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Kirk Gets The Opteron 165 (and some other stuff) - October 17 and 18 2006

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     So Kirk finally decided to get the Opteron 165. He felt that it was definitely time to get a new processor, now that dual-core processors are prevalent in the market. The thing is, he originally wanted to go with Socket AM2. However, Socket 939 proved to be more cost effective. Not to mention the fact that if he did go with Socket AM2 (which uses DDR2 RAM), he would still get screwed by the soon-to-be-released Socket AM2+ (uses HyerTransport 3.0) and Socket AM3 in 2008 (DDR3 RAM and who knows what else). So AM2 is not as future proof as we all thought, even if quad-core is supported on normal Socket AM2. So, by sticking with Socket 939, he saved a few hundred dollars, and put that money toward a new monitor. He got his Opteron 165 for $165, and Kyle and I each paid $327 for it!!! Those new Intel Core 2 Duo processors caused all of the AMD prices to drop like boulders. Kirk also ends up following the first original plan he came up with when he first got his computer: Socket 939 will allow him to move to dual-core processors when they come out, and he can still upgrade his RAM later. And now that its been almost 3 years, that plan has seen fruition. He gets a faster processor (after overclocking) that also has two cores, which we are really starting to need in this day and age. More and more apps and games are becoming multi-threaded, and heck when DirectX 10 hits games will be multi-threaded like crazy. Look at UT2K7, Crysis, Alan Wake and a few others.

      In addition to getting the Opteron165, he also got 2GB of Kingston HyperX DDR400 RAM running at 2-3-2-6 timings. That's even faster than my RAM, but just barely. Why didn't he go with Corsair or OCZ? Cuz all of a sudden the prices of DDR1 RAM shot up to ridiculous amounts, but not so much with Kingston. Kirk is upgrading from an Athlon 64 3000+, and 1 GB of slow-ass Corsair ValueSelect RAM.

      Kirk also got a new monitor. Though he prefers CRTs like all true gamers, he decided that it was time to move to the conveniences that LCDs offer. Namely more space on his desk, lighter weight (which comes in handy for LANParties), and the fact that LCDs don't lose quality over time like CRTs do (cathode ray tubes build up crud over time which decreases picture quality). And despite the fact that CRTs offer superior image quality and are good for all things at once (movies, office work, gaming, graphic design), his current CRT was about 6 years old. So this new ViewSonic LCD was still superior. It's the same size, 19 inches, but it has more viewable area. This CRT is the ViewSonic VX922, rated by Tom's Hardware Guide as the absolute fastest (and thus the best) LCD monitor for gaming, with an actual 2ms response time. And on top of that, it's also pretty decent at other things like movie viewing and graphic design work (not that Kirk ever does the latter). And he said it was better for office work than his CRT. He is still keeping his CRT on-hand for dual-monitor display when he's at home, and probably for watching movies. He'll be making good use of ATi's HydraVision for an expanded desktop. We tried running movies on the VX922, yeah the CRT is still better for that kind of thing. Though granted, the LCD was still pretty darn good. Text looks really darn sharp as well. Overall not a bad purchase.

      We ran into a few problems for a bit. Windows only saw one core at first boot with the new processor installed, but that was because it had just discovered the new hardware. A mandatory reboot fixed that. He also screwed around in his BIOS a bit and didn't keep track of what he messed around with, so his PC refused to boot and we had to clear the CMOS using its jumper. That required us to take out his hard drive cage so we could access the clear CMOS jumper. I forgot what else happened. He also got screwed over by FedEx, who we normally really like because of their old partnership with FedEx didn't deliver his monitor or RAM on Tuesday, which is when it was scheduled to arrive. Maybe he missed them, maybe they got lazy, maybe they were waiting for the RAM to catch up with the monitor since they were in different packages shipped out at different times (but were still part of the same order from, which he ordered from because was out of stock for a while). The parts arrived the next day, so no biggie.

      Some user reviews on NewEgg pointed out that the RAM Kirk ordered needed of voltage of 2.65 to run. Kirk's motherboard BIOS has no such setting. However, the RAM was rated to run at 2.6v, but he thought he was screwed anyways. Turns out he was fine, Thank God Almighty. The real issue though is his motherboard. It was a good deal when it came out, but it certainly wasn't meant for overclocking. The northbridge is passively cooled, and this will be his limiting factor in OCing the CPU. Either this mobo will completely prevent him from OCing the chip, or it will make it extremely hard to do so. He needs to get a 40mm fan for the northbridge heatsink. If he is able to overclock, then the mobo might not let him go as high as Kyle and I went. That's not cool. The real value of the Opteron 165 is it's ability to reach speeds of about 3.0 GHz max (at which point in outperforms every processor out on the market, including the new Intel Core 2 Extreme). The BIOS is also very unfriendly for overclocking, with certain items and categories either misnamed or completely incorrect. Well, we'll see how things end up. Kirk still has about another week to a week-and-a-half until his Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste cures and reaches max thermal dissipation. At that point is when he'll be able to overclock. The main thing to keep in mind is to keep the northbridge cool. Well in any case, here are some pics from when he installed his CPU. I also went back two days later to get pics of the monitor and the RAM.

As with the last few picture galleries, the viewing of these pics was meant for the Firefox web browser, so I hope you guys are using it. When you first click on the pics, it shows the larger versions scaled down to fit onscreen (if your monitor resolution is lower than these pictures), and then you can click on this larger version to zoom in and see it at full size.

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Site Created January 5 2005. Page Last Updated on October 20th 2006.
Copyright © 2005-2006 Clifford Ferguson II.