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Tweaking the RAM in the BIOS

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Old 07-21-2006, 06:24 AM   #1
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good day to all! i think my tech issues will come to an end and i thank guskz for his valuable insights.
i would like to ask you guys to help me out. there seems to be a compatiblity issue between my msi k8ngm-v and kingston ddr 400 512mb and this is why i experience crashes once in a while. however, there is still hope if i can tweak the ram and the problem is i am not knwoledgable about ram timings at all. i cam currently using a kingston ddr400 and its description reads 512MB 400MHz DDR Non-ECC CL3 (3-3-3) DIMM. how do i tweak this in the bios. my msi board has the AMI bios. i noticed in the menu the following:

memclock mode (auto/limit)

mct timing mode (auto/manual)
manual settings:
CAS Latency
TRAS
TRP
TRCD
TRRD
TRC
TRFC
TRWT

user config mode (auto/manual)
manual settings:
read preamble [9.5 ns]
asyc latency [11.0 ns]
CMD-ADDR timing mode [2t]

bank interleaving (auto)

burst length (4 beats)

hardware memory hole (disabled)

Aslo i saw in the "Onchip VGA Frame Buffer Size" reads 64mb. what happens if i change this to 128 or 32? which is better for performance?

now, going back to my question again. from these settings, how can i tweak my ram settings to optimum perfomance? i was able to adjust the voltage but what should i do with the timing, etc. thanks a lot for the help!!!

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Old 07-21-2006, 07:22 AM   #2
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If your RAM isn't compatible with your motherboard it isn't compatible and it will never work as well as compatible RAM. Changing the timings could also be dangerous so I would advise you leave them alone, your BIOS will have chosen the best RAM settings for your PC anyway using SPD. You don't want your RAM to be over-exerting itself and overheating, it would probably become inefficient and slow your computer down and you could potentially damage other hardware too.

If I were you I would buy new RAM, get a dual channel kit, it's cheap enough now. Look on manufacturers websites for compatibility and look at the MSI website also. I can vouch for Corsair and Crucial (Micron) RAM.

The VGA buffer you speak of is a backup for your video RAM. You can allocate a certain amount of system RAM as texture memory. The issue with this is to leave enough system RAM for your computer to do everything else. If you only have 512Mb then I would set this to and leave it at 64Mb, leaving 448Mb system RAM. You don't want to be caught short when playing games. This RAM is only allocated when it is needed and is used by the system as normal when the video doesn't need it.

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Old 07-21-2006, 09:13 AM   #3
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Just to add to what I said here, if you really want to push your RAM a little more bump up the voltage a little bit at a time. You can probably do this in yor BIOS. Usually, DDR has a default setting of 2.6V and can safely go up to 2.8V under warranty.
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Old 07-23-2006, 07:54 PM   #4
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@munkyphil

what is the difference between augmenting the ram voltages and tweaking the timings? is the voltage more safer? btw, i bought a pair of geil 256mb ddr400 and its dual channel but i think my board supports single channel only will there be a significant difference? thanks.
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Old 07-24-2006, 04:33 AM   #5
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Tweaking the voltages can have a stabilising effect on RAM. The timings will speed up you RAM but it isn't advised you do that unless you really understand what you're doing. Leave that to the motherboard.

You're right your motherboard doesn't support dual channel. The benefit of dual channel is the doubled bandwidth which corresponds to a performance increase of around 15%. If you really want to see a performance difference from your RAM get two 512Mb or two 1Gb sticks. A Windows XP system really needs more than 512Mb although it isn't always necessary.
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Old 07-25-2006, 01:41 AM   #6
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@munkyphil

thanks a lot. my pc does not crash anymore and i am jsut curious about tweaking the timings and stuff but since my system is stable i will leave it as it is.
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Old 07-25-2006, 02:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlconferido
@munkyphil

thanks a lot. my pc does not crash anymore and i am jsut curious about tweaking the timings and stuff but since my system is stable i will leave it as it is.
No problem, I find that the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' philosophy works especially well with computers, although I don't always take my own advice.

If you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask.

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