Swapping CPU questions

By gbhall ยท 12 replies
Jun 22, 2014
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  1. Although a very experienced PC user, I have never done any CPU swapping, only memory and video swapping. Currently I have a fairly old PC with a Foxconn motherboard G31MX, 4Gb DDR2 800 PC2-6400 memory and Intel E5200 processor.

    This is all running fine, and is nicely balanced at 800Mhz front side bus, which matches the processor and memory exactly. But finding the E5200 processor does not support virtualisation instructions, and keen to experiment, I had a rush of blood and won a used Intel Q6600 processor on Ebay.

    The motherboard definitely supports that processor, but I don't know if it can be set up, as the specs say
    Processor ** E5200 ** Q6600
    speed ** 2.5 Ghz ** 2.4 Ghz
    cores ** 2 ** 4
    L2 memory ** 2Mb ** 8Mb
    FSB ** 800Mhz ** 1066Mhz
    max power ** 65watt ** 90watt

    So will it work, and if so, what bios settings must I change? I'm guessing I cannot raise the FSB because of the memory requirement, although the m/b seems to support up to 1.33Ghz. Have I just wasted (a little) money, or would it work, but very much under it's capacity ?
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,726   +3,700

    Aside from a possible BIOS update, it is simply take one out and put the other in. With the Q6600 though there shouldn't be a need in an update. You will need thermal paste when remounting the cooler. The board will configure itself once it detects which processor is running.

    BTW I wouldn't worry about the FSB balance too much. I've run the Q9400 (FSB: 1333) with DDR2-800. The Q6600 (FSB: 1066) will run just fine, and double your processing performance.
    misor likes this.
  3. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,431   +77

    Thank you very much for that, which sounds encouraging. I can expect the motherboard to adapt itself automatically, then?

    The date of my bios is within six weeks or so of the last one issued by Foxconn, although I cannot match any references (for example, the last bios on the website is called 773F1P14 dated 11/17/2009, but my actual bios says G31M04-GA.C4.S.05, dated 10/26/2009. ho, hum)
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,005   +2,532

    The E-5200 was released after the Q-6600. I believe that Intel released the, "Core 2 Duo", & "Core 2 Quad" CPUs first, then tacked the Celeron and Pentium issues onto the sequence a bit later. Any prior CPUs under the marque of "Pentium" and "Celeron", were all single core processors.

    A basic rule of thumb would be, a board's BIOS will likely support the contemporary and prior release CPUs, available at the time of its release, but processors after that date would likely need a BIOS update. (That doesn't take into account all contingencies, such as board date of manufacture, laying on the store shelf for a couple months, etc,).).

    In your case, a BIOS update would almost certainly be needed for the E-7xxx & E-8 xxx series of C2-D, and the E-6xxx series of dual core Pentiums, if they could be made to work at all. But the Q-6600 is one of the original "Core" series.

    FWIW The Q-6600 was released Q1-07: http://ark.intel.com/products/29765/Intel-Core2-Quad-Processor-Q6600-8M-Cache-2_40-GHz-1066-MHz-FSB

    And the E-5200 was released much later at Q3-08: http://ark.intel.com/products/37212/Intel-Pentium-Processor-E5200-2M-Cache-2_50-GHz-800-MHz-FSB

    As far as RAM speed goes, you can even mismatch the speed of the DIMMs in a board, and all that will happen is the entire block will run at the speed of the slowest stick. Note, I'm not recommending this, but it will work in most cases.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  5. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,431   +77

    That's definitive indeed. So the bios question is irrelevant. What cheered me up no end was Cliffords post telling me 'will run just fine, and double your processing performance'. Although obviously limited by the RAM in this case. That is a bonus for a small outlay........

    It's hard to understand what motivated Intel to 'update' processors in a way which leaves them under half the power of a chip which is a year older. Cost I assume, the die size being quarter the area, and lower cooling requirement, but it's harder to understand the dropping of some of the earlier processors' features like less L2 cache, and no virtualisation.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,005   +2,532

    I have almost no idea what you're getting at here, or your frame of reference.

    Most people would say the Core 2 Pentiums are merely lower binned versions of higher order CPUs, which don't have all of the cache capacity because of failure during growth. Or higher end chips, with the cache burned out. Who knows if that's urban legend or not.

    If you want virtualization capability from Intel, then you have to pay for it, It's quite simple really, they don't provide it in the 50 dollar Saturday night special CPU numbers.

    With die size and pathway width shrinking as rapidly as they are, it's actually harder to imagine that next year's CPU WON'T outperform this years model, and for less money. You do realize that all of the Prescott Pentiums were 90nm, don't you? Are here we are at 14nm with Haswell.

    As far as your BIOS question goes, in your case, it's almost certainly irrelevant, since the board is already running a CPU from the same line, but 2 years newer.

    And, "money", "marketability", along with "price point", are the only things I can imagine motivating Intel. It's a cinch they're not out to "promote world peace", "fight hunger", and, "uphold the ideals of the Miss America Pageant".
    hellokitty[hk] likes this.
  7. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,431   +77

    That's a point I now grasp that I hadn't before. That chip fabrication is a percentage process, in which no chip comes out 100% to spec. So what you buy is actually a full-scale and powerful chip in which quite a lot is not working, so is disabled. The chip is re-labelled and sold at an appropriate value point. It makes complete sense now.

    I thank you both for your advice and interesting insights.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,726   +3,700

    Good luck with your first time endeavor. Let us know how it turns out. And how difficult you thought it was after it is all said and done.

    After we evolved from the 486 and ISA card slot era, everything started being plug-n-play. I miss the days of configuring jumpers to allocate cards and setup CPU's. Those were frustrating times, but yet I still miss them a bit. lol
  9. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,431   +77

    Now I am thinking the power supply may need replacing as well. Having used the Xtreme calculator and put in my original PC contents, it recommends a 305 watt, which is exactly as fitted. Changing to the new CPU (extra 25watts max) and the minimum power supply is now 300watts and recommended is 350watt. So I think I will be on the bordeline of power capability.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,726   +3,700

    Depends on what you are doing really. You would have to be using all the components (at the same time) that were included in the calculation to be drawing the equation amount. But if you are wanting to play it safe, a new supply wouldn't hurt anything other than the pocket book.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,005   +2,532

    The overall size requirements for a PSU are slightly biased to the sellers of said PSU, and also the makers of separate video cards. Since nobody wants to have their video card, their power supply, or your computer go up in flames, they cover the own azzes, and jack up the minimum requirement.

    The 2 things you should be primarily concerned with are, "are you going to overclock your CPU, or, "do you have, or are you going to install an add in video card"?

    Keep in mind, there are far fewer replacement PSUs under 350 watts available, than there are those of 350 watts and up. They're mostly intended as OEM replacements, for machines that are still at OEM spec. Specifically, you actually have to go out of your way, to put too small a replacement PSU in your machine.....:oops:

    PSUs wear out, in the sense that their capacity diminishes over the years. So, if you have say, at 300 watt PSU in your PC, and it's 10 years old, you might have only 250 watts of capacity left.

    Back in the day, eMachines earned a horrible reputation for having PSUs blow out, taking the mobo and whatever else with it. (They also had faulty capacitors on the mobos as well, which displayed some of the same symptoms when they let go).

    The moral of the story is, you can only help yourself by considering a new PSU as part of your overall upgrade strategy.
  12. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    If you're using that onboard graphics card you won't need to upgrade your power supply.
  13. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,431   +77

    I take your points, gentlemen. Thank you.

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