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Motherboard replacement: Upgrade or downgrade?

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August 26, 2009 1:58:46 AM

Hi,

My computer (Prescott 3GHZ, 2GB RAM, saphire raidon x1950 pro) was resetting randomly at about 5-30 minute intervals after about 5-6 hours of normal functioning from power on. The main suspects were the MB (because it had 2 slightly bloated capacitors) and the PSU, because it matched the nature of the problem better. I went to a shop and they were sure it's the MB, so they tried to replace it with a few other MBs but then they didn't even manage to load the boot screen. Finally they also replaced the PSU and got things to work. At that point they decided to stick with the MB that was currently installed because it was the only thing they manged to get working (though it is unclear if this was due to the MBs at all, or only to the bad PSU) and probably also because they were lazy.

My old MB was an ASUS P5GD1-VM. It's 915G based (onboard graphics adapter disabled), uses DDR1 and is feature heavy:2 IDE interfaces (so I can connect my cdrom and secondary HDD separately), surround exits( that I don't use), and parallel port which I use for a custom project.
The new MB that I received is the Intel DG31PR. It's G31 based, uses 800MHZ DDR2 and has the least features on an MB ever: only 1 IDE interface, no parallel port, and half the sound ports. Also it LACKS A HEATSINK ON THE SOUTH BRIDGE which seamed strange and alarming considering that both my older computer, my older MB and my newer computer all have one.

I am concerned because even though the new board uses a newer chipset and faster memory, it seams to be very low-end. I'm considering whether to ask them for a different MB or to stick with what they gave me. The alternative will probably be a 915p board with DDR2.
I don't overclock.

Questions:
1) Should I expect better, same or worse performance with the current MB, compared to what I had before?
2) One of the alternatives they had was a fancy Gigabye model with 915P and DDR2. Will that perform better/worse then what they gave me?
3) Is it normal/healthy for the south bridge to lack a heat sink?
4) Will putting both my secondary HDD and CDROM on the same IDE interface will serve a significant performance hit when using those drives? If so, will this only happen when using both at the same time or also when using them one at a time? (my OS HDD uses SATA.)

Thanks for reading all of this :)  , and big thanks in advance for any advice.
a b V Motherboard
August 26, 2009 5:26:56 AM

Wonton, I'm not up on diff. motherboards to go with questions 1-2, but as for 3 I think most here would say that as advances are made in power consumption and materials, you find heat to be less of a problem there.

4. - As for the IDE drive sharing with a CDROM, I've been doing this for many years and never heard of any problem associated with it at all, or any performance issue. The IDE controller polls the drive to decide what speed to use on it and it chooses each seperately. The only time anything could be possibly affected is when you're reading from the CD and writing directly to the HD - but I've never heard of it creating a bottleneck.

One thing that does bother me tho. You said that this board was the only one that they got to BOOT. Do mean to POST? That is, were they trying to find a board that would boot the existing Windows system files on your existing hard drive? If so, they wouldn't expect other boards to work and the PSU change-out isn't related to the boot problems. The system files created on a drive are particular to the board and other installed devices - there's no reason to expect a drive from board A to boot up board B.

In addition, any board you do end up with needs to have its drive re-formatted and set up to run that board. Even if it works, it's going to have a LOT of old junk on it that it has to bypass or disable as it's booting. You've got a 2nd HD, so it's time to copy your data off and other files you like. And, do this before taking the computer in again - you've got the chance to backup, don't let it slip away!

Hope this helps some...
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August 26, 2009 10:03:53 AM

Silly me... I meant post of course. Obviously with the change in chipsets windows didn't load successfully.

I still really need an answer to the first 2 questions as it's driving me crazy. Anyone?
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a c 147 V Motherboard
August 26, 2009 12:29:11 PM

The new board with DDR2 should perform better than the old one with DDR. As mongox pointed out, with any new motherboard you'll need to reformat and reload Windows to get rid of the old / set up the new chipset drivers.
Most mobos these days only have one IDE port on them, as everything is moving to SATA. If it is big enough to be worth saving, put your old IDE drive into an external USB enclosure and use it for backups. Re-install Windows on a new SATA drive, and use your old drive as a secondary (if you need it).
The 915 is an older chipset; I wouldn't buy a new board today with it. The G31 isn't exactly a spring chicken either, but it's a workhorse chipset that has all the features the average office worker needs.
What PSU did they sell you?
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a b V Motherboard
August 31, 2009 1:05:39 PM

I also have the problem of lack of IDE ports - I use up to 8 IDE drives and my new M/B only has the single IDE port as yours does.

I solved the problem 2 ways. I continue to use a PCI Raid card I've had for years that will run 4 IDE drives without actually using Raid. In addition, I got several tiny SATA-to-IDE convertors that plug into the back of the IDE drive. They work just fine and give, according to tests, the same IDE performance as before.

The convertor I got is
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
but likely any will do. They don't seem to work well on CD drives, haven't tried it myself. Also, this model has all the power Y-connectors you need, but they are flimsy so be careful to only pull on the molex to remove them. Set the drive to CS mode rather than Master or Slave.
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