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MSI K8N Neo 4 SLI PCI-E Platinum mobo, does this board suck?

By kirock ยท 16 replies
Sep 9, 2005
  1. I just bought this board 2 weeks ago today. I read raving reviews at Hardocp.com about it. Then the day my components were due to arrive I saw Hardocp retrack their review on the grounds it was unstable in OC mode. :hotbounce

    MSI website kinda sucks, so I can't really figure out how to make the BIOS settings work (nor does it cover it in manual). This mobo has nForce4 chipset and latest drivers. In my BIOS I can set automatic OC timing in scales of Private to General (1% to 10% OC). If I go over 1% my system hangs and won't load windows. This seems pretty crappy :dead: I though it was my :puke: PS, but I just installed (last night) an OCZ ModStream 450W PS and it still won't let me do any OCing to speak of. what gives?

    Can any one point me in the right direction wrt these BIOS settings.

  2. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    this is because the CPU you have may be "locked" any therefore not be able to be overclocked.

    I have an older MSI motherboard for the XP barton CPUs. I had a 3200+ XP CPU that could be overclocked big time. Unfortunately, I went too far, and burned it out. I replaced it with another 3200+, but this one is a "locked" CPU and therefore cannot be overclocked.

    MSIs are good motherboards. I have had 2 of them and they work very well. I had an ASUS that I couldn't even get Windows to load on.

    The MSI I have now does exactly the same thing yours does. If you have an unlocked CPU, you can overclock. If not, you can't. It all depends on the manufactuer's batch.
    AMD wised up with some of its batches and started locking the processors so customers wouldn't buy cheaper CPUs and overclock them to avoid buying more expensive models.

    In general, I discourage overclocking unless you're willing to take the risk of burning your CPU out. It shortens the life of your CPU and voids any warranty.

    As far as that particular motherboard goes, it has gotten some very good ratings by PCWorld and PC Magazine, i would stick with it.
  3. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 1,221

    locked CPU

    Thanks Tedster,

    How can I find out if my CPU is locked. Here is my CPU:http://www.extreme-pc.ca/showproduct.asp?productid=367961&menu1id=12&menu2id=90&menu3id=34

    That would really suck. :unch: I know it's not the most powerful CPU, but it's a pretty good start.

    I thought this mobo was pretty highly rated, I did alot of reading before selecting the components for my rig. Price always playing a factor of course. If not just buy the highest everything and pay $5000.00 and stop thinking about it. :knock:

    Thanks for cheering me up about my mobo, now to find out if the CPU is locked. :suspiciou
  4. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    Athlon64s aren't locked for multipliers below the factory multiplier. It's because of cool'n'quiet which lowers the CPU speed when demand is low by lowering the multiplier. So if your CPU has a stock multiplier of 10, you can use the ones below that (9x, 8x, etc.) but not the ones above.

    Only the Athlon64-FX is completely unlocked.
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    you have to know what batches of chips are unlocked and/or if that particular chip can be overclocked.

    The batches are determined by serial numbers. So you have to know which serial #s will be willing to overclock. If you find out your serial # is a good batch (the easy way), then you know.

    The (hard) way to do it, is try to adjust your clock multiplier and/or FSB. If you can, then your CPU is overclockable, if not, you can't. You cannot always tell in BIOS if the mulitplier can be changed. Even if you change it in BIOS, if the CPU is locked or partially locked, the CPU will reset itself once you exit BIOS.

    Of course when you attempt to overclock, and it crashes right away, you know it won't work or something else is wrong. You have to change the settings a little bit at a time. Research the chip on line. If you find you have a CPU that can be overclocked, then try to determine the average overclocking online through websites and forums. Take that number and halve it (you don't want to risk burning out the CPU.)

    Keep in mind, the key to overclocking is COOLING. Some people get very sophisticated and use watercoolers, peltier coolers, and exotic stuff like liquid nitrogen etc.... but I say that's a waste of $ and resources. If you're going to spend an excessive amount of $ on cooling, then just buy a better CPU in the first place. What's the point of spending a whole lot of money if the gain isn't significant!
  6. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 1,221

    Neo 4 SLI Platinum OCing


    Thanks for the info, I did do some reading about the OC procedures, it seems my choice of ram could hurt me. OCZ DDR3200 Premier with latency of 2.5-3-3-7, not bad (400MHz), but should have bought for $80 more (Cnd$) the Platinum series at 2-2-2-5.

    I still haven't tryed the OC procedures yet, but I know I was wrong in thinking the mobo did it for you. :eek: What MSI did with Neo4 was to enable you to do this easier, not automatic. It gives you easy access to the FSB clock, multipliers, voltages etc.

    As for the CPU lock, you're right I can't directly change the CPU frequency but I can change the FSB and Decrease my multilpier.

    I will post a reply when I try things out. Already step 1, increase FSB by 3.3% and reboot is done. Result=No go, system hang!
    Step 2, 3.3% but increase mem voltage, needs to be tried.

    So I'll go from there and see what I can do with this rig. Why OC? Because you can! Why climb M Everest, because it's there. I'm NOT going extreme OC, I'm not that pro yet and no need, just a few tweeks to see if I can do it.

    Yes I do have Zalman 7000 series cooler, lots of case ventillation, OCZ 450W ModStream PSU. Got the guns to do it, now can I aim and shoot?

    Thanks guys. :grinthumb
  7. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    you're correct. memory is critical as well, but you have to make sure your memory is also compatible with your motherboard. (RTFM).

    as far as overclocking, just be prepared (financially) to get a new CPU!
  8. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    For some reason your cpu link didn't seem to work for me, but I think you maybe have a amd athlon 939 3200+ after looking around.
    Edit: link seems to work now, it goes to a 3500+.

    This should be in cooling and modding, since that's where oc'ing is covered, but here's a start.

    Ok, on that cpu, you can't oc the multiplier, i.e., you can't just increase the stock 11x multi to 12x to get 2.4ghz, you will have to oc the htt speed.

    I've never used a msi board like that, so I don't know what options it's bios has. You need a board that has locked pci/pci-e buses(asynchronous), so that you don't oc your add in cards when you raise the htt speed.

    You would also benefit if you have a working vcore(cpu voltage) selector, ram voltage selector, and working memory dividers.

    Most memory won't do much more than it's stock speed (ddr400), so you need to set it to a lower value so that when it's oc'ed it doesn't exceed(or not by much) the stock ram speed. You might have it listed as ram speed: 400, 333, 266, 200. If so, then you could select 333 and then your ram will run slower when you oc. You may even have to go to 266 if you get a high oc.

    Also you need to decrease your htt multi(stock on a 939 system is 5x) to 4x up to and including 250mhz htt speed, and above that 3x(and 2x if you go above 333mhz htt speed, unlikely).

    You may want to increase you're vcore to about 1.5-1.55v if you can't increase the htt speed anymore on stock voltage(i.e. system unstable).

    Go in small steps and test w/ prime 95 for at least 5 min at each 10mhz htt speed increase. If it fails increase the vcore, and then go some more. If it still fails, then back off and that's your max oc. Test that it's stable overnight with p95.
  9. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    most MSI motherboards have a lot of options. I have an older K7N2 Delta 2 platinum and I can adjust everything.
  10. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 1,221

    OCing an MSI K8N Neo4 SLI platinum w/AMD3500+

    Thanks for the help guys.

    What I did was raise the FSB from stock 200 to 220MHz. My Ram is OCZ DDR 3200+ (2.5-3-3-7) at 400MHz. It's set to auto in BIOS to sync with FSB. Corecell software (MSI) shows it at 2.4GHz now, I moved the Ram voltage from 2.7 to 2.75volts, it is stable, I gamed for 5 hours last night. I haven't DL'd Prime95 yet , but will tonight when get home.

    Weird, thing about mobo bios is, if I use the listed selections, Private, Captain....General etc, (3.3%, 5%, 7%, etc) then it crashes. I'm assumming this % increase is referring to the FSB freq. But if I go into the FSB menu and manually select 220MHz at the stock, 11X multiplier it works. It looks like I have access to all things except, NB voltages. It's not in BIOS or Corecell.

    I could probably go higher, not sure if I should. CPU temp moved from 39 to 41C, no biggy. I didn't change my htt multiplier of stock 5X, should I? Not sure about PCI/PCI-X buses being sync or not. But the 6600GT didn't seem to mind the higher FSB.

    Did I do this correctly? Should I put FSB bk to stock 200MHz and move the HTT up and play with the 5X multiplier.

    Cheers, I'm really just doing this to learn. Not really trying to OC for mega hourse power, just an exercise for learning experience. :blush:

    Thanks again guys.
  11. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    Lower the HTT multiplier & see if you can get a bit more with the FSB. Don't worry about the PCI/AGP speeds are they are no longer linked with the FSB. I'm not sure about PCI-e but I would think it does not set its speed in relation with the FSB.
  12. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    Yes, as I said, lower the htt multi to 4x up to 250mhz htt speed(the speed you refer to as the fsb, stock is 200), and 3x over 250mhz. The reason being, you want your htt(hypertransport tunnel) bus speed between 600 and 1000mhz, so at stock the htt speed is 200mhz, and the htt multi is 5x, giving you a total htt bus speed of 1000mhz(5x200=1000). So any oc, you should decrease to 4x, I think I read if you don't decrease it you can corrupt your hard drive, or something similarly bad, and below 600mhz performance suffers.

    So you should be increasing the htt speed up from 200mhz,
    lowering the htt multi to 4x up to 250mhz, and 3x above,
    setting a ram divider(like instead of auto ram speed, it should be set to say 333 instead of 400, so your ram isn't your oc limiter.
    At your current oc, if you don't have a divider, I doubt you could get much more out of your ram, it's probably near it's max frequency.
    And you can increase your vcore if you like to say 1.5v
    I think that's all.
  13. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 1,221

    OC AMD 3500+ on Neo4 SLI Platinum

    Hi Guys,

    Well it seems my CPU won't give me any more. Is it possible it's an OC 3200+ packaged as 3500+?

    What I've done:
    HTT Mult=4X
    HTT Freq=220
    CPU Mult= X11 ( as stock)
    Mem Divid (what I could find)=166, down from 200 (stock value).
    Ran Prime95. Crashed in a few minutes.

    Then I played with combinations of Vcore, NB voltages (was at bottom of window) and mem voltages. My BIOS only lets me take Vcore from "by VID" to 3.3%, 5.5%, etc, up 9% over VID. Corecell posts Vcore at 1.35 at stock. Took it to 3.3%, then to 5.5% over VID and Corecell showed 1.45V.
    Mem sticks run any where from 2.6 up to 2.75 ( didn't want to go over that).

    There seemed like no stable combo above HTT freq of 214. Which to me makes the whole process pretty moot. If that's all I get for my trouble, then never mind ( kinda thing).

    What I've read is Step1: is to find the max CPU clock speed.
    So as you've all so patiently tried to expalin :eek: , I decreased my HTT mult to 4X to stay below 1GHz on the HTT bus. Then up'd the HTT freq to 220 ( 10% starting point) (if not stable at 10% I'm not going to bother with this OCing effort). Then I lowered the MEm div to 166. This would give CPU at 2420Ghz, HTT at 880MHz and Mem at 220X166/200=182.6MHz.

    Is this where I'm going wrong, I set mem to 166 ( which would mean is 166:200 ratio)???? :suspiciou

    Help! I'm close to understanding what I need to do, but confused by the crappy results. So I'm thinking I'm still doing something wrong or my CPU is already OCd.

    Cheers, and sorry for the long post. :giddy:

    PS temps on CPU went from 40 to 48C during a few long runs with Prime95. Those were 30mins, bit HTT of 214, 4X, 166Mem, 3.3% on Vcore. Pretty lame OC.
  14. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    One thing you could try is to decrease your cpu multi to 10x or even 9x and try to oc with those multipliers. You'll have to have a higher htt speed to get a good oc, but sometimes it doesn't go as high on a high multiplier.

    So if you have 11x220 =2420, to get a similar speed with a 10x multi, then you'd need 242mhz on the htt speed, and if you used 9x you'd need 268mhz.

    The thing is you have a 3500+, which is already clocked fairly high at stock, so it may not go as far as lower cpus. I think most 3000, 3200, and 3500 chips end up about the same max oc, around 2.4-2.7ghz, so it's a bigger % oc on a 3000+ cpu than on a 3500+ to reach 2.5ghz.

    Btw: what core is your 3500+, winchester or venice?
  15. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 1,221

    OCing AMD64 3500+ on MSI Neo4 SLI Platinum

    Thanks for the tip vnf4Ultra. I'll reduce the CPU mult to 10 or 9X and up the HTT freq back to a decent OC% and see what happens. I'm at work, so will have to wait until tonight.

    I'm not sure what my core is. The serial number on the box/paper work, doesn't read like what I've seen posted:
    AW - Newcastle 939
    BI - Winchester
    BP - Venice
    BN - San Diego
    It's got 1MB Cache2 and 90nm, so it can be either Win or Venice. Is it in serial # or just on the actual chip?? If on chip, then I'm not removing it and heat sink etc, to find out. :knock:

    Anyway thanks for the help to all. I'll give it another go tonight, and post my results/conclusions tomorrow.

    Cheers, :wave:
  16. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    1mb L2 + 0.09 fabrication = San Diego.

    Venice only has 512kb of L2.
  17. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 1,221

    Sorry for the delay in closing this post, I lost the thread.

    It seems vnf4ultra is correct and the 3500 won't OC stable pass 2420HZ.
    My settings are: 220X4=880MHz HTT, 11X220=2420MHz CPU, 166/200, and 1.45Vcore, no increase on Ram voltage. (I tried lowering to X10 or X9, but same result pass 2420MHz, not stable)

    BTW, my core is venice. I had ordered (I thought) the 1Mb L2 cache (ie San Diego) but apparently unless specifically specified the unit is venice and my price reflected that.

    Temps vary from low 30's at idle (room temp dependant) to high 40's, even saw 52C once with Prime95 running 1hour.

    Thanks for the help everyone.
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