Asus P3V4X, Overclocking and SDRAM
I consider myself a fairly advance gear head when it comes to getting computers to run. Admittedly I’ve been out of practice for quite some time once my career took me into a different direction.
However recently I got into my brain I could build my own HTPC on the cheap. So off I went on an EBAY adventure to purchase a motherboard that would work with my old PIII Slot 1 1GHZ that I had sitting in my Dell XPS T.
Now in order for my plan to work I needed a motherboard that supported AGP 4X *AND* a Slot 1 type CPU. Turns out AGP 4X came out just as the motherboard market was moving from SLOT 1 to Socket 370. So a lot of motherboard manufactures never bothered incorporating the VIA or INTEL chipset that was required to drive AGP 4X on the motherboard for the aging SLOT 1 architecture.
However there were a few good choice; Asus, Gigabyte, AOPEN and perhaps a few others. I studied the reviews (http://www.anandtech.com/) and settled on the Asus P3V4X because of its ability to overclock and good price on EBAY.
Luck would have it that some dude was selling an old P3V4X with CPU, 2X128 SDRAM and Case! I won the aution with a fairly good price. I eagerly awaited my new adventures in building a PC from scratch. It had been years since last I attempted such a thing and that old itch was wating to be scratched.
Regina, my wife, warned me not to do it. Reminded me constantly that everytime I buy a new computer I spend every waking and sometime sleeping moments; tweaking, fixing and getting generally frustrated.
Well she was right. I’ve spent nearly three weeks trying to get the damn thing to work. At first all was good but I must have futzed some CMOS setting because my Memory Bandwidth was in the low 200’s (not good)! I swapped memory, CPU’s and anything else I could think of but no go.
Finally when I was about to give up on toss it to the vultuers on EBAY I decided to clear the CMOS and set everything to DISABLE. Now of course this killed performance and prevented windows from booting all together. However as I re-enabled one setting after the other my memory bandwidth crept up ever so higher. I’m now enjoying good bandwidth setting running at 133 FSB. My memory bandwidth is now in the 900’s.
The kicker is that all of this was for naught. It turns out I had the wrong VCORE setting for the 677MHZ 133FSB CPU I had on the motherboard (my 1GHZ from my Dell was only 100FSB 100MHZ). I upped the VCORE (voltage) on the CPU from 1.65 to 1.75. And all my troubles vanished.
Lesson is if you are going to screw with advanced CMOS settings you better know your hardware inside and out and know what all the freaking options mean. I do now; I’m not sure if I am better for it.