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Dual channel memory question, with overclocked CPU

Posted on 2004-10-26
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
Hi, this is Ronald. I just happen to have some questions.

My system specs:
P4 2.8E Prescott
2 * 512mb Infernon PC3200 memory (dual channel)
DFI Infinity 865P mother board

Recently, I start to overclock my CPU to 3.2Ghz by increasing the FSB of the CPU.  I have increased it from 200mhz to 230hz (equalling 920mhz FSB).  I just notice that the memory frequency has also increased to 460mhz (by looking at the first screen when system is booting up).  I just want to know if my system will be stable after this overclocking.

I am now testing my system with the stress test in Prime95, it gives no errors, it has been like for 15hrs.  I have also tried with memtest86, but I get a instant reboot the moment it goes into the program with the bootup disk method.  Is this a normal sign?  Is the problem caused by the dual channel memory?

Also, is it possible to check the system if the dual channel function of the memory is working properly (ie, did the frequency of the two memory get combined?) ? will overclocking the memory screw up the dual channel function of the memory?

I have overclocked the system with Genie BIOS settings, I have done some research stating that I should change the CPU/RAM ratio, I couldn't find such function in the BIOS setting.  I have tried changing the memory frequency from "auto" to "DDR400", but it doesn't seem to make a difference (the bootup screen is still showing 460mhz memory frequency).

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance.
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Question by:ronli_84
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    Expert Comment

    by:Callandor
    Dual channel configuration will give you perhaps 10% improvement, if that much, over a non-dual channel setup.  Your memory problems may be more likely the result of pushing PC3200 RAM over DDR400, which it is spec'ed for.  You would need to get PC3700 or better to handle DDR460, and then it may be your cpu that is holding you back.  I have a P4 2.8c, and I have not been able to get it faster than 3.15, using a FSB of 225, and I tried it with PC4000 and PC4400 RAM.
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    Author Comment

    by:ronli_84
    What do you mean by not be able to get faster than 3.15? Is there system hangs occuring, or windows not booting up?

    I have been able to get Windows up and running, just that I am not sure will it fail in some way or another in the future.

    Is there anyway to overclock the CPU and not affecting the memory?
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    Expert Comment

    by:Callandor
    For me, the system will lock up if my FSB is higher than 225.  There is no way to predict if the system will fail when you overclock.  The only thing you can be sure of is that it should run stable at non-overclocked speeds.  If your BIOS supports asynchronous speeds between the CPU and RAM (usually in the form of a ratio), you can accomplish this, but it will likely slow your system down.  Running both the cpu and RAM synchronously is desirable.
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    Author Comment

    by:ronli_84
    Is there a program that can test the stability of the memory, and also is there a program to see the frequency that the memory is running at, and also showing the dual channel ability in the frequency?

    Is it possible that my BIOS does not allow asynchronous mode between CPU/RAM? or are every BIOS supports it?

    Also, it is that memory does not allow overclocking? (ie does it only supports the speed it specified?)

    Sorry to have so many questions... thanks for replying.
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    Accepted Solution

    by:
    Memtest86 is a good test of RAM, though there are some cases where it won't detect RAM has failed.  To get info on all your hardware, including RAM, download Everest: http://www.lavalys.com/products/download.php?pid=1&lang=en&pageid=3  You should see in the BIOS screen at startup if dual-channel is enabled; Everest will tell you also.

    Not all BIOSes support asynch mode between cpu and RAM, you will have to look for it.  Some manufacturers are better than others at overclocking - for example, Crucial, Corsair, Kingston Hyper-X, OCZ, and Mushkin are good sources of quality memory.  The better the quality, the higher you can go, in general, but I have OCZ PC4400 and it won't go any higher, so I am limited by the cpu.
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    Author Comment

    by:ronli_84
    In the "motherboard" -> "motherboard" section

    Under memory bus properties, it says "bus type" is "dual DDR SDRAM", does this mean it is in dual channel mode right now?

    Also, do you know if there is any good memory testing problem other than memtest86?

    Thanks alot
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    Expert Comment

    by:Callandor
    I am not 100% sure if it can only detect dual channel if you have it set up that way - I do know that if it says dual channel in the boot up screen when you turn it on, it is dual channel.

    Another memory tester is Doc Memory: http://www.simmtester.com/PAGE/products/doc/docinfo.asp
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    Author Comment

    by:ronli_84
    thanks alot, your replies have been very helpful
    i guess thats all i can ask for...

    just one last question, do you know the conditions for memtest86 to reboot instantly?
    i have tried your software, and it works..

    i have also tried this https://oca.microsoft.com/EN/windiag.asp
    it works also...

    just dunno why the memtest86 reboots itself instantly
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    Expert Comment

    by:Callandor
    I can only think that the test may be more strenuous than other programs.  It's not usually a good sign when a test fails, so consider it a possible indication that the memory may not be working at that speed.
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    Author Comment

    by:ronli_84
    thank you anyways... i will try to downclock it back then...
    thanks for your help
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