Hello again. Have another question for everyone. I recently posted in the Win7 forum here about some strange crashes that I had been having frequently with my machine, and had asked for some thoughts on the matter. While waiting for an answer, I did some additional testing of my parts and found that they all checked out, including my OS (Win7 Ultimate 64-bit).
But I did do some research on my parts while I was performing matinence. I was able to determine, for example, that my OCZ DDR3 memory was fairly stable in its own right. But on the OCZ fourm I did see a few people complaining about their Intel DP45SG having issues with various sticks of their memory. This was important as the DP45SG is the model of my motherboard, presently. Posts like these, on Intel's own forums and on some other tech websites have led me to the conclusion that the DP45SG is somewhat touchy to the memory (and to a lesser extent the video card(s)) you throw in it. Since I've had more than one problem with this board model already (In fact, I'm currently on my second DP45SG board, my first was RMA'ed after the Northbridge was DOA), I would like to replace it post haste with something that is less unstable if it is possible. I was wondering if anyone here would be able to offer a good alternative to this part.
So, basically, what would be a good motherboard that is Socket 775 that can run a Intel QX9650 processor like a champ, is VERY tolerant about RAM and video card setups, that also has four DDR3 slots that can be taken up to at least 8GB (though 16 would be ideal), and also runs in 64-bit?
I would really appreciate any help, as I feel like I've been building the same computer for 3 months, and I would just like it to work for awhile.
I really do need help, but I did some research on potential replacements. Incidently I had another freeze recently and now my ethernet jack is functioning incorrectly. Thank God I got my Dell Dimension 8200 resurrected recently.
Anyway, since I have zero interest in wasting time with Intel again, at least in so far as their MBs are concerned, I am looking at some other brands that have produced some possible replacements. In particular, ASUS and Gigabyte seem to be the most likely right now.
My current machine runs a ASUS BR drive, and I am very happy with the build quality of that part. In addition I've seen some good things come out of the ASUS stable MB-wise over the years. However, if the multitude of negative reviews on Egghead...sorry, Newegg are anything to go by, their boards are great until they fail, and if they do then Great Ghu help you if you have to deal with their customer support. So its best to get it right the first time with their parts.
On the other hand I have an AMD Gigabyte board in a converted AT-to-mATX case downstairs, and it seems to be a solid investment so far, and I was pleasantly surprised with their prices for the quality.
So, I have narrowed it down to three four boards (more the merrier, eh?) that could operate as a replacement for my DP45SG: GA-EP45T-USB3P v1.0
This Gigabyte board looks like a good contender, its received generally positive reviews on Newegg. While it's ATI rather than nVidia in the PCI-E equation (I'd prefer the latter brand) and at only x8 with CF at that, the RAM is expandable to 16GB and it comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports. I am leary about the P45 chipset, though, after my experiences with the DP45SG. GA-X38T-DQ6 v1.1
Another GB offering with the X38 chipset. While it's too bad that the RAM is capped to 8GB, the full speed Crossfire x16 capability is interesting as I've recently become interested in exploring an HD 5770 pairing in some capacity. Looking at the over head pic, however, I am not sure if my Gelid Tranquilo heat sink will clear the DIMMs. Maximus Extreme
Yet another X38 chipset, but this time from ASUS. Again, memory tops out at 8GB, but it's not a big flame-bait target as some of the other Penryn-friendly ASUS board reviews I have seen on Newegg. In addition it supports a 16x-8x-8x Crossfire setup, which is an interesting route for that HD 5770 setup. Additonally, the board is built to be water-cooled, although to be honest that's not really a solution I am interested in presently. In fact, since I am cooling with a Gelid Tranquilo heat sink, I'm a little concerned the extra furniture will just get in the way. P5Q3 Deluxe/WiFi-AP @n
An ASUS offering in P45. 16GB of DDR3 is good, and its got built-in 801.11n transceiving. It seems to have been slightly less positively received than the Maximum Extreme however, and the two-card CF isn't full 16x-16x.
Anyway, if anyone has used any of the above boards, I would be interested to hear what your experience has been with them. And if anyone has any alternatives that I haven't thrown up here already, I am all ears.
Well, I talked to Intel tech support in a last ditch attempt to get things working; I'd rather spend $150 on 8GB of RAM rather than on a new motherboard. Long story short, they suggest that last ditch before I RMA my board is underclocking the RAM to to 1066MHz. It seems to be a common solution to a lot of problems with the DP45SG I've run into, though its fairly poor that an "exteme" motherboard has problems with moderately timed DDR3.
Of course, the mobo's compatible RAM list is noticeably smaller than the other Intel-made DDR3+Penryn friendly boards. I should have picked up on that earlier and gotten a DX48BT2! Or just kept away altogether.
At any rate, I'll give the underclocking a go, but I do think that I'll be leaving the Intel mobo camp soon as with that next RMA I will be on my third DP45SG in three months. As it stands the GA-EP45T-USB3P v1.0 looks like a winner, and even if its P45, what's the worst that can happen? If the motherboard doesn't work, then I'm no worse off than I am now!
Although the Foxconn BLACKOPS and Abit IX48 GT3 aren't impossible either. I'm acutally sort of partial to Foxconn in a way as the mass market F.C. board I have in my Dell Dimension 8200 is still working great ten years on. In fact, it had the least shoddy build quality of the whole system. (but that's another issue)
So acutally it's probably down to the Gigabyte card because of the USB 3.0 (do a lot of video work so this is very interesting all by itself) & 16GB DDR3 (more importantly) plus the fact that my Gelid Tranquilo will definately fit in there, or the BLACKOPS because of the clocking tolerances, 3 regular PCI slots, and the 16x-16x Crossfire potential. It'll really get down to price actually, but its a hard call. I'll have to think about it. After I give this clocking tweak a spin.
A quick update. The DP45SG underclocking did not resolve the freezing issue. It did, however, slow my machine down during high intensity situations.
However, during the most recent freeze, I noticed something very telling. The computer froze hard, and the sound output was courrupted, as usual. However, the NumLock on my keyboard also deactivated by itself, totally involuntarily. Possible options previously seemed to indicate some sort of motherboard problem with the memory, but even if there were problems on that end of the spectrum, it should not affect keyboard connectivity when it is attached to a slot on the I/O back panel.
I would be pretty confident that this more or less rules out a memory problem. I can only think of three part failures where, in fact, this would occur: the processor, the motherboard, or the power supply. Since the PSU is more-or-less a brand new Corsair TX-750, and that these freezes have occured regardless of my power draw, I highly doubt it is that particular vector. Which leaves either a failure in my QX9650, or in my DP45SG.
It's 3AM as I post this so right now is not the correct time to consult the braintrusts of Santa Clara, but the line this should go down will be interesting. At any rate, I'm holding off purchasing anything until I can narrow down where things are going to pot.
If you want to overclock don't choose intel board, choose between asus or gigabyte - In their web site you can also check for memory compatibility.
Well, the problem is that I wasn't even to the point where I was/am overclocking my parts. The CPU, RAM, etc. are still all on their default clocks (in fact the RAM, as stated early this morning, is underclocked now).
This is very disappointing as while I certainly wasn't expecting miracles with this motherboard, I thought that the build quality/stability would be decent. The fact that I had to RMA the motherboard once already, and that I might have to do so again in the near future, within the span of a three-to-four month period seems to indicate that this is not the case.
Well, that was not the best result. I talked to Intel (again) and they told me to overclock my memory to v1.7. So I bumped the voltage up to v1.7 and the board was not happy. I was able to get to the BIOS Menu and underclock it again. Talked to another rep and they said "RMA the board, we don't care, we have plenty of these in our warehouse". No wonder!
They then finished off by suggesting that their company doesn't like performance parts at all (which is something I had sort of discovered already from their own forums), and that I get value RAM in the future. I guess the "Extreme" on the DP45SG box refers to "extreme desktop publishing". I'm not an extreme clocking guy myself but I do need performance parts for media production, and I would at least like the option to under or overclock my parts as I see fit.
I have lost several weeks because Intel is unwilling to produce a product that is at all tolerant of performance components when the branding and board specs suggest that it should at least run those parts with minimal issue. Needless to say that I am incredibly angry with them at the moment.
Don't want to talk to myself too much so I guess this will be my final post on the matter here, baring anything exciting happening. Talked to OCZ about possible work arounds with their RAM but it basically involved underclocking it quite a bit.
Since that's less than ideal, I asked them about the Foxconn BLACKOPS and the Gigabyte GA-EP45T-USB3P v1.0. They said that that BLACKOPS would definately work, but they didn't have enough data on the Gigabyte offering to be sure. Checking on Gigabyte's website revealed that the board was tested with of the same make of DDR3 that I currently own, and that it passed when tested. Currently the least expensive offering for the Fonconn part presently is around $180 (minus a few vendors that have received mixed reviews), whereas on Newegg the Gigabyte board was offered for about ~$120 after rebate.
Considering that water cooling is not going to be in the cards until my next major build (probably happening with the "tick"-cycle of Sandy Bridge), and that an x8-x8 Crossfire for a pair of HD 5770's won't be *too* bad of a hit (vs. 16x-16x) from what I can tell given my research should I go that route, I went with the Gigabyte GA-EP45T-USB3P v1.0. Hopefully it will be $120 well spent.