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Computer n00b needs overall help


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MSI K8N Diamond Plus Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 ATX AMD Motherboard


I got this MSI motherboard for the computer that I'm using right now. It it the first computer that I've built by myself and I'm pretty sure that I "done found me a good'n" when I chose this mobo other other mobos that were PCIExpress x16. I'm not really good at troubleshooting my problems concerning this and other products, but maybe someone here can help me finish up becuase I'm sure I'm doing something wrong.



XFX PV-T71G-UDE7 GeForce 7900 GT EXTREME (520MHz) 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card

AMD Athlon 64 4000+ San Diego 2000MHz HT 1MB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor


These are the other products that I got when I was building this computer. I put all of it in, and it works. But compared to other people with similar systems, my benchmark scores really suck. I got 53 FPS in Counter Strike: Source stress test and a score of 3434 points on 3dMark06. I'm sure that I"m doing something wrong.


First of all, the RAM, Corsair XMS, it's two sticks of 1GB each, and I put them in the first and second RAM slots. It works, and it registers as 2GB, but in the reviews on newegg.com it says that I have to "manually set the timings" to 2-3-3-6. What does this mean, and where do I do this in BIOS? I've looked, I have no clue ??? I ran Memtest on it for 2 hours, and it didnt bring up any errors, so I'm pretty sure that I have two good sticks of RAM.


The videocard was easiest to install, but I'm getting alot of artifacts in some of my games. Is this a driver problem or a videocard problem? Or maybe there's something in BIOS that I need to change? I'm a real n00b at building computers, seriously, BIOS is just abunch of gibberish to me. But most other people are getting 100+ FPS in CS:S stress test with highest settings while I"m stuck at the bottom with 53 FPS, and a 3434 score on 3dmark06. I havent overclocked anything, I dont overclock becuase I dont want to screw anything up. But this seems kinda wrong, and I dont know what the problem is.


I got the Athalon 64 4000+ single core processor, but I really dont know how it's affecting my performance. If there's anything that anyone can recommend me do, please say. I dont know if I should update the BIOS or not, I really dont want to take any chances of screwing things up because I payed alot of money for this mobo. Plus I've never done that before, what if I screw up?


Other things in my computer include:


Western Digital Raptor WD740GD 74GB 10,000 RPM 8MB Cache Serial ATA150 Hard Drive

ASPIRE ATX-AS520W BLACK ATX 520W Power Supply 115/230 V CB IEC 950/ TUV EN 60950/ UL 1950/ CSA 950

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card


I've disabled onboard sound, anything else I need to do?


I'm running Windows XP Home Service Pack 2. Thanks in advance for the help!

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1) Those latencies are set in the "advanced" area of your BIOS. 2-3-3-6 stands for:


CAS Latency: 2

RAS to CAS Delay: 3

Row Precharge: 3

Cycle Time (tRAS): 6


Also set the vDIMM or DDR Voltage to 2.8 volts as well and check which DIMM slots you should place the modules in to run dual-channel mode. This is detailed in your mainboard's manual under the memory installation section. It will have a chart showing which configurations will run in dual-channel mode.


2) Artifacts are often associated with high temperatures. Is your case well cooled? Do you have good airflow? (Often an intake in the front and an exhaust in the back.) Good coolers, etc? Perhaps you should look at aftermarket cooling as well.


3) Download the latest Forceware drivers from http://www.nvidia.com and don't bother using the drivers included with your videocard. They're very often outdated drivers. Follow the installation instructions carefully, including the parts about removing your old drivers. Instructions are included in the archive once you've unzipped/extraced it to a folder.




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