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Need Advice For Computer Upgrade Please !

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September 7, 2009 9:46:53 PM

I bought my computer 3 years ago, I hand picked each component, ive been pretty happy with it but its starting to show its age now and I basically just want it to be faster, I do A LOT of multitasking, work in photoshop mostly and play games too (Battlefield2142, DarkFall).

I would like to do the best upgrades i can with a budget of 250$ to 450$ max... not sure if buying a new cpu is worth it, i could overclock mine...

Here are my main specs :

Motherboard : ASUS P5W DH Deluxe
CPU : Intel Core 2 Duo 6400 ( 2.13Ghz )
Ram : Kingston KVR667D2N5k2 2x1g DDR2 PC667/PC5300
Graphic Card : NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT (note : this was purchased 1.5 year ago, so not looking to upgrade this )
Hard Drives :
1 x WesterDigital WD2500JS ATA 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb
1 x WesterDigital WD2500KS ATA 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb
Power Supply : Antec Smart Power 2.0 SP500 ATX P4 500W 20/24Pin
Case : Antec NSK6500 Mid Tour
OS : Vista 32bit, but planning on upgrading to Windows 7 asap ( 22 october ? )

What would be the components to upgrade and with what should i replace them ?

Some of my thoughts/concerns :
1. Will my power supply be good enough for the upgrades ?
2. Since i have 2x1gig of PC667 memory, Is it better to REPLACE with 2x2gig PC800 or to ADD 2x2gig PC800 (6gig total but running at PC667)?
3. Does the Brand of memory matter much ? Do i need to look at that or just find the cheapest 2x2gig PC800 ram i can get ?
4. Will i need to get better cooling for my CPU/Case ?

5. Concerning the Video Card, i bought that one about 1.5 year ago or so, I was thinking i should keep it for now as i can still run games decently at 1680x1024, maybe in 1 year id be ready to upgrade that, unless you guys say its a must... Instead of a video card, i was thinking maybe to buy better hard drive, however it seems the better hard drives ( 10k RPM ) are too expensive for the amount of gigs they offer... perhaps i could just buy a third drive, and put my first 2 250gb drives in raid... ive never done that though so not sure how it works or if its worth it, but i need my data to be safe, this computer is for work mostly, but with a decent amount of game playing
a b B Homebuilt system
September 7, 2009 10:22:02 PM

1. It depends on the upgrade, but it probably is powerful enough. What do you actually want to upgrade? Motherboard, CPU and memory?
2. Get new DDR2 800 MHz memory modules and sell the old modules. Running 800 MHz modules at 667 MHz would work, but unless you really need 6 GB, don't do it.
3. Get good modules if you don't like crashes. If you keep that P5W DH motherboard, bear in mind that it's a bit picky. You should look for 800 MHz modules having tight timings and needing only 1.8V, e.g., G.Skill PI Black that runs very well on that motherboard.
4. Again it all depends on what components you replace.
5. If not losing data is important, then don't use RAID 0. A faster hard disk like the WD6401AALS isn't expensive and it's faster than your current hard disks.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 7, 2009 10:25:44 PM

If you dont want to setup to a i5 setup i would go with this and add a new GPU in a year when you are ready


Savings Total Price
select item 1 quantity of item 1 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
Item #: N82E16822136319
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy $74.99


select item 2 quantity of item 2 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Tuniq TX-2 Cooling Thermal Compound - Retail
Item #: N82E16835154003
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$2.00 Instant
$6.99
$4.99


select item 3 quantity of item 3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ - Retail
Item #: N82E16820231122
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy $57.99


select item 4 quantity of item 4 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9550 - Retail
Item #: N82E16819115041
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy -$10.00 Instant
$229.99
$219.99
1 CPU Mag Gift - 6 free issues of CPU Magazine - OEM
Item #: N82E16800995076
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$35.94 Saving
$35.94
$0.00


select item 6 quantity of item 6 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail
Item #: N82E16835233029
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options35-233-029|hide options35-233-029)
Service Net Replacement Extended Warranty Plan
The product will be replaced and shipped directly to you at no charge(more info35-233-029.0.18)

1 year: $6.99
2 year: $11.99
$44.98
Subtotal: $402.94
Tax: $33.24
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 8, 2009 2:47:22 AM

Tech advice:

1) Graphics card: If you don't upgrade this then it's pointless to upgrade anything else for gaming.

2) RAM: Don't get different RAM, but do get another 1GB of RAM for a total of 3GB if you can simply add 2x512MB. Get the EXACT same RAM. Mixing can easily cause crashes. Adding more RAM to 32-bit Vista will slightly speed up multi-tasking. It won't affect your games. A 32-bit system with a 512MB video card might be able to use up to 3.2GB of the 4GB. With older motherboard there can be issues with having 4GB (some programs too). 3GB of RAM is ideal for a 32-bit Operating System. (64-bit actually has a 15 to 20% larger footprint thus eating up much of the advantage of 3GB vs 4GB anyway.)

3) Vista vs Windows 7. It's not worth the upgrade. I've extensively tested all three. Yes, I love Windows 7 and despite what you may think from Reviews, most people will see little difference. You will see NO difference when running a game or Photoshop. The differences for most people are more about the user interface.

4) Hard drive. A newer hard drive will provide a slightly snappier multi-tasking experience and slightly faster load times for games. You won't see much difference in Photoshop and likely none during game play besides level loads (even then it may only be 10 to 20% difference).

Summary:

I know quite a bit about how to balance components, the general Windows user experience and upgrading. Choosing to upgrade to Windows 7 but NOT upgrade your video card makes no sense as does upgrading slightly to different RAM. After careful consideration this is by far your best avenue. Keep Vista 32-bit and do this:

1) WD 640GB Caviar hard drive
http://techreport.com/articles.x/14380

2) extra 1GB (2x512MB) of your existing RAM (possibly substitute for RAM of SAME timings; recommend only if you can't find the same or it's far too expensive)

3) HD4770 512MB video card

*At any one time, your computer is limited by at least one component. Load times, booting Windows (you should use Hibernation) and general use is often limited by the hard drive. Games are usually limited by the CPU or GPU.

The above parts are ideal for your system. The chosen video card maxes out your CPU's capabilites and is also the most power efficient. This has the added benefit of your not needing a new PSU.

You can go whatever way you choose but if you spend your money on Windows 7 and 4GB of RAM you will see no game or application difference. You will only see a slight boost in your multitasking and basic Windows user interface.

The newer hard drive boosts the multi-tasking, then extra GB of RAM is all you need to provide additional application buffering for multi-tasking and the general use experience and the video card will provide better gaming (and improvements in other applications such as Photoshop when the software begins to take advantage of it).
a b B Homebuilt system
September 8, 2009 3:08:40 AM

I should add:
1) CLONE to your new hard drive (leave your old Windows drive until satisfied your new drive is working. At least a month.)

2) Don't add all new components at once. I would add the video card first, then run 3DMark2001se or newer in a loop overnight to test. Run for a few days. Then add your extra RAM and run memtest overnight. Run for a few days. Finally, clone your hard drive and run for a month before reusing the old drive. To reclaim the old drive you should simply hook it back up and FORMAT it or use it as a USB drive. Make sure you FORMAT the correct drive! Do a FULL FORMAT to check for bad sectors and build a table. For thoroughness, then copy from your other secondary drive and do the same thing to it.

3) If possible, obtain a copy of Acronis True Image and create an IMAGE of your hard drive. Put this on a second hard drive. Create an Acronis recovery CD. If your primary Windows drive crashes or has software problems beyond fixing you can insert the CD and RESTORE the image of your C-Drive from your backup. It is an EXACT image. I've done this MANY times with no issues. Choose the second highest compresion level. Before backing up I recommend going into System RESTORE and turning it OFF then ON again to free up possibly several GB of files (you don't need them if you have an image) but it's nice to have it on if you install a program that screws things up.

About System Restore:
The longer you go since a Restore point the more problems you'll have if you go back to one. It works quite well but if you've installed several programs since a point was set you can have issues. I tend to create one before adding major programs (if not done automatically). If I have no problems I turn it OFF then ON again which wipes out previous data. Again, I do this before creating an Image too to reduce the Image size.

C-Drive Images like Acronis makes are invaluable. Especially for prebuilt systems where people discover they have no Windows discs when there hard drives crash! Most prebuilt desktops and laptops have a Factory Image that you can Restore to by pressing a Function button on bootup. They are on a hidden partition usually on the only hard drive. Not only does restoring everything since you bought it but it's also impossible to use if your hard drive fails!
September 8, 2009 6:31:42 AM

PhotonBoy,
You seem to be a real "connoisseur", but I really do not feel the need to upgrade my graphic card for now, its running all the games i play decently, I bought it not too long ago so i want to get as much mileage as i can with it.

As for the ram, I looked and found what appears to be the same ram I have in my system for sale at 35$ here , i didnt open the case of my computer to verify but it seems like the same thing, same brand and same model #KVR667D2N5k2...

The question now is, should i buy that 35$ 2x1gig kit to get a total of 4gig PC667 OR instead spend 60$ to REPLACE all my current Ram with 4gig (2x2gig) of PC800 ( this for example )

I could also pay 67$ and go for a 4gig (2x2gig) combo (here) of the same kingston ram i have to get 6gig of PC667 , but apparently If what you say is true, there is no benefit in having 6gig of ram.

The WD 640GB Caviar looks good, though thanks for the suggestion.

Last thing on my mind... if i dont get a video card, i guess a cpu would be the next best thing, as niklas suggested, the Q9550 seems to fit in my price range, However, do i need to get that extra cooling, doesnt the Q9550 come with its cooling and thermal paste ? If I do need to get another Fan, then isnt there something that would do the job but that is cheaper than the one suggested at 45$ ?

Thanks for advices everyone
a b B Homebuilt system
September 8, 2009 9:44:42 AM

I would get 4 gigs of new PC800

No you dont need the fan for the CPU, but if you want to OC you will need one. (Also the paste comes on the stock fan not the cpu)

Cheeper CPU FAN
September 8, 2009 3:10:46 PM

^^ I agree. Increasing RAM speed will show a noticeable difference, and taking it to 4 gigs will improve multi-tasking.

If you're not seeing the results you want, improving HD performance might help. After this, saving up for a new system might be the best option (short of OC'ing your CPU and/or GPU?). I tend to avoid giving slight boosts to old hardware when the costs can quickly add up - I'd rather deal with the slow speed and put the $ towards a new system.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 8, 2009 10:02:54 PM

reply to your last:

For RAM, assuming you are sticking with Vista 32-bit (you should) then your best bet is to add 1GB. Again, if you add 2GB then you can only address about 1.2GB of it anyway (the 4GB 32-bit limitation is not a System RAM upper limit it's a TOTAL memory limit of which your video card and other components are a part. A 512MB video card will use slightly more than 512MB. A 64-bit system can address a lot more RAM but extensive testing shows no real benefit above 4GB except in extreme cases such as massive Photoshop files. There's a huge benefit from 1GB to 2GB, a small benefit from 2GB to 3GB and the difference between 3GB and 4GB for most people is not noticeable.)

About the CPU:
1) It won't make much difference to upgrade for multitasking.
2) It will make a difference for programs that max out your CPU such as video encoding.
3) Some games MIGHT run a little faster but nowhere near as fast as they would by upgrading your graphics card instead.

The difficulty with helping you "upgrade" is that you haven't specified exactly what programs you wish to be faster.

The following can help you:
Open the Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL). Choose "minimize...", "hide.." and "low update." Leave it running in the background then use whatever program you think you need a faster CPU to get better results for. If your CPU isn't going to 100% then you have no reason to get a faster one.

Summary:
Based on what you've said so far I'd just get this:
1) 2x512MB RAM (same stuff you have)
2) The 640GB WD hard drive.

*Remember, upgrading a component only makes sense if you utilize it. We seem to agree on the RAM and hard drive for a faster general experience. Since you don't need faster gaming that leaves the CPU. Using Task Manager can help you decide but unless you are encoding video or doing some other CPU intensive task a lot I'd keep your existing CPU.

As I type this my CPU is at 3%. I have and HD3870 512MB video card. I play a lot of games and do the basic internet surfing/e-mail stuff. The only time I've ever had my CPU at 100% was when doing a video conversion or using WinRar. Winrar was only for two minutes anyway.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 8, 2009 10:18:00 PM

Audio:
If that money's burning a hole in your pocket and you don't have very good audio, consider getting better speakers and/or an audio card. People often neglect this.

I know it's not in your price range but I added M-Audio AV40 2.0 speakers and an Auzentech Forte X-Fi sound card. I got both on sale for about $210 USD total. WOW! You can do a lot for $100 if you shop around and read comments.

The Auzentech Forte for example can turn create surround sound in normal stereo headphones (or virtual surround with desktop stereo speakers or 2.1).
September 8, 2009 11:23:44 PM

photonboy said:
reply to your last:

The difficulty with helping you "upgrade" is that you haven't specified exactly what programs you wish to be faster.

The following can help you:
Open the Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL). Choose "minimize...", "hide.." and "low update." Leave it running in the background then use whatever program you think you need a faster CPU to get better results for. If your CPU isn't going to 100% then you have no reason to get a faster one.


Alright, I am looking at my CPU Usage at the moment and it is in between 10% to 20%. Memory is at 57%.
If i move my mouse in circles continuously it goes up to 30% to 40%.
If I quickly scroll up / down as fast as I can onthis page it goes up to 40%-70%

To give you a better understanding of my computer usage :

Ive got a bunch of firefox tabs open and photoshop running atm... I have 15 taskbar buttons ( some are grouped )... this is not much, the worst case scenario ( which happens maybe once or twice per week ) is i will have dreamweaver, illustrator, photoshop, outlook, words, excel, msn, firefox ( with tons of tabs ), running plus a few other programs like font management programs, and other stuff in the system tray. I also sometimes run Darkfall in windowed mode, so that i can work and do a few things in-game at the same time ( afk crafting/gathering ressources ).

Note I use a Dual Monitor setup, not sure if this is important... One screen is 1680x1024 and the other is 1280x1024.


The thing that annoys me the most about my system performance is the time it takes to load things, photoshop files can take for ever, sometimes i need to work on very large artwork in 300dpi resolution for print, and that is a real real pain in the ass, once the file is open it lags so much, just moving a selection can be very long.

Typically though i do web stuff, in 72dpi, it takes a while to load the psd, but then once it is open it runs ok, depending on the project im working on... I do have tons and tons of layers in my files, i like to have all the designs of each webpage in the same psd to avoid having to open multiple files and doing edits on each one... I also like to keep previous version of design I made in layers in case i want to revert back, or show a few different options to the client.

I do not do any video editing or any kind. ( or very very rarely )

Anyhow, maybe you are right, maybe I dont need a Q9550, it might be overkill, but something faster would be nice, maybe I should just try to overclock my E6400 ? For sure i'd need to buy a fan though... OR I could get something cheaper like the E8400 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037)

As for my video card, well maybe i do need a better one, but since i bought this one 1.5 year ago I do want to keep it for now, perhaps I can overclock it thought, i think it could give me 10fps extra on most games.

As for windows 7, well from what I can tell everyone says its better than vista, and most importantly, I dont like vista, I find it sluggish, it transfer files so much slower than XP, so I cant wait for Windows 7... I will upgrade to windows 7 for sure eventually, the only questions is when, and also, should i go 32-bit or 64-bit.

a b B Homebuilt system
September 9, 2009 9:30:52 PM

Windows 7:
If you get it, without a doubt get the 64-bit version. Windows 8 is apparently going to be 64-bit ONLY. Driver support is excellent and it gives you the option of having more than 3GB of RAM.

I don't find Windows 7 that much faster than Vista. You need to take into account it's lower RAM usage. If you add another 1GB of RAM to Vista it will work a lot better.

CPU and Task Manager:
I don't mean monitor for 5 seconds. I mean monitor for at least 15 minutes. If you set the Task Manager to LOW it will take samples over a longer period of time. For example, do the most demanding things that you would NORMALLY do. Open a web page or two and have Photoshop running as well for example. Now do some picture processing or whatever. Again, try to think of what you would actually do to stress your CPU.

Now after 15 minutes TAB back to your minimized Task Manager and look at your CPU's history. If it isn't hitting 100% then you would see no difference if you bought a faster CPU.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 9, 2009 9:34:51 PM

Video drivers:
I assume you update your video drivers. I had problems with keeping two different resolutions for both my CRT monitor and HDTV on my ATI HD3870. They just recently updated and now I can set my main CRT monitor to 1600x1200 (150% DPI scaling) @75Hz and my HDTV is my extended monitor (1360x786 @60Hz).

Just thought I'd say that ATI's drivers now work fine now for dual-screen in case you care in the future.

My dad has an NVidia card and I noticed they changed some things relating to having two monitors of different resolutions so if you don't have the latest NVidia drivers you may wish to get them.
September 12, 2009 1:19:30 AM

It wasnt easy but I did A LOT of shopping ( in montreal ) to find these parts:

· 1. Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $81+ taxes.

· 2. Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4 DDR2-800 CL4 $69 + taxes.

· 3. Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9550 $249 + taxes.

· 4. ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler Rev.2 $35 + taxes.

Total (taxes included) = ~500$ (50$ above my max budget) BTW this is CAD$



Those are the best prices I could find...
It is cheaper for me to buy these parts at this price locally than to order them online because of shipping/handling fees ( i checked tons of stores online, the prices are better but when it gets to the shipping/handling, cost is always equal or over what i'd pay locally ).


So now I need to reduce costs...



First thing I could cut is the Artic Cooling Fan... that means I could still overclock the Q9550 but the results wouldnt be as good.


Instead of getting the Q9550 I could get the Q9400, it sells for 210$ around here.

Or Instead of a Quad Core, Another option is to buy a E8400 /or E8200 ( 3.0Ghz /or 2.66Ghz 6mb L2 cache, 1333mhz fsb ) , which sells for 185$ /or 137$ around here, I could overclock it aswell.

But if i go with a C2D, then im not sure if it is worth it to get the E8400/8200, I might aswell stay with the current cpu I have ?

Maybe I dont need the Q9550 ... what if i try to overclock my current E6400 ( 2.13Ghz 2mb L2 Cache 1066mhz fsb ) to around 3.0ghz, maybe i can reach that with stock cooling ? ... if i need to i can still buy that 35$ Arctic Cooling fan, and that should be enough for me to reach 3.0Ghz at least... no ? I know there is a "luck" variable in this thought... and I know it wont be a Quad core... but would this be enough to make my computer last until i buy a completely new system ( in about 1.5 or 2 years )

If I save on the cpu I could upgrade the WD hard drive to a 750gb or 1tb model... The 1tb WD Caviar Black is 105$



So these are my options right now... What would you guys do ?

Thanks for the help!
a b B Homebuilt system
September 12, 2009 2:55:11 AM

You can order the same parts for $416.15 plus GST from DirectCanada.com. Delivery is free, therefore it would cost $436.96 delivered to your door. The CPU is slightly more expensive, but all other parts are cheaper.
September 13, 2009 2:38:54 AM

GhislainG, Thats a great find ! thanks man,

However I did make a mistake in my previous post I said I had check for the prices of CRUCIAL memory, but that is not true... I must have copy pasted the wrong text, because the actual memory I was looking at is G Skill :
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL4D-4GBPK Price is 69$ still.

DirectCanada.com does not have any of those G Skill, and the reason why I wanted those is because of their low voltage ( 1.8v-1.9v) which apparently is recommended for my motherboard as people have been reporting that the P5W is picky with RAM especially when overclocking ( which I intend to do )

Another of my concern for buying online is the hard-drive... I dont know which online stores are good or bad, but I know that some stores do not properly package the hard drives that they ship and it is kinda risky... Not sure if this is a problem with directcanada.com but i think newegg.com had alot of bad complains about this since it is very easy to damage hard drives.

I didnt complete the checkout process but I went through a few step and noticed that they have an insurance which would cost about 6$ extra. I guess it would be wise to get this insurance...

Also the good thing about directcanada is that they sell the WD Caviar Black 1TB for only 89$, which compared to the 81$ I would pay for the 640GB version here is a really good deal... It actually come up to around the same price because here i need to pay 2 taxes GST(5%) and QST(7.5%) where has if i order from directcanada.com i only have to pay GST. So thats good. The 640gb version at directcanada.com is 75$ so its only 14$ more...

Only problem is the ram... And the HD shipping risks...

So if i get the Q9550 + Arctic Cooling + Gskill CL4 2x2gb(currently out of stock) + WD Caviar Black 1tb the total is 445$ , plus 6$ for insurance + 5% GST tax = 475$ ... Not bad, because I get 1tb instead of 640gb... but its still a bit over budget... I was thinking I could go for the Q9400, this would reduce the price by 40$ so total would be 435$ which is now in my budget. The difference is only 2.66ghz to 2.83ghz, I think if i overclock the Q9400 I could reach about the same speeds as if upgrading the Q9550 no ? If i can get 3.0Ghz i'd be happy... not sure how hard this would be...

What do you think ?

a b B Homebuilt system
September 13, 2009 3:31:49 AM

Quote:
Another of my concern for buying online is the hard-drive... I dont know which online stores are good or bad, but I know that some stores do not properly package the hard drives that they ship and it is kinda risky...
DirectCanada always packaged them properly and so did Newegg. However I prefer DirectCanada because they ship from BC while Newegg sometimes ship from the US and the delivery is over one week instead of 2 days.

The G.Skill F2-6400CL4D-4GBPK is what I'm using in mine. You'll have to set the speed and timings manually.
September 13, 2009 4:55:20 AM

Alright, well directcanada.com it is !
I sent them an email asking when they would receive more G. Skill F2-6400CL4D-4GBPK. Hopefully they will have some soon and I can order.

GhislainG said:
Quote:

The G.Skill F2-6400CL4D-4GBPK is what I'm using in mine. You'll have to set the speed and timings manually.
Quote:


Hmm, i didnt know that, What do you mean excatly ?
I thought I simply had to replace the ram sticks currently in my system ?
September 13, 2009 6:47:30 AM

Hmm I googled for "p5w deluxe q9550" and see quite a few people having problems... Apparently because it is 1333mhz ...


Crap... now im not sure anymore.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 13, 2009 1:46:07 PM

What I mean is that it won't detect 4-4-4-12 timings at 800 MHz because, unlike several newer motherboards, the BIOS doesn't have an EPP profile. If you leave the settings on Auto, the RAM will be detected at the JEDEDC #2 settings (5-5-5-15 and 1.8V) which is fine.

I haven't tested the P5W DH Deluxe with a 45nm CPU, but it's stable with a Q6600. However I know that EIST doesn't work properly, i.e., the multiplier doesn't always drop down to 6 when the system is idle.

Did you read this FAQ on support.asus.com? Due to chipset limitation, i975X chipset is not able to support all the features of 45nm CPU. The following is a list of the limitations (my comments are in italics):

1. VT function does not work. Will you need it? If so, then you'll have to use a 65nm CPU, e.g., Q6600 or Q6700.
2. The maximum FSB is capped at 1066 MHz (it can be overclocked to 1333 MHz).
3. 0.5 CPU multiplier is not supported. The Q9550 has a multiplier of 8.5 and the Q9400 has a multiplier of 8.
4. L2 cache size is not recognized correctly. However L2 cache is still functioning.

Just make sure that you fully understand the pros and cons of a 45nm CPU upgrade on that motherboard.
September 13, 2009 6:25:28 PM

Quote:

Just make sure that you fully understand the pros and cons of a 45nm CPU upgrade on that motherboard.


Ok I dont fully understand these cons...
Quote:
1. VT function does not work. Will you need it? If so, then you'll have to use a 65nm CPU, e.g., Q6600 or Q6700.

What does VT function do ?
As for the 65nm cpus, it seems Q6600 or Q6700 are harder to find, I couldnt find the q6700 at all ( locally or at directcanada.com) and the q6600 is 240$ for the regular version but there is also a second Q6600 version ( Stepping G0 SLACR ) for 250$, not sure what the difference is but in any case, they are both more expensive than the Q9400 ( 220$ ) ... So i'd like to avoid Q6xxx.

Quote:
2. The maximum FSB is capped at 1066 MHz (it can be overclocked to 1333 MHz).

Not quite sure what this means, but is it easy to do so ? Are there any risk that it wont work ? If it doesnt work, what will happen ? my new cpu it will be underclocked ? Doesnt FSB affect the RAM aswell somehow ?

Quote:
3. 0.5 CPU multiplier is not supported. The Q9550 has a multiplier of 8.5 and the Q9400 has a multiplier of 8.

So... this means the Q9550 is NOT supported ? It will work, but it wont run at its stock speed. This means there is no point in getting the Q9550 ? I find this pretty stupid...

Quote:
4. L2 cache size is not recognized correctly. However L2 cache is still functioning.

So in bios it will display the wrong number, but in reality it will still be using all the L2 cache... this makes no difference right ?


Those are some important issues... on top of that i see reports of people having problems with their p5w dh deluxe and q9550 , maybe its because they didnt properly update their bios or correctly set their bios settings, but in anycase this makes me very doubtful ...

man, this is getting freaking complicated... Thanks for all the help guys, keep it coming please !
a b B Homebuilt system
September 13, 2009 7:29:07 PM

Quote:
What does VT function do ?
VT is Virtualization Technology. If you don't know what it is, then you probably don't need it. It's required to run an XP virtual machine under Windows 7, but then again you most likely don't care.
I bought a used Q6600 G0 on Kijiji Ottawa for $150. That was a good buy. No store should have a version older than the better G0 stepping in stock.
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Doesnt FSB affect the RAM aswell somehow ?
Asus allows a FSB up to 1333 MHz. While it affects memory frequency, the BIOS will automatically change the ratio to get the memory working at 800 MHz. If need be when overclocking, you can also set the ration manually.
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So... this means the Q9550 is NOT supported ? It will work, but it wont run at its stock speed. This means there is no point in getting the Q9550 ? I find this pretty stupid...
It isn't stupid, it's a chipset restriction. The Q9550 is supported with the caveat that it can't be clocked at FSB * 8.5. It will run at the Q9400 or Q9450 speed, i.e., 8 * 333 MHz = 2.66 GHz.
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So in bios it will display the wrong number, but in reality it will still be using all the L2 cache... this makes no difference right ?
That's correct.


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