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Stable 790i, Quad-SLI Config - does anyone have one?

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May 21, 2008 5:36:31 PM

Hi

My system builder and I are putting together a 790i machine with 2 9800 GX2's, and we are having a nightmare trying to find a stable configuration.

We've tried both the Asus Striker II Extreme and EVGA 790i boards, different power-supplies, swapping memory etc., but are unable to get a system which gets much beyond booting without blue-screening. Spec is:

Intel QX9770
Asus Striker Extreme II / EVGA 790i (we've tried a couple of each)
2x XFX 9800 GX2
4GB Corsair DDR 3 RAM
Various DVD drives (we've tried a bunch)
2x 1GB Samsung SATA hard drives (non RAID)
Windows Vista 64bit
Air cooling


With one graphics card we can get the system stable. If we disconnect all the SATA DVD drives we can get it stable. Even without overclocking, and with the graphics cards underclocked, we canot get the full config to run reliably - blue-screens pretty much all the time. Temperatures are not the problem - very low when idle and pretty low under load.

Has anyone built a stable 790i SLI rig, or know of a spec' which is supposed to be stable, because we're pretty much out of ideas?

Many thanks for any help

Jules
May 21, 2008 5:45:01 PM

780i boards dont play nice with the new quads. Its a known issue since Nvidia wont licensw sli to Intel they changed something in the chips on the new quads to screw with 780i chipsets.
May 21, 2008 5:56:16 PM

I guess the same applies for 790i .... ?

I kind of see the thinking, but seems weird for Intel to sabotage their own market like that, just because somebody won't license something.

Thanks for the response.

Jules
Related resources
May 21, 2008 6:04:08 PM

I could be wrong, but I have read about this.


What is your Power supply. Maybe you just dont got enough power for that beast.

Since it works good with one card it could be a power issue.

You probably need a good 1000watt +
May 21, 2008 6:07:24 PM

Try loading XP rather than Vista and see if you get more stable results.
May 21, 2008 6:08:42 PM

THE BEAST.
It is hungry.
Feed it.
May 21, 2008 6:12:00 PM

No, thats why we have a 790i, nVidia had to rush out the 790i so they would have 45nm quad support.

Yea you dont specify, what wattage and brand PSUs have you tryed
May 21, 2008 6:15:28 PM

Hey Trailerman,

I am currently using an EVGA 790i Ultra board rock solid, heres my specs >>


Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3.4 GHZ (overclocked) @ 1.35v

Thermaltake V1 Cpu Cooler (modified with (2) 120mm fans)

(4)GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 memory (overclocked to 1200 MHZ) @ 1.7v

- - - Ram cooled by a Corsair Dominator ram cooler.

EVGA 790i Ultra Motherboard, FSB @ 1511 @ 1.4v Bios: ver P03

(2) BFG 8800 GT in SLI configuration (overclocked to 700/1000/1600)

(1) Creative Labs Fatality X-FI Extreme sound card

(4) Sata II Seagate 250 Gb HDD running in Raid '0' for performance striping.
( Equals a (1) Terabyte RAID )

(2) SAMSUNG 20X DVD-RW Optical Drives

(1) Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 Watt power supply.

(6) Total RED LED 120mm fans and (3) 40mm Fans + (1) RED NEON


This machine runs Prime 95 - (12) hours stable on all fours cores.
3dmark06 Score - 18,600.


Honestly it sounds to me like you might have gotten either a bad processor or Motherboard, as I have had no problems with mine, also make sure your bios is up to date, and also make sure your ram is compatible with the board. Change some voltages around a bit and see if it helps.
May 21, 2008 6:37:07 PM

Yea but your not running GX2s, my money is on the PSU. Note that the setup runs fine with a single card.
May 21, 2008 6:39:25 PM

Sorry - PSU is Tagan 1300 Watt (TG 1300BZ). Today we tried a similar spec Coolermaster unit (sorry I don't remember the model number) and the system behaved the same.

We had the same thought, but I'm now pretty sure the PSU is not the weak link.

Many thanks for the replies.

Jules
May 21, 2008 6:49:45 PM

Thanks guys.

I think trying a 32bit OS may be worth a shot. It's either that or we have a dodgy CPU which for some reason Hot CPU etc. is not picking up.

We've changed PSU, RAM and motherboard, removed overclocking (everything's now running at stock speeds) and we're still seeing blue-screens.

Very strange..... maybe roadrunner's right and Intel crippled the new 45nm Quads so that they have a fit in Quad SLI mode ...?

I'll report back if I make any progress. I'm yet to see a QX9770, Quad-SLI rig in any reviews or a spec that anybody has running reliably.

Thanks again

Jules
May 21, 2008 6:53:51 PM

TRy a different brand of memory.
I have 680i evga mobo, 2 x evga 8800gtx superclocked cards and Intel X6800 extreme cpu.
I went through 3 sets of corsair dominator ram and constant issues. Changed to Geil (2gigs), cost me one third less than the corsair and it works perfectly. I have overclocked the mobo fsb, cpu, gpu's and memory to the max and no probs. regards ed.
May 21, 2008 6:55:27 PM

yea true, even the link i posted is a QX9650@ 4.0 ghz which I guess doesn't meet that criteria
May 21, 2008 7:15:16 PM

I run a Q9450 in my 680i at 3.2, and hope to do so in my new evga 790i, so anyone who says "no 45 nm support" is flat wrong.

My money is on Ram or Quad sli, as my 2 8800 GTX's run fine in SLI on my board.
May 21, 2008 7:21:36 PM

roadrunner197069 said:
780i boards dont play nice with the new quads. Its a known issue since Nvidia wont licensw sli to Intel they changed something in the chips on the new quads to screw with 780i chipsets.


Check out this link, they seem to have gotten them to work with a similar hardware setup as yours.
http://www.guru3d.com/article/quad-sli-review-with-dual...

May 21, 2008 7:22:26 PM

the 790i chipset is flaky when using a quad core.

I have a QX9650, and with some patience and RAM timings / voltage tweaks I was finally able to get it stable at stock settings with 2x9800GTX SLI. I was getting lots of blue screens initially because the BIOS by default did not provide enough voltage to the RAM (1.5V)

These are my settings with the OCZ Platinum 10666 without any hard locks for nearly a week of heavy gaming.

8-7-7-22 2T (stock 7-7-7-20 1T was no good...constant lockups)

TRRD - 15
TRC - 50
TWR - 12
TFAW - 50
TREF - 7.7US

Memory Voltage: 1.8V (1.75V has proven stable as well)
North Bridge: 1.4V
South Bridge: 1.55V

Relax the timings, adjust the voltages, and you should come off stable. I did have 2 bad XFX 790i boards before settling on the Striker II Extreme.
May 21, 2008 8:24:25 PM

Thanks Guys

PraxGTI - That's really helpful. I'll pass those voltages on to the guy who's working on the system. That may be exactly what we need.

Thanks again.

Jules
May 21, 2008 8:29:35 PM

Will do! Thanks again
May 21, 2008 8:32:22 PM

I would check the exact specification for the voltage and timings for your RAM just to make sure you don't over-volt it :) 
May 21, 2008 8:45:42 PM

BAD MOBO.... swap it out with another EVGA 790, and if that doesnt work, RMA the whole board and proc and start over. I doubt very seriously that it is anything else but one of those two items.

Your PSU has more than enough power and is a reliable brand. Im running four hard drives, 2 dvd-rw's and 2 8800 GT's plus 9 different fan motors, and a neon, and a quadcore over clocked to hell, and my 1200 WATT is holding it all fine with room to spare.

You could have gotten a faulty board or proc, it has happened before.
You have already swapped out ram, as you have stated.

The only other possibilty I see is that you are shorting the system on something somewhere. Make sure all your standoffs are correct, and try plugging it directly into a wall outlet, not a surge protector.

Sometimes with these beast rigs, they draw to much power, and the outlet isnt consistent, meaning drops in source power to the PSU, meaning drops in power to the MOBO and Processor. Try a different outlet in a different room just for s-h-i-t-s and giggles.

OH and one other thing... Have you tried plugging any other graphics cards into the board and see if they do the same thing?? what about trying one of the 9800 GX2's on another board?? or trying one on your board and then the other.

Sorry to hit you with so many possibles but I believe I narrowed it down to every possibility and diagnostic you could do. You just got try em and see.
May 22, 2008 7:45:43 AM

Hi Dragoncyber - thanks for all the suggestions.

I think it's starting to point at a faulty processor, or a wider issue with the QX9770 in Quad SLI rigs. I'm yet to hear of anyone running one with Quad SLI successfuly. It's the one thing we haven't swapped yet. The boards we've tried two Striker II Extreme's and I think we're on the second EVGA board.

We'll also check the power supplies, but it's in a lab and all the incoming power is properly regulated AFAIK.

I'll also check for shorting issues, although in my experience this tends to manifest itself in failure to post, or issues earlier on in the boot sequence - you never know though.

Many thanks again for your help.

Jules

May 22, 2008 6:03:59 PM

Hi,

I've been running a quad-sli setup for the past several weeks with no issues. Of course, it was built by Falcon-Northwest, but I haven't had any issues with any component or with Vista. Here's the specs:

QX9770 @ 3.8 Ghz - liquid cooled
Evga 790i Ultra
Evga 9800 GX2 (2)
4 GB Corsair DDR3
Hitachi 1TB HD (2)
Lite-on 20X DVD/CD-RW (2)
Thermaltake 1000W PSU
X-Fi Xtremegamer
Vista Home Premium 32-bit
May 22, 2008 7:43:54 PM

Thanks argus505. Your spec' is pretty much identical to the one we're working with at the moment, and we're still tearing our hair out.

Thought we had it pinned to a USB floppy drive, but it just failed again so we're having to rethink.

I can only assume at this stage, that this combonation needs a very delicate set of voltages and memory timings to stay stable. Luckily my system builder is seeing the Nvidia rep' tomorrow, so hopefully he'll be able to shed some light.

Thanks again

Jules
May 23, 2008 8:58:10 AM

Hi,

I'm the support guy working on this spec at the moment.

The relevent system specs are:

CLabs XFi Extreme Gamer OEM
Cair TWIN3X4096-1600C7DHX G
Intel QX9770 Extreme Q.Core
MS Win Vista Ultimate 64Bit
Aquaero 4.00 USB VF-Display
HRU-215A3 FLOP COMBO 25-1 READ
ZALMAN CNPS9700-NT Tritium
2 x SSUNG SH-S203P/BEBN LSCRIB SAT
1300W TAGAN TG1300-BZ CABLE MA
1TB SAMSUNG SATA2 HD103UJ 32MB
2 x 1GB XFX 9800GX2 XXX 680Mhz
ASUS STRIKER II EXTREME 790i

The system was returned for instablitys. I've seen the strikers running hot on the northbridge with no additional cooling, and they have been giving us issues, so I exchanged for the evga which we've had less issues. I then benched a second board and swapped that in. The same errors have come up with both evga boards.

The Tagan psu wasn't sitting properly in either gx2 (if you wiggled it the connectors were cutting out the power to the cards (not uncommon)) so it's now got a coolermaster 1250 in the rig.

The cpu has been swapped out and tested with a 9450 in it's place.

I've tried running Supertalent project X in the memory's place.

I've swapped out the samsungs dvd's for optiarc and liteon.
I've swapped out the harddrives for weston digitals.
I've removed the sound card.

I don't thinkI've missed much. If the rig is built it'll run fine with 2gig. Anything more returns a 0x00000007e violation in startup. When I use to see this in xp windows it tended to point to at drive access violation (lack of drivers) during start up, or a issue with the swapfile in windows (it can be memory related depending on the number extensions). Vista links now point more at the memory side of things. MCP chip maybe (the are known issues with the 790i chipset but normally overclocked).

If take out the second gx 2 it will run with 4 gig in there. Put it back in and the issue replicates. If I unplug both dvd drives and put both of the gx2s back in and the 4 gig it'll run fine.

I also had the whole set up running fine yesterday in 32bit vista.

Which would point at a driver issue in 64bit. Except it's no single peice of hardware that will trigger this but a combination of diferent devices. I've tried exchanging each of the devices like for like with other parts of equal quality but the fault replicates each time.

I've raised voltages, i've slackened off timings and done the normal sort of bios adjustments. I'm not new to overclocking, and i've worked on a number of 790i systems. I've had tripple sli solutions working, and i've used these boards for a number of other systems with single cards. This is the first duel GX2 rig i've had on my bench through and it's proving quite awkward, so any suggestions will be gratefully recived.

I've nvidia tech uk paying me a visit in a few hours so maybe the's something in there i'm missing. I really don't think so through.
May 23, 2008 1:10:37 PM

As a further note to the above message. That new nf 05 bios that came out yesterday is going to make a lot of people very happy this weekend!
May 23, 2008 3:05:19 PM

Do you have any compatible slower ram? Your ram wasn't on the QVL for the Asus board. I didnt look up your evga board.
May 23, 2008 3:28:19 PM

Hi Roadrunner

It looks like the new BIOS update has addressed the issue. If I understand correctly, there was a memory allocation problem with the older BIOS, whereby connecting DVD drives to the SATA controller would cause blue screens. Using the IDE controller was fine - as Pete discovered this morning.

The latest BIOS addresses the issue so that the SATA controller can also be used, which hopefully means end of problem.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Jules
May 23, 2008 3:29:57 PM

Good luck! Post your 3dmard06 score when you get that beast running.
May 23, 2008 4:12:01 PM

Will do! If it's not over 20,000 I'll send it back and Pete will have to overclock it a bit harder! ;-)
May 27, 2008 5:20:20 PM

It better be over 20000!!... I'm at 18,900+ with only an overclocked Q6600 and Sli'd 8800GT's + 4Gb of DDR3 Corsair memory.

I am holding out for the 9900GTX's, or GTX 280's or whatever they end up calling them.

Maybe it'll be the Geforce 10k GTX Chuck Norris Edition, with OCTO-SLI Support...

If thats the case..I'm buying 4 of them.
Anonymous
May 27, 2008 10:07:10 PM

I hate to say this... but some of the people here have way too much money to be getting 20000 $ systems each time something brand new comes out... complete waste of money... for 2000 you can get a system with half the physical spec... that performs identically.... complete crap...

now to be flamed by ridiculously rich people

PS. I have nothing against rich people, it's just sometimes it's like 'WTF!?! DO YOU REALLY NEED THAT???'

PPS. 2000 in my book is still a ton of money
May 28, 2008 1:48:50 AM

yea...

after you get a good psu, case, peripherals and drives though doing a platform upgrade isn't that expensive

but yea, upgrading platforms completely at every turn of your neck with all new devices is kinda silly.
May 28, 2008 12:45:15 PM

Hey thogrom,

He's talking about 20,000 + 3dMarks...not dollars.

And I don't know of any company where I can buy one, or any "Human" for that matter buying a 20,000 dollar personal computer, for home use.

A completely top of the line system, with all the most up to date hardware on the market will currently only run you about 6,000.00 in parts cost.
Thats of course if you stick with traditional hard drives and don't go the lame
Solid State Drives way of the future.

Who would have thought that one day I'd see a 32GB drive at over 1500.00!!

I will say this. If you have worked hard enough and earned your education, and your money, allowing you to have a life where you can spend 20,000 dollars on a computer. Then if thats what you want to buy ...Buy it.

I applaud that person.

Oh, and I am by no means rich...but I hope to be there one day.
June 11, 2008 6:07:20 AM

Trailerman said:
Thanks Guys

PraxGTI - That's really helpful. I'll pass those voltages on to the guy who's working on the system. That may be exactly what we need.

Thanks again.

Jules


Hope your not paying this guy this has memory timeing/voltage issues written all over it. Doesn't sound like an experienced system builder to me.
June 11, 2008 6:19:41 AM

cyph0r said:
Hope your not paying this guy this has memory timeing/voltage issues written all over it. Doesn't sound like an experienced system builder to me.



You might want to read the thread and realize that the issue was a BIOS, not the system builder.
June 11, 2008 11:00:48 AM

what about skulltrail?
June 11, 2008 12:58:00 PM

ovaltineplease said:
You might want to read the thread and realize that the issue was a BIOS, not the system builder.



YEAHHHHHHHHHHHH and the bios update just had updated timing tables..... 100$ says it will work with the old bios and proper timings and voltages.

and still... he is at the point where he is having to find out the problem and not the system builder ... Which I would say is lame if he is paying him ... HENCE my comment.

Also The Sata drive issue is completely driver related and has ALWAYS been a problem with Nvidia for a LONG time and until just recently they have fixed the NVGTS.sys driver that controles the SATA controller. For the longest time people would have to install the os with a IDE drive and could not Burn with a SATA drive.
http://www.evga.com/forums/tm.asp?m=312197&mpage=1&key=
September 12, 2009 7:16:53 AM

Actualy yes,one of my most recent builds run q9650 o-clocked to 4.23ghz on a 790i FTW Digital MB,I use a 1200watt coolmax psu with 3- 280GTX all by EVGA including the MBoard.It has a regular blu ray player & DVD burner by LG and it completley air cooled.I have it in a full tower by Thermaltake''Spedo''with extra fans ,DDR3 RAM 4GIGS by Corsair 1600-2000 mhz and 3 Hardives,2 are 150 GIG 10,000RPM Rapture Drives & the last is A Solid state Drive by Corsair w/128 GIGs os vista 32 Its not 1 year old but works like Yesterdays installment.If you know any one that doesnt mind rippin me off I am selling it for $1,600 because I need to buy a vehicle. contact info e-mail spaccione1@hvc.rr.com cell#845-309-1937
!