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using "under-clocked" RAM for stability?

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September 1, 2004 12:25:22 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware,alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

Planning to build a new computer and want it to be a rock solid budget
system. I've built 9 systems over the years ranging from 486-40 to P4 2.8.
Just about the only problems I've ever had, with exception of the
occasional DOA part, has always involved faulty RAM - either at burn-in or
after the long haul.

QUESTION: Will using Ram that is speed rated higher than the intended
application add memory stability to a system. (ex. DDR 466/PC3700 set to
PC3200 speed of 200Mhz mem bus even though the module is rated for 233 mhz)
? Is there any potential downside to doing this sort of "under-clocking" ?
This MoBo is rated for DDR400.

Also, Does enabling SATA disable one of the IDE channels or can IDE1 and
IDE2 both be used in conjunction with a SATA drive. The MoBo manual does not
mention this but I read it in a forum post. Perhaps it is true for some but
not all MoBo's.

System (so far): P4 2.8-800 HT prescott, Scythe Samurai Cooler, ECS 848P-A
rev. 1.0, Maxtor 120GB SATA, Verto GeForce 6800

More about : clocked ram stability

September 1, 2004 12:25:23 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware,alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

If you have to lower memory speed to achieve 'stability' then is the
system ever stable? A system that won't run at spec has other
problems...underpowered ram?

"Simon" <reltsenk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:S85Zc.7178$JT3.2999@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net...
> Planning to build a new computer and want it to be a rock solid
budget
> system. I've built 9 systems over the years ranging from 486-40 to
P4 2.8.
> Just about the only problems I've ever had, with exception of the
> occasional DOA part, has always involved faulty RAM - either at
burn-in or
> after the long haul.
>
> QUESTION: Will using Ram that is speed rated higher than the
intended
> application add memory stability to a system. (ex. DDR 466/PC3700
set to
> PC3200 speed of 200Mhz mem bus even though the module is rated for
233 mhz)
> ? Is there any potential downside to doing this sort of
"under-clocking" ?
> This MoBo is rated for DDR400.
>
> Also, Does enabling SATA disable one of the IDE channels or can
IDE1 and
> IDE2 both be used in conjunction with a SATA drive. The MoBo manual
does not
> mention this but I read it in a forum post. Perhaps it is true for
some but
> not all MoBo's.
>
> System (so far): P4 2.8-800 HT prescott, Scythe Samurai Cooler, ECS
848P-A
> rev. 1.0, Maxtor 120GB SATA, Verto GeForce 6800
>
>
>
>
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2004 1:14:40 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware,alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

Simon wrote:

> Planning to build a new computer and want it to be a rock solid budget
> system.

You have potentially conflicting goals with 'rock solid' and 'budget',
depending on how one defines the terms.

> I've built 9 systems over the years ranging from 486-40 to P4 2.8.
> Just about the only problems I've ever had, with exception of the
> occasional DOA part, has always involved faulty RAM - either at burn-in or
> after the long haul.

It might help to elaborate on these memory problems you say you've had.


> QUESTION: Will using Ram that is speed rated higher than the intended
> application add memory stability to a system. (ex. DDR 466/PC3700 set to
> PC3200 speed of 200Mhz mem bus even though the module is rated for 233 mhz)

It could only 'add stability' if the system were unstable to begin with
and, in that case, the question would be: why is the system not meeting
specifications? Motherboard? Memory? Power supply? Configuration error?

I suggest that you're attacking the problem, if there is one, from the
wrong angle, over-spec'ing vs looking to devices which meet specifications,
because if it doesn't meet spec then just how much 'over' does it need to
be (to be back in spec)? 10%, 20%, 50%? You can't know and that, of course,
is the reason FOR specifications: to 'know' what it will do.

Having said that, it is not uncommon for engineers to leave a 'safety
margin': a little 'insurance' beyond what all testing shows is sufficient.
However, I gather from your list that's not what you're doing because,
otherwise, you'd be adding that 'safety margin' to everything (as in not
getting the lowest cost motherboard on the market).

> ? Is there any potential downside to doing this sort of "under-clocking" ?

The downside is overspending for still unknown performance.

It will 'work', however, as memory can be run slower than it's 'max'.

> This MoBo is rated for DDR400.
>
> Also, Does enabling SATA disable one of the IDE channels or can IDE1 and
> IDE2 both be used in conjunction with a SATA drive. The MoBo manual does not
> mention this but I read it in a forum post. Perhaps it is true for some but
> not all MoBo's.
>
> System (so far): P4 2.8-800 HT prescott, Scythe Samurai Cooler, ECS 848P-A
> rev. 1.0, Maxtor 120GB SATA, Verto GeForce 6800
>
>
>
>
Related resources
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2004 1:17:41 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware,alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

On Tue, 31 Aug 2004 20:25:22 GMT, "Simon" <reltsenk@hotpop.com>
wrote:

>Planning to build a new computer and want it to be a rock solid budget
>system. I've built 9 systems over the years ranging from 486-40 to P4 2.8.
>Just about the only problems I've ever had, with exception of the
>occasional DOA part, has always involved faulty RAM - either at burn-in or
>after the long haul.
>
>QUESTION: Will using Ram that is speed rated higher than the intended
>application add memory stability to a system. (ex. DDR 466/PC3700 set to
>PC3200 speed of 200Mhz mem bus even though the module is rated for 233 mhz)
>? Is there any potential downside to doing this sort of "under-clocking" ?
>This MoBo is rated for DDR400.

The downside is of course lower performance.
It will potentially give you a larger margin for stability, but
if the memory has a hard error / defect or motherboard itself is
instable, it may not be enough to prevent any errors.

Typically the solution to memory errors is to try different
memory, or if all else fails a different motherboard too.
Earlier DDR based boards were more sensative to memory problems,
as are cheap board and those in dual channel configuration.

Often using a motherboard with manually-set memory timing options
will help. For example, if board isn't stable running a memory
module at an "SPD" setting of 2.5, 3, 3, 7, you could try 3, 4,
4, 9 (not meant as specific timings to use, just an example that
may vary per board chipset and memory module)


>
>Also, Does enabling SATA disable one of the IDE channels or can IDE1 and
>IDE2 both be used in conjunction with a SATA drive. The MoBo manual does not
>mention this but I read it in a forum post. Perhaps it is true for some but
>not all MoBo's.

Enabling SATA does not disable PATA "IDE channel". If you wanted
to disable an IDE channel there is a separate bios setting for
that, on most boards (some OEM may disable a lot of settings that
are expected on retail motherboards/bios).

>
>System (so far): P4 2.8-800 HT prescott, Scythe Samurai Cooler, ECS 848P-A
>rev. 1.0, Maxtor 120GB SATA, Verto GeForce 6800

I wouldn't run that at DDR200 memory bus, it will be a
substantial performance loss. Instead buy memory from someplace
that guarantees compatibility like http://www.crucial.com ,

Then again, you're asking for trouble (higher odds of it) by
buying the low-end ECS motherboard, perhaps choosing junk parts
is why you've had memory problems in the past? There are plenty
of people running with stock memory speed and not having this
problem, so we have to consider what you're doing differently.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2004 1:54:04 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware,alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

"Simon" <reltsenk@hotpop.com> said:

> Just about the only problems I've ever had, with exception of the
> occasional DOA part, has always involved faulty RAM - either at
> burn-in or after the long haul.

I had that problem until I stopped buying generic ram. Stick with one of
the major brands, Mushkin, Crucial, Corsair, Micron...

If that isn't your problem then maybe you are not discharging the static
from yourself before installation.
--
Mac Cool
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2004 7:32:46 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware,alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

On Tue, 31 Aug 2004 20:25:22 GMT, "Simon" <reltsenk@hotpop.com>
wrote:

>Planning to build a new computer and want it to be a rock solid budget
>system. I've built 9 systems over the years ranging from 486-40 to P4 2.8.
>Just about the only problems I've ever had, with exception of the
>occasional DOA part, has always involved faulty RAM - either at burn-in or
>after the long haul.
>
>QUESTION: Will using Ram that is speed rated higher than the intended
>application add memory stability to a system. (ex. DDR 466/PC3700 set to
>PC3200 speed of 200Mhz mem bus even though the module is rated for 233 mhz)
>? Is there any potential downside to doing this sort of "under-clocking" ?
>This MoBo is rated for DDR400.
>
>Also, Does enabling SATA disable one of the IDE channels or can IDE1 and
>IDE2 both be used in conjunction with a SATA drive. The MoBo manual does not
>mention this but I read it in a forum post. Perhaps it is true for some but
>not all MoBo's.
>
>System (so far): P4 2.8-800 HT prescott, Scythe Samurai Cooler, ECS 848P-A
>rev. 1.0, Maxtor 120GB SATA, Verto GeForce 6800


Another issue is that if/when memory is underclocked, if it's ran
via the motherboard's "auto" or "SPD" bios settings, then
lowering the MHz speed may result in the bios lowering the memory
timings too (which has the opposite effect, HIGHER memory timings
are more stable "usually"), so to get the benefit of your plan it
may be necessary to determine the timings being used at default
speed, the timings being used at the underclocked speed, and
raise those timings manually... or not, it would still be better
to simply return memory modules to vendor if they're not stable,
which means extensively testing them right after purchase and
arrival. Memtest86 for > 12 hours, even longer with a lot of
memory, is a good start.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2004 8:53:52 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware,alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

That's the whole point of buying RAM from reputable vendors.
They do the testing for you to make sure it's stable at the rated speed
(in fact they are sometimes stable even above spec), and then stamp
their name on it to back it up. So for better stability you should buy
good RAM from good vendors and run it at spec, instead of buying
high speed no-name RAM and run it below spec.



"Simon" <reltsenk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:S85Zc.7178$JT3.2999@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net...
> Planning to build a new computer and want it to be a rock solid budget
> system. I've built 9 systems over the years ranging from 486-40 to P4 2.8.
> Just about the only problems I've ever had, with exception of the
> occasional DOA part, has always involved faulty RAM - either at burn-in or
> after the long haul.
>
> QUESTION: Will using Ram that is speed rated higher than the intended
> application add memory stability to a system. (ex. DDR 466/PC3700 set to
> PC3200 speed of 200Mhz mem bus even though the module is rated for 233 mhz)
> ? Is there any potential downside to doing this sort of "under-clocking" ?
> This MoBo is rated for DDR400.
>
> Also, Does enabling SATA disable one of the IDE channels or can IDE1 and
> IDE2 both be used in conjunction with a SATA drive. The MoBo manual does not
> mention this but I read it in a forum post. Perhaps it is true for some but
> not all MoBo's.
>
> System (so far): P4 2.8-800 HT prescott, Scythe Samurai Cooler, ECS 848P-A
> rev. 1.0, Maxtor 120GB SATA, Verto GeForce 6800
>
>
>
>
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2004 2:51:03 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware,alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

"Simon" <reltsenk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:S85Zc.7178$JT3.2999@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net...
> Planning to build a new computer and want it to be a rock solid budget
> system. I've built 9 systems over the years ranging from 486-40 to P4 2.8.
> Just about the only problems I've ever had, with exception of the
> occasional DOA part, has always involved faulty RAM - either at burn-in
> or
> after the long haul.
>
> QUESTION: Will using Ram that is speed rated higher than the intended
> application add memory stability to a system. (ex. DDR 466/PC3700 set to
> PC3200 speed of 200Mhz mem bus even though the module is rated for 233
> mhz)
> ? Is there any potential downside to doing this sort of "under-clocking" ?
> This MoBo is rated for DDR400.
>
> Also, Does enabling SATA disable one of the IDE channels or can IDE1 and
> IDE2 both be used in conjunction with a SATA drive. The MoBo manual does
> not
> mention this but I read it in a forum post. Perhaps it is true for some
> but
> not all MoBo's.
>
> System (so far): P4 2.8-800 HT prescott, Scythe Samurai Cooler, ECS
> 848P-A
> rev. 1.0, Maxtor 120GB SATA, Verto GeForce 6800
>
If the RAM won't work reliably at the spec speed it was designed for then
either the RAM is faulty or there are other problems with the machine(s). I
would check for those other problems first - simplest way is to substitute
known good memory and check reliability - if its still poor you know the
problem lies elsewhere. I presume you're using full ESD precautions such as
a wrist strap and antistatic grounding mat/earth lead when working on the
machines as that can cause these sorts of issues which sometimes only show
up much later on after the damage is done. If after checking all the above
and problems are STILL evident, specifying ECC RAM may assist (when the mobo
is capable of accepting it of course). I've built several PCs over the years
and even worked as a computer tech. Other than one machine based on a Tyan
S2460 mobo which was very picky about the brand of memory (didn't like
Micron but worked perfectly with Samsung), I've never had such problems. I
agree with the other poster who said that "rock solid" and "budget" don't
tend to go together - at least when it comes to motherboards and memory. How
many big corporations do you know that keep all there valuable data on
"budget" systems? If a rock solid system is that important, save up and buy
one with reputable brand components - there are certainly more reputable
brand motherboards than ECS for a starter.

Paul
!