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Phenom II + 690G AM2 (M2A-VM) = Works

Today I got the Phenom 2 940 and said I should try it first on my M2A-VM mobo instead of buying a 790GX mobo just for a new upgrade "am2" cpu.

Phenom2 works fine on this board although it is not officially supported and it showed as "unknown processor" in the bios.

In the beginning I saw some awful benchmarks compared to various reviews I found online. Thankfully I fixed those. There were 2 reasons the performance was pretty bad compared to the reviews:

First the mighty Cool n' Quiet. With that enabled, single threaded benchmarks were around 40% slower than the reviews. I know that Phenom1 had that bug and Phenom2 has fixed it, but it apparently needs official support with BIOS or something. Anyway CnQ = Disabled.

The second reason was more sneaky. In Wprime and various Sandra tests I had around 20% lower scores. I though that was my slow memory (I have 4x2GB 800mhz kingston value with 5-5-5-18) but it wasn't. A new option appeared in the bios with this CPU (X2 6000+ didn't had it) named "Unganged Mode". It was in unganged mode by default and once I switched to Ganged all the scores were almost the same with the reviews. For a strange reason I had better results than the reviews on memory bandwidth benchs even though I have pretty low end ram modules.

Anyway in some benchmarks slightly lower and in some slightly higher than the high end hardware reviews. Pretty good results if you ask me.

Now with overclocking, I wasn't expecting much from this board. I managed to boot into Vista x64 with 3.6Ghz and 1.5v, but once I started a benchmark I BSODed after a while. Apparently my motherboard couldn't keep the voltage stable at 1.5v. Before BSODing I could see the voltage drop to 1.4. Finally I settled with 3.2ghz and 0.05 CPU Volt increase just for safety. I tested the power consumption and it seems the same with the X2 6000+ @ 3.3ghz that I had before upgrading. I was running that for a year so I feel pretty safe with the 3.2Ghz on the P2 for everyday use.


So for anyone that has some old AM2 motherboard that at least supports X2 6000+ 125w, and hopefully has that "ganged mode" option, phenom 2 is a great upgrade. I wouldn't recommend the black 940 for use on those motherboards though as you can't get so great overclocks. I think a p2 920 will easily reach 3.2ghz without multiplier and from my experience this was the max stable oc on my budget board.
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  1. That is interesting, when I first got my 9850be I tried putting it in my Asus M2N32 sli wi/fi deluxe 590 chipset, before they had the bios update for the 9850be and I ran into all kinds of problems. I posted on here about it, had a lot of people dogging me about dropping it in before the bios came out to support it. Other people I talke to dropped it in before bios updates and some got a 3.1ghz over clock stable.

    I have since upgraded to the 940 dragon and also upgraded my mother board up from a Jetway HA04 extreme 600sb to a Asus m-79T with the 750sb. Much better overclocks with 750sb chipset. So I might just take my 6400+be out of the M2N32 and drop the 9850be in again and see what happens. I have updated the bios way back so it should run, maybe I will drop the new 940 dragon in there and see how it benchs...
  2. I've managed to get the Phenom 940 up to 3.8Ghz with a voltage of 1.45v. I think I'm quite happy with that and will be keeping it. I have been running a whole day with this set and there's no stability issues.

    Finally a phenom I bought that overclocks! :) (my previous 9850BE couldn't hold 2.6Ghz)
  3. Good job GNR. I think Amdfangirl will be excited about this, I think shes using a 690G.
  4. Sandeepb,

    How long did you wait before you started overclocking it if at all?? I have not overclocked mine yet, still running at stock. Not sure if it matters or not, but we will see what she can do in a few days maybe. Nice over clock btw, I hope mine will hit that a those volts, did you change any other settings?? NB volts other things? What are your temps, and what kinda of cooling are you running?
  5. spathotan said:
    Good job GNR. I think Amdfangirl will be excited about this, I think shes using a 690G.


    Yea but she is a low power girl. I think they will have to release a sub 65w TDP quad for her to get one.
  6. heh heh. She's out to save the world one CPU at a time!
  7. Ok guys finally I settled with 3.3ghz on the Phenom 2 with a +100mv. 5 hours prime stable, so everything seems good to me. It is funny that this Phenom2 behaves exactly like my previous X2 6000+ that I also had oced at 3.3ghz with +100mv. And it also seems to have exactly the same power consumption. Phenom2 temperatures are lower though.

    Anyway here are some screenshots from CPUz and some benchmarks so you can compare the performance of AM2 vs AM2+ motherboards.











  8. Very Nice!
  9. And finally a screen I forgot. They way I always stress my oced PC for stability.

    http://img371.imageshack.us/img371/102/stressdo4.th.jpg
  10. Hey GNR, thanks for the great info! Getting the Phenon would save me money instead of upgrading the whole machine.

    I also have the M2A-VM motherboard, I was wondering if your mobo has the HDMI option. I'm planning to get the P2 920 like you said, instead of the 940. My ram is currently 2gb but I'll update that soon to 4gb. Right now I'm running XP Pro, is it worth it to upgrade to Vista 32/64?

    Thanks!
  11. sleekgtz, yes you should get the 920 it is a very good upgrade. Basically you will have a high end system with a cheap mobo. I don't understand why Asus hasn't officially supported Phenom2 on this board because the power requirements are lower than the 6000+ and 6400+ that work great on this board.

    Anyway just a reminder once you get it:

    Disable Cool n Quiet
    Enable Ganged mode on RAM
    And have the latest bios (2201)
  12. What a bummer, my M2A-VM motherboard is toast!!!

    I already got the latest bios 2201 installed. Then I tried to update it again with the same 2201 version but with a different boot image using MyLogo2, that worked. But then I tried to change my image again using the same process and my machine just hangs on the boot image, nothing happens! I tried various things and also did the hard reset for my CMOS but that didn't work.

    Oh well, lessons learned. I just ordered a new motherboard from newegg that will support AM2+. :D
  13. I too noticed slow-down with Cool N Quiet enabled on my new Phenom II (720). With CNQ enabled, single process client VM performance is WORSE (much worse) than with the Athlon 5200 (also with CNQ enabled) it replaced. CPU-Z shows that the CNQ driver isn't smart enough to trigger the next higher performance state, even when it's really needed. With CNQ disabled, performance is great, but, the system uses 23 more watts while idling (106 vs 83).

    According to multiple web sites, this appears to be a problem specific to XP. Vista has a built-in performance state driver that reportedly works better, I haven't seen it for myself though.

    I found a few people with the same problem, but no good solution, so, I decided to write my own CNQ driver (actually, it's a service). I've been very happy with the performance so far. Maybe it will work for you too. The source and executable may be found here: http://home.comcast.net/~pmc650/site/?/page/CNQ_Phenom_II_WinXP32/
  14. Awesome GNR! What BIOS are you running on that board?
  15. GNR: Thank-you! On the strength of your post/thread, I got a Phenom II 920.

    Questions:

    Unganged vs. Ganged. You said that you saw an entry for Ganged vs. Unganged in the BIOS and were able to change it to Ganged. I don't see such an entry. I should say that I've got a 2 x 2GB Kingston DDR-800 and 2 x 2GB Kingston DDR-667, so I'm not sure if mixing 2 types of DDR affects "ganging" or not. Also, I'm using the onboard video. Also not sure if this prevents the option of ganging showing up as an option or not.

    BIOS and CPU recognition: I'm using the lastest on the Asus site for the M2A-VM: 2302, dated Feb 16, 2009. But during the POST, I still get: AMD Processor Unknown. Digging into the BIOS (which as all settings on Auto), I see that it has figured out that it's a 2800MHz chip. I was hoping this latest BIOS would support it (or at least recognize the PH2).

    Not 100% bootup. Not sure if it's power supply related but when I first powered it on, the PC didn't boot. The fans came on but just a black screen, no POST, no beep. I thought, darn it's not compatible. But a subsequent power down/up and it booted ok. I was able to Memtest it for a few minutes with no problem. Does your PC reliably boot every time? My concern here is that it's a server and upon the return of power from an outage, I'd like it to always boot up.
  16. I snooped around on the Internet for Ganged vs. Unganged information.

    It seems that:

    1) it doesn't matter much for everyday use
    2) for multithreaded usage, use UNganged
    3) for max single threaded performance, use Ganged
    4) difference is like about 1% or less.

    I am thus no longer worried about Ganged vs. Unganged and am leaving it UNganged because I'm using my 920-pumped up ghetto box for virtualization, which is sort of multithreaded.

    Reference links I found useful:

    http://ixbtlabs.com/articles3/cpu/amd-phenom-x4-9850-ganged-unganged-p1.html
    http://www.overclock.net/amd-memory/324052-ganged-vs-unganged-mode-5.html
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=166222
  17. Potato I know that there is not great difference in unganged/ganged, but in that specific motherboard (M2A-VM) with the Phenom2 the performance difference with all benchmarks was huge because of some bug probably. I suggest you set it to Ganged. That and the Cool N quite to OFF, as this is bugged as well.

    I no longer have that board with my Phenom 2 because I needed to build a second AMD system and I bought an Asrock 790GX, but for the 1 month that I used it that way I had absolutely no problems.

    You can test easily if unganged is bugged in your motherboard. With the Phenom 920 the fast WPrime ( http://www.wprime.net/ ) score should be around 12-13 seconds. If you have something else your CPU is not working good.
  18. spathotan said:
    Good job GNR. I think Amdfangirl will be excited about this, I think shes using a 690G.


    Bah haha!

    My motherboard confines me to a TDP of 65W anyways!
  19. GNR said:
    Today I got the Phenom 2 940 and said I should try it first on my M2A-VM mobo instead of buying a 790GX mobo just for a new upgrade "am2" cpu.

    Phenom2 works fine on this board although it is not officially supported and it showed as "unknown processor" in the bios.



    Thanks man. I saw a link to your post on the ASUS forums for the M2A-VM board. They've confirmed your report with other Phenom II processors. Apparently you do need the latest BIOS (2302) and may have to reset your CMOS, but apart from "unknown processor" report, it looks like the Phenom IIs work well.

    I've been putting off upgrading from my old processor because I thought I'd need a new MB too. However it looks like the biggest headache is choosing which Phenom II to drop in. :)
  20. mmm looks cool, I wish my mobo could also use Phenom II...

    but too bad its down for being 65W TDP max...
  21. Has anyone tested the Asus m2a-vm with the X3 720?
  22. necro

    but in theory it should work.
  23. Yea amdfangirl.

    I have a M2A-VM here too, and i'm running my Phenom II X3 720 BE and it's working really great. No problems found. Just updated the bios to the latest, which right now is 2302 and threw the processor in.

    I'm now running some tests to compare the phenom's performance in M2A-VM and then i will do the same in my M4A78 PLUS which is on its way. That will solve my questions about the HT limitting the phenom II performance. Some people say it does, some say it doesnt. For me, it does, otherwise amd wouldn't have any reason to increase it as they launch new sockets. And I also read in some review site that the faster the HT, the faster it will relate with the L3 cache and etc, so the HT of my M2A-VM must be bottlenecking it right now. I shall know the truth this monday or tuesday ;)
  24. I installed the latest Athlon II x4 620 Propus 2.6Ghz on the M2A-VM and it works! Best bang for the buck on a two year old board. Good work AMD.
  25. What BIOS are you using on your M2A-VM? And just to confirm, your not using the M2A-VM HDMI version correct, cause I'v been reading a few forums and there seems to be some confusion between the 2.

    I'm asking cause im in the exact situation you were in right now lol, im either gna attempt to throw in the phenom 940 in my m2a-vm or buy a 790GX and throw it in that. But of course I rather save the money

    Thanks!
  26. Hello,

    i got a m2a-vm HDMI card.
    Do you think I can buy a x4 620 too ? Will it works ?

    Thanks a lot.
  27. Just wanted to confirm this has worked for me. I bought a phenom II x4 940 BE, based on this and the thread on asus forums.

    Follows the instructions to disable cnq, and enabled "ganged mode", works as it should in an asus m2a-vm hdmi (no longer using the hdmi card, have a radeon 4850 in its place). I had bios 2302 installed since I had to in order to get it to work with my last cpu upgrade (athlon x2 4850e).
  28. I could use a little help. I've upgraded from my 7750 to the phenom 2 x4 955BE (AM2+/AM3) since i want to spare some money i decided to stick with my M2A-VM HDMI, now here is the problem, every game i try to load is slow as hell, and when playing i've droped kinda alot of FPS. Now i went into the BIOS and checked if there were any "Ganged mode" options and such but there wasn't. I also turned off C&Q, didn't really help. The 955 also is displayed as Unkown Device on 799 MHz, but CPU-Z found it and could identify it, still on the CPU-Z it says that the core speed is 800 MHz. Any help with this matter would be appreciated.


    Edit: Found the ganged mode and turned it on, didn't help. I also changed the multiplier in the bios to 16x. NOW the bios and windows identifies it as 3,2 GHz but CPU-Z is still the same. I also don't see any improvement in performance. Hoping to get a reply before this weekend since i have a lan to go to :)
  29. gidge said:
    I could use a little help. I've upgraded from my 7750 to the phenom 2 x4 955BE (AM2+/AM3) since i want to spare some money i decided to stick with my M2A-VM HDMI, now here is the problem, every game i try to load is slow as hell, and when playing i've droped kinda alot of FPS. Now i went into the BIOS and checked if there were any "Ganged mode" options and such but there wasn't. I also turned off C&Q, didn't really help. The 955 also is displayed as Unkown Device on 799 MHz, but CPU-Z found it and could identify it, still on the CPU-Z it says that the core speed is 800 MHz. Any help with this matter would be appreciated.

    http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/9821/phenom2x4955be.jpg
    Edit: Found the ganged mode and turned it on, didn't help. I also changed the multiplier in the bios to 16x. NOW the bios and windows identifies it as 3,2 GHz but CPU-Z is still the same. I also don't see any improvement in performance. Hoping to get a reply before this weekend since i have a lan to go to :)


    Do you have BIOS 2302 installed??
  30. Are you running Vista? What is your power state? Put it to performance, or, at the very least, balanced. Don't move it toward power saving, or else you'll be stuck at 800 MHz.
  31. joefriday said:
    Are you running Vista? What is your power state? Put it to performance, or, at the very least, balanced. Don't move it toward power saving, or else you'll be stuck at 800 MHz.

    Currently im running Windows 7 32bit, i've already set it to performance. Still 800 MHz.

    Edit: Here is another (hopefully relevant) picture from "RightMark Cpu Clock Utility"
  32. ASUS released Bios version 5001 now support for AM3!!!

    M2A-VM BIOS 5001

    1. Beta Bios for Supporting AM3 CPUs.
    2. System still able to POST when set CPU Multiplier to 35X, but actual frequency will not change.
    3. Due to chipset limitation, Max HT Link is 1000MHz only.
    4. It will no display if downgrade Bios to lower version.
  33. I just installed a Phenom II 940 BE on my M2A-VM and it works like a champ! with the latest BIOS (5001) the MB recognizes the processor correctly. Just follow the original posters advice and you shouldn't have a problem with this processor/MB combo aside from the fact the HT is limited to only 1000MHz.


    Now a question i have if anyone would kindly oblige me with an answer is this: Before I installed this proc (upgraded from Athlon x2 4800+) the highest memory frequency i could set was DDR2 800 but now it lists DDR2 1066. whould this processor allow the use of DDR2 1066 even though the board is only spec'd at DDR2 800? i'd just set it and try it but my memory only does 800
  34. Thanks to this thread I went ahead and upgraded the CPU on my M2A-VM as well. I upgraded from a Phenom x4 2.3ghz quad core to Phenom II x4 945 95W. All I had to do is update BIOS to 5001, drop in the new cpu, disable CNQ and Enable ganged RAM.
    I disabled cnq and enabled ganged based on posts here. I did not do my own performance tests yet. Upgrade is noticeable but im sure itll get faster once I upgrade the memory from 2gb to 4 or 8. Phenom II x4 945 comes in 95W and 125W I think it has to be the 95W to work properly on this Mobo, I got that info from Wikipedia. Thanks GNR for your thread, helped me make this very easy. P.S. The phenom II 945 shows up in cpuz and is recognized everywhere at 3ghz. I might OC in the future but im a newbie so ill take my time.
  35. gidge said:
    Currently im running Windows 7 32bit, i've already set it to performance. Still 800 MHz.

    Edit: Here is another (hopefully relevant) picture from "RightMark Cpu Clock Utility"
    http://img688.imageshack.us/img688/5475/cpucorethrottle.jpg


    I dont know what you did with your issue but I was concerned that I would have similar problems so I did a research before upgrading and I found this on wikipedia which sounds alot like your problem.
    Copy/paste from the phenom II page in Wiki:
    "Some top-level AM3 processors (x945 125W, x955 and x965) require a special power-supply feature, often called "dual power-plane". It's supported by default in all native AM3 mainboards, however not in most AM2+ mainboards, even those advertised as "AM3 optimized" or "AM3 ready". Processor running below its nominal speed (i.e. at 800 MHz), clock and multiplier locked are symptoms of this incompatibility. This is a hardware issue, not resolvable via BIOS update."
    I confirm that the 945 95W works without this problem and is recognized as 3.0ghz. Peace.
  36. Has anyone tried this board with one of the Athlon II x2 240, 245 or 250 processors? After reading this thread im pretty sure it works but maybe someone can confirm.
  37. Quote:
    Phenom2 works fine on this board although it is not officially supported and it showed as "unknown processor" in the bios.


    i had an old 1.4ghz duron circa 2003 or 04, that was listed as a 64bit unknown processor on a via kt-something motherboard. i was a teenager back then and never gave a darn, i just remembered it now when i saw your post.

    it worked like a normal processor but can't display windows icons properly may it be win98 or winxp. and like all old durons that came before and after it, its "rubber footings" melted and obviously, it died.

    thought i'd share it with you all. XD
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