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RAM overclocking gone quite bad... crappy GIGABYTE mobo?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by begleysm, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. begleysm

    begleysm Private E-2

    Hello, I'm new to the forums but I just built a brand new computer with the parts listed below.

    I had it up and running without any OCing or modding and got a score of ~10300 on 3DMark06 (4 tests over 3 reinstalls of windows all gave similar results). I noticed that, on POST, my RAM was registering as DDR2 800 and I decided that, since Crucial guaranteed that it would run at 1066 5-5-5-15, I would up the speed and cut down the timing.

    Now, I am pretty computer savvy but this is my 1st foray into OverClocking of any kind. I went into the BIOS, got into the RAM section, changed the multiplier from 4.00 to 5.33 (changing the RAM clock from 800 to 1066 MHz). Then I changed the timings from AUTO to MANUAL and knocked em down to 5-5-5-15. Restarted my comp and it basically failed miserably. I got a few bad sounding beeps, my computer restarted and it, appears, that the BIOS was kind enough to reset the RAM settings for me. So I went back in to the BIOS upped the multiplier back to 5.33 and left the timings on AUTO. This time the computer booted into Windows but it ran INCREDIBLY slowly (15+ seconds to register a mouse click or keyboard press). Also, my harddrive was making an audible click every 5 seconds or so.

    I reformatted my HDD and reinstalled Windows and it booted up ok. Except now I get a score of ~8200 (2 tests) on 3DMark06 and my motherboard complains of either a MAIN BIOS CHECKSUM ERROR or BACKUP BIOS CHECKSUM ERROR on upwards of 75% of the times I start the computer. On that 25% when it doesn't happen it boots into Windows fine. I have tried flashing the BIOS (it is now version F4e) and I have tried taking out the CMOS battery to reset the BIOS. I've also let memtest86+ run for about 4 hours (about 4 passes) and got no errors.

    My best guess is that this BIOS CHECKSUM thing is more of a coincidence (then as a result of my changing the RAM timings) and that my MOBO is shot. My plan right now is to call Gigabyte on Monday and then, most likely, RMA the thing on Tuesday after Gigabyte isn't able to help me.

    I would appreciate any suggestions on the follow...
    - how to go about diagnosing or fixing this BIOS CHECKSUM problem.
    - why did my RAM timing changes fail so miserably?
    - are there any RAM settings saved on the RAM itself or is it sort of "passive".
    - any opinions on whether my meager overclocking attempts could have damaged something?
    - any other reason I would see a ~20% performance hit on 3DMark06 besides my mobo is fecked or I ruined my RAM somehow?

  2. Mimsy

    Mimsy Superior Imperial Queen of the MG Games Forum

    The RAM is passive. Whatever was saved on it goes into oblivion the moment you turn off your computer.

    Two more things:

    1. If you did ruin your memory modules, do not mention the word over-clocking when you ask for an RMA. My job is to trouble-shoot memory problems and to process RMAs, and if you use that word, I get written up for giving you new parts. However, no matter how obvious it is that you did over-clock, if I don't hear that word, then you're good. You have been running the parts at stock speed and timings, do not admit to anything else.

    2. There is an over-clocking forum here, where a few experts on the matter would be happy to give you advice on how to get started. Check it out, there is some very helpful advice in there.

    Good luck! :)
  3. begleysm

    begleysm Private E-2

    Thanks for the quick reply Mimsy, I'll be sure to take your advice about the RMA.

    As for the passive ram thing, I know that the ram is volatile memory, I was wondering, in particular, if "settings" like the timings are stored in the ram. ie: If I changed the ram timings in my BIOS and then reset the BIOS (so that the BIOS now has "default" timings) is there any chance of a conflict between what the mobo thinks the timings are and what the ram thinks its timings are.

    As per your suggestion, I'm goining to repost in the OC forum.

  4. Mimsy

    Mimsy Superior Imperial Queen of the MG Games Forum

    Yes, there is, but that isn't because of any of your settings being stored in the module. All memory modules have an extra chip that holds the SPD, Serial Presence Detect, which is a fancy way of saying "preprogrammed settings".

    Crucial Ballistix memory is their gaming/high-performance parts. Any manufacturer's gaming line usually runs on non-standard timings and voltages, which means they need you to adjust stuff in the BIOS before they will run stable. The auto-detect function in the BIOS often gets those things wrong. That also means that not all motherboards are able to run gaming memory at their full potential, because not all of them give you access to those BIOS functions. Pre-built systems are the prime culprit here though, so you should be fine in that department. Gigabyte motherboards are usually good.

    Now, according to Google, Crucial has a life-time warranty on their memory, regardless of where you bought the parts, so you should just need to ask them nicely and they'll send you a new kit. :)

    Wait! Hold up! Some Gigabyte motherboards refuse to cooperate and require you to download a special application that lets you adjust memory settings to over-clock. I have it bookmarked on my work computer, but I won't be there until Monday. :(

    Give me a few minutes, I'll see if I can google it.
  5. begleysm

    begleysm Private E-2

    Much obliged. If necessary, I certainly will call up Crucial. At the present though, my money's on the motherboard ;P

  6. Mimsy

    Mimsy Superior Imperial Queen of the MG Games Forum

    See my edit above ;)
  7. Mimsy

    Mimsy Superior Imperial Queen of the MG Games Forum

    EasyTune 5

    Try that before replacing the memory.
  8. begleysm

    begleysm Private E-2

    I remember seeing that software on the CD that came with it. I'll check it out as soon as I get home.

  9. Mimsy

    Mimsy Superior Imperial Queen of the MG Games Forum

    Again, good luck! And if you do run into issues, check out the over-clock forum here. They really do know what they're talking about.
  10. begleysm

    begleysm Private E-2

    I Fixed It!

    I figured out the performance hit problem thanks to jam over at Computing.Net. There is a bug present in the L3 cache of the AMD Phenom 9500 and 9600 CPUs.


    This bug can occasionally cause a system to hang due to a race condition. AMD release a "patch" that cured this race condition but at the cost of a 10-20% performance hit on the CPU. The patch is applied through a BIOS update. AWARD implemented this patch in version F3 of their BIOS. I had patched to F4e. Once I learned about this suspect patch it was as simple as going into the BIOS and disabling the AMD TLB erratum patch.

    As for the BIOS CHECKSUM ERROR, it appears that clearing the CMOS in the right way (using the CLR_CMOS jumper) fixed it. I had tried clearing the CMOS by removing the battery, but this was not sufficient. Thanks to MRCOMPUTER over at xtremepccentral.com for this suggestion.

    If anyone has any similar problems and would like more details on my experience, feel free to email me. s.begley AT vanderbilt.edu

  11. ASUS

    ASUS MajorGeek

    Overclocking Incompetence:major

    Then Blame it on the MOBO

    OPERATOR error;)

    Go Figure!
    Ya might consider reading some Ocing guides

    Best bet is making small changes, a few Mhz at a time & running stability tests. (This might save you from killing your Hardware or Hosing Windows)
    Adjusting voltages & timings will probably be necessary

    Another tip it's best to avoid crap like Easy tune, stick to BIOS settings

    Removing the CMOS battery will reset your bios, you probably just didn't give it enough time, people are always impatient & rush everything or fail to follow the correct steps
    A good place to start is your mobo manual
  12. begleysm

    begleysm Private E-2

    I had to come say that, while the performance hit is fixed, the BIOS CHECKSUM ERROR is, apparently, not. It didn't happen for the 1st 5 or 6 restarts but just happened again. I am going to get a new CMOS battery and see how it goes.

    So... it was only PARTIALLY user error ;P


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