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Replacing the Mamebox; With the Master System 64!
Topic Started: Jan 16 2010, 10:25 PM (2,216 Views)
sheath
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-Edited Topic-
I struck a deal with a client and am currently on the hunt for a reasonably priced PCIe graphics card *with component output* for the Office PC. Since I have been calling the Office PC the Master System and, now that it is running XP x64 so well, the Master System 64 that will be the name of the new HTPC. Mamebox will remain the name for the single core 3200+ HD3850 listed below.

I would also love for somebody who is experienced at overclocking to chime in on any methods I might employ to *stably* overclock the Mamebox.
<hr>
Just for a reminder, the Mamebox, apparently the only one in this group titled so, has the following specs. I will post the results of each subsequent overclocking attempt. As I understand it, the CPU I am attemting to overclock will not allow multiplier change, only FSB change. Furthermore, the K8U-X will only overclock the system bus/FSB by percentages starting at 5%, which I am using now.

CPU Type AMD Athlon 64 3200+
CPU Alias Newcastle S754
CPU Stepping DH-CG
CPUID CPU Name AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3200+
CPUID Revision 00000FC0h

CPU Speed:
CPU Clock 2199.68 MHz
CPU Multiplier 11.0x
CPU FSB 199.97 MHz (original: 200 MHz)
Memory Bus 199.97 MHz

Motherboard Name Asus K8U-X

Chipset Properties:
Motherboard Chipset ULi/ALi M1689, AMD Hammer
Memory Timings 3-3-3-8 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS)
Command Rate (CR) 1T

SPD Memory Modules:
DIMM1: Corsair VS1GB400C3 1 GB PC3200 DDR SDRAM (3.0-3-3-8 @ 200 MHz)
DIMM2: Corsair VS1GB400C3 1 GB PC3200 DDR SDRAM (3.0-3-3-8 @ 200 MHz)

BIOS Properties:
System BIOS Date 08/17/06
Video BIOS Date 02/18/08
DMI BIOS Version 1001
First attempt, 5% overclocked FSB. 2.31 Ghz stable.
Edited by sheath, Jan 24 2010, 04:29 PM.
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sheath
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10% overclocked 2.42 Ghz stable.
I also noticed a manual setting for more complex overclocking while I was in there. Since I have no intention of buying a watercooling system, and since I have been told that the Athlon 64 3200+ won't allow multiplier changes, I will continue on....OOP!

It crashed and rebooted. So I am currently at manual overclock of the system bus speed to 210Mhz, the CPU is at 2.31Ghz (2.2Ghz normal).
Okay, I upped the bus to 215Mhz, CPU speed 2.37 Ghz. Seems stable. I am now going to up the bus speed by one Mhz until I get a crash.
Edited by sheath, Jan 16 2010, 10:52 PM.
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sheath
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I got impatient and upped it to 217Mhz, multiplier 11, .... crash

Lowered to 216Mhz and started typing why, ... crash

This is pretty much my experience with overclocking over the last twelve years. So I'll leave it at 215Mhz/2.37Hgz CPU for now and see how it does.
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sheath
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It crashed overnight, so now I'm down to 214Mhz/2.35Ghz. We'll see how it does this morning. It was stable in games at the former setting, but Windows randomly reset on me.
Edited by sheath, Jan 17 2010, 12:52 PM.
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sheath
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No overclocking for me! It crashed again and I'm done. Even at the higher speeds that ended up being unstable Sega Rally Revo and SFIV still had the exact same issues as before. I couldn't tell that the framerate was increased at all. So, rather than go through the rigmarole of messing with voltages and buying *all new* RAM sticks of a higher speed, I'm just going to leave it at the stock, stable, factory speed.

That is unless any of you gurus want to point me to a direction for overclocking this hardware that won't involve days of troubleshooting.
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Belpowerslave
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I don't have much experience in overclocking other than watching Wang do it on his various machines, and then set it up on the HTPC he sold me. LC has quite a bit of experience in it as well, we'll just have to wait for one of them to show up and take a look at your issue. I'll see if I can catch either one on AIM and send them this way...

Bel
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David J.
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I wouild love to get a a intel e8600 or whatever and overclock it to 4ghz or so and watch it fly and pwn at mame!
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sheath
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If all I wanted to do was upgrade I'd sell the Motherboard, CPU, RAM and Video card and buy the fastest AMD based system I can get for under $80 per component. As of right now that is an Athlon II X4 something system, which I would have a hard time using just as an HTPC/Mamebox.
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David J.
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I'm looking at making the main machine I use now... a media machine/general purpose PC... just waiting for good avalibility of the Athlon II X245e and the new HD 5450's... I'll put the Phenom II and HD4770 in the spare rig and make that a gaming rig. Weekend project?
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sheath
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I have been, and remain, non-sequitur
I struck a deal with a client and am currently on the hunt for a reasonably priced PCIe graphics card *with component output* for the Office PC. Since I have been calling the Office PC the Master System and, now that it is running XP x64 so well, the Master System 64 that will be the name of the new HTPC. Mamebox will remain the name for the single core 3200+ HD3850 listed below.

I would also love for somebody who is experienced at overclocking to chime in on any methods I might employ to *stably* overclock the Mamebox.
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sheath
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One:
XFX Radeon HD 4850 1GB
Which looks like this in comparison to the rest.

In addition I bought a hec X-Power Pro 650 650W Continuous @ 40C ATX 12V v2.2 which I also have in the Mamebox.

It should be interesting. I'll post the results of the MasterSystem 64's performance and benchmarks when I have it hooked up to the RPTV.
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David J.
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I have a XFX HD4770 that is about 5-10% slower, but uses a lot less energy. Running great on my 500w PSU.
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sheath
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I'm thinking about going to Windows 7 with the new HTPC, it's has the specs that make me want to. I'd like to see what the better Direct X 10 effects look like. I'm already dual booting to XP x86 and x64, I think I'd just replace the x64 with Windows 7 64-bit.

Now that I know that the XP virtual console in Windows 7 only uses a single core and 1GB of RAM no matter how many cores or how much RAM the system has, I think I'll be keeping XP for gaming purposes. I am fairly certain that Windows 7 will handle streaming movies better than even XBMC does, and that the fonts will be much more clear on my RPTV than XP's are even at 120dpi. On the other hand I'd have to format the D partition and reinstall Windows 7.

I should note that I can procure Windows 7 Professional with my wife's student discount for $15.

Thoughts?
Edited by sheath, Jan 28 2010, 11:45 AM.
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sheath
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The PCs have switched rolls and are working well with basic functions. Oddly enough I am *still* having trouble with videos in SFIV, and 1080p videos still skip and speed up in Media Player or XBMC. I guess it really was a codec issue, and it must be caused by K-Lite (the only thing these two systems have in common).

Okay, 3DMark results are below. All tests are done in XP x64.
3D Mark 03:
Athlon X2 4200 2GB (MasterSystem 64 henceforth), HD 4850 1GB
Total: 33855
CPU: 953


Athlon X2 4200, 2GB (Office PC henceforth), HD 4670 512 MB
Total: 22179
CPU: 966
Athlon X2 4200, 2GB, GeForce 8500GT 256 MB
Total: 7107
CPU: 582
Mamebox, Athlon 64 3200, 2GB, HD 3850 AGB 512MB
Total: 24884
CPU: 746

3Dmark 03 is too dated, but I wanted to compare apples to apples so I didn't even update the version before running the benchmark on the MasterSystem 64. It is interesting that the CPU score for the single core Mamebox was higher than the Dual Core Office PC in 3DMark 03. The MasterSystem 64's CPU score is still only marginally better than the Mamebox with effectively the same video card. But since it's the same system as the Office PC, with the only difference being the video card, it is obvious that this benchmark favors the video card. Let's see what 3DMark 05 and 06 do.

3D Mark 05:
MasterSystem 64, HD 4850 1GB
Total: 10576
CPU: 5397

Office PC, HD 4670
Total:10110
CPU:5288
Office PC, 8500GT
Total:4538
CPU:3982
Mamebox
Total:9496
CPU: 2248

Well, the CPU score still improves when the video card generation takes a leap. Look at that top score difference though, the Mamebox only 1000 points below the MasterSystem 64, which should be several times more powerful.

3DMark 06 scores
Master System 64, HD 3850
Total:7319
CPU:1576


Office PC, HD 4670
Total:6386
CPU:1601
Office PC, 8500GT
Total:2239
CPU:1606
Mamebox
Total:5428
CPU: 829

It looks like I'm going to have to update my 3DMark versions and run them again, these tests are barely testing half of what the hardware should be capable of.
Edited by sheath, Jan 29 2010, 11:39 AM.
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sheath
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It works! Street Fighter IV now plays videos just fine. Now to see if I can install, and play, Sega Rally Revo.

Also, it's using the 10.1 CCC drivers, and I don't know if it's the difference between XFX and Powercolor, but they install and correctly display on the TV without me having to log in and turn off the Pal component output. I will never buy Powercolor again.
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Belpowerslave
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http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/how_properly_benchmark_your_pc

Saw this, thought I'd mention it to you, Scott.

Bel
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sheath
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This is a good article. I also like one of the comments I saw though:

"The article states that real-world performance is what you are shooting for when you run your benchmarks, Yet they also want you to disable antivirus, disconnect from your network, manually launch idle process, etc, before benchmarking. Isn't creating a "virtual clean room" tainting your results as much as a synthetic benchmark application or biased video driver would? I don't go through all these preflight steps before playing a game or running Photoshop, so why would I do them before benchmarking and expect realistic, real-world results?"

About the only thing I do when I run benchmarks is what I am willing to do before starting a game. That is usually just running Gamebooster after a recent reboot, while making sure that my hard drives are defragged. I am not going to do the rest of the stuff they mentioned for a "proper" benchmark. But I have noticed that a machine with a freshly formatted hard drive and windows install will always benchmark higher than the same system ever will again.
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sheath
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With 135u5 CHDs in hand, I thought I'd post some benchmarks. Settings are Multithreading, Sync to Vertical refresh and draw every frame:

Radiant Silvergun
Low 50% High 93%
Skipping 4/10 maintains 99%

San Francisco Rush
Low 35% High 60%
Skipping up to 10/10 made no difference, the emulation sucks

Ridge Racer
Low 35% high 55%
Skipping up to 9/10 brought 94% speed meh

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sheath
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Just to note, after Sonic Generations crawled on my HTPC even at 640x480 I decided to shop upgrades. The fastest processor available for my HTPC's Asus M2V motherboard is an Athlon 64 X2 6400+ 3.2Ghz. So I sniped one for $60 to replace my Athlon X2 4200+ 2.2 Ghz. It should arrive tomorrow or Saturday.

But I cleaned up my system and ran the latest revision of 3DMARK 06 for comparison. I expect a substantial increase in score to at least 10,000 points from the paltry 7,000 I'm getting now. I am also hoping that even if Sonic Generations won't run at a solid 30FPS that Arkham City stops chugging as often. AC is very playable and typically runs at 60FPS in fights, but tends to chug while flying around the city or trying Augmented Reality tests.
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sheath
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The upgrade is a no go. The bozo who shipped it wrapped the CPU exposed in bubble wrap, several pins were irreparably squished as a result. Now I get to decide on whether I want this upgrade bad enough to buy another while I fight this seller.
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