A8N-SLI Premium - works fine but have several tuning questions

Discussion in 'Asus' started by KeithS, May 19, 2006.

  1. KeithS

    KeithS Guest

    Building a PC for my part time day trader brother. The board has way more
    features than needed, just trying to get the best and most stable set-up for
    this use. Will have 6 monitors on it when completed.

    AMD 64 X2 4200+
    Stock/Retail cooling fan
    2 GB Corsair Ram (wish I knew in advanced it was so picky about the memory
    it likes)
    Quadro4 NVS 280 & 440 video cards (PCI & PCIx16)
    WD Sata 200GB
    Antec Sonata II case with 450 Watt Smartpower (really is quiet!)

    Selected XP Home instead of Pro because Pro did not offer a single thing
    that was useful. Thought pro would only end up causing more problems than
    benefit by having all these things not needed that might get in the way.

    Many questions if anyone would like to take a stab at it (much

    I've enabled the cool n' quiet in the BIOS and seems to work fine except
    when the machine is cold, and first turned on because the CPU fan
    accelerates slowly I get a CPU cooling fan failure error on initial boot,
    even with the threshold set to the minimum of 800 rpm. It looks like I
    either have to turn off the cool-n-quiet or the fan alarm. Anyway to have

    What am I suppose to do with 2 Ethernet connections? Have the nVidia
    working fine. With all the issues people seem to have with the Marvell is
    there any reason to enable it?? My brother has 2 internet connections for
    back-up (DSL & Cable), but don't think there is a way to team them (Shotgun)
    together anyway.

    I've installed a single SATA hard drive. Can't figure out why this has 2
    different RAID controllers on it (Overkill!)?

    As stability is more important that absolute speed, I've left most settings
    on default. Am I correct that any gains by tweaking are in the order of
    only a few percent? Not sure what the nVidia performance tuning program
    will do, am afraid to run it.

    Still looking for a anti-virus program. Norton seems to be a resource hog.
    McAfee, PcCillin better?

    Any experience with the XP Firewall? Is it good enough? (Believe it is
    more efficient than all the other programs). I already know not to use the
    nVidia firewall that came with the MB.

    KeithS, May 19, 2006
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  2. KeithS

    Maus Guest

    Sometimes i have the same problem, think it has to do with the ambient
    temperature: it's to cold ;-).
    Well, it's cold enough for not running the CPU fan, but when i hit continue
    mostly the fan is running if windows is fully booted First time it happened
    i freakly went to the bios and opened the case, but then the fan starts
    running.... after a while. Don't know what the threshold temp is, but i
    thinks it's around 25C. No worries, you could enable the warning but what
    when there's realy something wrong....?

    same question here...nVidea or Marvell...?
    Free antivir from grisoft


    works fine to me...and it's free!

    think ZoneAlarm is free and better

    Maus, May 19, 2006
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  3. KeithS

    Natéag Guest

    «What am I suppose to do with 2 Ethernet connections? Have the nVidia
    «working fine. With all the issues people seem to have with the Marvell is
    t«here any reason to enable it?? My brother has 2 internet connections for
    «back-up (DSL & Cable), but don't think there is a way to team them
    «together anyway.

    Marvell is really useful when one connects another computer to it.
    It is faster for file transfers, etc...
    It runs well, but it is not installed automatically. I had to go to the
    Marvell folder on the CD to set it up.

    As far as SATA connectors are concerned, useful if you want to
    setup a RAID configuration; and eventually to instal more drives
    CD-DVD drives are now available for SATA. And I would think
    with time ATA drives are going to be phased out.

    (I have four. drives. Much safer than independent partitions; I never
    loose any data through WinXp reinstall or hardware failure.
    The first two drives are saved daily to the much larger last one
    with Ghost):
    Natéag, May 19, 2006
  4. KeithS

    DRS Guest

    Define picky. I have 2 x TWINX1024-3200C2 (= 4 x 512MB) at [email protected]
    on my Premium. Corsair RAM often likes a wee bit more voltage than the
    motherboard's default.
    I use QFan rather than C'n'Q but the effect is the same. Disable the CPU
    fan monitoring in the BIOS though or you'll get that bogus "CPU fan failed"
    error when booting, as the BIOS's CPU fan speed threshold can't be set to
    less than 800rpm and with QFan on my Freezer 64 Pro fan spends most of its
    life in the 500-600rpm range. I find QFan on is worth about a 3C CPU
    temperature increase but as long as it stays significantly below the safety
    threshold I don't care and it makes a huge difference to the overall system
    noise level. I have the QFan CPU threshold set to 60C, well below AMD's
    recommended max 71C, but it has yet to kick in even on the hottest day.
    The Marvell seems to work fine when it has the right driver (some people
    swear by the one from the Marvell web site rather than the one on the ASUS
    CD) but if you don't need it disable it. Most systems can't heavily load a
    single gigabit Ethernet let alone two, but having two can be handy if you
    want to run different subnets and have your PC do the routing.
    The Silicon Image RAID has slightly more functionality than that built into
    the Nvidia Force4 but if you don't want it disable it in the BIOS.
    By default the Premium Auto overclocking profile in the BIOS overclocks your
    system to 103% (Auto = 103%, Standard = 100%). I've had nothing but trouble
    with the AI NOS profile but I do everything manually these days anyway.
    The 4200 will happily overclock up to 2.6Ghz (CPU frequency aka FSB =
    240Mhz, CPU multiplier x11) at near stock voltages. That's a 20% increase
    in raw CPU performance. I'm running mine at 1.375v, which is only a little
    over the default. I've had it up to 2.7Ghz but had to ramp the voltage up
    to 1.425 to get stability with Prime95. I dropped it back to 2.6Ghz because
    it's fast enough for what I need and I'm not convinced about the long-term
    effects of running it over the AMD recommended operational maximum 1.4v.

    But decent CPU cooling is a must. I reckon the Freezer 64 Pro is far and
    away the best value AMD CPU air cooler out there. Where I am it's half the
    price of the Zalman 9500 and the 9500 is only about 1 degree Celcius cooler
    than the Freezer 64 Pro. Both are worth about 11-13C against the stock
    cooler, the Freezer 64 Pro fan is way quieter than the stock, and unlike
    many high-end coolers for AMDs it fits on the standard 939 mount (so you
    don't have to drill holes or mount baseplates on the back of the motherboard
    or whatever). That 11-13C is the buffer you need when you overclock as the
    CPU will run hotter at higher voltages. Effectively, I'm running at stock
    FX-60 speed (2.6Ghz) at AMD stock cooler temperatures (low 30s idle up to
    high 50s under 2x100% load depending on ambient/case temps) at a third the

    You'll also need to read up on tweaking your RAM and the HyperTransport bus.
    Ignore it. Overclock from the BIOS.
    I use EZ antivirus from CA. I hate Norton and McAfee with a passion.
    Zone Alarm. It's free and craps on the XP firewall.
    DRS, May 19, 2006
  5. KeithS

    KeithS Guest

    "Define picky. I have 2 x TWINX1024-3200C2 (= 4 x 512MB) at [email protected]
    on my Premium. Corsair RAM often likes a wee bit more voltage than the
    motherboard's default."

    By picky I mean I purchased 2 sticks of matched memory, 1GB each. BUT
    because they were double sided with 16 memory chips, it could be used in the
    motherboard - as indicated in the manual which I did not have when I
    purchased the MB and RAM. Would not boot at all. Stuck in an old stick of
    512MB DDR 266 and it ran fine, well it least it booted.
    KeithS, May 19, 2006
  6. KeithS

    KeithS Guest

    KeithS, May 19, 2006
  7. KeithS

    Paul Guest

    Are you referring to the statement in section 2.4.2 ?

    "Due to CPU limitation, DIMM modules with 128 Mb memory chips or
    double-sided x16 memory chips are not supported in this

    An "x16 memory chip", is a memory chip with a 16 bit wide interface.
    A bank of RAM is 64 bits wide. It takes four of those chips to make
    a bank. Thus, the physical appearance of the illegal module type,
    would be a double sided module, with four chips on each side
    of the module. That is a typical memory configuration used on
    smaller capacity RAM modules in the past.

    Current (good quality) modules, use x8 chips. When you buy a
    512MB module, there is very little risk of getting the wrong
    kind of chips. With 1GB modules, there are two module construction
    techniques. The best kind of memory uses x8 chips, eight of
    them per side of the module. An inferior construction technique,
    used on generic modules from Ebay, is to use x4 chips. It takes
    16 of those to build a single bank, so the memory module still
    has 16 chips on it. Thus, it is hard for a customer to
    determine they've been screwed, because both good and bad
    1GB modules have 16 chips on them. This sample advertising
    page, shows good modules on the left, and a bad module on the


    Corsair should only be selling proper modules using x8 chips,
    so I don't think that is your problem. Since you are able to
    get the motherboard running with one 512MB DIMM, set up the
    timing in the BIOS while the 512MB module is in there, then
    add one of the Corsair modules. Are you able to get the
    motherboard to post then ? (A Rev.E processor can support
    mixing DIMMs, so it should be able to start, even when not
    set up in a dual channel memory configuration.)

    Try setting the memory speed to DDR333, as a simple first step.
    With some luck, you may be able to eventually remove the 512MB
    stick, and add the second 1GB stick, once you've conquered
    whatever "By SPD" problem the Corsair stick is causing. Try
    some "Manual" memory settings.

    Paul, May 20, 2006
  8. Won't be the Cool & Quiet doing that, but the Q-Fan control. If you're
    using the stock heatsink you should likely turn that off as that fan
    already has thermal speed control.
    Robert Hancock, May 21, 2006
  9. KeithS

    KeithS Guest

    Didn't know that. The little booklet with the processor does not tell you.
    I've turned it off, but can't tell if it solves the problem till the morning
    when it's really cooled down.
    KeithS, May 21, 2006
  10. KeithS

    milleron Guest

    Most of these questions are being answered elsewhere in the thread,
    but I think there's one timing parameter which may give you more than
    "only a few percent" improvement. That's the command rate. With only
    two DIMMs, you should be able to set this to 1T, but it may default to
    2T. That bit of tweaking is worth doing. If stability is more
    important that speed, you needn't change the other settings, however,
    Corsair is very good memory. I think you'll find that changing from
    JEDEC defaults to the Corsair spec will allow both optimal performance
    AND stability. If it doesn't, then it's simple enough to reenter BIOS
    setup and switch the timings back to "auto." The nVidia performance
    tuning program (nTune, I think it's called) is mainly for
    overclocking, and that definitely could lead to instability; don't
    install it.
    milleron, May 22, 2006
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