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Setting up the BIOS to get max performance and OC the CPU alittle.

Hi there,
Starting a new thread for this question because I thought I'd exhausted the old one.  Unfortunately I'm low on points so I'll increase the points value when I get some more as I plan on answering a few questions myself elsewhere.

Anyways, this is my setup

Athlon 2800+XP
Abit NF7 Motherboard
Galaxy GeForce 6800 GT
2x256MB Geil DDR400 CL2.5 in Dimm3 + Dimm2 [ Running in Dual Channel ]
Maxtor 80GB HardDrive

Also have another single stick of Geil 512 coming tomorrow which I'll put in Dimm1,the supplier told me it will still run in Dual Channel mode.

I let the BIOS set everything up for me by selecting "Load Optimal Defaults" and everything is working fine, but the CPU is running at 333Mhz and the RAM also, I want to up the FSB as much as possible to increase the CPU speed and therefore increase the RAM speed at the same time.

I'll also mention that the CPU fan I have is a ThermalTake TR2 M4 CPU Cooler, incase anyone knows how effective that is at cooling an OC'd CPU.

The CPU is an Athlon Barton Core, and the Geil Ram description is :
"CAS 2.5 8-4-4 @ DDR400 PC3200, 2.55V-2.95V" incase that makes a difference, I've no idea what the 8-4-4 is about.

ok, I'll list the BIOS settings I think are relevent here, what they are currently set at , and the available options :


Phoenix Award BIOS

SoftMenu III
CPU Name Is : AMD Athlon XP
CPU Internet Frequency : 2083Mhz (166x12.5)
CPU Operating Speed : 2800+
    (Grayed Out)
     x - Enternal Clock : 166Mhz
     x - Multiplier Factor : 12.5

AGP Frequency : 66Mhz
CPU FSB / DRAM Ratio : Auto [Options are : 5/4, 5/5, 5/6, 6/3, 6/4, 6/5, 6/6]
CPU Interface : Disabled

Power Supply Controller : System Default
    (Grayed Out)
     x - CPU Core Voltage : 1.65V
     x - DDR SDRAM Voltage : 2.6V
     x - Chipset Voltage : 1.6V
     x - AGP Voltage : 1.5V

Advanced Chipset Features
Memory Timings : Optimal [Options are : Aggressive/Turbo/By SPD/Expert]
    (Below Grayed Out unless set as Expert)
     x - Row Active Delay : 7
     x - RAS to CAS Delay : 3
     x - Row-precharge Delay : 3
     x - CAS Latency Time : 2.0

System BIOS cacheable : Enabled
Video Ram cacheable : Enabled
AGP Aperature : 128MB
FSB Spread Spectrum : 0.50%
AGP Spread Spectrum : 0.50%
CPU Thermal Throttling : 50.0%
Enable PCI Performance : Disabled
CPU Disconnect : Enabled
AGP Data Transfer Rate : x8 [Options are x4, x8, Auto]
Fast Write : Disabled

And thats about it !

So apart from what I should set to get my system to max efficiency, a few general questions I have are :

-Whats better to OC the CPU, increasing the multiplier or the external clock ?, and is the External Clock the FSB ?

-What should the AGP frequency be at ?

-I think the RAM is running at 333Mhz at the minute because it says "333Mhz DDR RAM Dual Channel" on boot up, so I also presume the "Auto" selection of the FSB/DRAM ratio has it set to sync'd, so whats the difference between 5/5 and 6/6 ?

-To OC the CPU, do I really need to touch the voltage?, other than the FSB?

-Will changing the RAM timings have any Gaming noticeable effect compared to OCin' the CPU (and therefore faster RAM) ?

-Should I set the AGP aperature to  64 or 128, since the card is a 256MB card ?

-I read that disabling "CPU disconnect" increases speed, but didn't want to do it as I have no idea what i means...

Any help on anything here is much appreciated. As I said, the question is worth more than the points I've given it so I'll get some more points and add them on before I close the question.

Thanks again.

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3 Solutions
If you have 3 sticks of RAM, I doubt that you will be able to run in dual-channel mode: that requires pairs of memory sticks.

166FSB is normal for a Barton 2800+, and the multiplier is locked, so the only way to overclock is to bump up the motherboard FSB (memory is double data rate, which is why it is designated 333).  Unfortunately, you will run into a bandwidth problem, because it is rated for 333 and you are there already.  The RAM may be overclockable, but don't expect miracles.

Whenever you overclock, you want to lock the AGP to 66 and the PCI to 33.  Deviating from these values will cause instability, becuase the cards are not designed for different values.

The 5/5 setting gives you 5 x 33 = 165(roughly 166), which is what you have now.  If you set it to 6/6, it will try to run your cpu and memory at 6 x 33 = 198(roughly 200).

Voltage increments will shorten the life of your components and increase the heat, so try to avoid that if possible.  It is useful if done in small amounts for stability.

AGP aperature is not a big deal and comes into play when dealing with large textures, which require accessing memory not on the card.  You have 256MB, so this will not happen too much, if at all.

CPU disconnect seems to be used to drop CPU temperature during idle time, but some report instability when enabled.
KOTORAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the reply,

With respect to the DualChannel question, I was assured by the company that sold me the Abit NF7 (www.planetmicro.co.uk) that the motherboard supported "Dual Channel" with 3 sticks (which even to me sounds contradictory... Dual = x2). I'll ring again to confirm.

I read about the multiplier being locked on Athlon XPs, but the BIOS lets me set it to whatever I want giving me a large list of whats available, though I never did a "Exit and Save Changes" when I tinkered with it so far.... maybe it wouldn't work anyways.

There is no point in OCin' the RAM because it is underclocked at 333Mhz at the minute as someone bout here (maybe it was you ;) ) Asyncronous will slow down performance.

I'm a player of Doom3 at Ultra settings requiring 512MB video ram, and since I only have 256 I will run into this large texture problem, I read that 128 or 64MB aperature is ideal, but not sure which. I was told never to set the aperature to the actual size of the ram on the card.

And it was the Abit site that said that flashing to a new BIOS may slow performance because "CPU disconnect" was on by default in the new BIOS and not in the old and to increase performance to disable it.  My mobo seems to have come with it enabled because I haven't touched it.

Anyone know how far I could push the FSB on the 2800+ using a TR2 M4 Cooler ?, I don't want to go too far, because I don't wanna risk damaging the chip (taking into account that OCin' is inherently risky).
Should I go up in 10Mhz increments?, 5,2 etc.

Thanks again.
KOTORAuthor Commented:
Just read, that the nForce2 chip I have on my mobo allows 3 sticks in Dual Channel, as well as the SiS, though just from another forum so not concrete I guess.
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Is the motherboard the NF7-S?  According to http://www.abit-usa.com/products/mb/techspec.php?categories=1&model=6, you can run with three DIMMs at 200/266/333 FSB; for 400 FSB, you can only have 2 DIMMs.  I still don't believe that you can get dual-channel with 3 DIMMs; my IC7-G motherboard has 4 slots which are color-coded to ensure the right pairs are used.

I read that 128MB is typical for AGP aperature, and it doesn't matter if it's the same size as the RAM on the card: http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.cfm?catid=31&threadid=1310812

If you're at 166, I would suggest going up by 5, and then back off by 1 when it hangs.  I don't think increasing the FSB will damage the cpu, if you do it judiciously.
KOTORAuthor Commented:
It's the NF7 (non-S) but it seems you are right, only support for 3 DIMMS at 333Mhz. I need the extra 512 either way, even if I have to run at 333, and if this is so, there is no performance gain in OCin' the CPU is there?, because then I will have a bottleneck in the RAM because it will be running slower ? (say RAM at 333, and CPU at maybe 366 or something?)

The other RAMChip will be here tomorrow so I can just stick it in and see.

First of all, I would suggest that you don't overclock your system.  I believe with the power of modern systems, it is unwise to risk your investment for a minimal amount of extra speed.  Having said that, here is what you need to look at.

The Athlon XP is indeed locked.  You can only get do a certain amount of over-clocking without some more radical changes.  There are a couple of Athlon overclocking kits for around $15 that will instruct you on how to unlock your CPU.  This will involve making physical changes to the chip itself.  Your second option is to buy a Athlon XP Mobile chip.  These are not locked.

In order to get the most out of Dual Channel, you should have identical RAM chips in each slot and not more than 512mb on each chip.  Ideally you should have a pair of RAM chips that have been rated to work together.  It is still possible to use dual channel without a matched set, but not as speedy and you may have lockups.

Setting the settings for RAS to CAS Delay, Recharge, CAS Latency will have much less effect than is generally accepted.  The most important of these is CAS Latency.  Ideally you want RAM rated to a 2.0 instead of 2.5.  Set your BIOS accordingly.

AGP frequency should be manually set to 66MHz.  The reason it is manually set is that the frequency is normally a fraction of the FSB.  If you adjust the FSB, you may end up overclocking the AGP port as well which could cause everything to fail.

AGP aperature should be set to 128mb with the system you are describring.  This is the amount of system RAM that will be allocated to video memory in additon to the 256mb on your card.

The FSB must match from RAM to motherboard to CPU.  To run at a 333MHz FSB, you must have PC2700 RAM, an Athlon with a 333 FSB rated, and a motherboard that will run at FSB.  If one of these can not handle the FSB, it will fail.  The same is true for overclocking.  You are limited to the weakest link in the chain.

Heat is a concern for overclocking.  It appears you have a fairly good CPU fan.  Make sure you have a very clean mount to the CPU.  This mean that the surface of the CPU and heat sink are very clean, a THIN layer of heat goop is applied evenly, and that once you set the heatsink to CPU, it does not move after inital contact.  A good seal is very important.

You will also need to up the voltage to the CPU or RAM.  The higher you take it, the easier to overclock but the more of a chance of burnout.  I wouldn't go above 2.8v for the CPU in any case.

Before beginning to overclock, update your BIOS to the latest version offered by the manufacturer.  Install the latest reference drivers for your chipset and video card.

Good Luck!

One remark in advance: not all bartons are locked, only the newer ones are. I your cpu is locked, take a look here: http://www.viperlair.com/articles/howto/cpu/unlock/index.shtml
I would suggest keeping the mem-cpu in sync., this usually yields better results. When using FSB-333Mhz, Speed-up the memory by lowering the CAS like you've already done. Also take a look @ this feature: CPU Thermal Throttling, will clock down your cpu when running hot. Might be smart if you wish to lengthen the cpu's lifespan but not when your looking for speed (don't know the ins and outs on this one, so you might want to check with someone else). As for the 3 Dimm, FSB 400 not supported, I suggest you just try it: running an Abit NF7 with 3 Dimms @ 400Mhz right now! (with CAS 2.5).

My system:
Athlon XP 2500+ @ 2.0 Ghz, FSB 400Mhz
(will run stable to 2.1, guess I need better cooling and brand mem to get to 2.2)
768Mb DDR @ 400Mhz (3 X 256Mb,  twinmos and even cheaper)
Abit NF7

Use Sisoft Sandra for benchmarking and burn-in; it's the only way to find out what setup is the fastest and stable...

Have lots of fun!

Blue Rishi
< AGP frequency should be manually set to 66MHz.  The reason it is manually set is that the frequency is normally a fraction of the FSB.  If you adjust the FSB, you may end up overclocking the AGP port as well which could cause everything to fail. >

The NF7 has individual timing for the AGP (and voltage setting for ram/chipset/agp/cpu), this is a very oc-able board ;-)

And btw, my system runs up to 20% faster when oc-ed and that's when staying in the safe ranges with temperatures and I run with original voltages...

Blue Rishi
KOTORAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys, I know this community is based on points but you all are very helpful anyways, even though I currently have little to offer (at the minute). So thanks :-D

Yea, the RAM is all identical.  I bought the 2x256 Geil because I didn't think I'd need more than 512MB and wanted Dual Channel now (impatient person I am).  Then decided I had a pretty good machine that was juddering because it was accessing the swap all the time with big games like Doom3 and FarCry, so thats why I've ended up with 2x256 and 1x512.
Blue_Rishi, that makes me feel alot better seeing you have 3 Dimms at 400. Are they running in DualChannel though?
From what I've read Dimm1+2 count as one channel on the NF7, so if I put the 2x256 in Dimm1+2 and the 512 in Dimm3 then that makes 1x512 in Channel 1 and 1x512 in Channel 2, and therefore Hopefully DualChannel mode.

By running 3 dimms at 400Mhz, is this technically OCin' the mobo ?, is it stable like this ?, you didn't get any warnings anywhere that you were exceeding anything ?

And if I OC the CPU using the FSB, and keep the RAM in sync (therefore exceeding the mobo spec beyond 333Mhz) should I keep the CAS at 2.5?, since I'm OCin' the mobo, or just do both ?

If the AGP aperature is system RAM allocated to video, then wouldn't setting this to max make best performance in games like Doom3? As far as I know this isn't the case, so whats the logic ?

And I think if I OC the CPU etc, I'll set all the mobo features to system shutdown upon exceeding specific temperatures, say 85 DegreesC, as stock settings the CPU is running at 45 DegreesC. Though I don't want it running to hot because that TR2M4 fan is fantastically quiet below 3000RPM, but between 3000-4400RPM it sounds like a nuclear reactor.

Thanks again everyone.
KOTOR, yes the dimms are running in dual channel mode (CAS 2.5-4-4-10). I don't get any warnings, although the system does get an attitude about the memory timings, for example, one dimm is rated cas 3.0 @ 400 Mhz but the sytem won't boot when I change the settings to cas 3.0. I really should get 2 or 3 brand dimms and upgrade to 1024Mb but I'm out of cash and this runs fine for the moment. I'm able to play UT2004 smootly in non-dedicated server mode over lan! (which would not run smootly with 512Mb@333Mhz).
My CPU runs about 48 Degrees C when Idle and upto 58 when doing a burn-in test. I know this is hot, but I'm using a standard cooler (again no money for a zalman or similar). I wouldn't allocate too much memory to AGP, because you have an 256 card, use 128 max. no need let the graphic eat away the system mem, right. But I can't say I tested the agp settings extensively, so you might wa'nt to fool around with those and do benchmarks (like 3dmark) after each change to see what setting yields the best results. I should also mention I prefer speed over looks and thus never set graphics to max in games (have a crappy ATI 9200 anyway...but it's tweaked to the max ;-)
If your cpu runs over 60 degrees after oc-ing, I would worry and start looking for a more silent fan.

Again, have fun oc-ing!

Blue Rishi
KOTORAuthor Commented:
ok, I'm gonna tinker now... just wanted to finalise some questions if I may.

The multiplier is locked at 12.5, and the FSB is currently 166Mhz. Therefore 166*12.5=2075Mhz. So how come the top of the BIOS at this area says (non-editable) Athlon 2800+ 2083Mhz ?, a 8 Mhz difference ?

If I up the FSB alittle is there anything else at all I needa worry about? The AGP won't be affected, and the RAM is fast enough to take it ok ?
And I should change FSB/DRAM ratio from "Auto" to "5/5", yes ?

And Callandor said that this was 5*33=~166Mhz?, where does this 33Mhz value come from ?

If I managed to get the FSB up to say 185Mhz, then this would be 185*2=370Mhz in the RAM?, and this is approaching peak/optimum speed for the RAM yes ? (400).

But this would also be 185*12.5=2312.5Mhz on the CPU, this would be getting alittle high wouldn't it, starting to risk the CPU ?

Thanks guys
The value comes from 33,3*5=166,6*12,5=2082,5
The 33mhz comes from the pci bus I thinkYes your CPU is running very fast, what temp is it on idle and after full system load (cpu usage 100% > 10 min)? I would really recommend you unlock your cpu and run it as 3200+ (2200Mhz). Take a look at the link i've posted earlier; all you'll need is a pencil! I've done this many times and haven't had a problem sofar (unless you count reappling the graphite). FSB/DRAM should be set to an equal value like 5/5 or 6/6, when set to auto it will most likely keep your memory @ 333Mhz.

Blue Rishi
I think running the ram in sync @ 400 with cpu set with multiplier (unlocked) will give you maximum performance, while keeping your cpu in the saver ranges (67Mhz on ram makes more difference than adding another 100Mhz to the cpu).

Blue Rishi
KOTORAuthor Commented:
ok, I haven't actually touched anything yet. This is my 2nd OC, and this computer is new,.... scary.

The first OC I just upped the FSB like a mad man not knowing what I was doing and I got a WinXP "Registry Hive Corrupt" on boot up and that was a mess.  That particular CPU is running Underclocked at the minute :-|(that is not the one I've just built).

Currently at stock, CPU idle temp is 49.5 and full load 52.5 (Fan RPM at 2400).  Though if I up the Fan RPM to 3700~4000 the Full load temp drops to 51.5.

Right, if I run the RAM in sync with the CPU, then I must OC the FSB mainly on the CPU do I not ? Because if I OC the CPU mainly via the multiplier the FSB will be lower and therefore the RAM speed will be lower.  It is actually DDR400 RAM, so running it at 333 I'm underclocking it at the minute.  Probably why I can set the RAM at 2.0 now when it's rated at 2.5.

I also read in that article that often the higher FSB will be faster than a lower FSB+high multiplier?
And the article said about filling in the pits on newer AMDs, I may have to do that if I want to unlock the multiplier.
Also, it spoke of some nForce2 mobo's ignoring the multiplier restriction so you can adjust the multiplier without any physical tinkering, I presume this Abit nForce2 is one that can't ?

KOTORAuthor Commented:
Wee update, the room is alittle hotter today, maybe thats the reason but
@ 2500 RPM the Full Load CPU temp after 15minutes was 53.5, hitting 54 at the very end.
@ 4500 RPM the Full Load CPU temp after 15minutes was 51.0

Also, forgot to say. I still don't understand the FSB/DRAM ratio thing. 5/5, 6/6 ?
From what I've readon the net this option is a simple ratio of FSB to DRAM, so if you had an XP3200+ that runs at 400Mhz, and only PC2700 RAM running at 333Mhz, then you would set this ratio to 6/5.
So 400 / 6 * 5 = 333 Mhz for the RAM running in ASync mode.
While here is seems to be multiplying the FSB values, and seems to be more than a simple ratio ?

Callandor said:
"The 5/5 setting gives you 5 x 33 = 165(roughly 166), which is what you have now.  If you set it to 6/6, it will try to run your cpu and memory at 6 x 33 = 198(roughly 200)."

So if I were to manually set the FSB to 166, the PCI speed to 33, and then set the ratio to 6/6, the 166 value to automatically increase to 200 ?

Yes, letting the cpu run at a higher fsb is technically oc-ing, however it is less dangerous (in my experience) than letting it run @ higher clockrates and faster too. The mobo doesn't ignore the multiplier on the cpu as far as I know (but then again, i have an older unlocked 2500+). About the fsb/ram multiplier: Callandor's explenation sounds ok, however I can't say that i've checked...(just using the 6/6 setting to make sure it's running in sync) but have seen the ratio (not multiplier) explenation on the net too, so you might want to check it yourself. I should also mention not all bioses are the same; some are more stable than others when oc-ing, although I haven't had any problems with this board yet.

Blue Rishi
You don't want to set the FSB manually AND set the ratio, because if you set the FSB to 166 and the ratio to 6/6, I suspect you will end up with cpu and RAM in asynchronous mode, since one will be 166 and the other 200.  If you want to manually set the FSB, let the ratio be automatic, because I think it will try to run it at the same speed.  At lot of this overclocking is trial and error, since not all components work the same or everyone, once you're over the spec.
KOTORAuthor Commented:
I just didnt want to push the FSB up and the "Auto" on the ratio set to ASync mode, and therefore decrease performance.

I don't see being able to get the RAM running as it should (at 400Mhz) without modding the CPU to lower that multiplier.
Say 200Mhz * 11.0 = 2200Mhz, means I get a high FSB, high RAM efficiency and don't overload/melt the core.

So to sum up, leave the ratio on Auto, and slowly increase the FSB by 5Mhz.
So the first increase will have the FSB at 171, which means the RAM will be at 171*2=342Mhz, and the CPU internal speed at 171*12.5=2137.5 ?
Does this sound ok? I'll just do it after the next reply (hopefully someone will reply again ;-) )
That sounds good.  Make sure you also choose the option to lock the AGP and PCI to 66 and 33, respectively.  I think Abit included that in all their high-end boards.  Do some cpu-intensive activity after each increment, to see if it's stable.  I once had a situation where overclocking wouldn't be detrimental until half an hour of video compression - it was pretty hard to figure out.
KOTORAuthor Commented:
ok DAMM1T.
Before I overclock anything I thought I'd run memtest86 because I got the other 512MB RAM today, so thats 2x256 + 1x512, and it ran in Dual Channel.  And as you know, the DDR400 Geil ram is running at 333Mhz underclocked, it's CL2.5 rated, but because it's underclocked the mobo has set it to CL2.0.

Now memtest86 reported an error on Test3, where it tried to move 7f7f7f7f, it gave the error that it moved 7f7f7f3f instead.
Is it a bad module, or should I set it back to CL2.5, it increase the voltage slightly?

Any advice?

Easing up on the CAS can get you by, most of the time.  Set it to 2.5, or even 3.0, but leave the voltage alone for now.
KOTORAuthor Commented:
ok, it seems that 2x256 are not exactly the same timings as the 512 chip. Here are the links

the 512 chip is
which is
# CAS 2.5 6-3-3 (GE2563200B & GE5123200B)
# CAS 3-8-4-4 (GE1G3200B)
# 2.55v-2.85V

the 2x256 chips are
which is
# CAS 2.5 8-4-4 (GE5123200BDC & GE1G3200BDC)
# CAS 3-8-4-4 (GE2G3200BDC)
# 2.55V-2.95V

So I set the CAS and timings to 3-8-4-4 thinking that at least this was a match on both items.  I left it on for 4 hours after I did this and got 2 errors on Test 4 and 6 this time, not 3.
Though when the timings were as they were originally, it didn't error on test3 everytime it ran.
It ran through all the default tests about 5 times, and gave 1 error on test 3, 2 of the 5 times.

What if I set the timings to an average of the 2.5 values, so
2.5 7-4-4 ?
And the voltage on the RAM at the minute is 2.6, maybe I should up it alittle to gain more stability?, since the RAM supports up to 2.85 (weakest link in the chain) ?, would this help?
Can I adjust the RAM voltage without it affecting any other components ?

Thanks, alittle concerned that
a)I have a faulty module
b)They aren't compatable, even though they offically are at the CAS 3.0 timings


You could set the CAS to 3.0, although my mobo won't even boot @ CAS 3.0 (have to use the reset jumper). upping the voltage for ram wouldn't affect other components and I recommend you try it a little to see if the errors disappear, if not use the warranty to get another stick because it looks like its faulty. Also, you might want to try 10-4-4 on the sticks as it slows the refresh somewhat and makes it more stable (in my experience...)

Blue Rishi
KOTORAuthor Commented:
I set the voltage up to 2.7, lowered the CAS to 3.0, set the timings 10-4-4, and it errored on Test4 pretty much striaght away. Lowered the CAS to 2.5, set the timings to 7-3-3 and it errored on Test4 after run 3, which was better but not good.
I'll play Doom3, FarCry etc and see if I have problems with it, but I'll have to talk to the supplier (or Geil) about returning it.

Also, set the FSB to 176, so the core is at 2200Mhz, and ran SiSandra and the benchmarks show it at the same level as a 3200+,.... yea !

Any other advice?
Cheers guys
It takes a little work, but it can pay off nicely if you can get it to work.  Just make sure you've got good cooling for the cpu and case, and I think you've covered all the basics.
KOTORAuthor Commented:

You think it's bad ram then?, is the only way to discover which one is bad is to take each one out in turn ?

And I played Doom3, NeedForSpeed Underground and FarCry for a good while earlier and had no problems. Should I still return it?, or just accept it ain't perfect but is working fine for real world applications?

Also, I upped the FSB again to 181Mhz, and the CPU temperature under full load on SiSoftware Sandra was only 51degrees, but I ran a few nVidia demos and they were very very glitchy and artifacty, but went back to normal when I took it back down to 176Mhz. Is this the limit at which I can run at 1.65v?, would this be corrected if I increased the voltage to 1.7v ? Or is it just the limit at which how much this can OC without buggin' out?
I presume it's the voltage because even though it was very glitchy at 181Mhz, the temp was below 50degrees (though the motherboard temp went up from 29 to 33).

Thanks again, slowly increasing the points ;-)
KOTORAuthor Commented:
I've tried simmtester's DocMemory which gives errors too. Both DocMem and memtest86 show the failing address as 663MB.
I have 2x256 in Dimm1+2, which 1x512 in Dimm3, so is there any chance it's as simple as the 1st 512MB are Dimm1+2, therefore the fault is in Dimm3 = 1x512 chip?
That's very interesting that it fails the RAM test, but is ok on the games.  If it works without crashing, then keeping using it, because for all intents and purposes, it works for real-world applications (you might want to really stress it with a few hours of Prime95 runs, and look at the temperatures).  You may want to try the tests with the same settings, but w/o the third DIMM.

If you're getting artifacts, you've reached the limit; upping the voltage is only to get it stable w/o crashes, and won't do anything about image quality.
Agree with Callandor, you've probably reached the limit w/o unlocking the cpu (although you might want to do this later on...)
Can't  say that I've tested my mem, but have gotten intrigued (good english?) by your post about the errors, so I will run the tests myself soon to check my system out. My system runs fine, but I'm curious if my ram produces any errors...

Best of luck,

Blue Rishi  

ps. if you determine only the new stick produces errors, I would consider returing it anyway although it runs (for the moment) real live apps...also consider the possibility it might be your cpu not handling the higher fsb very well...
KOTORAuthor Commented:
Thanks Blue_Rishi, but the RAM errors occured before I touched the FSB setting.  After raising the FSB, the errors are still there but not of the same type (it errors on different tests in memtest and DocMemory).

Doubt it'll make any difference, but is it safe, out of curiousity to raise the DRAM voltage to 2.8 ?, since it's within the limits of all 3 sticks ?

have you tested all sticks individually? I wouldn't recommend setting ram voltage to max supported on error free sticks, so I won't recommend it to you either...it could push a faulty or failing chip over the edge =(
How long is the warranty on the geil sticks (if 256's give errors too)? Maybe you could test all sticks in another board, to exclude the possibillity of the errors being caused by the mobo.
I will run a memtest tomorrow and see if it produces any errors on my system.

Blue Rishi
KOTORAuthor Commented:
I reset the FSB back to 333Mhz (recall that these errors occured before I OC'd the 1st time), and opened up the case.
I switched the 2x256MB chips in Dimm1+2, made sure all 3 were in firmly and re-ran memtest86, and I get absolutly no errors anymore ! !

BUT, I then ran DocMemory from simmtester.com and it still errors on "Checkerboard" and "Burst" tests, though whereas before the error address was ALWAYS 663MB, it is now 152MB. So I presume that the error is in one of the 256 chips since the address has changed since I switched them.

So how come memtest is showing up totally clean now whereas DocMemory isn't?

Thanks again.
Even though memtest86 gives a pass, that is not conclusive enough - I always say swapping known good memory in is the only guarantee.  You now have an example where it gives a flase positive.
KOTORAuthor Commented:
Sorry, forgot to close this,..... thanks guys.

The 2x256 gives errors at 7-3-3 (CAS2.5) in Memtest, clear in DocMemory. And Errors at 8-4-4 in DocMemory but not memtest.

The 1x512 passes both, so I'm returning the 2x256, and try and persuede them to give me another 1x512 in it's place (it's alittle cheaper so they should) because then I can up the FSB without OCin' the mobo as such.

Thanks for your help.

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