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My 4400+ and/or my Memory is a lemon

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Nov 26, 2004
France, Lyon
It just refuses to over-clock past a mere extra 200Mhz from stock speeds, or more precisely above 2.42Ghz from 2.20Ghz.

First of all, here are my system's specs (also in sig):

X2 4400+
A8N-SLi Premium BIOS 1009 Final
OCZ4002048ELDCPE-K http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/memory/ocz_el_ddr_pc_3200_dual_channel_platinum
Antec NeoHE 550W
Windows XP SP2

Second, here's my current BIOS settings:

DRAM Configuration:

Timing Mode: Manual
Memclock index value: 400 mhz
Cas latency (TCL) : 2.5
Min ras active time (TRAS) : 5
Ras to Cas delay (TRCD) : 3
Row precharge time (TRP) : 2
Row Cycle time (TRC) : 10
Row refresh cycle time (TRFC) :12
Read-to-write time (TRWT) : 2
Write recovery time (TWR) : 2
1T/2T memory timing : 1
S/W Dram over 4gb remapping : Disabled
H/W Dram over 4gb remapping : Disabled

Hyper transport frequency : 4
Amd K8 Cool'nQuiet : Disabled

Jumperfree Configuration:

Overclock Profile: Manual
CPU Frequency : 220
PCI Express : 100mhz
DDR voltage : 2.7
Chipset voltage : 1.5
HT voltage : 1.20
CPU multiplier : 11
CPU voltage : 1.375 (I think default is 1.350)
PCI clock syncronization mode : 33.33mhz

Alright, right now, with those settings above, I run my 4400+ at 2.42Ghz, that's an extra 200Mhz, which is a low over-clock I know. But it's the only thing I can do apparently, it refuses to go any higher without major instability issues. I tried so many configurations in the BIOS that I cannot count them anymore. I tried HTT at 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x. I tried to set Tcl, Tras, Trcd and Trp at 3-4-4-12 respectively, I tried 2T Command Rate. I also tried the Memory voltage up to 2.8V, Chipset voltage at 1.6, and then the CPU Vcore at 1.4V, and surely some more settings that I can't remember.

All the persons I've asked to on various discussion forums tell me that my X2 should do more than 2.42Ghz before having instability problems. I always though, after my infinite tries, that I had to get over it and accept the fact that my X2 is just a lemon and is just a very bad over-clocker. Then I thought ... maybe the issue is the Memory ? Maybe I set the settings wrong ? I don't even know if my currently used Memory is actually supposed to do any kind of good over-clocks. Then my last thought was regarding the Power Supply, which is a 550W unit, and realized that perhaps it's just a serious lack of juice past a certain frequency and that my newly bought 8800GTS isn't helping my case about power consumption.

The thing is ... before I got my 8800GTS I had a Radeon X1800XL 256MB, a much "lesser" card, and consumed low amounts of electricity, and even with that card I never could OC my X2 past 2.42Ghz. So I told myself that the GTS shouldn't be the direct cause of my OC failures.

Not to mention that my X2's highest multiplier is 11x, if only I had a 12x, 13x and even a 14x multiplier I might have been able to get to higher clocks without touching the FSB much, if at all. That's maybe my Memory's weakness, maybe it can't sustain anything higher than 220 FSB. At 236 FSB, with 11x multiplier I would have around 2.6Ghz speed, but with such settings I can't get past POST (it does POST, but it never reaches the Windows loading window). Really, technically speaking anything I tried above 222 FSB never worked once. And, yes, I also tried various Memory dividers, in fact I tried all of them in the BIOS, to try and isolate the Memory from the equation but no go.

I'm posting all this because I don't quite have the money for a full system upgrade, hence the reason why I chose to get a new GPU instead of the "whole kit". It was well worth it, I get up to 100% performance improvement in my games, but my X2, at 2.42Ghz, is bottlenecking the GTS quite significantly, I get scores in game benchmarks and synthetic benchmarks (SiSoft Sandra, 3DMark, Aquamark, etc) that are lower than what I "could have" with an higher OC on my X2, like some people told me.

Is there anything I might have missed ? Anything I could try ? I am willing to resign forever if I can't OC it higher, until I get a new system perhaps next year, but until then I just hoped I could squeeze a little more performance out of my CPU and could maybe alleviate the bottleneck burden in my games.

Thanks in advance for your time and support guys.


Here's what I tried moments ago (I included my previous settings with "from")...

DRAM Configuration:

Timing Mode: Manual
Memclock index value: 266 Mhz from 400 (I also tried 333)
Cas latency (TCL) : 3 from 2.5
Min ras active time (TRAS) : 8 from 5
Ras to Cas delay (TRCD) : 3
Row precharge time (TRP) : 3 from 2
Row Cycle time (TRC) : 18 from 10
Row refresh cycle time (TRFC) : 22 from 12
Read-to-write time (TRWT) : 3 from 2
Write recovery time (TWR) : 3 from 2
1T/2T memory timing : 2 from 1
S/W Dram over 4gb remapping : Disabled
H/W Dram over 4gb remapping : Disabled

Hyper transport frequency : 3 from 4
Amd K8 Cool'nQuiet : Disabled

Jumperfree Configuration:

Overclock Profile: Manual
CPU Frequency : 237 from 220 (so I have 2.6Ghz)
PCI Express : 100mhz
DDR voltage : 2.8 from 2.7
Chipset voltage : 1.6 from 1.5
HT voltage : 1.25 from 1.20
CPU multiplier : 11
CPU voltage : 1.4 from 1.375
PCI clock syncronization mode : 33.33mhz

And these settings did not work.

What happens is the following: The first POST initialization pass (with memory speed indicated, name of BIOS, BIOS version, CPU speed, etc), then a black screen for around a second, and then I see a blue screen (as if it was a famous "blue screen of death") with some text that I don't have time to read (it shows itself for half a second or so), and then it reboots itself.

That symptom occurs for each and every single settings I've tried above 222 FSB (named "CPU Frequency" as you see here in my BIOS), even if I "lower" the Memory speed from 400Mhz to 200Mhz under "Memclock index" and even if I increase the voltage and lighten the timings.
Last edited:
Opteron 1100 said:
yup you got a lemon

Indeed. :-/

Update ...

Alright, I managed to over-clock it above 2.42Ghz, but I was extremely surprised by what I had to do, to achieve that. The CPU's VCore was the culprit. By default it runs at 1.35V, and at 2.42Ghz (of course stable) I've set it at 1.3875. Then, as I said in my first post, as soon as I tried any frequencies on the FSB above 222Mhz it refused to get past the POST up to the Desktop.

Well, I found out that I simply never gave enough juice to the CPU to do what I wanted. I always thought that 1.4V at the maximum would at least let it reach 2.5Ghz, but alas, it wasn't the case, apparently. So I told myself "what the hell, let's risk it", and then increased the VCore right away to 1.4875, changed the FSB to 246Mhz, and lowered the Memory to 333Mhz to remove it from the equation of stability.

Guess what happened ? It managed to get past the POST entirely, went by the Windows loading screen and up to the Desktop ! Right there, I had my 4400+ at 2.7Ghz and my Memory a little slower at 385'ish Mhz (default is 400Mhz). Then I decided to run a 3DMark06 test prior to anything else like Prime95 or testing programs like that.

The results simply made my system look completely different ! I never ever thought that a CPU bottleneck could be that serious, but it looks like it can...

At the speeds listed in my signature, I scored 8774.

And at 2.7Ghz (CPU), with slower Memory then its default speed, with the exact same GPU frequencies, I suddenly scored 9368 ! That is an extra 594 Marks just because I increased the CPU speed by 300Mhz from 2.42Ghz. Unfortunately though, it never finished the first CPU test, it kept hanging and sometimes even crashed with a BSOD each time the test started.

The VCore was already at 1.4875, and the maximum my BIOS allows me to set the VCore to is 1.500, can't go any higher. And at 1.4875 the temperatures as you guys might suspect were significantly higher even at idling speeds (around 52ºC). That pretty much confirms that I indeed got a lemon, and that even if it was stable my stock cooling (the heat-pipes model) wouldn't be efficient enough for such an over-clock.

But at least, in the end, I got a glimpse right before my eyes of what kind of performance I could expect with a better CPU/Motherboard/Memory combination. And that's what's going to happen by the end of this summer, when I will upgrade to a Penryn system or a Barcelona system, depending on the prices mostly, but whichever I get I will surely experience something quite better than what I currently get from my rig.

Well guys you can just ignore this from now on, I just pretty much sorted out the whole thing by now. I'll just live with my current settings until I get my next system. Thanks for reading.
Ah ! :eek: I think I made it ! :)

After a couple of months of tries, I finally found that stable spot we're always looking and testing for to make our systems stable at OC'ed speeds on a 24/7 usage basis. A 4400+ from 2.2Ghz to 2.53Ghz (2531, more exactly), isn't that lovely ? Humble perhaps, but hey it's on stock cooling ! It always refused to get past the 220FBS/2.42Ghz mark without crashing or even refusing to POST at all, or just never finished the CPU test in 3DMark06, or never loaded up CPUz without crashing either ... in other words it was never stable.

Well I think I found that little spot, stable, finally:


As you can see, I used a Memory divider, and at such a lower CPU multiplier I could keep my Memory at around the same speeds it was before (in my sig). I only lost 10Mhz on the Memory while I gained around 110Mhz on the CPU speed. Good deal isn't it ? Well, so far, Prime95 was stable (Blend and FTT's) for 18 hours without errors. I also had a few hours of gaming sessions with Oblivion and Lost Planet (both using two Cores, especially Lost Planet) without any issues whatsoever. Along with the inevitable 3DMark05 and 06.

I'm posting all of this for two reasons, because, first of all, I'm proud of that over-clock for such a lemon of a CPU, and also because, secondly, I wanted to have your opinions about the vCore setting ... vCore is set at 1.35v if I remember well, at default speeds, and is now 0.1v higher, at 1.45v, for a speed of 2.53Ghz. Is that alright for an X2 ? Right now it idles at 47ºC, and, during the Prime95 FFT's test (that test runs both Cores at 100% activity non-stop) it never went above 59ºC (according to my ASUS Probe logs). And, as I mentioned above, I'm using the default air cooling solution from AMD, however it happens to be the model with the two heat-pipes on each sides (I know that a few X2's were shipped with a non-piped cooling model), which I guess might help my case a little.

One last thing, and it concerns the first CPUz screen-shot above ...

As you guys can see CPUz indicates that my vCore runs at 1.504v, but in reality it constantly fluctuates between 1.495 to 1.580 when CPUz is open and I leave it running. Is it a known issue to CPUz ? I hope so ... because my vCore is set at 1.45v within the BIOS and I wouldn't want to break my CPU without being aware of it in the first place. Well I do know that OC'ing is supposed to reduce the life-span of any electronics, especially CPU's since they are supposedly more sensible to that kind of stuff, but what I mean is that I wouldn't want to exaggeratively increase the vCore to a point where it'd just be dumb and useless for the desired settings. I've tried a lower vCore anyway, at 1.425, and it wasn't stable for more than 64 minutes in Prime95, after which one of the Cores failed and the other kept on running the test, which is why I had to come up with the 1.45v final setting, which made the CPU's stable.

Well, anyways, what do you guys think about all this ?

Oh, and I scored 9041 in 3DMark06 with those settings (rest of specs in sig) using ForeWare 160.02 WHQL, I will post the compare link of it if requested.