Videocard Overkill

Ask the Doctor LogoI have two older systems: an Asus A8V-VM board with an Athlon X2 4800+ at 2.5GHz, 4GB of OCZ Platinum DDR/400 RAM, and a GeForce 6200 in a PCI-E x16 slot; and an old OEM eMachines board with an Athlon X2 6000+ at 3.0GHz, 4GB of OCZ Platinum DDR2/800, and onboard GeForce 6100 graphics, with an empty PCI-E x8 slot.

I want to upgrade one of them with a Radeon 5000 series to hold me over until I can put together a Lynnfield system. My concern is that both of these boards only have a PCI-E 1.0a slot. Would I notice any real performance difference between the Radeon HD 5750 vs. the 5970? Or would I just be wasting my money on the higher-end card?

—Tim Brown

Read the Doctor's answer for Tim after the jump.


Stuck in the 4GB Morass

Ask the Doctor LogoI want to know if 32-bit Windows 7 will limit how much system memory I can install. I know that 4GB is the maximum that 32-bit Windows XP will recognize. Is this the same for Windows 7? Do I need to buy 64-bit if I want to install more than 4GB memory?

—Anthony Roth

Read the Doctor's answer for Anthony after the jump.


Protected Audio Path from GPU?

Ask the Doctor LogoI’m in the process of piecing together an HTPC that will run Windows 7 Home Premium. I’d like to be able to connect the HTPC to my receiver via a single HDMI cable. Are there any videocards available that will send both video and TrueHD audio via an HDMI cable, or do I have to use the Asus Xonar HDAV 1.3 Slim that was reviewed in the November issue?

—Ed Yeich

Read the Doctor's answer for Ed after the jump.


'Upgrade' Is a Relative Term

Ask the Doctor LogoI have an Asus P5L-MX motherboard and have wanted to upgrade the CPU for some time. Right now, I have a single-core Intel Celeron D with a Prescott core. I’ve pretty much maxed out the overclocking possibilities (I’ve gone from a stock 2.66GHz clock to 3.47GHz) and now I want to replace it with something better.

I want to keep the motherboard, however, which slightly complicates matters. As I recall, multicore processors were just catching on around the time my mobo was made. The documentation says it can support dual-core CPUs, and it has an LGA775 socket. I’d like to know whether it can take a quad-core or higher CPU, and if so, which ones (or if not, which dual-core CPU)?

—Andrew Lambert

See the Doctor's answer for Andrew after the jump.