iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






News Archive

 « Previous Day News Archive Next Day » 


Be warned, your BIOS may not be what it seems

Celeron M 350 and 360 already on sale

Plextor unveils PX-605A DVD-RAM drive

Be warned, your BIOS may not be what it seems

Our Kirill Kochetkov conducted a very interesting regarding motherboard BIOSes and that´s what he has to tell us.

Recently motherboard BIOSes have usually been mentioned due to new mobo models and CPU revisions, and the majority believes the latest versions makes it all better or at least nor worse. But it turns out that not always a new BIOS means better performance. Sometimes even a mere second memory module slows down the whole system or a faster CPU starts working slower than its predecessor. The worst is that most users except for the most curious benchmarkers doesn´t know about such "guileful" matters.

When you use the right hardware, "Load Optimized Defaults" is usually enough and close to optimal. Of course, overclocking or higher-clock memory modules require adjustments, but these are not widespread.

As an example, here´s the story about some AMD Athlon 64 Socket 754 motherboards and their BIOSes.

The first is ABIT KV8-MAX3 on VIA K8T800 with BIOS v2.2.

Athlon 64 3700+ (as well as the new 3400+ and Sempron 3100+) got strangely low result in RMMA max. memory write test, just about 2,500 MB/s. At that memory read was close to nominal 3100+ MB/s. At that the old 3400+ (2.2 GHz, 1 MB L2) indicated correct read and write results.

We found out that new processors have CG stepping for which AMD introduced a new memory controller setting named 2T Command Rate. This is officially required to use more than 2 memory modules at 400 MHz (the previous C0 allowed only 2 and decreased clock rate with 3). It turned out that despite there was only 1 or 2 memory modules, optimized settings enabled "by SPD" timings and automatically enabled 2T Command Rate that resulted in significant memory write performance decrease (despite it has no relation to SPD). Of course, these 20% loss wasn´t that obvious in real apps, but the fact that Athlon 64 3400+ 2.2 GHz 1Ì L2 worked better than Athlon 64 3700+ 2.4 GHz 1Ì L2 in Canopus ProCoder, WinRar and 7zip was at least alerting. Besides, latencies were also increased by 7-11%.

The same was with MSI K8T Neo-FIS2R (BIOS 1.2).

The second example was Gigabyte K8NSNXP on nForce 3 with BIOS F5. After optimized settings were activated (Auto memory clock), the second memory module resulted in clock rate decrease from 200 MHz to 157 or 160 MHz depending on CPU clock. Note that this BIOS had a separate 2T Command Rate setting (shown only with CG CPUs) and the Auto setting usually worked correct (could be disabled/enabled). The second, less serious trouble of K8NSNXP was ignoring memory interleave mode with two modules. All AMD64 CPUs can work in this mode. For RMMA synthetic tests interleave mode made 3-10% difference.

Actually interleaving is bankwise, so even a single two-bank module can be slightly "overclocked". (That is actually done by ABIT KV8-MAX3).

Maybe we just found out the secret of different performance of VIA K8T800 and nForce3? :)

Celeron M 350 and 360 already on sale

It´s been 5 days since new Celeron M 350 and 360 processors (1.3 GHz and 1.4 GHz) were announced, and according to the source, novelties are already available in stores.

As you might have remembered, new processors have 1 MB L2 cache, 400 MHz FSB. 340 model has 1.356V voltage, while 350/360 models have it 1.26V.

In Japanese retail stores 360 model costs ¥16,240-18,564 ($147-168), 350 — ¥12,980-15,800 ($118-144). To compare: in its press release Intel stated $107 for Celeron M 350 and $134 for 360 model in over 1,000-unit quantities.

Source: Akiba PC

Plextor unveils PX-605A DVD-RAM drive

Plextor released a new DVD-RAM drive, PX-605A. According to the source, it´s company´s first DVD-RAM drive. The novelty costs ¥17,500-18,980 ($160-170).

PX-605A utilizes Matsushita SW-9573 optical head, while the appearance and features are identical to Matsushita LF-M721JD that went on sale early in July.

The drive supports 5x DVD-RAM, 8x DVD±R, 4x DVD±RW, 24x CD-R, 16x CD-RW speeds and has 2 MB buffer. The bundle includes PowerProducer 2 Gold, B´s Recorder GOLD BASIC, and PowerDVD 5.

Source: Akiba PC

 « Previous Day News Archive Next Day » 

Write a comment below. No registration needed!

blog comments powered by Disqus

  Most Popular Reviews More    RSS  

AMD Phenom II X4 955, Phenom II X4 960T, Phenom II X6 1075T, and Intel Pentium G2120, Core i3-3220, Core i5-3330 Processors

Comparing old, cheap solutions from AMD with new, budget offerings from Intel.
February 1, 2013 · Processor Roundups

Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards

A couple of mid-range adapters with original cooling systems.
January 30, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.
September 9, 2008 · Sound Cards

AMD FX-8350 Processor

The first worthwhile Piledriver CPU.
September 11, 2012 · Processors: AMD

Consumed Power, Energy Consumption: Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge

Trying out the new method.
September 18, 2012 · Processors: Intel
  Latest Reviews More    RSS  

i3DSpeed, September 2013

Retested all graphics cards with the new drivers.
Oct 18, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, August 2013

Added new benchmarks: BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light.
Sep 06, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, July 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 and AMD Radeon HD 7730.
Aug 05, 2013 · 3Digests

Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Golden Sample Graphics Card

An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
  Latest News More    RSS  

Platform  ·  Video  ·  Multimedia  ·  Mobile  ·  Other  ||  About us & Privacy policy  ·  Twitter  ·  Facebook

Copyright © Byrds Research & Publishing, Ltd., 1997–2011. All rights reserved.