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GA-MA78GMS2H + G.Skill DDR2-1000 + AMD 5600+ ~ A Difficult Dance

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October 17, 2009 2:30:15 AM

Guys, I'm venturing onto thin ice here. Please forgive my ignorance. I built this system 11 months ago, and it is a very tricky one to get right. I have mainly got a terrible multi-MINUTES delay to get from cold start (not warm start) as far as POST. Say 4 to 10 MINUTES. But it always passes POST eventually, and it then goes fairly slowly up into Windows XP64 (or XP32) and will be totally stable there forever.

I've tried very hard for help for almost a year, at many different forums. But now I believe my problem is between my RAM and my BIOS, and for the first time, I'm starting a new thread with that premise.

RAM = 8GB G.Skill F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ PC2-8000 as 2 kits x (2 x 2 =) 4GB each, CL5-5-15 Dual Channel
This DDR2-1000 RAM is seen by my AMD 64x2 5600+ CPU as DDR2-800.

MemSet:
5-5-5-15
Command Rate = 2T
tRC = 25
Refresh Mode Select = 7,8µs
tRRD = 3
tWR = 6
tWTR = 3
tRTP = 5
tRW-TO = 4
R/W Q Bypass = 8x
Queue Bypass Max = 4
Max Async Lat = 6ns
Dynamic Idle Cycle Count = Enabled
Idle Cyc Limit = 16

(Please be advised that I have not a clue what any of that means.)

What I would really love to learn is how I can best set my BIOS settings to accommodate this RAM in my system. The Gigabyte mobo makes its way to POST so terribly slowly that it seems to be having great difficulty with something, and I think it is the RAM.

— Why? Because I have RMAd the mobo and received it back, and it made no difference
— Because I have run tests on the system ABSOLUTELY STRIPPED of everything: NO drives (HDD, floppy, optical), NO USB hubs, NO USBs, NO PCI-E cards, NO video card, NO LAN cable, NO mouse, NO keyboard, NO peripherals, NO cables connected to the PSU except from the mobo, NO front case fans; and THE RAM REDUCED TO JUST ONE STICK —and it made absolutely no difference; one POST was 10+ minutes and one POST was 3+ minutes
— and the Corsair HX520W PSU is calculated by Corsair and by NCIX as right for the system, plus the previous test vindicates it

A G.Skill RAM tech advised me to set my voltage up, so I have
NB + 0.3V = 1.400V (my max)
DDR + 0.2V = 2.000V (next setting is red-lettered)
CPU = default; not adjusted
. . .and I prefer the 4 Trfcs all the same @ 195ns or 327ns

I was also told by a G.Skill tech that the memory must be okay for the system, because Windows runs for hours and days with no problems.

I do think it is slow to climb into Windows. This is a typical full startup from cold:
00:00 Power ON
04:43 POST beep after 4 minutes and 43 seconds
05:09 Windows Bootscreen after another 0:26
05:45 Windows Welcome Screen after another 0:36
06:16 XP Desktop after another 0:31
07:17 XP Taskbar shows after another 1:01—but this and the next are easily adjusted according to whatever startup load I assign to XP
08:16 ATI refreshes screen; all hourglasses finished; totally ready

Comparing XP32 with XP64 on the same box, I see no real difference in speed.

I have not tested my memory sticks yet, other than to trade #1 with #4 when testing just one stick: that made no difference
— and testing POST speeds in multiple tests using 1 stick (2GB), 2 sticks (4GB), and 4 sticks (8GB) likewise made no difference at all

Mainly I would just love to get that pre-POST time down.
My quickest times EVER, very rarely, were 20 seconds to POST
and my slowest time ever was more than 48 MINUTES

Can anyone advise me of optimizing any BIOS settings that might produce reliably faster POST times?
And, if I may be so bold, if there is a G.Skill person reading this, I would sure love some help! Previous G.Skill advice has been extremely helpful.

Thank you very much.
October 17, 2009 4:43:02 AM

Hmmm,just flapping my yap here,,but if you have not flashed to the latest bios for your mobo,consider it,and you do not seem to have ram problems otherwise you would be getting "page fault errors" I have the gma790fx-ud5p mobo with gskill ram and it seems to love it,still it would not hurt to get a hold of memtest and run it through a few tests just to be sure you can get it at majorgeeks.com,BTW XP 32 bit can only see at the most 3.2 -3.5 g of ram,you probably know that...:) 
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October 19, 2009 10:43:28 PM

Thanks, dokk2.

— I do have the latest BIOS. 3 BIOS versions have shown same results.
— I agree about the lack of errors in running > suggests RAM is okay
— I have my memtest CD now, and will run tests very soon
— Yup, I know about RAM limit in XP32 (my box has both XP64 and XP32)
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October 20, 2009 8:15:30 PM

Do you have another spare harddrive, you need to breadboard this system just 2 gigs ram, set bios to optimized defaults. Fresh empty harddrive and install OS, make sure hardrive controller is set for IDE mode. I'm sure the power supply is enough just make sure its set for 110v. If this works ok after power up power down add some more ram, continue. Sounds like bios is detecting changes in hardware and or can't allocate properly, short?
also there isn't any bios setting for 1000mhz dram that would be an overclock speed on an amd board, no problem just run at 800 for now.
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