Advice, Help before I go Insane

Ok a quick Summary: 18months ago I came into an inheritance, for the first time I could get exactly what I wanted, so I figured I better get a killer gaming computer cause I knew my $$ would be gone in a year. Well I bought a Boutique Rig; 3year warranty on all parts which is why I didnt build it myself. So I got: Cooler Master Stacker Case; Intel Core Duo Extreme QX6850, 1000 PSU (if I remember it was OCZ); Evga 680i MB, Evga 2x8800gtx's; 4g Corsair CM2X1024x8500c5D (XMS2-8500)1066mhz; SB Fatal1ty Platnium Card/IO; HD's: 150 Raptor, 500 Seagate and I added a 300 Raptor when they came out. If I forgot something Just ask. Now within a month of receiving I have had one issue after another; I have gone thru 2PSU's; 2 680i's; RAM; and 1 8800gtx card. About 8 months ago my MB was replaced with an XFX 780i MB. Since then not one week goes bye where Im not reseating my RAM, my VC's, and taking out the wires on my HD's and putting them back in. I have never been able to use all 4 sticks, not to mention the 1stick at a time thing. Also Bios resets on occassion too. Now you have the history here is my current issue:

I was getting Freezes and wound up reseating everything but problem continued; BSOD's kicked in; so I noticed my CPU fan wasnt running. So bought a New Heatsink: Thermaltake Black Widow; put that in but my Rig wont boot. No beeps at all, all fans running, the MB is stuck at the LED Code of "FF". Checked the voltage on the PSU (only the molex but voltages were fine). All fans go on, I can hear the HD, no funny smells, or apparent signs of burns. Anyway Im mentally burnt; and just dont even want to bother with my warranty anymore and am just going to replace the parts I want with what I want. Im assuming it's my MB that's fried; hopefully not the CPU. Anyway I was thinking of going to DDR3; and would love suggestions as to MB & RAM; everything else I should be able to use. Right now i have Vista but upgrading to Windows 7 next week. Is their a way to be sure if the MB is the part that's fried, Ive done every test XFX told me too and even if they send me a new board, im just gonna put it aside for a spare. So help on my new purchase would really be appreciated, not really a $$ limit. The bottom line is I want a more stable MB. I use my Rig for 2 things: Most Important: Gaming; I also have an online Business and do light editing of Pics, but nothing that big of a deal. Just want to make sure the MB is good for gaming. Thank you in-advance for all help.
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  1. Heck, guess that means you didn't fritter away ALL the money yet! (Gonna resist all the good advice here.)

    So basically you have:
    XFX 780i motherboard
    Iffy CPU - Intel Core Duo QX6850 - likely melted due to fan failure
    Corsair DDR2 800MHz - 4 x 1GB (can't find specs but CL=5? what is voltage?)
    3 high-end graphics card? I'm not up on any of those, use low-end myself.
    Several very nice hard drives. - no need to change if have enough storage.
    Unknown OS. We'll assume a 32-bit XP or Vista but mention if you have 64-bit.

    I generally recommend Gigabyte and Asus boards. They have the most sales which means you can do more research for problems. Good websites and docs - all motherboards have lousy tech support IMO. Both offer great gaming-aimed motherboards.

    In 18 months a few things have changed. (I'm no Intel expert) The Intel i7 is top of the pecking order among their offerings. It uses DDR3 RAM in triple channel configs. The i5 can use DDR3 or DDR2 but the DDR2 voltage should be low (under 2.1 I'd say) and the DDR3 must be 1.5V - 1.65V - that's why need to know you voltage. Few would put in 4 1GB modules anymore. But your 800MHz speed is fine for DDR2. AMD has the Phenom x4 CPUs that again can use DDR2 or DDR3 depending on your MB/socket choices.

    What I'd do is browse thru one of these two websites. Put in your socket choice - 1366 for i7, 1156 for i7/i5 and AM2+ or AM3 for AMD. AM3 is DDR3 only. See what appeals to you. Go to a site like NewEgg and plug in the models to compare the prices - you'll find AMD boards cheaper and same with processors. I'm not recommending other Intel cpu's because we're assuming yours is dead, so no point in restricting.

    If your RAM is OK and I'd think it is, stick with it. Remember, your warranty is still good on it. If you get a DDR2 board, test each stick alone overnight w/memtest86. Heck, you can hook up that new XFX with a floppy only and test RAM on it. If not, you'll likely want 2GB RAM modules. Only choose 1.8V-1.9V for DDR2 and 1.5V-1.65V for DDR3. You want reasonable speed and low CL/Latency, but don't go overboard. DDR2 is fine at 1066/800 and CL=5/4, DDR3 at 1333 @ CL=7.

    Read the forums here and see what people are talking about as gaming machines. Decide if your GPUs are still fine - your game choices will tell you that too.

    Good luck and enjoy.

    Edited to fix DDR2/3 voltages
  2. I really am hoping the cpu is still good; according to the charts I've seen it's still a pretty decent processor for the things I do. Originally I had the version 1 RAM which was 2.2v; but they think that is what is burning out the RAM modules on the 680i's I went thru, so when they replaced that board with the 780i they gave me 4 new sticks of RAM which are all the same specs except voltage is 2.1. I really was hoping on waiting another year and then just going for those new Cards that come with cooling from BFG. This time though instead of paying a boutique to build it; Im doing it myself. So just trying to do a few things now to get a stable BUT still pretty decent gaming Rig to hold me till then. Hopefully in a year the little bit of money I have left that I invested in the Stock Market will be making me some xtra Cash.

    Ok so basically just hoping to replace the Board & Ram, next week im going to upgrade to Windows 7 64bit. (presently Vista ultimate 32bit). I'd actually like to replace the RAM to 2g sticks; I figure all the old parts I can use for a spare rig to hook up to the living room LCD TV. Im really hoping the CPU isn't fried, I paid so much for it, and according to the charts it's still pretty fast processor. The reason I want to change the RAM too is that because of that voltage it can be very unstable and burn out modules, seems lots of people who have my setup have had the same issues over the past year which is why Im mentall tired and just want something stable while trying to avoid spending a ton of money again. I mean that whole thing cost me over $4,000 and lots of unstability. And everytime something went wrong I wound up having them send the part and fixing it myself, so I may as well have built it myself. LOL.

    MB's are just the one thing I really don't have alot of familiarity with, from what I've read DDR3 isnt that big of an upgrade, but if I do have to replace the CPU as well I was thinking of going with this: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.0GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor -

    If I go with that CPU + MB + RAM I should be able to do it all for about 600-800. Then next year I can go all out if everything goes my way investment wise. So if I do get that processor what RAM & MB should I go with. I want to go with just 4-6g RAM, (2g sticks); still stay at socket 775. I just want to make sure it's a board and ram that arent so damn buggy.
  3. Quote:
    Is their a way to be sure if the MB is the part that's fried

    Be sure you have a working speaker connected to the MB speaker header that will allow BIOS beeps to be heard. Set up the system using only the CPU/HSF, and video card. Disconnect everything else (except the PSU) . Remove 'ALL' the RAM. Boot the system with the CPU and video card only. If you hear beeps, the MB is good the BIOS recognizes there is no RAM in the system. If you hear no BIOS beeps to signify there is no RAM in the system, either your CPU or MB are bad or both. If you replace the CPU with a known working unit and you get BIOS beeps, you know the MB is bad and vice a versa.

    If a microcenter is nearby, don't miss out on this.
  4. Actually I did all of that; I tried every configuration with HW in and out, taking one piece out at a time till all that was left was the CPU and still no beeps. I really think all the memory modules finally burned out, I was only able to use 2 of the modules out of 4 for the past 8 months. I think the other 2 modules finally burned out. From all the reading I've done on my board and my ram having the high voltage of 2.1 it seems it's a pretty common occurance. Hence the replacement of RAM & MB. Just dont want to deal with this issue anymore. If the CPU is fried then Ill replace it. But I dont smell anything burny coming from it, and their is no grease on it either.
  5. Go for an Intel chipset. X48. X38 or P45.
  6. badge said:
    Go for an Intel chipset. X48. X38 or P45.

    So far this is what I've come up with; just need to decide on RAM:

    ASUS Maximus II Formula LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    Xtreme Phase w/ ROG Gaming Series

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.0GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor

    Im just having a hard time deciding on RAM so suggestions would be great; I've always bought OCZ or Corsair; but their are alot of other good companies from what I've read. So would love to know what RAM has been stable with this type of setup. Ill probably go for 6g-8g (2g sticks)
  7. You'll want 4GB or 8GB to get full dual-channel ability. Cost for 4GB modules is prohibitive, so looking at 2 or 4 2GB sticks.

    As recommended and from your own experience, don't consider any RAM wanting more than 2.0V. Using that guideline, here's what I'd recommend. This includes a couple 1066, a 1100 and a 1200. You likely don't need anything more than 1066 speed. In fact, I have the 1100 RAM listed first and actually run it at 800 (really 820) with very fast 4-4-4-10 timings. It is tall tho! Ask if you want my infamous RAM height graphic!

    Forum's messing up on me, time to reboot! I said, twice now....
    Eeeeeeeek, the stock market! Actually, good time to be there. My sister asked in spr 07 me about the guilt she was feeling about leaving almost all her investments in Jumbo CDs - should at least get some mutual funds. I told her get some pro advice, but the market seemed stressed to me and I'd move slowly. So now I'm a saint! Her husband's investments lost 50% value and she's floating along earning 5-6%. Of course, no place to renew at that rate!
  8. Thanks for the help, yeah it's a shame to have that RAM sitting here. It's made me a little leary of buying things the minute they come on the market. Waiting to see how those new BFG Cooled cards do before I delve into those as well.

    As far as the stock market, I would say half of the investments have come back, but I cashed alot out with a ton of losses over the past 18months. But at least I still have a few investments Im waiting on to come back. I wish I had that money right now, because I would definately be buying into strong companies that were hurt by the bad times. For instance buying into apple a few months ago when it was at 90.00 is now at 190.00. Their are still a few good buys out their with some strong companies that were never in the red. Like POT, Google, Apple, Msft, actually Tech seems to be bouncing back. I just happened to get that inheritance when the market was going strong and 3 months later it was total disaster. Guess I'll never be rich; lol. But I did alot of cool things with the money I did spend, bought my daughter her first new car a Nissan Coupe, I just cant save money, not my style. Which is why Im down to the last of it; lol.
  9. Ok Im thinking of going this way: Opinions or stick with 775 Socket and the other setup:

    Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor

    ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    Xtreme Phase w/ SLI and CrossfireX, TurboV (how is this MB; would like to try ASUS so if their is a better choice please advise)

    OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK -

    ASUS Maximus II Formula LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    Xtreme Phase w/ ROG Gaming Series

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.0GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor -

    Still havent decided on a RAM for this Setup; and if my Intel Extreme QX6850 isnt fried Ill just build a spare Rig with that. But Im not going to use that Dominator RAM, way too many issues.

    So thoughts: what do you think would be better
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