OK, well the title pretty much tells it all, I set out to upgrade my 1 year-old system’s processor from an Intel E6600 (Core 2 Duo) to a new Intel Q9300, quad core 45nm processor. The task is easier said then done.
I ordered the Q9300 from my favorite component reseller, Newegg, and had it my hands in a couple days. The process fits into the same 775 socket as my previous chip but my motherboard would need a BIOS update to support the new chip, which I did. My motherboard is a Asus P5W-DH Deluxe which is capable of processor upgrades as long as the CPU is a 775 socket.
The motherboard is probably the most sophisticated and feature-packed motherboards I have ever owned. It certainly has the most slots and connectors on it. Anyway, I unpacked the CPU, removed the old one and installed the new one with ease. I had thought to myself, how can it be this easy? Well, I spoke too soon. Right after turning on the system I got the the post screen and right after received an error message stating the CPUID was not recognized. After much searching around the Asus support site and several other forums such as Anandtech, I was told the 975 chipset does not support the new 45nm chips and I would probably be the first person on the planet to have it working if I could pull it off.
I am not the type to play with hardware for all hours trying to prove I can do something. I ended up talking to a few people who have the same CPU I have and had it running successfully using motherboards from Abit and in particular the Abit IP35 Pro, which has great support for the 45nm chips. I was lucky to find a great deal from Newegg.
Once I found out I needed a different motherboard to support my new CPU, I decided to upgrade my RAM from 4G to 8G, order a new video card and install Vista x64 to take advantage of the full 8G of RAM. The prices of RAM have come down so much that I paid half of what the original 4G cost.
So the order consisted of:
- (4) G.SKILL 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory
- (1) ABIT IP35 Pro LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard
- (1) EVGA 320-P2-N811-AR GeForce 8800GTS 320MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
The video card is real incredible with a huge set of features:
- Chipset Manufacturer: NVIDIA
- Core clock: 500MHz
- Stream Processors: 96
- Memory Clock: 1600 MHz (effective)
- DirectX: DirectX 10
- OpenGL: OpenGL 2.0
- DVI: 2
- TV-Out: HDTV / S-Video O
The video card will be very capable of off-loading some future video processing, Silverlight work or who knows.
I am expecting to get everything setup and going by the weekend which I will post some follow-up to my experience. I am very anxious to get back up on Vista x64 now that there is iTunes support in iTunes 7.6+.