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VS1GBKIT400 and Soyo KT600 Plus: BIOS Settings / Compatibility


halfnium

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My system: Soyo KT600 Plus motherboard AMD 2800+ CPU (333MHz FSB, Barton Core) Corsair VS1GBKIT400 I encounter intermittent errors that seem to be related to the memory system. For instance, installation of Win XP Pro via boot from ATAPI CD fails when one file or another cannot be retrieved properly from the CD. The particular file varies from one attempt to another. I've also encountered the "blue screen of death" during this process. I bought the items descibed above from Tiger Direct, with whom I've enjoyed good results in this past. They recommended the particular Corsair product, which is a member of the "Value Select" family. I have tried everything that I can think of, short of manually monkeying with CAS and other timing. I've relied on the motherboard's SPD options for memory timing. Tiger Direct are no help. They forward me to 800 numbers for AMD (absurd) and Soyo (20 miniutes of 'phone hell, followed by being dumped back to dial tone). The Soyo U.S.A. website recommends Corsair XMS CMX512-3200C2 for this motherboard. The Corsair website names the same part (for the "enthusiast") but also names the -3700 and -4000 for more aggressive O/C use. Looks to me like Tiger Direct recommended the wrong memory. So three questions: 1) Is there any way that I can make the motherboard and memory I have work properly together? What particular CPU, FSB, and memory clock & timings are appropriate? 2) If not, please recommend for which Corsair memory I ought to exchange the memory that I currently have. Please recommend settings as well. Please note that I plan to swap out the AMD 2800+ (333MHz FSB) in favor of a 3200+ (400MHz FSB) or quicker processor once prices fall, perhaps next year. 3) Could you guys work more closely with Tiger Direct and other bare-bones system sellers to educate them as to what does / does not work properly? This episode has spoiled my Christmas and (because tech support is expensive) destroyed your and Tiger Direct's profitability on the sale to me. Thanks and best regards, Halfnium
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  • Corsair Employees
First thing is, I am sorry that you are having trouble, But the MB you have may require that you set the memory Freq. manually to run at DDR333, depending on the speed of the CPU you have installed. This is a chipset limitation. If the FSB of your CPU is 400 For Intel and 100 MHz for AMD, the memory speed supports only DDR 266. If the FSB of your CPU is 533 For Intel and 133 MHz for AMD, the memory speed supports DDR 266/333 If the FSB of your CPU is 800 MHz for Intel and 200 MHz for AMD, the memory speed supports DDR 333/400 Please try this as an example, CPU Freq:166Mhz Memory Freq: 100% or 100% for CPU Freq of 166 or More Resulting Frequency: 166MHz SDRAM CAS Latency: 2.5T SDRAM RAS to CAS Delay (tRCD): 3T SDRAM Row Precharge (tRP): 3T SDRAM Active to Precharge Delay (tRAS): 7T And I would set the Dim Voltage to 2.7 Volts and leave any performance setting to AUTO or bios default. But if you try to run the memory at DDR400 or at default settings and the CPU at 166 MHz it will cause a bottleneck in the chipset and may generate random errors that are not from the memory.
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Dear RAM Guy, I very much appreciate your quick reply, especially just the day after Christmas! OK, I've applied your suggestions, but I still experience failure in loading Win XP from CD, as previously described. Just to make sure that I understood and applied your suggestions correctly, here's what the system says: BOOT-TIME MESSAGES * The CPU is (correctly) identified as an AMD 2800+ * The memory walk sees the full gigabyte of RAM. (Note that I've followed the Soyo web site's suggestion to install the two DIMMs in slots 1 and 3.) * "Memory clock is: DDR 333" BIOS SETTINGS & INFO Advanced Chipset Features screen * System BIOS cacheable: disabled * Video RAM cacheable: disabled * Auto Detect DIMM/PCI Clk: Disabled * CPU Frequency Mode: Manual * Frequency 1Mhz Stepping: 166 DRAM Clock / Drive Control * DRAM Clock: 166 MHz * DRAM Timing: Manual * DRAM CAS Latency: 2.5 * Bank Interleave: 4 Bank * tRP: 3T * tRAS: Non-DDR400 / DDR 400: 7T / 10T * tRCD: 3T * DRAM Burst Length: 4 * DRAM Burst Command Rate: 2T Command * Write Recovery Time: 3T * tWTR for DDR400 only: 3T * DRAM Access Time: 3T PC Health Status * VCore: 1.64V * +3.3V: 3.31V * +5V: 4.99V * 12V: 12.22V * DDR Voltage: 2.67V If I've done this right and the system still doesn't work, isn't the next step to exchange the Value Select memory for XMS? Or , have you any other suggestions? Sorry to bother you for the sake of just one system. I wish that I were some big OEM with 10,000 systems at stake, but I'm not. Regards, Halfnium
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  • Corsair Employees
They should work at these settings, I would try and test the modules one at a time with [url]www.memtest86.com[/url] and lets make sure it's not just one failing module. If you do find one failing lets try replacing the module. Please send us a email with a copy of the [URL=http://www.corsairmemory.com/main/rma_request.xls]form[/URL] or all of your info name address and phone# and the Module part# and copy the link to this post and email it to [email]Warranty@corsairmemory.com[/email]. Or you can also use the [URL=http://www.corsairmemory.com/main/rma_request.html]On Line RMA Request Form[/URL] as well. If after 1 day or 24 hours excluding weekends you do not get the rma please email the same to [email]warranty@corsairmemory.com[/email] and we will help to resolve it.
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Dear RAM Guy, It's worth a bit of humiliation to get my system going. Your suggestion to try one DIMM at a time was so obvious, so brilliant, that I hadn't thought of it. So I removed the DIMM in slot three and tried to load Win XP. No problems! Wow, I'm getting someplace: That suggests that the DIMM I'd removed was flakey. Just for good measure, I swapped out the known-good DIMM in slot 1 in favor of the supposedly flakey one. To my surprise, the Win XP load repeated successfully. Could it be that the motherboard was unable to drive two 512MB modules at the same time? But no. When I once again tried both DIMMs, the Win XP load went fine. All I can imagine is that I hadn't seated one or the other of the DIMMs properly, creating the opportunity for intermittent failure. So there is my humiliation and a lesson for all: Don't get caught up in the RAS / CAS details until you're certain of your mechanical assembly! But there are a couple of wins here. First, you get a case study in the application of a particular Corsair product to a particular motherboard and processor. May that be useful to other customers. Second, I've documented a known-good BIOS configuration to which I can fall back. Thanks so much! Regards, Halfnium p.s. -- I hope that I do not speak too soon. I haven't tried memtest86.exe yet. That's a wee bit problematic without having an operating system in place. I'll try it later and let you know how it goes.
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  • Corsair Employees
Well you probably will be fine, But I would suggest setting the memory Freq so the memory is at DDR333 and you will want to stagger the modules one in slot 1 and one in slot 3 and I would set the Dim Voltage to 2.7 Volts.
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Dear RAM Guy, Well, I am not so humiliated after all, which is to say that this system is still giving me trouble. With the sysytem seeming to operate so well, I started up the multi-hour download that Microsoft demands in order to bring a new Win XP installation up to current rev. When I looked again a few hours later, I found that the system had rebooted itself. It displayed a nasty message about a checksum error in the BIOS ROM. After a power down / power up cycle, it attempted to boot but reported inability to read certain Win XP files (such as the all-important SYSYEM file). In the course of several power up/down cycles, removal and reseating of DIMMs, and resets of the CMOS settings, I saw all sorts of bizarre error messages and odd behaviors. There was one (it happened just once) complaint of a dead CMOS battery. The ROM BIOS checksum error recuured a few times. The boot started but the filesystem proved inaccessible. Weirdest of all is an interaction between the number of DIMMs installed and initial power-up behavior. This KT600 Dragon Plus motherboard includes a feature designed to ptotect against CPU overheat: If the CPU fan is not detected as turning, the system immediately beeps and shuts down. Of course I have a fan on the CPU, and the BIOS reports its RPMs (if I'm able to reach the BIOS screens). Well get this: With one DIMM installed, the system boots without complaint. With both DIMMs installed the system usually (but not always) shuts down due to not seeing the fan! One versus two DIMMs makes a difference early in the boot cycle! I was able to get Win XP going again with just one DIMM installed. I suffered one reported "major" failure durng the later portion of the boot process, but Win XP apparently repaired itself from its transaction log and previous system snapshot. So I'm back with my earlier diagnosis, that this board is unstable with two of these DIMMs. Soyo's recommendation (which I've followed) to use no more than two PC3200 DIMMs (instead of all three slots) and to place them in slots one and three suggest marginal behavior. Should I also be concerned that the DRAM power is reported as 2.67 volts rather than the 2.7 volts you recommended? The difference is about 14%. Unfortunately, neither the BIOS nor on-board jumpers provide a way to change power voltages. You previously suggested opening an RMA with Corsair. But why would I bother you guys with that? It was Tiger Direct who sold me the whole kit, motherboard, memory, CPU and all. I plan to bug them first. Any other ideas you might have would be welcome. Regarding your last comments above: Yes I have the memory clock set to 333 MHz, and the BIOS reports 333 MHz at boot time. When trying both DIMMs, I place them in slots one and three. Altenatively, I place just one DIMM in slot one. And, as mentioned above, I'm unable to set DRAM voltage to 2.7 volts. Regards, Halfnium
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  • Corsair Employees
Well I am not sure as I have not tested this MB, But I would make sure that you have not set any of the performance options in the bios as this may cause a problem. Also please make sure that you have the latest bios for the MB you have as that may help. And if you have not done so I would test the modules one at a time with [url]www.memtest86.com[/url] and let's make sure you don’t have a bad module.
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Dear RAM Guy, Thanks for the lead to memtest86. It runs like blazes, includes algorithms that force adjacent cell exercise in spite of cache, and it's FREE. Can't beat it. I ran memtest86 with several memory configurations: 1) I arbitrarily labeled the two DIMMs "A" and "B" so that I could keep track of them. With "A" in slot one and "B" in slot three, memtest86 reported 60,000 errors in one pass of the test suite. 2) Testing "A" in slot one yields zero errors in a full pass through the test suite. 3) Testing "A" in slot three yields zero errors in a full pass through the test suite. 4) Booting "B" in slot one results in the "ROM BIOS checksum" error message. The system never completes the boot. 5) Booting "B" in slot three results in a blank screen. 6) Replacing "B" with "A" returns the system to proper operation Conclusion: Humbled again by the implacable logic of testing, I think that I have a bad module after all. If so, how do I proceed? Do I work the RMA with Corsair or Tiger Direct? Do I return both modules (since I bought them in a twin pack), or do I keep the apparent good one and return only the bad one? Would there be any advantage in returning both the good and the bad anyway in trade for another pair that have been built in the same lot and tested together? As always, thanks for your advice. Regards, Halfnium
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Let's get that modules replaced. Please send us a email with a copy of the [URL=http://www.corsairmemory.com/main/rma_request.xls]form[/URL] or all of your info name address and phone# and the Module part# and copy the link to this post and email it to [email]Rma@corsairmemory.com[/email]. Or you can also use the [URL=http://www.corsairmemory.com/main/rma_request.html]On Line RMA Request Form[/URL] as well. If after 1 day or 24 hours excluding weekends you do not get the RMA please email the same to [email]warranty@corsairmemory.com[/email] and we will help to resolve it.
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Dear RAM Guy, OK, I've e-mailed the form to Corsair's RMA department and sent you a separate e-mail confirmation. BTW, that .XLS RMA request form is a bit weird. Have a look at it when you get a moment. I applied a few changes to the form that I submitted. Hope they might be useful. In the longer run, a .PDF with variable fields would serve you better, IMHO. Thanks again for your help. Regards, Halfnium
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  • 2 weeks later...
Dear RAM Guy, Having finished tweaking and testing the system discussed in this thread, I'm ready to report results. Hope they may be helpful. Summary: I'm getting 11% better main memory (i.e. RAM) performance after tweaking the CMOS more aggressively than the settings you'd recommended for safe operation. Since the ratio of raw L1 cache to RAM throughput is (according to memtest86) nearly 21:1, RAM is a potential performance chokepoint. I'll take all of the RAM performance that I can get! With the Barton core on my 2800+ XP, AMD has gone as far as they can go (or maybe even gone a little overboard) at throwing cache at the memory system problem. The good old days of synchronized CPU and RAM clocking are a distant memory. I've also tweaked up the performance of the AGP and PCI interfaces. None of the tweaks involves overclocking. So (depending upon how one looks at it), there is margin either for pushing performance a little higher via O/C or for maintaining a cool & stable system. A Public Thank You: I've seen some less-than-useful sour grapes posts on this forum. You've been pretty tolerant of them, IMHO. Well, I want to line up on the side of the satisfied Corsair customers. Satisfied customers tend to go away happy without offering comment. For a change, you deserve some positive feedback in return for the good, prompt guidance you provided in the midst of the startup headaches my new system has given me. General Approach: As you suggested, I used the standalone memtest86 ([url]http://www.memtest86.com[/url]) to probe for memory system weaknesses. I also used Sis Software's Sandra ([url]http://www.sisoftware.net/[/url]) and AquaMark's AquaMark3 ([url]http://www.aquamark3.com[/url]) online benchmarks to stress-test the greater system. (Note: All are available at no charge.) Beginning with the CPU / cache / memory system core and working outward to the filesystem and graphics controller, I would tweak just one setting at a time and then extensively test and "burn in" the system. If a particular tweak caused a problem, I'd back off to a safe setting and try another one. This required several days of patient testing, particularly with memtest 86, which beats the Hell out of a memory system over several hours. Details: Please note that I've been testing with a 512MB Value Select DIMM, one of a pair of two packaged together under model number VS1GBKIT400. I'll perform more testing once the other, non-functioning DIMM is repaired / replaced by Corsair's RMA department. Also note that this is PC3200 memory being used in a PC2700 application: Don't necessarily expect PC2700 memory to provide the same results. A previous post shows "safe" CMOS settings. The more aggressive settings follow: BOOT-TIME MESSAGES * The CPU is (correctly) identified as an AMD 2800+ * "Memory clock is: DDR 333" BIOS SETTINGS & INFO Advanced Chipset Features screen * System BIOS cacheable: disabled * Video RAM cacheable: disabled * Auto Detect DIMM/PCI Clk: Disabled * CPU Frequency Mode: Manual * Frequency 1Mhz Stepping: 166 DRAM Clock / Drive Control * DRAM Clock: 166 MHz * DRAM Timing: Manual * DRAM CAS Latency: 1.5 * Bank Interleave: 4 Bank * tRP: 2T * tRAS: Non-DDR400 / DDR 400: 5T / 6T * tRCD: 3T * DRAM Burst Length: 8 * DRAM Burst Command Rate: 1T Command * Write Recovery Time: 2T * tWTR for DDR400 only: 3T * DRAM Access Time: 2T PC Health Status * VCore: 1.64V * +3.3V: 3.31V * +5V: 4.99V * 12V: 12.22V * DDR Voltage: 2.67V In a nutshell, only tRCD could not be changed to the most aggressive possible (i.e. lowest latency) setting. If tRCD were reduced to 2T, memtest86 would hang at test# 2 (with cache disabled, write each location with its own address). For the "safe" settings you recommended, memtest86 reported RAM throughput of 609 MB/sec. With the aggressive settings shown above, memtest86 reported 675 MB/sec. The memtest86 website does not explain how these numbers are computed. The AquaMark3 3D benchmark reported a score of 12.86 for the tweaked memory system running with Chaintech's FX-5600XT display controller. No display problems were evident after dozens of benchmark runs and many hours of 2D "drag & drop" operations under Win XP Pro. The CMOS settings for AGP were: Aperture: 256MB Mode: 8X Driving: Auto Fast Write: Enabled Master 1 WS Write: Enabled Master 1 WS Read: Enabled Calibration Cycle: Enabled Finally, I enabled PCI Delayed Transactions. Extensive testing with Win XP Pro generally and with the Sandra benchmark suite in particular have not uncovered any instability. So now I have a solid foundation. Next stop is a bit of overclocking. Too bad that Soyo's KT600 Dragon Plus motherboard does not provide any voltage adjustment controls. Thanks again for your help! Best regards, Halfnium
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  • 3 weeks later...
Dear RAM Guy, After many hours of changing one CMOS parameter at a time and testing with memtest86, I can report that these settings work with no stability problems, at default CPU and memory system clocking, with both of my Value Select 3200 DIMMs: BOOT-TIME MESSAGES * The CPU is (correctly) identified as an AMD 2800+ * "Memory clock is: DDR 333" BIOS SETTINGS & INFO Advanced Chipset Features screen * System BIOS cacheable: disabled * Video RAM cacheable: disabled * Auto Detect DIMM/PCI Clk: Disabled * CPU Frequency Mode: Manual * Frequency 1Mhz Stepping: 166 DRAM Clock / Drive Control * DRAM Clock: 166 MHz * DRAM Timing: Manual * DRAM CAS Latency: 2.0 * Bank Interleave: 4 Bank * tRP: 2T * tRAS: Non-DDR400 / DDR 400: 5T / 6T * tRCD: 3T * DRAM Burst Length: 8 * DRAM Burst Command Rate: 1T Command * Write Recovery Time: 2T * tWTR for DDR400 only: 3T * DRAM Access Time: 2T PC Health Status * VCore: 1.64V * +3.3V: 3.31V * +5V: 4.99V * 12V: 12.22V * DDR Voltage: 2.67V For the "safe" settings you recommended, memtest86 reported RAM throughput of 609 MB/sec. With the aggressive settings shown above, memtest86 reported 669 MB/sec. The only difference between the settings above and previously reported settings for just one of the Value Select DIMMs is that CAS had to be set to 2.0T; 1.5T produced error. Ans that's fine, a very good deal. I'm getting a nice performance boost out of the memory system without having to resort to overclocking. I'm done, won't bother you with this thread further. Thanks for all of your help. Regards, Halfnium
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