I'm going into the third month of trying to get a P45 chipset MB motherboard stable enough to install an OS. I'm trying to decide whether to RMA the board for the 2nd time or get a refund and go with a different chipset MB.
Throughout this entire period, (except when testing other BIOS configurations), I have kept the BIOS settings to the fewest options possible, (a specific setting I did choose was Spread Spectrum, disabled, in the memory settings). During testing, I tried auto settings for the memory, I tried different manual timing and speed settings. I tried fail-safe AND and optimized defaults.
The first board, with nothing other than memory and a video card installed (booting from a USB mem stick to DOS), wasn't stable enough to flash the BIOS, (I was getting erratic recognition of the memory by the BIOS). The Q9550 needed the newest BIOS, so the board went back.
The second board was stable enough to flash the BIOS, but ONLY with either stick of the OCZ memory installed, NOT with both sticks installed.
MB tech said flashing would solve the mem problems. It didn't.
OCZ tech told me to put each stick in a separate channel, (single channel mode). After that, the system would boot to DOS in single channel mode, NOT in dual channel mode.
As soon as I connected the DVD and HD to install an OS, the board began a three boot and fail routine. The error message from the BIOS was "previous overclocking failed" & "press any key except DEL to enter BIOS". The screen showed the CPU settings were at factory default, so I assume the BIOS is referring to OC'ing the memory.
I tried various memory settings, auto and manual, reset the BIOS numerous times, even tried slowing down the CPU, nothing helped. Then I got a message that the BIOS was corrupt. The BIOS asked for the USB stick with the backup BIOS on it. I put it in, but the MB didn't find it.
I hard reset the BIOS and got back to the three pumps and dump routine, but no further. I was about to disconnect the DVD and HD to attempt going back to the successful DOS boot, when the MB died - it fails to respond, at all.
I have tested the PS, CPU, eVGA on a different MB :: all OK. I got the Kingston memory after the 2nd board died, so I couldn't swap-test the OCZ and don't have a board that will accept the OCZ memory.
Here's why I ask the question, 'crapset or chipset':
1. I've read dozens of problems with P45 based MB's with memory, MSI, DFI, Asus, Gigabyte. It seems to be more chipset than MB brand, IMO.
2. As you may or may not know, but the chipset was originally delayed last year due to "problems over compatibility between the chipset's PCI Express x16 port and graphics cards".
3. I also found numerous reports by users of problems with P45 based MB's ANYTIME the USB configuration is changed. In other words, if a USB device is unplugged or plugged in, there's problems. The reports say the affected persons have to clear the BIOS in order to get the MB to boot.
Is the P45 chipset a piece of crap? Or is it a solid chipset worth purchasing?
At this point, I just can't decide whether to get another P45 MB or go with a different chipset.
Looking forward to hearing from all who OWN or have BUILT a P45 system.
Thanks, in advance,
Here's the list of components:
Rosewill PSU RG530-2 530W
MSI P45 PLATINUM 775
eVGA - 8600GT 256M
INTEL Q9550 2.83 mHz - 12M
WD 80G 8M SATA2 WD800JD
RAID - pair of WD 640G SATA2 WD6401AALS
OCZ - 1Gx2 OCZ2F10662GK
(I exchanged the OCZ for: Kingston HyperX 1Gx2 KHX6400D2K2/2G (800 mHz))