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Old 3rd December, 2002, 02:24 AM
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Tinkering w/ my 8K5A2 -- thoughts?

Hi,

Now that I have my final OS plans in place, and before I run into possible USB overclock problems, I thought it would be fun to play with the settings on my 8K5A2 board (XP 2000+ and 256MB Samsung PC2700). I found that I could push the FSB up to 143MHz, before real complaints started. 144MHz seemed to be the max with .15V over core default (1.75V) and .3V over DIMM default (2.5V). I wasn't expecting such a wall of resistance approaching 145MHz and I didn't wish to push on the voltages.

I pulled back to 143MHz and adjusted the "Fastest" DRAM settings for Queue Depth of 2 (instead of 4) and a Write Recovery of 2T (instead of 3T). This configuration ran fine with a core of 1.775V and DIMM of 2.6V and gave better Sandra memory scores. I then pulled back to 141MHz and dropped the voltages to default as a hopefully permanent setup. (I'll see what happens when I eventually install USB.)

I'm hoping someone can help with a few questions.

-- Are my FSB results pretty typical of the XP processors? An FSB range of 133 to a pushed 144MHz seems pretty minimal. I gather mine is a Palomino, so perhaps that's also a factor, though I had read the Thoroughbred A is actually less overclockable.

-- I'm expecting 141MHz to provide near maximum memory performance with stability, but I wonder about the Burst rate and Queue Depth settings. Mine are at 4 and 2 respectively, chosen because they improve Sandra scores, but is that really valid for genuine work? Seems like a higher burst rate could improve memory efficiency, and what about queue depth?

-- 141MHz corresponds to an XP 2100+ equivalent, and I'm guessing it's necessary to unlock the processor in order to go any further. The manual says the BIOS CPU Ratio switch is non-functional with a locked cpu. Just out of curiosity, I tried both 15 (the max) and 6 (the min) and the system died in both cases -- had to clear the CMOS. Any idea what that is all about?

-- I'm running the AMD supplied heat sink and fan plus a memory cooler utility (rain1.0). With an FSB of 133MHz, the reported cpu temperature is roughly 38 degrees C. with my 141MHz settings, the temperature goes to about 40 degrees C. (Without the cooler utility, it goes up another 4 to 5 degrees C.) I'm wondering if those temperatures are similar to other's results, or where they are compared to typical.

Thanks much -- Trevor
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Old 3rd December, 2002, 02:46 AM
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Re: Tinkering w/ my 8K5A2 -- thoughts?

Quote:
Originally posted by TrevorS


I'm hoping someone can help with a few questions.

-- Are my FSB results pretty typical of the XP processors? An FSB range of 133 to a pushed 144MHz seems pretty minimal. I gather mine is a Palomino, so perhaps that's also a factor, though I had read the Thoroughbred A is actually less overclockable.
Depending on the stepping of the CPU, there tends to be a ceiling on high a CPU will clock. The highest clocking Palominos are topping off at around 1900Mhz. Since yours was originally a 2000+, running at 144 give you 1800Mhz, you've probably reached that ceiling.

Quote:
Originally posted by TrevorS

-- I'm expecting 141MHz to provide near maximum memory performance with stability, but I wonder about the Burst rate and Queue Depth settings. Mine are at 4 and 2 respectively, chosen because they improve Sandra scores, but is that really valid for genuine work? Seems like a higher burst rate could improve memory efficiency, and what about queue depth?
It's valid for memory intensive stuff like 3D games and video encoding.
Quote:
Originally posted by TrevorS

-- 141MHz corresponds to an XP 2100+ equivalent, and I'm guessing it's necessary to unlock the processor in order to go any further. The manual says the BIOS CPU Ratio switch is non-functional with a locked cpu. Just out of curiosity, I tried both 15 (the max) and 6 (the min) and the system died in both cases -- had to clear the CMOS. Any idea what that is all about?
If your CPU is still locked, you HAVE to use the AUTO setting or the correct multiplier. Using the wrong multiplier will have the result you experienced.

Quote:
Originally posted by TrevorS

-- I'm running the AMD supplied heat sink and fan plus a memory cooler utility (rain1.0). With an FSB of 133MHz, the reported cpu temperature is roughly 38 degrees C. with my 141MHz settings, the temperature goes to about 40 degrees C. (Without the cooler utility, it goes up another 4 to 5 degrees C.) I'm wondering if those temperatures are similar to other's results, or where they are compared to typical.
Most people take their temps at full load because it give you a better idea of the range of temps your machine will experience. You're temps though, 44C-45C at idle, are pretty high. At load you can expect something in the mid to high 50s.
Quote:
Originally posted by TrevorS

Thanks much -- Trevor
You're welcome.
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Old 3rd December, 2002, 03:47 AM
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Thanks, Mooky...

Sounds like I wasn't so lucky in my processor, though I understand USB doesn't much like overclocking, so it probably makes little difference anyway.

So -- my unloaded temps are high. My heatsink came with a heat conductive pad that was disturbed when I had to reseat the cpu while troubleshooting a severe POST "C1" problem. I wonder if that could be the reason.

I noticed that I typed Burst Rate rather than the correct "Burst Length" for the BIOS selection of 4 or 8. Probably the longer burst is more effective for array or serial access, rather than random access. An application type issue.

Do you happen to know what the "By SPD" choice refers to in the BIOS advanced memory control selections for DRAM Clock and DRAM Timing?

Thanks again -- Trevor
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Old 3rd December, 2002, 03:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TrevorS


Sounds like I wasn't so lucky in my processor, though I understand USB doesn't much like overclocking, so it probably makes little difference anyway.
I don't think you were so unlucky. Around 1800Mhz seems to be the average for late model Palominos. I can't get mine over 1860Mhz...
Quote:
Originally posted by TrevorS

So -- my unloaded temps are high. My heatsink came with a heat conductive pad that was disturbed when I had to reseat the cpu while troubleshooting a severe POST "C1" problem. I wonder if that could be the reason.
Serious overclockers never use the stock heatsink and they never use the conductive pad. We all get copper heatsinks and Arctic Silver 3. Unless you're hardcore, then you get water. The die hards get phase change. The psychos break open the LN2 jar.
Quote:
Originally posted by TrevorS

I noticed that I typed Burst Rate rather than the correct "Burst Length" for the BIOS selection of 4 or 8. Probably the longer burst is more effective for array or serial access, rather than random access. An application type issue.
Try it out. I forgot which was better.
Quote:
Originally posted by TrevorS

Do you happen to know what the "By SPD" choice refers to in the BIOS advanced memory control selections for DRAM Clock and DRAM Timing?
If I recall correctly, it should stand for serial presence detect. Anyway, it's basically tells the memory controller what your memory is rated for. Everyone overtimes their memory. We all just juice it a little more and tighten the timings until it can't take it anymore.
Quote:
Originally posted by TrevorS

Thanks again -- Trevor
No problem.
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Old 3rd December, 2002, 04:00 AM
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By SPD(Serial Presence Detect). The SPD device is an 8-pin serial EPROM chip that stores information on the DIMM modules' size, speed, voltage, drive strength, and number of row and column addresses.

Have you tried 166FSB and set the Vcore and Vdimm to something high but reasonable? At that speed your PCI and AGP would be at default, might work...if you have watchdog timer set you would be okay...
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Old 3rd December, 2002, 09:06 AM
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Hiya, Ronin1967

I've just been sitting here playing with the settings and trying to separate the cpu behavior from the ram behavior. The board manual explanations typically just reword the switch name, and the occasional right side BIOS screen descriptions can be helpful, but are only occasional -- aaargh!

I observe if "DRAM Clock" is set to "by SPD" then the dram clock tracks changes in the cpu clock. Whereas if "DRAM Clock" is set to 100, 133 or 166, then it stays fixed regardless of what I do with the cpu clock. So, by setting "DRAM Clock" to 133, I could increase the cpu clock separately from the ram and see how far it would go.

I could run the cpu clock to 143MHz without adding voltage. 144MHz added .025V, but 145MHz would have required over 1.9V and I wasn't comfortable with that. If the processor is that resistant to 145MHz, I can't imagine 166MHz being a possibility. It would be fun if the processor COULD run a 333MHz fsb -- oh, well! (The multiplier in my XP 2000+ is 12.5. In order to run at 166MHz, it would have to support an internal clock of 2,075MHz, which seems kind of high for a Palomino. In any case, it looks like mine limits to 1800MHz.)

In order to get my system stable with "DRAM Clock" restored to "by SPD" (for max speed) my maximum "CPU Clock" is looking like 140MHz, with RAM Performance set to "Fastest" and no further tweaks. At 5% boost to the fsb, I guess I find my Palomino a tad disappointing as an overclocker. However, my K6 III+/450 and Pentium I/166 weren't locked processors, I guess that's the BIG difference here.

Trevor
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Old 3rd December, 2002, 09:32 AM
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Thanks for getting back to me again, Mooky...

I tried running up the cpu clock again (this time with DRAM uncoupled) and it looks like 1800 MHZ really is the top. The DRAM prefers a slightly lower clock for stability, but not much in it really. I feel the DRAM speed is probably the bigger issue for these beasts anyway. For my usage, I have cpu horsepower coming out of my ears.

No doubt running up the cycles with an unlocked processor would justify a high performance heat sink, but I'm not sure I have a use for all those MIPS and FLOPS. The factory model sink will probably be just fine for my 2 degree C boost, though it sounds like I should replace the conductive pad. Is standard heat sink compound a problem?

I ran Sandra memory tests with a DRAM Burst Length of both 4 and 8 -- 4 was definitely faster with Sandra, though I'm forever reading about how Sandra and the real world are frequently two different things. I did the same thing with DRAM Queue Depth of 4 and 2 (skipped 3) and 2 was the winner. Same commentary as for burst length.

I know what you mean, My previous two boards had Award BIOS and I always ramped up the settings for max performance. However, in moving from my K6 III+ 450@550 (100MHz SDRAM) to this XP 2000+/1666@1750 (280MHz SDRAM), the increase in performance is so colossal, I don't really feel much need to go beyond the readily available adjustments.

Thanks -- Trevor
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