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 Post subject: Hitting a very low ceiling
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 7:14 pm 
Klamath
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Ok I've been reading up on overclocking -- how to do it and how it works and I decided to give it a go. I'll go ahead and give my specs then ask my question(s).
Mobo: SOYO Dragon2 V1.0
Proc: P4 2.4c
RAM: Kingston ValueRAM DDR400 Dualchannel (256x2)
PSU: generic 350W came with my Aspire case
Ok, my default CAS settings are 3-3-3-8 (@200MHz). The multiplier is 12x on the P4 2.4c. I understand how 12x200 gets me 2400, so thru the BIOS I adjusted my FSB to 201, then 202 and had no problems. I was at 2424MHz and I rebooted and tried 203FSB. The system took extra long to boot up, and gave me a Hard Disk Boot error. I hit continue and it tried to boot from LAN. So I went to the BIOS and bumped the FSB back down to 202, and my pc booted fine. Anyways, since I'm somewhat new to this, I'm asking what should I do to get my 203FSB to work? And why am I hitting such a low ceiling? (I know I have cheap ram, not great PSU, and average mobo, should I upgrade?)
I'm also curious, why would someone want to underclock their RAM? I'm referring to changing the CAS settings from 3-3-3-8 (@200MHz) to 2.5-3-3-7 (@166MHz) or to 2-2-2-6 (@133MHz). Can anyone explain to me what the advantages/disadvantages are to using the lower CAS settings?

TIA,
Josh
BTW this is for a college project (I'm supposed to learn about overclocking and I want to try it too)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 7:28 pm 
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ram, RAM RRRAAAAMMMM. value ram isnt made to run even 1mhz above its rating. forget about it. if you want to OC get some better ram. if you want to put more money in it then get a new mobo, and if you still have some more get a good CPU Heatsink/fan


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 7:34 pm 
All Your Basestar Are Belong to Us
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I'm going to ridiculously oversimplify CAS timing, but it's basically the number of clock cycles the memory waits before releasing data to the processor's L2 cache.

So, basically, you'd rather wait 2 cycles for the memory to release data than 3 cycles (thus CAS2 is preferrable to CAS3).

If you can overclock the FSB and not the PCI bus, doing that will help stability with respect to your harddrive interfaces and onboard peripherals.

You can also increase the voltage to the memory modules up one notch... I wouldn't go more than that.

Make sure everything is running at a decent temperature.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 7:40 pm 
Klamath
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gramaton cleric wrote:
ram, RAM RRRAAAAMMMM

ergrrgtkt!!
Aw man, I knew I'd have to spend money. :?
Number Six wrote:
So, basically, you'd rather wait 2 cycles for the memory to release data than 3 cycles (thus CAS2 is preferrable to CAS3).

Hmm, so changing my CAS from 3-3-3-8(@200) to 2.5-3-3-7(@167) will make it faster? How? I mean, will it give me more stability or allow me to overclock more or no? I'll try the CAS at 2.5 and see if it lets me get above 202FSB.
PS: What RAM would you guys recommend? And will I still be able to use my el cheapo ram with bad CAS timings alongside the newer better RAM? Or will I want to only use good ram while overclocking?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:57 pm 
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hotshotjosh wrote:
Hmm, so changing my CAS from 3-3-3-8(@200) to 2.5-3-3-7(@167) will make it faster? How? I mean, will it give me more stability or allow me to overclock more or no? I'll try the CAS at 2.5 and see if it lets me get above 202FSB.
PS: What RAM would you guys recommend? And will I still be able to use my el cheapo ram with bad CAS timings alongside the newer better RAM? Or will I want to only use good ram while overclocking?


It will lower your RAM's latencies. And basically, raising the latencies will allow more headroom for the RAM speed instead. If you're lowering your latencies and is already hitting a wall, lowering latencies will only stop you even shorter.

Seeing that your motherboard is a Soyo Dragon 2 v1.0, save the RAM upgrade. If you mingle differently rated RAM chips, the slower of the mix will take effect for the whole config.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:59 pm 
Klamath
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mkay I tried setting my CAS to 2.5-3-3-7 (which is recognized as DDR333 PC2700) and then tried moving my FSB up to 201, 202, and 203. When I try 203 I get the same problem (booting issues). Soo, I tried setting CAS lower to 2-2-2-6, but after I save and exit the BIOS, on boot up my system recognizes it as DDR400 instead of .. well I dunno I was expecting something like 266 not 400.

So, if anyone else has some enlightening comments, I would appreciate it. As of now, it looks like I should invest in some better, OC-friendly RAM. How do you guys feel about PC3500? Theoretically, couldn't you lower your CAS settings and keep 3200 speeds?
Thanks


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:07 pm 
Klamath
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OCNoob wrote:
Seeing that your motherboard is a Soyo Dragon 2 v1.0, save the RAM upgrade. If you mingle differently rated RAM chips, the slower of the mix will take effect for the whole config.

No don't tell me that! :(
Ok, since I'm not buying a new motherboard, I'm stuck with my +24MHz overclock? You don't think that I would get much more of an overclock if I replaced my current ram with better stuff? I'm willing to part with my valueRAM from Kingston, since I originally built my system on a budget. Man, I wish I would have started reading these forums before I built my first compy (would have gone with a better mobo & better RAM & bigger HD).

Is there hope yet for an overclock on my system? (I'll consider upgrading mobo I guess)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:09 pm 
Celeron
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hotshotjosh wrote:
mkay I tried setting my CAS to 2.5-3-3-7 (which is recognized as DDR333 PC2700) and then tried moving my FSB up to 201, 202, and 203. When I try 203 I get the same problem (booting issues). Soo, I tried setting CAS lower to 2-2-2-6, but after I save and exit the BIOS, on boot up my system recognizes it as DDR400 instead of .. well I dunno I was expecting something like 266 not 400.

So, if anyone else has some enlightening comments, I would appreciate it. As of now, it looks like I should invest in some better, OC-friendly RAM. How do you guys feel about PC3500? Theoretically, couldn't you lower your CAS settings and keep 3200 speeds?
Thanks


See what I'm talking about with the messed up mobo? :P

PC3500 is a good start. PC3700/4000 and up is better. Modules based off the Samsung TCCDs are best (you can tell by a PC3200 rating and 2-2-2 timings) or the Crucial Ballistix which use selected Micron Tech. chips that run as fast as TCCDs. Theoretically, you could lower the CAS latencies. Realistically, you probably can't. Don't ask me why, I'm no engineer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:16 pm 
Klamath
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OCNoob wrote:
See what I'm talking about with the messed up mobo? :P

:P

So you recommend I buy a new mobo because... if I buy better RAM, it wont give me the results I'm looking for with my Soyo Dragon 2 V1.0. In fact, I may plop down $200+ for schwank RAM with low timings and end up with the same problem (stuck at a 202MHz FSB). Now I'm looking at $315 for better mobo and better ram? Count me out. I'd probably just spend the rest of my life savings and build a whole new system.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:36 pm 
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Your processor is all that you have working in your favor. Aside from that, not much can be expected from Value RAM, and that mobo unfortunately just sucks for OCing.

If you do decide to upgrade one or the other, I would highly recommend the mobo first. Without some better RAM though, you'll likely be disappointed with the results.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 9:48 am 
Klamath
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Ok thanks for giving me the facts.
Anyone want to throw out a motherboard recommendation for a Socket 478 P4 2.4c? And while your at it I'd appreciate a recommendation for RAM too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 10:06 am 
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Certainly:

Motherboards
Asus P4P800-SE - $96 shipped
Abit IC7-G Max II - $140
Asus P4C800-E Deluxe - $175

The P4P800-SE is a Springdale (i865 chipset) and the other two are Canterwoods (i875). The Springdale hangs right there with the other two in terms of performance, and I was able to achieve a 1GHz overclock on that mobo with my 2.4C. That gets my recommendations, as the other two are a bit pricey for a s478 motherboard.

RAM
Corsair XMS PC4000 1gb kit - $246
OCZ Gold Rev2 PC4000 - $270

With the RAM, I'd recommend getting the highest speed you can comfortably afford/justify. You're going to see a bigger bandwidth boost by pushing that frontside bus as opposed to tightening the latencies. Either of the two above should give you stellar results and I'd be surprised if you ended up under 3-3.2GHz. Form a budget that you're comfortable with however, and shop around. There are other less expensive brands, as well as less expensive options (such as PC3500).

For a reference point, this is what I was able to achieve on a 2.4C, Asus P4P800, and OCZ Gold Rev2 PC3700 with air cooling:

Click to enlarge
Image

That's a 1GHz OC (2.4C @ 3.4GHz), 28C idle temp, 1141MHz fsb, and 6000+ memory bandwidth


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 10:45 am 
Klamath
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Hey thanks for the recommendations.
One4yu2c wrote:
this is what I was able to achieve on a 2.4C, Asus P4P800, and OCZ Gold Rev2 PC3700 with air cooling

Wow, lemme clear something up -- on air cooling? You don't mean stock I'm assuming, so what cooler did you use? Thermalright or Zalman?
BTW nice desktop background pic :D

Well, I'll have to think about if I can justify spending $300+ on an overclocking upgrade.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 11:02 am 
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hotshotjosh wrote:
Wow, lemme clear something up -- on air cooling? You don't mean stock I'm assuming, so what cooler did you use? Thermalright or Zalman?


I used a Zalman CNPS7000-cu with Arctic Silver 3 and, IIRC, 5 80mm case fans.

[quote="Well, I'll have to think about if I can justify spending $300+ on an overclocking upgrade.[/quote]

As much as I love overclocking, even I would have a hard time selling this upgrade. You're looking at $300-$350ish, for which you could almost get a MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum and A64 3500+ with an upgrade path, and use your existing RAM. :/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 8:00 pm 
Klamath
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Yeah I've thought about it -- it's just not worth it right now. Sure it sucks that I can't overclock more than 24MHz with my setup. But I've learned a valuable lesson that I can use for all my future builds: make it overclock friendly. Hey, my $700 machine plays games great (Radeon 9800PRO 256) and that's all I built it for. I'll just keep in mind all I've learned here for my next machine (i.e. don't skimp on RAM or mobo).


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