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S775 motherboards and their chipsets - new vs old

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November 12, 2011 10:46:43 PM

Hello there, recently my trusty Gigabyte P35-DS3P died on me. My PC isn't exactly new but it does the job like a champ and the choices for a LGA775 substitute with DDR2 slots are few these days. So I'll just cut to the chase, looks like Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2L and Asus P5W64 WS are my best bet out of the local selection.

The most important difference for me here is the northbridge chipset - a newer G41 against the old 975X. The second one also has some nice bonuses like quad PCI-E and it just seems like a reliable workstation class board compared to the mid-class Gigabyte.

My question is - which one is a better choice? I don't have much knowledge in chipsets, what performance difference can be felt between those, is the old chipset enough of a drawback to choose another board? Will it be fully compatible with a 45nm 1333Mhz FSB CPU anyways? As far as I know the latest BIOS updates add the support, but will it function as well?

 

And a couple of bonus questions:

What exactly does "native DDR2-800 support" stand for in the specifications, will the modules run at full speed?

Quote:
4 x DIMM, Max. 8 GB, DDR2 667/533 ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture
Native DDR2 800 Support
*When installing total memory of 4GB capacity or more, Windows 32-bit operation system may only recognize less than 3GB. Hence, a total installed memory of less than 3GB is recommended.


Also just wondering, the second mobo has 4 PCI-E slots. I realize that they're intended for multi-monitor usage, but would using two of them for Crossfire connecting video cards work well? From what I've heard the 975X chipsets are famous for splitting the bandwidth into 8x/8x for two cards instead of 16x/4x, which works better with Crossfire.

 

The rest of the more important PC components:

Intel E8400 3.0Ghz, 1333Mhz FSB, 6MB Cache CPU
Corsair XMS2 2x2GB 800Mhz RAM set
Gigabyte GV-RX387512H

 

Thank you in advance.
a c 216 V Motherboard
November 13, 2011 1:09:46 AM

If you plan on using the above components, then the Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2L meets your requirements. The 975X chipset does have native support (non-overclocked) for DDR2-800 memory (and so does the newer G41 chipset).

Crossfire works well (if microstutter doesn't bother you), but why would you consider it if you're not a gamer?
November 13, 2011 1:09:10 PM

GhislainG said:
If you plan on using the above components, then the Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2L meets your requirements. The 975X chipset does have native support (non-overclocked) for DDR2-800 memory (and so does the newer G41 chipset).

Crossfire works well (if microstutter doesn't bother you), but why would you consider it if you're not a gamer?

I'm pretty sure both of them meet the requirements, and as I already mentioned, I'm not sure what "native support" really stands for.

I do play games from time to time and consider grabbing another used HD3870 to delay upgrading. Does microstutter occur to just some people or has this become a characteristic of Crossfire/SLI systems?
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a c 216 V Motherboard
November 13, 2011 1:30:55 PM

DDR2-800 native support just means that the chipset isn't overclocked when running memory at 400 MHz (DDR2-800).

Microstutter occurs only when running in Crossfire or SLI mode. Personnally I'd buy a more powerful video card and stay away from Crossfire.
a c 156 V Motherboard
November 13, 2011 3:37:15 PM

If you are gaming, you will not be able to get more than a 10% overclock with the G41 using an E8400. The G41 is an economy chipset with a limited FSB. Based on experience (I have 3 G41's), the upper limit is around 340 - 360 MHz.
a c 216 V Motherboard
November 13, 2011 4:29:54 PM

I may be wrong, but with a Radeon HD 3870 (or 2 in Crossfire), overclocking the E8400 probably won't improve FPS. The bottleneck should be the video card(s).
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