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Help - System Crashes !


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#1
DrD

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Well, I bought some new components - put them together, and I'm having some
problems. I am using the following new components:

Motherboard:
Epox EP-8K9A2 FSB: 266/333 MHz
IDE: 2x E/IDE Ultra DMA/133
RAM: 4x DDR SDRAM PC2700, 4GB Max

CPU:
AMD ATHLON XP 2500+ "Barton"
333 FSB PROCESSOR CPU- RETAIL
Cache: 512K L2, 128K L1, Total 640KB
CPU: 1.83 GHz Socket A

Memory:
CRUCIAL MICRON 512MB
64x64 PC 2700 DDR RAM - OEM
184-Pin, CL=2.5-Unbuffered Non Parity
2.5V, CT6464Z335 Requires DDR

Now - here's my problems:

1) My system is getting frozen every 10 to 15 minutes for a period of about
10-20 seconds. Then it frees up and is working fine. (Windows 2k)

2) When I play my favorite online games (AC2 and Starwars Galaxies), I see
the same exact problem in each game: The game freezes every 15 minutes
or so for about 10-20 seconds. Sometimes the freeze is so bad it kicks me
out to a Blue Screen (Windows Fatal Exception), and I have to reboot. I've
rebooted probably 10-15 times in last 2 days. Sometimes, the freezing only
is bad enough to kill the client and kickme out to the desktop.

Other than when these problems are happening - the system runs absolutely
great. Very smooth - very fast. I'm so frustrated about it. My plan is to send
something back - the motherboard, CPU or the memory. But I'm not sure which
one is most likely the problem. Any ideas please ?!? My video card is not
super great - but its good enough (ATI 9000), and I'm fairly certain its not the
problem since I had the video card before with no problems. The software on
my system is just a basic setup so I'm sure its something in hardware.

Help appreciated,
Dr D
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#2
admin

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<_< Look like a nice System! It sounds like probably just an overheating problem to me. Download a monitoring utility, either from your Epox CD, or Motherboard Monitor (click on downloads).

Are you overclocking anything?

Post back with your CPU temps.
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#3
DrD

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I wanted to overclock, but I could not find any way to do it. There is only one
settable jumper on the motherboard: system clock - either 100Mhz (default) or
133Mhz. I've tried both - using 133 right now. There is absolutely NOTHING in the
Bios for the CPU Chip speed (clock settings, anything). I thought there would be
a place to set FSB and other settings - but theres nothing. I will try the tool you
suggested and start from there. I thought I read people used this Epox MB to OC
their chips, but I don't see how with this one.

Dr D
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#4
admin

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The Epox 8RDA is a great overclocker. I'm not familiar with the model you bought. I'll look into it.

Are you using the latest BIOS?

At your boot screen look for the BIOS version, K9A23508 is the latest. May fix your crash problem to update the BIOS if you have an older version on your board. Looks like only the lastest BIOS is able to detect the Barton, and has "PowerBios", whatever that is. Below is from Epox web site:

Mainboard model name: 8K9A2+
BIOS filename: K9A23508.BIN (7700)

Updates in this version:
• resolved that some HDD couldn't boot from slave channel
• resolved some instability of 133 MHz. FSB CPUs

Updates included from previous version:
• Solved system crash when FAN speed to slow
• Only show AGP modus when AGP 8X card is used
• Added AGP-calibration item
• Changed string for detecting K7 CPU
• Serial ATA S3 fail issue solved
• Added code for detecting Athlon model Barton
• Improved DRAM compatibility in Ultra mode
• Changed default mode for USB 2.0 controller to enabled
• Solved USB card reader boot problem
• Restored version for Highpoint controller to V2.32B to solve USB flash storage issue
• Added support for Highpoint chip 372n
• PC speaker beep function at post issue solved
• Added codes for correct detection of some MP processors
• CPU strings added for correct detection Athlon 2600+
• POWER BIOS menu item!!!
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#5
admin

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There's gotta be away to overclock that MB. I was able to find reference to other users overclocking their front side bus. I tried downloading the manual from Epox, but their site was very slow, and kept timing me out. So, I can only recommend that you read your manual. Somewhere in the BIOS section there should be instructions on adjusting the multipliers and front side bus.

<_< Now for some kinda bad news. It doesn't seem many people were able to overclock this board very much, not even to 200mhz FSB. Your CPU, and memory should be able to clock to 200 mhz without much problem, it would be a shame to have your motherboard hold you back. But, if you're able to get 200mhz FSB, I'd be happy with that. At 200mhz FSB the Barton 2500+ is out performing a 3200+.

FYI, I checked newegg.com and the EPOX 8RDA is actually a couple bucks less than yours. I don't know where you bought it from, or what their exchange policies are, but you might even want to consider exchanging it for the 8RDA. Many people have gotten 240mhz FSB speeds and more using that board. Then you could really get the full potential from that Barton 2500 CPU. Plus, you'll find all kinds of overclocking info on the Internet related to the Epox 8RDA+ (just try a google search).
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#6
DrD

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Thanks for all the helpful info. I got the board from Newegg, so I bet their
exchange policy will be fast and reliable. The reason I picked this one over the
one you mention is because of what I read about compatibility issues between
the nForce2 and the PC2700 memory that I got. So I went with the KT400 which
I had good luck with in the past. I will compare the Bios version with what you
posted here - thats a good idea. But I would think it should be up to date. The
Bios is so generic I can't find any FSB or clock multiplier settings, but I'll keep
looking for those. There's a way to boot into AWFlash, but that doesn't seem to
offer anything useful.

Dr D
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#7
admin

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AWFlash is a utility to update your BIOS. You'll probably have to press your pause key at the BIOS screen to see what version you're currently running.

The nForce prefers PC3200 memory. But, Crucial PC2700 generally will overclock to PC3200 performance. So, I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure people reporting problems were using cheap, generic memory.

If you return it to Newegg, you'll only be out the shipping to send it back. They have a 15% restocking charge on their website, but they never enforce it. <_<

P.S. What do you think of Star Wars Galaxies? I didn't know it was avaialable yet...
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#8
DrD

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Ok here's some stats from my Bios start screen:

Bios Rev (at bottom left corner):
02/12/2003-KT400-8235-6A6LYPADC-00

CPU Temp:
48C/118F

Voltage Readings:
Vcore = 1.64V
Vdimm = 2.46V
Vagp = 1.48V
Vbat = 3.07V
12V = 11.91V
5VSB = 5.32V

Where do I look to see if I have K9A23508.BIN file ? I'm going to reboot to
try again to find this information.

I went to their webpage (was timing out, but finally got there). It shows that
the 02/12/2003 is the current Bios version available. Then looking on the spec
page for this MB EP-8K9A2 it says in clear print:

CPU clock settings are adjustable by BIOS
CPU multiplier settings are adjustable by BIOS
CPU V-core settings are adjustable by BIOS


So what am I missing - why can I not find it ?!? <_<

Dr D

P.S. The memory monitor is confusing to me. I run it and it just sits resident
in my system tray. I thought it would run some analysis ? Or do I just tell it
to watch the MB when I'm running a given application ? I open it from system
tray and went through most of the options - didn't see anything jump out at me.
Is there something specific I should do with the settings ?
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#9
admin

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You do have the latest BIOS. I thought you had the EP-8K9A2+. I'm downloading the manual right now (it's a little faster today). I'll get back to you with how to adjust the BIOS settings.

Motherboard Monitor sits in your system tray and reports motherboard and CPU temps. If your not getting a display you'll need to adjust the temp sensor(?) settings. It's been a while since I used it. Maybe I'll download it and look at it again.
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#10
admin

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For overclocking instructions in your manual see pages 4-28 through 4-31.

This board uses Phoenix Award BIOS which is very popular and provides for a lot of tweaking.

On your main BIOS screen, click on Frequency/Voltage Control

On the next screen, CPU Clock is where you adjust the FSB (go slow, a couple mhz at a time)

CPU Ratio, allows adjutment of the CPU multiplier. I think all Barton's have the multipler unlocked when using an nForce2 board, but I'm not sure about KT400's.

Of course, before you overclock, you'll need to make sure you don't have an overheating problem. I've got MBM5 installed and I'll take a look at it to see why it's not giving you results.
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#11
DrD

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OK, first mistake goes to me. I'm sorry but I finally found the FSB and
clock multiplier settings in the Bios. I should have checked EVERY selection
in that menu. I checked all the ones on the left side of the GUI. There was
a selection call Power Bios Settings on the right which was where these
settings are located. It thought it was Power Saving settings, I should have
looked there - dumb me. OK, so I can set the FSB which is now currently at
133 (range is 133-255), and the muliplier ranges from like 5x all the way up
to 20x or so. I tried raising the FSB setting to 166, and leaving the Multiplier
on Auto and the board locked up. I reset CMOS and started again. But I
wanted to post here to let you know before I tried more. Can you tell me -
is it better to stick with 133 and raise multiplier ? But I thought this board
could go up to 333 FSB ?!? I'm confused. Gonna experiment now. If you
have any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear. And thanks very much for
all your help.

Dr. D
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#12
admin

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I tried raising the FSB to 166, and leaving the
Multiplier on Auto and the board locked up


Hmmm, not a good sign.

But I thought this
board could go up to 333 FSB ?!?


Just because the settings will go that high, doesn't mean the board will actually clock that high.

Can you tell
me - is it better to stick with 133 and raise multiplier ?


Actually, you're sometimes better off lowering the mulitplier, so that you can get the maximum memory bandwidth. However, with your 2500+ Barton, you should be able to overclock the FSB to 200, without having to lower the multiplier. Since you're not able to, either the motherboard or memory are holding you back.

Have you tried "relaxing" the memory settings? (Dram Clock / Drive Control Settings)
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#13
admin

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I took a couple screen captures of MBM5.

Posted Image

Click on system info and see what's shown as the main sensor chip

Posted Image

You need to select this chip under the temperatures screen

Run something to max out your CPU (like SETI@home, or Prime). You want CPU utilization at 100% for a few minutes to see what the temperature will do. You definatley want to stay below 60 C, and would like to be around 40-45 C.
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#14
DrD

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OK, I have nothing in that area of MBM, so I will make the change. There is
also a CPU Overheat Protection setting in Bios and I have it set at 70C.

BTW - it's interesting, even though I set the FSB to 133 in the Bios, it reports
at 266 on the bootup screen. There must be some doubling going on but I'm
not sure the reason. Also, whats your recommendation on the jumper on the
MB which sets the system clock to either 100(default) or 133MHz ?

Dr D
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#15
DrD

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Here's my MBM Info, which do I select for sensor ?

From General:

Posted Image

From Temperature:

Posted Image


I tried the WinBond 1 2N3904 and the sensor started going off right away
saying it was over 70, but I know each time I boot the CPU is around 45, so
what is this really telling me ?

Dr D
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