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Having trouble with o/c stability on a BX board? read here....

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Falkentyne

Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2001
First, go download CPUBURN from http://users.ev1.net/~redelm/
Crank your CPU to the first FSB speed where you start noticing some instability. (Note that CPUFSB and SoftFSB can help a lot here, since you can test various cpu speeds and FSB speeds on the fly, at a given voltage, and help you avoid any possible O/S corruption while rebooting.)

Then, I want you to run these two programs in this order
1) BURNp6.exe
2) BurnBX.exe

Let each one run for 10 minutes.

If you can boot into DOS mode, grab a VERY GOOD Dos ram tester called MEMTEST. This program is awesome. It loads the RAM controller and memory subsystem VERY heavily....and can weed out instability when you would think you were rock stable in windows normally... Note that BurnBX does the exact same thing, although it simply "Exits" upon detecting an error instead of reporting an error occured continuing.

BurnP6 heavily stresses the CPU by running some assembly loops that maximize the heat output and cpu resources. This program is capable of making your 45 C (under usual heavy load) CPU heating up to over 60 C. It's a great cpu tester.

Post your results.
If BURNp6 crashes (this will ALWAYS cause a hard lockup, instead of an exit), then you know that it is the CPU holding you back.
Increase the voltage (or cooling, or both), then try it again.

If burnP6 does NOT lock up in 20 or more minutes, then you know it is NOT the cpu holding you back.

If BurnBX exits, then you know something is up with the memory subsystem. (probably NOT the ram stick itself, as often, RAM errors (at least, related to cas latency) can cause POST failures or failures of windows to even load. Go into DOS mode and run MEMTEST. (i recommend version 1.03, so you can use the /PREHEAT option (heats up the memory chips). Version 1.04 would crash under the "system check" optoin. Note that version 1.03 REPORTS as version 1.02 in the exe, but /preheat is a new option added in 1.03. Let MEMTEST run for at least 5 passes

If you are getting errors here too, then you will have to troubleshoot your memory subsystem.

Lets assume its the memory holding you back. Everyone knows what to do if the CPU is unstable, but not if its the chipset that's unstable.

First thing to ask is, do you have a greenie on the heatsink? If you do, then you can improve temps GREATLY by removing the greenie, applying some arctic silver II plus a (really small) drop of super glue in 2 corners and then **QUICKLY** reapplying and pushing down hard (this will help the heatsink to make better contact. Having a fan on the greenie helps slightly but not much... the air movement from your other fans is useful here too.

On my OLD OLD BH6 1.01, I got blue screen crashes and other errors on my Celery 300a @ 450, until I applied radio shack thermal compound to the greenie (that was more than 2 years ago :)

If you do NOT have a greenie on the heatsink (if you had to remove it, for some reason), THEN PUT ONE ON, at least put the greenie on that came with the motherboard. There is NO EXCUSE for not having one on, including using an Alpha heatsink.

If the alpha is actually making you remove the greenie, then get rid of the alpha and use a slightly smaller profile heatsink. You will be glad you did. Although there are other options too

There are some small heatsink+fan units you can buy that can actually completely replace the greenie (though again you will need super glue here) and fit under a large heatsink such as an Alpha..... AOC Has one of these. I had to go back to the greenie when I went to a 1 ghz CPU, since on the MSI 6905 slotket, the (bigger) retail heatsink/fan prevented the CPU from being all the way inserted. I did use one of these with a slot 1 600e @ 900 though, with the retail heatsink/fan. Try one of these tiny HSF's (AOC has them under "chipset cooler, i think), they only cost a few bucks anyway.

Here are some other things you can do on a BX board.
Dowload WBXTUNE (BX chipset tuner), you can find it on google. A Reg code is also floating around if you look hard enough.

In WBXtune, set the "Memory buffer strength" to 3x, from 2x. This does not slow performance at all and may improve stability slightly (or sometimes, greatly) at high FSB speeds. I think that this is a similar tweak that is availablle on other VIA boards that can increase stability (MOTHERBOARD DRIVING VALUE?)

Change the cas latency settings, although this is probably the first thing people do anyway, so this probably won't apply to you unless you haven't tried going to cas 3. Note that you can NOT change cas latency time on the fly.... (even attempting such a thing causes a hard lock.... WBXtune wont allow this obviously, although TweakBIOS will allow it (and lock).

Set the idle pipeline dram leadoff from 0 to a higher value. 0 gives you even more memory bandwidth (faster benches) but can cause instability.

Set leadoff command timing from 3 to 4.
Mess around with a few of the other latency values.

Try all of these and then see if burnBX quits or not, and if your system is more stable. If it is, then congratulations. Mess around with more overclocks. If it isn't, then at least you tried :)

You can also try using Rivatuner or Powerstrip or NVMAX (if you have an Nvidia video card), to change your AGP speed from 2x to 1x, and disable sidebanding (LEAVE SBA enabled if you are going to AGP 1x).

After you've done all of these things and achieved a stable system, download and try Prime95 for a real world test, as well as test some games.

Note: Use SoftFSB or CPUFSB to test overclocking settings, without risking O/S corruption (often caused by trying to load an OS (many reads/writes to files) when something is really unstable.

BurnBX or burnp6 crashing won't kill your O/S.

Be careful with burnP6...that can make the CPU run very hot.

No idea if burnP6 or burnBX works well on P4 motherboards but it should work on non-bx boards. WBXTUNE will ONLY work on a bx board (otherwise you will have to use WPCREDIT).