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Socket 775 Chipset Advice

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by NickElliott, 22 Jul 2008.

  1. NickElliott

    NickElliott What's a Dremel?

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    My current PC is starting to show its age (Athlon XP 1900+) so it's time to rebuild.

    I've decided on the Core 2 Duo (E8400/E8500) using DDR2, I'll probably start with 4GB but will likely add more in the future. I plan to have one HDD for Operating Systems and a RAID setup for data. I'm not yet sure if I should allow for multi-GPU capabilities for graphics.

    On my last build the choice of chipset was pretty straighforward - nVidia nForce - so it was relatively easy to select a motherboard based on that platform.

    This time around there seem to be no end of options even if I restrict the choice to Intel chipsets; G-series, P35/P45, x38/x48 and so on, I have spent a lot of time reading reviews etc. but am still not certain. What to do?

    - should I avoid the G-series boards because the integrated graphics are not that good?
    - are x38/x48 boards overkill for the E8400/E8500?
    - does the P45 offer much over the P35, is it worth paying extra for?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Nick
     
  2. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    if you are going to use a graphics card, G series is basically useless.

    if you are going to use ATI Crossfire, x38 and x48 are your best choice

    else, P35/P45 will be the best price/peroformance point.
    P45 is a die shrink of P35 with PCIe 2.0 support. IMHO, getting P45 now makes all the sense, P35 is old and should only be considered if budget is really tight.



    edit: why can't i do indentation?
     
  3. kenco_uk

    kenco_uk I unsuccessfully then tried again

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    If I were to get one today, it'd be one with DDR3 slots, as the next slew of motherboards, with the new Core2 cpu sockets, are said to support tri-channel DDR3. DDR2 will probably still be around for a fair while, but looking to the future, DDR3 looks to be settling in.
     
  4. azrael-

    azrael- I'm special...

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    Some tests have shown that the P45 draws more power than the P35, while not bringing much new to the table (PCIe 2.0 and ICH10, the latter of which is supposedly even slower than its predecessor, ICH9). On the other hand X38 boards are going down in price, albeit not as much as the cheapest P35 boards. I think you should have a look at a decent mid-range X38 board like the ASUS P5E, the Gigabyte GA-(E)X38-DS4 or the MSI X38 Diamond. The latter is using DDR3 which is finally coming down in price and may now be worth getting. Another cheap DDR3 X38 board would be the ASUS P5E3.

    /az
     
  5. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    What tests make P45 draw more than P35, exactly?

    DDR3 still isn't yet worth it -even expensive/fast DDR2 4GB kits are still cheaper than cheap 4gb DDR3 kits.
     
  6. azrael-

    azrael- I'm special...

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    They claim higher power needs for the P45 chipset over at tomshardware.com. Incidentally, in the same review they claim that the ICH10 performs slower. Truth be told, I haven't been looking *that* much into either the P35 or P45 chipset myself, since the X38 (or the more expensive X48) has features I need. I've simply not had much reason to look further... :)

    /az
     
  7. LeMaltor

    LeMaltor >^_^

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    I woulnd't believe Tom's hardware even if they said Tuesday was the day after Monday >_<
     
  8. NickElliott

    NickElliott What's a Dremel?

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    I'm leaning towards the x38 at the moment unless I decide that Crossfire will be of no use to me in the future, that would bring the P45 into play. At least I have narrowed down the options to look at.
     
  9. huckleberry

    huckleberry I don't trust myself with a Dremel!

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    I'm also looking to invest in the same set-up: E8400, 4GB DDR2, etc.

    I know that I will use it mainly for gaming so I'm swaying towards the Intel iX38.
    I'll be using a ATi HD4870 to start with and, when games get even more GPU intensive, invest in a second card. So I'm more interested in having PCI-E 2.0 support at x16 lanes in both PCI-E slots.
    The P45 chipset supports only one PCI-E slot at x16 lanes, and then 2 slots running at x8 lanes each when in Crossfire. Which I've taken a look at a few reviews on the subject and it's said that it can lead to bottlenecking of data.

    If you're not planning on using a multiple GPU set-up however, then the P45 or P35 may make a better choice. For me, when I buy my second GPU card I expect that I will feel the pinch more if I had a P45 rather than an X38, and would be more annoyed by having to buy a newer motherboard because of it.

    Regarding the X48 chipset, the 'only' main difference to the X38 is the support for 1600Mhz FSB. As I don't plan on paying out hundred's of pounds on the Intel eXtreme processors that have this FSB, or for DDR3 memory running at 1600Mhz which is also quite expensive in comparison to DDR2 800Mhz, this chipset doesn't tick enough boxes to make me opt for it instead of the X38. Some versions of the X38 support DDR3 memory, but only up to DDR3 1333Mhz.

    My system is 4 years old now, and when I come to next upgrade the new system (whenever I get it) probably in 2-4 years, DDR3 will have dropped in price enough to buy a new system which supports it and not leave me feeling foolish not to have spent more money on one which does, I don't feel that DDR3 has dropped in price enough yet.
     
  10. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    If you are going with a multi-core CPU and 4GB of RAM. The best OS would be Vista 64-bit for you.
    Aero (Vista UI) requires a decent graphic card, specially if you plan to have a large display. The reason is that Vista Aero UI is nearly all drawn by the video card (something that should have been done in the first place) instead of the CPU like XP and previous version of Windows.
    Anything like a Geforce 6600GT with 256MB of Video card RAM (I don't know the equivalent for ATI) will be fine for a 22inch LCD display or smaller.
    Such video card will give you the power to play properly and smoothly a DVD-movie, HD video (720p), and old games.

    Perhaps a Geforce 8600 or 9600 (or equivalent from ATI), if you don't plan to play games.
     
  11. NickElliott

    NickElliott What's a Dremel?

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    I tend to agree, the x38 just 'feels' a little more future-proof thanks to multi-GPU support. Am I right in thinking that you don't have to worry about matching GPU cards anymore so you can still make use of your old card when you add the second one?
     
  12. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    That's not a wonderful comparison. You can't compare board to board because they have different features that use different amounts of power. It's power efficiency - if you get PCI-Express 2.0 and proper x8 by x8 lanes, a far better BIOS, superior overclocking, better power efficiency options and better features then it's impossible to compare apples to apples:

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2008/06/20/msi-p45-platinum/4

    The P35 chipset itself is a 90nm devise but the P45 is 65nm - to overclock on the P45 you need less voltage too, so it uses less power (as a chipset).

    In some situations dual x8s can bottleneck it a touch, but if you increase the PCI-Express frequency it can counteract it. Saying that, there are some great X38 or X48 boards out there too - it depends what you want to spend.

    DFI LanParty LT X48, anyone?
     
  13. huckleberry

    huckleberry I don't trust myself with a Dremel!

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    Last time I checked, Crossfire was still capable between any two or more cards of the same series - although I'm sure how far the term 'series' extends, at a guess I'd say it was 4800 as a family, 3800 as a family, etc... The technology uses a 'master' card, and then connects to a 'slave' card. Not so sure about nVidia's SLi, pretty sure you have to have the same GPU chipset and memory i.e. 8800GTS 320MB and 8800GTS 640MB = no-no. But 8800GTS 640MB and 8800GTS 640MB is OK. Whereas you can crossfire a 3870 with a 3850, and I'm guessing this also applies to the 4800 series.

    Not sure if nVidia's SLi has moved on at all, if anyone does know would be interesting to find out.
     
  14. azrael-

    azrael- I'm special...

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    AFAIK the whole master/slave-card business is over and done with in regard to CrossFire. I believe you can even mix'n'match CrossFire-ready graphics card, since you can do this Crossfire-thingy with a regular add-in graphics cards and e.g. the AMD 780G chipset. FWIW I'd personally still use two (or more) identical cards for CrossFire, *if* I'd ever do something like that. Personally I'd rather get 1 good graphics card and upgrade at intervals than doing the whole CrossFire/SLI stuff. And it's easier on the electrical bill too... :)

    /az
     

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