I was reading up on the A7N8X-E Deluxe motherboard that I'm hoping to buy to replace my dead EPoX (despite the fact Gareth syas some of his mates had them die on them - although it looks like the original A7N8X board was the one with some trouble). It was criticized in a review for not changing the layout, as there isn't much room for some heatsinks. I have a large Alpha PAL 8045 that has worked fine for years now, so I basically need a board with the 4 mounting holes (otherwise it's a case of swapping HSF with my dad's slightly louder Volcano 7+), and it looked like it'll fit, but I decided to take a look. They only list the A7N8X board on the Alpha site
, but if the layout is the same around the CPU then it should be fine!
It looks like the board supports changing the multiplier, assuming my CPU is okay I might try running my 3200LL ram at its proper 200MHz speed (the Ultra chip supports it in dual channel), and lower the multiplier from 12.5 to 10.5 so it can run in sync. That should make it still appear as a 2800+ (as it's only about 17MHz faster) but with a slight edge, and running everything at the faster FSB. I could try a multiplier of 10, but I suspect the drop would outweigh any potential speed games from the higher FSB. If the CPU complains I could try running at 198MHz. I hear the board tries to run at 202MHz normally, which is a little odd.
I tried running my 2800+ at 3200+ when I first got it, it would manage a few hours before blue screening, but being an nForce 2 'Ultra' chip I might be able to run things better (I never worked out what the limiting factor was, my guess is it's possibly the 5V rail from the PSU, otherwise it's the CPU, but I've heard of 2500+ chips that overclock to 3200+ speeds, so why couldn't I get the 2800+ reliably up to 3000+ speeds?). I could raise the voltages a fair bit and see how far I can push the processor before it dies. It'd be nice to get it at 3200+ speeds again without blue screening. Even 3000+ would be nice. That would keep me going a bit longer until I upgrade to some sort of dual core setup sometime after the summer. I wonder how Windows XP will cope with a pair of dual core Opterons, as my copy of XP Pro is only for 1-2 processors (they plan on sticking with a per processor model for now). Or will I have to get a copy of Windows Server and/or some kind of 64 bit version
anyway to get the best performance from my chip? I might just buy a brand new system to save the hassle (EDIT: I eventually went with Windows 2003, not exactly a cheap option, but it works perfectly).