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Minsc

hi again all, long time no post! big update here

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I was here quite some time ago, fighting a set of Corsair XMS-3200s trying to get decent timings. Later I overclocked, at one point reaching 290MHz FSB but ultimately settling on a more stable 250MHz - not too shabby for chips that the mobo seems to hate. I never did get Bank Interleave or 1T to be stable, which was always annoying. Of course, I never would have accomplished anything if it weren't for the fine folks on this forum. Some advice - be polite, be thorough in providing information. Don't think you know what the cause is, just include every bit of information you can - relevant or not - and let the pros sort it out.

 

Today I spent over $500 at Newegg for an upgrade. You can see the new parts in my sig. I'll let everyone know how it goes. My inability to get over 40-50 FPS with typical settings in Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter prompted the upgrade (that and some unspent tax return money.) As good an excuse as any. It's really wild that with all this hardware, which is considered godly to the average PC owner, performs so badly. The minimum system requirements for that game are 128 MB of RAM and a 450 MHz Pentium 2. Ridiculous. A game website should actually build some of these so-called 'minimum' PCs that so many games claim are adequate and report on how fun the game is. I guess the game companies consider 1 FPS playable.

 

There's a really interesting article at TomsHardware.com that attempts to settle the age old question of whether tight timings or loose timings/overclocking gets better performance. While interesting academically, it's clear that getting memory chips that overclock well are more important than those reported to work with tight timings effectively, since this allows you to max out your FSB and CPU, which provide more overall performance gains than any memory bandwidth related tweaks. Here's the article.

 

I really wanted the XFX 7900 'XXX' card but they're hard to find. The 7900 GTs seem very overclockable anyway so I'll just try that. On that topic, an interesting OC story - I used the CoolBits and the Automatic Overclocking function on my 6800 Ultra and it seems to have blown a gasket. It now produces noticable artifacts in virtually all games even at the DEFAULT clock and memory bandwidth settings! This was pretty surprising - I've always thought overclocking hardware damage would be either total or nothing - not this 'semi-unstable' state I am now in. The stable settings I have to use now are 415 MHz (instead of 425) for the GPU, and 1.00 GHz (instead of 1.10 GHz) for the RAM. So, I'm a little scared to OC the new $300 7900 GT but I think a good strategy is to try the Automatic Overclocking, and then reduce it's suggestion by about 15% (that is, if I overclock it at all. It might be fast enough to keep me happy at stock settings.)

 

A while back I did the 4x RAID-0 mod which was interesting. I benchmarked it a little, you can navigate my sea of data over here if you really want to see the results. It's noticably louder and I get really nervous hearing 4 drives spin up and click into place every time I boot - which sounds especially rickety after a crash. The additional noise and paranoia about increased possibility of drive failures (especially with my shoddy backup regimen) is almost not worth it. But it was fun. And it is ridiculously fast. It actually seems a little slower than the 2-drive array when accessing many small files. An easy way to see this is to simply open a folder full of shortcuts in list mode and watch it draw the icons, which is always painfully slow.

 

My never-ending, money-is-no-object quest for performance continues...

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