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A 939 Rig, a 9800GX2, and an 8600GT. I am a happy OC'er!

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Feb 24, 2001
.....to an extent.

My last 2 days have been rather fun, so Im going to try to introduce this as an Overclockers adventure.

A little background...
I have or well had 2 939 Rigs. One based with a 3500+ Single core,and a ATi x1300. The other was my baby, my HTPC/gaming rig based with a delidded/watercooled Opteron 165 and Ati Radeon 4870. The delidded Opty died from a chipped core, from Im assuming hauling the system in my car while moving and the DD TDX waterblock only having 2 mounting points. I then sold the ATi 4870 to fix my girlfriends LCD screen. So I was down to the Gigabyte rig and started using it for older games. The HTPC rig sat with no CPU, video card or ram. With plans to upgrade fully.

Well, the full upgrade didnt happen as I started working on my house with the good weather lately. So about a week ago I decided to order a 9800GX2, never had one and always wanted a dual GPU card to toy with. I also got my hands on another Opteron from a great guy on Hard OCP. In the mean time a friend sold me his 8600GT. I used this in the Gigabyte rig hauling it to work.
The 9800GX2 and new Opty 165 showed up just over 2 days ago.

I immediately ran into one big issue with the 9800GX2 and trying it in the Gigabyte board, it covered ALL 4 SATA ports. I was already using a PCI SATA card as I needed 2 more ports for all my drives. I test fitted it in the MSI board which sits in a RocketFish case. It only covers 2 SATA ports weather its in the 1st or 2nd PCI-E slot. But the MSI board also has 2 more SATA ports (6 in total compared to the gigabytes 4) Couple the MSI board with the PCI SATA card and I get my other 2 SATA ports back.

Why do I need to many?
200gb SATA
3x 36gb raptors (1 as OS drive, 2 in raid for games)
80gb SATA
LG SATA DVD burner.
I have one IDE 80gb that gets hooked up once in awhile to for important data.
Here are some pics of the boards to show the SATA locations.


My second issue showed its ugly head in the fact that if I had both the 9800 and 8600 both in the MSI board, the system would post, but before even detecting the harddrives would restart, over and over.

I then proceded to move everything from the gigabyte rig to the Rocketfish case and just used the 9800GX2 by itself for some games. And I was also itching to OC the Opteron. It does a hair past 2.8ghz at 1.4v. But the MSI board cant handle the HTT speeds even with a 2x or 3x multi. Then I think my 4x 1gb sticks of OCZ DDR400 wasnt helping at 321 FSB either. I tried using an old set of Geil DDR500 and it did just fine, but its only two 512mb sticks. (Left overs from my Socket A NF7-S days)

I settled for my old speeds of 300fsb, 9x Multi, 3x HTT, and 245mhz DDR memory. A dead on 2.7ghz. Seems to be the sweet spot for this board,CPU and memory combo. Always has been.

Now....back to getting the 9800GX2 and 8600gt to cooperate. I wanted my second monitor and if possible, Nvidia Physx. The same issue of rebooting at post kept repeating no matter what I did. I tried swapping the cards around, 9800gx2 in the first slot, 8600gt in the second and vice versa. I tried switching the SLI jumper card between "SLI mode" and "Non-SLI mode". Hell I even tried a SLI bridge! Kept rebooting at post, I then checked for a BIOS update, found one and updated using MSI Live, (Risky I know but I dont think I have a working floppy drive nore do I have a USB stick) It updated, but same issue prevailed. Constant rebooting, I then unhooked all the drives and left on the motherboard, videocard and watercooling system hooked up to see if maybe my BFG 680w LS was overloaded. Nope....didnt work.

I tried random Bios settings hoping to get lucky.
Hmm, I then threw the 2 cards in the gigabyte board with the same PSU. (Yeah this makes a HUGE mess)...it did the EXACT same thing. Would post and reboot repeatedly. Maybe 3 GPUs is one 2 many GPUs....? :bang head

So, once again back to the MSI board with all the parts. My Rocketfish case was a disaster, still is LOL. I also broke one of the SATA connectors on one of my raptors, what was worse is it one of the 2 in a raid 0. Some patience and superglue fixed it. *Phew*

About and hour ago I came home after giving up yesterday and going to work. On a huntch I remember the Gigabyte board would let you select what PCIE slot you wanted it to post from, it worked, but restarted constantly still. Soo...I looked in the MSI's bios, well apparently you only have the options, "PCI-E 1" and "PCI"... :bang head CRAP. I just went, lets see what you do when I say "PCI". I saved that and exited.

It restarted, and posted on the 8600gt which was in the 2nd PCI-E slot....detected all the harddrives, and started loading windows.
Im kinda just sat looking at the screen thinking....This is weird. :shrug:
The system went all the way into windows, asked for my password and then started loading the drivers for the 8600gt, which must have done something because then the system blue screened on me and restarted.
I started laughing...I found it funny. I let it keep booting and it went back into windows. Only this time after entering my pass it just stayed at the desktop. Even weirder...But no Nvidia display drivers. Didnt even ask to install the 8600gt...so I went, and installed them. Rebooted, went into windows, this time with the Nvidia control panel and everything.....

Wait, whats this? No 9800GX2 detected. :bang head FUDGE NUGGET!

So I shutdown the system and swapped the cards around. 8600GT in the 1st PCIE slot and the 9800GX2 in the second slot. I start her up and she posts on the 9800GX2. Awesome!...at least Im hoping anyway.
Gets into in windows, and loads the drivers for the 8600gt!!! :clap: YES!!!!
Then it loads drivers for the 9800GX2....even better!! Asks to reboot.
Reboots...and I now have both cards working happily together!!! :clap:
Now, for the real test. Can she do physx? Ill let the pics speak for themselves.



And Mirrors Edge proves Physx is working. I am in awe playing this game!

I think Ive asked all that a 939 Rig can do...What do u think?
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I'm still running with a 939 rig and an Opty 170... I've been debating whether I should make the leap to an i7 920 or just buy a new video card to eek out the last life of 939.

This makes me want to pick up a new 9800GTX or a 260 216... just to see ;)

Do you have any bench scores with the GX2 plugged in?
I too have 2 939 systems. An opty 180 on an SLI mobo and an A64 4000+ on an NF4 Lanparty.

Used to have 2 8800GS SC's on the 180 and Loved it. Still have 1 8800GS in it and I still find it one of my favorite PC's though my Deneb is getting all my love right now. If you don't play any brand spanking new console ports then these old chips are still great. I need virtualization support for my main rig is why I upgraded really but I still have these 939's and love em to death.
Well I REALLY need to backup and reformat before I do any benches, I never did reinstall windows since I moved the hard drives from the gigabyte rig LOL...

This is now my only 939 rig, its new permanent home is beside my widescreen TV. It will stay here until it dies. I just her hooked up via HDMI. Ive gota get some sleep...
It does feel great when you're banging your head against a wall and the wall finally breaks! :):thup:

And this does answer my question - will a modern card run in the old Opty? Obviously it will ... ;)
It does feel great when you're banging your head against a wall and the wall finally breaks! :):thup:

And this does answer my question - will a modern card run in the old Opty? Obviously it will ... ;)

Yes, its a great feeling alright. I'm currently running an 8800GTS 512MB with my Opty 180 which is now at 2.78GHz. Even when i was at 2.7GHz I was able to play the demo of Crysis with everything at medium and textures at high at 1280x1024.
Its been doing good, Ive got mirrors edge and Burnout:paradise to play and Mirrors Edge has been looking awesome. It did lock up on me after the second movie where the guys layin on the desk, I got to a major point where glass was breaking and bullets where flying and I was running, the game locked, but not windows or the system. I was in a hurry so I just shut it down and left. Not sure exactly what happened.
Could be a driver issue possibly. Make sure you update to the latest on the nvidia website. My card used to stay in 2d mode even when I gamed and I made my own program profiles so I just had to wait for the update. Runs unreal tournament bench mark at highest settings, motion blur and x16 AF @ 1440*900: 61 fps. :D very happy with that on a single 9800gtx+.
Im having a very weird cold start issue the last few days. The computer doesnt want to load windows fully until its warm. Ill turn it on and it will post, restart, post, attempt to load windows, restart at the WinXp logo, then it will make to the login screen, Lockup.
Then it might load windows all the way after logging in.

Very weird because once its warm it does perfectly fine, I even lowered my overclock without any help. Havent tired stock settings yet.
Hmmm. What kinda of temp is your room at? I have only heard of the cold bug at around -100*C, not around 20ish *C [guess]. It also doesn't sound like a hardware issue because it able to fully boot after warming up... Try letting your rig idle for a half hour and let it cool down, then see if you get any performance differences after it has idled compared to after being run for a while. I'm kind of dumbfounded by this...
Booted up fine at 2.4ghz, Thats what I left it at yesterday went into the BIOS, checked the settings, saved and exited. Went straight to windows.

Will experiment more when I get some sleep, just got off work...
thats a really common oc problems as i know

Hmmm. What kinda of temp is your room at? I have only heard of the cold bug at around -100*C, not around 20ish *C [guess]. It also doesn't sound like a hardware issue because it able to fully boot after warming up... Try letting your rig idle for a half hour and let it cool down, then see if you get any performance differences after it has idled compared to after being run for a while. I'm kind of dumbfounded by this...

can't be the drivers at this point, experimenting cold boot issue after post or while os boot before loading drivers normally, me it happens on big overclock or want its need to boost a little bit the vcc (core voltage)
well, maybe that will work. Try adding a little more vcore. I only had one booting issue aside from the usual clearing the cmos after a bad change. Once I went to change my cpu speeds. I went 264*12 and went to boot and instead of booting into windows vista, it said the bootmgr image is corrupt. And me I'm going crap! I have to reinstall vista! So i grab a copy of mine, put it into the drive, restart and it says the cd image is corrupt. At this point im sweating bullets. So I finally reset the cmos and it boots up perfectly. Just a wierd anomily. (I don't know how to spell it)
Well, so far I havent been home long to really mess with it other than booting long enough to check my email etc. My heat was off a few days ago, while the weather was warm and then I was enjoying the cool weather,but then the house got to cold to lay tile in the kitchen, (remodeling...) so the heat got turned back on. So room temps have been higher. Ive already turned up the Vcore, up to 1.5 without improvement.

Will mess with it more hopefully this weekend since I will have some days off finally.
That cold-start problem is usually associated with one of the chipsets having issues. Considering what you're trying to pull off I'm surprised it's running at all.

Never heard of Fore Point PSU's before, any chance it's a little flaky ...?
Managed to put down 11032 in 3dMark06. @2.7ghz
9979 @ 2.4ghz
I reformated yesterday @ 2.4ghz with no issue.
Bumped the chipset volatge up to 1.8v from 1.4.v I set her to 2.7ghz and shutdown for about an hour. Came back it started up and went straight to windows.

No issues so far at all.