GA-7N400 Pro 2 Rev. 2.0 Optimization?

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.gigabyte (More info?)

I hope someone will be able to help me get the most out of my system. I
know a little bit, but I am not really into tuning. I just want it to
work...

A brief history. I bought the system from a local computer store about
1.5 years ago. It had an AMD Athalon XP 2700+ CPU and 512 MB of PC2700
RAM running XP Pro on a different motherboard. About 4 months ago it
died, the power supply dies and fried the mother board. I went back to
the store and they replaced the motherboard with the GA-7N400 Pro 2 Rev.
2.0 that is in there now. At the same time I replace the primary hard
drive, since I was going to have to reload Windows...

Since I got the new motherboard I feel like the system performance is not
where it should be. With the other motherboard I used to process SETI
packets in about 10 hours, now I am taking 16 to 18 hours, and the system
just seems sluggish. And authoring DVD's is down right painful...

I have been looking at trying to tweak the system, but am not 100% sure
where to begin.

The first thing in noticed is that at least some of it is the hard drive.
The new C: is a WD and runs at Ultra DMA 5 - Ultra 100 and has a
sustained transfer rate of only 24.1 MB/Sec. The old drive which is now
D: is a Maxtor and runs at Ultra DMA 6 - Ultra 133 with a sustained
transfer rate of 49.3 MB/Sec. One of the reasons for the drive swap was
also the increase capacity.

The first thing I want to do is upgrade the HD. Everyone is talking
about SATA which is supported in this MB. Any opinions about SATA really
being better and are there any compatibility issues? Since I am not
changing the motherboard I was not going to reinstall Windows and use
something like Ghost to transfer everything to the new drive. I did this
in my wife's system and it worked great, but in her case it was going
from a 20GB ATA drive to a 60GB ATA drive, both Maxtor. I am concerned
about ATA to SATA, because I have no experience with SATA...

Secondly in tweaking the MB, the first thing I notices is a temperature
warning before I do anything. The CPU seems to be running at 61-62
degrees. I am wondering if the guy a the store replaced the heat sync
compound when he swapped the chip to the new system. Someone told me
that you should replace the compound EVERY time you remove the heat sync?

Is this a problem, or is the alarm just set to low?

Finally I am thinking about adding a second 512 MB RAM (PC2700). I read
something about some sort of memory interleave or something that was
supposed to increase system performance.

Does anyone know anything about this?

I would really like to get another year or so out of the system.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
4 answers Last reply
More about 7n400 optimization
  1. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.gigabyte (More info?)

    William C wrote:
    > I hope someone will be able to help me get the most out of my system. I
    > know a little bit, but I am not really into tuning. I just want it to
    > work...
    >
    > A brief history. I bought the system from a local computer store about
    > 1.5 years ago. It had an AMD Athalon XP 2700+ CPU and 512 MB of PC2700
    > RAM running XP Pro on a different motherboard. About 4 months ago it
    > died, the power supply dies and fried the mother board. I went back to
    > the store and they replaced the motherboard with the GA-7N400 Pro 2 Rev.
    > 2.0 that is in there now. At the same time I replace the primary hard
    > drive, since I was going to have to reload Windows...
    >
    > Since I got the new motherboard I feel like the system performance is not
    > where it should be. With the other motherboard I used to process SETI
    > packets in about 10 hours, now I am taking 16 to 18 hours, and the system
    > just seems sluggish. And authoring DVD's is down right painful...

    To be honest it could be any number of issues with the drivers and
    set-up of XP. SETI/BOINC is heavily CPU bound, so this is unlikely to
    be a problem related to your hard disk/s. But for all we know, you now
    have something else new eating up available memory. It could even be
    spyware or a virus doing that. There's not enough information in front
    of me to diagnose this here and now.

    >
    > I have been looking at trying to tweak the system, but am not 100% sure
    > where to begin.
    >
    > The first thing in noticed is that at least some of it is the hard drive.
    > The new C: is a WD and runs at Ultra DMA 5 - Ultra 100 and has a
    > sustained transfer rate of only 24.1 MB/Sec. The old drive which is now
    > D: is a Maxtor and runs at Ultra DMA 6 - Ultra 133 with a sustained
    > transfer rate of 49.3 MB/Sec. One of the reasons for the drive swap was
    > also the increase capacity.

    Well, few drives can reach the maximum theoretical speed of the ATA or
    SATA channel anyway, so the difference between an ATA100 drive and a 133
    model should certainly be smallish, not 50%! Are you saying it is
    ATA100 because you know that it is an ATA100/MODE 5 drive, or can you
    actually say that you *are seeing* MODE 5 in device manager?? We could
    be looking at an issue with the ATA controller drivers or even with the
    BIOS configuration. AFAIK, UDMA needs enabling in BIOS and defaults to
    disabled. Someone may correct me on that! I hope you have the correct
    cable on this drive too? So, look in device manger at the properties of
    the controller, check under advanced settings for UDMA MODE 5. To be
    honest, the WD is probably not a top flight drive, but 24.1 is hideous.
    Something ain't right!


    >
    > The first thing I want to do is upgrade the HD. Everyone is talking
    > about SATA which is supported in this MB. Any opinions about SATA really
    > being better and are there any compatibility issues? Since I am not
    > changing the motherboard I was not going to reinstall Windows and use
    > something like Ghost to transfer everything to the new drive. I did this
    > in my wife's system and it worked great, but in her case it was going
    > from a 20GB ATA drive to a 60GB ATA drive, both Maxtor. I am concerned
    > about ATA to SATA, because I have no experience with SATA...
    >
    I doubt if you would easily distinguish between a SATA 1 disk and a
    properly running ATA133 model, with the system you have, but you seem to
    have a problem with your ATA.

    (As an aside, with Maxtor drives, most of us would be well advised to
    download AMSET and turn off Acoustic Management, as the disks ship at a
    default of "quiet", which is enormously harmful to performance. But
    that is an aside...)

    If you go down the SATA route you will need to understand how to boot
    from SATA, install the SATA drivers in XP and so on, if you haven't
    installed the controller already that is.

    > Secondly in tweaking the MB, the first thing I notices is a temperature
    > warning before I do anything. The CPU seems to be running at 61-62
    > degrees. I am wondering if the guy a the store replaced the heat sync
    > compound when he swapped the chip to the new system. Someone told me
    > that you should replace the compound EVERY time you remove the heat sync?

    Absolutely you must replace it, and do it properly. 60+ degrees is well
    on the hot side, and I would have expected you might even get crashes
    running SETI work? If not, you are lucky, but I would look at the
    cooling. If you don't know how to do the heat transfer materials, get an
    expert in to do it, as it's very important. Can't be overstated really.
    Do you know what temps you had on the old board? If you don't have a
    case fan try adding one (or two!), firstly as an exhaust, then maybe add
    one as an intake if still not cool enough. Make sure the drive cables
    etc are tidily routed and not stopping air flow to the CPU cooler. You
    can sometimes get back 5c just by clipping them out of the way! If you
    have a stock AMD cooler in a "standard" sort of case, I would expect an
    upper temperature of no worse than 55c.
    >
    > Is this a problem, or is the alarm just set to low?

    Bordering on a problem, as above.

    >
    > Finally I am thinking about adding a second 512 MB RAM (PC2700). I read
    > something about some sort of memory interleave or something that was
    > supposed to increase system performance.
    >
    > Does anyone know anything about this?

    AFAIK you can run the RAM in dual channel mode on your board which would
    give some gain in performance. Don't get hung up about that though, as
    you seem to have a huge I/O bottleneck somewhere else, clearing which
    will speed up your system massively anyway.
    >
    > I would really like to get another year or so out of the system.
    >
    > Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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  2. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.gigabyte (More info?)

    Thanks for the feedback...

    I realize that there may be a few things working together. I am fairly
    certain that it is not a spyware issue, but since the new MB uses new
    drivers... I have gone to the Gigabyte support site and installed the
    latest drivers and flashed the latest BIOS.

    I have no idea about the temperature on the old motherboard, but I had
    hardware monitoring on and never got any alarms. As I said the case is
    the same, but I now have 2 HDs and that might be putting some extra heat
    into the case. Also the fan on the new power supply might be slower than
    the old one. I know about cables, I had a friend who burnt up his CPU
    when a ribbon cable blocked one side of his heat sync!

    I think I am going to go get some heat sync compound and an auxiliary
    case fan just to be safe.

    As far as the drive, this is reported in the device manager, and DMA is
    on. The problem drive has a much higher burst speed (84.0 MB/Sec), but
    the sustained speed is horrible. I am sure this is a big contributing
    factor to slow load times and sluggish performance. I mean I watch how
    much drive activity I have when I am doing common tasks. The slow drive
    has got to be hurting me.

    Based on your comments about ATA vs. SATA, which is want I suspected, I
    am going to just get another Maxtor ATA drive. I saw a 120 GB drive for
    about $80 at Best Buy...

    This is nothing against WD, because my wife's system, which is my old
    system, has a WD and it is almost twice as fast as my problem drive. It
    is a little slower than my Maxtor, but is is also much older. I am
    mostly staying with Maxtor to eliminate family compatibility problems
    between the Pri Master/Slave.

    Now for the RAM. I really want to go up to 1 GB. I can do this by just
    adding another 512 MB of PC2700, or by removing the PC2700 and getting 2
    sticks of PC3200. I would probably try to sell the old PC2700 for half
    price or something, but do you think I will realistically see any
    significant performance gain by going to PC3200?

    Thanks again for the feedback.
  3. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.gigabyte (More info?)

    >
    > Now for the RAM. I really want to go up to 1 GB. I can do this by just
    > adding another 512 MB of PC2700, or by removing the PC2700 and getting 2
    > sticks of PC3200. I would probably try to sell the old PC2700 for half
    > price or something, but do you think I will realistically see any
    > significant performance gain by going to PC3200?
    >
    > Thanks again for the feedback.

    I would just add another stick of 2700 as I believe that 3200 does not
    come into it's own unless you use a 400 MHz bus CPU. Anyone care to
    verify that?


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  4. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.gigabyte (More info?)

    OK, I upgraded the drive and added another 512 MB of PC2700. All I can
    say is WOW!

    Since it was the easiest, I put the RAM in first and there was no
    precipitable performance increase. In fact in benchmark tests, there may
    have been a very slight performance decrease in some of the memory tests.
    In any event the difference was negligible.

    Next I replaced the hard drive, and this really mad a BIG difference.
    The system boots quicker, apps load quicker and I mean a lot quicker.

    I would not have believed the difference if I had not seen it for myself.
    In some bench mark tests, the new drive is 4 to 5 times faster than the
    old drive. I am not seeing an overall increase anywhere near this, but
    for example, my Delphi 2005, which is probably my slowest loading
    application, it loads in just under half the time.

    I also redid the heat sync compound and my CPU, which was running at a
    warm 61-62 degrees, is now running at a more comfortable 56-58 degrees.

    In summary, make sure your system drive is fast!
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