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Dual Core Upgrade Issues

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November 7, 2007 10:30:52 PM

Please help me if you can. I have just upgraded my Vista PC's processor from an AMD Athlon 64 XP 3000 to an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 2.2GHz. This is on an Asrock 939 Dual Vsta motherboard. Initially everything looked fine, the driver updated upon 1st booting and everything seemed fairly ok. Then I noticed when running Guild Wars I was in Jerko Vision at 3fps. This was previously humming along on max settings. I then tried 3DMark 05. My score has plummeted from an already modest 4000 to 1200. The CPU score is down to 667 with the new chip from 3300 with the old one.

I have tried Updating the graphics driver, checked the bios is up to date and installed the latest. I have tried Using a virgin install of Vista and also tried swapping the processor for another AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 2.2GHz. All to no avail. If anyone has any ideas where I am going wrong i would be very grateful for any help. My specs are listed below:



Processor
Model : AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4200+
Speed : 2.20GHz
Model Number : 4200 (estimated)
Cores per Processor : 2 Unit(s)
Threads per Core : 1 Unit(s)
Type : Dual-Core
Internal Data Cache : 64kB, Synchronous, Write-Back, 2-way set, 64 byte line size
L2 On-board Cache : 512kB, ECC, Synchronous, Write-Back, 16-way set, 64 byte line size

System
System : To Be Filled By O.E.M. 939Dual-VSTA
Mainboard : 939Dual-VSTA
Bus(es) : AGP PCI PCIe USB FireWire/1394 i2c/SMBus
Multi-Processor (MP) Support : 1 Processor(s)
Multi-Processor Advanced PIC (APIC) : No
System BIOS : American Megatrends Inc. 8.12
Total Memory : 1023MB DDR-SDRAM

Chipset 1
Model : Acer Labs Incorporated (ALi/ULi) ULi M1695 K8 Northbridge with PCI-Express and hypertransport
Front Side Bus Speed : 2x 800MHz (1600MHz data rate)

Chipset 2
Model : Acer Labs Incorporated (ALi/ULi) ULi M1689 K8 Northbridge with AGP and hypertransport
Front Side Bus Speed : 2x 800MHz (1600MHz data rate)

Chipset 3
Model : Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Athlon 64 / Opteron HyperTransport Technology Configuration
Front Side Bus Speed : 2x 800MHz (1600MHz data rate)
Total Memory : 1GB DDR-SDRAM
Memory Bus Speed : 2x 129MHz (258MHz data rate)

Video System
Monitor/Panel : Generic PnP Monitor
Adapter : NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS
Imaging Device : Canon MP150

Physical Storage Devices
WDC WD3200KS-75PFB0 (ATA) : 298GB (C:)  (D:) 
USBest USB2FlashStorage (USB) : N/A (G:) 
PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-109 (ATAPI) : 1.5GB (E:) 
TSSTcorp CD/DVDW TS-H552B (ATAPI) : N/A (F:) 

Logical Storage Devices
Hard Disk (C:)  : 103GB (60GB, 59% Free Space) (NTFS) @ WDC WD3200KS-75PFB0 (ATA)
Hard Disk (D:)  : 195GB (19GB, 10% Free Space) (NTFS) @ WDC WD3200KS-75PFB0 (ATA)
Final Sub BB Add (E:)  : 1.5GB (CDFS) @ PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-109 (ATAPI)
CD-ROM/DVD (F:)  : N/A @ TSSTcorp CD/DVDW TS-H552B (ATAPI)
3.5" 1.44MB (A:)  : N/A
Removable Drive (G:)  : N/A @ USBest USB2FlashStorage (USB)


MultiMedia Device(s)
Device : Unsupported Standard Game Port
Device : Creative SB Audigy 2 ZS (WDM)

Power Management
Mains (AC) Line Status : On-Line

Operating System(s)
Windows System : Microsoft Windows Vista Home Media Center 6.00.6000
Platform Compliance : Win32 x86

Network Services
Adapter : ULi M526X Ethernet Controller

Many thanks for any ideas
November 7, 2007 11:46:37 PM

Odd, I'm a bit new at this but have you check your rig is picking up/using both cores? does you PSU have the grunt for the chip upgrade?
November 8, 2007 4:53:16 AM

Hi, thanks for the reply. Yeah both cores are recognized, FSB is correct and I have an Enermax 500w supply would should be enough.

Any other ideas greatly recieved. Thanks
Related resources
November 8, 2007 6:20:08 AM

Your BIOS picking up the chip correctly? Perhaps your MOBO needs a BIOS flash to support the new CPU?
November 8, 2007 6:58:10 AM

Hi, thanks for the reply. The Bios is picking it up ok and I have the latest bios.

I have been running some benchmarking and it seems the processor is running fine except in 3D graphic environments where all of a sudden it performs like my old celeron 1200. :-(
November 8, 2007 8:22:25 AM

Thanks randomizer but I have tried that without success.
a c 159 à CPUs
November 8, 2007 9:48:53 AM

Some games aren't optimized for dual core. I'd try disabling one core. Can't remember how it's done.
November 8, 2007 11:34:36 AM

Thanks o1die. I have tried that also, after you suggested. No better though.
a c 172 à CPUs
November 9, 2007 2:40:54 PM

What happens when you reinstall the old CPU?
a c 328 à CPUs
November 9, 2007 3:25:19 PM

Your system only has 1gb of memory. Many games require that, and more. If you have any background tasks running, there will be competition for that memory. The addition of an extra core in your new processor allows those background tasks to try to run simultaneously, adding pressure on the available memory, resulting in demand paging.

My suggestion is to increase the memory to 2gb. Memory is so cheap these days, and it can't hurt.

--good luck---
November 9, 2007 4:02:06 PM

If you have reinstalled vista, I guess it goes without saying you reinstalled the game.

It sounds to me as if the CPU optimization is not in effect. There is a definate sequence to that process and if not followed, the system does not benefit.
November 9, 2007 4:29:53 PM

Quote:
Chipset 1
Model : Acer Labs Incorporated (ALi/ULi) ULi M1695 K8 Northbridge with PCI-Express and hypertransport
Front Side Bus Speed : 2x 800MHz (1600MHz data rate)

Chipset 2
Model : Acer Labs Incorporated (ALi/ULi) ULi M1689 K8 Northbridge with AGP and hypertransport
Front Side Bus Speed : 2x 800MHz (1600MHz data rate)

Chipset 3
Model : Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Athlon 64 / Opteron HyperTransport Technology Configuration
Front Side Bus Speed : 2x 800MHz (1600MHz data rate)
Total Memory : 1GB DDR-SDRAM
Memory Bus Speed : 2x 129MHz (258MHz data rate)


Hi cactusnic,
800MHz is Socket754 HT speed. Socket939 HT speed would be 200MHz baseclock x 5 = 1000MHz (HT)
ASRock calls it "FSB 1000MHz (2.0GT/s)"
Also, your memory dividers must be setup - you are looking for 2x 200MHz (400MHz DDR) memory speed.
Because the x2 4200+ @2.2GHz uses an unfortunate multiplier of 11x (ie. 11 x 200 = 2200MHz) and cannot use a memory divider of 1/2 (which would be 5.5x) it must use the next closest integer, which is 6.
Therefore, at stock settings you will get 183.3MHz (366.67DDR) memory.
There is an interesting speed-setting technique for these CPUs that involves setting the memory to spec, and then accepting the small CPU overclock that results.
In your example, you would increase the HT 'fsb' coreclock to ~218MHz.
This will give you exactly 400DDR memory (PC3200 speed) and a CPU speed of ~2400MHz.
In other words, you either OC your CPU 9% or you underclock your memory 9% - your choice.
Your CPU and memory settings are all wrong however... (not even close).
Setup your BIOS carefully, line-by-line.
Download the book from here...
http://www.asrock.com/manual/939Dual-VSTA.pdf
...if you need it,
Regards
November 9, 2007 5:27:32 PM

Thank you very much for your excellent replys. I am working till Sunday but will try these suggestions out then.

JSC - when i reinstall the old cpu the system will boot into safe mode but not otherwise.
November 9, 2007 5:33:20 PM

When the system ran fine with the single core were you running xp or vista at that point? I'm running xp with 2 gig of ram myself and i've never tried vista so i don't know if this is correct but....wouldn't vista kill 1 gig of ram? Everything tends to run awful when you don't have enough physical ram which could explain why performance is so poor right across the board...otherwise i'd also check your temperatures, if you didn't apply the thermal grease correctly between the cpu/heatsink then you could have throttling issues...maybe the system runs fine while browsing the web but slows while playing games/running stress tests as these activities actually tax the cpu.

Peace

Carod
November 11, 2007 11:34:32 AM

I would be interested in what finally resolves this problem.
November 11, 2007 8:12:28 PM

I will let you know if I ever get there!
I have tried all the suggestions I have recieved - thanks for those. Unfortunately the problem remains. I have noticed that when running Guild Wars or 3dMark the cpu is only being used to a fraction of its capacity. in Guild Wars each core is running at about 15% and yet the game is labouring at 4fps. Half life 2 seems to max out one core which is why that game runs ok. I have no idea why this would occur though. I have tried setting the offending programs to affinity with one core at a time and with both together. The result is the same.

Any further ideas would be greatly appreciated. :-)
November 11, 2007 8:23:30 PM

1759080,16,123269 said:
When the system ran fine with the single core were you running xp or vista at that point? I'm running xp with 2 gig of ram myself and i've never tried vista so i don't know if this is correct but....wouldn't vista kill 1 gig of ram? Everything tends to run awful when you don't have enough physical ram which could explain why performance is so poor right across the board...otherwise i'd also check your temperatures, if you didn't apply the thermal grease correctly between the cpu/heatsink then you could have throttling issues...maybe the system runs fine while browsing the web but slows while playing games/running stress tests as these activities actually tax the cpu.

I was running Vista. Aero and all the bits and bobs. I have now upgraded to 2 gig anyway. It can't hurt. Unfortunately it has not helped my problem either. The CPU temp is a bit warm running under duress - between 50 and 55 C but not too bad I think.
November 11, 2007 8:25:54 PM

Vista really needs 2 gigs for games. So, the RAM is an issue. I run Vista on my MSI barebones with an upgrade to the power supply and it runs smooth. Try adding another stick of RAM.

edit: okay you tried that and it didn't work. Maybe you have a voltage issue on the motherboard? That's just a wild guess, but I can't think of anything else that might be causing issues with your CPU, and since both of the ones you've tried were affected, it can't be a defective CPU.





November 12, 2007 6:51:56 AM

Thanks yipsl. I have been tinkering with the voltages. All appears to be as it should be but my problem remains. Maybe its time to get out the petrol and a box of matches? Or maybe a BIG hammer. Tempting anyway. ;-)
November 12, 2007 3:54:47 PM

So, which have you decided cactusnic - to underclock your memory or OC your CPU? Your choice is one or the other...
Can you post CPU-Z screens?
L8R
November 12, 2007 6:52:47 PM

I have faffed around in the bios to the best of my (becoming more and more apparently limited) abilty. The CPU-Z screens are at the links below:

CPU:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cactusnic/1989168624/
Cache:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cactusnic/1988361049/
Mainboard:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cactusnic/1989169598/
Memory:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cactusnic/1989170034/
SPD
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cactusnic/1989170558/

I have been unable to recreate your clever description due mainly to my poor understanding of these matters. I would be grateful if you could check the screens for me and let me know how the ground lies. The bios is mostly at default.

Many thanks
November 13, 2007 2:28:30 AM

Quote:
underclock your memory or OC your CPU?

No worries - you are apparently set up properly (and not one of the strange-memory-divider CPUs).
This is different than earlier info... but it's all good :) 
Still having issues with the performance? Nice clean OS install is all I can think of to recommend.
I have 1/2 dozen harddisks lying around (circa 2002 or whatever) and I would try installing fresh barebones OS on one of them, in your rig. This could prove revealing, and wouldn't take that long. Do you have any old HD around?
Or it may not even help (so, no use trashing your original OS) - anyway, at least you would find out...
November 13, 2007 5:46:44 AM

Thanks the-ogs. I have tried this on a spare HD. Unfortunately the problem remains. Tis a weird one. Matches and petrol it is then. ;-)
November 13, 2007 6:58:26 AM

Asrock is really cheap mb's. I dont trust them (i have one)
November 13, 2007 1:16:45 PM

ASRock motherboards are fine, especially the ones running on ULi chipsets. I've had a 939Dual-Sata2 for ages now, and achieved an overclock of 2.86GHz up from 2.2GHz on a 3700+ sandiego ... The only real problems with the boards are the vague memory voltage adjustments.

To the op: first suggestion is to clear the CMOS via the jumped on the motherboard so all settings are default. Then I would completely disassemble the PC, take everything out of the case.

Then clean everything which needs cleaning (CPU + HSF) with decent isopropyl alcohol.

Then start to rebuild it all, but don't build it into the case, just put it all together on the bench/table/bed/whatever. This makes sure there's no electrical shorts fouling anything.

If the problem persists, go to the bios and check the following settings...

Advanced -> CPU Configuration:

Overclock Mode - Auto
Cool'n'Quiet - Enabled
Multiplier/Voltage Change - Manual
Processor Multiplier - 11x 2200MHz
Processor Voltage - 1.35v
Memory Clock - 200MHz (400 DDR)

Everything else auto

Advanced -> Chipset Settings:

CPU-NB Link Speed - 1000
CPU-NB Link Width - 16
NB-SB Link Speed - 1000
NB-SB Link Width - 16
DRAM Voltage - High

Everything else auto

If that doesn't work ... i'm kinda stumped =/
November 13, 2007 1:25:45 PM

Actually, if the problem is still there after all of that ... then it's definately a software problem. Possibly something to do with DirectX or drivers.

When you install windows, are you making do with the drivers Vista installs with? If you are, you really need to put on the drivers from the ASRock website instead.

Also make sure to install any vista updates, as there could be a fix out for this issue.
November 13, 2007 1:36:32 PM

Thanks Coret. I wondered if it might be something to do with Direct X. It seems odd that the CPU works swimmingly when encoding video or most other things. It just doesn't want to play ball in most games. Half Life 2 is ok but Guild Wars, GTR2, and 3dmark tests - forget it.

When I reinstalled Vista I used what I was given and then tried asrocks latest and greatest. Same result.

I will roll up my sleeves and strip it down as you suggest. Here goes...
November 14, 2007 12:41:59 PM

A change to a PCI Express graphics card seems to have solved the issue. The old AGP card works just fine in another machine so I guess there is some weird incompatibility going on there. Anyway thanks for all your pointers everyone.
!