 5:23:17 PM

badge said:
A8N32-SLI Deluxe uses DDR, not DDR2. FTR, ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe is the number one performing socket 939 MB released. ABIT released a 16 x 2 PCIE 1.0 version, but the ASUS was better. A8N32-SLI deluxe is 'blacklisted' by M$ as far as being Windows XP SP3 compatible. Use Vista with the board and your problem is solved.


Good catch. Forgot it was DDR not DDR2. As far as my suggestion for which brand of 4850, I would either go with this card
1) ASUS EAH4850 TOP/HTDI/512M Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card because it is overclocked at 680Mhz Core clock and 2100Mhz Memory Clock as opposed to the standard 625mhz and 1986mhz.
or
2) GIGABYTE GV-R485OC-1GH Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail because it has 1GB as opposed to 512mb, and it is also overclocked. This one states 700Mhz/1920Mhz. People have reported a 10% performance increase with cards using 1GB compared to 512mb.

I don't think the 4850X2 is out yet. Should be soon. If the price of that matches the gigabyte one I recommended, I'd go for the 4850X2.

And while aevm is right that 2x2gb would allow for more later, trust me you won't be upgrading this system any more. The next time you want an upgrade after this, build a new system. :)  Better to take full advantage of the interface while you can!
October 27, 2008 5:53:23 PM

I'm not sure what problems you guys are referring to with the ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe w/Windows XP SP3. I have two old systems, with a similar setup as the OP, that my kids are using, which are both running with this board and have XP SP3 on them. They both run without any issues.

Also in XP 4GB isn't really going to give you an advantage over 2GB in gaming performance.

I don't want to discourage you from upgrading to vista if you want to take advantage of DX10, but if you don't play any DX10 games (Warhammer is not) you can save a few bucks on your OS until you're ready to upgrade your system completely down the road. Then maybe grab windows 7, depending on when you build.

Vista has its perks, but has its own performance issues, as well.

I'll also confirm the Warhammer performance issues. Game runs awful in RvR on every system I've tried, old or new :) 
!