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Harrison
18th February 2009, 18:36
Hi everyone,

As many of you are into PC system building I was wondering what current motherboards you would recommend for a Core 2 Duo CPU? The Q6600 to be exact. I normally keep up to speed with motherboards, but haven't built a standard PC for about a year; and there seem to be a lot of socket 775 motherboards around at the moment to have to look though.

I'm currently very interested in the Asus P5Q Deluxe, or the less expensive Asus P5Q Pro. Which out of those two is recommended? The Deluxe is 50 more than the Pro and doesn't really offer that much more for the money. It does have better audio, but the system would be using an XFI sound card so that doesn't matter. It has dual bios recovery, but the Pro can be recovered from a memory stick, and it does have 16 phase power management compared to 8 phase. But other than that I can't see all that much difference for the price. Only issue I can see with these two boards is that the two PCI slots get covered if you use a dual height graphics card. But I'm only intending to stick a single ATI 4870 in the system anyway.

Any other makes and models to recommend? I'm thinking around the 100 price range for the motherboard. Less is obviously better as more could then be spent on other parts.

Kin Hell
18th February 2009, 22:54
Hi H,

If you want the Best for your Q6600, get the Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P Intel P45 Mobo. This uses the cheaper DDR2 Ram rather than DDR3 & runs on the Intel P45 Chipset. Raid STRIPE on the Intel Matrix controller is blisteringly fast.
This Mobo will push your Quad CPU further than any other board on the Market. It has a whole 2oz of Copper in & around the CPU & Voltage Regulators which helps this board acheive some very big over clocks via fast & stable FSB's. No other board will get the best from your Quad, but be sure you have the wallop in your PSU. Get the Coolermaster V8 heatsink too. OCUK have them on this "This Week Only" with *cough* seven quid off the rrp.

Don't think you'll like the prices of either the above, but believe me, what a combination! 8)

As a matter of interest, is it the Energy Efficient version of the Q6600 you have?

Harrison
19th February 2009, 02:27
Yep, it's the Q6600 GO version. ;)

Thanks for the mobo recommendation. I will take a look. I've tended to stick with Asus boards for the past couple of years. I used to buy MSI boards because they were always good value for what you got, but my opinion of their boards changed after two different MSI MoBo's died in different ways.

For the heatsink I was considering the Arctic Freezer 7 Pro. Would you say that is OK for a reasonably priced one? Has a lot of great reviews.

keropi
19th February 2009, 07:52
I actually use an ASUS P5Q (plain, no deluxe, no pro, costs 118eur) it is this one:

http://images.e-shop.gr/images/PER/BIG/PER.522630.jpg

Chipset: Intel P45 / ICH10R
FSB: 1600/1333/1066/800MHz
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot
4 x DDR2 1200/1066/800/667
Southbridge: 6 x Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)
Marvell 88SE6111: 1 x Ultra DMA 133/100/66
Silicon Image Sil5723: 2 x Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s (Drive Xpert Technology)
onboard PCIe Gb LAN controller.
onboard Realtek ALC1200 8 -Channel High Definition Audio CODEC.
onboard LSI L-FW3227 controller.
features: EPU-Six Engine, 8-phase power design, Express Gate, Drive Xpert, Fan Xpert, ASUS fanless design-heatpipe solution, AI Nap, Q-shield, Q-connector, ASUS O.C. profile, CrashFree BIOS3, ASUS EZ Flash2, Precision Tweaker 2, ASUS C.P.R.

I am very very pleased with the motherboard, and highly recommend it to anyone! I use it with a C2D E8500 (45nm, 3,16ghz) and the thing really flies!

Hessu
19th February 2009, 11:50
Might be a better idea, that P5Q, since using only one GPU anyways, and might be more use for the one extra pci, than unused PCI-e. I still have my good old stable P5B mobo in use, haven't yet had any good reasons to upgrade it, having the same C2D E8500 processor as Keropi.

Harrison
19th February 2009, 11:58
A lot of people have been saying how great the ASUS P5Q range of motherboards are and looking through the specs they do look good.

And as mentioned above, I've been using Asus boards for the last few of years and really like them. They always look and feel really well made, and include a ton of extras. And they are normally loaded with lots of features.

My current main system has an Asus A8N-SLI Premium with an AMD64 4000+ CPU and has been great. However I've decided it is finally time to move to a multi-core setup. My current CPU still seems to be able to cope with all current games without any problems. Even games some have said need a quad core CPU still run perfectly well. However this year I know most games will be optimised for multi core processors so I know it is going to start struggling, and as I also now own a Samsung T240HD monitor I want to be able to get the most out of the 1920x1200 resolution. :) And I also want to take advantage of the larger memory allowed from a 64-bit OS, so this new system will allow me to have 8GB of ram for video work.

Does anyone here use Crossfire to link two ATI graphics cards together? And if so, how does it compare to nVidia SLI?

I'm considering running either 2x 4870's or one 4870x2. Not just for gaming, but so I can run 4 monitors at once. Obviously if I opted for the single 4870x2 I would then still only need a single PCI-E slot.

Also does anyone know what the new technology is to daisy chain monitors together from a single output? I rememeber reading about it recently but can't remember the name. I think it is similar to HDMI.

Hessu
19th February 2009, 12:05
Tom's Hardware (http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/charts/gaming-graphics-charts-q3-2008/benchmarks,30.html) might give you some hints about it.

Harrison
19th February 2009, 12:10
I always find benchmark results only tell half the story. Real world use is just as important.

Hessu
19th February 2009, 13:53
How true, while still giving at least some sort of clue.

Harrison
19th February 2009, 16:46
That is true. It is really the only way to try and directly compare different models and ranges of hardware side by side, with any hope of seeing how they do perform side by side. And with graphics cards you do have the slightly more accurate real world tests of in game FPS scores.

In contrast I never trust the artificial scores from programs like 3DMark because they just don't really represent anything real. Great fun to watch the demos playing through for the tests though, and it does show you how much better your new card is compared to your last which probably struggled in the same tests.

Kin Hell
19th February 2009, 20:02
LOL H. It's not funny spending 600+ on one Graphics card to see a few fps more in 3DMark! :lol:

Anyways, the Artic Freezer Pro is about 7 DegC hotter under full load than the CoolerMaster V8. That's quite a lot! :shock:

Hope you get a good overclock from yours. I can get to the Desktop @ 4Ghz (450fsb) but not stable enuff to do anything. Had to settle for 3870Ghz in the end, but thats a massive 62% Over Clock! 8)

http://www.kinhellukonline.co.uk/MyStuff/Pics/HWReference/Everest%20CacheMem.png

Good luck m8y. :D

Harrison
20th February 2009, 00:52
LOL H. It's not funny spending 600+ on one Graphics card to see a few fps more in 3DMark! :lol:

:lol: I think anyone is mad to spend such amounts of month on a graphics card full stop. They date so quickly it just isn't worth it in my view. I instead normally opt for a model one below the current top of the range, and find that keeps me going for at least the next two to three years before I have to upgrade again to play the latest games at their best.

I know some have to have the fastest and best currently available, and hate to play games if they can't run them at their maximum settings with insane framerates. I'm not one of those people though. As long as games run at a resolution that makes them look nice and the framerates are fast enough to play smoothly them I'm happy.


Anyways, the Artic Freezer Pro is about 7 DegC hotter under full load than the CoolerMaster V8. That's quite a lot! :shock:

I'm not intending to overclock the Q6600 to its max. I will give it some testing to see what its limit is, but then do some temperature tests and find a happy medium. The stock speed of the processor is pretty good as it is after all, and everyone seems to get them running easily close 3GHz on stock cooling, so I would be happy with a bit over 3GHz using an Arctic Freezer or similar. Although the speed you achieved is very impressive, the CoolerMaster V8 is quite a monster, and a quite extreme and huge! I bet it doesn't fit some motherboards or cases! :lol:

Adonay
20th February 2009, 10:18
For overcloking the Q6600 i would buy a cheaper p5Q i personally run a msi 110 something and overclock both great and stable http://valid.canardpc.com/show_oc.php?id=480433 my 24\7 clock is 3.8ghz though...

Harrison
20th February 2009, 11:39
Thanks for the info Adonay. Great to see some system specs.

What do you think of the 4870 x2? Is it worth the money? Or is a standard 4870 OK for most things?

And what size and make of PSU are you using?

Adonay
20th February 2009, 11:45
I think the 4870x2 is a waste of time unless you run everything at 1920x1200 or higher with AA maxed etc. My brother has a 4850 card and it does seem to play the same games with great graphics only on a lower res 1280x768.. I would buy a 4870 or Gtx260 now and wait for the next high end cards to come or these to drop in prices ---- I run Corsair 750watt psu . For me the X2 was great since i have a big screen if i did not have that i would have gone for a 4870 1gb version they are great...

keropi
20th February 2009, 12:21
I got at xmas the new 45nm GTX260 from GigaByte... works and scores AWESOME. My friendly advice is: DON'T BOTHER WITH ATI. NEVER. they can make speedy stuff, but sooner or later nVidia releases better drivers that outperform their cards (the 4870 used to be king, now even the new GTX260 beats it in 80% of the time) plus ATI drivers are... questionable at least in terms of reliability...

Harrison
20th February 2009, 13:38
I do agree that most of the time nVidia drivers are better and slightly more stable. However I have owned many ATI cards in the past and the drivers have been fine.

As for the 4870 vs the 260 GTX. For 100 less, the 4870 is the much better deal in my view. It can match the 260 GTX to within a couple of frames in most tests, and in most resolutions. And it even pulls ahead in some games.

There is a great review of the 4870 at http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd ... ew--asus/1 (http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-4870-review--asus/1) which tests and compares it against the 9800 GTX+, 4850 and the 260 GTX in many games, with each at 4 different high resolutions, and all games set to maximum settings, with the 4870 returning some impressive results.

I will be running most games at 1920x1200 if possible, because my new monitor has this native resolution, and from the tests in that review it looks like the 4870 will be able to cope with good playable framerates at that resolution.

So I think I will be getting a 4870. Final question though. Is it worth getting one with 1024MB ram? Or just getting the cheaper 512MB version?

keropi
20th February 2009, 14:03
remember Harrison, the 4870 was to rival the GTX280 , not the 260...
see this updated review here: http://www.guru3d.com/article/gigabyte- ... mb-review/ (http://www.guru3d.com/article/gigabyte-geforce-gtx-260-oc-896-mb-review/)
it convinced me to get this card :mrgreen:
there are games that ati is better or nvidia... there are also games that the 260 is par with the 4870... BUT
I see now that their prices are almost the same, so either choise is fine...

PS. get the 1GB version...

Harrison
20th February 2009, 14:41
Is your card the newer GTX 260 core 216? If so then that is really a 280 with a few bits disabled, and they definitely do perform better then the original card.

If money was no object then I would love the new GTX 295. And imagine two of those in SLI!

keropi
20th February 2009, 14:59
yes, my card is the new 216core GTX260, the same as the review I mention above :P
the 295 is a sweet card... but expensive! :evil:

Harrison
6th March 2009, 13:43
Can anyone tell me the length of a Sapphire Radeon 4870 1GB graphics card?

I need to check one will actually fit in my case before I order it. I already ruled out the nVidia cards because they are ridiculously long and would hit my drive cage.

Also, what are your opinions of the Asus P5Q Deluxe vs the Asus P5Q Premium motherboards? I've decided to get one of those two, and I can get them for the same price. The Premium might be a bit of overkill with 4 PCI-E slots for quad GPUs, 10 rear USB2 ports, and 4 rear Gigabit Lan ports, but for the same price is it worth it over the Deluxe motherboard?

Finally what do you think of the Coolermaster Realpower Mudular PSU range? I will probably be using an existing 600W PSU for the moment with the new system build, but I would like to get a modular PSU at some point to remove the unused cable clutter, and these seem good for the price. Have any of you used this range of PSU?

imnogeek
6th March 2009, 14:07
it is on amazon usa with dimensions

Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 3.5 x 11.5 inches ; 3 pounds

Harrison
6th March 2009, 14:24
Cheers. So 11.5". Now to find the measuring tape...

hmm... I did some measuring and a 4870 will be right up against the removable drive cage in my Thermaltake Tsunami case.

However I've done some more searching and I've now found a lot of hardware forums where people are stating the cards are only 9" long, which is much better and will easily fit.

According to one good source most cards are currently 9" long, with the exception of the HD3870X2, HD4870X2, 9800GTX and all GTX 200 series cards, which are all 10.5" long. So it looks like the 11.5" length was wrong.

Harrison
17th March 2009, 11:49
The new system is now fully built and up and running. :)

Final specs are:

Q6600 CPU
Arctic Freezer 7 Pro CPU cooler
Asus P5Q Deluxe Motherboard
8GB Corsair DDR2 Ram
XFX HD 4870 "XxX Edition" 1GB Graphics card (factory over clocked)
Thermaltake Toughpower modular 750W PSU
16x PATA DVD-RW (might change this for an SATA drive at some point)
120GB Seagate SATA Boot HDD
2x 1TB Samsung F1 SATA HDDs
Thermaltake Tsunami Dream Case
Vista 64bit SP1

Future additions I might add:

XFi sound card. However the onboard HD Audio seems pretty good at the moment.
SATA BD-RW.

The system is running very nicely. At the moment the processor (at stock speed) is idling at 14-16 degrees and the most I have got it up to under load is 24 degrees! So it is running very nice and cool and ready to be overclocked! ;)

I do however have one issue with the system. When I supply power to the PSU all of the system's fans spin up and stay running. This includes the case, CPU, GPU and PSU fans. The system is however still switched off and the HDDs are powered down. Pressing the case's on button powers up and boots the system as normal.

Then when I shut down the system Vista shuts down correctly and the HDDs spin down, but the case fans are all still spinning. The only way to shut them down is to turn the PSU off directly, or at the wall.

Anyone got any ideas what could be causing this?

I've been looking around some forums trying to work this out, but so far without success. A few forums are all mentioning the Marvell SATA controller the motherboard is using, and stating that if you have a PATA DVD-RW connected and set to master this can cause this to happen. I therefore changed it to slave as suggested, but it was no different.

I've also looked though the BIOS power settings but can't see anything in there. Any ideas what it might be in the BIOS?

Other than that it has to be something physically connected to the system causing it. But what?

Harrison
17th March 2009, 13:45
I've done some futher testing, but it is still doing the same thing.

I've cleared the BIOS and restored it to default settings (when yo clear the BIOS on this motherboard, it wipes it, and then when you boot up the next time it copies a clean copy of the BIOS back across from a second BIOS on the motherboard). That didn't help. All it did was reset the setting I had to allow the front panel audio headphone socket to work :lol: so I had to set that again.

I've also completely disconnected the PATA DVD-RW to see if that was causing any problems as mentioned by many people in other forums, but that made no difference.

Next I'm going to try disconnecting all of the SATA and PATA drives and see what happens when the system is supplied power. I was working correctly in that setup when I was building it, before I connected the SATA drives and installed the OS. If it is the SATA drives I'm not sure what could be done to fix that.

rkauer
17th March 2009, 15:12
Use an "external" fan controller with heat sensors.

Harrison
17th March 2009, 15:27
How is that going to fix my problem? The CPU, PSU, case and graphics card fans are all spinning without the system booted. I tried disconnecting the case fans but the CPU, PSU and GPU fans still sit their spinning madly until I remove power from the PSU directly. So a fan controller isn't going to help.

It has to be an issue with something connected to the motherboard.

I know it isn't the graphics card because the 4 disgnostic lights on Radeon 4870's are showing everything is fine with the card.

When I'm not using the system later tonight I'm going to disconnect all things connected to the board such as external ports, drives etc and see if it then works correctly. If so I will then reintroduce each and see if I can find the cause.

Harrison
19th March 2009, 02:40
Further testing and I still can't get the PSU to power down unless I switch it off at the back or at the wall socket.

After disconnecting everything but the CPU, ram, GPU and PSU and it still doing the same I tried one final test. I unplugged the 24 pin motherboard power connector from the motherboard, then supplied power to the PSU, and it powered up. Now with this disconnected am I right in thinking that the PSU should not power up at all unless the power on pin is shorted with a ground using a paper clip? If so then I think I might have a faulty PSU. Would you all agree?

Quite annoying if this is the case. Means I have to dismantle everything in the case to get the PSU out again due to its size.

cosmicfrog
20th March 2009, 13:59
I would tend to agree about the power needing to be grounded on the right pin but I`ve come across so many powerpacks which come on without this happing

I know this might sound daft but the only thing that i can think of is usb or stand by/ suspend to ram
usb annoys me as its on all the time so my mouse is always glowing blue

Harrison
20th March 2009, 17:25
Not sure why, but I was using the system for a long time yesterday. About 10 hours. And then I shut it down, and the PSU shut down correctly, with the fans stopping and just the power and reset lights on the motherboard lit (as it should be). And this morning it powered up again correctly. Not spinning the fans when I switched the power to the PSU on, until I pressed the front case power button. So it has suddenly been working correctly. Very odd.

I've heard others saying about the problem with USB mice and other USB devices still being powered even when the system is shut down, but I've never encountered that on any of my systems. When they shut down the mice and other USB devices switch off too. Maybe it is only with specific motherboard and PSU combinations?