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3200XL and 3500+ "Adventures in Stability"


HULK

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I have researched this issue, and followed it for a long while and noticed that this is a VERY common problem. My issues arent limmited to memtest however, as HL2 gives memory errors, SUPERpi doesnt always pass, and its difficult to get through a pass of Prime95. I have personally tried just about everything to get my ram to run at specified speed, but to no avail. In the process i did find many helpful tweaks to minimize my memtest failures, but have not been able to totally alleviate them (test 5 is a bugger). First thing i did was swap out my Antec 480W PSU for an X-Connect 500W PSU, thought that was gonna do the trick, but once the computer warmed up, same old memtest errors. Then I tried replacing the ram at Fry's for an identical pair, didnt help one bit. Swapped out my current mobo MSI K8n Neo2 for an Abit AV8, thinking maybe the change in chipset might make a difference, nope. The only component left is the CPU, and i wont have the cash to drop on a new CPU for a couple weeks. So in the meantime i decided to play around with a few bios settings and scour the internet for any clues as to what might be causing my problem. In the process i did find many helpful tweaks to minimize my memtest failures, but have not been able to totally alleviate them.

 

First thing i did was put my ram back into slots 1 and 2, really seemed to aid in general stability during games.

One VERY helpful hint i found was in regards to the Vdimm setting on Neo2 boards. There is an issue where, when setting the Trcd to 2, you lose .1v on the Vdimm. So if you set your Vdimm to 2.8, you will effectively be running at 2.7, below the reccomended voltage for this ram. I have tested this with my motherboard and found this to be true! To alleviate this problem you can simply use Codereds A64 Tweaker and reset the Trcd to 2 and have is start with windows. As a reference for this issue, you can look here:

 

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=46730

 

Alot of helpful information for Neo2 owners.

 

One thing i discovered last night really got my hopes up. I was reading a post on these forums about a user who tried to raise thier APG voltage in hopes to gain stability with thier 3200XL. While i did infact try this, it didnt really help, but it did get me thinking about a certain voltage mod for my videocard, where by flashing it, you can mod the voltage it recieves, no soldering required! Many people have been able to greatly improve thier overclocks using this technique, i was hoping it lend to general overall stability in memtest. I knew it was a long shot, but i figured i would give it a shot. Instructions for this mod were found here:

 

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=785299

 

There are several different bios' there with different voltages and timings. By default my 6800GT gets 1.3 volts, the modded bioses generally raise that to a 1.4, what the Ultras run at. First one i tried was the rev3 BFG 6800U OC bios. Flashed it, then underclocked it from 420/1100 to 400/1000 and ran the memtest for windows, and to my surprise i was actually able to get through an entire pass without a single error! While i know you should be able to run it for hours without a single error, 1 pass was a huge leap from several errors within the first 10%. This got me pretty excited, even though early on in the second pass i got my first error. I decided to try different bioses that were volt modded GT bioses, but they didnt give the overall stability of the rev3 BFG 6800U OC bios.

 

Memtest86 still manges to fail on test 5, i can pass it about 1 in 4, getting 2 to 6 errors on each failed pass. The bios settings i use and found to have the best rate of passing are as follows:

 

Aggresive Timing: Disable

NV/ATI Speed UP: Disable

Dram Drive Strength: Normal

Spread Spectrum: Enabled

HT Frequency: 5X

Cool n Quiet: Disabled

PCI Clock Auto Detect: Enabled

Adjust CPU Vid: 1.55

CPU Voltage 3.3%

Memory Voltage: 2.85

AGP Voltage: 1.5

 

Some of these settings are hidden require the v1.36 modded bios or in the bios press and hold Shift+F2 and then press ALT+F3 to unlock the "hidden" features within the BIOS.

 

That is about it, if i learn anything new i'll be sure to post. Please let me know what you all think, input is appreciated, thanks.

 

My system specs are as follows:

 

3500+ newcastle

MSI K8N Neo2

Corsair 3200XL

BFG 6800GT

X-Connect 500W PSU

2X WD 36gig Raptors Raid 0

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It's not clear what your objective is, but you've done a lot of work for essentially nothing IMNHO. I mean the difference in performance between an A64 system running 2-2-2 and 3-4-4 timings is so minuscule it's less than one-tenth of one percent in system performance. In addition MSI has noted on their website that they have issues with a lot of popular memory modules. You are correct that the nForce chipsets are part of the issue as they are hyper-sensitive to noise in the HT. The issue doesn't seem to be with the memory as much as with the nForce chipset and Mobo BIOS from what I am seeing. Changing CPU/RAM/Mobo aren't likely to resolve the minor timing issue. Just set the timing stable and be done with it. You couldn't possibly tell the difference in operation from 2-2-2 to 2-3-2.
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My objective is, to get my system running at the correct default ram timings of 2225, under stock timings.

 

Response when opening software is much snappier, and although i realize that in real world performance, you can only hope for about a 3fps increase in games, max. I like the quicker feel, and knowing that i'm running at optimal speeds. If i wanted 3-4-4 ram, i wouldnt have spent the cash for 222. That's one reason i posted this under enthusiast. Also, i have tried 2-3-2, doesnt help one way or the other, memtest86 fails at about the same rate. Also, in order to acutally see the difference in ram timings you can use everest and run the read, write and latency tests. Works well when coupled with A64 tweaker to see what settings really make a difference, and which ones can be relaxed.

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Does anyone have any ideas as to what could be causing this problem? From what i can tell, the majority of people that seem to have this issue are running 3500+ newcastles. If you do a google of 3200XL and memtest, there are an awful lot results showing people having problems with their newcastles. Particularly 3500+ and 3200+ versions.

 

Perhaps it can be traced back to the integrated memory controller on the cpu, i'm not sure. All i know is, i have swapped out all components, pending cpu and videocard, and i seriously doubt the card is the culprit. I plan to invest in a new cpu in the near future, and i have a different brand of low latency memory on order due friday. I don't know what to make of things if this other brand works out, but by the time i'm done, i'll have 2 full PC's to play with. :headbang2

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Got my new ram today and can now easily run 2225 timings, stable as can be. I'm currently runnig a FSB of 210 with super aggresive timings in A64. I suspected this might fix my stability issues, and sure enough it has. More input would have been appreciated, but i guess no one visits the enthusiast section much.
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It's not moderated at all. Most people don't consider themselves enthusiasts I think.

 

:laughing: Ha Ha yeah i guess so. I consider myself and enthusiast, based on the simple fact that i way too large a % of my paycheck on computer parts and upgrades. I just bought a set of klipsch 5.1's last night with my tax returns lol! Also, i spend more time tweaking my computer than i do actually playing games, for these reasons alone, i'd consider myself an enthusiast :D:

 

PS: My new ram is working out great, i'm actually able to overclock it at 2225 to about 210 fsb with complete stability, 212 is almost stable. I ordered the OCZ ram booster to see if i can get it up to DDR 430'ish 2225 timings. Once i get the money, i'm goining to get another CPU and place my 3200XL's in that one, this time i'm going to make sure it doesnt use a newcastle core, because i honestly believe that memtest errors are related to the 3200XL's super aggresive timings and the memory controller on the CPU's using the newcastle core.

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I didnt order TCCD's, sorry if i was misleading to that point. Got the ram booster today, its working out well, got ram stable at 212fsb 2225 1T. Still working on 215, dont wanna raise Vdimm much higher than the 3.0 its already at however, ram get really hot :eek:
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I had Corsair 3200XL's, they wouldnt run as specified so i bought another brand of low latency ram. This new ram runs at 212 2225 timings, stable as can be in memtest and gaming, with the new ram i was able to achieve stability by raising the vdimm to 3.0
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I changed htt to 4X, didnt help anything, so i put it back at 5. I like to have my settings as aggressive as possible, and still mainatain stability. 3200XL's dont run stable at 2225 with my cpu and mobo. I've been running ballisitx PC3200 at 2225 210fsb and have had no problems at all. Even with long sessions of everquest2 or HL2. I can get it up to ddr 430 with my ram booster, but it gets waaay hotter than i want it, and i doint feel like adding another fan and thus more noise to cool it.
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I changed htt to 4X, didnt help anything, so i put it back at 5. I like to have my settings as aggressive as possible, and still mainatain stability. 3200XL's dont run stable at 2225 with my cpu and mobo. I've been running ballisitx PC3200 at 2225 210fsb and have had no problems at all. Even with long sessions of everquest2 or HL2. I can get it up to ddr 430 with my ram booster, but it gets waaay hotter than i want it, and i doint feel like adding another fan and thus more noise to cool it.

 

You missed the point...changing the htt to 4 WON'T "change anything...noticeably" but your running a faster bus than you need to. You are risking instability leaving it at 5 and it may be why you were having problems with the other ram. "The HTT is the link between the CPU and the Chipset, that runs at a certain speed. Note that any speed above 800Mhz is pretty much overkill, you don't need it because you simply have too little devices to use all the bandwidth."

 

"Most AMD Motherboards are designed to handle an 800-1000 MHz Hyper Transport bus. Factory Default on Most CPUs is 800 MHz (A 4X Multiplier) this is a Critical part of Overclocking an A64 to the Max. Pushing the HyperTransport past 1Ghz can cause all kinds of system instability that is commonly misconceived as "I maxed out my CPU" or "My Ram is holding me back"

 

(Taken from an A64 OC guide from ExtremeOC.com)

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I guess i should have said, i put the htt to 4X on my 3200XL's and it didnt help. I did everything in the book to get them to run at spec's. They do not work with my cpu, mobo combination. Edit: That is an interesting quote however, I never caught that about the AMD 64's. While i did try lowering it as standard toubleshooting procedures with my 3200XL's, i havent tried lowering it to see what kind of stability i can achieve with my ballistix. DDR430 would be the goal. Currently it runs at DDR420 2225 1t. I use A64 tweaker and set all settings most aggresive, and its been running great for the past few weeks, including long EQ2 marathons and HL2 which is aggresive on memory.
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