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Asus A7N8X Rev 1.04 nForce2 SPP: Which CPU to get?

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May 18, 2004 9:51:24 AM

I'm using an Asus A7N8X Deluxe PCB Revision 1.04 motherboard. Although a BIOS enabling 400 mghz FSB Barton support has been released, will this board actually benefit from a 400 FSB CPU, or should I just get a 333?
May 18, 2004 2:44:32 PM

What are you having now?
I would just get 333FSB..I've heard that some people having problem to get 400FSB on A7N8X Rev1.04..
400FSB costs too much anyway (for me :tongue: )
May 18, 2004 3:25:31 PM

Buy a Mobile XP 2500+. It's a 333(166Mhz DDR)FSB part, but will almost certainly be capable of <i>at least</i> 400FSB(200Mhz DDR), if your board is. if not, you can still run it at whatever the max FSB of your board is.

[EDIT]
Actually, I just realised what I said there is incorrect, the <i>mobile</i> 2500+ actually has a default FSB of 266(133Mhz DDR), but the rest of what I said is still correct anyway...
[/EDIT]

---
Epox 8RDA+ rev1.1 w/ Custom NB HS
XP1700+ @205x11 (~2.26Ghz), 1.575Vcore
2x256Mb Corsair PC3200LL 2-2-2-4
Sapphire 9800Pro 420/744<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by ChipDeath on 05/18/04 04:27 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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May 18, 2004 6:48:56 PM

Your board does NOT support 400Mhz Barton CPUs, no matter what Asus says about it. BIOS revision 1007 does not help either! I know, I've been there!
Stick to a non-400Mhz Barton, or change your motherboard.


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May 18, 2004 7:02:40 PM

What is your actual CPU?

If you have anything equal or above Athlon XP 2400+. I don't think an upgrade is worth the money. You should save and upgrade when necessary. These days, necessary often means when HL2 and/or Doom 3 will be out.

If you have an Athlon XP 1700+ to 2200+ based with a tbred core and your CPU is more than 1 years old. You can surely overclock it to 2.0GHz (and often more). If you have DDR333 memory, you are lucky! You can change your FSB to 166MHz too.

If you have something slower than this (Duron or older Athlon core : thunderbird/Palomino). An upgrade might be worth the money to extend your PC for a couple of months. And the only really valuable upgrade is Mobile Athlon XP based on Barton core. There is 3 model available : 2400+, 2500+ and 2600+. A hceap upgrade would be to get only the CPU and change the multiplier in your BIOS. The upgrade that would give you the biggest boost in performance would be a CPU + DDR400/DDR433 memory upgrade. To run your CPU at the maximum FSB speed and and internal speed.

--
Lookin' to fill that <font color=blue>GOD</font color=blue> shape hole!<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by TheRod on 05/18/04 03:03 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
May 18, 2004 7:07:22 PM

Maybe it can't reach 200MHz FSB, but it might reach 180/190MHz. So, if he buy a mobile Barton with conventionnal DDR400 RAM. He will still be able to run is CPU at 180/190MHz FSB with an unlocked multiplier. The CPU will surely reach high-speed even with a slower FSB.

--
Lookin' to fill that <font color=blue>GOD</font color=blue> shape hole!
May 18, 2004 9:19:40 PM

I agree with you.
I was just stating to him the cold hard fact that the rev 1.04 of the A7N8X Deluxe does not support 400Mhz Bartons.

-----
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May 19, 2004 12:23:19 AM

Right now I've got an Athlon XP 2100 and two 512 sticks of Corsair XMS PC3200.

When I built this system I chose the 2100 (it was the best deal at the time) with the intention of upgrading to 400 FSB Barton when they were released and became affordable.

The whole reason for paying the extra bucks for PC3200 over PC2700 was to be able to still run the memory and cpu in sync when I finally had the Barton, since according to reviews, running in sync gave the best performance.

I've been in contact with Asus and I'm going to put it to them:

"If I purchase a 400 FSB Barton and it does not work with my motherboard like you claim, will you take responsibility for this and exchange my motherboard for one that does work with the CPU?"

I mean, it's clearly false advertising, is it not?

Edit:

Oracle, could I just run the 400 mhz Barton at 333 if I have problems?


TheRod, would overclocking my current CPU require me to buy new cooling? As it is now it's running at 53-60c with the AMD supplied heatsink+fan.

And how exactly would I overclock it to 2+Ghz? Just change the Multiplier setting in the BIOS or would I have to do some soldering? (I have zero overclocking experience)
May 19, 2004 1:54:28 AM

I which I knew what you now know when I first contacted Asus. They never answered me back after their first reply.
Quote:
Oracle, could I just run the 400 mhz Barton at 333 if I have problems?

Yes you can. It works, but what's the point of buying a CPU to downclock it. It's a waste of money.

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May 19, 2004 10:03:17 AM

Do you know what core your current chip has? it could be a Palomino, a thoroughbred 'A' or a Thoroughbred 'B'.

If it's a palomino, you'll be doing well to get 1.8Ghz out of it, and that'll be HOT, if it works.

If it's a t-bred 'A' you should be able to get nearer 1.9Ghz.

If it's a T-bred 'B', then you are looking at 2Ghz+.

If you're unsure what core you have, you can use CPU-Z to check. (can't remember off the top of my head what numbers are what cores though), but if you see what your CPU Core voltage is, it will give you some clue - if your CPU is @ 1.75V or above, then it's a palomino. T-bred chips run 1.6 or 1.65 usually.

And to answer your Question, no, no soldering is required these days - all the adjustments necessary can be made in the BIOS.

---
Epox 8RDA+ rev1.1 w/ Custom NB HS
XP1700+ @205x11 (~2.26Ghz), 1.575Vcore
2x256Mb Corsair PC3200LL 2-2-2-4
Sapphire 9800Pro 420/744
May 19, 2004 12:42:29 PM

Quote:
Oracle, could I just run the 400 mhz Barton at 333 if I have problems?

There is no problem with it, but one of the biggest advantage of the Barton is the ability to run in synch with DDR400.

Quote:
TheRod, would overclocking my current CPU require me to buy new cooling? As it is now it's running at 53-60c with the AMD supplied heatsink+fan.

No necessarly, Athlon XP an run at higher temp. without problem. My overclocked 1800+ was running at 70 Celsius at 100% load before I changed my FAN/Heatsink.

What you can do, is overclock your current CPU without changing anything. Then if your CPU is running too hot for you, you can go and buy a heatsink. I originaly had the AMD fan/heatsink for my 1800+. Later I bought a Volcano 7 fan/heatsink and now my CPU temperature is 60 Celsius (and I set the fan to low speed, because I hate fan noise).

Quote:
And how exactly would I overclock it to 2+Ghz? Just change the Multiplier setting in the BIOS or would I have to do some soldering? (I have zero overclocking experience)

It's pretty easy!

First go to the ASUS website and update your BIOS to the latest version, it's 1007. Make sure to get the BIOS for your motherboard revision.

If you are lucky your CPU is not multiplier-locked. To know if your multiplier is not locked you must have bought your CPU before before about Sept. 2003 (AMD started to lock Athlon in this period). If you are not sure, it's easy to figure it out, go into your BIOS and change force your multiplier.

Your Athlon XP 2100+ default setting is :
13 x 133 = 1733MHz

(<A HREF="http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=Mzk0LDI=" target="_new">Refer to this page for BIOS screen capture</A>)

In the Advanced Chipset Features, force your CPU external frequency to 133MHz and force yoru CPU Multiplier to 12. Then reboot tour system. If your system will detect a Athlon 1900+ or an Athlon 1600MHz your CPU is not locked. :smile: If your PC still detect your Athlon 2100+, your CPU is locked.

If your CPU is not locked, return into your BIOS and do the following step :
- Fix your FSB to 166MHz.
- Fix your multiplier to 12.
- Change your CPU Vcore to 1.7 Volts (it's safe for Athlon XP)

Then try to BOOT, your system will detect an Athlon 2400+ or an Athlon 2000MHz, if your Windows load without crashing are your system is stable! Good, you now have an overclocked Athlon XP. Most Athlon XP can run with 166MHz FSB. If your system crash, try to reduce the multiplier to 11.5 or 11, if the system crash again reduce your FSB speed instead of the multiplier.

I usually do 2 thing when I overclock. First, I try to find the maximum stable CPU speed. The easiest way to do this is to lock your FSB to "low speed", let's 133MHz and then increase the Multiplier in step to find the CPU limit. When the system start to crash, I increase CPU voltage. For example my 1800+ need 1.8 Volts to be stable at 2.0GHz.

When I find the limit, I then try to find the fastest stable FSB around this speed here is some example :
133 x 15.0 = 2000MHz
(...)
166 x 12.0 = 2000MHz
174 x 11.5 = 2001MHz
182 x 11.0 = 2002MHz
190 x 10.5 = 1995MHz
200 x 10.0 = 2000MHz
210 x 9.5 = 1995MHz
(...)

If you can achieve 190x10.5 with stability, this would be fester than 133x15. And since you have DDR400 memory I would run memory in sync with FSB. In your BIOS set "Memory Frequency" to 100%, this means the FSB and MEMORY will run in sync mode.

IMPORTANT : Learn how to clear your BIOS before starting to change your overclocking settings. You might need to clear it if the setting you choose are too extreme. The A7N8X precodure is simple :

1. Turn off the PC
2. Remove the CMOS battery
3. Set the jumper near the CMOS battery to the "clear" position
4. Power on your PC for a couple of seconds
5. Turn off the PC
6. Replace the CMOS jumper this is original position
7. Replace the battery
8. Power on your PC

--
Lookin' to fill that <font color=blue>GOD</font color=blue> shape hole!
May 20, 2004 12:12:06 AM

It's a Palo, V-Core is 1.77. I'm not going to bother with overclocking.

Now I need to decide if it's worth gambling with the 40 or so extra dollars on a 3200/400 over a 3000/333. I want to max out this board CPU wise now, and pick up a better gfx Card (got a 9700 Pro) some months from now.
May 21, 2004 3:40:29 AM

As I said, your board does not support FSB400. So stick with a CPU at 166Mhz, you'll avoid yourself troubles.

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a b à CPUs
May 21, 2004 4:20:44 AM

I'd get the XP Mobile 2500+, which has a 133MHz bus by default and an unlocked multiplier, then I'd overclock THAT at your highest stable bus speed (found by experimentation).

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May 21, 2004 9:20:41 AM

I have to agree, both the cheaper <i>and</i> better performing option :smile:

---
Epox 8RDA+ rev1.1 w/ Custom NB HS
XP1700+ @205x11 (~2.26Ghz), 1.575Vcore
2x256Mb Corsair PC3200LL 2-2-2-4
Sapphire 9800Pro 420/744
May 21, 2004 6:21:10 PM

The NON-MOBILE XP2500+ Barton @ 166Mhz is cheaper (well, at least in my part of the world) than the Mobile chip @ 133Mhz. Is it as easy to overclock as the Mobile. I guess the multiplier is locked in the Non-mobile and that makes it less flexible. Am I wrong?

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a b à CPUs
May 21, 2004 9:17:59 PM

Actually the Mobile is a better quality chip. It takes better quality to get either more speed or lower voltages, and Mobiles use the lower voltages. You apply more voltage, and viola, more speed is easier to achieve. His problem is that he might not be able to get the board stable at 200MHz FSB. But there was ANOTHER XP3200+ produced for HP, a special OEM only version, that ran at 2333MHz, 166MHz FSB. He'd need an unlocked multiplier to even attempt something like that.

In all likelyhood he'll be able to get it stable at some higher bus speed, say 185MHz. Well, the fact that the rare 166MHz bus 3200+ has a higher clock speed than the standard 3200+ reflects the performance advantage gained from the higher bus speed. 185x12 (2220MHz) might approach the performance of the stock XP3200+, and that's why the unlocked multiplier is nice.

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