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AM2}+ or AM3 mobo that supports DDR2 ram

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October 13, 2009 1:23:33 PM

All,

I am interested in upgrading my motherboard and processor. I currently have an amd board and processor and some DDR2 ram. I would like to upgrade to a an Am2+ or AM3 processor however, I am not sure I will be able to use my older ram with any of these newer boards/processors. Also, what does it mean when I see a board that states DDR2 1066 is supported by AM2+/AM3 CPU for one DIMM per channel only, what am I giving up in terms of performance with this type of board and what can I gain by buying some new ram? I have 5gb of DDR2 ram and would not like to just have that much ram just sitting around.
October 13, 2009 1:40:11 PM

What board are you looking at? can you give me the name and model of the RAM that you currently have? Yes AM2+/AM3 supports 1066 if the motherboard supports it. But you will also have to make sure that the board supports the processor, not all boards supports ALL AM2+/AM3 some are limited.
October 13, 2009 1:57:30 PM

Well , originally I was looking at this socket AM3 board , the ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G motherboard , (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) but I don't think I will be able to get it because it is calling for DDR3 ram. I could buy some ram, but I am trying to upgrade rather cheaply on this one.

For a socket AM2+/AM3 board I was looking at the ASUS M4A78 Plus motherboard, (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...).

I currently have 5 gbs of DDR2 PC 6400 ram in my computer and would like to know what this limitation on the above AM2+/AM3 motherboard means * Due to AMD CPU limitation, DDR2 1066 is supported by AM2+/AM3 CPU for one DIMM per channel only.
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a c 163 } Memory
October 13, 2009 2:09:41 PM

The problem with the mobo AM3 that support DDR2 is that aren't from good brand. In this case, is better that you buy a AM2+ that support CPU AM3 and DDR2.

DD2 1066 AM2+/AM3 for one DIMM per channel only, means that you can't do a dual channel. A good mobo AM2+/AM3 is the MSI K9A2 Platinum, I have one and a X4 955 with 6GB 800MHz....also support 1066MHz in dual channel and 8GB max.
October 13, 2009 2:10:33 PM

Well If you want to use the RAM you have go with the M4A78, Some motherboards are limited to the CPU wattage meaning some only support up to 95watts and some can go higher. if you are looking at any of the Phenom II CPU make sure that the board supports it, I got burned by buying a board that supported AM2+/AM3 but it did not accept the CPU due to wattage limitations....:( I did not do my research)

If you plan on using DDR2 1066 you will need to tweak the BIOS. To be honest PC2 6400 should be fine, it runs at 800mhz and that is listed on your board. Do you intend to overclock? If not go for it. What CPU do you currently have on you current system? or do you plan on buying another one?
October 13, 2009 2:17:34 PM

I currently have a AMD Athlon 4600 AM2 CPU and will definitely be upgrading this CPU, to at least a triple core processor or a fast as hell dual core (3.0 Ghz or higher). I think that it is the bottleneck on my system. Also will I have to tweak my bios with the M4A78 if I have my PC 6400 ram, and is it true that I will not be able to run dual channel on this board? Also, I won't be overclocking since I will be using the stock cooler that comes with my new CPU. Also, which is better to have for gaming/media center pc, a fast as hell dual core processor or a more moderate triple core processor?
October 13, 2009 2:26:07 PM

Get the AMD Phenom II 550 Black Edition here is the link

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

If you want a fast CPU with a reasonable price, I personally do not like triplecore. For a few more $$ you can get a quad or a few less $$ get a good Dual core. No you will not need to tweak for PC2 6400, only for PC8500. As for Gaming A Quad is best, or a good Dualcore with a good cooler. The one I listed above can handle Mid-level gamming if you want to run stuff like World of Worldcraft, now for Crysis and COD consider the Quad.
October 13, 2009 2:35:25 PM

I actually do want to try and run crysis so I guess I may need to look at a quad core in the future. Just for giggles though, what motherboard do you suggest I get? all of the AM2+/Am3 boards I have looked at they only have one PCI 2.0 16x slot, I would like at least two , to keep my options open.
October 13, 2009 2:37:22 PM

Oh and I want to spend at most $250 for both the processor and motherboard.
October 13, 2009 2:46:39 PM

LOL, wow man it will cost you about $200 for the quad alone! and about $180 to 200 for the board. The Phenom II 550 can unlock other cores but it is unstable, i would leave it at Dual core. well this is good, but you will need a good Graphics card(s)

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

look around Tiger, Newegg and also Ebay (sometimes you find good deals there, DONT buy anything used or "open box" I'm going to be honest with ya $250 limit will get you Mid-level gaming rig you will need to shell out a few more $$ for a good one.....especially if you want to run Crossfire or SLI
October 13, 2009 5:11:08 PM

I already have a Radeon HD 4890 video card so I don't need to buy a video card. I just need a decent board now, which will allow me to upgrade in the future to a quad core. Right now, a quad core is not really in the cards with my budget and I completely understand that. I was looking at mobos in the range of $80-$120 which I guess maybe too cheap for what I am looking for. What should I be looking for in a decent motherboard anyway, so that I can have some frame of reference for what I need to eventually get. Also, if I need to up my budget, I am certainly down for that but would like to know where my money is going to go.

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a b } Memory
October 13, 2009 5:51:58 PM
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Back to your original questions...

All AM3 motherboards use DDR3 memory. All motherboards with AM(anything but 3) in the socket support use DDR2. So an AM2+/AM3 board is an AM2 motherboard with support for AM3 CPUs - and uses DDR2. (there may have been some odd boards that supported both DDR2 and DDR3 but I believe all are gone now)

The limitation about 1066 RAM and dual-channel DOES NOT mean you can't run dual-channel with an AM2+/AM3 motherboard. It means that if you put 4 modules into the board, instead of just two, then the max speed of the RAM will be 800MHz rather than 1066. You can still use 1066 RAM and can put in a 3rd/4th stick of 1066, but it won't run at 1066. This is a minor thing, I run my 1066 RAM at 800 because it's faster as 800 anyway.

Dual-channel requires matched pairs of RAM. You mention you have 5GBs - what is it composed of? If it's 2 2GB modules and 2 512 modules you should be able to use it. You never want to use an odd number of modules, or un-matched pairs of modules, in any dual-channel MB. The reduction of speed from losing the dual-channel won't be offset by the extra RAM in any uses I've seen.

The AMD Phenom II x2 550 is an excellent CPU. I use it and love it. About 70% of these CPUs can have the other cores unlocked making them equivalent to an x4 950. I've not read anywhere of this being un-stable when it works. But it doesn't work for about 30% of the cpu's.

Look at the voltage requirements of your current RAM. If it's all under 2.0V or so, you'll be fine with any motherboard. If it wants more than 2.1V, then some boards won't support it at its higher speeds. This is a consideration for any board choice.

There are many Asus and Gigabyte boards which allow the full range of future CPU choices and still work with your current one. All under $120. I recommend using Giga's site and choosing the AM2+ socket type. Look at the 785 / 790 boards. Make sure as mentioned above they support the higher watt CPUs. Use the board compare feature.

Here's another way to search:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
October 13, 2009 5:54:07 PM

Thanks everyone for the help.
a b } Memory
October 13, 2009 5:58:49 PM

LOL, ok! I've been editing my post, I'm bad about that, so make sure you've read the full edited one.

Just double-chk all the items mentioned by the posters - even with the few errors.

Before ordering any board, visit their website and read everything there - including the manual front to back. Do some searches with the model number at google and here to see what problems folks have had.
a b } Memory
October 13, 2009 6:00:49 PM

saint19 said:
The problem with the mobo AM3 that support DDR2 is that aren't from good brand. In this case, is better that you buy a AM2+ that support CPU AM3 and DDR2.

DD2 1066 AM2+/AM3 for one DIMM per channel only, means that you can't do a dual channel. A good mobo AM2+/AM3 is the MSI K9A2 Platinum, I have one and a X4 955 with 6GB 800MHz....also support 1066MHz in dual channel and 8GB max.


There is no such thing as an AM3 mobo that supports DDR2 modules.

The board is either AM2/AM2+/AM3 = DDR2 / AM3 = DDR3

1066Mhz on a AM2/AM2+/AM3 board is achievable as long as you do not use more than 4GB, anything over 4GB (2 dims) will drop to 800Mhz by default.

The 790x, 780a and some 785g are great motherboards that support DDR2 modules.....
!