My desktop computer has Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor Q9550 on DP35DP motherboard which supports only up to 8 GB RAM.

Computer is working fine but I am hitting limit of 8 GB RAM and want to increase it up to say 32 GB to run various testing machines on VM.

Is there any new motherboard that can support this processor? Any other way to achieve this goal?

Thank you

1 Answer 1


This is close to a shopping recommendation, but let me try to answer it in a generic way:

Maxmimum memory is limited by several things, including:

  • The CPU.
  • The memory controller.
  • The motherboard (width of traces)
  • The Motherboard (number of memory slots)
  • firmware

Obviously if the CPU can not support it you can not use it.

Memory controller:
(These days integrated to the CPU, in ye old days this was one of the big tasks for the northbridge chip). These obviously also have limitations. Your board seems to use the P35 Bearlake (P+) Northbridge, which according to wikipedia is limited to 8GB.

The memory controller may also be limited into which memory it supports. (E.g. most DDR2. Or only dual ranked DDR2 which will result in small capacity DIMM than quad-ranked DIMMs)

The number of copper traces from the memory controller. Less traces is cheaper. But you need X traces to address 2xbytes of memory. This is a tradeoff and most manufacturers will just lay enough copper for most of their customers.

NUmber of DIMM sockets. Quite obvious: Multiply the maximum supported memory per DIMM with the number of sockets. E.g. 6 memery sockets and max 4GB per DIMM also limits it to 24GB.

If you BIOS does not support it things will get interesting. This is rarely a problem on modern PCs.

Is there any new motherboard that can support this processor?

Any other way to achieve this goal?

At this point with sunch a relative old CPU it might be cheaper to buy a new motherboard with new RAM and a new CPU. (Says the guy which is typing on a one generation later i7 920 with 18GB)...

I doubt that this is what you had in mind, but you will reach the limits of systems if you keep using them for modern tasks after a generation or 5 of new design have passed.

Failing that you might have luck with a slightly more modern motherboard (e.g. with X38 chipset), but those might be hard to find by now, probably needed ebay or similar. And then the board are old (meaning thay may fails soon unless they have so called 'platic/Japanese capacitors). It is a fun task to shop for this and one which requires very careful selection of a new MB, working memory (for that MB) and validation that the CPU works in the new MB (right stepping. Voltages supported? ...).

I might see that as a fun hobby project, but time/momey wise: Not efficient.

  • One other potential limit is the OS, no?
    – Carl B
    Jul 2, 2015 at 7:02
  • Thank you for your answer and details. I agree I should get a new system or upgrade to new Motherboard, CPU and RAM, this would definitely save time and give better speed and performance that I need. Jul 2, 2015 at 7:41
  • Yes, the OS can be a limit. But the OP already started witjh 8GB so I assuming that a 64 bit OS (or a 32 bit OS with PAE enabled) is already being used.
    – Hennes
    Jul 2, 2015 at 10:33

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