ASUS P3C 2000 Camino Board - Page 5

Compatibility

First my system setup used for reference:

  • PIII550E @ 803MHz (5.5 x 146MHz)

  • OEM Slocket adaptor (FC-PGA to Slot-1)

  • 01 x 128MB PC133 Mushkin SDRAM (6ns Samsung) + 01 x 128MB PC133 Kingston SDRAM

  • ASUS P3C-2000 (release BIOS dated 30/12/99) rev 1.02

  • Primary Master: 01 x 10.1 GB Seagate Ultra-ATA66 HDD (5400rpm); Primary Slave: 01 x 13.2 GB IBM Ultra-ATA66 HDD (7200rpm); Connected via Abit HotRod-ATA66 controller card: 01 x 13GB Quantum CR Ultra-ATA66 HDD (5400 rpm)

  • 01 x Creative GeForce Pro (32MB DDRAM onboard) using 3.69 beta reference Nvidia drivers; core/mem settings at 140/335;

  • Secondary Master: 01 x Yamaha 8424E CD-RW IDE drive (firmware 1.0e)

  • Secondary Slave: 01 x Sony 6X DVD-ROM drive

  • SBLive!! Platinum (Liveware 3.0 drivers)

  • VirataLink 1025 ATM card

  • Abit HotRod ATA-66 card (1.21 BIOS; 1.20 drivers)

  • 17Ē Mitsubishi DiamondScan 70 monitor (0.28 dpi)

  • Win 98SE

  • Ambient Temperature of 27 degrees Celsius.
  • 300W Power Supply

Now, from several articles Iíve read on the Web, there seems to be numerous compatibility issues in running a GeForce DDR and ASUS P3C-2000 combo.  Fortunately, I managed to resolve mine pretty quickly with some sacrifices.  Hereís what I did to get it running stably.

a. Reduce Overclocking on DDR GeForce

In order to run the DDR GeForce stably with the P3C-2000, I had to reduce my DDR o/c speed from 142/352 to 140/335.  If not, I started getting random lockups in Q3A during normal gameplay.  The necessity of a lower clock speed could be attributed to a few possibilities:

  • Inherent AGP4x + Fast Writes limitations, where stability become a functional prerequisite and this is degraded by intense overclocking  
  • Simply a less stable motherboard construct 
  • Immature drivers for AGP4x mode transfers

I will be testing this on a VIA Apollo 133A board soon, and compare my AGP 4x findings then.  Now, if it does prove that an inherent AGP4x issue results in slower overclocked speeds attainable on the DDR, then the question arises if running at a higher overclocked speed via AGP2x is more beneficial than a lower clocked DDR at AGP4x.  This needs to be further exploredÖ

b. Update to latest I820 INF file

The INF update on the CD-ROM I received was dated Julí99. This has to be installed to get it running anywhere near stable.  Nevertheless, Iíve also downloaded a new set of INTEL developerís INF update for I820 (dated Noví99) Ė after being pre-informed by my pal in Creative.  This has worked fine and apparently addresses occasions where 3Dmark2000 would randomly exit out to Windows desktop.  However, more on this laterÖ

c. Decent 3.3V line voltage

Although I canít really verify if this as a requirement, I did notice that my 3.3V line reads 3.52V!  This is even without adjusting MCH/MTH or VIO jumpers.  Perhaps this has also introduced some instability into overclocking the DDR (as mentioned earlier).  But running at this voltage (which isnít typically controllable), has at least managed to get my card running pretty stable, albeit with a lower clocked DDR.

Besides resolving the GeForce DDR issues above, I didnít notice any other incompatibility problems at all.  Even without reinstalling Win98SE, the system redetected and installed the I820 specific driver files just fine.  Neither did I encounter any problems using 2 sticks of SDRAM from different manufacturers.  I had my 128MB of Double-sided Mushkin SDRAM in bank 1, and the other 128MB of Single-sided Kingston memory in bank 2. Even my HotRod ATA-66 co-existed with the onboard ATA66 controller without problems.  I was rather relieved from the smooth installation experience, having read so many nightmarish posts on the newsgroups recently.

But in regards to DIMMs, I suspect adding more than 2 DIMMs may prove problematic, because the on-chip MTH does not natively support more than 2 DIMMs.  Unfortunately, I was unable to verify this without more memory.

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