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Borsuc



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 2466
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Borsuc
Hi,

here's me again with another technical thread, I hope I don't bother anyone. I would like to buy a new system after my current old and second-hand one (5 years+) failed one of the RAM (I have only 512MB left out of 1GB, because one of them gave me errors). I scanned with memtest86+ from floppy and it gave me a whole lot of errors, weirdly enough with bit errors in a sequence of 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-... and so on

Anyway, since it's that time of the year where service is usually closed I can't replace it (Kingston have lifetime warranty though so I could) but I thought of buying a new system anyway.

The reason I'm posting this is because I'm REALLY bad at picking motherboards, plus I have problems seeing the full specification in romanian online shops (they don't say anything about ECC or Fully Buffered DIMM support). So I thought of asking you guys out if you can help me chose a motherboard please.

What I would want in the new one:

1) Intel Core2 Quad Q9550, with socket LGA 775, and FSB 1333 Mhz
(previously I wanted an i7 but it's too damn expensive because I need an expensive motherboard + expensive DDR3 RAM, not worth it...)
(not decided yet but

2) IMPORTANT: RAM with ECC (yeah I became paranoid) and thus, must support from motherboard memory controller and such!!

I am thinking of Kingston 4GB 667MHz DDR2 ECC Fully Buffered CL5 DIMM (Kit of 2) Dual Rank, x8 (romanian online shop, but pics & specs speak for themselves).

I need a motherboard to support this -- I know I may have to do some BIOS settings and enable ECC, but I need to be absolutely positive it supports it.

3) 'Decent' or mediocre video card, I don't need a high-end one like Nvidia GeForce 8800 and such. 7000+ series is somewhat ok for me.
Preferably Nvidia card, so motherboard should be optimized for that, I guess...

If the motherboard has integrated video, does that mean that it will be ignored if I plug in a video card or will it work in parallel?

And is there a "problem" if I get a microATX? Does that have any more 'issues' rather than a normal ATX? (heating, more likely to fail, whatever...)


4) Preferably SATA 2 -- I have IDE now but I'll probably use IDE-to-SATA converter to transfer my data to a new hard-drive

Please list all possibilities here and your recommendation.



Also, you guys know any tricks on re-configuring Windows XP without reinstallation? I mean, I will have to reinstall everything all over again because of driver screw-ups and change of major hardware (I could repair but I heard that fucks up your registry totally).

Why isn't there any method of 'saving' the app data & registry & whatever, clean reinstall Windows on another system, and then copy that data along with all files? I hate Microsoft...


Thank you all for your time.

PS: If you want you can delete this thread after it's solved Smile

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Post 24 Dec 2008, 14:52
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revolution
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revolution
Borsuc wrote:
4) Preferably SATA 2 -- I have IDE now but I'll probably use IDE-to-SATA converter to transfer my data to a new hard-drive
Don't forget to upgrade your backup solution also. I would imagine that your data is far more important than any of the hardware.
Borsuc wrote:
Also, you guys know any tricks on re-configuring Windows XP without reinstallation? I mean, I will have to reinstall everything all over again because of driver screw-ups and change of major hardware (I could repair but I heard that fucks up your registry totally).

Why isn't there any method of 'saving' the app data & registry & whatever, clean reinstall Windows on another system, and then copy that data along with all files? I hate Microsoft...
Aah, if only it was that easy. One of the major downfalls of the registry. I know of no way around it either Crying or Very sad That is also why I am also allergic to installer programs. They usually put lots of crap in the registry and I never know how to guarantee the transfer of all settings to another computer. I then have to spend hours trying to get all my apps back into a state that I am comfortable with.
Borsuc wrote:
PS: If you want you can delete this thread after it's solved Smile
No I can't, I don't get a delete button. And now that I have posted, nor will you! Hehe, neither of us can delete it.
Post 24 Dec 2008, 15:10
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LocoDelAssembly
Your code has a bug


Joined: 06 May 2005
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LocoDelAssembly
Quote:

I scanned with memtest86+ from floppy and it gave me a whole lot of errors, weirdly enough with bit errors in a sequence of 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-... and so on


Have you done anything else? like, say, plugging the memory into another slot, cleaning contacts, etc. The "lots of errors" is also in "lots of memory addresses"? Both memory modules are "twins"? Perhaps for some reason your timing settings have changed and the supposed to be defective module is not working just because you are using it out of specs rather than a physical defect.

I'm not answering your question I know, but I can't keep quiet looking how you could be wasting a 512 MB memory module Razz
Post 24 Dec 2008, 16:04
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Borsuc



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
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Borsuc
revolution wrote:
No I can't, I don't get a delete button. And now that I have posted, nor will you! Hehe, neither of us can delete it.
hehe I was talking about a mod or admin to do it Wink

Pity there isn't any kind of program out there that uses a "what changed in the registry? export only that!" thing -- if anyone knows of any I'll be glad to hear it. With such tool I can first install drivers, make a snapshot, install programs etc... then when I want to move the settings, take another snapshot, export only the 'difference' somewhere and that'll be the app data Smile

(I know, easy in theory, may be impossible in practice, I dunno).




Well Loco, I didn't try anything else yet, but could be the motherboard too. I'm not gonna throw this comp anyway, I even keep my previous 256 MB RAM module and don't throw anything -- I might as well keep this older comp functional, but I will try to use it less to preserve its life (since it's somewhat used & old) Smile
It has a GeForce 5200FX and a Pentium 4 processor -- it isn't bad at all and I don't have complaints (although of course, I could do some more things with a Quad Core) but that doesn't mean this one is crap -- in fact it's more than sufficient for enough things just as it was previously (and still is right now with only 512MB of RAM, still works ok).

and of course I can always replace the RAM module since it is under warranty (lifetime) from Kingston, but now it's Christmas and holidays and stuff -- every service is closed Confused


By the way, the motherboard does NOT need to have a "fully buffered" compatibility to the RAM (like they use in servers with 8GB+ memory) -- i found other RAM modules from Kingston with ECC but without "registered" or "fully buffered". (for example, this)

But I found them at the 'server memory' section -- I guess they're only used in servers (not that it would bother me to get one such memory)? Because of the stupid dumb gamer who just wants performance and not data stability Evil or Very Mad That's why ECC memory modules are so damn rare.

And even less motherboards to support it argh...

Also, I do not necessarily need a Core 2 Quad -- I heard Xeon Quad processors which have sockets 771 can be used in some motherboards which support ECC (well technically Xeons are for servers). Is there something wrong with using Xeon Quad processors as a 'desktop' thing?

If there's nothing wrong, then please consider motherboards with 771 sockets which support Xeon Quads as a viable option for me, if the said motherboard supports ECC Wink


(my current motherboard is second-hand and 5+ years old -- I can only congratulate it for still being functional Very Happy, truly a veteran hehe)

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Post 24 Dec 2008, 18:09
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revolution
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Borsuc wrote:
Is there something wrong with using Xeon Quad processors as a 'desktop' thing?
No, they work just fine. But they are usually overkill for desktop needs. They usually have the following "features":
  • more costly
  • more cache
  • more power usage
  • lower clock speeds
  • slower RAM (ECC hurts performance a little)
  • more RAM slots
  • more HDD interfaces (sometimes with hardware RAID)
  • dual network ports
  • basic graphics chip (if any)


Last edited by revolution on 25 Dec 2008, 12:15; edited 1 time in total
Post 25 Dec 2008, 03:36
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tom tobias



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
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tom tobias
Borsuc wrote:
I have problems seeing the full specification in romanian online shops (they don't say anything about ECC or Fully Buffered DIMM support). So I thought of asking you guys out if you can help me chose a motherboard please.
Upon visiting MOBOT, I selected LGA771m for socket, 1333/1066/800/533 for FSB, and SATA II, and that combination eliminated all motherboards.

Changing only the first parameter, to socket 775, yielded a single motherboard, hence, the answer to your question:

Asus "striker extreme".

Smile
Post 25 Dec 2008, 11:42
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Borsuc



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 2466
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Borsuc
revolution wrote:
No, they work just fine. But they are usually overkill for desktop needs. They usually have the following "features":
  • more costly
  • more cache
  • more power usage
  • lower clock speeds
  • slower RAM (ECC hurts performance a little)
  • more RAM slots
  • more HDD interfaces (sometimes with hardware RAID)
  • dual network ports
  • basic graphics chip (if any)
More power usage and less frequency... they're weird Smile
and I know ECC hurts performance very little, 1-2% (just an extra clock cycle latency).


Thanks tom for that site, but does it list all available motherboards? When I put in ONLY the "CPU: Core2 Extreme, Core2 Quad, Core2 Duo, Pentium Dual-Core" it gave me only two motherboards, and I found plenty in the romanian shops who have more than those for these processors Confused

weird.

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Post 25 Dec 2008, 14:51
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revolution
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revolution
Borsuc wrote:
More power usage and less frequency... they're weird Smile
Yeah, it is a consequence of all the extra things they are doing. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Post 25 Dec 2008, 15:00
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mattst88



Joined: 12 May 2006
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Location: South Carolina
mattst88
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Registered_memory

Registered memory just decreases the electrical load on the memory controller, and actually increases access times marginally. Just making sure that you know. Many people seem to think that it's somehow better, that is, faster.
Post 27 Dec 2008, 16:30
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Borsuc



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
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Location: Bucharest, Romania
Borsuc
I know. But I'm looking at unbuffered ECC memory though. I found only few motherboards to support that with a LGA 775 socket, for some reason. I searched and some complained that it only "works with ECC" but does not USE it (so it's futile and useless).

And then that was about Asus Maximus Formula or something like that (motherboard) with Intel X38 chipset (the one that "should" handle ECC, but is there a way to verify it, because people said they don't see it in memtest86+). The problem with this motherboard is that it's too overpriced for what I need. It handles too high RAM frequencies which aren't even available in ECC modules, and it has two video card slots. It's a bit expensive & overkill.

I'm getting extremely frustrated because I can't find a lower-end motherboard with damn ECC support. And many specs are just misleading.

Seriously is it so freaking hard for them to say "uses ECC memory" when it does? (or 'supports', whatever). What the hell ECC is not even a criterion in most specs. I'm getting pissed for searching more than 6 hours on this thing (not continuously ofc). Mad


Summary: I would like Intel Core 2 Quad with ECC memory that actually WORKS and isn't just "ignored but works without ECC capability" because that would be pointless. You can't believe how frustrated I am right now due to countless hours of pointless searching for that...

and even when i found one board, some say it doesn't work properly with ECC (i.e it just ignores that capability), but not only that it's also overkill for what I want (two video card slots? and supports too high RAM frequency WTF you don't find that high with ECC, 1000+ I remember).

and of course I'm talking about DDR2

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Post 27 Dec 2008, 21:08
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revolution
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Unfortunately if you want ECC then you have to put up with the problem that the average seller does not have people requesting it, so they don't bother to think about it. The way I see it you have two choices:

1) Go to a vendor experienced in selling servers. It will cost more but that is the nature of ECC. In general the only people that require the stability of ECC are also the people that need lots of memory and redundant networks etc., and those people are the server buyers. You essentially want to buy something that only big spenders need/want.

2) Educate all the cheap mobo sellers about ECC and then ask the appropriate Q's before you buy from them. That could be very problematic and might lead to disaster with a wrong answer landing you with a non-ECC mobo.
Post 28 Dec 2008, 00:43
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bitRAKE



Joined: 21 Jul 2003
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bitRAKE
I am very happy with my motherboard (X7DCA-L).
(Then get three of these for 12GB - it isn't fully-buffered - just registered.
And a couple Harpertown's in your favorite flavor - I go for low-power lime.)


Last edited by bitRAKE on 28 Dec 2008, 02:11; edited 2 times in total
Post 28 Dec 2008, 01:12
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revolution
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revolution
Borsuc wrote:
... expensive & overkill.
<snip>
... it's also overkill for what I want ...
Hehe, didn't someone already mention that?
Post 28 Dec 2008, 01:24
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mattst88



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mattst88
bitRAKE wrote:
it isn't fully-buffered - just registered.


What's the difference?

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Post 28 Dec 2008, 05:17
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bitRAKE



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bitRAKE
Fully-buffered has an Advanced Memory Buffer. Whereas registered memory just has a memory buffer. I haven't read the spec and don't know beyond the registered memory being much cheaper. Fully-Buffered is a newer standard and changes the interface to serial, uses more power, higher latency, etc?

[edit] After a little reading it seems there are faster, low-power FB-DIMMs if money is no object.
Post 28 Dec 2008, 05:49
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Borsuc



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
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Borsuc
revolution wrote:
Hehe, didn't someone already mention that?
I know, but when I asked i had no idea all of them are overkill. Plus I didn't actually ask for a serverboard but just something to support ECC and an Intel quad core (Core2 preferred rather than Xeon though).

ECC used to be a fairly 'standard' in the past, wonder why it's being dropped, because of power-hungry gamers who wants absolute performance and don't care about their data? Mad

I've also read somewhere that x375 chipset from Intel supports ECC but I haven't been able to find good motherboards with it (this means, not overkill like 2 video cards, 1000Mhz RAM (when I plan on getting 667 or "small chance" of getting 800) and all that expensive stuff).

Thanks bitrake, never knew you used a server board, but it has two CPU slots and doesn't seem to be good for the video card, or am I wrong? Smile (could be also expensive for what I need, I don't want an overkill)

then again, just curious (not think I'm gonna get one anyway) what's the deal with registered and fully buffered, I mean the difference between them? Do "fully buffered" motherboards work with registered RAM, or are they not compatible (I already suspect 'registered' motherboards don't work with fully buffered DIMM anyway).


surely there must be even an old motherboard (with x375 chipset instead of x38 or x48) to not be overkill and have ECC for me... Confused


also I read somewhere AMD have the memory controller on chip and that they support ECC, although the most expensive AMD Phenom (Quad) I found was like 1/2 the price of the Intel Quad I put my eyes on (Intel Core2 Quad Q9550) and googling it performed poorer than even the Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 or something like that.

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Post 28 Dec 2008, 14:51
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revolution
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Borsuc wrote:
... I didn't actually ask for a serverboard but just something to support ECC ...
It tends to come as a set, you ask for ECC you get a server board, any other option seems to be very hard to find (if it exists at all). I've never seen an ECC board that is not targeted to the server crowd.
Post 28 Dec 2008, 16:04
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Borsuc



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Borsuc
older desktop boards with Intel x375 chipset supported ECC and now they don't Sad

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Post 28 Dec 2008, 18:12
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bitRAKE



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bitRAKE
Borsuc wrote:
Thanks bitrake, never knew you used a server board, but it has two CPU slots and doesn't seem to be good for the video card, or am I wrong? Smile (could be also expensive for what I need, I don't want an overkill)
There is a single x16 slot for video - that is plenty for me. I've been working with dual processor boards since my BP6, then I had a couple slot 1 dual boards. The X7DCA-L is a really awesome board, and not too expensive for a server board. It doesn't have much I'm not using, and room to expand if those 8GB sticks ever drop in price, lol.

I don't know about the FB-DIMMs - they are outside my power/price range, afaik. All the interfaces are switching to serial, so something like FB-DIMMs are in the future. My next machine might have a TB of memory. Very Happy

There are many solid motherboards - you don't have to have ECC. Spend the money on a good UPS and power supply - it'll add years to your hardware.

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Post 28 Dec 2008, 18:41
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Borsuc



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Borsuc
Oh I don't want 2 video card slots either it's overkill for me (one reason why I don't like that Asus Maximus Formula mobo which "supposedly" has ECC, but I'm not sure if it uses it).

I have an UPS and (I hope) a good power supply. Still RAM errors can be influenced by atmospheric radiation (including cosmic rays), or so I've heard. Is there any other server board similar to yours which has only 1 CPU slot? That would be enough for me.

How good are Xeon Quads compared to Core 2 Quads (such as the Q9550)? Are they good for streaming stuff or SSE-optimized stuff? I just don't want it to have worse performance on a single core than my current Pentium 4 and want to make sure Smile

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Post 28 Dec 2008, 23:14
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