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Will this CPU work and is it worth it?

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March 24, 2011 12:16:45 PM

Hi,

My current spec is.....

Asus M3A-H/HDMI Motherboard
AMD 780G Chipset
QuadCore AMD Phenom x4 Black Edition 9950 2.6Ghz CPU
8GB DDR2-800 SDRAM
ATI Radeon 5770 HD
Corsair TX650W PSU
Antic 900 Case

I've updated the BIOS which, according to the Asus website makes the motherboard compatible with AM3 socket CPU's. So, I'm thinking of upgrading my CPU to this one...

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/NEW-AMD-Phenom-II-X4-955-3-20-GHz...

Not necessarily from eBay, I'll shop around, but you get the idea. I know the increase in processor speed isn't massive but from what I can tell it's more powerful, more efficient, runs cooler and is more capable than what I've already got. My question is....

Will it definitely work with my motherboard? Is it compatible with my DDR2 ram or will I need DDR3? I intend to get a new motherboard at some point in the future, but not now.

I can probably pick one of these up for £80-£90 but want to be sure it'll work.

If anyone knows for sure I'd really appreciate the help!

Thanks

More about : cpu work worth

March 24, 2011 12:29:30 PM

Quote:
yes mate your good with that cpu and it's an excellent choice.


That's good to hear, thanks! How badly will the system be held back with DDR2 over DDR3?
a c 108 à CPUs
March 24, 2011 12:30:40 PM

Last time I checked the PhII 955BE was around £95 with VAT at ScanUK. Should be a really nice upgrade from the 9950.

DDR2 v. DDR3 should not hold you back much, if any [:jaydeejohn:5]
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March 24, 2011 12:36:10 PM

You will not be disappointed with the upgrade. Just to give you an idea, in my computational lab, all of our desktops are equipped with that very processor (we do a lot of intensive quantum computing here). They are very stable processors. I run the 965 at home and never have had a problem with it except some temperature problems but I've recently fixed that by upgrading the stock cooler. When you upgrade be sure to check your running temps to see if the stock cooler works for you (likely it will if all you do is gaming and such). Since I do QC calcs all the time I needed something better since those computations put my proc under full load for extended periods of time.

*Correction: I have the 965 at home.
March 24, 2011 12:44:58 PM

mr_flappypants said:
You will not be disappointed with the upgrade. Just to give you an idea, in my computational lab, all of our desktops are equipped with that very processor (we do a lot of intensive quantum computing here). They are very stable processors. I run the 940 (as malmental does) at home and never have had a problem with it except some temperature problems but I've recently fixed that by upgrading the stock cooler. When you upgrade be sure to check your running temps to see if the stock cooler works for you (likely it will if all you do is gaming and such). Since I do QC calcs all the time I needed something better since those computations put my proc under full load for extended periods of time.


Thanks, sounds like i'm on the right track with this CPU! Always good to get some backup from others before you jump in with a purchase though!

Hopefully temps shouldn't be a problem - I've already replaced the stock cooler / got additional fans / cable management / quality thermal paste etc. for the current CPU because it was running hot - so I'm prepared :-)
March 24, 2011 1:48:01 PM

I have 2 1066 Ram sticks (4 Gigs) and i have a DDR 2 (800) 2 gig stick laying around is it worth dropping to 800 MHz for 2 more gigs?
March 24, 2011 2:02:06 PM

Im not sure but where would i check, and why would there be a big difference between 1066 and 800?
March 24, 2011 2:15:20 PM

Well my mobo says the maximum DDR 2 ram supported is 1066 so (M3a78-em) which is close to your mobo O.o
March 29, 2011 5:27:32 PM

Well I went for it and got the Phenom II x4 955 BE C3 3.2GHz so thought I'd give a quick update and hopefully get a little more help on a core voltage issue :sarcastic: 

I installed the new CPU and let the BIOS detect it and use it's default settings. When Windows started I noticed that the temperature (via Core Temp) was pretty high (41C idle) and thought at first I'd made a mess of the heatsink installation. But then I noticed that the CPU was running at 1.488V, which for 3.2GHz is very high.

I went back into the BIOS to lower the voltage but I found a problem. When I leave it set as AUTO it runs at 1.488V, but the MAXIMUM I can set it to maunally in the BIOS is 1.3V. As it goes the system runs perfectly well on 1.3V @ 3.2GHz with great temperatures, but I want to overclock it. Anyone got any ideas why the BIOS won't let me set the core voltage between 1.3V-1.488V?

To save anyone searching back through the posts it's a M3A-H/HDMI motherboard running the 2002 (Sep 2010) BIOS.

Thanks again!
March 29, 2011 5:51:02 PM

Load temps maxed out at about 58C which I know is within limits I just don't see any reason why the core voltage should so high. I was keeping an eye on it in CPU-z during the stress test and it went well over 1.5V. And I'm not sure why the BIOS is locking the manual voltage adjustments to a 1.3V max.
March 29, 2011 6:00:52 PM

Those temps are normal for my Phenom II X4 965 BE at 3.4GHz (mine are actually a couple degrees higher than yours). My cpu also runs around your 1.48V range. I know you wanted to lower your voltage at 1.3V for the cooler temps but how much temperature did you gain? It may be to your better benefit (as I am not familiar with your particular BIOS problem) to just leave your voltage at AUTO then upgrade your stock heatsink and THEN overclock. Also, as malmental mentioned, what type of thermal paste are you using? Some transfer heat much more efficiently than others.
March 29, 2011 6:14:23 PM

mr_flappypants said:
Those temps are normal for my Phenom II X4 965 BE at 3.4GHz (mine are actually a couple degrees higher than yours). My cpu also runs around your 1.48V range. I know you wanted to lower your voltage at 1.3V for the cooler temps but how much temperature did you gain? It may be to your better benefit (as I am not familiar with your particular BIOS problem) to just leave your voltage at AUTO then upgrade your stock heatsink and THEN overclock. Also, as malmental mentioned, what type of thermal paste are you using? Some transfer heat much more efficiently than others.


Not sure how much of a difference it makes but my CPU is a 955 not 965 and it's running at 3.2GHz not 3.4GHz. Lowering the voltage to 1.3 took 10C off idle and 12C off load. My heatsink isn't stock, it's an Arctic Pro Freezer Rev. 2 and the thermal paste I used is Akasa AK-450. I've got a Antec 900 case with 5 fans (2 front, 1 side, 1, rear, 1 top).

I've been doing a little reading up on voltage issues with the CPU at it seems a few people have found that the CPU feeds their BIOS incorrect stock values. But that still doesn't explain why my BIOS restricts the voltages I can manually select. I've just found that there is one new BIOS version above mine so I'll try that. Just don't like messing with BIOS flashing unless it's an absolute necessity! :whistle: 
March 29, 2011 6:18:04 PM

Okay that clears a lot of things up. You can always check to see what changes were made in the update to determine if its even worth flashing or not. Sounds like you have some serious air cooling happening (much better than me). I recently upgraded my stock cooler to a CoolerMaster Hyper something or another (it has the dual-fan push/pull config) and I gained only 2 or 3C. Maybe I should drop the voltage down as well. You've given me a brand new potential solution to a long-standing problem of mine. Glad I stuck around in here.
March 29, 2011 6:24:06 PM

mr_flappypants said:
Okay that clears a lot of things up. You can always check to see what changes were made in the update to determine if its even worth flashing or not. Sounds like you have some serious air cooling happening (much better than me). I recently upgraded my stock cooler to a CoolerMaster Hyper something or another (it has the dual-fan push/pull config) and I gained only 2 or 3C. Maybe I should drop the voltage down as well. You've given me a brand new potential solution to a long-standing problem of mine. Glad I stuck around in here.


I checked what was is the newest BIOS update on the ASUS website and it said...'Improves System Stability' which is worryingly vague!!! :sarcastic: 

Well I'm definitely no expert on these things so I wouldn't take my word for it but it just seemed to me that 1.488V shouldn't be required to give 3.2GHz (or 3.4GHz for that matter!) 1.35V seems about right to me but I'll probably never know! :cry: 
March 29, 2011 6:38:36 PM

UPDATE: Updated the BIOS - no change, still cannot set voltages above 1.3V
March 29, 2011 7:21:01 PM

Quote:
which 955 do you have 95-watt or 125-watt, black edition or stock.?
voltage runs @ 1.5V on some of them, others are less.
I think your making a big deal out of nothing..

http://www.cpu-data.info/index.php?grp=HDZ955FBK4DGI&gr...
http://www.cpu-data.info/index.php?grp=HDX955FBK4DGM&gr...
http://www.cpu-data.info/index.php?grp=HDX955FBK4DGI&gr...


I hope you're right!!! It's not any of those though - it's the 125W C3 BE (HDZ955FBK4DGM)

http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/K10/AMD-Phenom%20II%20X4%...

that's not supposed to run over 1.4V. It went over 1.5V during stress tests when set to auto in the BIOS. Surely that's concern isn't it? If I could set it to 1.4V I'd be happy - but I can't :( 
a c 108 à CPUs
March 29, 2011 9:58:24 PM

Did you use the <+> or <-> keys, or did you try to manually enter "1.375" with the numeric pad?

Can you raise the CPU multiplier with the '1.3v' setting? If so give it 200-400MHz ('17' or '18') crank and see how it goes. More modern MBs will 'give' this to you for the most part without tweaking your CPU volts.

Do you have C&Q enabled?

Do you have 'VDD' or 'LLC' in your BIOS? They allow you to control over-voltage and vdroop.

Have you considered an email? "Dear Asus: We have a problem." :lol: 

Have you tried AMD OverDrive? It's quickly turning into a sweet utility/monitoring program; and at a minimum would allow you to 'test drive' a few BIOS tweaks from within Windows.

Have I asked you enough questions? I'd be happy to go with increasing the system clock with you :D 





March 29, 2011 10:48:58 PM

Thanks Wisecracker,

Ok, here we go...

Yes, I've tried the alternative input methods for the BIOS and they don't work with this particular BIOS. I can only select from a list. I filled out a technical help form on the Asus website earlier so will hopefully get a reply over the next few days.

How to overclock wasn't really what I was after, though I appreciate any advice you can give. My real concern was that if Auto BIOS settings were already using 1.488V then temperatures were going to be an issue, and at 1.3V I wouldn't have much room for improvements. I need access to the voltages in between. I had C&Q enabled but have disabled it now as I'm starting to test overclocks.

I'm using AMD Overdrive now and have got a stable 3.7GHz at 1.4V 18 multiplier with load temps of 49C so far. So Overdrive can access the voltages, just not the BIOS. So I guess I'm saving 0.88V, 11C and gaining 0.5GHz so far!

Glad I didn't just let the BIOS take care of things. Damn auto settings!
a c 108 à CPUs
March 30, 2011 1:49:31 PM

ecotox said:
...

I'm using AMD Overdrive now and have got a stable 3.7GHz at 1.4V 18 multiplier with load temps of 49C so far. So Overdrive can access the voltages, just not the BIOS. So I guess I'm saving 0.88V, 11C and gaining 0.5GHz so far!

Glad I didn't just let the BIOS take care of things. Damn auto settings!



Yippie! :bounce: 

I've run into similar voltage snafus with other Asus motherboards -- and issues with other OEMs over-volting on 'Auto'. Instead of looking at it as a 'downer' I try to view the AOD thing as a positive transition to greater OS/BIOS integration. AOD is becoming something to behold - I hope AMD sticks with it and continues to improve upon it.

It looks as if their intention is near full integration with 'single-click' custom profiles dependent upon the task(s) at hand. A low-power custom profile for surfing around and light tasks, with a single-click to an over-clocked custom gaming state with background services disabled, to a single-click custom profile for media-transcoding ... etc - etc.

It would be difficult to move that type of 'customized/personalized' logic onto the processor -- at least for enthusiasts who want to tweak on everything - LOL.
!