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Mobo upgrade for new graphics card (PCI-E 2)

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April 9, 2012 10:58:19 AM

This is somewhat in reference to a graphics card thread I posted a few days ago:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/348998-15-6950-hipe...

Basically, after installing a new graphics card (Radeon HD 6950) I get no display and the fan on the card is very loud. The computer carries on booting, as I can hear the Windows start up sound shortly after powering up.

After doing a bit of research, it turns out that my motherboard (ASUS P5N-E SLI) is PCI-E 1.0 and the graphics card is PCI-E 2.1, which way be causing this issue. Now, it may also have something to do with my PSU (Hiper Type M 630w), as it does not have the required 2 x 6pin PCI-E power leads (it only has one), but the card comes with two converters that take two molex cables and turns them into a 6pin PCI-E, giving me two. However, the installation guide recommends not doing this, even though they provide you with the equipment to do it. So this is also a potential root of the problem, but it appears to me that the motherboard may be the main issue here.

So this is a two-sided question:

1. Do you guys think this is really the motherboard's fault? Bearing in mind I have no real way of testing to see if the graphics card itself is faulty.

2. If I do need to upgrade my motherboard can you recommend one that isn't too expensive, has a PCI-E 2 slot and would ideally support my existing components, which are:
DDR2 RAM
Intel Core 2 Quad CPU - LGA775 socket

I realise that supporting my existing stuff would be a big requirement, but any advice here is greatly appreciated!

Thanks.
a b V Motherboard
a b U Graphics card
April 9, 2012 12:59:39 PM

do you get any beeps when turning on your computer?
have you tried different graphics card?
a b V Motherboard
April 9, 2012 1:06:17 PM

From Wikipedia:
PCI Express 2.1 supports a large proportion of the management, support, and troubleshooting systems planned for full implementation in PCI Express 3.0. However, the speed is the same as PCI Express 2.0. Unfortunately, the increase in power from the slot breaks backwards-compatibility between PCI Express 2.1 cards and some older motherboards. Most motherboards sold currently come with PCI Express 2.0 connectors.

Looks like a Mobo isuue. The thing is, if you opt for an older mobo to support your DDR2 RAM you may not find one that will support the PCIE 2.1.
Related resources
April 9, 2012 1:46:13 PM

alvine said:
do you get any beeps when turning on your computer?
have you tried different graphics card?


Nope, I don't get any beeps - would beeps mean some kind of error?

Yes, my current graphics card, a HD 4850, works fine. As I've had it a few years now I would have thought that the 4850 would be PCI-E 1.0, but it seems that it may actually be a 2.0, so, like ngrego says, there may be a key difference between 2.1 and 2.0. I believe that mu current mobo is PCI-E 1.1.


ngrego said:
From Wikipedia:
Looks like a Mobo isuue. The thing is, if you opt for an older mobo to support your DDR2 RAM you may not find one that will support the PCIE 2.1.


Yeah, that's what I was thinking. I'll probably need a new CPU too it seems. This upgrade has gotten a fair bit more expensive than I originally anticipated!

Do you have any recommendations for a new mobo/ram/cpu? Or does anyone else have any more insight into this issue?

Thanks for your help so far!
a b V Motherboard
April 10, 2012 6:01:05 AM

You can get an newer LGA775 Mobo for your current CPU that supports PCIE v2.1. With some DDR3 RAM it will improve performance and also work with your GPU. That will save you the new CPU cost at least.
April 10, 2012 7:16:35 AM

Ok, great.

But, do you think that the processor I linked to would give a noticeable improvement over my current CPU? Also, if the 775 socket type is becoming a thing of the past, would I be buying a mobo that isn't going to last very long upgrade-wise?
a b V Motherboard
April 10, 2012 1:37:22 PM

This is the mobo I upgraded to (actually the LE version wich is not as good):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I checked ASUS support but there is no indication on the PCIE verson.

I installed a Saphire Radeon HD6850 on this board, with 4GB Corsair DDR3 XMS and everything works great.
April 10, 2012 3:33:41 PM

From what I gather, if a PCI spec number isn't there, it's usually 1.0, but if you managed to install a 2.1 card into it then it must be true that there is patchy support for 2.1 cards on 1.0 boards.

I was thinking of getting more RAM while I'm upgrading, but I just remembered that it I only have Windows 7 32-bit and I guess you have to buy another copy of Windows to get 64.
April 10, 2012 7:53:31 PM

OK, found a Asus P5G41T-M LX2 on Scan which actually says PCI-E 2.0, so I think I'll go for that.

Thanks for your help, ngrego.
April 10, 2012 8:25:14 PM

Actually, one last question.

The specs say the mobo memory speeds are:

DDR3 - 1066
DDR3 - 800

Does this mean that anything faster wouldn't work, or would be wasted? Should I aim for exactly 1066 RAM?
a b V Motherboard
April 11, 2012 8:57:06 AM

I did a bit of research on these boards but I didn't find any decisive info on the PCIE version and compatibility. I did find verious forum posts from people that had the LX version with an HD6950 installed and running. Also posts stating that the LX2 can run on 1333(OC) RAM and PCIE v2 on the LX.
I would personaly go for a mobo with faster RAM capability myself, and can only suggest a mobo that I have seen working with a new PCIE v2 GPU.
Before you buy, see if you can find any more info for yourself I don't want to misslead you in any way. Also if possible shop from a store with a decent return policy, just in case.
April 11, 2012 1:00:39 PM

Yeah, I've found motherboards that might work, but they're not that great.

There are some almost legendary mobos that people seem to love and would suit my needs, but they aren't made anymore.

I think in the end I'm just going to upgrade everything, mobo, cpu etc, and donate my current stuff to my folks who could do with an upgrade.

Thanks for all your help!
!