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Ice Nine
09-06-05, 02:41 PM
I'm a long-time Intel user (both CPU and chipset), though I have a LOT of experience with Athlons and A64's. My last foray into the NForce chipset was back in the NF3 days, which was absolutely abysmal.

Now, I'm NOT an overclocker. I keep everything stock, but at the same time I always buy quality ram (Corsair, OCZ, etc) that runs at SPD, run beefy Power Supplies (PCP&C, etc) and after 20 years of building these things, I certainly know how to avoid common build mistakes.

During my NF3 days, I ran into a lot of nagging issues with my 6800U card at the time. For one, I had to match clock speeds for 2D and 3D in the card's drivers (or use a bios hack to code it in). If I didn't, I was met with stuttering and random lockups with the 6800U. However, on the Intel side, everything ran fine on the 875P chipset regardless of what the 2D/3D clock speeds were set to... it always worked.

I also had some issues with NVRAID. I'm a big fan of WD Raptors and love the balls-to-the-walls throughput (I work with a ton of big files). But I found that certain ports on the NF3 boards worked better than others...

I eventually ditched AMD because I'm a huge multitasker and losing Hyperthreading caused a lot of lost productivity for me. Obviously that's not a huge deal now, but with the prices of Dual Core AMD cpu's being what they are, i'm going to stick with my Intel 650 for the time being. Now, i'm going to be driving a pair of 7800GTX cards since I like keeping my 2405FPW at its native res. That means I have to go NF4, at least until the 975X comes out. The only thing that concerns me are the nagging issues that plagued the NF3 chipset with regards to compatibility.

And before the fanboy monkeys jump all over me, keep in mind that I have 20 years experience building PC's, and know for damn sure that Intel makes a far more solid chipset than ANYONE in the business. This isn't flamebait or anything like that. I've already ordered my Asus P5ND2-SLI Deluxe board and simply want to know what to expect.

-k

Kojiro
09-06-05, 03:29 PM
I have come across many problems building PC's in the past. It's all user error. I have got 2 Intel machines and 2 AMD machines. I had problems with both resectively, both were user enduced. But other than just let my pride get to me, I admit my weakness and was able to solve any problem that comes my way.

I got 4 systems, all running perfectly, wirlessly networked, shared, and protected to the best of my ability.

Were those 20 years, just mindless hardware swapping, crossing your finger it works kind of experience? Then it's nothing really. :p

Ice Nine
09-06-05, 03:49 PM
I have come across many problems building PC's in the past. It's all user error. I have got 2 Intel machines and 2 AMD machines. I had problems with both resectively, both were user enduced. But other than just let my pride get to me, I admit my weakness and was able to solve any problem that comes my way.

I got 4 systems, all running perfectly, wirlessly networked, shared, and protected to the best of my ability.

Were those 20 years, just mindless hardware swapping, crossing your finger it works kind of experience? Then it's nothing really. :p

Definitely not mindless...

I've had problems with everything too - just that the amount of problems I've run into were far fewer on Intel-based chipsets than any other - VIA, Nvidia, SIS or otherwise.

The 6800U thing that was partially resolved with equalizing bios clockspeeds on Nforce3 was well documented - over 1000 posts on this forum alone. In one of the last pages of posts, someone was apparently told by a BFG rep that this was a known issue with Nforce 3 (so much for Nvidia chipset/video card synergy) and that if the wait was killing you, get something other than an nforce 3 chipset. That definitely wasn't user error.

But that's just one example of a "nagging issue" that makes a chipset unattractive to me. It shows a clear lack of quality assurance and/or a rushed product.

There was also well-documented issues regarding SATA ports on certain boards like the K8N Neo2 Platinum, largely known as the "best NF3 board in the roundup". Apparently, 2 of the SATA ports off the PHY were clock-locked and 2 of them weren't. Though that little fact wasn't documented anywhere leaving a lot of overclockers scratching their heads. I can't attest to this personally, but it certainly wasn't "user error" on their part.

Temperature readings on all the nforce3 boards were apparently "wrong", and bios fixes only "approximated" a real reading. That wasn't user error either, but it WAS another annoying quirk that made troubleshooting difficult.

The Corsair XMS memory I ran at SPD on my Intel had zero problems whatsoever. On my AMD setup? Had to loosen it down and bump up the voltage to 2.8 before it would pass an overnight Prime95 run. Apparently having to bump up voltage was a "regular thing" on nforce3 chipsets. I didn't have better luck on my set of Ballistix modules either. Eventually I got sick of "playing around" trying to make things stable more than doing actually stuff with my PC. The lack of Hyperthreading back then made it even worse for me to stick with AMD/Nforce3. But hey, things improve, so I'm willing to give the Nforce4 a shot. I just want to know what to expect out of the gate. Seems there's a lot of praise for this platform, but there's already one known glaring issue with it - it doesn't support the 820D, only the 830D and up (at least when it comes to Dual Core flavors of Intel CPU's). They TRIED fixing this with a bios issue according to what I read on Anandtech's forums, but in the end they simply "gave up" and said "OK, kids, we don't support the 820D now, just the 830 and 840D." They don't even promise to support anything beyond that. Scary, huh? :)

This is stuff you simply don't see on Intel chipsets.

I have a very meticulous installation routine. I hate instability. I hate "weird" problems. I hate seeing stuff i've never seen before. I do a lot of different things with my PC, so I keep a laundry-list of steps I take to install my stuff to ensure I won't see anything out of the ordinary.

The ONLY thing I do prior to a base OS install is slipstream the latest service pack and create an unattend.txt file to pre-stuff my VLK and get rid of the useless Windows components (like Games) and the like. I make sure I do everything "by the book", meaning it's documented somewhere on Microsoft's, Intel's, Nvidia's or whoever else's technical knowledge bases. I'm an engineer by trade for the largest financial firm in existence today. I know the value of making sure everything is "supportable". :)

If there's a tech article that documents how to integrate RAID drivers in a SUPPORTED way (such as Intel's integration documentation here (http://www.intel.com/support/chipsets/iaa_raid/sb/cs-009344.htm), then I do so. If not, I pull out the USB floppy and do the tried-and-true F6 install.

After the base OS install, I install whatever chipset software that needs to be installed, be it INF updates, supplemental RAID apps (IAA/Matrix Storage Manager), etc.

Then one by one, all my drivers, rebooting whenever asked.

Then, app/game installs.

It's not rocket science. It really isn't. There isn't much room for error here.

Nutty
09-06-05, 04:03 PM
What was the question again ? ;)

I'm curious about your solution to the 6800 + NF3 problem. Can you explain in more detail how you fixed it ? I have the stutter problem myself.

ViN86
09-06-05, 04:27 PM
i love my NF4 chipset. its solid and fast. yea, i had issues gettin things to run the way i want them to (OC'd and stable) but thats part of the experience. truth is, imo at least, if you dont want to tinker and tweak then you shouldnt be building computers yourself.

as far as NF4 boards go, it depends on what youre looking for. you said you wanted SLI so you have two great options. first, if you are going to tweak and mess around, id go with the DFI Lanparty NF4 SLI-DR. however, if youre lookin for stability (some might disagree on this btw, but reviewers and myself agree) id go with the Asus A8N SLI Premium.

as for these issues that arent PIBKC (Problem Is Between the Keyboard and the Chair) i really havent heard any. i have heard of some problems with the nvidia firewall, but it seems that they can be fixed with driver updates. lookin around the forums will definitely present some. also, check forums for the board manufacturers. that will give you the best idea of problems associated with each manufacturers boards and respective chipsets.

(btw, ive never really had stability problems with AMD at stock speeds, just had to add that)

Ice Nine
09-06-05, 05:27 PM
i love my NF4 chipset. its solid and fast. yea, i had issues gettin things to run the way i want them to (OC'd and stable) but thats part of the experience. truth is, imo at least, if you dont want to tinker and tweak then you shouldnt be building computers yourself.



Ok... Sticking with Intel this time around though.

So given that you guys all know my install procedure, what possible "mistakes" are there to be made that I should know about beforehand?

OWA
09-06-05, 06:03 PM
This is from the AMD side so I'm not sure if it's the same for the Intel side or not.

The issue I hit was using SATA hard drives and installing the nforce IDE driver. After doing that, it took me a little while to get it booting again. I've seen some say that it's because of the NCQ being on by default and the changing from non-NCQ mode to NCQ mode causes a problem or something like that.

Rytr
09-06-05, 06:37 PM
I am working with an Intel (775) NF4 right now and zero problems like the AMD (939) NF4 last month. Using the same SLI setup (2 6800 GTs) and also checking out the performance of the 7800GTX. I am using a 550 Intel processor.
The only problem I have had was corrupting my Raid 0 array during testing out the overclock potential. Kinda baffling since I was well under the overclock max for the cpu I was using. Maybe its the ram. I will find out eventually as I will have access to some different DDR2 ram shortly.

Daneel Olivaw
09-06-05, 07:04 PM
I am working with an Intel (775) NF4 right now and zero problems like the AMD (939) NF4 last month. Using the same SLI setup (2 6800 GTs) and also checking out the performance of the 7800GTX. I am using a 550 Intel processor.
The only problem I have had was corrupting my Raid 0 array during testing out the overclock potential. Kinda baffling since I was well under the overclock max for the cpu I was using. Maybe its the ram. I will find out eventually as I will have access to some different DDR2 ram shortly.
or maybe the board has problems clamping the PCI bus clock at 33MHz.

Rytr
09-06-05, 07:22 PM
or maybe the board has problems clamping the PCI bus clock at 33MHz.

Thanks, that is a possibility.