Component conflicts - second attempt at a second machine

Discussion in 'Asus' started by metroman, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. metroman

    metroman Guest

    Several years ago I was ready to assemble my second computer. The
    first one went together easily and worked perfectly from the first
    boot up. Despite extensive research before making decisions regarding
    components, the second machine never got off the ground. With
    frustration and a considerable loss of time and money, I abandoned the
    project completely using instead my laptop. It can not deliver the
    power or speed currently needed for work so I would like to salvage
    some of the parts I have and add what is needed to allow me to again
    work like a professional.
    My first machine had an Asus P2B mobo and it still serves me in a
    backup box. Its reliability left no question but to have another Asus
    for the second machine. That may have been a mistake. I purchased a
    P4C800-E Deluxe and two matching sticks (2x512) of Corsair
    TwinX1024-4000Pro, a 1.80 CPU (fast at the time) and a Matrox
    Millennium P Series 750. I hear the groans already. I am not a gamer
    at all. I am a professional graphics person who was interested in a
    card that would deliver duel monitor capability for high-end graphics
    work. The Matrox came highly recommended by other professionals. At
    the time, I was unaware of the incompatibility issue between that
    particular card and the P4C800 MB. The machine never once got past

    So I need some advice regarding how to best resolve this. In addition
    to a faster CPU, I also intend to add an additional 1024 of RAM which
    obviously should be the same Corsair mentioned above. Do I stay with
    the mobo and replace the vid card or replace the mobo with something
    else that can use my existing RAM (plus slots for more) and keep the
    Matrox? I have an excellent Creative Labs Audigy 2 sound card and
    don't need - or want - built in sound but onboard Wi-Fi would be great
    to save a PCI slot if that feature as a built in is known to be
    satisfactory. I am hoping the two 21" CRT monitors that have been
    sitting unused for two years still work.

    Experienced suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

    Sincere thanks.
    metroman, Apr 15, 2006
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  2. metroman

    Paul Guest

    No groans, but it will be a bit of work to get going.

    I guess I'm the kind of guy, that I'd work on the thing till it
    was fixed. The only issue is whether the video card is going
    to prevent you from booting or not. You could, for
    example, insert a Windows install CD, and with just a CD drive
    connected, try and boot with that. Having a second, PCI video
    card, would help you to bootstrap yourself around the problem.
    (but I still haven't purchased a PCI video card myself, so
    even I'm not prepared for the day when I need a bootstrap video
    card). Perhaps you could give it another go, and post back with the
    details if you get stuck. Or, use the Matrox forums, and get
    the Matrox support staff to help you, as it is their mess -
    they respond to user queries on a M-F 9-5 basis from the
    vicinity of Montreal, Canada.

    There are a few threads here on the topic of the VBE modes on
    the Matrox cards. Maybe this will give you some ideas on what
    to do next. (index to download areas)

    As for what to do with respect to buying more hardware for the
    thing, I really suggest you test the platform first, with what
    you have purchased, and then see if there is a need to make the
    system more "uber". I have run my P4C800-E with 4x512MB PC3200
    memory, and it runs just as stable and with the same memory
    bandwidth, whether running 2x512MB or 4x512MB.

    What you bought, was overclocker memory. PC4000 memory works best
    if you use only two sticks. The timing would typically be
    3-4-4-8 at DDR500. You could dial your 1.8GHz processor to about
    2.25GHz, and then get the "value" from the memory. A little extra
    Vdimm would help achieve DDR500 error free.

    If a person were to install 4x512MB PC4000, then the first thing
    that would happen, is the max stable frequency for the memory would
    drop. Maybe it would work at DDR440 or DDR460 or the like, but
    it won't go all the way to DDR500 (PC4000). Not a big deal really.
    You can still run your RAM product at DDR400 (by using all "stock"
    settings). The difference might be in how tightly you can
    optimize the RAM timings. My PC3200 RAM runs 2-2-2-6 timings, and
    cranking down PC4000 memory to PC3200 speeds, doesn't usually
    yield the same tight timing. In any case, we're talking about
    "small potatoes" performance difference.

    So, after all that rambling, what would I purchase ? It is a tough
    choice, as I'm a tight wad. If I bought 2x512MB more PC4000 memory,
    then I still have some overclocking potential. If I bought some
    PC3200 low latency memory, then the old PC4000 memory would
    prevent really tight memory timings. So neither choice is
    optimal in a sense - the PC4000 purchase still means you can
    crank to above DDR400 if you want. I guess it really depends
    on what your original intent was, when you purchased the

    Since you bought the 512MB sticks, the 1GB sticks have become
    more mainstream (thanks to the Athlon64 platform), and 2x1GB
    would also allow you to get to 2GB total. You can buy standard
    latency or low latency memory, with a price to match.

    The max processor for the board right now, is 3.4GHz, either as
    a Prescott or a Northwood S478 processor. If you want to go
    faster than that, it means moving to LGA775 socket, in which
    case a P5P800 motherboard might be able to reuse the other
    hardware you bought. Or, you could start over again, and
    go with LGA775/DDR2/PCIE_graphics etc. Just depends on how
    unlimited a budget you've got. Deluxe&SLanguage=en-us&cache=1

    Paul, Apr 15, 2006
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  3. metroman

    old man Guest

    Just an observation
    'Several years ago' the old mobo is likely superceeded by new tech. ie
    proccessor / sata / usb etc and since you are in 'pro graphics' updating old
    tech. might be a retrograde step. eg perhaps you might be considering a dual
    core cpu? now or later.
    On board sound is allmost universal.
    If by upgrading the mobo you also have to update memory, just Ebay your old
    stuff, thats the route I've used
    PS I run a Matrox G450 in dual mode (old!!) on a Gygabyte GA-K8N Ultra 9
    old man, Apr 15, 2006
  4. metroman

    metroman Guest

    Thank you for taking the time to carefully and thoroughly lay out your
    thoughts regarding this mess. (I found in my archive that you
    responded to my initial call for help at the beginning of this project
    in 2004.) I appreciate your input and all of the links. As you may
    guess, I had done some of this fact-finding regarding the
    incompatibility when the issue first arose. The more I read the more I
    think I can never have confidence in the P4C800. Last night I
    discovered a new caveat regarding the front USB connects. It seems a
    new mobo, Asus or other, is definitely needed. I can salvage the RAM
    (thank you for the tip about not adding a new pair now) and possibly
    the vid card although I'm ready to move away from Matrox after this.

    Want some slightly dated but unused parts, Paul? Too bad you're not
    near NYC, I'd happily barter some of your obvious expertise for my

    If nothing else, thanks for your support.

    I'm Paul too.
    metroman, Apr 15, 2006
  5. metroman

    Paul Guest

    Despite the issues with USB and burnt Southbridges, I still
    think 865/875 based boards are useful. And a 1.8Ghz processor
    would be good enough for office work, email, web surfing
    and the like. People with older S478 motherboards, would
    be interested in your motherboard, so it doesn't belong in
    the landfill. (You could even make a file server out of it,
    by adding a $50 video card that can properly display the
    BIOS setup. I have a couple FX5200's that I use for stuff
    like that. By using a cheap PS/2 keyboard and mouse, there
    is no need to go near the USB ports. I don't use mine.)

    For Photoshop, I don't recollect my ever finding a site
    that regularly updates their hardware recommendations, when
    new processors come out. So while in principle, a dual core
    from Intel or AMD would probably be a fast choice, it would
    be comforting to know how much "value for money" each of the
    potential choices can bring. The Macintosh forums used to be
    a good source of contrasting reviews, but they were never
    interested in testing all the possible AMD/Intel processor

    On any case, I hope your next build goes a bit smoother.

    Paul, Apr 16, 2006
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