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Overclocking Newbie: x64 3000+ S939 Asus A8N-SLI

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October 16, 2006 9:14:13 PM

Hello I was hoping to get some advice on how to get started at overclocking. Here are my specs;

CPU: AMD x64 3000+ 1.8 Ghz (Arctic Cooler 64 Freezer Pro)
MOBO: Asus A8N-SLI (nForce 4 AwardBIOS 1.14)
MEMORY: 1gig OCZ Premier (512x2 Dual Channel with 2.5-3-3-7 timings at 200mhz bus) default 2.6v
GPU: BFG 7600 GT OC
PSU: Ultra 600watt

other specs:
HDD: 1xSeagate 250GB Barracuda 7200.10 (NCQ 16mb buffer
1xMaxtor 250GB Maxline III 7200rpm (16mb buffer)

I raised the CPU multiplier to 205 (default 200) and the vcore to 1.45 just to see what would happen, and my PC crashes as soon as it finishes loading XP SP2 :(  Do I need to increase my DDR voltage from default 2.6 to 2.7 or something? I would appreciate any help!

Mainly i want to overlock to increase rendering time in Premiere/After Effects but also I plan to get dual core 4600+ and another identical dual channel kit to go up to 2gb.
October 16, 2006 9:29:31 PM

You may be running your RAM higher than its rated for; loosen the timings, or drop the speed down if that doesn't work. Only increase voltage once that tops out, if even then. Find a review of your model of RAM and see if someone's overclocked it, and use that as a guideline.
October 16, 2006 9:31:53 PM

You used OCZ on tha mobo? I never got mine to work with that mobo. I went with Corsair xms. I had your same setup and I hit a wall at 2.0GHZ. Like he said lower you RAM speed.the faster clock will make up for it, What's your HT Frequency? and dont raise the vcore unless you have to 1.45 should be good enough. lower your RAM & HT FREQUENCY, that should give you more room.
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October 16, 2006 9:47:57 PM

Nice speedy replies!

My BIOS' CPU multiplier maxes out at 9x (i think)

my memory is advertised as 2.5-3-3-7 @ 200. But i will drop it to 3-4-4-8 i suppose. Another note, if I leave my BIOS to auto recognize my memory, it puts it at 333 8O

I will give the timings a shot right now and run 3dmark06 to see how it goes.

Also I've read some good things about Ultra's XL Dual Channel kits that reviews claim are great for overclocking so i guess that could be an option down the road if i can find a buyer for my OCZ premier...
October 16, 2006 9:50:21 PM

Quote:
Nice speedy replies!

My BIOS' CPU multiplier maxes out at 9x (i think)

my memory is advertised as 2.5-3-3-7 @ 200. But i will drop it to 3-4-4-8 i suppose. Another note, if I leave my BIOS to auto recognize my memory, it puts it at 333 8O

I will give the timings a shot right now and run 3dmark06 to see how it goes.

Also I've read some good things about Ultra's XL Dual Channel kits that reviews claim are great for overclocking so i guess that could be an option down the road if i can find a buyer for my OCZ premier...


Here's a good example, although MB's will vary:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-69651995632566...
October 16, 2006 10:12:22 PM

After watching that video, I dropped my memory from 400 to 333, switched from 2T to 1T, set my Hyper Transport Frequency from 5x to 4x, and increased my CPU freq. to 210 and so far so good with 90mhz gain, so now i'll just keep bumping up my CPU frequency and test for stability.


Thanks :lol: 
October 16, 2006 11:01:09 PM

Quote:
After watching that video, I dropped my memory from 400 to 333, switched from 2T to 1T, set my Hyper Transport Frequency from 5x to 4x, and increased my CPU freq. to 210 and so far so good with 90mhz gain, so now i'll just keep bumping up my CPU frequency and test for stability.


Thanks :lol: 


No problem, I think your problem was the RAM and the HT frequency. Glad I can help. :wink:
October 16, 2006 11:58:38 PM

I've had ok results overclocking hardware similar to what you've listed.

My A8N-Sli (regular) has had a A64 3000+, Opteron 144, and X2 3800+ in it and all hit the same problem: Maximum bus the motherboard supports.

I've used Ocz Premier (1 & 2 GB kits), Platinum 3200 Rev1 (2GB), Corsair TwinX XMS (1gb), and Kingston Hyper-X (1GB).

No matter what I did, my A8N-Sli doesn't like working over 266 HT (be it 5x 4x or even 3x).

Having said that, all the ram I listed runs quite happily at 230 HT/MHz, and with a 5:6(333) divider it'll stay under 230HT once the main bus is cranked right up.

I've left my Opteron 144 in my A8N-Sli as a gaming rig. Its almost the same as the A64 3000+ (ie 9x multiplier max, just 2x the L2 cache), and is rock solid at 2.4GHz (as were all my other 939 chips).

During the testing phase I played with all the bios settings (voltages), but found no matter how much juice i pumped into ram and vcore, the board itself just doesn't like anything above 266MHz. My Dfi Expert was used to verify that it isn't the ram or the chip but the board that was my limit (it went well beyond 266MHz, but it is a dfi...).

As for Ram settings, OCZ ram will generally run upto 230 from 200 without loosening the settings, so again, 5:6/333 divider will keep the ram below 230 while the main bus gets close to max(266?). Just make sure you keep the RAM at 1T (its weird how that bios works, hard to explain, but keep mucking around until it boots with the right settings. Mine used to crash at low speeds because it either wants to let you change the bus or the ram, but not both...
October 17, 2006 5:02:54 PM

A question about the 1T/2T: everytime I switch to 1T my system becomes really unstable and can't load XP or even POST sometimes, even if i bump up Dram voltage to 2.8 (2.6 default) it doesn't seem to help, so i'm sticking with 2T. Can anyone tell me what the advantages of running at 1T are? Perhaps my memory is set to run at 2T, it is afterall considered to be in the "value" class of OCZ's lineup. I've also read that the difference between 1T and 2T makes little to no real world impact. Is this true?

Finally, i'm now running my CPU FSB at 235 at 1.435v and my Memory Bus is at 192 with an overall CPU speed of 2117Mhz compared to stock 1800mhz. My DRAM is set to 2.5-3-3-7-2T at 333. So that's a gain of 317mhz or 18% :D  I think I can go to 240 or 245 easily and I'll stop my vcore at 1.45 (the video posted earlier says something about electron tunneling burns at voltages around 1.5)

I've run the "SP2004" version of Prime95 to check for stability but for no more than 15-30 minutes before I stopped it (i've read that most problems show up in the first few minutes of running prime95) and my cpu temp gets as high as 37 celsius and that's it.
October 17, 2006 5:38:47 PM

If i didn't oc, i can set my ram to 2.5-3-3-7 @ 1T w/o any problem (rated 3-4-4-8 @ 2T).Normally when u OC, command rate should be set to 2T. I cant remember (the article that is) about command rate....sorry,google yourself...
October 17, 2006 6:24:23 PM

The most I was ever able to get out of an a64 3000+ 939 was 2.25 ghz. What will limit you the most is the fact that your multiplier will only go as high as 9. If you are using cheap(er) memory you probably won't get it much beyond 210 (420 DDR) even with voltage increases. So this means you can't just increase the FSB and voltages, you will have to play with the memory speed, multiplier, Hypertransport and bus frequencies (PCIe and PCI) -- if your mobo allows you to do so.

The easiest way to OC is to just increase your voltages and FSB speed. The problem is with 'low(er) end' parts is that you will usually always run into stability problems with your memory and buses long before the processor. You will need to make sure you keep your memory 'capped' at a certain speed. It depends on your memory. Strangely enough, some of the best performing and OC-able memory sticks I've used have been of the cheapie Corsair Value Select brand... and i've spent a lot more on supposedly 'better' memory... go figure.

Don't handicap yourself. Playing with these settings is very much "give and take'. Overclocking your CPU to 2.0Ghz is pointless if you have to run your memory at an actual speed of 166 (DDR333) to do it. You will get a substancial performance loss instead of a gain. The key is to get your Proc to go as fast as it can, while still maintaining everything else at or near the same speeds as before.

For example, say your memory has issues above DDR420 (which is 210 actual speed.) By setting your memory speed to 166mhz (ddr333) you can use DDR333's inherent 5:4 memory timing to FSB ratio to your advantage. By lowering memory to 166 and then setting your FSB to 240 , your memory will arrive at a final speed of 199mhz (or 398 DDR). At 250, it is 207 (415 DDR). Your 'sweet spot' will be a FSB somewhere between 240 and 250, provided your buses don't go haywire.

Here is what I did.

FSB frequency at 250, CPU vcore at 1.450v (on 90nm)
Memory frequency at 166 (DDR 333)
HT at 4x (x250 comes out to the same 1000)
lock PCIe at 100mhz, lock PCI to 33mhz, set SATA to Down Spread

Leaving your multiplier at 9 and this will result in a CPU frequency of 2250mhz or 2.25 GHZ. Setting it at 8.5 is 2125, 8 is 2000... you get the picture. Find your sweet spot and benchmark away. If you develop problems under load increase your vcore voltage just a tad and try it again. I prefer using SiSoft Sandra's burn in tests... the program is cheap (free for the Lite version) and does a good job of stressing components to test for stability.

Because your multiplier is at its ceiling you won't be able to increase it for any more speed. All you can do is increase your FSB for small gains at a time. But be careful here, going much beyond 252 > result 210 memory (420ddr) will cause you to have memory stability problems (unless you have high end memory) which may cause your computer to not POST. If this happens you will have to yank the CMOS battery and start all over.

How far you get depends on how lucky you were to get a good core. You should be able to hit 2.0ghz with no problems at all. Getting to 2.25, however, depends on how stable your chip is at high speeds. I wouldn't recommend upgrading your memory... as a a64 x2 3800+, arguably one of the best OCers out there, costs less than a 2x1GB memory kit.

Good Luck to ya.
October 17, 2006 8:21:46 PM

http://www.dfi-street.com/forum/showpost.php?p=203179&p...

I've found the difference from 1T to 2T to be quite large.

Its kinda like the holy grail of your OC. Hitting high numbers is great, but at 2T rate, your memory bandwidth is greatly reduced. Finding the best combination of ht mux/ht speed/mem div/etc while still keeping 1T is always what i shoot for in a 754/939 OC.

It all depends on the quality of the memory controller inside the cpu itself. Older 939 (winchester, new castle) had crappy controllers and required greater effort to get 1T (though it still isn't possible with 4 ram banks filled).

Newer 939 (venice, etc) cpus have a better controller, and as I mentioned, all my overclocking expereiences with 9x/10x a64 chips ended up being roughly the same. I managed to get 230 HT & mem (1:1) on all my 939 boards at 1T. MSI RS480M2, Asus A8N-Sli, DFI Lanparty Sli DR expert, and Asus a8n-vm csm. Granted I'd usually have to reduce the OC slightly to get stability at 1T, but I'm currently running almost all my 939 systems at 2.4GHz (the msi can't be oc'd in bios, only clockgen. plus the a8n-vm has the X2 3800+ with 10x so its bus and mem are both 240, and it runs a lot hotter than its single core brothers).

Though a lot has to do with the batch id of the cpu (ie week of manufacturing). Some have better memory controllers even within the revision families (ie e3, e4, e6).

And I'll say it again, especially with the A8N-SLi: Upping voltages never did me squat. Some ram liked 2.7 a little more, but i always found the asus board to be the limit overclocking (ie 266MHz HT @ 4x/9x was all my 3000+/144 opteron would do in that board, the dfi on the other hand saw all the single core chips run over 300HT (can't remember the exact max / settings / etc, with all the boards n ram combos, but 2.7GHz is pretty sweet for a dirt cheap a64 these days)
October 18, 2006 3:17:18 AM

i'd leave the HT settings on the highest available

max out your multipliers, if it works, then slowly bump up the FSB, at one point you will need to increase the core cpu voltage but beaware of overheating issues from that point on

don't even bother overlocking the ram man, you won't notice any differences, leave them all on auto i say, also don't get ultra ram, it's tiger direct's generic brand name

stress test it overnight with 3dmark and pcmark often till u hit that sweet spot
October 19, 2006 3:41:14 AM

hey oz42, thanks for all the useful info on the A8N-SLI. I'm thinking of buying a 4400 X2 (right now I have a 3200+ running at 2.4, 5/6 multi 4x htt 1.41 vcore 2.7v RAM), and am considering whether I should update the bios from 1014. As you know ASUS isn't updating the bios anymore. What bios do you use? Apparently there's a mod that allows for better overclocking:

http://www.ngohq.com/home.php?page=articles&go=read&arc...

Many thanks in advance for any response.
October 20, 2006 8:20:27 PM

Sorry about the delay (starting new job, busy, WAP protocol stack, joy)

Anyway, checked it last night, I'm actually still using the 1013 bios, though that link you posted has me thinking.

For now, I'm happy at 2.4GHz(from 1.8), but I can't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to go a bit further with the 3200+ (240 bus even runs fine on my a8n-vm csm). Atleast 2.6GHz should be possible since the 5/6 divider will keep the ram speed reasonable.

As for the 4400+, know that it comes in 2 almost impossible to distinguish versions (different wattages). A friend of mine had the crapier of the 2 and didn't really get great overclocking results (A8N32-Sli board).

The X2s generally take a lot more tweaking to get max oc, plus the 4400+ is the 'big' die (2x1MB L2 cache, hence more transistors to bias, more heat, etc). But as I already mentioned its the board that should be the limiting factor not the chip. That bios mod might change that.

I see no reason to upgrade my current 'work' systems until:
vista finally works right (ie ~2008)
dx10 cards are cheap and don't need 1kW power
ddr3 ram will be the norm (plus ddr2's latency + recent price spike...)
+ hybrid flash / platter drives will address current storage bottlenecks.
+ threaded software becomes the norm or reverse threading is perfected.

After building a few am2/core2 systems I now know the latest stuff isn't quite living up to the hype. Atleast they really don't offer enough to 939 users other than the 'geek coolness' factor. Rarely do I ever see 100% cpu usage, but I sure see memory bus contention in core2 and hard drives are still a frequent bottleneck.
October 20, 2006 8:24:35 PM

Forgot one last detail.

A heavily oc'd 4400+ will probably be a little too warm for the freezer pro.

Might want to get a zalman cnps9500 or one of those scythe boat anchors.
October 20, 2006 9:10:06 PM

Quote:
Forgot one last detail.

A heavily oc'd 4400+ will probably be a little too warm for the freezer pro.

Might want to get a zalman cnps9500 or one of those scythe boat anchors.


LMAO< I swear those things weigh more than my Mobo.
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