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Advice needed on FSB / DDR, (a)synchronous etc..



Hi all.

I got burgled over X-mas which was a pain in the you-know-what. However, it has meant that I could put together a new PC - 'every cloud..'

I'm new to DDR, and I'm not convinced that I've got everything set up properly.

The main bits of the PC are:

AMD Athlon XP 2000+
Asus A7V333 (VIA KT333 chipset)
512MB PC2700 DDR
(and a GeForce 2 MX400 64MB)

The thing is, I'm not at all sure as to what's the best way of setting up the timings for the memory etc..

I read somewhere in a review of the Asus A7V333 that setting the memory to run asynchronous with the CPU actually slows down the performance, as the mobo's chipset has to devote a lot of resources to 'bridging the gap' between the memory & the CPU running at different speeds.

As far as I understand it (without any overclocking):

the athlon runs at a FSB of 266mhz
the system bus runs at 133mhz
the memory can run at 333mhz

The options for CPU/RAM timing in the BIOS are 'auto', '1:1', and '4:5'

There's also an option to run the system as 'Optimal' or 'Turbo' - I think this has to do with the CAS latency/timings etc.. on the memory.

I've tried changing the settings once or twice and running 3D Mark to see if the system was running faster or slower - but the score doesn't seem to change much.

The thing is, the score seems really low to me - around 1306!

I know my GeForce2 MX400 is not going to compete with a GeForce 4ti or anything like that - but I'm sure my system can do better than this!

I'm not really a gamer - I'm only using the 3D score as an example. I do audio/video encoding quite a lot, and want the system nicely tuned for that.

Can anyone unravel the mystery of all these timings & set-up options for me? or point me to a good guide etc.. on asynchronous timing and all that? (The Asus manual sort of tells you what the different settings are, but doesn't really explain beyond telling you what the abbreviations stand for etc..)

Thanks very much!




F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
Political User
you are looking purely for overclocking? and using 3dmark as a measure of how good your system is?

I think that is a big mistake in itself and I will explain why in a bit...

however in order to check the PERFORMANCE of your system I highly recommend that you try out sisoft sandra... you can dl a trial copy and you can check out the cpu tests and memory tests..

FYi overclocking unless by a massive degree will not yield that much by way of a noticeable performance gain... more than likely you will only be able to tell by benchmarking and doing so repeatedly...

so long as all your timing are set properly you really have no worries :)

now let me explain to you why YOUR particular system should not test cpu power using the video card...

plain and simple your video card is not going to give your a good score from 3dmark2001 regardless of what you do...

in my system and any other system that has a dirextx 8 compatible card or higher.. ocing usually nets the biggest gains i n game4 which is nature... the weighting of the score is based entirely on the first 4 game (lo detail/highdetail x 3 and nature therefore 7 tests total) with the biggest weighting given to nature...

nature is the only truly video card intensive test btw :) but it uses dx8 calls which your video card cannot make and therefore by default your score is going to be low...

now beyond that... you did not mention agp or pci video card but your card is a mssive bottleneck to your system IF you are solely basing computer perfrmance on your video card (which should not be the case)

the reason I am explaining this to you is so you don't decide to overclock and burn out some components..

for max stability you should probably not go for the turbo setting unless you really think your cpu is performing slowly and want to try and get it a tiny bit faster..

the timings you have listed are right (cpu = 133mhz ddr = 133x2 = 266)

your system should be most STABLE for optimal settings as some memory timings may be less aggresive so less chance of a system crash...

btw.. if you are into audio/video encoding and really want to try things out... put together a couple of samples and then view them on your and other systems to see how it went...

if things run smoothly :) you have no probs with your computer :)

but I REITERATE once more... do not judge YOUR computer by your 3dmark2001 score... it will not be high coz that test is designed as a directx 8 test... :)

hope I answered some questions and cleared some doubts :cool ...


thanks for the reply Sazar..

I'm not that bothered about the 3D Mark score, but thanks for explaining why it's quite so low!

I'll try a couple of other benchmarks (sisoft sandra as you recommended, and maybe fresh diagnose and PC Mark).

The main thing I want to get sorted is the timings on the memory - I want to be sure it's set up right to take advantage of the fact that its DDR. I'm more bothered about the 'bus' timings than the CAS latency etc..

So far I have noticed that audio processing (eg. soundforge) is very fast, but video encoding (eg TMPGEnc) is not much faster than my old PC - I know the memory is not so likely to affect this though, as it's mainly CPU-intensive, and doesn't work the memory too hard.

If I can find a diagnostic / benchmark that helps me optimise my memory settings, I'll post about it here..

thanks again,


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