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G8-K8N-SLI Dual Channel & SATA II

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April 14, 2006 1:13:01 PM

OK, so I've just built myself a new system to replace my creaky old Athlon XP rig. Spec as follows:

Gigabyte GA-K8N-SLI (note this is NOT Ultra-SLI or Pro-SLI)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+
2GB DDR400 RAM (2 X Crucial 16VDDT12864AY40BDB)
Western Digital Caviar WD2500KS 250GB SATA-II HDD
Sapphire Radeon X800GTO² 256MB PCI-E
A nice case
Some fans
Etc etc

Anyway, all seems to be working OK and it's a darn sight quicker than my old system. However, being the fussy old mare that I am, I have 2 issues which I am wondering if you guys might be able to help me with:

1) I've run "HD Speed" on my hard drive to test the burst read rate - it's returning 150MB/s, which I believe is standard SATA speed. I purchased this motherboard and hard drive specifically because they both support SATA-II. Did I miss something during setup? Do I need to update some drivers to unleash SATA-II speeds?

2) When the system POSTs, a message comes up at the top of the screen which reads something like "Memory information: Single Channel, 64 bit". On the box of the motherboard, it claims to be dual-channel and the memory I have installed (in slots 1 & 3 on the memory bank) are a matching pair. There are no apparent options for dual channel in the rather limited BIOS of this motherboard. Can anyone advise how to activate dual channel?

Both of these issues I reckon will increase the speed of my new system even further, which is all good if I can crack it.

The motherboard has come loaded with the F2 bios dated 27 July 2005. I have not yet updated this as I don't see any changes in the version history which will solve the issues I am having. Can anyone correct me on this? Am I wrong?

Awaiting your responses with great anticipation.

Regards,
Ju
a b V Motherboard
April 14, 2006 1:56:11 PM

Are you using the nvidia controller? I think the silicon image controller only supports SATA-1 at 150mb/s.

The manual says use slots DDR1&DDR2 or DDR3&DDR4 for dual channel using two dimms. Did you buy a certified dual channel kit, or did you just get two identical dimms? Although two identical dimms should run in dual channel, they are not certified to work properly in dual channel.
April 14, 2006 2:41:39 PM

Hi there.

Thank you for the prompt reply.

One problem now solved thanks to you - I don't know why I installed the memory in slots 1 & 3, but that was the problem. It clearly states in the manual to install modules in same coloured slots to activate dual channel. Sure enough, I put the module that was in slot 3 into slot 2 and it now shows "Memory information: Dual Channel, 128 bit" at POST.

As for the SATA issue - I installed my SATA as per this guide - http://richandstephsipe.com/2005/05/how-to-install-wind... - and I made sure to install the Nvidia driver at Windows install. Still, HD Speed is only showing 150MB/s burst rate. Does the 300MB/s rating only apply to 2 X HDDs installed in RAID or should it work with standalone drives as well?

Regards,
Ju
a b V Motherboard
April 15, 2006 3:16:53 AM

Well, 300mb/s is the max speed a sata-2 controller can handle. My config (in sig) does 170mb/s using HDTach. I'm not sure what a single drive can do. You can check THG's drive comparison to find that, but I'd expect at least 150mb/s burst speed. Sustained speed (or average speed) is usually between 40-70 mb/s.
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