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Topic Title: Frequently asked questions
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Created On: 10/14/2003 04:28 PM
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 10/14/2003 04:28 PM
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[borg]
Senior Member

Posts: 528
Joined: 10/07/2003

Ok, since some questions are appearing very often, here are some quick solutions. I am not responsible for any possible damage done to your system.
Please write a sentence or two about any problem you have solved recently and post it here.

First update: 14.10.2003.
Just posted the thing
And added some new things later

15.10.2003.
Added questions 5,6.
24.10.2003.
Added question 7

Used terms:
POST = Power On Self Test - A diagnostic activity that your BIOS (Basic Input Output System) performes every time you turn on your computer. Checks memory, processor etc.
PSU = Power Supply Unit
mobo = motherboard
die = the processor core surface, the little rectangular thingie in the middle of your processor
BSOD = Blue Screen Of Death
o/c = overclock, running a system component out of the specs
underclock = running a system component below it's specs
mods = modifications done on a certain component to change it's behavior
northbridge = motherboard chip which (besides other functions) communicates with CPU and memory
FSB = Front Side Bus - Part of the motherboard which communicates between CPU and northbridge
HSF = Heat sink fan
Heat sink = the metal component in your computer located on top of your CPU, cools the processor by increasing the cpu-to-air surface (since cpu transfers all it's heat to the nearby air)

1. Just bought and build a new computer. It won't POST on when I press the power button.
1. Check your CPU fan cable. If cpu fan is not working, the motherboard won't allow the computer to start up. Check your PSU cables. Did you connect the power button to your motherboard incorrectly? Check your motherboard manual for the correct cable orientation. If you hear load beeps, that means that your motherboard knows what's wrong and wants you to fix the problem. Maybe you don't hear anything because you didn't connect the system speaker to the motherboard? Find the interpretation of the various beep types in your motheboard manual. Is the mobo LED on (a little bright light shining on your mobo when you turn the switch on the back of your PSU) ? If it's not, mobo is not getting any power. Did you seat the heatsink correctly? If not, high temps will cause the mobo to shutdown itself. Did you spill the thermal paste all over the processor surface? If the bridges on the cpu are shorted with thermal paste, very unpredictable behavior can occur. Clean it up with pure alcohol. Did you apply too much pressure when seating the heatsink? Check the die for mechanical damage. If you cracked the die, get yourself a new cpu. Is the PSU adequate for your system? Maybe it's just drawing too much wattage. Try to borrow a stronger PSU.

2. I get random freezes and BSOD-s while playing on/using my newly built computer. I'm not o/c-ing.
2. Every component in your computer can cause this. Try to isolate the problem: Check your temperatures with programs like AIDA or Motherboard monitor for windows, or add ACPI support in Linux kernel and monitor your /proc/acpi directory. If it's getting over 60C for the CPU, you're in trouble: You applied the thermal paste incorrectly (you need a very thin layer of it *on the processor die only!*. If it get's pushed out at the edges when you press with your heatsink, it's not good. Reseat the heatsink. If the "system temp" and "temp in your room" difference is too big, open up your case, wait for a while, and check the temps again. If they go down, you need some case fans, as your case airflow is bad. Stress your cpu with prime95 (a cpu stressing program) and wait for freezes/errors. Temps ok? Download memtest (a memory stressing program) and stress your memory. If it fails to pass the test, your memory is bad. Try with another modules. Memory fine? Maybe your graphics card can't cool itself adequatly and freezes when put under heavy load. Look for similar problems from other users and mount an active cooler if neccessary. Check your disks for bad sectors. Maybe you freeze when processing corrupted data from the disk. It can be the PSU, delivering low quality voltage output to your components. Check the voltage outputs in BIOS and post them on the forum.

3. I get random freezes on my new computer. I'm o/c-ing the CPU. I realise that this can kill it.
3. Use the combinations of these solutions: Increase vcore in little steps and try again. Monitor your temps! If increasing FSB, increase the chipset voltage too. Is the northbridge activly cooled? Don't burn your mobo if it's not. You are probably keeping FSB/Memory in 1/1 ration. Can the memory handle it? If you're oc-ing the memory too, increase the vdimm. In small steps. Lower memory timings as you increase the memory speed. Is your PSU good enough? When overclocked, CPUs consume a *lot* more energy and produce more heat. Also,cheap PSUs start to deliver less quality voltage output to your motherboard. So go into your bios and check the values for 3.3V, 5V, 12V and every one you get listed. These are called voltage 'rails' ("check your 5V rail"). Ofcourse, check your temps again and again. Read the previous answers about heatsink/thermal paste placement and stress testing. Maybe you reached the o/c wall of your CPU. Is your PCI bus locked? Check your motherboard documentation for this information. If not, going too high with the FSB will cause PCI bus to be overclocked (33-38Mhz range is within PCI specification) Then your disks create corrupted data, strange clicks and various other errors. Are the BIOS options containing "Spectrum" in their name enabled? They cause modulation of motherboard signals in order to lower Electromagnetic Interference. This is a good thing, but could cause instability. Leave them on "Disabled" or "Smart Clock"(If you have this one) settings.

4. How far will my CPU go when o/c-ed? I just bought cpu X and I can't get stable frequency Y and mr. Q can. How's this??
4. There is a series of factors included in your o/c potential. First the very o/c-abilty of you cpu. General rule: the newer the processor, the better it overclocks. This is because the quality of the die constatly improves (as the AMD enigineers are constatly working on it). You can find out how old is your CPU buy looking at it's front side (you'll have to remove the heatsink). There is a black label with a set of characters on it. You are looking for a set of 4 numbers in the middle of the second row of the text. Something like "0329". 03 tells you it was produced in 2003, and 29 denotes the production week. Compare this number to the commonly seen ones on the forum to find out what kind of processor you have (new/old). There are also other factors involved, like stepping mask denoted by the five characters right before the formentioned 4 numbers. Some stepping masks o/c better then the others, as they are simply better engineered, look for the rankins of stepping masks on the o/c web sites. Enough on that (more will be added probably ) and on to
Cooling - processors work better at lower temperatures, it's not currently important why. The lower the temperatures, the lower vcore is needed to power the CPU, as the signal is stronger. If you have bad case and cpu cooling, you won't be able to o/c well. High temperatures require that you set high voltages for the CPU, and high vcore produces even more heat and forms a magic circle in which CPU is constatly feeding the heat output. Cooling is essential.
You memory might be too slow for the FSB you are trying to achieve. Maybe you have 400Mhz DDR and are pushing the FSB to 500Mhz. Maybe the RAM is bad quality and can't go that far. If this is the case, get new memory or increase multiplier only.
Maybe the motherboard is bad quality, and can't take high FSB. Don't force it and burn the mobo, buy a new one or look over the internet if there are any mods for the current one that solve your problem.
Read the previous answer just for info of what could happen while o/c-ing and how to avoid it.

5. Just bought a new processor. While booting, I see that it actually runs slower than it should.
5. You didn't set the FSB and Mulitiplier values in your BIOS correctly. Processors don't by default run on the speed they are sold at. When you plug a new processor into your motherboard, it will select the lowest FSB and Multiplier combination just for safety. Motherboard tells the processor on what frequency he should work at by telling him what multiplier and FSB the user has chosen in BIOS. Then processor starts working on frequency calculated from this formula: FSB x Multiplier . For example if you set the FSB to 166 and multiplier to 10, the CPU will work at 166x10=1660Mhz. This is called "CPU internal frequency".
Read the data on http://ask.amd.com' ">http://ask.amd.com (Direct link' ">http://139.95.253.214/SRVS/CGI...,Sxi=14,Case=obj(1224)) for the specific information on what your FSB and multiplier combination is. Every processor type has it's own. If you select a combination that is too low - nothing will happen, as you are underclocking your CPU. But if you overclock it by mistake, you could fry the CPU or the mobo.

6. I got thermal pad/PCM material with my heatsink. Should I rip it off and apply an another heat conductive material? What are the gains?
6. AMD reccomends that you use PCM. If you remove it you will void your warranty.
Ok, with that behind - PCM properties: It melts when exposed to high temps, and binds the CPU and heatsink together, carries heat from the CPU die to the heatsink surface, is not a subject to the "pump out factor". This means that it will not eventually get pumped out of the CPU-Heatsink contact area where it's placed in the beggining. It clothes on the edges to prevent this. It is easy to use.
Other heat conductive materials, for example Ceramique or Artic Silver III, are greases, and therefore have different properties. They have better heat conductivity (you will get lower cpu temps if properly applied to the cpu die) and are a subject to the "pump out factor", but you will probably *never* notice this. Perhaps all you need to do is reapply the grease for every year or two. Just monitor the temps. They are actually not more complicated to apply, just put a thin layer over the cpu die (arctic silver III) or put a small quantity in the middle of the die (ceramique) and seat the heatsink. Look for detailed explanation on http://www.arcticsilver.com/' ">http://www.arcticsilver.com/ .

7. My processor is reported as a model from completly different processor series (For example, my athlon X is reported as duron Y).
7. You need to update your motherboard's BIOS. The motherboard was manufactured before your processor was on the market, and it doesn't support it with default BIOS. Go to your manufacturer's web page and find BIOS updates, just download the newest and see if it'll work now.

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Barton 1833@2200 (11.0x200) AQXEA 0329 XPMW 1.75vcore
NF7-S rev2.0 + 2x512 DDR 400Mhz + SLK-947U + TT SF II
FX5600 256 DDR 350/450
 10/15/2003 03:04 AM
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[borg]
Senior Member

Posts: 528
Joined: 10/07/2003

hmh just noticed the 'troubleshooting tips' in the general chat
*feeling very stupid now*
edit: but will continue to post new answers as it will still unclutter the forum from same questions

-------------------------
Barton 1833@2200 (11.0x200) AQXEA 0329 XPMW 1.75vcore
NF7-S rev2.0 + 2x512 DDR 400Mhz + SLK-947U + TT SF II
FX5600 256 DDR 350/450
 10/24/2003 12:49 AM
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Java
Elite

Posts: 2298
Joined: 10/05/2003

Some good info here [borg]. Similar to the troubleshooting tips.

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There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don't.

Java
The opinions expressed above do not represent those of Advanced Micro Devices or any of their affiliates.

System 1: A64 X2 4800 | A8N SLI Del. | 6800GT | TT Tsunami | WD 80GB HD | Plextor DVD R/W | 1GB Corsair Pro, 1GB Crucial Balistix<br>System 2 (Wife's): A64 460
 10/24/2003 09:49 AM
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[borg]
Senior Member

Posts: 528
Joined: 10/07/2003

I thought noone actually paid attention, gonna update it from time to time now though

-------------------------
Barton 1833@2200 (11.0x200) AQXEA 0329 XPMW 1.75vcore
NF7-S rev2.0 + 2x512 DDR 400Mhz + SLK-947U + TT SF II
FX5600 256 DDR 350/450
 10/24/2003 10:28 AM
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infiltrator
Linux Ninja

Posts: 4334
Joined: 10/08/2003

Good Idea - Hopefully when it's done, we can add make it a sticky

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The opinions expressed above do not represent those of Advanced Micro Devices or any of their affiliates.
 10/26/2003 03:21 PM
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smremde
Junior Member

Posts: 4
Joined: 10/06/2003

thanks for the info on thermal interfaces!
 10/28/2003 10:52 PM
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Paulpetch
Junior Member

Posts: 1
Joined: 10/28/2003

Why waste all this time "telling users how to" when its just a case of READING THE MOTHERBOARD BOOKLET that comes with the BOARD? Guys if you are building your own systems.......you really should take the time to READ any booklets that are provided.

All answers given to date are in fact present in most (not all) booklets.....Pffffffffff



*******EDIT*******

Talking of booklets.......instead of a oversized poster with AMD chips.......why not a booklet that EXPLAINS about "default settings" "FSB" "multipliers"....blah blah???
 10/29/2003 04:29 AM
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[borg]
Senior Member

Posts: 528
Joined: 10/07/2003

well majority of users just won't do that, since they want plug&play with no hassle, and they don't want to understand how something works until it's broken
and I didn't find writing this as a waste of time... maybe someone will read it from time to time

-------------------------
Barton 1833@2200 (11.0x200) AQXEA 0329 XPMW 1.75vcore
NF7-S rev2.0 + 2x512 DDR 400Mhz + SLK-947U + TT SF II
FX5600 256 DDR 350/450
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