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Thread: ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 + Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 = big mistake? >_<




  1. #1
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    Unhappy ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 + Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 = big mistake? >_<

    Hi all,

    I was hoping I might be able to ask Sean about this directly, but it seems his PM's are currently disabled, so perhaps he will be able to chime in here if nobody else knows the exact answer. :)

    I recently received a 4Coredual-SATA2 R2.0 (pre-installed BIOS version 2.20) and a Core 2 Quad Q9550 (E0). Per the CPU support list on ASRock's page (ASRock > Products > 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 > CPU Support List), the Q9550 is supported in all 3 revisions, with only the single caveat that the "FSB may be reduced 5%." My problem is that since installing the CPU, it runs at a 266 MHz bus speed, with a capped 8.5 multiplier (it can be reduced in the BIOS, but not increased), resulting in a CPU speed of 2.26 GHz rather than its potential 2.83 GHz stock speed or the "advertised" 95% speed of 2.69GHz.

    As the support for this processor was explicitly added to the R2.0 version of this board, is there a setting somewhere that I might have missed that is supposed to add make-shift compatability for this processor at "correct" speeds, that may not be properly documented in the manual or somesuch? It has been suggested that the only way to try to get any closer to the stock speed of the processor would involve overclocking the fsb, but the purpose of getting a fast "supported" cpu in the first place was to try to achieve good performance without the need for any kind of overclocking and risking stability and undue hardware wear and tear.

    I know it might be hoping for too much to think that there might be a "magic" solution to the problem, but if there is not, I would probably not be alone in thinking that this CPU should really not be on the supported list for this motherboard on the ASRock page, or should come with a warning that the FSB (and total cpu speed) would be reduced by 20%, not 5%... After all, I was so excited about the upgrade I thought I would be making, only to be disappointed and have a bit of a bad taste left in my mouth. :( HEEEELLLLLLP! lol

    Thanks in advance,
    JWK

    Edit Oct. 2nd, 2010: Additional information has been added to this thread in my last post, after finally hearing back from ASRock. As it stands, they have so far stood by the statement that the processor should run with the equivalent to its normal speed with a maximum of a 5% clockspeed reduction, but have been unable to provide a solution to reach those speeds for my specific case. I would greatly appreciate it if Sean C. or other ASRock sources could help me to get past this dead end.
    Last edited by JWK; 10-03-2010 at 11:58 AM. Reason: Added new information to last post

  2. #2
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    Default Re: ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 + Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 = big mistake? >_<

    I have this mobo. They were great for bridging the gap between p4's 472's and c2d's and socket 775's, since they can use agp/pcie ddr1/ddr2 memory, but they're really limited by their slow pcie/agp sockets. I would be really surprised if they could handle a quad core with that amount of power.....

    It's really interesting you were able to use one at all though.

    Even if it does work, it seems like a waste of a good processor since the pcie socket is only 4x...
    Last edited by chimera15; 09-09-2010 at 08:12 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 + Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 = big mistake? >_<

    Quote Originally Posted by chimera15 View Post
    ... I would be really surprised if they could handle a quad core with that amount of power....
    Chimera,

    If you had followed the link in my original post, the ASRock CPU Support List includes several Core 2 Quad core CPUs, and that very support is touted as a major feature of a board that is, in fact, named "4Core..." Notably, the R2.0 version's support list (ASRock > Products > 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 > CPU Support List) also includes support for additional 45nm parts vs. its non-R2.0 counterpart (ASRock > Products > 4CoreDual-SATA2 > CPU Support List).

    I could see how some might argue that such a CPU might be "wasted" on a motherboard of this kind, but it was purchased with the intention of trying to eke out every last bit of mileage from my existing AGP video card and existing RAM (though alas, having to drop 2 DIMMs and losing 1 gig of my original 2 gigs of RAM killed performance so badly I had to pick up a couple of sticks of DDR2 within the first week) before making the eventual leap to a PCI-E card. My current roadmap for future upgrades looks something like perhaps picking up a GTX 460 or low-end Radeon 58xx card as the next upgrade, and sometime later, perhaps switching to an SLI/Crossfire enabled motherboard and migrating all other components over while adding a 2nd same graphics card.

    Keep in mind, the recorded performance hit of the PCI-E slot being only a 4x 1.1 slot vs. a 16x 2.0 slot is typically only measured at a maximum of 10-15% in most benchmarks and even less in many real-world gaming applications, so it's not as much as a bottleneck as some would think. Recouping this little bit of extra performance when changing to a dedicated PCI-E motherboard would simply be an added bonus added to the power of a dual-card configuration, following the path above.

    Nevertheless, not having things work as expected - most importantly, *as advertised*, simply leaves me quite frustrated. Had that CPU never even appeared on the supported list, it may not have swayed me from buying the board - it would have simply caused me to consider different processor options.

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    Default Re: ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 + Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 = big mistake? >_<

    Hmm, what memory are you using? Maybe there's an incompatibility problem there?

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    Default Re: ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 + Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 = big mistake? >_<

    Quote Originally Posted by chimera15 View Post
    Hmm, what memory are you using? Maybe there's an incompatibility problem there?
    I started off by trying each of the PC3200 (DDR400) 2x512 mb DDR 1 kits I had here, using both single DIMMs and dual-channel mode testing for both initial stability and to see what settings the BIOS would come up with. Interestingly, it defaulted to 333 MHz (166*2) for both my GEIL and OCZ modules, and wasn't exactly happy running the GEIL kit at 400 MHz in dual-channel mode (though the OCZ kit worked just fine).

    Through all of the various memory mixing and matching, the CPU internal clock speed, multiplier, and external FSB remained exactly the same, at 2266 MHz, 8.5 multiplier, 266 fsb. This includes the results of the new RAM that I am using; a Corsair TWIN2X4096-6400C5C kit whose modules are rated compatible with just about every DDR2 motherboard out there, and which I got to work with the stock BIOS using the hand-dandy trick of "install one module, force single channel, cas, tras, speed, ram voltage = low in bios, check stability in os, shut down, install next module, boot to os, confirm stability, restart, enable dual-channel in bios." As the RAM is rated at PC2 6400/DDR2 800MHz, even with the memory linked 1:1 with the CPU's FSB starting from 266 MHz and working upwards, starting from 533 MHz mode would put the RAM at 667 MHz at a 333 MHz fsb, or starting at 667 MHz would put it at 835 MHz at 333 fsb (or 800 mhz at 318 fsb), where it should theoretically work just fine without breaking much of a sweat.

    It's funny, though, that the motherboard is either interpreting the CPU details or reporting them directly from the CPU themself in an accurate fashion, before modification of its performance. Anywhere I check (Windows System Properties, CPU-Z, etc.), it shows up as a "Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q9550 @ 2.83 GHz" followed immediately by an actual speed of "2.26 GHz" lol. I guess those software programmers love rubbing salt in the wound. :P

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    Default Re: ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 + Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 = big mistake? >_<

    Hmm, that's interesting. I actually have a similar system with an e6600 processor in it, that reads out as a 1.6ghz. It's actually speedstepping though, although I didn't think this was possible with an e6600. You can see the processor rise and fall in cpu-z as the chip gets more use. I actually have speedstepping turned off in the bios even. That's using an old ecs board. My system benchmarks as comparable to other systems I have with the same processor so I assume it's alright.

    Are you sure something similar isn't happening? What does the system benchmark at on geekbench? Is it similar to others with the same processor or significantly lower?
    Last edited by chimera15; 09-10-2010 at 06:53 AM.

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    Default Re: ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 + Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 = big mistake? >_<

    CPU-Z and other monitoring tools show absolutely no variation in the CPU's clock speed - it is absolutely rock solid. Also, the current BIOS for my motherboard does not appear to have any form of support for SpeedStep as an option, let alone active.

    3D Mark 06, Sandra, and those tests which ran on PCMark 05 (I didn't have Windows Media Encoder installed, and just found it), showed any other Q9550, Q9450, Q6600/6700 out there spanking my system for the most CPU-intensive/CPU-specific tests - with the performance difference roughly equivalent to the percentage difference in MHz. These same benchmarks also suggest that I should be comparing against 2-2.4 GHz cpus rather than those clocked at 2.6 GHz and beyond. Geekbench also reported that my CPU's correct "peer group" would be in the 2.2 GHz range, as well - but also correctly identified that it *should* be running on a 333 MHz bus.

    As I may have inferred before, even at its reduced speed, the Q9550 can handle just about anything I can throw at it that isn't held up by some other part of my system, but getting it up to snuff would reduce the likelihood of it becoming a bottleneck even further - and would help to get an overall better picture of where my system truly stands if/when I make any leaps in the video card department.

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    Default Re: ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 + Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 = big mistake? >_<

    Well, most of the others figure in your graphics cards more than anything. That's why I like geekbench for rating pretty much pure processing power, but not much else. It's telling then if it's low. What did you score? Send a link? It should give a hint if there's a fixable problem maybe.

    Nevermind, I found it. Is this your system?

    http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/288248

    Yeah pretty interesting, proper results seem to be around 4800, yours is almost 1000 points lower.

    Here's the current build of my 4core. I downgraded it to a p4 for a machine for my mother. lol

    http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/283656

    You might also browse the results for similar systems to see if there are any similar builds.

    http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/search?q=4core

    There aren't many quad builds.

    Here it looks like someone tried the same thing and got similar results

    http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/239287

    http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/231518
    http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/171561

    Yup, not seeing any quads that look like they're getting anywhere near the full potential, so probably a lot of unhappy people out there.

    Hmm, this guy managed to oc his q6700, it's actually running at 2.75 and it's a 2.66 chip

    http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/157841

    American Megatrends Inc. P2.10

    His bios revision is a little different from yours, yours is p.2.2

    All of the bad ones seem to be running p2.2...
    Last edited by chimera15; 09-10-2010 at 01:11 PM.

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    Default Re: ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 + Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 = big mistake? >_<

    Yup, those are certainly my results you found there in that first link. As I'm sure you've come to notice from the others you found, the guys sitting on the antiquated Q6600's at their 2.3 GHz stock speeds and smaller cache get roughly the same performance as I'm seeing on newer tech with massively more cache and designed for a half-gigahert speed advantage. And the Q6700's actually come out ahead (much to my chagrin...). So technically, they *are* getting just about all the juice they're designed for - not to mention they can be had for half the price, if you don't mind going used/venturing onto auction/private sales sites for a CPU rather than going retail for the peace of mind.

    Sure, that guy with the much more modern QX9650 (modern vs. the 6x00's - but the 9550 E0 is the most recent tech afaik) sees a bit of a CPU performance boost from his slightly higher clockspeed (despite the fsb issues), but his RAM subsystem is totally hosed. At least I feel slightly smarter about going the DDR2 route now, lol. Curious about what that one Q6600 user used to edge me out there, though... Anyway, I suppose it will be an interesting benchmark to revisit down the road if I change to a motherboard that lets 'er rip at full speed, huh? :P

    Edit: BIOS revision 2.20 is the latest official BIOS from ASRock and adds support for quite a few ATi PCI-E cards without really doing anything to disrupt performance in other ways, that anyone has spotted. It also seems to be much more compliant in allowing users to go the 4 gig DDR2 route (as I have done) than earlier versions. Overclocking on this board has never been ruled as impossible (just very hit and miss) - and other sources have mentioned experimenting with the concept of simply pushing my FSB as far as it'll go without hard locking, since my CPU and RAM should be able to take it, but I don't want to fry the board prematurely, since it might otherwise find a happy home in a family member's system with a different CPU (one designed for a 1066 fsb!) if I do end up swapping motherboards.
    Last edited by JWK; 09-10-2010 at 01:31 PM. Reason: above post was edited while I was posting

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    Default Re: ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 + Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 = big mistake? >_<

    q6600's are actually 2.4ghz stock, so they're being impacted as well, but probably closer to the percentage you were expecting.

    I'd try an earlier revision bios. My system is actually running 1.5 and been working just fine for years now, although never had a quad in it, or played around with the clocking of it. I used this board to upgrade from socket 478 p4's, which they were great for, and originally had an e6600 in it, but moved that one to a more decent board once I got enough parts together.


    You should be able to pick up a decent 775 mobo super cheap at this point.

    I have a system based on this board:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ASUS-P5N-SLI-nfo...item53e2f57464

    It's not horrid. $50.

    http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/287488

    Early bad drivers gave it a not so awesome rep, but they're fixed now. It's one of my most stable win7 systems.

    Actually that one might not work. Mine is actually a p5n-e sli that one's just a p5n sli I think there might be a difference looking at geekbench.

    Might have to go with a p5n-d...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ASUS-P5N-D-lga77...item27b4d9ed51

    here's an e refurb for about $65

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ASUS-P5N-E-SLI-M...item336084d396
    Last edited by chimera15; 09-10-2010 at 02:02 PM.

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