'Upgrade' Is a Relative Term


I 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

Andrew, your motherboard’s 945 chipset doesn’t support quad-cores. You can, however, drop in a decent dual-core, like the Core 2 Duo E6700, which you can find online for around $130. It’s going to be a fairly substantial upgrade to the machine you have, without breaking the bank. If the E6700 is too spendy, your board also supports some other Core 2 Duo chips—the E4300 through E6700. You’ll almost certainly need to update your BIOS to take advantage of any dual-core, though. For the full list of CPUs supported by the P5L-MX, go here .  Asus’s support page offers BIOS downloads and a flashing utility.

We wouldn’t spend any more money than this on a machine this old, though—for about $250, you can buy a decent quad-core Phenom or Athlon II and a new motherboard, while still using your other old components.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at doctor@maximumpc.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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