Since I got my board last week and have had some time to play around with it, I can make a few observations...
First, I have only 1 fan in use to cool everything, and all it is, is a 92mm 3-blade Delta fan on a Scythe motor and housing (it's a server fan hub but I fried it's circuitry
) running at a lower speed so it isn't a racket (open air system). For a CPU cooler I run a Thermaltake Water 2.0 Pro which uses two 120mm fans, which I run at nearly full speed since they're rather quite and don't have a high-pitch drone which is around 1600RPMs (on both).
With that in mind, the system runs extremely cool! The Rad and it's fans are mounted roughly where a case would have a top fan mount positioned, which is about right above the CPU section, but above the board a couple more inches. IOW it's airflow, which is blowing away from the board, shouldn't really help onboard components too
much IMO. That Delta-Scythe fan I have at a very slight angle,with half blowing across the graphics card and the rest blowing down onto the CPU area (some reaching the RAM as well). Under all loads, the VRMs barely heat up which is was I had hoped to be the case
Here are my system specs:
A10-7850K which lost it's virginity to this motherboard lol
Kingston HyperX Predator 2x4GB DDR3-2666MHz KHX26C11T2K2/8X (2012 review sample, I used to work at Pro-Clockers)
XMP2666 Profile 11-13-13-31 @ 1.65V
XMP2400 Profile 10-12-12-29 @ 1.65V [This is the one I use]
SATA-II 500GB drive, SATA-III 1TB drive, and a SATA-III OCZ Synapse 32GB (no used as a cache drive as I couldn't register the software) AHCI Disabled - Running in IDE mode
Asus CU-Core HD5770 (currently only using 1, I have a second that'll go in later)
Xonar Xense in the last PCIe slot
I'm new to the Bulldozer architecture, coming off an old A8-3850 system (3870K review sample died
). This means my understanding of what are ideal or safe voltages, and what even their default values are is... well, zero
I haven't explored baseclocks much, just briefly to test out a speed and timings from the A8-3850 rig. I went straight to 111MHz (lowering other multipliers to offset the overclock) and had no apparent stability problems. Probably thanks to running in IDE mode, but who knows why the other reviewers have such problems if they use IDE mode as well.
DDR3-2400 hasn't been a problem booting thankfully, but it will not wake up from Sleep Mode, which had
been my primary means of turning the system 'off'
Overclocking with the Genie button works fairly well it seems, and I've gotten an almost
stable automatic 4.5GHz out of it on "Gear 2". I think "Gear 1" is 4.3GHz. These chips, even with the GPU disabled, are a bit more voltage hungry on the overclock than I figured they'd be, as that is needing 1.48V to work. The instability could be something else related though, as I've not really tracked it down yet, just am assuming that's the case.
All in all I'm not really liking the Bulldozer Arch so far compared to my old Llano
The Read and Copy speeds on memory don't seem to scale at all between DDR3-1500 and DDR3-2400, at least not like I would've expected. The Write speeds are just pathetic though and make me cry
On the latest AIDA64 my Llano got, at only 3.2GHz, NB1000MHz (I always called it 2000MHz), and DDR3-2072 9-10-9-23 C2 was:
This 7850K at 4.3Hz NB1800MHz (as per BIOS) and DDR3-2400
Now, those do improve slightly
by increasing the NB to 2000, but unfortunately that doesn't help my Write speeds one bit. Latency goes down and Copy goes up, but that's the extent of it unfortunately. To make matters worse, no matter what I try, anything above 2000MHz will not even POST
I've tried increasing voltages as well, but since I don't know what really is safe on the CPU-NB, I haven't gone too high.
Like all the other systems, as seems to be inherent due to the chip and not the motherboards, the CPU throttles like a sonofabish when it's running with the iGPU enabled and any sort of stress test is ran. The GPU doesn't throttle oddly, but it reaches max TDP and throttles the CPU down to 3GHz on all cores :\ Doesn't matter what the temp is either, it is usually always <30C and the highest I've managed to get it is 43C. Thankfully when you disable the iGPU this ceases to happen!
Now for my other biggest bummer... It DEFINITELY has some RAM it does not like... I cannot believe how fortunate I am that these HyperX work at 2400 with it's XMP... My previous kit was a KingMax NANO Gamer (which run as cool as these HyperX do... but with no heatsink) which is a 2200MHz kit at 10-10-10, but no matter what
I do, I cannot get them to boot at anything above DDR3-1600
They'll run @1600 with 7-8-7 timings, and solo sticks @1866 7-8-7... But if you try Dual@1866 or Solo@2133, it won't even POST :\ I can't really find much info on the SLOW_MODE switch, other than it's intended to be used in extreme cooling situations, but one post I read did say it could help with some RAM that doesn't like to boot (granted this was an Intel board). That even close to accurate??
I'm sure I'm leaving stuff out, but I didn't really plan on writing a review, it just kinda happened. lol
So here's the Pros/Cons list off the top of my head:
-Looks damn purdy!
-Runs cool as hell
-Diagnostic POST LEDs read out as Temp after POSTing
-Voltage test points (lol big Pro for me, I fried 2 boards probing before
-Free game, really cool case badge, a door hanger!
-Only 4+2, though probably will be enough anyways.
-That RAM issue is a huge letdown. A Friend's A88XM-E45 is having issues with her G.Skill as well, but at least hers boots into Windows. (I think it's their lack of putting CR in the XMP, so it Autos to CR1)
-No TDP/APM override (which might be impossible, I'm not sure, but ASUS and GB I believe
-BIOS is definitely lacking in the advanced features
-BIOS is poorly laid out IMO It's a very annoying setup I've found.
-BIOS Voltage readout quite off versus DMM readings at voltage points
-Virtually no AOD memory timing ability, as almost anything changed results in a crash.
-NO OPTION FOR CHANGING THE iGPU'S SHARED MEMORY!! "Gaming" my ass... How can it be labeled that if I can't even select 2GB for the graphics?! Seriously though, ***?!
-Command Center worked once before never again starting. I'll reinstall to see if that helps, but it'll still get a Con.
-Certain crashes (of unknown cause) will prevent the Restart button (front panel in most of my experience) from either working at all or will take a lot of presses before it decides to register, which is not by fault of my button! lol
-Did I mention that the BIOS is seriously needing more enthusiast level features? I don't care if it's in a "secret" menu, GIMMIE GIMMIE!
-Make the SPD displayed read the profile you select :| I select Profile 1 which is 2400 10-12-12 and it reads Profile 2's timings. Or the SPD menu, it's XMP only shows 1 profile, and not even the right timings for it :\
-BClk Jitter, always bouncing around
-DRAM Voltage Set vs Displayed vs DMM Test Point is way off. Set 1.65, Read 1.64, Actual 1.668
Can I recommend this board? Hmm... Having waited since early Jan and paying $145ish shipped with tax ($130 otherwise)....... no. Not right yet. If it comes down to the Gig's Sniper pricing, then maybe. But when they say they "include" a $35 "RAMDisk" option (in Command Center) and a Game that isn't even included on a disc (as I can't download because I live in the sticks) that doesn't justify the price
I reaaally want to love this motherboard, and I might with a couple BIOS revisions, but I'm a bit bummed ATM.
Oh and if any MSI board designers read this: Ditch the two LEDs under the Audio Codec's cover and put two red ones up the 88X's heatsink to emit a glow
Maybe drill out the eyes too, so they shine through red!
If anyone wants to help me OC, guide away! I already accidentally pumped 1.63V through my chip when doing a 4.7GHz run (not used to having CPU VDD, was intending on it being 1.5V lol), so I could use some tips and general safe limits, what to set stuff at, and general limiting factors for what holds overclocks back.
(Turned out longer than I thought....)EDIT:
Additions I forgot to mention, 2 Cons and a Pro. First is the DRAM voltage. BIOS Set @ 1.65V, BIOS Reads @ 1.640V, Test Point Read @ 1.668
V. That's not a problem I don't think with most DIMMs, but it's unacceptable IMO. Second, baseclock's jitter, bounces around quite a bit from around 99.8MHz to as high as 101.5MHz :\
Pro: Baseclock is rrreally fine-tuneable, allowing for 0.1MHz adjustments. Not really practical, but still cool Edited by Formula350 - 3/22/14 at 9:35am