ABXZone Computer  Forums



Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-04-2005, 02:34 PM   #1
Sierra_abx
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 13,880
DFI NF4 Thread

This thread is for anyone who wishes to talk about the DFI nForce4 boards. Feel free to post questions, solutions and tweaks.

General information can be found on the DFI website:

SLI-DR Expert
SLI-DR (comes with more accessories than UT version)
SLI-DR (UT version)
SLI-D
Ultra-D
nF4-D
nF4-DAGF
NF4 SLI Infinity
NF4 Ultra Infinity
NF4 Infinity

johnrr6's comprehensive DFI NF4 BIOS memory guide
Suggested memory timings
Recommended RAM
TCCD overclocking guide

FAQ's (DFI website)
An enthusiast's Q&A guide
DFI response: 20 vs. 24-pin PSU
More on PSU requirements
RAID tutorial
How to slipstream Nvidia RAID drivers
Where to find PWMIC and voltage read points on board
VDimm mod
How to set up MBM5 on DFI board
How to install the AMD X2 drivers, hotfix, the correct way

Driver & utility downloads
Latest official BIOS release(non-Expert boards)
Latest beta BIOS (non-Expert boards)
How to flash AWARD BIOS
How to burn an ISO for BIOS

BIOS files (non-Expert boards only)
119
125
126
201
209
217
218
309-1
309-2
310
310p
310-1
310-2
314
316
325
326
331-1
331-2
331-3
414-1
414-2
414-3
509-1
509-2
509-3
510-1
510-1FIX
510-2
510-2FIX
510-2FIX (modded by Merlin)
510-2 (modded by Hellfire)
510-2 (Hellfire mod update)
510-3
510-3FIX
510B
510T1
615 (warning: USB may stop working with this BIOS)
618-1
618-2
618-3
623-1
623-2
623-3
702-1
702-2
702-3
703 Merlin modded
(Warning: do not use the 704 BIOS if you've already downloaded it from Oskar Wu's website. There's a bug. Link
704-2BT (Bigtoe modded - 123% and higher voltage options have been removed, so safe to use)
704-2BTA (Bigtoe's improved modded version)
FX60TEST

Bios files for Expert board only (Do not use these on non-Expert boards!!!)
NF4EDB02
N4ELDB11
N4ELDB17
N4ELDB22
NF4EDB25
NF4EDC07
E704-2BT - Bigtoe modded

BIOS Changelogs
Notes: 510FIX versions add dram response time "fastest"

Links to reviews of the boards can be found in this post.

Tip #1 - If you're using a BIOS earlier than 316, use the orange slots (2 & 4) for dual channel and Slot-2 for single stick performance.

Tip #2 - Use the BIOS dated 1/25 (NF4LD125) or later. If your board comes with a version dated earlier than this, flash to a new BIOS immediately. You'll get much better memory performance.

Tip #3 - Before you change hardware, power down completely. That means the PSU should be turned off too.

Tip #4 - If you can't get the board to boot and the monitor stays blank, try moving the video card to the second PCIe slot. If it boots up from there, update BIOS, then move card back to first slot.

Tip #5 - In order to enable VDimm above 3.2v, turn off PSU, change jumper setting (lower right corner of pic below), power back on, go into BIOS and adjust CPU VID to any setting except Auto, save BIOS settings, then go back into BIOS. VDimm should now be adjustable up to 4v.

Tip #6 - If you get an "error loading operating system" message during boot-up, go back into BIOS and load optimized defaults. Reboot, then restart after getting into Windows. Then load settings you want in BIOS.

Tip #7 - If you get an "error loading operating system" message while using an IDE drive, go to Standard CMOS Features section of BIOS. Change Access Mode on the drive to LBA or Auto.

Tip #8 - Download the full manual from the DFI website. The instructions that come with the board are skimpy. Link

Tip #9 - If you're using a USB mouse or keyboard and are having stability problems, change the USB Power selection jumper from 5V(pins 1-2) to 5VSB(pins 2-3)

Tip #10 - There is a trick for getting more VDimm without having to use the 4v jumper. Trick can be found here.

Last edited by Sierra_abx; 12-27-2005 at 06:04 PM..
(Offline)   Reply With Quote

Advertisement [Remove Advertisement]
Old 02-04-2005, 02:43 PM   #2
Sierra_abx
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 13,880
BIOS Flashing

The best method for flashing a BIOS remains the floppy disk, IMO. Some people use CD's or USB drives. That's okay too. I would not recommend flashing in Windows, especially if you've been having stability problems.

The floppy method

Insert floppy disk in drive. Go to My Computer and right click on the floppy icon. Select "format", then check "Create an MS-DOS startup disk". After the formatting is complete, copy the AWDFLASH executable and the BIOS file to the floppy. Reboot.

Enter BIOS and load Optimized Defaults. Save and exit.

At the DMI Pool verification screen, the boot-up process should stop and a command prompt will appear. Type in the following:

AWDFLASH.EXE (BIOS file name).BIN /py /sn /cd /cp /cc /LD /R /f

All the letters following BIN are switches. An explanation of each switch can be found here. A switch is an internal command that allows you to add or remove functions. "f", for example, is the command to flash. There should be a space after AWDFLASH.EXE, BIN and each of the switches.

If you're not sure what the BIOS file's name is, type in the following at the command prompt:

dir/w/p

This will produce a list of all the files on the floppy with their correct DOS abbreviations.

If you use those switches, the computer will automatically reboot when the flash is finished. Go back into the BIOS, load Optimized Defaults again, save and exit.

If you left the floppy in the drive, you will get the command prompt again. At that point, kill all power to the computer. That includes removing the power cord from the PSU. Press the motherboard's power-on button a couple of times to help drain all power from the board. Then leave the CMOS jumper in the reset position for at least ten minutes. You can also remove the motherboard battery if you want. Some people do. I don't.

Put CMOS jumper back in normal position, power on, go back into the BIOS and load Optimized Defaults again, save and exit.

Now you're ready to use your computer.

I've used this method dozens of times and have never had a bad flash. It's important that you leave the CMOS jumper in the reset position for at least ten minutes, otherwise all the new BIOS settings may not take hold. This applies only to DFI NF4 boards. You don't have to wait that long with other motherboards.

-----------------------------------
Stability testing

Let me give you a brief description of how I set up and test my systems for stability.

Step one - I generally do not have problems formatting. But if I do encounter installation errors, I've found that using only one stick in the orange slot farthest from the CPU socket solves the problem.

Step two - After formatting the OS, I follow the same order for installing just about everything else. First the service pack if it wasn't slipstreamed into Windows, then the chipset driver package. I never install the NVIDIA IDE driver. The MS driver works fine IMO. Then I install the graphics driver. Then Windows Updates. After that, it's pretty much whatever else you want to install.

Step three - Testing for stability. I am not a huge proponent of Memtest, though I sometimes use it. Memtest stability and Windows stability are two different things. I think Memtest has given too many people a false sense of security. I mainly use it to test whether the RAM is bad, especially at default speed. More important is testing stability in Windows. I usually use two programs: SuperPi 32M and Prime95. I will sometimes use SP2004 and OCCT which are similar to Prime. I believe you should run Prime for at least eight hours. Some people advocate running it longer. It's really up to you.

Step four - Long-term testing. I will periodically run SuperPi 32M and Prime, even weeks after the initial testing. I believe things can change with your system, especially if you're adding a lot of programs and new drivers.

------------------------------------
Tweaking 101

Okay, where to start. If you haven't done so already, you need to download the A64 Tweaker (see screenshot below). This program will make it much easier to tweak your RAM.

Mental state - First off, you need patience, a lot of it. Tweaking properly often takes hours and sometimes days.

Loose timings - Let me clear up a misconception. Loosening memory timings does not always allow your RAM to run stable at a higher speed. In some cases, you need to do the opposite. Tighter secondary timings will sometimes lead to better and more stable overclocks. The memory settings in the screenshot below were used to run TCCD at DDR600.

Dividers - Until you begin feeling comfortable with your system, use the 200MHz divider which allows your CPU/RAM to run 1:1 in Intel-speak.

Memory slots - I recommend using the orange slots. They are usually the best. Some people have had luck with the yellows, but they are in the minority.

How to test - I usually run SuperPi 1M first. If you're memory can't complete that test, then your system is probably not very stable. I will run this test again and again, using the A64 Tweaker to experiment with timings. Once you find settings that seem to work, then you can worry about real stability testing using Prime95 or SuperPi 32M.

Timings - I'm going to focus on memory using Samsung TCCD chips first, since many of you are using it. Let's start with the main timings which are Cas Latency (tCL), RAS# to CAS# Delay (tRCD), RAS# Precharge (tRP) and Cycle Time (tRAS). Let's look at the first three. TCCD chips generally run best at 2.5-4-3 or 2.5-3-3. Unless you are trying to set a memory speed record, you want to avoid Cas Latency at 3. RAS# to CAS# Delay is the timing many people focus on. If you have exceptional sticks, then you'll be able to run that setting at 3 at DDR600 or higher. The last timing, tRAS, requires more experimentation. You can use a program like Sisoft Sandra to see which tRAS setting gives you the best bandwidth. For stability with extremely high memory clocks, I have found that 0 and 5 are the best settings. Your mileage may vary. There are three secondary timings that are important for stability. They are Refresh Rate (tREF), Max Async Latency and Read Preamble. Finding the right settings for these three requires a lot of experimentation.

Following others - It's alright to use other people's timings as a guide. But if the exact same timings don't work for you, don't conclude that there must be something wrong with your system. Each rig is different. Always use someone else's timings as a starting point, never the final word. Each memory module is also different. Some overclock better than others. Always remember that the people with those fabulous DDR630 screenshots have sometimes gone through dozens of modules before finding the golden pair.

Final point for now - There are lots of other things to talk about. If you haven't done so already, I would recommend looking at johnrr6's excellent DFI NF4 BIOS Memory Guide. The secret to tweaking is knowing how each memory setting affects performance and stability. Knowledge gives you power.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tweaker.JPG (90.2 KB, 51 views)

Last edited by Sierra_abx; 11-12-2005 at 11:48 PM..
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 02:46 PM   #3
gocchin
Itsumo Gocchin!!
 
gocchin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sometimes Toronto, sometimes Tokyo
Posts: 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra
Thanks Smurfer. My board (SLI-DR) should be arriving today. Will be using an X850XT (modded) and a 600W PowerStream.
Sounds great Sierra! I can't wait to see some results. I'm watching your setup closely
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 02:50 PM   #4
Sierra_abx
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 13,880
Update: delivery man just came.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_0254.JPG (230.8 KB, 325 views)
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 02:52 PM   #5
SupDawg
Registered User
 
SupDawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 7,090
Subscribed. Sierra, you just going with 1 card for now?

That board looks awesome. It's the one with all of the vcore options right?
__________________
The views expressed in this electronic dialogue are mine alone.
"
All physics are belong to me. " Kongo
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 02:53 PM   #6
Sierra_abx
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 13,880
Yes, just one card for now. Going to be a busy weekend.
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 02:54 PM   #7
xgman
voider of warranties
 
xgman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,658
So far:

Using bios 0201, tested up to 292x10 3X 2.5-3-3-7-1T stable. using 1.9vcore and 3.1v on the tccd's (2x512) and this is on a SLI-DR Enginering Sample. (don't ask ) Final (coming next week) should do even better. I have plugged into all the four extra power plugs on the board which they say helps stability: 1x24, 1x4, 1x harddrive type, 1x floppy type.

The "Smart Speed" utility they include is noice but doesn't seem to have an HTT adjustment in windows, only Multis.

By the way on the DFI Command Enabled is 1T and must use slots 2 and 4 for dual ch. Also cpu temps seem to report much lower than the msi neo2 was reporting. Not sure which one is closer to reality.
__________________
P5K Dlx-QX9650/VapoLS @4.8ghz/VapoLS-Stacker830case-Team PC2-9600-8800GTX-Hitachi 7K1000's-Auzentech Meridian 7.1/Kliptsch-Tagan itz 900w-Dell3007wfp
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 02:56 PM   #8
SupDawg
Registered User
 
SupDawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 7,090
Quote:
Originally Posted by xgman
So far:

Using bios 0201, tested up to 292x10 3X 2.5-3-3-7-1T stable. using 1.9vcore and 3.1v on the tccd's (2x512) and this is on a SLI-DR Enginering Sample. (don't ask ) Final (coming next week) should do even better. I have plugged into all the four extra power plugs on the board which they say helps stability: 1x24, 1x4, 1x harddrive type, 1x floppy type.

The "Smart Speed" utility they include is noice but doesn't seem to have an HTT adjustment in windows, only Multis.

By the way on the DFI Command Enabled is 1T and must use slots 2 and 4 for dual ch.
You got some benches you can post?
__________________
The views expressed in this electronic dialogue are mine alone.
"
All physics are belong to me. " Kongo
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 02:57 PM   #9
Sierra_abx
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 13,880
Thanks for the tips, xgman. I have three sets of RAM I plan to try.

OCZ Gold VX (bought used)
G.Skill "LA"
BH-5
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 02:58 PM   #10
xgman
voider of warranties
 
xgman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,658
Not yet, just set it up last night. Did a quick sandra without closing a bunch of programs that were open and it was a bit over 8000 something. A quick super pi 1MB was 30.
__________________
P5K Dlx-QX9650/VapoLS @4.8ghz/VapoLS-Stacker830case-Team PC2-9600-8800GTX-Hitachi 7K1000's-Auzentech Meridian 7.1/Kliptsch-Tagan itz 900w-Dell3007wfp
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 02:59 PM   #11
xgman
voider of warranties
 
xgman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,658
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra
Thanks for the tips, xgman. I have three sets of RAM I plan to try.

OCZ Gold VX (bought used)
G.Skill "LA"
BH-5

The VX should do real well here. I think 2-2-2- much higher than on the neo2.
__________________
P5K Dlx-QX9650/VapoLS @4.8ghz/VapoLS-Stacker830case-Team PC2-9600-8800GTX-Hitachi 7K1000's-Auzentech Meridian 7.1/Kliptsch-Tagan itz 900w-Dell3007wfp
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 03:09 PM   #12
(Bullwinkle)
Registered User
 
(Bullwinkle)'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 235
Anyone know anything about this Karajan Audio module? Is it fairly competitive with an Audigy or is it the same old onboard sound? I think the onboard sound suffers in gaming.
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 03:27 PM   #13
(Bullwinkle)
Registered User
 
(Bullwinkle)'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 235
Ooooh very nice XG! Got a linky to that Zenith?

I just pulled up the chipset fan and noticed they are using a standard tacky tape-style heatsink compound. I think I will replace that with some arctic silver. I have never liked that manufacturer wanna-be stuff.
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 03:32 PM   #14
xgman
voider of warranties
 
xgman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,658
that was the same stuff the msi neo4 had on it. i usually replace it, but i was too lazy this time. the msi took forever to clean that pad off.

The nice thing about the Mofset sinks they use are they are rivited to the MB.
__________________
P5K Dlx-QX9650/VapoLS @4.8ghz/VapoLS-Stacker830case-Team PC2-9600-8800GTX-Hitachi 7K1000's-Auzentech Meridian 7.1/Kliptsch-Tagan itz 900w-Dell3007wfp
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 03:32 PM   #15
Nanobot
Mini me
 
Nanobot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Montreal
Posts: 328
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Bullwinkle)
Anyone know anything about this Karajan Audio module? Is it fairly competitive with an Audigy or is it the same old onboard sound? I think the onboard sound suffers in gaming.
It's still the same Realtek ALC850 used on their socket 754 mobos.

On the nF4 DFI,it's placed it on a removable daughter board to isolate it from interference when using a high HTT bus.

So it's an average integrated sound;nothing that compares to Intel's Azilla on the other Intel based Lanparty series.

I wish DFI can take a hint from MSI,they seriously went all out with their K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI and put an on board Creative 24bit sound chip,it's one of Creative's lower end chip but still much better than anything bundled with any other motherboard on the market.

As of now it's a toss-up between the DFI and MSI nF4 mobos for me,but i'm leaning more toward the MSI just because of the*much* better audio.
__________________
Antec Super Lanboy,4X120mm
Zalman ZM-WB2,D-TEK Jr120 Rad,C-System CSP-MAG Pump
3200+ Venice 0515 APAW @ 2.89Ghz
DFI LP nF4 UT Ultra-D
1Gig OCZ EL3200 rev2 Platinum
Leadtek WinFast PX7800 GTX TDH
Raptor 74Gig
Zippy 460Watts

Last edited by Nanobot; 02-04-2005 at 03:38 PM..
(Offline)   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBulletin Skin developed by: vBStyles.com

© 2006 - 2016 ABXZone Forums | About ABX Zone Forums | Advertisers | Investors | Legal | A member of the Crowdgather Forum Community