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MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I working with computes since 1991 and there is not much that I cannot understand, but this MSI mobo is challenging me. So, the mobo in question is a MSI PM8M3-V with PCB rev. 1.0 and latest bios v1.4 used.

Board: MSI PM8M3-V (VIA P4M800) PCV rev. 1.0
Bios: Version 1.4
VGA: PNY 6800GT 256MB DDR3 350MHz/1GHz
PSU: Enermax Liberty 620W PSU (replaced caps to quality ones!)
CPU: 2800MHz Celeron D 336 (133x21) 1.350Vcore
MEM: 2048MB OCZP4001G 2.5-3-2-7 200MHz 2.60V
HDD: 500G Western Digital 16MB cache (WD5000AAKB)
COOLER: Intel box cooler, checked, AS paste applied, cooling good (slowing all the way down to 1000 rpm in reality)
OC: NONE! (tried FSB 133 -> 138 and it get unstable even in Firefox, lol)
OS: Windows 2000 SP4 Czech

More info:
19" iiyama ProLite E1980SD 1280x1024 75Hz DVI
IDE 100MB zip
floppy with 7+1 USB2 reader Mitsumi FA404
Using PS2 mouse (Logitech MX510 red)
OkiPage 14ex laser printer
NetGear WGR614 fireWall / 54MBi WiFi - OFF

The Cause
While the mobo is perfectly stable in normal usage, gaming is a problem. At first, I was using there a Radeon 9100 card, yet it can play SoF2 well, so... I working hard to make the mobo stable, it is not stable in 3D games. In the end of making it stable it is not stable even in 2D Windows... lol. Increasing the voltage for AGP = bad idea.

To cut long story short - at first, it was just a mobo full of known bad caps that sometimes refuse to boot and losing clock AND bios settings when power is cut off. Sometimes it also crash during SoF2 _LOADING_ (never gaming), but that it is. Very rare crash.

So I replaced all the caps, put even these that aren't there back in action and used hi-grade caps. For example the best polymers that even exist Nichicon LE for Vcore and for voltage supply there are Nichicon HZ caps - the best elyte caps even made - king in terms of ripple current, only Samxon GA is "par to par" with them, but that it is. Sourced from Digikey, so, originals.

Result - still not stable. So I blamed the Radeon 9100 with questionable caps and added 120mm fan blowing on it.
Still no help, rare crashes of game. Fast Writes disabled, AGP 4x (R9100 cannot go faster), 1 WS Write/Read used, Calibration ON.
So I replaced the Radeon 9100 with GeFroce 6800GT, that have only 3 caps (Chemi-con polymers) and worked well for me before. Truth is a years ago... http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=189594

Problems get worser. Even exiting SoF2 or Quake3 is impossible now. It always freeze on exit...! It get reasonably stable for playing, yet try save screenshot and it crash ASAP. So I try lower the AGP rate (allow me to choose only 8x or 4x), disable Fast Writes, disable AGP Master 1 WS Write/Read and even disable AGP 3.0 Calibration Cycle (one by one). No help.
So I toyed with the voltage, raising from 1.55 to 1.70 and no help either. (later I find that this is what makes matter even worser)

Another thing that I added a huge nice heatsink on the NB, because the original one was pretty small and useless. And I discovered beneath it, that there was just a dip of white paste widely off center and that was it. Most of the heatsink did not even have contact with the chip...!
So I tought - I got this! Laped a BIG heatsink, Arctic past used and screwed it tight on the NB... and again no help.
MSI_PM8_M3_V_southbridge.jpg MSI_PM8_M3_V_northbridge.jpg MSI_PM8_M3_V_northbridge_cooling1.jpg MSI_PM8_M3_V_northbridge_cooling2.jpg MSI_PM8_M3_V_northbridge_cooling3.jpg

So the last thing to toy with is the AGP Driving Value. It can be changed from 00 to FF, defaut on Auto show DA.
Dunno what will happen, but I run out of ideas right now.

Therefore I'm open to ideas. About the caps - there is one about 10uF SMD cap at the very end of AGP port. This cap I did not replaced. Could this be the culprit? Any suggestion about the Driving Value? I think - try 0 (00), 32 (20), 64 (40), 96(60), 128 (80), 160 (A0), 192 (C0), 224 (E0) and 255 (FF) and see, witch of these values give the best stability?
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
Looks like the version 1.5 is the latest bios:

So I updated the bios, let almost the default settings (all default for AGP) - 8x, Aperture size 128MB, all on, Fast Writes Off.

However no help. The SoF2 game works well - untill I hit the screenshot button. Then in crash:

So bios are no help.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
memtest: 7 hours straight and fine!

Prime 95 memory test at the tightest timings the rams can handle - that means CL2! (2-3-2-7)

And I would very much recommend them the stability, because there are damn good caps used for rams now:

Prime 95 CPU test

HDD tests did not reveal any problem:

...so I think we can rule HDD or HDD cabled problem out of the question. Also I would noticed HDD errors, and they are nonexistant.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
So I start suspecting the one cap that I did not replaced yet, because I did not trust caps at all after some failures. I would like to mention that the PC did not started correctly today. After a post it ended in endless loop with just the flicking lone char from dos "_" in the top left corner. Failing to enter the VGA mode once again. Reset fix that, but you know I suspect the cap:


(the small, 10uF 16V (?) one that I did not yet replaced, the rest are replaced with quality Nichicons)

After two hours of gaming the PC finally crashed (at first, it took two crash attempts to get SoF2 working, but once it is working, then things go smoothly - no more crashes in loading, as with Radeon 9100) and I took the oportunity to diassemble it right away and check temps and then voltages.

CPU Vcore regulators are lightly mildly warm, as if there is nothing going on. Clearly good surprise, they obviously benefit from the quality caps and even under load stays cool. Great.
GFX card - cold, well cooled.
But NB chipset cooler (and now it is a BIG one) is relatively warmer that expected. It is not like hot, but clearly I expected lesser temperature. So my idea that a better cooling is necessary might not be far off the reality what is need. That is why I get the Thermalright SI-128 SE... but the damn bottom scews are missing, so I cannot use it frown.gif
Rams are about the same temp, as the NB heatsink. Well warm, not hot, but warm.

3.40V, 5.11V and 12.01V on the wires from PSU to HDD/GFX card. Directly on the GFX card connector there is a 11.99V, so the cables and connection give 0.02V drop. Not bad at all.
Vbattery is 3.56V.
But what I see as definitive BAD NEWS is the voltage I measured on the last not exchanged cap. And that is precisely 1.55V.
Ring any bell? Yeees, this is the AGP voltage set in bios! So clearly this cap have something to do with the AGP and it is not at all impossible, that it could be the culprit behind the crashes.

Because to me it seems that everytime the GFX card should change it's mode of operation (from TXT mode to VGA mode, from 2D to 3D...), then it is very likely to crash.
Actually todays 4 times it hang on TXT mode to VGA mode switch, during all the resets and powering on and on again...

Bottom line - dunno if this is caused by the exchange of GFX card or not, but time and bios settings are lost once again, even I put a new battery there.
(I have to use small GFX card (old good Riva smile.gif ) to be able to measure the voltage on the small SMD cap.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Prime95 overnight CPU torture test - 7h 8min

No errors. Claims, that the machine is unstable in terms of CPU are dismissed. It must be the gfx card and/or it's powering.

FurMark - got a very low score of 547:

...but the problem is, that the FurMark did not crashed for about TWO hours straight MaxBurn test...


I was somewhat confused, that the image on screen did not update, but that it probably because FurMark is checking for bugs in the image, right?
Never the less, I have complain. On screen it write this:
Renderer: GeForce 6800 GT/PCI/SSE2

Obviously I have a problem with the "PCI" part, because the card is AGP and given some of the slow-downs it really looks like as it run on PCI speed, not AGP 8x...

No idea what this cause, but probably some wrong initialization of the card. Regardless if this works as I supposed right, then the card seems to be stable.

There are minor annoyances too, tough they are not new at all. First at all - opening overlay took for the first time eternity. (1 - 2 minutes) Dunno why that happen, never seen that in my life, but it does happen with different Forceware frivers (61.76 WHQ, 77.72 WHQ) as well, as with different VIA Hyperion 4in1 drivers (v5.24a, v5.11a, v5.04a). So it have to do something with what the card seems to initialize.

ALSO I cannot get the AGP page back in the drivers. It was there:


...and now, even I add to the registers the coolbites:


It is just not there.
Also a minor problem is, that the gamma value in nVcpl can be set only between 0.5 and 3.61 - too sensitive, no way to set better value or get back to 1.0 frown.gif

Kinda bad that FurMark run slow, yet not fail. I did not dare to take a screenshot of the "PCI", but the slow-downs in SoF2 looks like something is wrong with the speed...

Aaaargh! My card is really running in PCI mode:


...that is why the speed suxx and also why the nVidia drivers therefore CANNOT show the AGP page, when the card is running in PCI mode...

Looks to me as simple yet devastating HW issue with the cursed not replaced cap. Now let's source a replacement cap... frown.gif
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
As for the 10uF d4 SMD cap, I will replace it (shortly, fingers crossed) with a 220uF 4V Tantal-polymer KEMET cap, so that should fix the problem. If it still fail, then the NIKOS poor mosfet is up to the blame and ... what replacement to choose for it??? Anyone?

Replacement suggestions?

The AGP regulator seems to be: NIKOS P3055LDG

This is, in short:
TO-252 (DPAK) 25V, 50mOhms, 12A, Gate charge 15nC, Gate treshold 1.2V

...so, what better with same gate charge/treshold and possibly lower resistance when opened (50mOhms are a bit HIGH IMHO) could anyone suggest?
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Looking at the IPS1011RPbF,
it have 6V input (max. step down 28) witch is fine (input is 3.3V) but a 10mOhms, should do 18A and the rise time and shutoff time are simply uncomparable with 50uS and 330uS, compared to the 6nS and 20nS smile.gif
NIKOS owned!

Sadly, there is gate treshold 1.7V (a bit too high to replace a 1.2V) and also there is absolutely NO WORD about gate charge frown.gif

That suxx. Something else is probably necessary frown.gif

Semiconductor NCV8401
42V, 23mOhms, 33A, rise time 41uS, shutoff time 164uS
but gate treshold 1.8V frown.gif

Infineon BTS 3142D
42V, 28mOhms, 30A, rise time 60uS, shutoff time 60uS
but gate treshold 1.7V frown.gif

ST Micro
40V, 35mOhms, 12A, rise time 350nS, shutoff time 450nS
gate treshold (forward on voltage) should be 0.8V, witch is pretty good
gate charge is not listed there, but todal is 36.8nC

...that one could be it...?
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
From this very interesting link:
Vishay - MOSFETs - N-channel - DPAK (TO-252) package
...I choose this one:

Vishay SUD50N02-06P
20V, 6mOhms, 26A, rise time 10nS, shutoff time 24nS
gate treshold 0.8V, gate charge 19nC

Even that at 4.5V the resistance is actually 9.5mOhms, then it is still far better that 50mOhms.
Also the mosfet can operate at 175°C, witch is pretty high.
While it is a bit slower (rise time 10 to 6, shut off time 24 do 20), the gate treshold 0.8V should compensate that a bit for the original is 1.2V... The slightly higher gate charge 19nC over 15nC should not be a problem.

I believe I found the perfect replacement, that is better than the original!

I managed to replace the last remaining capacitor on the MSI PM8M3-V mobo - the 10uF d4 SMD suxxka, that have kinda horrible ESR or 3.2 Ohms:


...with a new SMD tantal-polymer KEMET 220uF 2.5V capacitor T520B227M2R5ATE015
...with have ESR around 0.015 Ohms biggrin.gif

That should be a huge improve. Also I, out of the desperation, resoldered a bit the drain tops of there NIKOS mosfets near the AGP slot.

And result?


So it looks like that the mainboard was not up to the blame the whole damn time. It is the videocard that have to be recapped.

The Radeon R9100 was crashing when new SoF2 level is loading. Given that it run passively cooled on Licon caps:


...with 60 mOhms ESR one should not wonder. Rest of the caps looks quite similar, so recapping is in order, just waiting for the caps (as usual).

The PNY 6800 GT failed after a short time to run in AGP mode, going down to PCI mode and crashing after some gaming is played. Now that is serious problem, because there are just THERE caps, two of them polymers on the voltage input filter and they are Chemicon polymers.
Last one is unknown 100uF SMD cap and that it is for other that ceramic caps! I would be inclined to add some caps in the blank spots too, probably something over 100uF SMD... and I would also like to create a custom effecient heatsink for the mosfets on the card, because they do overheat a lot - GPU VRM temp 71°C: View image: temperatures after 30min

Should I try recap these graphic cards before I try replacing the NIKOS mosfets? confused.gif
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Today is the day! smile.gif UPS delivered a 10pcs of Vishay SUD50N02-09P-E3 mosfets samples from German Vishay HQ. Hoooray!

Therefore I immediatelly went to work. First at all, there is a picture that show the "polymerization" of caps near the AGP on the MSI PM8M3-V mobo:


The remaining two non-polymer caps (Nichicon HM & Samxon GC) run at 5V, so there is no good substitute for them, but for the rest, the capacity was bumped (2x 1200 & 2x 2200uF) as well as the specs.

The yellow KEMET tantal-polymer 220uF 2.5V cap is also well visible, as replacement for the 10uF 16V SMD suxxka cap smile.gif

However that did not helped, so it is a time to replace the NIKOS P3055LDG mosfets. I picked (for the start), the two, that are most suspicious: the two most close to the AGP slot - the left one delivering the 1.50V and the right one 2.50V to the AGP.
(as you remember, lowering the 1.50V voltage from default 1.55V helped considerably with stability, so it is not like I picking up on random mosfets)

Sadly, the place is pretty crowded, so I had to pull the caps off first:


And as you can see, there are new Vishay SUD50N02-09P-E3 mosfets soldered in! I did not skip on the tin, as you can see, trying to lower every possible mOhms out... smile.gif

And then I soldered back and... tried the mobo. Worked right away, hooray! (with Riva TNT) Then I tried with my R9100 and it also worked well, so I pulled the machine together and now I typing on it, as you can see biggrin.gif

But first news is bad news. There is no instant "back to AGP mode" in Win. Still it show PCI mode, so I probably have to reinstall the graphic card to get again AGP mode back, as I always had it, before the crash during gaming...
So no instant fix.

But since it crashed by playing in PCI mode too, then I first try playing, so I can determine the stability. If anyone can cross a finger or two (or even say prayer, tough I cannot believe in anything these days), it might help wink.gif

Mosfets choices:
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
And it worked stable, till I decided to tickle it a bit with overclocking of the R9100... frown.gif

The overclock was not that bad:


It can do 293 for the GPU, but I backed it down to around 290, same for the rams, around 248MHz it can do. That make it clear, why these rams had to run at 200MHz, because they cannot take the normal 250MHz reference design clock, not with any caps.
Hence I cannot match the XT version (300/300 vs 290/248), but at lest some overclocking is possible. It would be interesting to know, if adding more caps on the empty spaces (there is space for DAMN much caps!) could help to reach faster speeds. I was kinda hoped for the 300MHz mark, but I got burned shy 7MHz of it...

However I have saved previous max. stable O/C results and they are:
250/200 - to 265/248 wink.gif
Now it is:
250/200 - to 290/248 wink.gif

So nothing can help the rams, but the GPU is overclockable better with better caps. Yet the main catch is, that the board started to crash and hang after post again frown.gif Therefore I did not managed to fix it yet frown.gif
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