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ASUS Support Home Location : Forum > Motherboard > P5WD2-E Premium  
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  Topic : BIOS defaults-Memory-Overclocking New Topic
Wizard
VIP Member
Posts : 1554
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Tech Points : 0
From: Netherlands
Posted:2/20/2006 4:53:00 PM # 1
>
Took me a while, but here's the recommended STOCK(!) BIOS settings as they should have been, ASUS!, along with some recommendations when applicable. Although different BIOS, most are the same for P5WDG2-WS board! I simply explain ALL settings, some of which you might not be able to set or find due to hardware or other settings though. If you read "Personal Preference", ofcourse, you got it, it means you can set however you want it. When you read POST, it means "Performance Optimized Stock-settings Test"
Well, officialy it's Power On Self Test, but that's detail :-)
While all this info certainly will not solve everybodies problems, at least it shows default-settings and things you should NOT do... ;-)

Disclaimer:
All this information is for use at your OWN risc only!!! I don't take ANY responsibility for possible loss of data, failed hardware or any other mishap, claimed to be caused by me in any way posting any of this information here online!
ONCE MORE: USE AT OWN RISC!

Setting:                       Remarks:
Main
   System Time
   System Date
   Legacy Diskette A           Some people reported problems having
                               this set to disabled, so just in
                               case, be aware of this. I haven't
                               experienced any whether set or
                               disabled, floppy connected or not.
                               Make sure your system is set stock!
                               My experience is that setting 1.44M
                               here while NOT having a floppy
                               connected makes the POST take
                               slightly longer to complete boot
   Primary IDE Master          Blue IDE-connector Master
                               (Each can be entered, showing:)
      Type
      LBA/Large Mode
      Block
      PIO Mode
      DMA Mode
      Smart Monitoring         For HDDs only, using Standard IDE-
                               mode or AHCI-mode, set to enabled.
                               You'll get warnings when your drive
                               is about to fail. Worth the small
                               performance-hit. Likewise, if you
                               use the ICH7R in RAID-mode, you
                               should install Intel Matrix Storage
                               Manager application to get same
                               warnings from your RAID-arrays.
                               Note that SMART-reporting on RAID-
                               arrays is not yet supported (Is a
                               known issue), it works, it's there,
                               but for some reason, programs
                               reading SMART-values can't
      32bit transfer           Enabled, if applicable
                               (Most modern devices support it)
   Primary IDE Slave           Blue IDE-connector Slave
   Third IDE Master            SATA1 Master in AHCI/RAID-mode
   Third IDE Slave             SATA2 Slave in standard IDE-mode,
                               SATA2 Master in AHCI/RAID-mode
   Fourth IDE Master           SATA3 Master in standard
                               IDE/AHCI/RAID-mode
   Fourth IDE Slave            SATA4 Slave in standard IDE-mode,
                               SATA4 Master in AHCI/RAID-mode
   IDE Configuration
      Configure SATA as        Personal Preference
                               Standard IDE to use SATA-drives
                               emulating PATA-drives, hence max.
                               speed will be UDMA6=133MB/s.
                               AHCI to use SATA-drives as normal
                               SATA-drives, incl. hot-plug and NCQ,
                               requires Windows 2000 SP4/XP SP1
                               RAID to use SATA-drives as RAID-
                               arrays incl. hot-plug and NCQ.
                               Setting RAID and not creating
                               arrays is almost the same as AHCI,
                               with the added advantage that you
                               could use one drive as AHCI and 2
                               more for a RAID-array for example.
                               Not really recommended though.
                               Requires Win 2000 SP4/XP SP1
                               Requires onboard SATA bootROM
                               enabled. You cannot use the LAN-
                               bootROMs then! (BIOS 0302)
      Onboard IDE Operate Mode Compatibilty mode is only needed if
                               you have drives or opticals that are
                               old or otherwise don't work correct.
                               You will mostly notice immediately
                               if you need this, since detection of
                               the device will fail or be wrong
      Onboard SATA Bootrom     Needed when in RAID-mode
                               Onboard LAN-bootROMs don't work if
                               this is enabled! (BIOS 0302)
      ALPE and ASP             Personal Preference
                               AHCI-mode only: Enabled to get
                               power-management, ie. SATA-drives
                               have several standby-modes to save
                               power, but ofcourse, this creates a
                               performance hit. Only enable when
                               max. power-saving or less noise (if
                               system is idle for long periods) is
                               desired. Note: RAID-mode is
                               considered a "Performance"-mode,
                               and as such, these features will
                               not be available.
      IDE Detect Timeout       35 sec.
System Information
Advanced
   Jumperfree Configuration
   AI Overclocking             Manual
   CPU Frequency               Look on your CPU-box for FSB-value:
                               533: put 133 here
                               800: put 200 here
                               1066: put 266 here
                               Can't find it? Check CPU-link at end
   DRAM Frequency              Set the speed of memory you have,
                               nothing else. Even for memorytypes
                               the manual says it'll downgrade
   Performance Mode            Set Turbo
   PCI Express Frequency       Set 90 Mhz (set 100 if you
                               get display corruption)
   PCI Clock Sync Mode         Set 33.33 Mhz
   Memory Voltage              Set 1.8
   CPU VCore Voltage           Look on your CPU-box, it'll say
                               the max. voltage, can't find it?
                               Check at the end for CPU-link
   FSB Termination Voltage     Set 1.2
   MCH Chipset Voltage         Set 1.50
   ICH Chipset Voltage         Set 1.05







>
   Overclock Options           Simply never use, Crap, bullshit
                               and anything but Rock&ROll :-)
   AI N.O.S. Mode              Simply never use, even bigger Crap!
      Sensitivity
      Target Frequency
   AI CPU Lock Free            Only D 8x0 procs. Disabled for
                               stock
   LAN Cable Status
      POST Check LAN Cable     Personal Preference, normally off
                               though, takes time at POST!
   USB Configuration
      USB Function             Personal Preference
                               Make DAMN sure you connect the
                               provided USB-expansionbrackets
                               CORRECTLY to board's USB-connectors,
                               NOT the IEEE1394-connectors!!!
                               Same is true vice versa for 1394!!!
      Legacy USB Support       If you have S3 Standby problems
                               or otherwise need it (USB Keyboard/
                               mouse!), Enable. Also enabled for
                               power on options using USB keyboard/
                               mouse
      USB 2.0 Controller       Personal Preference
                               Windows XP SP1->Windows update to
                               get required patch
      USB 2.0 Cont. Mode       HiSpeed
      BIOS EHCI hand-off       Disabled if installing Windows
      USB Mass Storage         for USB memorysticks or other
                               external USB storage
         Reset Delay           Time to try to boot from USB-stick
         Emulation Type
   CPU Configuration
      Ratio CMOS Setting       Leave default
      VID CMOS Setting         Leave default
      AI CPU Lock Free         Disabled
      Microcode Updation       Enabled
      Max CPUID Value Limit    Disabled
      Execute Disable          Disabled if you want a tiny
                               performance-gain. Anyone connected
                               to the internet SHOULD have proper
                               virus-scanner and Spyware-tools
                               installed anyway. Enabling this can
                               cause "good" software to refuse
                               running or even crash (DivX 5.2.1
                               for example). Disable in Windows:
                               Rightclick My Computer->Properties
                               ->Advanced-TAB->Click Startup and
                               Recovery-Settings button->Click Edit
                               ->Change all "/noexecute=Optin"
                               entries to "/Execute"->Save->
                               Restart. Enabled if you want it
                               anyway, in which case you'll have
                               to do nothing in Windows
      Enhanced C1 Control      Auto
      CPU Internal Thermal     Auto
      Virtualization           Unuseable yet (Future feature) ->
                               Disable. Might be usefull with
                               virtualization software like
                               VMWare or Virtual PC/Server
                               though.
      Hyper-Threading          Personal preference
                               MUST be set and left alone BEFORE
                               Windows-installation. You can
                               disable AFTER windows install,
                               but you cannot Enable AFTER
                               windows install, requires
                               Windows XP or later
      Intel Speedstep Tech     Disabled, unless you want it despite
                               performance hit. Requires Windows XP
                               SP2 or later to use
   Chipset
      Configure DRAM by SPD    Enabled if you don't know your
                               memory-timings. Disabled to
                               manually set memory-timings or
                               for overclocking!!!
                               You should leave disabled to keep
                               manual timings ofcourse!!!
                               People having memory that downgrades
                               should set this to disabled and set
                               timings manually to make it run at
                               the speed they bought it for.
                               Check below for memory-explanations
      DRAM CAS Latency         Same, check below
      DRAM RAS# Precharge      Same, check below
      DRAM RAS# to CAS#        Same, check below
      DRAM RAS# Activate       Same, check below
      DRAM Write Recovery      Same, check below
      DRAM ECC Mode            Auto
      Hyper Path 3             Enabled
      DRAM Throttling Thres    Disabled for better performance,
                               especially if your memory has heat-
                               spreaders, Auto if you want programs
                               like CPU-Z to be able to read
                               correct memory-timings
      Boot Graphics Adapter    PCI Express/PCI normally
      Universal PCI-E Speed    X2 normally
      PEG Buffer Length        Long
      Link Latency             Slow
      PEG Root Control         Enabled (Disable if video-problems)
      PEG Link Mode            Normal (set slow for max. compatibility, ie. least auto-overclock)
      Slot Power               Normal
      high Priority Port       Disabled
   Onboard Devices Configuration
      HD Audio Controller      Personal Preference
      Front Panel Support      Personal Preference, although,
                               depends on your box! ;-)
      Onboard 1394             Personal Preference
      Onboard PCIE GbE LAN_1   Personal Preference
         LAN Option ROM        Enabled if you want to make use of
                               RPL/PXE/WOL (Wake On Lan) features
                               Works only when onboard SATA bootROM
                               is disabled! (BIOS 0302)
      Onboard PCIE GbE LAN_2   Personal Preference
         LAN Option ROM        Same here as LAN1
      Marvell SATA/PATA        Disabled, unless you really need it,
                               !alpha-state component!
         Marvell bootrom       Disabled, this simply doesn't work
                               correctly, just like all other
                               bootROMs don't work well (BIOS 0302)
      Serial Port 1            Personal Preference
      Parallel Port Address    Mostly leave default
      Parallel Port Mode       ECP is best, EPP if problems, Bi-
                               directional for most older printers,
                               normal for prehistoric ones
         ECP DMA Channel       3, unless you have a weird
                               (sound)PCI-Card stealing DMA 3
         Parallel Port IRQ     7 (Windows doesn't use it anyway
                               in most cases)
      Onboard Game             Personal Preference
   PCI/PnP
      Plug And Play OS         Enabled, disable if hardware-
                               conflicts
      PCI LAtency              Most equipment can stand 32, if
                               PCI-card problems, leave default
                               at 64 or even increase to 128.
                               Increase too if your Realtek
                               SPDIF-output stutters.
                               Definitely play around with this
                               if you have any Creative soundcard!
                               Sorry, yes, Creative spells trouble!
                               If this doesn't help, try a
                               different PCI-slot
      Allocate IRQ to VGA      No (Only used when video PCI-card
                               used, not PCIex)
      Palette Snooping         Disabled, unless you use a very old
                               PCI-card which still conforms to the
                               prehistoric ISA-spec. (8/16 bits)
                               (And who will these days? Although,
                               some people have problems with their
                               expensive PCIex video-card, guess
                               ASUS left this option for them to
                               try with one of those :-) )
      IRQ-xx assigned to       Leave these set to PCI Device,
                               unless specifically instructed
                               in your PCI-cards manual to set one
   Power
      Suspend Type             S1-state: PC stays on in low-
                               powermode when you select Standby
                               S3-state: PC turns off and saves
                               current state to memory
                               Auto: Windows detects what's
                               possible at install (usually S3)
      Repost Video on S3       No, unless corrupted graphics or
                               STOP 0x000007E/0x000008E crash
                               after waking up from S3-standby,
                               then try setting to Yes
      ACPI 2.0 Support         Yes, required in any 64-bits OS!
      APIC Support             Enabled, required in any 64-bits OS!
         Note that any change to last 2 should be done BEFORE
         installing Windows and they should not be changed AFTER!
         If you do, windows might not boot or even crash. In that
         case, simply change back and it works again. You need to
         change anyway? Then you'll HAVE to re-install windows.
         There are ways to circumvent a re-install, but they're
         complicated and technical and beyond the scope of this
         info here
      APM Configuration
         Power button Mode     Personal Preference
         Restore on AC loss    Personal Preference
         Power on by RTC alarm Personal Preference
         Power on by Ex modems Personal Preference
         Power on by PCI       Required for WOL, Wake On LAN
         Power on by PCIex     ? useless in my view, but I'm sure
                               somebody has use for it
         Power on by PS/2 keyb Personal Preference
         Power on by PS/2 mouse Personal Preference
      Hardware Monitor
      AI Quiet                 Disabled
         I advice to use freeware Speedfan from
        
http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php for much better control
         of fans. All parameters here will then be irrelevant
         anyway. If you choose not to use speedfan, I recommend
         Optimal Mode for Fan-settings, and performance-mode
         when overclocking
   Boot
      Boot Device Priority
      Boot Settings Configuration
         Quick boot            Enabled
         Full Screen Logo      Personal Preference
         Add On ROM            No use, unless you have PCI-card
                               with bootROM that messes up your
                               screen
         Bootup numlock        Personal Preference
         PS/2 Mouse            Personal Preference (Recommend
                               PS/2 over USB anyway)
         Wait for F1           Personal Preference
         Hit DEL               Personal Preference
         Interrupt 19          Enabled if you plan using a PCI-
                               IDE/RAID or SCSI-card with bootROM,
                               which seems a logical step to take
                               with the marvell not working :-)
   Security
      Blablabla                Who, other than possibly corporate
                               users, will use this now? ;-)


Right, that's it. Set like this, you should be simply able to install any flavour windows without problems. If not, some things to consider:
- Make sure ANY expansion-bracket is connected correctly! Connecting to the wrong connector MIGHT SERIOUSLY DAMAGE your board!!!
- If you have unexplainable issues, like device-conflicts, video-cards showing corrupted graphics, etc. first make damn sure there's nothing metallic, like a loose screw, stuck under your board! Yes, you may laugh! It happened to me, it might have happened to you without knowing. Simply checking takes what? 5 minutes?
- If you're 100% sure your assembly is 100% okay, suspect your brand and type of memory as one of the first things. In other words, experiment with those first then, leave only the one nearest the CPU and take out the rest. See if your problems are gone.
- If you still have issues, strip everything except floppy, vdeo-card, one memory-stick Boot from floppy and see if that works first. If still problems, put video-card in second PCIex slot or try a PCI-video card if you can.

Windows:
- After installing any windows, first thing to do is getting and installing Intel INF-update Utility (Not Vista yet)
- After reboot, continue installing drivers for video, LAN, etc.
- After that, goto windows update and install all critical updates, additionally, select the extra  updates if required and/or desired
- Be a little carefull selecting hardware-driver updates, usually, the original vendor has better/newer drivers with more complete functionality support

Memory:
This board has 4 slots, 2x2 banks.
This board supports DDR2-533, DDR2-667 and DDR2-800, however, only a few known types and brands. If you have anything not on the lists in the manual and you run into problems, suspect your memory first, ask questions later! Some DO NOT support dual-channel configuration, others DO NOT support dual-channel all 4 slots populated. Most do support single channel,
1 or 2 slots (one bank) though.

SPD:
Serial Presence Detect
On every memory-stick is an EEPROM containing the correct or default memory-timings for different frequencies in a table. The BIOS will select the timings out of that table, based on the frequency set for the memory. Some vendors neatly fill out every field, others do only the most necessary. Some do not at all, which makes it mostly unusable without knowing and correctly setting the timings manually. Read more on this here:
http://download.micron.com/pdf/technotes/TN_04_42.pdf

The following text is here to explain things in an understandable way, okay? It's not there to details all technical facts. So, things I'm gonna say here are technically incorrect in some places, but it's just to keep thngs easy and understandable, okay?

SD-RAM:
In the old days, there was SD-RAM. It ran till speeds around 200 Mhz.

DDR:
Next was DDR, Double Data Rate, which gave double data throughput with same frequency, so think of it like there's a multiplier x2 so max. frequency would then be around 400 Mhz.

DDR2:
Nowadays, DDR2 rules. Basically the same as DDR, but running on lower voltage of 1.8 volts and designed to reach much higher speeds (basically allowing higher latency-times and frequencies). For our story, think of it as QDR, Quadrouple Data Rate, so max. 800 mhz.

Dual-channel:
Next came dual-channel config, where two mem-sticks help each other out. Think of it as a RAID0 for memory... ;-) Hence, again, double speed. 800 becomes 1600.

DRAM CAS Latency
DRAM RAS# Precharge
DRAM RAS# to CAS# Delay
DRAM RAS# Activate to Precharge Delay
DRAM Write Recovery Time

These are the memory-timing settings. How to set largely depends on your memory and speed and depends even more on the speed you've set your memory to run on. Whether these will have a great impact on your memories performance depends largely on the type of memory used.

DRAM CAS Latency
In theory, take DDR2-800 memory.
It supports several speeds, each having a unique CAS-Latency. In general, the faster the speed, the higher the latency needed to keep up. The base frequncies come from SD-RAM and you should think of them as multipliers, not the actual freq. DDR2 is running on.
DDR2-        400   533   667   800
Base-freq.   100   133   166   200
CL           CL2   CL3   CL4   CL5

So, for any memory-frequency, you should choose a corresponding CL. In this case, for xample, if you make this memory run as
DDR2-800  or faster: CL should be 5
DDR2-667 - DDR2-800: CL should be 4
DDR2-533 - DDR2-667: CL should be 3
DDR2-400 - DDR2-533: CL should be 2

Note I say "should be", because sometimes, with good memory, it's possible to make the memory run as DDR2-533 memory, but overclocked so much that it falls into the next range. In other words, you could try to overclock it so much as DDR2-533 that it would still be running with CL3, while the frequency is set to DDR2-700. However, this usually requires applying a well-dozed amount of overvoltage, which can shorten your memories lifetime, and also make your memory run much hotter than normal, heatspreaders highly recommended then... ;-)

Note though that not all memory supports all configs, for example my own DDR2-667 memory supports
Mhz 100   133   166
CL  CL3   CL4   CL5
From this alone you can see my memory is not so great :-(

Most Corsair-667 and Crusial-667 memory for example can do this:
Mhz 100   133   166
CL  CL2   CL3   CL4
Much better! Much more expensive too, unfortunately... :-(

Some DDR2-800 memory might look like this:
Mhz 200
CL  CL4
In other words, SPD-tables are not complete. This will make it more difficult to run it at other speeds, but with extrapolation you should be able to figure it out, for example, this memory MIGHT run as DDR2-667 on CL3. Then again, it might simply refuse to run on other latencies all
together. Well, only one way to find out! LOL

Anyway, point I'm trying to make is that you should set your memory-frequency to something that can support the CL you're trying to set, and vice versa. With mem. frequency I mean anything that divide by these base-frequencies, so setting DDR2-600 (due to overclocking) means your memory might support it as OVERclocked DDR2-533 memory with CL set to the number corresponding the base-frequency, which is 133, so for our example memory, CL3. You can also configure it as DOWNclocked DDR2-667 memory with CL4. This little bit of calculating is required to find your best timings at a given memory-speed. Downclocking ofcourse is never desireable but most of the times necessary to combine the best setting for memory and CPU. It usually gives better performance though to lower your timings one step, set your memory-speed
divider one step lower and lower your CPU-speed to match, ie. in our example here, the OVERclocked DDR2-533 setting with CL3 gives better performance with lower CPU-speed than
DOWNclocked at 667Mhz. with slightly higher CPU-speed. However, you can only do so, if your memory stays stable at an overclocked frequency of 600 Mhz.

Ofcourse, Any memory-frequency setting above the default frequency you bought is overclocking, in which case the limit you can reach is really the top your memory will run at (And that's the first limit you should figure out). You cannot make DDR2-533 memory run as DDR2-800 memory with a frequency of 800. However, some good memory can do so, as long as you adjust your timings, which would be rediculously high CL-settings. The purpose of doing so
however can only be fun, because performance would suck. Idea of all this now is to make your memory run at the lowest CL with the highest memory-frequency possible closest matching your CPU-frequency (FSB-frequency). By the way, don't confuse your CPU-frequency with the FSB- frequency. The value you see at CPU-frequency is the actual original frequency that gets multiplied with the CPU-multiplier, which is mostly locked on most procs. Mine for example has a multiplier of 16, so 16x200 is stock CPU-frequency of 3200 Mhz. That 16 is fixed, so I can only raise the 200 to overclock. However, your FSB-speed (Speed between CPU and Memory-controller HUB) is also fixed to that base-frequency of 200, it's a x4 multiplier, bringing your stock FSB-speed to 4x200=800 Mhz. Overclocking your CPU thus means overclocking your
Memory-controller (Unless you're using a PD955 @ 1066Mhz FSB, this memory-contoller should have no problems running any FSB between 800-1066, since it's desinged to supoprt FSB1066!). In between is another multiplier (Divider actually) and that's your memory-divider, dividing the CPU-frequency (200 Mhz) with a divider to get the memory-speed. The memory-speed-settings you can choose are actually divider settings like 1/3, 2/3, 1/2, 1/1, etc. Your aim
now is to set the lowest divider giving you most of your overclocked frequency for as far as your memory can support it with the lowest possible CAS latency. In short:
mem-speed = CPU / mem-divider
CPU-internal freq. = CPU x CPU-multiplier
FSB = CPU x 4

DRAM RAS# Precharge
This value is mostly set to the same as CAS#, however, some memory has no problem lowering this down.

DRAM RAS# to CAS# Delay
This should in most cases be set the same as CAS#.

DRAM RAS# Activate to Precharge Delay
This can in most cases be set to CAS# x3. Some memory allows lower than that, some can do with CAS# x2, some even with CAS# x1!

DRAM Write Recovery Time
This should in most cases be set to CAS#+1, however, some memory has no problem lowering this down.

I actually wanted to explain each in detail, but I think it's more usefull to skip the technical details and come to the point of what is of importance setting these. I figured that would make more sense. Any detailed info on these can easily be found on the net using Google anyway. I tried to explain the CAS#-setting in detail however, because you can set the rest based on that one. As a rule of thumb, to start out with,
set your "CAS#",
set your "RAS# to CAS#" the same,
set your "RAS# Activate to Precharge" to x3 "CAS#",
set your "RAS# Precharge" to "CAS#",
set your "DRAM Write Recovery Time" to "CAS#"+1

example with CAS# Latency 5:
DRAM CAS# Latency:                     5
DRAM RAS# Precharge:                   5
DRAM RAS# to CAS# Delay:               5
DRAM RAS# Activate to Precharge Delay: 15
DRAM Write Recovery Time:              6

From here, just don't touch "DRAM CAS# Latency" and "DRAM RAS# to CAS# Delay" and simply try to lower the rest one by one. Memory-testing at each step/change is important
because just changing and seeing if you can boot back into the BIOS is NOT enough!!!
On each change, load Windows and do Prime95 mem-stresstesting to make sure your memory can handle it. The easiest however is, to do this phase (finetuning your individual memory-timings) as the last step.

An example:
You have DDR2-800, your base-frequency then is 200 Mhz.
your memory supports
Mhz 100   133   166   200
CL  CL2   CL3   CL4   CL5
Your CL is then 5. If you set your memory-frequency-divider to DDR2-800 (1/2 @ FSB200), you are running stock. If you then raise your CPU-frequency you will push the memory beyond the 200 Mhz base-freq. At some point, your memory will give up, say this memory gives up at 883 Mhz, then your base-frequency is 883 x 1/2 mem-divider x 1/2 base-divider= 220.75 Mhz on CL5
Basically, you can then interpolate the max it will run on as DDR2-667 memory as 883/800 x 667 = 736 Mhz on CL4

Pushing it beyond 736 probably will give you the same result as pushing it beyond 883 Mhz: it gives up. Same running it as DDR2-533 as 883/800 x 533 = 588 Mhz on CL3.

Voltage:
You usually can succesfully push your memory further beyond it's design limit by adding overvoltage to it. Standard DDR2 needs 1.8 Volts according to spec., but in most cases you can push that as far as 2.2 Volts. Some even more, others have the max. voltage printed on the package or supplied manual, others you can find on the manufacturers website. If you can't find the max. voltage though (Unknown brand memory), be carefull and keep it safe by not pushing it beyond 2.0 volts max. !!! Just to be save. Memory has become alot cheaper, but still is expensive enough to keep it a little safe! For any component: If you apply over-voltage you ARE
really shortening it's lifetime, and the scale at which you shorten it's life is NOT a linear scale! A little overvoltage will still shorten the components life, but a life of 10 years or 6 years on a little overvoltage is tolerable in most cases, and that's why a little overvoltage doesn't really hurt.
ASUS has provided some safety while setting voltages, by color-coding the numbers. If it's getting riscy, numbers show purple. If it's getting dangerous, numbers get red. As a rule of thumb, stick with the white numbers.

Overclocking:
What should you do now?
Well, start overclocking ofcourse... ;-)
Note that these are just basic "rules of thumb" to apply for basic overclocking using stock equipment, and getting the most out of it usually takes a bit more finetuning than this, but hey, it's a start, ain't it?

Start with your memory-speed-setting set for the memory you really have. Set your memory-timings to the settings it should have (You can usually find that on the manufacturers website, or sometimes on a sicker on the stick. If you can't find it anywhere, try running it stock and using PC Wizard 2006 to find out about the timings. Choose Tools->Overclock information to see
what the timings are. Remember the CL Cas Latency setting is the most important one, and simply extrapolate to create a table of the unknown CAS-latencies at lower or higher frequencies like I did above. Now push it as far as it will go. It might be easier to turn off any bootroms like the ICH7R RAID so rebooting becomes quicker. You'll be raising your CPU-frequency, then save and reboot, go back, raise it some more, save and reboot, etc. At some point, the PC will stop
rebooting. Apply one step overvoltage to your memory and retry. Repeat until mem-voltage numbers get purple. If it boots again, repeat raising CPU-freq. one step at a time, until it stops rebooting again. Note the frequency you had set, and as a rule of thumb, round the number found down decimal numbers. If you found CPU-frequency 234 is the max., ronud it down
to 230. Write that down as your max. for your memory. Also write down your current mem-divider used and your mem-voltage. Remember you can calculate the other max. if you will need to run your memory at a different frequency later on.

Next thing to push is your CPU.
To do so, start with stock settings, set your memory-speed-setting to lowest setting possible, so it won't interfere. Now raise your CPU-frequency again little by little. At some point, again your PC will stop rebooting. Add one step voltage to your VCore setting and retry. Keep doing so, until you reach the red settings for your VCore. If it still doesn't boot with that, you've gone too far, lower your CPU-freq. back down until it boots. Round the found max. freq. down again the same way and write down as your max. CPU-speed. Note that with this "CPU- testing" it might happen that you succesfully reboot, then go back in the BIOS, and it starts hainging spontaneously. To test that, simply go in BIOS, and keep moving around with your cursor/
menus. If it doesn't hang within seconds, continue pushing. If it does, turn off your PC and back on. You'll get a message saying overclocking failed. Then add voltage or lower freq. as still possible. The idea is NOT to find a rock-stable freq. here, but to find the absolute limit of your CPU!

Now you have both max. speeds possible for your PC. All you have to do is combine these two into that one CPU-frequency setting. Pay attention to the fact that doing so can mean you need to run your memory at a different than default frequency. Usually, but not always, you'll find that you could push your CPU more than your memory, so take the lowest of the two. Interpolate the setting required for your VCore at that speed (which is than lower than your max. with known
VCore-setting). If for you it's the other way around, take the lowest freq. and interpolate the Overvoltage needed for your memory at the than lower than max. memory-setting with known voltage-setting. Set the memory-speed-setting to match with your found max. memory-speed and adjust your timings accordingly, based on information given above.

Congrats. Step 1 done.
Next step is to see if these settings actually work. Don't get disappointed, usually they don't. Getting in the BIOS is fairly simple stuff, but loading and running windows and everything on top of that is a different level of stress, I'm sure you agree. In other words, if you reboot and let it startup, windows will probably crash. Nasty thing about it is when it does so while it was writing to disk. Disk-corruption IS possible this way, so try at your own risc!!! Anyway, first of all set back any bootroms that you disabled before. While you're in the BIOS still, check in hardware-monitor screen for your CPU-temp. Leave it for a while and watch the temp. Stable and far under 60C? If close to 60C, too high VCore-setting, and useless for stable performance since temp. would go over 60C then at full load. Lower down your VCore, which means you also have to lower down your freq. a little to make it stable again. Keep doing so until safely under 60C.

Next, let it boot but keep pressing F8 until you get the windows startup-screen. If it doesn't even
get there, lower your frequency a few steps, your max. was to much! ;-) If it does, select Safe Mode. First let's see if it survives an "easy" boot. If all goes well, we reboot and try a "normal" startup.If things don't go well (likely) you'll get a blue screen. This screen tells you information on the problem. At the top it gives the reason for the crash. At the bottom, you'll find a STOP number, like STOP 0x000050... If this reads
"Bad Pool Header" or
"Page fault in non-paged area"
then your memory is not stable. Either lower down CPU- frequency more or add voltage if you're still below max. setting (which would show red, or is the value you found on package or elsewhere, or is under 2.0 volts if unknown). Consider switching your memory-divider
to let your memory run slower, especially if you know your max. CPU-speed was much higher than current setting. Then lower your memory-divider and up your CPU-speed again. If you get
IRQL NOT EQUAL
Stop 0x000050
Stop 0x00007E
Stop 0x00008E
Stop 0x00000A
And actually pretty much else, your CPU is not stable. Either lower CPU-freq. a little or add VCore if still possible without going in red numbers. There's one exception to this: If after the STOP number it lists a filename, like iastor.sys, or usb.sys, or pci.sys, or anything like that, it means your southbridge cannot keep up with this high overclock. Lower down your CPU-freq.
and try again. Note though, a much higher CPU-speed might overcome problems like these. These errors basically mean that at current settings your chipset has difficulty synchronizing data with memory/CPU. I've seen cases where it was unstable like this at CPU=260, while it WAS stable at CPU=260 because it was able to synchronize with the rest better at this freq.
In other words, if you get these, it's possibly because of too high freq., but if you have to lower your speed so much to get rid of these type of errors, you might get rid of it "jumping" over the "problem-speed".
When safe mode is succesfull, try normal startup. Just keep repeating this whole thing until windows boots (Adding voltage or lowering freq.), just pay attention and keep track of your memory-speed. If you, by now, had to drop your freq. so much lower than what you found as your max. memory-speed, consider calculating if you could make your memory run on a different frequency using a lower CAS Latency. When windows starts up okay, have something to keep an eye on your CPU-temp. Speedfan can do so. If around 60C, too high VCore-setting
and you have no choice than to lower your VCore,  (or get better cooling) meaning you also have to lower your freq. to get stable again on less power. If far below 60C you can start stress-
testing. Start Prime95 or other stresstest util and let it run, keeping a close eye on your CPU-temp! Make sure you're getting a full load workout here, on dualcore, prime95 alone is not good enough. Start another copy using prime95 -a, or use two or more different programs like that.
most likely, your PC will crash or reboot. If it does, note the blue screens again and adjust.
Think about adjusting if you still can, considering your CPU-temp! If not, leave voltage-settings, but lower freq. settings a little. Keep repeating this until stresstesting keeps running longer than 5-10 minutes and nothing weird happens. Prime95 can stop, reporting something wrong happened. Mostly indicating your CPU is unstable, lower CPU-temp. or add VCore. When it survives all tests and CPU-temp. never came above 60C, you're almost done. For gaming, try a 3DMark 05 or 06 benchmark. Real stress? Run prime95 and then do the benchmark. The idea is stress-testing here, not benchmarking, forget the results for now. Kep an eye on your CPU-temp.! Try prime95 and start a game. Ofcourse, performance will be low, but that's okay as long as it survives for as long as you think necessary. 10 min. testing like this is usually enough to know if it's pretty stable or worthless... Watch your CPU-temp!!! May not get above 60C as long as you test!

When you've reached here, I would advice to go back in your BIOS, lower the CPU-freq. just a little bit more, and start finetuning your memory-timings as described above. Test it for a while like that to see how it goes under normal usage-conditions. If happy, leave it, if not happy (crashes?), lower it some more little by little. If you lower CPU-freq., consider lowering your VCore or mem.voltage accordingly, simply interpolate. This is important to improve thermal conditions, don't forget or ignore! As a matter of fact, as a final step, after you've found your best overclocking-speed and tested it completely stable, you might just lower your voltages one step at a time, until you lose stability. This will asure you you'll be running in the best possible
thermal conditions possible at those speeds.

Anyway, you cannot and should not consider your system to be running 100% stable. What is 100% stable anyway? If you can do anything you want to do without anything weird happening, well, isn't that defined as being stable? I mean, if it crashes because you're running prime95 and
another prime95 AND a 3DMark06 benchmark, then yes, you've proven it's not 100% stable, but are you going to do things like that in your normal usage-patterns? Highly unlikely. As long as prime95 x2 runs stable without errors (try all 3 tests) for prolonged times then you're pretty stable.

CPU-list, lists Voltages and such for each model:
http://images.tomshardware.com/2006/01/05/the_65_nm_pentium_d_900s_coming_out_party/cpu_table_intel_big.gif


Right, that's it for a while...
Any questions? Simply reply this post.
And remember, better safe and slower than sorry!
Push it too far and you might seriously damage your components, especially with the voltages.
Enjoy at your OWN RISC!!!
Good luck

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P5WDG2-WS/Arctic Freezer Pro on PD940@4.4G@1.5875V@62c full load/FSB 275/Elixir DDR2-667@733-3.2.4.4.2/Gigabyte 1900XTX@702/832 on PCIex@120 3DMark06:6487-2526-2860-2160 (Avg. 3 runs)
Ned
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Posted:2/21/2006 10:50:00 PM # 2
Outstanding job, Wizard! Your service to this community should be rewarded (with free motherboards from Asus, if I had anything to do with it. Which I don't - so sorry!

Anyway, Thanks!

Ned

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Monty
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Posted:3/1/2006 1:43:00 AM # 3
Your tips corrected a "yellow ?" problem  in device manager, and probably identified a marginal PS as my boot problem (380 watts, D930 processor, 2gb RAM, 4 SATA drives in RAID 1; ATI 600 display adapter) altho I still suspect my AOpen wireless kb and mouse.

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Wizard
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Posted:3/1/2006 12:47:00 PM # 4
Ned

This was a mean remakr, Ned... ;-) Knowing that I've RMA'ed my -E and are getting me a -WS now, and knowing this will be my last ASUS-board for sure now, this really was a mean remark !!!! LOL
I would like you to offer Gigabyte or MSI-boards for free though, you have anything to do with that, I hope??? LOL

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Wizard
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Posted:3/1/2006 12:50:00 PM # 5
Monty

Wow... yeah, 380 Watts is really pretty low for that setup. 4 drives take away quite some juice at power-on, right at the moment when your board and CPU require some decent juice to startup! What's the deal with your wireless keyb/mouse? And what's your problems with it then?

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Monty
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Posted:3/1/2006 8:36:00 PM # 6
My BIOS hangs on cold start after the memory check, during the USB device detection.  If I key <tab> several times it usually gets by this, not always. (<tab> and <del> work fine at boot)That's why I suspected the keyboard.   I now suspect you are right and the light PSU is the culprit.  No problems at all after boot up.

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Wizard
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Posted:3/1/2006 10:20:00 PM # 7
Monty

Well, that's easy to check. Disconnect everything you can miss, like drives, floppy, USB devices, everything, except your keyboard. Boot up a few times to confirm it boots okay then. If it does, your PSU might simply be too weak at boot up, yes. You see, the first rail to drop voltage when demand is too high is the 5V rail, and that's exactly what the USB-controller needs to boot up your keyboard.

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WolfwalkerOakes
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Posted:3/16/2006 12:58:00 PM # 8
Wizard--

Thanks for quick response, new cooling system is up and running.  Problem is I have 4gig of memory and only 3 show up in windows; however 4096 show up in bios.  Am I still utilizing  the 4 or am I stuck with 3.  If so, how can I get it to use all the resources?

Used your guid to manually set up my system as you stated...but I do want the safe over clock and am a little confused as to where to start or what first.  Please help.

Wolfwalker

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Posted:3/17/2006 1:00:00 AM # 9
Wizard,
First- lemme say thanks- I'm sure this info will come in quite handy- assuming I actually decide to buy this board... right now I'm torn between it and the Intel D975XBXLKR...

So before I spend my hard-earned cash on this board- I wonder if anyone can give me the real situation on this Marvell controller- is it simply a defective component on the board? is the problem simply that enabling RAID is not a good idea (of course, the Asus product website makes no reference that the Marvell supports RAID)?  or is there a whole bunch of other problems? The posts on this matter seem to vary, and you recommend not enabling it as a boot device [makes sense to me anyway, I don't generally boot from the secondary controllers anyway] but on this build I will require/desire the use of the second controller (for external SATA devices).

Frankly, where this Marvell controller is concerned- I almost wonder if we don't have a serious amount of misunderstanding - The drivers give the impression of RAID and the port labels on the board "SATA_RAIDx" give the impression- but the product specification sheet on the Asus site makes no mention of RAID support on the Marvell 6141- it just says that you can't use one of the ports and the onboard esata port simultaneously-  I've not seen the  manual for this board (yet)- so perhaps there's something there- course, from what I experinced with the P5N32-SLI (before I sent it back) I wouldn't be surprised if Asus has changed support mid-stream...


As a side-note to all this the Marvell website: http://www.marvell.com/products/sata_host.jsp gives no indication of RAID ability with their SATA Host controller-  Actually, in the hunting around I did on this site (which is limited, and there's nothing here about a specific model) - I found no mention of RAID anywhere-

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"IF" is the middle word in "LIFE", and LIFE is a conditional expression.
Wizard
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Posted:3/22/2006 3:51:00 PM # 10
Robert

Easy answer...You're just too late...
ASUS WAS advertising RAID-support, and it WAS mentioned in the manuls, for both -E boards and -WS boards...
Fact is, by now they have REVOKED all references to RAID capability. ERven the manuals have changed, website too...

Depending on your personal needs I would recommend the following:
- Go for the Intel-board if you want stability before speed
- Go for the ASUS -E board if you want speed before stability
- Go for the -WS board if you want stability and speed and extra PCI-X but more expensive
Notes on this:
Both ASUS boards have serious issues with BIOS and all kinds of "problems out of the box", most of which can be remedied by simply setting the BIOS stock... Theer are still issues though, bioth have the Marevll which in many cases doesn't even work properly as a SATA-controller, depending on what you connect... SATA-drives seem to work correctly, PATA sucks big time. I do not recommending getting the -E board for E-SATA, since it's causing problems all over the place...
The -WS board CAN have problems with LANs and PCI-X, since there are no BIOS-settings available (yet)...
In short, both boards rock, if you're willing to accept the fact you'll get a simple normal secundary SATA-controller, nothing more... Further issues will probabl get solved with BIOS-updates...
As for the Intel board, I've read it has issues too, but can't comment on that since I don't have one... Intel in general is known though for stability over speed, ie. bad overclockers, since they tend to stick better to their own specifications...

All in all, buying the -E board or -WS board (if PCI-X required) with a simple additional (E-SATA or not) SATA or RAID controller would be the best choice I think. Intel boards are more expensive normally anyway, and you could use the difference in buying a good RAID controller, preventing any issues with the marvell...

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