I’ve just acquired a PC based on an
Intel DQ35JO motherboard. It was free and seems to work okay, but the CPU is an
ancient Celeron 440 (single-core). My needs are quite modest – I do a bit of
photo editing, but I’m not into gaming. However, I’d still like a lot more
poke. What CPUs are supported? The manual merely claims ‘support for an Intel
processor in the LGA775 package’, which tells me almost nothing. Ideally, I’m
after a Core 2 Quad Q9650, but I fear this could be beyond the board’s
Core 2 CPUs are still very capable, but should you drop $300 on one?
Manuals are out of date before they’re
printed, so to see a board’s current list of supported CPUs, you need to visit
the manufacturer’s website. The list for the DQ35JO is at intel.ly/xb6jx8. As
you’ll see, there’s support for the full range of Core 2 CPUs and their
derivatives, including the flagship Core 2 Quad Q9650. You’ll almost certainly
need to update your BIOS, however. You’re lucky in that you’ve got a working
system already. Problems arise when all you have is a new CPU. The board won’t
work until the BIOS is updated – and you can’t update the BIOS because you
don’t have an older, supported CPU!
The BIOS page for the DQ35JO is at
intel.ly/wOVe2G. You’ll notice that there are four downloads. If you’re running
Windows, choose the ‘express’ option, which will flash the BIOS from within
Windows itself. If you’re running Linux or presently nothing at all, choose the
.iso image. Burn this to a blank CD and ensure your current BIOS has your
optical drive as the first boot device.
Bear in mind that a Q9650 will likely cost
about $300. New Socket 775 CPUs are virtually non-existent, so you’ll need to
scour eBay. Prices for top-end models remain high, so to save some pennies,
consider going for a Q9650 (about $210) or a Q9450 (about $165). Either will
meet your needs with ease, and you may well be able to overclock (though the
DQ35JO’s overclocking options are limited). Throwing $300 on obsolete
technology makes no sense, as the same money – and you’d get some back by
selling off your old parts – would bag you a Core i5-2300 CPU, and H61-based
Socket 1155 motherboard, and 8GB of DDR3 RAM. The performance of that lot would
make your eyes pop out.
I’m currently running a Sempron 145,
fitted to a Gigabyte GA-MA78LMT-US2H (Socket AM3). While browsing on eBay last
week I managed to win a Phenom II X4 940 for just over $30. I thought this
would make a terrific (and cheap!) upgrade. However, it won’t fit. It’s as
though some of the pins are in wrong place. As my existing setup works fine, I
can only assume that the new CPU is faulty, yet of course the seller reckons it
worked fine when he sold it. Have you encountered CPUs with this fault before?
I’m afraid you’ve made a blunder here, Ron.
The very first PhenomII chips were actually for Socket AM2/AM2+. There were
three, as shown below (there were never any AM2/AM2+ Athlon II chips or other
Phenom II X3 715 Black Edition = 2.8GHz,
triple-core, 6MB L3, unlocked multiplier, 95W TDP
Phenom II X4 920 = 2.8GHz, quad-core, 6MB
L3, 125W TDP
Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition = 3GHz,
quad-core, 6MB L3, unlocked multiplier, 125W TDP
These chips have a slightly different pin
arrangement to their AM3 counterparts – as you’ve found! Also, they only
support DDR2, not the DDR3 that AM3 boards require. AM3 chips support both
memory types and fit and work in both AM3 and AM2/AM2+ boards (assuming BIOS
support), but attempting things the other way round is a non-starter. It’s
mightily confusing (deliberately so, I reckon), and it’s no wonder people end
up making mistakes.
The X4 940 is quite highly prized, as it’s
by far the fastest CPU available for AM2/AM2+ boards (again, assuming BIOS
support). On eBay they typically sell for between $75 and $150, so you did very
well indeed to land one for $30. Put it back on eBay as a Buy It Now at $115 –
someone will probably buy it within hours – and use the cash on an AM3 chip.
The X44 945 (3GHz) is the AM3 equivalent of the X4 940, though if your heart’s
set on a Black Edition, get the X4 955 (3.2GHz). With this one, there’s also a
standard edition (with a locked multiplier), so be careful. You shouldn’t need
to spend any more than what you’ll make off the X4 940.