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01-10-2011, 02:53 AM   #1
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Computer Memory Upgrade on Asus/AMD set-up

Hi all

I've just got into focus stacking and the program I'm using eats all of my 4GB of Corsair XMS2 DDR2 RAM running @1066MHz.

My mobo is an Asus M2N68-VM with an Athlon X2 7750 BE CPU @ 2.7GHz, running Windows 7 64bit with 8GB RAM capability. The mobo will run AM3 CPU's with a BIOS update.

The easy way would be to bang another 4GB kit in, but from what I've learned in the Corsair forum this can be a very hit and miss proposition, even with chips with the same revision No. I have been unable to track down any 2 x 4GB kits of DDR2-1066 RAM.

The other option is to swap the 7750 for an AM3 unit (from $80 for 2 cores to $150 for a 955 quad core black edition) and get some fast DDR3 RAM, around $140 for 1066MHz to $200 for 2000MHz then sell off the old CPU and RAM. I guess I would be happy with 8GB running @ 1066

Asus only seem to go half way with their product updates, i.e. no mention of DDR3 RAM on their QVL for the now AM3/DDR3 capable mobos.

The update route seems to make sense to me if I can clarify what RAM will work in the updated mobo. I'll check in the Asus forum and maybe get an answer.

Any thoughts appreciated. When I get my head into something like this, I often have trouble seeing the forest.

Cheers

01-10-2011, 03:36 AM   #2
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You won't be able to use DDR3 in this board unfortunately. The easiest way to upgrade this would be to put another 2 sticks of 2GB ram in and then ease the memory timings a bit. Compatibilty issues are normally more prevelant when overclocking or running the memory with tight timings. The Corsair forum would have a heavy overclocking bias so I would expect most of the issues mentioned to be related to this. The 7750 chip is capable of being unlocked to 3 / 4 cores as it is a speed binned Phenom I.
The other option to get to 8GB or more would be sell the MB, CPU & Ram together and buy a Mini ATX 8XX G(X) chipset board with either a Athlon II or Phenom II chip and then just put in 8GB of DDR3. Something like an M4A88TD with a Phenom II 555 should give you a noticable jump in performance if clock it up a little to something like 3.6-3.8 region. This would also give you the opportunity to bump up to 16GB of RAM in the future
01-10-2011, 06:14 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Robbie.

I got the info on the BIOS update from this link ASUS Motherboards Now Supports AMD AM3 Processors and unless I'm reading it wrongly it states that my mobo is AM3 friendly after updating the BIOS, and will support DDR3 RAM.

I was aware that some had unlocked the other two cores on the 7750 but only on two specific motherboards, an ASRock and another make I can't recall.

The Asus website is so hard to get any info from that if I do decide to change the motherboard I will probably go to a Gigabyte unit.

Cheers
01-10-2011, 08:09 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by trublubiker Quote
Thanks for the reply Robbie.

I got the info on the BIOS update from this link ASUS Motherboards Now Supports AMD AM3 Processors and unless I'm reading it wrongly it states that my mobo is AM3 friendly after updating the BIOS, and will support DDR3 RAM.

I was aware that some had unlocked the other two cores on the 7750 but only on two specific motherboards, an ASRock and another make I can't recall.

The Asus website is so hard to get any info from that if I do decide to change the motherboard I will probably go to a Gigabyte unit.

Cheers
It will support newer AM3 cpu's but not ddr3 ram.

01-10-2011, 08:34 AM   #5
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I just took a quick browse through Newegg's memory listing and was surprised that there were no 4GB-1066 modules, just 800 modules listed. I just built a new tower and used G-Skill 2GB-1066 which I got cheap and are available from many manufacturers in the 2GB size. I guess that's always the problem, stuff becomes outdated so quickly. I built a budget box so I probably won't upgrade much or at all on this one. I used a Gigabyte board BTW and their site has a lot of information. Gigabyte answers posts on Newegg's user comments when someone has issues so I feel better buying from a company that takes the time to monitor and answer customer comments and problems.
01-10-2011, 10:52 AM   #6
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The other gotcha is that the 7750s memory controller would be hard pushed with 4 sticks of DDR2 @ 1066. By in large these are happiest with 2 sticks only, they can use 4 but it will drop to 800Mhz. You are in zombie upgrade land, put in 2 more 2GB sticks and your memory speed will drop (you won't notice this really tbh), upgrade the cpu and you'll still be upgrading older memory, upgrade the motherboard and you'll need a new cpu
Best option would be to sell the cpu/ mb / ram and put the return on these towards a new set, have a look at the new Intel stuff (Sandybridge) or wait for AMD's (Bulldozer) to come out in Q2. If you really need a quick upgrade, pick up the Gigabyte GA-880GMA-UD2H, + Athlon II 630 and 2 * 4GBs of your favourite ram, G Skill are doing nice DDR3 kits at the moment. Ramp up the speed of the 630 (an easy 3.6Ghz available) and you have 8GBs Ram, USB3, built in AMD (ATI graphics) for not too much money.
01-10-2011, 05:15 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help guys.

Robbie, I've had a good look at your suggested upgrade and it makes a lot of sense. I would probably go with the Phenom II X4 Black Edition (Unlocked Multiplier), and the GA-880GM-UD2H, no USB3 (I can live without it) but it seems to have native support for 1666MHz as opposed to 1333MHz on the 880GMA which I assume will let me use PC3-12800 RAM.

As I'm only half-smart with computers, have I overlooked anything in my proposed changes.

Again, many thanks for taking the time to assist me.

Cheers

Last edited by trublubiker; 01-10-2011 at 05:19 PM. Reason: Add info
01-10-2011, 06:23 PM   #8
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The native support for 1666Mhz is just a mulitplier you can select from a drop down in the bios. PC3-12800 ram will work perfectly fine. The Phenom IIs only support PC3-10666 ram officially but the 12800 versions should allow tighter timings at the lower speed otherwise save the extra 30-40 $Aus.
What PSU do you have? People tend to forget that the PSU is the foundation of any system. Antec, Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, Seasonic have good reputations. The former 2 are a bit cheaper than the latter 2 though Personally I used be-quiet PSU's for the last 3 years, a 550W and recently (as in 2 weeks ago) a 650W version, whisper quiet and rock solid but they cost a bit.
On Xtremesystems.org in the amd forum, I see someone pulled out 4Ghz from a Phenom 1055 on the GA-880GM-UD2H with a stock cooler so they can be tuned up nicely In reality for 24hr * 7 * 365 use aim for a solid 3.6Ghz.


Last edited by robbiec; 01-10-2011 at 06:29 PM.
01-10-2011, 08:24 PM   #9
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Robbie, I've looked on AMD's website and they have the Athlon II 630 @ 2800GHz and a 645 @ 3100GHz, and there is not a lot of difference in the local price of the 630 and the 645.

On Gigabyte's CPU Support list they quote the frequency in MHz.

Is the 630/645 a better option for me. Will it support higher RAM speeds? Is the 630 a better over-clocker? I just wondered why you picked the 630 over the 645.

What is the best processor for high speed RAM to run on the GA-880GM-UD2H?

My PSU is a Vantec iON2 with a very stable 460W. I did a fair bit of checking before I bought it.
I'm only running two 500GB SATA drives, a DVDR and an older 8400GS video card.

Sorry for all the questions but I'm retired and can't afford to buy the wrong stuff.

Cheers
01-11-2011, 12:48 AM   #10
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I just picked the 630 because it was the cheapest quad core. AMD have had a good long run on these chips now so there would not be a big difference between the 2 clocking wise. The Phenom II BE quad you mentioned does have extra cache which may come into play with the focus stacking program. It may be worth a little researching on their website. Corsair is still probably the best of the best ram but I mentioned G Skill stuff because it is cheaper and because I setup a machine 4 or 5 years ago for my girlfriends parents with G Skill and it has never given a problem + the lads / lassies over at xtremsystems.org seem to love the RipJaw stuff and they would push it harder than we would ever do.
The Vantec will be fine for any combo we have chatted about here. Feel free to give me a pm if you have any questions.
S!
Robbie
01-11-2011, 09:17 AM   #11
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On my recent build, I used the X3 445@3.1GHz. It's possible to unlock the fourth core on these chips and most of Gigabytes boards allow it. I'm using the GA-MA785GM-US2H which has been around a while. The manual recommends a 500W or larger power supply, even with the onboard graphics. If you're considering the Gigabyte board, you can download the manual from their site and get a little familiar with it ahead of time. I bought a new 600W Thermaltake because with a new build, I didn't want to have issues with a 5 yr old power supply. A lot of people buy the X3's and unlock them. I didn't go that route as this computer is doing fine as it is. With the heat sink and fan it was $69. When adding up all the components, every $10 or $20 you save adds up to nice savings by the time it's all added up.
01-12-2011, 04:44 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
On my recent build, I used the X3 445@3.1GHz. It's possible to unlock the fourth core on these chips and most of Gigabytes boards allow it. I'm using the GA-MA785GM-US2H which has been around a while. The manual recommends a 500W or larger power supply, even with the onboard graphics. If you're considering the Gigabyte board, you can download the manual from their site and get a little familiar with it ahead of time. I bought a new 600W Thermaltake because with a new build, I didn't want to have issues with a 5 yr old power supply. A lot of people buy the X3's and unlock them. I didn't go that route as this computer is doing fine as it is. With the heat sink and fan it was $69. When adding up all the components, every $10 or $20 you save adds up to nice savings by the time it's all added up.
Thanks reef.

I've just ordered the following:

Gigabyte Mobo GA-880GM-USB3
G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition

Hope this lot will keep me out of trouble for a while. I never felt that Windows 7 was all that happy with only 4GBs of RAM.

Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions guys.
01-14-2011, 10:29 AM   #13
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I'm running Win7-64 bit with 4GB without issues. My only issues were some drivers but I got that ironed out. I was getting some lock up and screen freeze issues. An updated video driver fixed it.
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