xp2000+ underclocked to fsb 112mhz, help!

kt4 ultra max FSB 112mhz w/ xp2000+

Hello there,  

for over a year i've been running my system with the FSB tweaked so that my xp 2000+ was running at about 1760mhz very stably. I recently installed a Radeon 9800xt and while tweaking my bios the system became very unstable. while tweaking after the radeon installation, I had set the fsb set to 141mhz (inadvertantly) thats when the instability started occuring. the system will reboot spiratically, lock up, etc. I've found that if I underclock the FSB to 112mhz that the system performs well without any problems to speak of. I have tried removing all peripherals from the PCI bus, and have also swapped out my video card for the previous one that worked well (geforce ti200), reset the bios to defaults and one by one tweaked it back to where is should be, but none of those efforts seems to allow me to clock my fsb any higher than 112/113mhz with stability, leaving my processor underclocked at 1400mhz (from 1.66). I have reseated my ram, and bios reports that my power ratings are within range of where they should be. here is my configuration:

-xp pro sp1
-MSI KT4-ulta (6590) with the latest via 4 in 1 chipset drivers
-Amibios v1.4
-Athlon XP 2000+ w/ thermaltake volcano 6cu+, and Silicone Heatsink goo
-SB live! plat.
-Radeon 9800xt

-512MB geil pc3200 cas 2.5 6-3-3 2t DDR ram (set to SPD in bios) (will only run at 333 wont post at 400mhz.. even tho the sticker on the ram says its pc3200, a windows based diag (one that I was refered to from here, cant remember the name) I ran says its only pc2700) - I ran docmem 2.0 through 30 loop cycles of the burn-in test with the DDR set at 333mhz with 0 faults.

-bios has been tested in both default configs, and tweaked configs.. with no increase in stability when I tried to move the FSB above 113mhz.. I also tried reducing the DDR FSB to 200 and that didn't help me move the FSB above 113 either.

-antec 430W power supply.. bios reports that it is within parameters.
CPU after about 14 hours of looped benchmarking heats out at 48C (42C idle) my case temp runs just about 10-12 degrees above ambient room temp at (82F-85F) - I've been watching this parameter in bios closely as I have been testing the system, and I have not seen the CPU temp go above 50C-52C no matter how high I set the fsb (highest i've set it is 141mhz).

I've been reading the posts in here for about a week to see if I could enlighten myself, but none of the previous posts recommendations that I have tried have seemed to work. seems like recommendations I've read about stability problems state that either the power supply is bad/not big enough or improper cooling as the cause most of the problems. but mine was working fine for a whole year with the processor overclocked to 1.76ghz (from 1.66) until I overclocked the FSB to 141 (which I acctually did by mistake).. then it went kaput.

about the only thing I can think of that I've seen suggested here previously that I havn't tried is reseating the cooling fan. but I'm reluctant to mess with it considering the potential to damage the chip when reattaching it, so I've been saving it for last.

I would appreciate any insight that you experts can provide.. I'm just about ready to dump the MB/processor and buy a new one..  but I'm concerned that maybe its the ram.. then I'd be wasting my money on the MB/proc. just to have the same problem with a new setup.

Thank you for your consideration!!  

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Since tweaking the FSB frequency is what causes the instability, I would guess that you either toasted your CPU or your chipset.  Since you say that you never got a temp above 52C on the CPU, I doubt it is the CPU.  Toasting the chipset could also explain why you can't get your memory to run at top speed.  You may just need a new MOBO.

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Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
First, you should be running your RAM at the same speed as your cpu fsb.  IE:  if you're running your cpu bus at 112, you need to run your memory bus at 112.

Both should actually be running at 133.  (266 fsb)  What happens if you set it all manually?

Also, what temperatures are you running at @112MHz?  if it's 45C or under, it shouldn't be a heatsink/fan issue.

I would think it's only going to be one of three things, hardware-wise, and thats #1: RAM, #2: Motherboard or #3: cpu.  And I think the likelyhood of damage is in that order.

So try a friends RAM -  You can get away with PC2100 in this system for testing purposes considering you're running a 2000+ cpu.   That will let you know whether or not the issue is RAM.

Cpu can only be ruled out by trying another as well.  If it has the same problems with different RAM, and has the same problems with a different cpu, then you know the motherboard is damaged...
sadianAuthor Commented:
well, I have been running extensive tests on my RAM, using both memtest86 (linux based) and docmem 2.0 (freedos based) and neither of those memory tests are showing any problems. my cpu doesn't seem to get hot.. and it never did even clocked up at 1760mhz..and unfortunately, I dont have any sources for a test block of ram to check it with.. (buying additional DDR is cost prohibitive.. thats why it took me until last year to finally upgrade from pc133 SDRAM!!)

additionally, in response to Albertabeef: Amibios 1.4 for the MSI-6590 doesn't allow me to set the CPU/DDR ratio to 1:1 as you noted.. the FSB and the DDR FSB speeds are set seperately.. additionally even though I can set the FSB incrementally, the DDR FSB is set in increments as follows: 200, 266, 333, 400.. those are the only options bios gives me. finally, I did try setting the DDR FSB to 200mhz which would kinda equate to a 1:1 ratio (as noted in my messily formatted initial question) that didn't seem to effect my ability to clock the FSB over 112

How possible would it be for me to toast my chipset, and it still be functional (only to a lesser degree?) ..and if so, What would be the best enthusiast / overclocker replacment motherboard option for me in the below $150 U.S.?

Your insight is greatly appreciated!!

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sadianAuthor Commented:
(also, as previously noted in my messy initial question)
I've never seen my CPU temp rise above 52C (normally between 45C-48C)
my system temp is usually in the 83F-85F range (pardon my inability to convert it to Celcius)


here are some MB:

This is not the best but I have the lite version.  The only difference is the RAID controller.  I am using an XP 2200+ I have it running stable @ 2200 Mhz which is 260 FSB.  Not great but very good.


The only bad thing about that board is it is not dual channel.

This is the MB that I would like to have.  It has excellent overclocking options.


That motherboard also has a lot of features that will come in handy in the future.

Before you go looking for another MB you need to do what Albertbeef has suggested.  You have ran the RAM test.  That does not mean the RAM is not bad.  Usually though if it passes those test the RAM will at least boot and it has other problems in windows and what not it would still be bad.  Those test are not fool proof.  
Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
For motherboards my recommendation would be any good brand name with the nForce2 Ultra400 chipset and a well written bios.   Good overclockers are Asus A7N8X (as buckeyes33 suggested) and as well (but not as expensive) I would suggest also Soltek, Leadtek, MSI, Abit.

I have the Leadtek nForce2 Ultra400 board and have an 1800+ (11.5 x 133) which I've had overclocked as high as 12.5 x 185Mhz.  I backed it down and I currently run it at 12.5 x 170MHz.  Even so, that's 2125Mhz instead of the normal 1533, which is a nearly 40% overclock in Mhz...

That's the kind of thing that's possible with the nForce2 Ultra 400 boards, if you have the cpu for it.  They are by far the best overclockers for your cpu.
sadianAuthor Commented:
Although I'm more of the opinion that the chipset may be the problem, I honestly appreciate the insight of AlbertaBeef.. I've been a Via guy since I was first converted from intel when I upgraded from a Pentium II 400.. as of yet im not much interested in serial ATA, but thats some pretty impressive overclocking, pal!

I'm prolly gonna have to be buying a new Mobo.. hey, it can't hurt right? and its cheaper than buying new DDR ;-)

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