nForce3-250 - Part 2: Taking Athlon 64 to the Next Levelby Wesley Fink on March 29, 2004 11:00 AM EST
- Posted in
nForce3-250Gb: Stress TestingWe performed stress tests on the nForce3-250Gb Reference Board in these areas and configurations:
- Chipset and motherboard stress testing was conducted by running the FSB at 249MHz at a multiplier of 9.5.
- Memory stress testing was conducted by running RAM at 400MHz with a DIMM slot filled and at 400MHz with 2 DIMM slots filled at the lowest memory timings possible.
Front Side Bus Stress Test Results:As normally done in our testing of production motherboards, we ran a full range of stress tests and benchmarks on the nForce3-250Gb Reference Board to test stability at an overclocked speed. This included Prime95 torture tests, and the addition of other tasks - data compression, various DX8 and DX9 games, and apps like Word and Excel - while Prime95 was running in the background. Finally, we ran our benchmark suite, which includes ZD Winstone suite, Unreal Tournament 2003, SPECviewperf 7.0, and Gun Metal Benchmark 2. At default voltage, 249MHz was the highest overclock that we were able to achieve with the nForce3-250Gb and the HyperTransport setting reduced to 4X or 800 (Actual 996 at 249FSB) while running these tests.
Unlike our experiences with some of the overclocks run on other A64 boards, the nForce3-250Gb was completely stable when overclocked. We did have stability problems at the highest 250 setting, which remains a puzzle, but 249 was completely stable. It would be impossible to run at 249FSB with SATA drives and our picky ATI 9800 PRO without a working PCI/AGP lock.
Memory Stress Test Results:This memory stress test simply tests the ability of the nForce3-250Gb Reference Board to operate at its officially supported memory frequency (400MHz DDR) at the lowest supported memory timings that our OCZ PC3500 Platinum Ltd memory will support:
|Stable DDR400 Timings - 1 DIMM
(1/2 DIMM populated)
|RAS to CAS Delay:||2T|
We had no problem running one DIMM of our standard OCZ PC3500 Platinum Ltd at the highest memory timings in the nForce3-250Gb Reference Board. We were also able to run the memory test suite with complete stability at 2-2-2-5 timings.
Filling all available memory banks is more strenuous on the memory subsystem than testing 1 DIMM, but 2 DS DIMMs worked just fine on the nForce3-250Gb. With 2 DIMMs, we could run the same aggressive timings used for one DIMM, which is excellent performance for an Athlon 64 motherboard.
|Stable DDR400 Timings - 2 DIMMs (2/2 DIMMs populated)|
|RAS to CAS Delay:||2T|
We tested the memory timings with both banks filled using several stress tests and general applications to guarantee stability. Prime95 torture tests were run successfully at the timings listed in the above charts. We also ran ScienceMark (memory tests only) and Super Pi. None of the three stress tests created any stability problems for the nForce3-250Gb Reference Board at these memory timings.
We suspect production nForce3-250Gb motherboards will have 3 or 4 DIMM slots, but as we have reported in the past, we have had some difficulties with every Athlon 64 motherboard so far when we tried to use more than 2 DIMMs. We will test memory slots again when production motherboards appear on the market in a few weeks.
Certainly, we will see 4 DIMMs, or two dual-channel pairs, on the nForce3-250Gb Ultra version for Socket 939.