Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+ not working in Dell Dimension C521

Last response: in CPUs
Share
April 6, 2009 2:29:15 AM

I recently invested about $250 in an attempt to upgrade my kids' Dell Dimension C521. Based on recommendations I read in forums and other places, the best successful CPU upgrade I read about was the AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+. After upgrading several components (one at a time, benchmarking and burn-in testing after each component), I discovered I'm having problems with the processor.

Upgrades performed:

  • 2GB RAM -----> 4GB RAM (all PC6400 DDR2 running at 800MHz)
  • CD-R/DVD ROM -----> LG iHAS222 CD/DVD±R/RW DL w/LightScribe
  • on-board 10/100 Ethernet -----> PCI 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • on-board GeForce 6150 LE graphics -----> PCIe PNY GeForce 8600GT 512MB
  • 80GB SATA-II HD -----> 640GB SATA-II HD w/16MB cache
  • AMD Athlon 64 3200+ -----> AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+ Brisbane
  • single boot to XP MCE SP3 -----> tri-boot to XP/Vista/Ubuntu

    I had already upgraded the BIOS to the latest version, 1.1.11, and the BIOS and OS's all detect the processor just fine. Temperatures on the cores between idle and stressed were acceptable, 35°C and 60°C, with the stock cooler and fresh thermal grease. I was concerned about the anemic 280W power supply, so I removed the 8600GT for continued testing for now. (I REALLY wish I could find a beefier power supply that would fit this small case -- the stock one is 125x100x135mm -- and I don't want to go external.)

    Simple symptom: PC hangs when idle. I don't know when or why, but I walk away and come back and the mouse and keyboard are completely hung with the screen still up. Absolutely no response from anything (peripherals, USB/disk insertion, power button tap). Dead. The on-screen temperatures and CPU usage are low/idle. This occurs in XP MCE SP3, Vista Ultimate SP1, and Ubuntu 8.10 -- oddly enough, all with the same symptoms: complete freeze-up with normal display. The clock is hung, nothing is updating, no longer responds to pings, animations stop -- hung.

    And when I switch back to the original CPU, this doesn't happen. So, it is definitely the CPU. When it's not hung, the PC runs nice and quick, scores well with benchmarks, and passes burn-in tests. Yes, I have all the latest drivers installed from nVidia for the system board and AMD for the processor. Yes, the thermal grease is of decent quality and is properly cleaned and applied each CPU switch-out. Yes, I'm monitoring temperatures and running at stock voltages/clocks. No, I'm not a newbie (although I'm frustrated that I must be missing something... ).

    I just need some other experts' opinions before I RMA it back to TigerDirect as "incompatible" and get my $70 returned. (Then I need another recommended CPU upgrade.)

    I spent over 2 hours Googling and reading the various forums here before I decided to register and post. So, any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated! Sorry for the verbose description, but I thought I'd save a couple of simple responses of obvious suggestions.

    Thanks in advance!
    Mike





    a c 159 à CPUs
    April 6, 2009 10:37:58 AM

    Many places only give you 7-14 days to return a cpu, so act quickly and ask for an rma from tigerdirect. I personally would never try upgrading a cpu on an oem system from dell, gateway, etc. I changed the motherboard on my compaq pc before I upgraded the cpu. Compaq is pretty good about specs; they list some cpu options on their website for my msi hp board. I upgraded for more memory slots.
    m
    0
    l

    Best solution

    a b à CPUs
    April 6, 2009 4:49:04 PM

    Well, it shouldn't be a power problem since the 6000+ Brisbane isn't exactly a power hog. Use CPU-Z to check your voltage and clocks, as your vcore should be 1.4v. You may want to go into the BIOS and see if you can Dissable Cool n Quiet. I think that what's happening is that this feature is not correctly dealt with by your BIOS, so when you leave it idle and it takes steps to save power, something is done incorrectly causing it to hang. If you Disable Cool n Quiet, or whatever power saving tech is named in the BIOS, the problem should go away.
    Share
    Related resources
    April 6, 2009 5:50:49 PM

    megamanx00 said:
    Well, it shouldn't be a power problem since the 6000+ Brisbane isn't exactly a power hog. Use CPU-Z to check your voltage and clocks, as your vcore should be 1.4v. You may want to go into the BIOS and see if you can Dissable Cool n Quiet. I think that what's happening is that this feature is not correctly dealt with by your BIOS, so when you leave it idle and it takes steps to save power, something is done incorrectly causing it to hang. If you Disable Cool n Quiet, or whatever power saving tech is named in the BIOS, the problem should go away.

    Thanks for the idea, I'll try that! I do have an option for "Cool'n'Quiet" in the BIOS and I happen to know it is enabled. I notice the voltages and speeds do drop (in discrete steps, but I forget what they are) when the system is idle. I've observed that in both CPUz and AMD Power Monitor. With the 3200+, it goes down to 1.1V and 1GHz when idle. I'll have to put the 6000+ back in and see what voltage and speed it idles at.

    Thanks again, I'll let you know if disabling the BIOS setting changes anything!

    Mike
    m
    0
    l
    April 18, 2009 5:41:49 AM

    megamanx00 said:
    Well, it shouldn't be a power problem since the 6000+ Brisbane isn't exactly a power hog. Use CPU-Z to check your voltage and clocks, as your vcore should be 1.4v. You may want to go into the BIOS and see if you can Dissable Cool n Quiet. I think that what's happening is that this feature is not correctly dealt with by your BIOS, so when you leave it idle and it takes steps to save power, something is done incorrectly causing it to hang. If you Disable Cool n Quiet, or whatever power saving tech is named in the BIOS, the problem should go away.


    Well, it has been awhile, but I got around to testing your theory today, and so far, so good! I disabled the "Cool'n'Quiet" in the BIOS and my system was up for hours. I went back in and re-enabled it and the system froze within an hour. So, I disabled it again and I'll see how things go through the night.

    I was running out of time on TigerDirect's return policy (30 days), so I panicked and RMA'd the processor. They sent me a new one, but I haven't opened it yet. I may just return it if I get this one to work.

    So far the only drawback of this solution is that it runs hot and loud with Cool'n'Quiet disabled. It idles around 35°C and maxes out around 60°C stressed. I doubt Dell is going to release a post v1.1.11 BIOS that properly handles the voltage stepping (or multiplier?) for the 6000+. I don't know if I can find a non-OEM BIOS for the motherboard. Occasionally I see a Phoenix Award BIOS splash after the GPU and Dell POST. Can I upgrade the BIOS beyond what the original vendor (Dell) offers?

    Thanks so much for your suggestion! I had confirmed the the Cool'n'Quiet was functioning properly with the old 3200+, but it has fewer steps between low and high. I don't know why it doesn't work with the 6000+. I have the latest drivers and utilities from AMD installed, but it won't throttle the CPU with the feature disabled in the BIOS. So, I'm still open to suggestions to optimize my situation.

    Thanks again!
    m
    0
    l
    !