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OCing to achieve memory speed.

Last response: in Overclocking
September 16, 2011 12:32:23 AM

I hope no one get upset as this is a cross-post from memory and motherboards but technically, I guess, it is an OC issue and in spite of the number of views no one has answered there which leads me to believe it may belong here after all.

I know this is a long post, hence the bold lettering for those who like to skim before delving in.

In order to salvage the last breath from my K9a2 Platinum I purchased a Phenom II 1100t and 4 more gigs of G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 1066 SDRAM (PC2 8500) Dual Channel memory, same memory as currently installed, in addition to WIN7 x64. In the spirit of salvaging the board I thought now would be a good time to learn about optimal bios settings in order wring out as much (stable) performance as possible. After I installed and tweaked Win7 x64 with the old CPU I successfully upgraded the bios for Phenom II support, installed the 1100t, extra memory, and two Megaflow 200 fans after cutting out the appropriate holes in the case's side panel with a Dremel tool.

The whole reason for this upgrade is to be able to utilize 8gb of RAM when using Cubase 6/64 plus Kontakt 4 and Reaktor which are both memory hogs.

I was disappointed when I set the memory speed in bios to 1066 and it caused multiple BSODs at the worst time; just when I thought things were stable enough to begin a project in earnest. I finally learned about and ran the MS memory utility and it detected a problem. I set the memory back to 800 and the utility did not detect any problems.

I have subsequently learned that the MoBo can't utilize 1066 RAM unless, as I understand, it's 2x4 single sided sticks installed in only two particular slots. There is no such RAM available on the market anymore so I'm stuck with what I have.

However, I spent about 30 hours over the past few days doing some research and this is what I've come up with.

By slightly overclocking the CPU to x14/2800, and making the following adjustments: setting FSB/Memory Ratio to 1:2 and increasing the FSB to 250, I was able to get the memory's speed up to 1000 (close enough). I also disabled Turbo Core and set voltages for memory and NB to 2.1 and 1.225 respectively. I left the CPU voltage set to "auto" after trying to bump it up a bit but getting temps between 54c to 57c while running Prime95 and monitoring via CPUID's hardware monitor. The memory timing, Ht voltage, Ht ratio, and Advanced DRAMM Configuration are also set to "auto". Spread Spectrum is disabled. I ran the memory utility again and it didn't detect any problems and CPUID indicates a core temp hovering around 50 while running Prime95 for three hours.

It would seem that I have unintentionally learned a bit about how to overclock while trying to get my RAM up to proper advertised speed. Even though I can't get the RAM all the way up to 1066 it would appear that in getting really close to it I have inadvertently gained a modest increased in my CPU speed; from 3.3 to 3.5. Nothing earthshaking considering I've read about "overclockers" getting 4.0 out of the 1100t but it seems to me I have solved the memory problem as best I can without risking instability and my interest was never in overclocking, just memory speed.

Or have I?
Can any of you more experienced builders see any problems with any of this" Is there potential for further insuring stability while maintaining the memory's current performance through additional bios tweaks?

Quick system view:

K9a2 Platinum V1 with latest bios
AMD Phenom II x6 3.3 1100t
G.SKILL 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 1066 SDRAM (PC2 8500) Dual Channel

ATI FIRE GL V3350 x2
EMU 1212m PCI Audio/MIDI Interface

Seagate SATA2 HD 500 x3 (audio/sampler/stills)
Seagate SATA2 HD 750 (video)
Dockable WD SATA2 HD 350 (OS/programs)*
Asus & Sony optical drives (ram/rom)
3.5 floppy

950w PSU

Quick bios view

CPU clock - x14/2800
CPU voltage - auto
FSB - 250

FSB/Memory Ratio - 1:2
Memory voltage - 2.1
Advanced DRAMM Configuration - auto

NB voltage - 1.225
Ht voltage - auto
Ht ratio - auto
Turbo Core - disabled
Spread Spectrum - disabled
C&Q - disabled

Prime95 Temperature Ranges

Small FFT - 53 - 55c
Large FFT - 49 to 51c
Blend - 47 to 49c

Thanks in advance,


*The audio OS drive is optimized for Cubase and installed in a docking bay in order to be switched out with another drive containing an OS optimized for video and still image editing. This dockable drive configuration eliminates the need for partitioning and has run stable for three years.
a b } Memory
a b K Overclocking
September 16, 2011 2:55:57 AM

You could get a new CPU cooler. I would've replaced the original RAM with a 2x4GB set ($60 will get you some awesome sets and $45 will get you some good sets) instead of another low speed set because they will certainly run in dual channel (two kits, even from the same set, aren't guaranteed), have a new warranty, and solve any problems with 4 modules.

My favorite set from Newegg is a $60 G.Skill 2x4GB DDR3 1600 low vo (1.25v) set that overclocks high before it even hits 1.5v. The $45 kit is also a G.Skill that runs at DDR3 1600 but at 1.5v so won't overclock as much.
September 16, 2011 4:40:09 AM

Blazorthon, I sorry to say the K9a2 Platinum doesn't support DDR3. I have started looking into a new cooler as you've suggested, however.
Related resources
a b } Memory
a b K Overclocking
September 16, 2011 4:36:26 PM

Ahh my bad I must have missed the DDR2 part.
September 16, 2011 6:03:51 PM

Is the way I formatted the post confusing? Perhaps the bold is distracting?
a b } Memory
a b K Overclocking
September 17, 2011 4:14:30 PM

Its fine... I was just lazy and should have paid more attention.
September 17, 2011 4:26:17 PM

I thought you had this sorted, memory running at 1000mhz and cpu oc to about 3.6ghz. If your mobo doesn't support 1066 I doubt you'll get much higher plus it won't make much of a performance difference anyway.
if you want to oc more get a good cooler for your cpu and oc it
September 17, 2011 5:12:42 PM

@johnners2981 Therein lies the problem with cross-posting. I believe I may have solved the problem as indicated in the other post which is here:

Time will tell if I'm totally stable but I think I may be indeed be good to go. I did bump up the CPU to 3.75 along with some voltages and the RAM is running 1000MHz at the stock 1066 timing of 5-5-5-15. Prime95's "small FFTs" test runs the temp up to 59-60c when ambient temps are in the 80's so I may need an aftermarket cooler for those really hot days here in SoCal; I say "may" because Cubase 6 doesn't push the CPU anywhere near where Prime95 does (doesn't even hit 50c). I've been looking at the Noctua NHD-14 but can't tell if it will even fit in my case; looks big.

In an effort to make up for my cross-posting faux pas I'll update both postings if anything changes. Hopefully everything is solid now.