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Thread: Bios & install guide for Epox 8RDA+ (probably other nforce2 MB's too)

  1. #1
    "You're my wife now!" Ravens Nest's Avatar
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    Bios & install guide for Epox 8RDA+ with radeon (probably other nforce2 MB's too)

    This is my tips for anyone who has similiar hardware to me..
    With these tips & settings my PC plays game very well, especially Morrowind, CMR3, GTA3 & Vice City

    Epox 8RDA+
    Athlon XP 2200+ at 166 FSB thoroughbred A
    Twinmos 2 X 512MB 2700 Cas 2.5 166 DDR
    Radeon Powercolor evil commando 9700NP 128MB Bios 8004
    Q-TEC 550W Dualfan PSU

    Before trying any of these settings please be aware i dont take any responsibility if anything go's wrong, sorry

    Please use these below BIOS settings as a guide
    Change anything you are not happy with, but stick to it as much as you can (If you want to see similiar performance to my pc).

    Load Optimized Defaults
    (This will put all BIOS settings to a optimised state decided by the manufacterer)
    But remember to write down you're settings before doing this..

    System Performance - Enabled
    Memory frequency - 100% (Only if memory and CPU have are the same speed i.e. 133-133) Nforce 2 mb's are supposed to work best when the memory and FSB are insync.

    Memory timing - Optimal (Use Expert if you know the exact timing of your memory)Optimal is the safest setting as it uses the memory manufacterer's recommended settings.

    These two settings below are used to reduce EMI (electromagnetic interference). If you're overclocking it is a good idea to disable them..(If you arent then leave enabled)
    FSB Spread Spectrum - Disabled
    AGP Spread Spectrum - Disabled

    AGP Aperture Size - 64MB (Varys depending on amount of System & Video ram)64 seems best for radeons in my opinion, tested on games and 3dmark2003 nice reduction in stuttering.
    AGP Frequency - 66MHZ (You can try higher i.e 80mhz but it can cause instability)
    AGP 8X - Enabled (No noticable difference to 4X but if you can have it on without problems then leave on )
    AGP Fastwrites - OFF (Causes instability, very little improvement in video speed with it turned on)
    CPU Thermal throttling - OFF (Because it lowers speed of CPU when it thinks its overheating)
    System BIOS Cachable - OFF (Old not needed for modern pc)
    Video RAM Cachable - OFF (Old not needed for modern pc)
    MAC Lan (Nvidia) - Disabled (Saves IRQ, unless you use lan)
    ONCHIP 1394 - Disabled (Saves IRQ, unless you use firewire)
    Onboard Serial Port 1 & 2 - Disabled (Gives back IRQ's)
    Game Port Address - Disabled
    (Only cause i have a USB joypad, gives me back an IRQ)

    These two settings below are connected, but i noticed with both turned off my pc is more responsive and there is less stuttering, two side effects are when the pc is shut down it still needs to be turned off at the wall, and you do lose IRQ's as well.
    APIC MODE - Disabled
    ACPI Function - Disabled

    Assign IRQ for VGA - Enabled (On all newer videocard they need a separate IRQ so disabling this option is a real no no!)
    PCI Latency Timer (CLK) - 64 (Improves performance with anything in PCI slots and also Soundstorm, but older components can hate having latency altered, so take care)

    This is the hard(Tedious) bit, my recommended updates and drivers for XP...

    I recommend doing a completely new install of XP for this..(So you can see improvements and it does cause problems with existing installation)

    Make a Restore point, or use a program to ghost the drive then start the next few steps..(Recommended!)

    Install XP service pack 1a (Has performance and bug fixes also includes USB 2.0 drivers for nforce2)
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/p...p1/sp1lang.asp

    Restart PC
    Install Direct X 9.0b (most up to date, no difference to 8 or 9 though, but 9500-9800 need directx9 to run)
    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...displaylang=en

    Restart PC
    Install HD fix (MS messed up with service pack 1a, you need this to reduce stuttering and HD lag, definetly works!)
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/ahrk_2k...P2_x86_ENU.exe

    Restart PC
    Install Latest Catalyst drivers 3.6 & Control panel 3.6 (Once again fixes bugs in drivers for radeon, but i personally use 3.5 now as i have had problems with them )
    http://www2.ati.com/drivers/wxp-w2k-...10027c-efg.exe
    http://www2.ati.com/drivers/control-...10027c-efg.exe

    Restart PC
    Go into Device manager and there should be a mention of USB drivers but they will have an exclamation mark next to them, use the update driver button and let XP find the drivers then restart again.
    (The USB 2.0 driver are included with service pack 1, installed earlier)

    Install the Nforce 3.44 chipset drivers (Nice increase in sound quality and EAX support with these drivers )
    Sorry your gonna have to search www.google.com for these drivers.. hard to find most people have reverted to 2.45 but i use 3.44 with no problems on Epox 8RDA+

    Restart PC
    Set the settings for display to what you want
    (i personally use 4XAA, 8XAF, Vsync 'application preference' and Truform 'always off' all the rest on high)
    Set Display onto 'Default Single Display'
    Go into Smartgart and turn Fastwrites OFF and then restart.
    (Dont be too greedy and set your videocard settings too high as even though a 9700 or higher is fast, you also need a monster PC to run games at 1600x1024!)

    Change Virtual memory settings to a fixed size i set it at 1534 myself (i.e. min 1024 max 1024)
    (This is just my personal experience, virtual memory seems too complicated, anyone who can suggest any better settings please let me know?)

    And hopefully it will be running a lot better

    For troublesome games that dont like Antialiasing or Anistrophic i.e. Splinter cell, CMR2 e.t.c. use this great program that make's custom settings for each game (Very useful)
    http://www28.brinkster.com/chrisww1942/faq.htm

    I'm sorry about the long post, but lots to explain I hope to help some People with this

    I also turned the icons off in the lefthand corner for Soundstorm and ATI, the catalyst drivers dont like icons in the bottom right corner they cause stuttering! (Drivers still need work)

    (This also has recommendations from tech9, curio and the people who frequent Rage3d & now Hexus forums )

    If anyone has any tips please feel free to post them, will help us all out
    Last edited by Ravens Nest; 25-08-2003 at 02:26 PM.
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  2. #2
    HEXUS.social member Agent's Avatar
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    Your URLs have been cut out due to copy and pasting from another vbb board
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    Tech9 on Rage3d recommended this if you want to remove ASPI and APIC when you install XP.
    To completely eliminate the stuttering: disable ASPI and APIC and re-install WinXP as a standard PC; press F5 (and keep it pressed) when you get the F6 message to install 3rd party-drivers...

    Srubbishrubbishrubbishrubbishymofo Says there can be problems disabling spread spectrum with the Shuttle SN41G2
    FSB Spread Spectrum - Disabled
    AGP Spread Spectrum - Disabled
    "on meh shuttle sn41g2, disabling these two options nearly halfs the 3dmark01 score. the rest i have set teh same as ur config."


    GazC added this advice for overclockers..
    Having your Spread spectrum enabled when overclocking can cause a harmonic spike in the system if there is a power fluctuation because it makes the peak to peak of the system clocks are closer together. This can fry components at the worst or at the least cause a crash.

    If you install Powerstrip you can alter PCI latency settings for your videocard, i have had positive results in reducing stuttering with my radeon 9700 when i set it at 64 latency as ATI set it at 248 default.

    http://www.entechtaiwan.com/ps.htm

    Not sure exactly why it improves performance it just does.. my personal theory is that if you get the latency on all PCI based component's to be the same or as near as you can then they will be running in sync and not hogging the resources of the PC to themselves.
    Last edited by Ravens Nest; 25-08-2003 at 02:00 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Originally posted by Agent
    Your URLs have been cut out due to copy and pasting from another vbb board
    Thanks Agent, fixed them i think
    "Mmm... I want you for my wife!"
    "Autom...Sprow...Canna...Tik banna...Sandwol...But no sera smee?"
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    yer sounds good, though like you say abit tedious. I might try it on my other comp see what happens, ill try let you know if it helps with my epox board.

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    Originally posted by Wolf Man
    yer sounds good, though like you say abit tedious. I might try it on my other comp see what happens, ill try let you know if it helps with my epox board.
    Yeah was very boring to type as well, didnt realise originally how big it was until i went back and looked at it.

    It just shows how much go's into running a pc properly though
    "Mmm... I want you for my wife!"
    "Autom...Sprow...Canna...Tik banna...Sandwol...But no sera smee?"
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  7. #7
    TiG
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    As much as I like your post Ravens Nest, Some of the points you copy lack explanation of why they are better for machines performance....

    Goth gave some memory timing advice
    here is list of the memory settings for the bios that will give you a small boost in performance memory frequency and memory settings 100 Mhz should be 7-2-2-2 133 Mhz should be 8-2-2-2 150 Mhz should be 9-2-2-2 166 Mhz should be 10-2-2-2 200Mhz should be 11-2-2-2 using 11-2-2-2 on my system increased my sandra HD score from 29,568 to 34,693 Sandra bandwidth score with my memory set to 5-2-2-2 INT 3056 Float 2883 Sandra bandwidth score with my memory set to 11-2-2-2 INT 3084 Float 2910
    I've got no idea why he's setting these values, sure the artifical benchmarks may well be quicker but for general usage it won't be, My guess why the benchmarks are quicker is due to the benchmark running some command that works in sync with memory at Latency/speed = better benchmark - Therefore the 11 sync just works out to be best for synthetic benchmarks.

    THIS will not translate to every day tasks which will be wide and varied. I do not suggest anyone does this!!.

    Oscar 9 added this..
    a note to abit nf7(-s) users... APIC enabled can cause problems when o/c'ing, so make sure you disable it before you install windows
    Well i'm sure that 99.99% of nforce users that are overclocking will have APIC enabled, I truely cannot see what APIC will do to stop overclocking?

    I added this advice too..
    Got to thank mtdew332 & Phil for his guide and this tip, i've done it before but just forgot This tip allows you to change your latency on your videocard, there normally set to 248, but i find a good setting is 64. Definitely makes a positive difference. http://www.rage3d.com/board/showthr...readid=33701266
    I've gone and read the article which is relevant to this post and to say the details are scetchy is a little bit of an understatement in my opinion. The guys information is less than scientific, he's just randomly changed the values, he has no explination for why he stuck for the values he did, and then at the end of his page he says...

    "however, for using bad PCI latency values can hang your machine pretty easily"

    I'm not exactly sure following these elements are a great idea.
    Maybe some more justification for the other elements would be pretty good too.

    But good post, maybe just some refinement needed to ensure that people know what they are getting themselves in for.

    TiG
    -- Hexus Meets Rock! --

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    HEXUS.social member Agent's Avatar
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    Originally posted by TiG
    Well i'm sure that 99.99% of nforce users that are overclocking will have APIC enabled, I truely cannot see what APIC will do to stop overclocking?

    TiG
    He did say for the NF7, and its quite correct. There was a bug in earlier BIOS revisions which hindered your overclocking if APIC was enabled.
    It has been fixed now though
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

  9. #9
    "You're my wife now!" Ravens Nest's Avatar
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    TiG [/B][/QUOTE] I've got no idea why he's setting these values, sure the artifical benchmarks may well be quicker but for general usage it won't be, My guess why the benchmarks are quicker is due to the benchmark running some command that works in sync with memory at Latency/speed = better benchmark - Therefore the 11 sync just works out to be best for synthetic benchmarks.
    To be honest i'm no sure how much they help in general use, but i did feel that i got a improvement in speed on my pc with those settings, but i have edited the post with comments of problems i had with stability as well though.

    I feel i would have to bow to your knowledge on memory timings and how they effect benchmarks but not general use as it's not something i am too in the know about

    Do you think i should remove the memory timings recommendations? as i thought they were a little weak to be honest. (wasnt sure whether i should have pasted them)


    The problem i have with the copy & paste of my thread from rage3d is that a lot of people left comments and recommendations some i incorperated into my original post but some i thought they should be separate, it did not feel right leaving them off, though to be honest i didnt agree with all of them.

    I've gone and read the article which is relevant to this post and to say the details are scetchy is a little bit of an understatement in my opinion. The guys information is less than scientific, he's just randomly changed the values, he has no explination for why he stuck for the values he did, and then at the end of his page he says...
    Yes it was quite vague, the only reason i posted his thread link was because he commented on PCI latency first.

    i remembered altering PCI latency timing with my old Asus A7V motherboard from 64 on my soundcard,video and IDE and performance increased and stuttering nearly vanished as a result.

    Repeated this on my Epox 8RDA+ and it reduced stuttering and increased performance with that to.

    Sorry to keep asking but do you think i should remove his thread link and just recommend powerstrip?

    I'll try to think of other ways to make it an easier read and alter some of it to reflect what will happen if you do\dont install and what happens if you alter particular BIOS settings.

    Phew it's a large post though wish i could cut it down... any suggestions?
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    "You're my wife now!" Ravens Nest's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Agent
    He did say for the NF7, and its quite correct. There was a bug in earlier BIOS revisions which hindered your overclocking if APIC was enabled.
    It has been fixed now though
    I've altered the original post to reflect what you have said, as i dont own a NF7.

    Shall i just delete that part?
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    To Agent and TiG i've altered my original posts to be easier to read, still have work to do though with it.

    I removed the the tips for memory timing, following your advice TiG.

    And Austin removed the NF7S advice as hopefully most people will just update there BIOS if they have problems anyway.

    And it will keep it less complicated for me to maintain

    Any more suggestions?
    Last edited by Ravens Nest; 25-08-2003 at 02:11 PM.
    "Mmm... I want you for my wife!"
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