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post #421 of 521
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I think the Biostar is looking about right, nice and cheap too. The AW9D-Max is a sight to behold but I would rather be tickling 4.5 ghz stable....
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post #422 of 521
No RAID on the Biostar though
    
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post #423 of 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chozart View Post
No RAID on the Biostar though
You're right, and with the P965's ICH8R southbridge, RAID performance is through the roof! See Tom's for benchmarks
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post #424 of 521
Thread Starter 
You are a mean man Mr. Burn--you know I got ICH7R and Raptors bottlenecking over here...
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post #425 of 521
Hey, hey, hey

I did my homework! JK, I know you went thru this with a fine-tooth comb before buying.

I also had the advantage of looking at how you did your setup.
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post #426 of 521
Thread Starter 
I cannot say what exactly made me fixate on this board. Solid Japanese Capacitors--heatpipes--voltage adjustments--threads on XS. At first everyone was aganst this board so maybe because it is the underdog--even Gigabyte seems more popular a choice...LOL. I had a feeling that Abit was trying to prove they can make a superior board...and I do not think the curtain has fallen on that yet because the Alpha BIOS will soon become an official BIOS. And there is much that can be done to sort out Memeory Controller issues in BIOS revisions. I think they need to come up with support for faster RAM--not just throw a 1333 strap on there.

I looked at every board that came out...and I have done Asus a lot in the past--I wanted to see what an Abit could do. But in somplete honesty the Asus boards seem to be setting the standard for stability and performance.

I now have my eye on that BioStar. RAID would be nice--but so would 4.5 ghz
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post #427 of 521
Thread Starter 
Booting into the 1066 strap at 3800 requires an immense increase in MCH (1.85) and still when ATI tries to load CF the USB knocks out. So no go there. I can say that the Alpha BIOS is strictly for overclocking the CPU--overclocking the RAM is not really an option. And furthermore it severly limits what you can get out of the board in general once approaching the maximum. I have not tried booting the 1066 at stock speed--not sure if it can even do that now.

Moving on.

Max Vcore (1.675) and MCH 1.85 will load XP at 3995 mhz. This is on the 1333NB strap with a 9 x 444 FSB. RAM is running at DDR 888. Timings as always 5 5 5 15 by memset. trfc set to 48 in BIOS and reading as 58 in memset.
But only a large increase to 1.9 will allow Orthos to run smal FFTs. Large FFTs throw up a stop. Oddly enough at one point a Windows pop up announcing Stress Prime had encountered a serious error came up and Orthos contiuned running large FFTs under the pop up without a hitch.Perhaps there may be some issue here with the Memory controller on the 1333NB strap--a pity we don't get access to those settings...yet.

Despite failing Orthos after a few minutes at 3995 the rig can run 3DMark06 without a glitch considering that specificatiopn for the MCH is a maximum of 1.65-- 1.9 is a lot. Ditto the CPU which is rated to a maximum of 1.45...even with good cooling those volts take their toll. I can tell that the board is no longer happy at lower speeds with the few volts it took when brand new and unspanked. After a lot of stressing at high volts the board now requires more volts than before at lower speeds to remain stable. That is probably a bad sign. So once again: Kids Don't Try this at Home!

Managed to boot into XP briefly at several different speeds above 4006--the highest being just under 4100 again at maxed voltages. Nothing to tweak on to make it stable enough to boot. I believe a simple MCH Vdroop fix is in order. VDimm is not an issue.

Ran a number of stress tests at 3995...eventually increasing the MCH and Vcore to maximum. Loaded the WarCat drivers and bagged a 9022 after a few tweaks to the RAM in MemSet. However running at such high voltages just to be at top CPU speed is worrisome to me and I backed down to what I know boots 3995 and dialed the speed down to 3960 and am seeing far less trouble ahead with somewhat softened MCH and Vcore values...still fails Orthos at that speed after 4 minutes.

Plan is to find the highest speed Orthos will run and run Orthos 8 hours to see what's up.

So now that I have managed to slightly surpass my score from the night before on one stick now using both sticks I am going to see about getting back my 1066 strap and running the RAM up a bit.

As mentioned above there is no way to even boot into 1066 with this BIOS so I plan to Reflash and see what the Ballistix can do at somewhat lower CPU speeds.

Looking for aproximately the same performance on the 1066 with OverClocked RAM but at lower speeds. I'll know I got it when I see something over 9K out of my benchies...

I will add some screenshots later this evening to provide ample proof of just how many freaking benchmark runs I have been through...

For instance I just now pulled in a 9020 @ 3963--proof already that top CPU speed is not necessarily going to equal the best benchmarks. At 3963 I can run 1.65 Vcore insteadof 1.675 and 1.9 MCH instead of 2.0

Ideally I would like to drop the MCH down below 1.9 as close to 1.7 as possible. The Vcore concerns me less.
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post #428 of 521
Thread Starter 
Flashed back to the Official latest BIOS and it has been a tremendous pain in the neck to get the rig up and running--pretty much an endless stream of little issues. Much of it stemming from MemSet still beingin force and somehow causing the USB to drop out after loading the desk top.

Finally got the rig runninf and tried for a reasonable OC to 3000 with the RAM running at DDR 1084 and got a lockup. This motherboard is relly wierd about RAM. After the Flash I had to run only one stick to get it to POST then set the VDIMM correctly and then it did not want to POST with two sticks until I moved them from one slot to another. Finally got Dual Channel though. Now just need to get the board to run like it should. I do not think the current BIOS has proper support for DDR2 800 RAM, let alone DDR2 1000.

Just need to keep working away at it. This is really one of the hardest boards to work with I have ever seen.

INorder to getout of the lockup I will pull the battery and retart with just one stick of RAM and then set the voltage then shut it off then plug in the other stick and hope it BOOTs and then start all over. Simply wers me out--and waiting for the phase 5 minutes each time is driving me bonkers...
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post #429 of 521
Any luck with it yet?
    
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post #430 of 521
Thread Starter 
Thanks for asking Chozart. I wrestled with the situation for a long time. Here's what I found. The bottom line is I am getting the same benchmarks (within 50 points) at 3600 running the 1066 strap and 4 x 512 DDR2 667 OverClocked to DDR2 800 as I got with 2 sticks of Crucial DDR2 1000 running in Single Channel on the 1333 NB Strap at 4006. As I suspected the memory controller is not handling the Crucial at all. The RAM passes Orthos Large FFTs at stock CPU speeds--but once the FSB goes up the RAM throws errors. Leads me to believe that th memory controller gets out of synch. I used Memset to try and control the timings because the BIOS sets them too tight and messes up the Trfc timing so badly that the board will lock up and not even POST until I pop the battery.

So Below find my log of OverClocking on the 1066 NB Strap after Flashing back to the official BIOS and reverting to my 4 sticks of G Skill.

Okay guys I wanted to give you some more info RE: speed vs. Performance. As you all know Dual Channel is a beautiful thing and running in Single Channel is not acceptable for a high performance PC IMO. Kinda like turning off one of the CPUs to get stability LOL. Anyhoo. I spent until 1 AM wrestling with the Crucial RAM and the Abit board. I started with the assumption that it would work and afterabout 6 hours proved to myself that it would not. The problem is that the Alpha BIOS does not support Dual Channel and the Official BIOS does not support DDR2 800 RAM very well. Difficulty even posting or getting into BIOS on a regular basis was making troubleshooting very time consuming--ad in 5 minutes for the phase to reset each time the rig has to be shut down.

Using two stick of Crucial DDR2 1000 on the 1066 strap fails Orthos in seconds regardless of speed. Even getting the system to boot is a real work of art. I have not had to go in on safe mode and disable stuff in a while...brought back memories of overclocking on Windows 98. Had to disable all services, uninstall all the ATI suite, disable all statr up items, put memset into a folder so the system wouldn't try to apply the values, set the RAM manually in BIOS, set the RAM voltage manually in BIOS, make sure the RAM is only running at DDR2 667 or lower and use only one stick. Then add another stick and see that it shows as Dual Channel and then run Orthos and see it fail after seconds.`

Shutdown and put in 4 matching sticks of G Skill DDR2 667 running at 748 and it fired up to 3357 without a hitch. Runs Orthos foreverIt is clearly an issue between the Crucial and the Motherboard. Not having another board to test the sticks on I amleft with the impression that they may be good RAM--but not for this board. Regardless I am going to see about RMAing them back to Newegg. Until I can do some research and see what others are using on this board that works.

It could be an issue with DDR 800 compatibility that the Alpha BIOS sort-of fixed in the 1333 NB strap. However the BIOS is fundamentally flawed in that it does not support Dual Channel. The Official BIOS 13 supports Dual Channel DDR2 667 very well--as I have heard that 4 sticks is harder to run than 2 or 1--but the fact is the board performs flawlessly with 4 sticks of overclocked DDR2 667.

I am now going to check out if the voltages I used in the Alpha BIOS to run 2 Sticks of Crucial Single Channel will support the overclock with 4 sticks in Dual channel of G Skill.

Somewhat dissapointed by how it tunred out--I was hoping to get some exteme performance out of that high dollar RAM. But I do take a certain satisfaction in having understood the issue and come to terms with how best to use the board. the DDR2 667 G Skill will easily run at the speeds the 1333 NB strap put the RAM under so after I see what kinds of performance the 1066 strap provide (Super Pi Times and 3DMark06) I will flash the BIOS and see how 4 sticks in single channel perform at much higher CPU speeds. Should make for an interesting comparison--much like the horsepower/torque lines on a dyno graph. At some point I have a feeling superior CPU speed will intersect with lower clockspeed--better Memory Bandwidth.

Here is where I started--I dunno 3357 looked good this morning and since I had finally figured out the problem was the Crucial RAM I just started at where I left off.
After a nice long run on Orthos I went and benched the Rig at 3357 in one card and two card mode and Super Pi 1M

Clock: 3357 3Dmark06: 5202/8778CF Super Pi 1M: 15.23 Warcat Drivers yielded 10 points lower??? 7.1 Driver 5272/8855CF

Used my identical settings for 3500 389 x 9 Vcore 1.525 VDimm 2.0 (G Skill require only 1.9) MCH 1.62 Boots fine with four sticks at 784 Sticking with 7.1 Driver
Each successive bench the hardware and benchmarking is the same I will simply list numbers in the same order.
3500 : 5314/8929 : 14.594

Again followed my notes from OverClocking on the 1333 NB Strap 399 x 9 Vcore 1.525 VDimm 2.0 MCH 1.65 Boots Fine with 4 sticks at DDR2 800 not bad RAM at all...
3600 : 5328/8997 : 14.203

Still benchmarking and seeing if it is consistent. The 7.1 Drivers are very good but now ATI overdrive does not work--the screen starts to jitter then turn green and lock up.

Still no match for the 12 something super pi at 4006... but much more stable and producing good 3DMark06 scores... all at much lower stress to the components.

I feel that short of a fully developed BIOS with full support for DDR2 800+ and DUal Channel and no glitches with SPD timings and so on that this is a fundamentally flawed platform for what I am trying to do. If I wanted phase-chilled 3600 mhz Folder I would be in Phat City LOL
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