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Upgraded memory and CPU - system runs fine but boots up *slower*!

 
 
Chandler Bing
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      02-03-2005, 08:19 PM
Hope there's a resident Dell Dimension 4500 expert around to help me
out. I went to Powerleap.com which has a nice little interactive
utility which examines your system and recommends upgrade options for
your machine. As a result of using their recommendations, I upgraded
from the old 1,6Ghz Williamette processor I had to the Northwood
3.06Ghz which was the top end processor my 4500 apparently supports.
At the same time, I upped my RAM from 512 megs to 1024 megs, which,
again, is the limit the motherboard (D845EPT2 Rev AAA83422-105) will
accept. I already had the latest BIOS (A04) on the machine so I didn't
have to reflash it. When I fired up the machine after performing the
upgrades, I began to sweat bullets because, while the POST information
and RAID initialization flashed by at lightning speed, it took a
looooong time for Windows to even begin to boot and from the time the
initial Windows logo appeared to the appearance of the welcome screen
there was a full 80 seconds of black screen! I was really
disheartened, but once Windows finally did fully boot up, everything
worked beautifully and the speed increase was breathtaking compared to
what it was with the old processor. Maybe I should leave well enough
alone and bear with the 2+ minute bootup, but common sense tells me
that something must be wrong somewhere to cause an upgraded system to
boot slower. I've fiddled with the BIOS boot settings, but no
variations in the settings improve the bootup speed. My suspicion is
that although the BIOS sees the new CPU just fine and also recognized
the change from 400 to 533 in the FSB speed, it's struggling with the
fact that the CPU has hyperthreading ability while the BIOS and board
don't support HT. Now here's where my questions get real hairy...

Dell offers a BIOS (A06) for a model 4500C which, from what I have
been able to gather from what I've read, is a variation of the 4500
marketed in Japan only. The info on the A06 BIOS states that one of
its "fixes" specifically deals with the sporadic recognition of the
2nd processor for the 3.06 CPU in hyperthreading mode. I am well aware
that you can toast your motherboard (or at least the BIOS chip) if you
flash the wrong BIOS onto it, but I'm *real* tempted to try the A06
bios on my machine to see if it makes the slow boot go away and
*maybe* even give me HT. How risky would that be? Does anyone know
what the differences are between the 4500 and its Japanese cousin the
4500C?

As if I haven't already taxed your patience, here's some even hairier
questions. On Intel's site, they offer 8 incremented BIOS versions for
the D845EPT2 motherboard. The latest version (P08) disable
hyperthreading for some reason, but an earlier version (P05) enabled
HT and the next revision (P06) offered the option to enable or disable
HT. I'm running XP Pro w/SP2, which I've read works well with HT while
other versions of XP with or without SP1 often choke with HT. Intel
warns that flashing their BIOS onto proprietary systems (like Dell)
that use Intel boards might cause improper operation but I don't see
any warnings about permanent damage as a possibility. So, again, I'm
also real tempted to try one of the Intel BIOS flashes to see if, at
the very least, the slow boot goes away, and at most, I wind up with
an hyperthreading machine.Would I be playing with fire by doing so?

Last, but not least, I upgraded the graphics on my machine last month
with a Radeon 9600 All-In-Wonder w/128megs. By default, the BIOS sets
something called the video or graphics "aperture" to 64 megs. After
wading through other graphics-related messages on the web, I'm
confused because some people say that the "aperture" setting needs to
be set to the amount of RAM actually on your video card while others
recommend setting the aperture to 256 megs even if you only have 128
megs on your card. Can anyone clear up my confusion?

Thanks in advance for being patient enough to read all this and for
any help anyone can offer.
 
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