Motherboard Specification

  DrATty 11:05 13 Oct 2008

I have a rather expensive PC with an ASUS P5n32e-SLI motherboard at its heart. I checked the specifications before purchase. The board 'should' take up to 8Gb RAM and up to 4Gb 800MHz RAM. I can't get 4Gb of anything to work (I've tried the recommended memory) but apparently, 4Gb of 533MHz memory usually works. That's quite a difference to 800MHz. The problem is known and is due to an overheating northbridge - a design fault, I suppose. Crucial have removed the 800MHz RAM upgrade for the P5N32e-SLI from their memory selector.
The manufacturer of the PC has given up and ASUS don't want to know so I'm stuck right now. It seems also that the board is dying anyway.
I have 2 queries:
1. Is there anything else I can do to get a board that will do what the system should have been able to do in the first place ie. run 4Gb 800MHz RAM?
2. If I change the board myself for one that will work with more 800MHz memory, will I need another copy of XP as well? Can I still buy a copy? If I can't activate XP I'll probably need a new copy of Vista too; I dual boot. This could be expensive but I need XP to run my hardware. I'd hoped the upgrade would cost about £100 for the RAM when I bought the PC.
The PC is still under warranty. It's 18 months old; I didn't notice the memory problem for a long time because I didn't try to upgrade it straight away.
This doesn't sound much of a problem but the difference in performance between the amount and the 2 speeds of memory is significant when rendering the data in my applications, even with a 32-bit OS. 800MHz RAM in place of 533MHz RAM allows a 2 day rendering cycle to complete in 4-5 hours less time on a similar system. I have a 64-bit OS but doubt I'll ever get 8Mb RAM running.
Any comments would be appreciated. I'm quite disappointed just now.

  jimv7 13:20 13 Oct 2008

You need to run 64bit windows, xp or vista to be able to address more than 3.5gb of ram, that includes the graphic card memory.

  I am Spartacus 13:48 13 Oct 2008

Looking at pictures of the motherboard it's going to be difficult to replace the NB heatsink as it connects to the SB and VRM heatsinks via heatpipes. If it's definitely an overheating NB you could try suspending a fan to blow air over it.

You must be doing a hell of a lot of rendering to take that amount of time. I've run RAM at 800MHz and 1066MHz and haven't noticed any significant performance diffrences in rendering.

You may be able to persuade MS to reactivate on a new one if you explain that it's down to a motherboard failure.

  DrATty 00:04 15 Oct 2008

Thank you.
I know I'll need to go 64-bit eventually but the extra 2Gb RAM does make a difference even with a 32-bit OS. 8Gb would be pointless.
2 days is a long time to carry out an operation. The program is for medical imaging and the amount of data is huge. A few percent difference in performance can shave hours off a run.
The extra fan is something I hadn't thought of and should be fairly easy to fit. There are a lot of reports of problems with the same board and they are put down to an overheating northbridge.
If that fails, I think I'll try a new motherboard and run the gauntlet with MS. It is the same PC after all. The idea of buying 2 new copies of Windows because a motherboard fails is ridiculous.
I'll tick this as solved; I have a couple of new things to try. Thanks again.

  I am Spartacus 08:58 15 Oct 2008

One of the Zalman brackets could help with suspension click here

Depending on the noise levels you're prepared to tolerate then a Scythe Slipstream 1900 will blow at lot of air at the expense of high noise click here For a quieter fan there's a slection at click here

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