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Discussion Starter #1
Hello OC readers,

I'm new here. I wasn't getting much VALUABLE INFO on Tom's Hardware (Wow, right?), found a link here and seemed like people were much friendlier and more knowledgeable, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I have various issues with my PC I'd like to get sorted out to ensure it's running at peak (potato) performance (for what it's worth).

Starting with RAM.

I'd like to make sure my RAM is running at correct timing and voltage, as well as overclock if possible if there is in fact any performance benefit associated with doing so.

Here are my specs:
Foxconn M61PMV (Mobo)
BIOS v.P05
-Nvidia GeForce 6100 (or 6150?) NForce 400-430 (Onboard GPU [DISABLED]-
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Dual Core 2.7Ghz (Brisbane AM2 CPU)
2*2GB Kingston DDR2 PC2-6400 800Mhz 1.8V CL6 Non-ECC Unbuffered (RAM)
+CPU-Z states they are running at 400Mhz per slot. Also, they are not matching serial numbers. I +read that could be important for oc'ing?
Nvidia GeForce 9400GT DDR2 128-bit DX10 1GB (Dedicated PCIe x16 GPU)
Windows 7 64-bit

My RAM has little information on the web as far as timing is concerned. I'm running 2*2GB sticks of Kingston Value RAM. Model number KVR800D2N6K2/4G.
Kingston link: https://www.kingston.com/us/memory/search/discontinuedmodels?partId=KVR800D2N6K2/4G
There's a data sheet at that page. Not much info. No timings.

I've read that 5-5-5-15 is acceptable for all and any 800Mhz DDR2 ram. I have my BIOS set to auto config for RAM settings.

BIOS Settings are as follows:
Code:
[U]Fox Intelligent Overclock[/U]
CPU Clock - 200
PCIE Clock - 100
NPT Fid Control - Auto
(Available options - x4 800Mhz, x8 1600Mhz)

[U]Memory Timing Settings[/U]
Timing Mode - Auto
Memory Clock Limit - DDR 400 (<- Locked w Timing Mode set to Auto)
CKE Base Power Down Mode - Enabled
CKE Base Power Down - Per Channel
(Avail. Opt. - Per CS)
Mem Clock Tri-Stating  - Disabled
Memory Hole Remapping - Enabled
Auto Optimization Bottom IO - Enabled
Bottom of [31:24] IO Space - C0 (<- Locked Entry)
Memory Voltage - Default
K8 <-> NB HT Speed - Auto
K8 <-> NB HT Width - Auto
PCIE - Spread Spectrum - Disabled
CPU Spread Spectrum - Disabled
AMD K8 Cool & Quiet Control - Auto
Super BIOS Protect - Disabled
Auto Detect PCI CLK - Enabled

[U]Advanced Chipset Features[/U]
Frame Buffer Size - 128MB
(Avail. Opt. 256MB, Disabled)

[U]Super IO Devices[/U]
OnBoard FDC Controller - Enabled
OnBoard Serial Port 1 - 3F8/IRQ4
Serial Port 2 - IrDA
(Avail. Opt. - Normal, ASKIR)
IrDA Duplex Mode - Half
(Avail. Opt. - Full)
OnBoard Parallel Port - 378/IRQ7
Parallel Port Mode - SPP
(Avail. Opt. - SPP, EPP, ECP, ECP + EPP)
ECP Mode Use DMA - 3 (<- Locked Entry)
So far, I have come to understand that running my 800Mhz at DDR400 is correct. I have been trying to research as much as I can with CPU and RAM overclocking techniques and procedures. A lot of it I just can't seem to commit to memory. I'm tech-savvy and know this and that about hardware and such, but internal info is a bit beyond my comprehension at the moment.

As I said in my post at Tom's, I'm not expecting to run GTA5 with my current specs. I just don't see an option for me to buy or build a better computer in my forseeable future as of now, so I'd just like to dial in some settings to make sure I'm reaching peak performance. Without overheating or causing any damage, of course. Now, I do have a spare set of RAM modules that were previously installed in this PC, so if I do ruin the ones I have now, I have those as a backup. There are a few games I am able to play and enjoy, but they lag here and there. If there is anything I can do to reduce lag, that would be great!

If anyone wouldn't mid helping me sort out other issues, I would be very grateful. I'm open to suggestions for a better GPU with this setup, maybe something I can use that will be 'future-proof' for a future build? For now, I'll focus on dialing in my memory settings.

Thanks for reading! Looking forward to furthering my understanding of RAM settings.

I have CPU-Z, PCI-Z, GPU-Z, and HWiNFO at the ready if anyone needs more info.
Please, don't reply telling me to save money and build a new PC. I know this already. Thank you :)
 

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Cheapest Man On Earth
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640 Posts
The 400MHZ listed by CPU-Z is half of the 'effective RAM speed', so with that plus the timings you have then you should be about as good as you can get it. The SPD tab in CPU-Z will show you the default timings you should be able to run at for a given speed. As long as you are running those timings or lower for the same MHZ in the Memory tab then you are doing pretty good.



As far as overclocking RAM and matching sticks, it probably doesn't matter much in your case. If you are running 800MHZ CL6 sticks at full speed with CL5, then I doubt there is much headroom left. You can only get the performance to be as good as the weakest link, but your 2 sticks appear to be performing well.



What resolution are you running at? I run a lot of low spec machines at 1366 x 768 and still have to lower it from there in order to get games to run less choppy. Some weak Intel Atom machines running at 854 x 480 were the only way to get them to do anything with 3D graphics. Turning down eye candy, draw distances, lowering or disabling shadows, along with lower resolutions will reduce the looks of a game. If you have a choice between good looks at 6 FPS or ugly at better than 30 FPS then ugly is the only way it is playable.


Keep an eye out for free upgrades. I too am not a fan of the "Just buy a (some expensive current hardware), bro!" mentality, but you may be able to put those type of people to work for you. I've helped people set up new systems and gotten their old stuff as payment. I'm currently running an AMD 4870 that was given to me a couple of years ago after helping a friend upgrade, and he got his newer GPU from another friend who had upgraded.



If you are willing to put the time in to hunt stuff down, there are places online where people are throwing away systems that may be better than what you are running now. Check out forums, Craigslist, Freecycle and similar sites, or just walk around on garbage night and see what you can dig up. If you have no cash to spend then you have to spend effort to hunt things down, and it can definitely pay off for you. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The 400MHZ listed by CPU-Z is half of the 'effective RAM speed', so with that plus the timings you have then you should be about as good as you can get it. The SPD tab in CPU-Z will show you the default timings you should be able to run at for a given speed. As long as you are running those timings or lower for the same MHZ in the Memory tab then you are doing pretty good.



As far as overclocking RAM and matching sticks, it probably doesn't matter much in your case. If you are running 800MHZ CL6 sticks at full speed with CL5, then I doubt there is much headroom left. You can only get the performance to be as good as the weakest link, but your 2 sticks appear to be performing well.



What resolution are you running at? I run a lot of low spec machines at 1366 x 768 and still have to lower it from there in order to get games to run less choppy. Some weak Intel Atom machines running at 854 x 480 were the only way to get them to do anything with 3D graphics. Turning down eye candy, draw distances, lowering or disabling shadows, along with lower resolutions will reduce the looks of a game. If you have a choice between good looks at 6 FPS or ugly at better than 30 FPS then ugly is the only way it is playable.


Keep an eye out for free upgrades. I too am not a fan of the "Just buy a (some expensive current hardware), bro!" mentality, but you may be able to put those type of people to work for you. I've helped people set up new systems and gotten their old stuff as payment. I'm currently running an AMD 4870 that was given to me a couple of years ago after helping a friend upgrade, and he got his newer GPU from another friend who had upgraded.



If you are willing to put the time in to hunt stuff down, there are places online where people are throwing away systems that may be better than what you are running now. Check out forums, Craigslist, Freecycle and similar sites, or just walk around on garbage night and see what you can dig up. If you have no cash to spend then you have to spend effort to hunt things down, and it can definitely pay off for you. Good luck!
So, I successfully updated my BIOS from P05 to P10 (version descriptors). Not much change there. I thought maybe it would unlock some RAM settings features or updated preferences as far as "Optimized Defaults" are concerned because, come to find out, I have no settings where I can change RAM timing and frequency. I can mess with voltage, but I'm not knowledgeable enough at this point to mess with that. I'm not sure what my mobo's RAM voltage is set to even, as it isn't displayed in BIOS. Sooo, it seems I am stuck with it at 6-6-6-18, when it should probably be at 5-5-5-15. Even my grandma's old garbage HP mobo (which I am still grateful of receiving it for free!) had the ability to set timings. You win some, you lose some, I guess.

--------------------------------------

If you don't mind reading, I'll give you a rundown of some parts I own and experiments I've performed (MUAHAHA!):

I have a Lenovo Intel mobo, in-case with everything EXCEPT the hard drive caddy! My brother brought it home from work. If whoever salvaged from it would have taken JUST the HDD, I might have been in good shape.

I also have an Compaq Presario CQ5300Y low spec model from like 2008? Which was my grandma's and came in handy for me after my laptop died (I took it apart a few times and cleared the dust out successfully. The last time I did that, I think I screwed in the heatsink with a bit too much force and may have cracked the CPU. Or it overheated after breaking it free of the heatsink and not applying new thermal paste.)

Since the Lenovo ran at 3.0Ghzx2 and the Compaq ran at 2.3Ghzx2, I decided "Oh, I can just swap the mobo and PSU and that will be that!"

Little did I know, the HP used an 'inverted' type of PSU (literally upside-down). Swapped the PSU and mobo, then when I went to plug it in and turn it on (crossing my fingers, toes, and every hair on my head) "psssss-POP!" light flash from inside the case. I assume I blew the PSU's capacitors, since they were all upside down, the way I had to install it.

-------------------------------

I don't think the mobo was damaged. My hard drive and memory sticks that were installed were fine after the PSU blowout. *ahem* "fine" lol. I keep thinking about trying to swap the mobo again to see if it works, but the audio and usb connectors are all wired differently and I would have to meticulously rewire them... again! ...and possibly rewire them all over again if the process is a failure.

If I knew my power consumption with all of the parts I'm using in contrast with the 350w PSU I have, AND if the 24-pin mainboard PSU connector is universally wired, I might attempt it again... but as for now, I'm thinking about just spending $80 on a general office desktop (HP or Dell), maybe swapping mobo from it into my current case.

But, if the power consumption is too high with my PCIe card, there's more money for a PSU. Only 1-2GB of RAM? more money. Seems like there are some decent quad-core desktops for cheap out there, but idk if it's worth buying one or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Also, with my RAM being stuck at 6-6-6-18, frequency in CPU-Z is stuck at 200Mhz per stick. It jumps up to 368.x then 400.x and back down to a steady 200.

I can actually play some games with decent settings (med-high) at 1280x720 with the outdated Nvidia card I have. I am thankful for that! 720p isn't bad at all imo. Most Playstation 3 games run at a native 720p. I'm still really excited about it actually! Haha, as I'm used to being forced to play at low-ultra low settings and dial res down to 1024x768 most of the time.

Oh, and thanks for the input you provided!
 

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Cheapest Man On Earth
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640 Posts
If you go for another cheap PC you can get something pretty decent for cheap. There are tons of 3rd gen i5's for a bit over $100 (and up obviously). The PSU's are mostly standard plugs with a small form factor from what I understand. Getting all of that plus a legit Windows license (if you use that OS) is a pretty sweet deal. There are some cheap graphics cards that will work fine without replacing the PSU, although the small form factor PC's would need a different case to fit a larger card. You could also hunt the forums for people upgrading, occasionally I see amazing deals on here that last a few hours before someone grabs it up.

I was running a GT 710 on my machine with a 90 watt PicoPSU and an 80 watt power brick for a while. Undervolted my G1850 Celeron and the whole machine drew under 60 watts running full tilt. I picked up the card simply because I didn't have any PCI-E cards for troubleshooting and it was $30 a few years back from a Newegg shell shocker deal. It obviously wasn't anything special, but it was an upgrade from the iGPU. I eventually upgraded to the 4870 and swapped the GT 710 to a C2Quad rig.

I found on a deals thread here that EVGA has sales on their B-Stock (refurb) which can be insanely cheap:

https://www.evga.com/products/productlist.aspx?type=8

If you dig through all of the cards and specs, you can find something that is a decent upgrade for around ~$30 - $40, and if you sign up for the emails they have sales for under $20 for the cheapest 710's. Just check the specs because some of the 730's have weaker processors than some of the 710's, and not all 710's are equal. They also have some 1030's, but at that point you start getting closer to the cost of just buying a Ryzen 5 2400G. I grabbed a 2400G off another forum for cheap and now just waiting for the appropriate B450 motherboards to drop in the next few weeks.

The C2Quad is still amazingly capable for it's age. Got a Q6600 OC'ed just under 3GHZ with 6GB RAM and the previously mentioned GT 710. Very similar performance wise to my Celeron, just with that old quad core throwing off a ton more heat.
 
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