DRAM Timing Control

Posted on 2004-11-30
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have had this issue before, and I would like to attempt the same solution again, but I need help with the settings.

I worked with a level 3 techie from mushkin, and he helped me determine the proper settings in this part of the BIOS and it fixed my problem. I, however, was never told what the options meant, and thus cannot figure it out for myself. In my opinion, the auto timing for DRAM sucks on most BIOSes, and I prefer if it is manually set.

I will give you the specs, and options in the DRAM Timing Control:

The processor is a Pentium 4 - 2.8ghz
The BIOS is a Pheonix-Award Workstation BIOS
The RAM is one DIMM of 512MB DDR PC3200
The Power Supply is a 420W ATX

The options in the BIOS are as follows:

DRAM Timing Control - (By SPD, Manual)
DRAM CAS Latency - (2T, 2.5T, 3T)
RAS Active Time(tRAS) - (6T, 7T, 5T, 4T, 8T, 9T)
RAS Precharge Time(tRP) - (3T, 2T, 4T, 5T)
RAS to CAS Delay(tRCD) - (3T, 2T, 4T, 5T)
DRAM Addr/Cmd Rate - (Auto, 1T, 2T)

I would appreciate any help in getting the right settings here... if you need more info, please let me know...

Matthew Wadsworth
The Computer Guy
Lancaster, California
Question by:The_Computer_Guy

Expert Comment

ID: 12709675
Hi Matthew,
I will not bore you with the exact calculations of what the various settings should be as there are hundreds of
configurations you can tweak and set up.
However, simple explanation on one page with the basics of functions for DRAM's in general is what I will offer you :-Þ
Check out http://www.thecomputernews.com/Tutorials/technicaltutorial/lesson7.htm which gives a good overview of the fuctions.
Normally when you only have one slot with memory you won't really make a massive improvment by changing the CLK or Timing controls, it's more of use when you have memories with different speed.
Hope this is useful though,

Author Comment

ID: 12709983
To be honest... my proficiency is not up to par enough to decide from the information you have given me. perhaps if I were given the same information in idot-speak, I would retain more.

Expert Comment

ID: 12711167
Hi Mathew

It actually depends of what your memory is capable of. But Lower is best.
Various programs can read the SPD info from your module.

Everest has never failed translating SPD values compared to manufacturers spec.

download Everest home


Menu Motherboard/SPD shows your memory sticks capability
MEnu Motherboard/Chipset shows your current setting.

You can use this to setup your BIOS manually

Fill in the form and get your FREE NFR key NOW!

Veeam is happy to provide a FREE NFR server license to certified engineers, trainers, and bloggers.  It allows for the non‑production use of Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows. This license is valid for five workstations and two servers.


Expert Comment

ID: 12711185
Sorry should have been
Everest has never failed *me*, translating SPD values compared to manufacturers spec.

Accepted Solution

MadAd1 earned 2000 total points
ID: 12711619
Its not the answer you want, but its not just as simple as one setting suits all.  If you have extremely high quality ram on a great pcb then you end up with a stick that *might* do 2-2-2-5 (cas lat, precharge, delay & active) however if you have less than the best, but still good memory then *maybe* you are looking around a 2.5-3-3-7 using kit from a known manufacturer.  

Bad makes go even lower, but when I say bad i dont just mean unheard of, theres plenty of good memory companies that only occasionally ship over to the west, the usual ploy for badly manufactured memory is that it'll meet most of the specs, be marketed as 'budget' and be wildly out on one timing, which usually ends up tipping the performance applecart over the harbour wall.

Also to consider is the faster memory gets, the slower it gets too, ddr2 is coming through on intel chipsets already and that has much higher timings, 2-2-2-5 would never work for ddr2.

The only way to really satisfy your curiosity is to acually benchmark them.  Sit down with your favourite synthetic memory benchmark, start with very relaxed timings (3-5-5-8) and change one at a time, test it, score it and reboot.  (While you are doing this also note how little the changes actually affect real performance).

Otherwise, if you want a quick and easy solution, stick 2.5-3-3-7 in and (assuming the ram is reasonable quality and your pc runs ok) leave it at that.  You wont get much better unless you have some very expensive enthusiast branded ram.  If it complains then back off the 3-3 to 4-4 and reboot - if it runs then thats it - tuned and your job is jobbed.

Expert Comment

ID: 12711645
oh- and if you want peace of mind, run a good memory tester such as memtest86 (free) after the tune, just to satisfy yourself that its not so close to the line that its throwing errors.

Featured Post

Transaction-level recovery for Oracle database

Veeam Explore for Oracle delivers low RTOs and RPOs with agentless transaction log backup and transaction-level recovery of Oracle databases. You can restore the database to a precise point in time, even to a specific transaction.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Monitor input from a computer is usually nothing special.  In this instance it prevented anyone from using the computer.  This was a preconfiguration that didn't work.
Arrow Electronics was searching for a KVM  (Keyboard/Video/Mouse) switch that could display on one single monitor the current status of all units being tested on the rack.
Is your OST file inaccessible, Need to transfer OST file from one computer to another? Want to convert OST file to PST? If the answer to any of the above question is yes, then look no further. With the help of Stellar OST to PST Converter, you can e…
With just a little bit of  SQL and VBA, many doors open to cool things like synchronize a list box to display data relevant to other information on a form.  If you have never written code or looked at an SQL statement before, no problem! ...  give i…

850 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question