View Full Version : The BEAST is alive
A small car's worth of computer parts and 2 mobo's later (due to my early adoption of AM2 tech), The BEAST is finally up and running.
Thermaltake Zaser III case
Foxconn C51XEM2AA-8EKRS2H Socket AM2 Mobo (First try was an Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe)
Zalman 9500 AM2 HSF
XFX 7950 XXX gfx card
3 GB DDR OCZ PC6400 Ram (2x1GB dual chan kit; 2x512 GB DC kit) running at 5-5-5-12
3x 250GB Western Dig. SATA2 16mb buffer HDDs
AMD 64 X2 4600+am2 processor
Under load running:
Woohoo congrats :)
I'm assuming you have those hard drives in some sort of RAID configuration?
Looks good! Ought to outperform my rig by a decent margin.
Nice case, BTW!
One thing I see that stands out: can you set the timings any tighter on your RAM? What I mean is, the higher the PCxxxx number does not necessarily mean faster RAM!
After all, they are merely selected pieces of standard RAM that were throttled back and tested to insure that they could run in a faster FSB environment stably.
If you are not running it at an insane overclock, then the thing to do is turn those SPD numbers down (range: 3-6 clocks on the first three numbers) and check the resulting stability with MemTestx86 or a similar app. (With DDR1, a good setting for most older Athlon64 CPUs is 3-4-4-11.)
You can sometimes gain 50% or even double the speed of a machine from its stock settings when using such DDR2.
The chipset is what will limit you with OCing this rig, not the CPU. Maybe nVIDIA will come up with a driver solution to that instability soon. It should not affect your machine at stock speeds, however.
Good luck, and have fun with it!
PS. If you set the SPD for the DDR2 incorrectly and the rig won't boot, all you have to do is reset the BIOS by removing the CMOS battery or manipulating the CMOS jumper. Reset the clock and you are ready to make any other settings changes necessary.
Hard drives - No raid. Thought about R-0. It's the only way I would have gone. Don't want to lose storage space by going to any truly redundant array. They perform fine for my needs without.
Ram - I did try bumping them down to 4-4-4-12, and the system seemed stable enough for the most part. No boot probs, no crashes, only thing was in 2 different games ("stronghold 2" and "the movies") when I'd try to scroll the map, there was major hitching for lack of a better term. The map would scroll a few mm's and then jump back to original position. I put them back @ 5-5-5 and everything's back to normal. So for now, I'm leaving them there. I may try bumping it to 5-5-5-11/10/9 to experiment. I've heard this OCZ mem (specific model # I have) has STABLY been pushed to 3-3-3-9, so it should have the capibility. I don't have any of the memtest apps, but fear and oblivion worked fine at the 4-4-4-12 timings, just not the map scrolls on those two games. if it were just one game, or it hadn't gone away when I set the timings back up, I might be more inclined to write it off as a game glitch rather than a hardware issue. Besides, when a sub-20-second power-on to desktop becomes too slow, I'll worry about myself more than my system ;)
As far as resetting the cmos, BTDT-HTS. When I was trying to get the Asus board work (and I'll go more into that in a minute) it was autodetecting the mem as 667mhz instead of 800mhz. If you tried to force the bios to read it as 800, you got a nasty BCOD (Beep Code of Death). Hard powerdown, and reset via battery was the only option to get past POST at that point.
Now as far as the Asus MB. If anyone is thinking about the AM2 socket - It's great, runs cool, performance is basically identical to 939. I figure it's the future of amd so I went ahead and picked one up... Apparently Asus, ABit, and MSI have an issue where their production boards are different than the reference boards they sent the ram people. Apparently the prod. boards are "tuned" for RAM using Micron IC's. if the ram you get doesn't, junk ain't going to work right. Should be fixed in a bios update, at some point.
OCZ Support told me Foxconn, DFI, and ATI boards aren't having the issue. That's why I'm running a Foxconn MB now, and yes it does work fine. Above and beyond that, I've decided that I probably had the bad luck of getting a bum MB from NewEgg on the Asus, it would get to bios, but that was it. Trying to install windows gave me a BSOD in the dos-emu portion of the install (just after it finished loading drivers). This occurred with multiple windows discs. Maybe it was part of the known mem issue, maybe not. Either way the FoxConn works. Period.
Overall, I'm happy. And at @ $3250 spent ($120 less after I RMA the Asus) it's a good thing. Cause it would suck to be unhappy with that much expense.
Also that price includes a Samsung 20.1 inch LCD, 5ms. My 17" crt just had to go, what with all this under the hood the display had to bring it's a game too.
What are you using all of that RAM for? Have you ever used it all under load?
Sounds like a nice computer. I'm using the Armor VA8000BWS case, really works pretty dang nice. Specs I have are a 939 AMD 64X2 4400 toledo, 74gb 10k raptor, 2 gig ddr400 and a X1900XT 512mb Radeon card with an ASUS A8N-SLI. Looks like you got a good combo going.
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