Some questions before getting AI7

Discussion in 'Abit' started by Tony, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. Tony

    Tony Guest

    I've been using an oc'd BH6... okay, for quite a while. I've decided to go
    with a new AI7 and a 2.6GHz P4. The memory options have me a little
    confused, though. My uses for the computer are both work and play related:
    database work, large-file image editing, gaming of course. I can get 1GB of
    Crucial PC-3200 for about the same price as 512MB of Corsair PC-4000. The OC
    sites seem to suggest that even regular latency PC-4000 is better than low
    latency PC-3200, but what happens if I double the amount of PC-3200 by

    And, a more noob type question: is a P4 mobo the type where I must pair
    memory modules - i.e., could not use just one memory module on the mobo?
    Tony, Dec 1, 2003
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  2. Tony

    TomG Guest

    you can use one memory module but you will loose the benefit of "dual
    channel" mode where it accesses the ram at a faster rate, almost as if it
    were a raid 0 hard drive configuration. that is a bit of a stretch but the
    comparison works to help you see that with two sticks of ram, the system can
    access them in a faster mode.

    the lower latency might allow tighter timings to be set on the ram but that
    same ram might not allow you to run the ram SPEED up as high as slower
    latency ram that is rated at a faster overall speed. keeping the CPU to RAM
    ratio at 1:1 or being able to overclock the cpu and not have to sacrifice
    the ram speeds or reach a ram speed ceiling before you run out of cpu
    headroom will result in a much faster system than an overclocked cpu that is
    starving for data being fed from slow ram.

    I would get the fastest rated (regardless of latency) ram I could afford.


    Thomas Geery
    Network+ certified Abit Mirror <----- Cable modem IP
    This IP is dynamic so it *could* change!...
    over 118,000 FTP users served!
    TomG, Dec 1, 2003
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  3. Tony

    Tony Guest

    So, Tom, you're saying that 512MB of PC-4000 will do me better than 1GB of
    Tony, Dec 1, 2003
  4. Tony

    Jim Guest

    Sounds similar to my current situation.

    I just purchased the Abit AI7, P4 2.6C (800MHz) CPU, Coolermaster Aero 4
    HSF, and 512MB (2 x 256MB) Mushkin PC3500 Level II Dual Pack (CAS 2-2-2)
    from for my new system (arriving tomorrow in fact!). My
    reasoning on the memory is as follows: since the CPU FSB is rated @ 200MHz,
    and I almost always want to run 1:1 (synch), that leaves me plenty of OC
    headroom w/ memory should I OC the CPU (and I'm not all that sure how much
    OC the 800MHz P4 can handle, but the 2.4C and 2.6C seem ideal for this
    purpose). Anyway, if I decide to OC the CPU (say, 233MHz), the quality of
    the Mushkin PC3500 should make maintaining 1:1 (i.e., 466MHz DDR) a cinch
    (reports are this Mushkin will OC to 466MHz or better, maybe 480MHz,
    hopefully w/ little sacrifice in CAS or timings). I threw the Coolermaster
    Aero in there JUST IN CASE, it gives me a little more cooling than stock,
    but still VERY quiet (comes w/ RPM adjustable fan). There's little point in
    buying more than PC3500 (IMO). Anything over PC3500 (Mushkin or not) drops
    off dramatically in terms of CAS, timings, etc., that's the only reason the
    stuff runs that fast! So you're really paying a premium over PC3500 that
    provides little bang for the buck. As the technology stands today, above
    PC3500 memory represents THE point of diminishing returns. Of course,
    anything LESS than PC3200 has the potentional to limit your OC of the CPU
    (assuming you want 1:1, which empirical tests clearly show is preferably in
    most cases). And if you only buy PC3200, why bother w/ the AI7 in the first
    place, why not just save $50 and get the VI7!

    Btw, as an aside, I *did* buy a VI7 as well for my wife, combined w/ a P4
    2.4B (533MHz) and some budget (K-Byte of all things) PC2700 memory I had
    lying around. I OC the P4 2.4B @ 166MHz and run 1:1 w/ the PC2700, works
    nice, plenty for my wife's needs. Btw, just for kicks, I tried OC'ing the
    K-Byte junk, holy crap, it worked, ran @ PC3200 beautifully, I was amazed,
    just some stuff I picked up from OfficeMax FREE after rebate! But I still
    run 1:1 on a daily basis.

    Anyway, back to your situation, yep, the Mushkin is expensive ($167), but I
    mediated that by keeping it 512MB total. I've found VERY few instances of
    needing more than 512MB. I suppose some games and certainly A/V editting
    might be exceptions. But even so, the AI7 provides 2 more slots for an
    additional pair of Mushkin PC3500 (or better) in the future should I need it
    (and it will obviously drop in price over the next few months, or be
    discounted on eBay). Heck, two banks of dual channel (4 x 256MB) may even
    work BETTER than 2 x 512MB!

    Anyway, FWIW, that's my thinking on the matter, hope it helps.

    Jim, Dec 1, 2003
  5. Tony

    TomG Guest

    well, I run 1 gb in 2 512 sticks. be aware that 4 sticks can cause other
    problems but I don't believe the chipset that the AI7 is based on has true
    Performance Acceleration Technology (PAT/GAT) build in (could be wrong...)
    so loosing Performance Mode might not happen like it can with 4 sticks on an
    875PE based chipset.

    in your case, you could easily be trading one performance enhancer (1 gig of
    ram) for one performance degrader (3200 vs. 4000) and which one has the
    bigger influence is in question depending on what you do with the system.
    now, 1 gig of 4000? that would be the way to go!


    Thomas Geery
    Network+ certified Abit Mirror <----- Cable modem IP
    This IP is dynamic so it *could* change!...
    over 118,000 FTP users served!
    TomG, Dec 1, 2003
  6. Tony

    TomG Guest

    good points on the 3200 vs. 3500 vs. 4000... 3500 is what I run as well...


    Thomas Geery
    Network+ certified Abit Mirror <----- Cable modem IP
    This IP is dynamic so it *could* change!...
    over 118,000 FTP users served!
    TomG, Dec 1, 2003
  7. Tony

    Tony Guest

    Ouch! That's way too rich for my blood, Tom.

    Tony, Dec 2, 2003
  8. Tony

    Tony Guest

    Thanks for this reply, Jim. I looked at the VI7, but I'm not partial to VIA
    chipsets (I'm sure there's no problem with them now, but I had a bad
    experience with an early VIA-based mobo). You're logic seems sound. The only
    trepidation I have is getting the AI7 fresh off the design floor; there's
    bound to be an AI7-II not more than a few months away. That's one of the
    good (or bad) things about Abit - they will definitely come out with a new
    board version if it's necessary. (I'm a long time Abit user).
    Tony, Dec 2, 2003
  9. Tony

    Tony Guest

    Hmm, let me throw another possibility into the mix. If I were to get a 2.4C
    P4, the lower multiplier should allow me to get higher FSB speeds, right? Is
    that a better choice than going for th 2.6C?
    Tony, Dec 2, 2003
  10. Tony

    Danny T Guest

    Danny T, Dec 2, 2003
  11. Tony

    TomG Guest

    nah! great performance with that much ram, too!


    Thomas Geery
    Network+ certified Abit Mirror <----- Cable modem IP
    This IP is dynamic so it *could* change!...
    over 118,000 FTP users served!
    TomG, Dec 2, 2003
  12. Tony

    TomG Guest

    I know the 2.6c is supposed to be better than the 2.8c for that reason but,
    who knows, you might be going to far down the ladder...


    Thomas Geery
    Network+ certified Abit Mirror <----- Cable modem IP
    This IP is dynamic so it *could* change!...
    over 118,000 FTP users served!
    TomG, Dec 2, 2003
  13. Tony

    Skid Guest

    I'm not Danny, but I'd suggest that you had better do some research before
    ordering PC3200. Asking ram certified for 200 mhz to do 220 is a tall order.
    If that worked routinely, nobody would be selling PC3500 or PC3700.

    Check other threads in the Abit forums to see what others are using.

    My system:

    IC7, P4C @ 12x275=3.3ghz, Buffalo Tech PC3700 (Winbond BH5) @ 5:4, 220 mhz,
    Skid, Dec 3, 2003
  14. Tony

    Tony Guest

    I understand, Skid, but I have run across at least one review ( )
    that suggests it is possible. I know I shouldn't expect a guarantee (I've
    been building PCs since 286 days), but if I come across a couple of reports
    that success can be had I'm willing to consider it. I have looked over the
    abit forums site, but will pour through it some more.

    I have been very happy with Crucial memory on other systems I've built (I am
    oc'ing Crucial on my current machine by 12% - 112MHz). I've found it
    provides a reasonable (not necessarily extreme) ability to OC but at the
    same time demonstrate great reliability.

    I'm interested in that you're using Winbond chips. I have seen some reports
    of problems on some mobos with Winbond-based DIMMS.
    Tony, Dec 4, 2003
  15. Tony

    Tony Guest

    I am looking at the Zalman CNPS7000. Someone on the Abit forums said it fits
    well on the AI7.
    Tony, Dec 4, 2003
  16. Tony

    Tony Guest

    BTW, Skid, I am listening (g). What's the part number of that PC3700?
    Tony, Dec 4, 2003
  17. Tony

    Skid Guest

    I'm a Crucial fan, too. For the price it's hard to beat. Very compatible and
    reliable, but the SPD timings of 3,4,4,8 are very slow and it won't do
    better than 2.5.

    I did a fair amount of research before going with the Buffalo Tech PC3700.
    The Winbond BH5 chips are legendary in overclocking circles because they
    hold tight timings at relatively high speeds. They are also highly
    compatible with the Intel Canterwood and Springdale chipsets. Mushkin uses
    them in it's top-rated and very pricey Level II Black.

    The complaints you've been seeing were related to the "new and improved" BH6
    chips, which would clock higher but used looser timings that offset any
    gains. Not only that, but they gave some people compatibility fits until the
    boardmakers released bios updates. So many people shunned the BH6 and bought
    up every available stick of the discontinued BH5 that Winbond started making
    them again. sells the BT PC3700 with Winbond modules for $62 per 256-meg
    stick with free shipping. (They sell PC3700 with Micron for less, but they
    don't work as well.)

    I've been quite happy with mine. If you're interested, I have two extra
    sticks I could sell you for $100 plus the cost of shipping. They have been
    tested at 220 mhz, 2.8v, 2,3,2,6 on my IC7. I can get 230 at 3,4,4,8, but my
    cpu starts getting flakey above 3.3 ghz and tighter timings at a lower mhz
    given me the best overall performance.
    Skid, Dec 4, 2003
  18. Tony

    Tony Guest

    It may be too late. I wanted two 512MB sticks, and the BT PC-3700 that
    newegg offers is only with Micron chips. I decided to risk it, based again
    on some of the sites I've seen (and some posts in the Abit forums), and my
    own expreience with Crucial sticks. At any rate, a PC-3700 should be able to
    stock at 233MHz FSB which, at x13 and 5/4, means I'd be cooking the 2.6C at
    3786, if I could even get that high with air-cooling only! (which I don't
    think is possible)
    Tony, Dec 4, 2003
  19. Tony

    Skid Guest

    Newegg still sells the Buffalo Tech PC3700 with Winbond chips, but they are
    currently listed as out of stock. When they get a batch, it sells out fast.

    Let us know how the Micron sticks turn out.
    Skid, Dec 5, 2003
  20. Tony

    Tony Guest

    So I got my Buffalo Tech PC3700 DIMMS, Skid. It turns out Newegg sent me one
    with Winbond BH5 chips, the other with Micron (I think) chips. I'm debating
    returning one or the other to get a matched set, but am not sure it will
    really matter. Maybe I should try the pair first. I've got to wonder that if
    they're being sold by BT they would meet some kind of internal performance
    Tony, Dec 10, 2003
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