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  1. #1
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    Question MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    I working with computes since 1991 and there is not much that I cannot understand, but this MSI mobo is challenging me. So, the mobo in question is a MSI PM8M3-V with PCB rev. 1.0 and latest bios v1.4 used.

    Board: MSI PM8M3-V (VIA P4M800) PCV rev. 1.0
    Bios: Version 1.4
    VGA: PNY 6800GT 256MB DDR3 350MHz/1GHz
    PSU: Enermax Liberty 620W PSU (replaced caps to quality ones!)
    CPU: 2800MHz Celeron D 336 (133x21) 1.350Vcore
    MEM: 2048MB OCZP4001G 2.5-3-2-7 200MHz 2.60V
    HDD: 500G Western Digital 16MB cache (WD5000AAKB)
    COOLER: Intel box cooler, checked, AS paste applied, cooling good (slowing all the way down to 1000 rpm in reality)
    OC: NONE! (tried FSB 133 -> 138 and it get unstable even in Firefox, lol)
    OS: Windows 2000 SP4 Czech

    More info:
    19" iiyama ProLite E1980SD 1280x1024 75Hz DVI
    DVDRW NEC DV-4551A (16x DVDRW)
    IDE 100MB zip
    floppy with 7+1 USB2 reader Mitsumi FA404
    Using PS2 mouse (Logitech MX510 red)
    OkiPage 14ex laser printer
    NetGear WGR614 fireWall / 54MBi WiFi - OFF

    The Cause
    --------------
    While the mobo is perfectly stable in normal usage, gaming is a problem. I working hard to make the mobo stable, it is not stable in 3D games. In the end of making it stable it is not stable even in 2D Windows... lol.

    To cut long story short - at first, it was just a mobo full of known bad caps that sometimes refuse to boot and losing clock AND bios settings when power is cut off. Sometimes it also crash during SoF2 _LOADING_ (never gaming), but that it is. Very rare crash.


    So I replaced all the caps, put even these that aren't there back in action and used hi-grade caps. For example the best polymers that even exist Nichicon LE for Vcore and for voltage supply there are Nichicon HZ caps - the best elyte caps even made - king in terms of ripple current, only Samxon GA is "par to par" with them, but that it is. Sourced from Digikey, so, originals.


    Result - still not stable. So I blamed the Radeon 9100 with questionable caps and added 120mm fan blowing on it.
    Still no help, rare crashes of game. Fast Writes disabled, AGP 4x (R9100 cannot go faster), 1 WS Write/Read used, Calibration ON.
    So I replaced the Radeon 9100 with GeFroce 6800GT, that have only 3 caps (Chemi-con polymers) and worked well for me before. Truth is a years ago... http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=189594

    Problems get worser. Even exiting SoF2 or Quake3 is impossible now. It always freeze on exit...! It get reasonably stable for playing, yet try save screenshot and it crash ASAP. So I try lower the AGP rate (allow me to choose only 8x or 4x), disable Fast Writes, disable AGP Master 1 WS Write/Read and even disable AGP 3.0 Calibration Cycle (one by one). No help.
    So I toyed with the voltage, raising from 1.55 to 1.70 and no help either.

    Another thing that I added a huge nice heatsink on the NB, because the original one was pretty small and useless. And I discovered beneath it, that there was just a dip of white paste widely off center and that was it. Most of the heatsink did not even have contact with the chip...!
    So I tought - I got this! Laped a BIG heatsink, Arctic past used and screwed it tight on the NB... and again no help.


    So the last thing to toy with is the AGP Driving Value. It can be changed from 00 to FF, defaut on Auto show DA.
    Dunno what will happen, but I run out of ideas right now.

    Therefore I'm open to ideas. About the caps - there is one about 10uF SMD cap at the very end of AGP port. This cap I did not replaced. Could this be the culprit? Any suggestion about the Driving Value? I think - try 0 (00), 32 (20), 64 (40), 96(60), 128 (80), 160 (A0), 192 (C0), 224 (E0) and 255 (FF) and see, witch of these values give the best stability?
    "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." - Voltaire
    "I believe that all the people who stand to profit by a war and who help provoke it should be shot on the first day it starts..." - Hemingway my config - my caps

  2. #2
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    Looks like the version 1.5 is the latest bios:
    http://www.msi-computer.co.jp/support/bios/?p=PM8M3-V

    So I updated the bios, let almost the default settings (all default for AGP) - 8x, Aperture size 128MB, all on, Fast Writes Off.

    However no help. The SoF2 game works well - untill I hit the screenshot button. Then in crash:



    So bios are no help.
    "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." - Voltaire
    "I believe that all the people who stand to profit by a war and who help provoke it should be shot on the first day it starts..." - Hemingway my config - my caps

  3. #3
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    Quote Originally Posted by trodas View Post
    Looks like the version 1.5 is the latest bios:
    http://www.msi-computer.co.jp/support/bios/?p=PM8M3-V

    So I updated the bios, let almost the default settings (all default for AGP) - 8x, Aperture size 128MB, all on, Fast Writes Off.

    However no help. The SoF2 game works well - untill I hit the screenshot button. Then in crash:



    So bios are no help.
    Im just curious why waste all that work and effort on such old hardware?

    In any case its something other then caps causing your instability

  4. #4
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    Well, because I have no better (read, more stable) hardware. And also because I want to find and fix the bug!
    I still have one cap to replace, and it is very close to AGP...
    ...test of the rest of the machine looks good:

    memtest

    Granted. 7 hours of my sleep straight w/o a single error.

    Prime 95 memory test at the tightest timings the rams can handle - that means CL2!

    (2-3-2-7)

    And I would very much recommend the mobo stability, because there are damn good caps used for rams now:



    Prime 95 CPu test


    I improved the Vcore output flltering. Before bad 680uF Ost caps:

    ...and now a polymer Nichicon LE 820uF 2.5V supercaps:


    ...any ideas for HDD stability test?
    "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." - Voltaire
    "I believe that all the people who stand to profit by a war and who help provoke it should be shot on the first day it starts..." - Hemingway my config - my caps

  5. #5
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    HDD tests did not reveal any problem:



    ...so I think we can rule HDD or HDD cabled problem out of the question. Also I would noticed HDD errors, and they are nonexistant.



    ...but I suspecting the one cap that I did not replaced yet, because I did not trust caps at all after some failures. I would like to mention that the PC did not started correctly today. After a post it ended in endless loop with just the flicking lene char from dos "_" in the top left corner. Failing to enter the VGA mode once again. Reset fix that, but you know I suspect the cap:



    (the small, 10uF 16V (?) one that I did not yet replaced, the rest are replaced with quality Nichicons)
    "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." - Voltaire
    "I believe that all the people who stand to profit by a war and who help provoke it should be shot on the first day it starts..." - Hemingway my config - my caps

  6. #6
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    Quote Originally Posted by trodas View Post
    Well, because I have no better (read, more stable) hardware. And also because I want to find and fix the bug!
    I still have one cap to replace, and it is very close to AGP...
    ...test of the rest of the machine looks good:

    memtest

    Granted. 7 hours of my sleep straight w/o a single error.

    Prime 95 memory test at the tightest timings the rams can handle - that means CL2!

    (2-3-2-7)

    And I would very much recommend the mobo stability, because there are damn good caps used for rams now:



    Prime 95 CPu test


    I improved the Vcore output flltering. Before bad 680uF Ost caps:

    ...and now a polymer Nichicon LE 820uF 2.5V supercaps:


    ...any ideas for HDD stability test?
    Get rid of prime and use OCCT to test CPU, it will catch errors that prime wont.
    Also run OCCT gpu test to see if its video card.

  7. #7
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    But both of these programs require .NETframework, so these cannot run on standard windows... Will they suffice with NETframework v2.0?


    After two hours of gaming the PC finally crashed (at first, it took two crash attempts to get SoF2 working, but once it is working, then things go smoothly - no more crashes in loading, as with Radeon 9100) and I took the oportunity to diassemble it right away and check temps and then voltages.

    Temps
    CPU Vcore regulators are lightly mildly warm, as if there is nothing going on. Clearly good surprise, they obviously benefit from the quality caps and even under load stays cool. Great.
    GFX card - cold, well cooled.
    But NB chipset cooler (and now it is a BIG one) is relatively warmer that expected. It is not like hot, but clearly I expected lesser temperature. So my idea that a better cooling is necessary might not be far off the reality what is need. That is why I get the Thermalright SI-128 SE... but the damn bottom scews are missing, so I cannot use it
    Rams are about the same temp, as the NB heatsink. Well warm, not hot, but warm.

    Voltages
    3.40V, 5.11V and 12.01V on the wires from PSU to HDD/GFX card. Directly on the GFX card connector there is a 11.99V, so the cables and connection give 0.02V drop. Not bad at all.
    Vbattery is 3.56V.
    But what I see as definitive BAD NEWS is the voltage I measured on the last not exchanged cap. And that is precisely 1.55V.
    Ring any bell? Yeees, this is the AGP voltage set in bios! So clearly this cap have something to do with the AGP and it is not at all impossible, that it could be the culprit behind the crashes.

    Because to me it seems that everytime the GFX card should change it's mode of operation (from TXT mode to VGA mode, from 2D to 3D...), then it is very likely to crash.
    Actually todays 4 times it hang on TXT mode to VGA mode switch, during all the resets and powering on and on again...

    Bottom line - dunno if this is caused by the exchange of GFX card or not, but time and bios settings are lost once again, even I put a new battery there.
    (I have to use small GFX card (old good Riva ) to be able to measure the voltage on the small SMD cap.
    "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." - Voltaire
    "I believe that all the people who stand to profit by a war and who help provoke it should be shot on the first day it starts..." - Hemingway my config - my caps

  8. #8
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    Standard windows? What windows are you running?

    I think you netframework 3.5

  9. #9
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    I do run at Windows 2000 SP4 Czech, as my sig says. Dunno if NETframework v3.5 could be even installed, I tried v2.0 SP1 and it did not install. Version 2.0 do install, tough not much sucess:

    Before reinstaled, I installed the NETframework. Version 2.0 works, just install of v2.0 SP1 does not. But in both cases then the testing tools failed miserably:





    So testing tools that require way too much are out of the question.


    MSI PM8M3-V bois v1.4 (+ unlocked v1.4) and v1.5 (+ unlocked v1.5):
    http://www.mediafire.com/?9npsvnsc8pmzhx1
    http://dfiles.eu/files/z5ar3lnbl
    http://www.uloz.to/xKAgfX51/MSI+PM8M3-V+bioses.zip


    But now I have the C (Win partition) backup w/o any drivers at all (no VIA 4+1, no sound driver and no Forceware driver) and after that installed. And the reinstall really helped. Call of Duty (1), Quake 3 or the cursed SoF2 not crashing on exit anymore!
    Hoooray!

    ...yet still they crash during longer gaming, witch I blame on the cap and overheating of almost everything inside. Mainly the GPU VRM (71C with just small ATItool cube!) and the NB. The NB I plan to fix using the Thermalright SI-128 SE cooler (just get the missing female screws for P4) and the GPU VRM? Well, I don't know why it overheat that much. But maybe the Chemicon 330uF 16V SMD d10 polymers are not as good as they should be and a replacement of the TWO input caps on the card (the third and last cap on the board is 100uF suxxka) could help?
    Or add another caps for the voltage filtering of the 12V input?
    Or add a serious cooper custom made heatsink on the GPU VRM?
    "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." - Voltaire
    "I believe that all the people who stand to profit by a war and who help provoke it should be shot on the first day it starts..." - Hemingway my config - my caps

  10. #10
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    Dude, go to digital river and download a Win 7 iso, you can use it for free for a month just for troubleshooting and use OCCT with that.

  11. #11
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    Quote Originally Posted by trodas View Post
    I do run at Windows 2000 SP4 Czech, as my sig says. Dunno if NETframework v3.5 could be even installed, I tried v2.0 SP1 and it did not install. Version 2.0 do install, tough not much sucess:

    Before reinstaled, I installed the NETframework. Version 2.0 works, just install of v2.0 SP1 does not. But in both cases then the testing tools failed miserably:





    So testing tools that require way too much are out of the question.


    MSI PM8M3-V bois v1.4 (+ unlocked v1.4) and v1.5 (+ unlocked v1.5):
    http://www.mediafire.com/?9npsvnsc8pmzhx1
    http://dfiles.eu/files/z5ar3lnbl
    http://www.uloz.to/xKAgfX51/MSI+PM8M3-V+bioses.zip


    But now I have the C (Win partition) backup w/o any drivers at all (no VIA 4+1, no sound driver and no Forceware driver) and after that installed. And the reinstall really helped. Call of Duty (1), Quake 3 or the cursed SoF2 not crashing on exit anymore!
    Hoooray!

    ...yet still they crash during longer gaming, witch I blame on the cap and overheating of almost everything inside. Mainly the GPU VRM (71C with just small ATItool cube!) and the NB. The NB I plan to fix using the Thermalright SI-128 SE cooler (just get the missing female screws for P4) and the GPU VRM? Well, I don't know why it overheat that much. But maybe the Chemicon 330uF 16V SMD d10 polymers are not as good as they should be and a replacement of the TWO input caps on the card (the third and last cap on the board is 100uF suxxka) could help?
    Or add another caps for the voltage filtering of the 12V input?
    Or add a serious cooper custom made heatsink on the GPU VRM?
    prime95 runs on win2000. if it runs overnight, it's not the cpu. screw occt.


    ud

  12. #12
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    Quote Originally Posted by uddarts View Post
    prime95 runs on win2000. if it runs overnight, it's not the cpu. screw occt.


    ud
    Whats wrong with OCCT? I find it to be the best stability test for both GPU and CPU, and believe me, I have tried them all over the years. I only use OCCT now

  13. #13
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    Quote Originally Posted by Poci View Post
    Whats wrong with OCCT? I find it to be the best stability test for both GPU and CPU, and believe me, I have tried them all over the years. I only use OCCT now
    nothing but occt is not going to show anything that prime95 isn't that answers why his rig is crashing.

    ud

  14. #14
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    Quote Originally Posted by uddarts View Post
    nothing but occt is not going to show anything that prime95 isn't that answers why his rig is crashing.

    ud
    Ive seen a lot of storys where ppl would find bad ocs just by loading a game after running prime and crash in 5 seconds.
    That's what I don't use prime anymore, I think its incompetent at finding errors compared to OCCT.

    WOnt cost him too much effort to just use the trial of Win 7 just for .net 3.5

  15. #15
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    Re: MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

    Poci - do you do seriously suggesting that I should use Win7 on Celeron with 2G of ram? I hope you do not... It would be uselessly slow. Also it would reguire complete change of my HDD, because my Win C partition is 2G only. Will Win7 fit there?
    No? Then I better look for another gpu stress testing tool, that does not require stupid NETframecrap.
    What is wrong with OCCT? Nothing, except that it does not work, period. Besides, maybe on more cores the Prime95 is not good, but on single core (remember, Celeron, not even hyperthreading!) it is more the enought to test the system well.

    ppl would find bad ocs just by loading a game after running prime and crash in 5 seconds. That's what I don't use prime anymore, I think its incompetent at finding errors compared to OCCT.
    While that could be very well true on multicore systems, on single core the ability to simultanously stress all cores are irelevant. And it is not need test - we know now, that it crashing with time and gaming = overheating of something.

    Reinstall.
    So I used R-Drive Image v4.7 to backup all the Windows right after the install + DX9, so I have a clean machine to install the VIA 4+1, sound and Forcaware drivers
    Then installed the drivers and give another backup. No coolbites, no nothing. Just clean install.
    1 - Furmark still refuse to work, either it is some error in it, or the used Forceware drivers did not support OpenGl v2 properly, witch I find hard to believe. Probably a Furmark bug, useless for me to test then...
    2 - The reinstall really helped. Call of Duty (1), Quake 3 or the cursed SoF2 not crashing on exit anymore!
    Hoooray!

    3 - the only one "problem" is, that sometimes the mobo refuse to get into the VGA regime from text mode, opening a BSplayer (render into the overlay) took AGES for the first time, as if the card did not want to run as graphic card, lol?
    ...and the crashing after some gaming, that is the problem...
    "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." - Voltaire
    "I believe that all the people who stand to profit by a war and who help provoke it should be shot on the first day it starts..." - Hemingway my config - my caps

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