Posts Tagged ‘Crucial’
Crucial Ballistix = Crucial Mistake
Before I had everything I picked up 2GB of Crucial Ballistix (at the beginning of March) and when I finally finished building out the Q9450/Asus Maximus Formula I threw them in. As previously mentioned the voltage on these seemed to run high even on stock speed of 800mHz which was some concern and especially after reading all the comments on the NewEgg review page for this memory. I chose it because of the good luck in the past I’ve had with Crucial but I wish I would have taken a look at the reviews first. Right now it stands at about 29% of the reviews on NewEgg give the memory a rating of 1. I don’t typically look very hard at reviews on NewEgg because the issues are typically a DOA module and people immediately rate the item a 1 when there’s always going to be a few bad apples in a batch. This is a different situation and most of the 1 ratings are modules that were fine and died 2 week (as the case for me) and up to 3 months. I dropped NewEgg a note that I personally think they should consider suspending the sale until Crucial gets some quality control in place and stops sending out garbage. Whether it falls on deaf ears or not, who knows but I RMA’d mine today since they do have a 90 day replacement at NewEgg for memory.
In the mean time I received my G.Skill 2x2GB modules which are posting at 1.97v and a ref voltage of 0.99, well below that of the Crucial.
My woes began on Friday. I really haven’t been active because of some house work that I’ve been completing and family stuff for the birthday and Mothers Day. I went to check my mail and the system was sitting at a message that it was unable to boot from the operating system. I rebooted to find that my RAID was failing so I did a hard reboot and the RAID was detected, booted into Windows and life seemed to be happy. I honestly don’t think I checked it again until Sunday and the system was locked and wasn’t responding to the monitor. Powering off/on did nothing on several attempts so I used the CMOS reset button, rebooted and dropped into BIOS and set the RAID and minor changes keeping it at stock “auto” for everything. I powered down/up and immediately saw a blue screen flash (need to disable the auto restart). The system came up from the blue screen and appeared OK but there was no audio, so I disabled/re-enabled the driver (which typically works) and it rebooted while making the change. On reboot it immediately gave me errors that my profile was corrupted and couldn’t load as well as several root files being corrupted. I attempted one more reboot and the same thing. I powered down and left it off until tonight thinking I would need to try the new RAM and rebuild (something I really didn’t want to do). I dropped the G.Skill in, rebooted and the system came up flawlessly with audio and all. I checked voltage and as I said it’s running well and I even bumped the system up to 380FSB and rebooted. I’m currently running 2 Folding@Home GPU2’s on my two 3870s and it’s been up for about 4 hours without a hiccup. We’ll see how it does overnight and into tomorrow night but even some of my temps and other voltage that I thought were a bit high seem to be a better range.
Unfortunately the North Bridge still is registering 50c at idle but seems to only jump to 61c while running the two F@H sessions. Still need to look into that or take a look at changing the voltage on the NB to see if I can get the temps down but my understanding is that concern is when it starts hitting around 70c in full load and I had read (need to find it) where it should be OK as high 90c but I’d rather not see it even reach 70c so I’ll just have to monitor it and see if changing the voltage helps or post some more messages.
More Overclocking, New RAM and 3DMark
I’ve bumped the system up to 400mHz FSB so I’m able to clock in at 3.2 at this point. I’m going to do some attempts at 420 after running at 400 for a few days and until I get my new RAM. I wanted to upgrade to 4GB of RAM and was looking at adding 2 more sticks of the Ballistix but rather than dropping $80 with a rebate for $25-30 I picked up 2x2GB of G-Skill for $80 shipped (no rebates) that seemed to be doing well with overclocking. So I am able to keep it to 2 sticks and only pay about $25-30 more and sell off the 2x1GB 1066’s or sell them with the E6600/P5W system. We’ll see how it does with the Maximus Formula but I as I said I’d rather run 2 sticks than 4 and it runs at a lower voltage than the Crucial.
The only thing I am concerned with at the moment is the north bridge temperatures which stays over 50c even at 333FSB but doesn’t go above 60c even at full load (4 Prime95’s running on each affinity). With it set at 400fsb and idle it’s 55c and still only goes up to around 60c on load. My other concern is that the DRAM voltage (even set to 2.22v in BIOS) is showing 2.27v in Asus Probe II and the DRAM Ref is at 1.14v. I’m hoping the new RAM will correct this but I need to do some posting on the NB temps.
At the present my 3DMark scores are up from 13,803 with the E6600/P5W to 17,552 (~22% increase) with the Q9450/Maximus Formula so I’m happy with the upgrade at this point. I can tell a difference in some apps like Photoshop on load times.
I ran 3DMark @1920×1200 and got the UPS beeping again, so it looks like I’m going to move the monitor to a normal surge for now and just pick up a second UPS for the monitor, residential gateway, switch and speakers since most of it’s just on a normal surge now.
The other thing that was kind of wild is watching 3DMark06 and seeing the speeds and remembering my original test that netted me a whopping 1,579 on my AMD 3500+ (non-64) with the x800 Pro! Still not bought Advantage that just released and not sure if I will in the foreseeable future. I’ll probably look at upgrading next year when the new Intel sockets are released and I do a full system overhaul…then again this upgrade felt that way on my wallet with the board/memory/proc weighing in at about $670 and video cards around $500 earlier this year.
Edit: UPS probable fix. I think I found what has been causing the beeping and I assume it’s the load on the battery. I had the normal surge protector on one of the battery plugs. What I assume is causing the issue is the Residential Gateway since (I’m guessing) the beeping started occurring after I got AT&T UVerse and probably about the time I got the 3870s (which is what baffled me before)…so it must have put an additional load (over the previously installed cable modem) on the UPS that it’s overloading the battery. I haven’t had an issue but then again power has been fine so far this year but summer is coming when I enjoy occasional outages. So my original idea of moving everything to a new one will still be the final plan.
I gave 410FSB a try as well and it didn’t go well. 3DMark06 bails out on the 2nd CPU test. I tried dropping the RAM to 985 since I had tried at 1093 (and reading that the Crucial is 800 with speed ratings of 1066, so it makes me wonder what it can do above 1066). It still crashed at 985 though so I’ll be content with the 400 until I can try the G-Skill to see if that assists even though it’s on the CPU test.
The Upgrade: Intel Q9450 & Asus Maximus Formula
I picked up a Q9450 a while back when Micro Center had them for $300 and I finally added the Maximus Formula for the motherboard this week from NewEgg along with 2GB of Crucial Balistic 1066 RAM and a Zalman 9700 cooler. I’m going to replace the Tuniq Tower 120 that’s currently on my E6600 with the Zalman. While reviews put it center of the pack, I like it for a combination of cool and quiet. I had picked up a Therm cooler that I will send back after seeing the abismal reviews of how loud it is. It was placed at the top for overclocking but I also don’t want a buzz saw running constantly. The Tuniq is loud enough and I’m hoping the 45nm chip can do well with the $62 Zalman and I can add a side fan to my Antec 900 case to help but I think the case is incredibly cool even with the 2 3870’s.
The build shall begin this weekend… Stay tuned…