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P45 mobo blown - replace or build new?

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August 24, 2012 1:41:28 PM

Hi everyone, I've done a lot of reading about this subject, but would appreciate some advice for my specific situation.

Since January 2009 I've been running the following:
MB: DFI Lanparty JR P45-T2RS
CPU: Q9550 OC to 3.4GHz
RAM: 2x2GB OCZ reaper DDR2 1066, 2x1GB OCZ reaper DDR2 1150

Last October I upgraded my old 8800GS 384MB to a HD6950 2GB (ASUS Directcu II) and have unlocked the extra shaders by modding its BIOS.
Also upgraded the PSU to a Corsair TX650.

Last week there was a power surge and the circuit breaker in my house tripped. When I powered the machine back on I found the CMOS was corrupt and the system didn't register any keypresses in the BIOS (pressing keys during POST worked, but once in the BIOS I couldn't get past the "Advanced mode? Y/N" screen).
I have since plugged the machine into a surge-protected socket (the socket was always there, but for some reason at some point the computer had been plugged into a different socket).

I managed to get round the BIOS problem by hammering ESC and F1 during POST to get the boot selection popup to appear, and flashed the BIOS with the latest beta BIOS available on the DFI site (I first tried reflashing my current BIOS but that didn't fix it).

Now last night the machine powered off during a Prime95 stress test I was running after I had pushed the OC to 3.6GHz to try and gain some extra frames per second in the game DCS World.
Leaving the machine to cool down completely for an hour and trying to power it on again resulted in a loud pop and flash, so I pulled the plug immediately.

That's the history, here's my question:

Should I look for a replacement LGA775 board or should I look to upgrade? My Q9550 is a lovely CPU that still holds its own. I haven't wanted to upgrade until Haswell comes out, but last night's motherboard failure has forced my hand.

Option 1 - replacement board: I can't find a single P45 board for sale anywhere. I live in Spain and my primary sources for cheap computer bits are pccomponentes.com and amazon.co.uk
All LGA775 boards on sale online these days are G41 chipsets, so I'll have to look around for a physical shop that might have a P45 board.
Also, I have 1 SSD drive and 3 SATA HDs, plus an optical SATA drive - there are no mATX LGA775 boards on sale that have more than four SATA ports.

Option 2 - upgrade: I've got my eyes on a core i7 2700k for 262 euros, an ASUS Maximus V GENE for 195 euros, and 2x8GB of G-Skill Ripjaws X DDR3 RAM for 102 euros.

Daily use:
I work on this machine - mainly SSH and text editor use really these days, though will also have a couple of browsers with many open tabs, photoshop, and probably a virtual machine or two all running at once. Occasional Visual Studio and Eclipse use. I have had no complaints with the performance of my Q9550, so wonder how much better a core i7 will be (I've seen countless benchmarks, but it's hard to translate a 10% increase on a chart to how it'll feel to actually use).
I also game on this machine - the main games I play: EVE online, Civilization 5, DCS World (DCS: A10C Warthog), Falcon BMS, GTA 4, Skyrim, ARMA 2, Battlefield BC2.

I have found that all of those games play very well with my Q9550 with HD6950, with the exception of Civ5 in the late game, GTA4 with shader mod, and DCS World.

Most games I run at 1920x1200, but with simulators I like to run at 1920x2280 (I have a touchscreen monitor beneath my primary display).

In DCS World, if I load the training mission "A10 Startup" I get between 13-25FPS on the ground at that high resolution (am using SoftTH to get fullscreen mode and more FPS). Changing my graphics settings doesn't really affect my FPS (unless I turn AA up to something silly, but I normally leave it turned off) so I assumed the bottleneck is the CPu (hence my trying to push my OC up above 3.4GHz).

As you can see, I'm not very convinced with the need to upgrade my system as everything except a complex flight simulator at a high resolution ran very well for me.

Can you provide any useful advice?

Thanks for reading!

More about : p45 mobo blown replace build

a b B Homebuilt system
August 24, 2012 2:00:41 PM

Civ 4 and Civ 5 both lag on my rig, thus no PC will run them smoothly late in the game.

I'm actually quite tempted to agree with you, the Q9550 + 6950 is still a very viable combination for your purposes. However, as you've very well seen, finding a good P45 motherboard is tough.

You may very well have some luck searching through surplus stores on Ebay or another auction site. I highly recommend Asus' P5Q series, namely the P5Q Pro and P5Q Pro Turbo. You can also check out the Maximus II Formula.

I highly advise against using anything based on an NVidia chipset
August 24, 2012 3:52:38 PM

Pinhedd said:
Civ 4 and Civ 5 both lag on my rig, thus no PC will run them smoothly late in the game.

I'm actually quite tempted to agree with you, the Q9550 + 6950 is still a very viable combination for your purposes. However, as you've very well seen, finding a good P45 motherboard is tough.

You may very well have some luck searching through surplus stores on Ebay or another auction site. I highly recommend Asus' P5Q series, namely the P5Q Pro and P5Q Pro Turbo. You can also check out the Maximus II Formula.

I highly advise against using anything based on an NVidia chipset



Well if Civilization lags on the machine in your signature then it will always lag!

Thank you for your response. I've just scoured all the local computer shops and have found the following:

ASUS P5KPL SE for 29 euros
ASUS Maximus 2 Formula for 49 euros
ASUS P5QL-PRO for 25 euros

Only those last two are viable - one's a P45 and the other's a P43, and I can't see a lot of difference between them.
Is the Maximus 2 worth twice as much as the P5QL-PRO?
Related resources
August 24, 2012 4:04:23 PM

Just to add: I see the obvious differences with the Maximus 2 having more bells and whistles (my audio goes out through optical SPDIF so i doubt x-fi will make it much better, and my LAN goes into a 100MB port on my ADSL router, so dual gigabit LAN won't help) - I just can't see the practical differences between the P43 and the P45 chipsets.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 24, 2012 4:08:03 PM

eza said:
Well if Civilization lags on the machine in your signature then it will always lag!

Thank you for your response. I've just scoured all the local computer shops and have found the following:

ASUS P5KPL SE for 29 euros
ASUS Maximus 2 Formula for 49 euros
ASUS P5QL-PRO for 25 euros

Only those last two are viable - one's a P45 and the other's a P43, and I can't see a lot of difference between them.
Is the Maximus 2 worth twice as much as the P5QL-PRO?


The Asus ROG line is generally built with higher quality components, and that's saying a lot because Asus generally builds their regular motherboards quite well as is.

The P5QL Pro does not support any sort of dual GPU solutions and neither does the P5KPL SE. The Maximus 2 Formula supports CrossfireX and I believe SLI via a driver hack (completely unsupported). This may be handy if you want to add a second 6950 or 6970 later on. It can also add quite a bit of resale value.
August 24, 2012 4:24:39 PM

Pinhedd said:
The Asus ROG line is generally built with higher quality components, and that's saying a lot because Asus generally builds their regular motherboards quite well as is.

The P5QL Pro does not support any sort of dual GPU solutions and neither does the P5KPL SE. The Maximus 2 Formula supports CrossfireX and I believe SLI via a driver hack (completely unsupported). This may be handy if you want to add a second 6950 or 6970 later on. It can also add quite a bit of resale value.


Thanks again. Before my DFI board I had an ASUS P4PE, which was a great board.
Having looked at current prices for the Maximus 2 Formula, I see that 50 euros is a pretty good deal. Also, if I'm going to OC my Q9550 again I could probably do with the extras that the Maximus provides in that area.

I think my mind's made up - thanks for confirming my thoughts, you've been a great help - I'll be back come Haswell time (or maybe not - as long as last night's incident didn't fry my CPU along with the motherboard, then it could do me for another two years).
a b B Homebuilt system
August 24, 2012 4:35:04 PM

eza said:
Thanks again. Before my DFI board I had an ASUS P4PE, which was a great board.
Having looked at current prices for the Maximus 2 Formula, I see that 50 euros is a pretty good deal. Also, if I'm going to OC my Q9550 again I could probably do with the extras that the Maximus provides in that area.

I think my mind's made up - thanks for confirming my thoughts, you've been a great help - I'll be back come Haswell time (or maybe not - as long as last night's incident didn't fry my CPU along with the motherboard, then it could do me for another two years).


Haswell sounds like a smart move

My brother and I each had P4 3.2Es with P4P800E-Deluxe motherboards. They were built in 2004 and are still running today, not a single component has failed.
!