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New User With Motherboard Questions

Last response: in Motherboards
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December 13, 2009 2:24:37 AM

Hi everyone, :hello: 

I just joined the Tom's Hardware community after being introduced to the site only 3 months ago, I am not a frequent visitor but with my warranty about to expire on my current computer and it being outdated I felt that I would give myself challenge by building my own system.

This is my current system setup and I have begun to notice it is getting slow and rather outdated:

OS: Windows Vista Home Premium (32 Bit)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q6600 (2.40 Ghz, 1066 MHz FSB, 8 MB cache)
RAM: 3072 MB 667 MHz Dual-Channel DDR2 SDRAM (2-1024 MB modules & 2-512 MB modules)
HDD: 1000 GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA II/300 w/16 MB cache & Raid 0 (2-500 GB HDD)
Monitor: Gateway 42\" Widescreen High Def. Performace LCD Display
Optical Drive: 16X Super MFDVDRW/DVD-RAM+/-R Double Layer
GPU: ATI Radeon HD4870 X2
Sound: Creative Sound Blaster X-FI XtremeAudio PCI-E Card
Chassis: Gateway 7-Bay BTX tower case
Chipset/MOBO: Intel 975X Chipset w/DDR2 Support & Intel Core Duo Support
PSU: 700 Watt PSU (Unknown Manufacturer)

Due to me wanting to upgrading my whole system I felt the motherboard is the most important part of the system. I started searching about a week ago for possibility's and the amount of motherboards on market with sorts of do hickeys and thing a migis blew me out of the water.

By looking around Newegg a bit this is what I have come up for a starter system with the very good possibility of change to it:

OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
CPU: Core i7 975 Extreme Edition
RAM: ????
HDD(s): 2 Western Digital 1TB HDD, 1 Intel SSD 160GB
Moniter: ????
Optical Drive: ????
GPU: 2 ATI Radeon HD4870 X2 (Crossfire)
Sound: ????
Chassis: ????
Chipset/MOBO: ????
PSU: Corsair CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V

The major problem I am having is Crossfire. I see motherboards that say they have 4 PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots in x16, x8, x8, x8. What does this all mean? Will my Crossfire work in x8 or do I need two x16 slots for it to work?

Could anyone also suggest some good motherboards that might fit my needs?
I will post other questions here as I continue my search for an upgrade system.
Thanks in advanced.

Cheers,
Adam
a b V Motherboard
December 13, 2009 2:58:06 AM

Wow, that is not a very outdated system. It should be fairly fast. Do you regularly defrag, virus scan, and clean up your hard drive? In what ways is it "slowing down?" Have you ever done a system re-install?

I don't think I would add a second HD 4870X2 if you have that kind of money to spend. Prolly would look at one or 2 5870's. 5870=direct X 11.

Also my understanding is that the 975 extreme edition is overpriced, when a i5 or i7 920 can be overclocked easily to 4 GHZ.

My recommendation would be if you really want to spend some money, start with a i5/p55 mobo combo or go with the i7 920/x58 combo. Get an SSD and the OS and you should be fairly flying.
Also grab some ddr3 ram with low latency timings. 4 gigs for i5, 6gigs for i7.
One caveat, not sure how much more will be forthcoming for LGA 1366. I would go for i5 for the 1156 socket personally.


I wouldn't worry too much about the PCI-e lanes. Usually the main slot is 16X while the other crossfire/sli lanes are 8x. Typically the speed of 8x vs 16x is negligible in real world performance.
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