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3D Spotlight : Tweaking : Tweaking your System Memory (Win 98 & Millennium edition)

Tweaking your System Memory
Last Updated on September 26, 2000 by Thomas McGuire - Page 3/8

RAM tweaks

Seeing as RAM is a lot better performing than the Swapfile, it can help a great deal to optimize your memory settings. Restart your PC & enter the BIOS. The following settings, generally contained in the Advanced chipset features/Chip configuration section, can greatly improve memory performance &/or stability.

Bank 0/1, 2/3, 4/5 DRAM timing. Use this to set the DRAM memory module timing. Most BIOSí default to 10ns. Other options available may be (depending on BIOS) 8ns, Normal, Medium, Fast, Turbo. Selecting a different setting may improve RAM performance, but reduce stability. Turbo is the fastest setting; 10ns is the slowest (& most stable).

DRAM Clock. With the VIA Apollo 133 based motherboards you have the option to change SDRAM speed. Settings available are Host CLK or +/-33. Host CLK allows the SDRAM to run at the same speed as the Ext. Clock (FSB). You can use the +/-33 in case you want to run the RAM slower/faster than the Ext. Clock, e.g. If you Ext. Clock is 100Mhz you could use +33 to allow your SDRAM to run at 133Mhz. Which is a great option for those of you with PC 133 SDRAM. Or alternatively you could run at a 133Mhz Ext. Clock while your RAM runs at 100Mhz by using the -33 setting. Or you could run PC133 RAM at 133Mhz on a 133Mhz Ext. Clock (aka FSB) by using the Host CLK option. As you can see this option allows for a great deal of possibilities.

Delay DRAM read latch. The lower the value for this the better the memory performance, although stability may be affected. Higher values may improve system stability at the cost of performance.

DRAM speculative leadoff. Enable this for better performance, althought it could make your system less stable, disable it if it does.

Memory Hole At 15M-16M. Some old add-in cards need this enabled to work properly. If you have such a card then enable this, otherwise disable it.

Memory parity/ECC check/DRAM Data Integrity Mode. In the unlikely event you have ECC (Error Correcting Code) memory installed then you should set this to ECC, otherwise set it to non-ECC. Most memory is non-ECC & not really recommended for most users unless the need the added stability (but it is slower when ECC is being used).

RAS active time. A high number will increase performance of the system's SDRAM. Decrease this if stability is affected.

RAS to CAS delay. This should be set to a low number, although it is affected by the quality of you RAM, so set it higher if you have any difficulties afterwards.

Read around write. This is a DRAM optimization feature. If a memory read is addressed to a location whose latest write is being held in a buffer before being written to memory, the read is satisfied through the buffer contents, & the read is not sent to the DRAM. Set this to Enabled for better memory performance.

SDRAM Bank Interleave. For best memory performance set this to 4-bank/way, although lower settings may help improve stability.

SDRAM CAS Latency Time/SDRAM cycle length. This sets the CAS latency timing of the DRAM system memory access cycle when SDRAM system memory is installed. Setting this to 2 will yield better performance, although may be less stable if your SDRAM is not CAS2 rated. 3 is slower & should be used when SDRAM isn't CAS2 rated or you want to improve stability. NOTE - CAS2 can significantly improve performance in many ways.

SDRAM Precharge control. When Enabled, all CPU cycles to SDRAM result in an All Banks Precharge Command on the SDRAM interface. Setting this to Enabled should improve RAM performance. NOTE - When overclocking, particularly when you have an AGP graphics card thatís running at non-spec AGP bus speeds Disabling this may improve stability.

Once you have finished tweaking these setting re-load Windows. Now to optimize the Swapfile settings.


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