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A7N8X-VM/400 - it's official, Asus' most memory fussy mobo (long)



 
 
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  #1  
Old April 23rd 04, 04:04 PM
fred
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Posts: n/a
Default A7N8X-VM/400 - it's official, Asus' most memory fussy mobo (long)

A7N8X-VM/400 - it's official, Asus' most memory fussy mobo

Careful when using this mobo with integrated graphics (which was probably
why you wanted to buy it). Memory timings when system memory is
shared with the integrated graphics processor are far tighter than when a
plugin agp card is used.

I'm running cheap & cheerful 400MHz ram at 333MHz and figured the
underclocking would leave me a healthy timing margin. It does, 24hrs of
memtest86 and 12hrs of Prime95 suggest it's solid, but run anything
graphics intensive, like a movie, and it falls flat on it's face. Symptoms are
typical of interaction between graphics & system accesses, corrupted
stripes in the display, then the inevitable crash as a crucial area of system
mem is corrupted. Ok, I've got cheap memory, but use a plugin agp card
and it's solid as a rock - seems a little unfair.

Asus uk tech support are patient & helpful, but basically they say go &
buy premium memory, which memory you ask, as there is currently no
approved memory list for this board. He suggests I visit my friendly local
retailer and try premium memory brands until I find one that works.

After a long call (friday afternoon) the support guy's resolve falters; he
says:

1. This board was never intended for public sale
2. It was produced at the request of large OEMs to satisfy the need for
simple, fully integrated boxes.
3. It is their most memory fussy board ever.
4. When the pet OEMs ran into memory problems they were asked which
memory they would like to use and the board/bios was tweaked to suit.
5. There is no publicly available list of the memory that this board has been
tweaked to work with.
6. A user tweakable bios is not in the pipeline for this board

I'm not prepared to take the risk of buying more memory without a
guaranteed fix so I'm using the known fix of a plugin agp card. It is now
solid, cheap memory and all.

Thought I'd make life simple this time, pay the premium, buy the big name
and go for integrated graphics, I won't be making that mistake again.
--
fred
  #2  
Old April 23rd 04, 06:29 PM
Paul
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

In article , fred wrote:

A7N8X-VM/400 - it's official, Asus' most memory fussy mobo

Careful when using this mobo with integrated graphics (which was probably
why you wanted to buy it). Memory timings when system memory is
shared with the integrated graphics processor are far tighter than when a
plugin agp card is used.

I'm running cheap & cheerful 400MHz ram at 333MHz and figured the
underclocking would leave me a healthy timing margin. It does, 24hrs of
memtest86 and 12hrs of Prime95 suggest it's solid, but run anything
graphics intensive, like a movie, and it falls flat on it's face. Symptoms are
typical of interaction between graphics & system accesses, corrupted
stripes in the display, then the inevitable crash as a crucial area of system
mem is corrupted. Ok, I've got cheap memory, but use a plugin agp card
and it's solid as a rock - seems a little unfair.

Asus uk tech support are patient & helpful, but basically they say go &
buy premium memory, which memory you ask, as there is currently no
approved memory list for this board. He suggests I visit my friendly local
retailer and try premium memory brands until I find one that works.

After a long call (friday afternoon) the support guy's resolve falters; he
says:

1. This board was never intended for public sale
2. It was produced at the request of large OEMs to satisfy the need for
simple, fully integrated boxes.
3. It is their most memory fussy board ever.
4. When the pet OEMs ran into memory problems they were asked which
memory they would like to use and the board/bios was tweaked to suit.
5. There is no publicly available list of the memory that this board has been
tweaked to work with.
6. A user tweakable bios is not in the pipeline for this board

I'm not prepared to take the risk of buying more memory without a
guaranteed fix so I'm using the known fix of a plugin agp card. It is now
solid, cheap memory and all.

Thought I'd make life simple this time, pay the premium, buy the big name
and go for integrated graphics, I won't be making that mistake again.


Strings I found in the 1001 BIOS. The same strings are in the 1002 BIOS.
I don't see anything to suggest a PC3200 stick is getting special
treatment, just the -6 (PC2700) sticks listed below. Presumably
other sticks are adjusted according to the contents of their
SPD (for better or worse). You can find these with a hex editor -
I couldn't get AMIBCP to accept the ROM files.

NT5DS16M8AT-6 Nanya 128MB PC2700 DDR
NT256D64S8HA0G-6 Nanya 256MB PC2700 DDR
MPMA82D-68KX3-MAA Kingmax PC2700 memory 128MB
MPMA82D-68KX3-MBA
MPMB62D-68KX3-MAA Kingmax PC2700 memory 256MB
HYS64D32300GU-6 Infineon PC2700 memory 256MB
HYS64D64320GU-6 Infineon PC2700 memory 512MB
NT512D64S8HB1G-6 Nanya 512MB PC2700 DDR

I checked a A7N8X/VM 1009 BIOS and it has the same module part
numbers in it, all except the last one.

This page has a memory table at the bottom. Note this is not for
the VM/400 board and does not imply the same memory would be
"special" in any way. I only mention this if you want to
discuss this table with your Asus tech support guy.

http://usa.asus.com/products/mb/sock...m/overview.htm

Under the circumstances, I think your workaround, an AGP card,
is the right one. Virtually any AGP card will have better
performance than the integrated graphics, and the AGP card
isn't stealing bandwidth from the memory controller, so you'll
get a (very slight) performance boost when doing normal
computing.

As for the rationale for why the board was produced - no OEM
requested this board. Asus just floods the market with every
chipset they can lay their hands on. Chip makers produce reference
motherboard designs, helping to reduce the work that Asus has
to do to bring a board to market. And, if the board or chipset
turns out to be a flop, Asus tries to sell them anyway. In
cases where a design is prematurely withdrawn from the market
(P4S8X), you won't get a swap for another model, to replace
whatever isn't working properly. So, I don't think there
is any "high minded" intent with respect to what boards they
produce.

(For the less than stellar boards, most home users will tire
of returning the boards under warranty and either crush the
board with a hammer or throw it in a dusty corner of the room.
And, the more unscrupulous home users will Ebay the board to
the unsuspecting noob.)

HTH,
Paul
  #3  
Old April 24th 04, 03:46 PM
Callas
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

wrote:
A7N8X-VM/400 - it's official, Asus' most memory fussy mobo

Careful when using this mobo with integrated graphics (which was probably
why you wanted to buy it). Memory timings when system memory is
shared with the integrated graphics processor are far tighter than when a
plugin agp card is used.

I'm running cheap & cheerful 400MHz ram at 333MHz and figured the
underclocking would leave me a healthy timing margin. It does, 24hrs of
memtest86 and 12hrs of Prime95 suggest it's solid, but run anything
graphics intensive, like a movie, and it falls flat on it's face. Symptoms are
typical of interaction between graphics & system accesses, corrupted
stripes in the display, then the inevitable crash as a crucial area of system
mem is corrupted.


I have the same problem.

I very recently bought the parts to build a budget PC for a friend. I
am using the integrated graphics card on the motherboard.

I bought two sticks of 256mb 333 MHz Corair Value Select RAM. Using
both or either of these sticks gives memory corruption on the display
and either a lockup or a BSOD after a short time - a few minutes.

I then took a 256mb 200 MHz Crucial Technology stick out from my PC and
tried that; no problems. (However, I've not tried running video; just
installing software.)

I think it unlikely that *both* sticks of Corsair memory are broken. It
may be that this is indeed a motherboard issue. This will be extremely
annoying because I have already built the PC, installed and configured
Windows and application/network/utility software. If this is a
motherboard issue, ASUS' reputation with me will have taken a serious
knock - I used to think they were reliable and I bought their boards,
accepting their ASUS' generally higher prices, because of this.

Anyways, I will return the RAM and try replacements. If they also fail,
then I will be confident the RAM is not at fault. Then it will be a
case of returning the motherboard and buying an alternative.

--
Callas
  #4  
Old April 24th 04, 04:40 PM
Andrew J
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


1. This board was never intended for public sale
2. It was produced at the request of large OEMs to satisfy the need for
simple, fully integrated boxes.
3. It is their most memory fussy board ever.
4. When the pet OEMs ran into memory problems they were asked which
memory they would like to use and the board/bios was tweaked to suit.
5. There is no publicly available list of the memory that this board has been
tweaked to work with.
6. A user tweakable bios is not in the pipeline for this board

I'm not prepared to take the risk of buying more memory without a
guaranteed fix so I'm using the known fix of a plugin agp card. It is now
solid, cheap memory and all.

Thought I'd make life simple this time, pay the premium, buy the big name
and go for integrated graphics, I won't be making that mistake again.


I never dreamed ASUS would release a board with a BIOS that did
nothing. For $20 less the Biostar M7NCG 400 does everything. I am able
to run Gold Dragon RAM on the A7N8X-VM400 but with no overclocking
abilities the board is useless to me.
  #5  
Old April 24th 04, 07:32 PM
Giuseppe Carmine De Blasio
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

won't be making that mistake again.
Get an Abit mobo. They rock!

--
Pepe
Milano, Italy


  #6  
Old April 26th 04, 05:42 PM
fred
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

In article , Paul
writes

Strings I found in the 1001 BIOS. The same strings are in the 1002 BIOS.
I don't see anything to suggest a PC3200 stick is getting special
treatment, just the -6 (PC2700) sticks listed below. Presumably
other sticks are adjusted according to the contents of their
SPD (for better or worse). You can find these with a hex editor -
I couldn't get AMIBCP to accept the ROM files.

NT5DS16M8AT-6 Nanya 128MB PC2700 DDR
NT256D64S8HA0G-6 Nanya 256MB PC2700 DDR
MPMA82D-68KX3-MAA Kingmax PC2700 memory 128MB
MPMA82D-68KX3-MBA
MPMB62D-68KX3-MAA Kingmax PC2700 memory 256MB
HYS64D32300GU-6 Infineon PC2700 memory 256MB
HYS64D64320GU-6 Infineon PC2700 memory 512MB
NT512D64S8HB1G-6 Nanya 512MB PC2700 DDR

I checked a A7N8X/VM 1009 BIOS and it has the same module part
numbers in it, all except the last one.

This page has a memory table at the bottom. Note this is not for
the VM/400 board and does not imply the same memory would be
"special" in any way. I only mention this if you want to
discuss this table with your Asus tech support guy.

http://usa.asus.com/products/mb/sock...m/overview.htm

Under the circumstances, I think your workaround, an AGP card,
is the right one. Virtually any AGP card will have better
performance than the integrated graphics, and the AGP card
isn't stealing bandwidth from the memory controller, so you'll
get a (very slight) performance boost when doing normal
computing.

As for the rationale for why the board was produced - no OEM
requested this board. Asus just floods the market with every
chipset they can lay their hands on. Chip makers produce reference
motherboard designs, helping to reduce the work that Asus has
to do to bring a board to market. And, if the board or chipset
turns out to be a flop, Asus tries to sell them anyway. In
cases where a design is prematurely withdrawn from the market
(P4S8X), you won't get a swap for another model, to replace
whatever isn't working properly. So, I don't think there
is any "high minded" intent with respect to what boards they
produce.

(For the less than stellar boards, most home users will tire
of returning the boards under warranty and either crush the
board with a hammer or throw it in a dusty corner of the room.
And, the more unscrupulous home users will Ebay the board to
the unsuspecting noob.)

HTH,
Paul


Thanks for your most insightful comments, they encouraged me to have
another look at the problem but without further success. I'd like to take it
further but it's taking too long for me to work on it without being paid.

Thanks for the introduction to AMIBCP, a shame it won't accept the files.
Word of warning to aspiring downloaders of this prog, the crazyape page
on stormforce claiming to be the repository of AMIBCP has malware in the
link to v7.51.03 which tries to install a premium dialler if it is accessed with
javascript/activeX enabled. When accessed without these enabled, the true
prog is downloaded so I doubt the user was aware of the malware (popup
ad?), but I have raised a complaint anyway.

Well spotted on the string search. I had seen the recommended memory
on the VM variant, but just wasn't prepared to pay the premium price for
what was not a performance critical application, thinking I would detune in
the bios if necessary - oops. My thoughts are much as this guy's, a
system builder with similar problems:
http://www.abxzone.com/forums/showth...5fbfc26ad5abcc
675c4bbae45e1&threadid=67997

The video card was an easy fix for me (Generic GeForce4MX 440 8xAGP)
and at 31GBP I didn't squeal too much at the extra expense - certainly
cheaper than a couple of sticks of premium 256M at today's prices.

Next time I will dig a bit deeper before committing, more haste, less
speed.

Ta,
--
fred
  #7  
Old April 26th 04, 05:54 PM
fred
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

In article ,
Callas writes
wrote:
A7N8X-VM/400 - it's official, Asus' most memory fussy mobo

Careful when using this mobo with integrated graphics (which was probably
why you wanted to buy it). Memory timings when system memory is
shared with the integrated graphics processor are far tighter than when a
plugin agp card is used.

I'm running cheap & cheerful 400MHz ram at 333MHz and figured the
underclocking would leave me a healthy timing margin. It does, 24hrs of
memtest86 and 12hrs of Prime95 suggest it's solid, but run anything
graphics intensive, like a movie, and it falls flat on it's face. Symptoms are
typical of interaction between graphics & system accesses, corrupted
stripes in the display, then the inevitable crash as a crucial area of system
mem is corrupted.


I have the same problem.

I very recently bought the parts to build a budget PC for a friend. I
am using the integrated graphics card on the motherboard.

I bought two sticks of 256mb 333 MHz Corair Value Select RAM. Using
both or either of these sticks gives memory corruption on the display
and either a lockup or a BSOD after a short time - a few minutes.

I then took a 256mb 200 MHz Crucial Technology stick out from my PC and
tried that; no problems. (However, I've not tried running video; just
installing software.)

I think it unlikely that *both* sticks of Corsair memory are broken. It
may be that this is indeed a motherboard issue. This will be extremely
annoying because I have already built the PC, installed and configured
Windows and application/network/utility software. If this is a
motherboard issue, ASUS' reputation with me will have taken a serious
knock - I used to think they were reliable and I bought their boards,
accepting their ASUS' generally higher prices, because of this.

Anyways, I will return the RAM and try replacements. If they also fail,
then I will be confident the RAM is not at fault. Then it will be a
case of returning the motherboard and buying an alternative.

--
Callas


Sorry to hear you have the same problem, but relieved that I am not having
finger trouble. This guy is a system builder and has still had major probs:
http://www.abxzone.com/forums/showth...5fbfc26ad5abcc
675c4bbae45e1&threadid=67997

You may wish to copy my quick fix of the video card as mine cost only
31GBP - it won't take long in time expended to pay for that. I used a
generic GeForce4MX 440 8xAGP which I think uses the same engine as
the onboard video. I hated to make the onboard video redundant but now
that I have it working, those qualms are completely forgotten. Just to be
sure though, my system was rock steady with video acceleration turned
off, memtest86 clean for 12hrs & prime95 crash free for about the same. I
wouldn't rely on this fix otherwise.

HTH
--
fred
  #8  
Old April 26th 04, 05:56 PM
fred
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

In article , Giuseppe
Carmine De Blasio writes
won't be making that mistake again.

Get an Abit mobo. They rock!

Sadly my hindsight goggles were broken in a recent accident ;-/
--
fred
  #9  
Old April 27th 04, 03:16 AM
Stephen SM WONG
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

So, how do you run your 400MHz RAM at 333MHz? I'm curios.
There's almost nothing one can tweak in the BIOS, in terms
of timing.

I can't agree more the board is fussy. Mine is an older
version A7N8X-VM, and I'm consider to buy a replacement main
board, say a Gigabyte or something. Anyway, I'd owned more
than 10 Asus main boards, A7N8X-VM is the only one make me
disappointed, I was thinking that it was a bad sample. But
it does give me quite some headache.

My 2 cents.

Stephen Wong @ Hong Kong


On Fri, 23 Apr 2004, fred wrote:

A7N8X-VM/400 - it's official, Asus' most memory fussy mobo

Careful when using this mobo with integrated graphics (which was probably
why you wanted to buy it). Memory timings when system memory is
shared with the integrated graphics processor are far tighter than when a
plugin agp card is used.

I'm running cheap & cheerful 400MHz ram at 333MHz and figured the
underclocking would leave me a healthy timing margin. It does, 24hrs of
memtest86 and 12hrs of Prime95 suggest it's solid, but run anything
graphics intensive, like a movie, and it falls flat on it's face. Symptoms are
typical of interaction between graphics & system accesses, corrupted
stripes in the display, then the inevitable crash as a crucial area of system
mem is corrupted. Ok, I've got cheap memory, but use a plugin agp card
and it's solid as a rock - seems a little unfair.

Asus uk tech support are patient & helpful, but basically they say go &
buy premium memory, which memory you ask, as there is currently no
approved memory list for this board. He suggests I visit my friendly local
retailer and try premium memory brands until I find one that works.

After a long call (friday afternoon) the support guy's resolve falters; he
says:

1. This board was never intended for public sale
2. It was produced at the request of large OEMs to satisfy the need for
simple, fully integrated boxes.
3. It is their most memory fussy board ever.
4. When the pet OEMs ran into memory problems they were asked which
memory they would like to use and the board/bios was tweaked to suit.
5. There is no publicly available list of the memory that this board has been
tweaked to work with.
6. A user tweakable bios is not in the pipeline for this board

I'm not prepared to take the risk of buying more memory without a
guaranteed fix so I'm using the known fix of a plugin agp card. It is now
solid, cheap memory and all.

Thought I'd make life simple this time, pay the premium, buy the big name
and go for integrated graphics, I won't be making that mistake again.
--
fred

  #10  
Old April 27th 04, 05:11 AM
zzipper
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

A friend of mine bought one of these as well, his fix was if you use the
onboard graphics use only one stick of ram. Dual channel only seems to work
if you install an AGP card. He had no problems at all with it once he was
using a single stick.

"Stephen SM WONG" wrote in message
caldomain...
So, how do you run your 400MHz RAM at 333MHz? I'm curios.
There's almost nothing one can tweak in the BIOS, in terms
of timing.

I can't agree more the board is fussy. Mine is an older
version A7N8X-VM, and I'm consider to buy a replacement main
board, say a Gigabyte or something. Anyway, I'd owned more
than 10 Asus main boards, A7N8X-VM is the only one make me
disappointed, I was thinking that it was a bad sample. But
it does give me quite some headache.

My 2 cents.

Stephen Wong @ Hong Kong


On Fri, 23 Apr 2004, fred wrote:

A7N8X-VM/400 - it's official, Asus' most memory fussy mobo

Careful when using this mobo with integrated graphics (which was

probably
why you wanted to buy it). Memory timings when system memory is
shared with the integrated graphics processor are far tighter than when

a
plugin agp card is used.

I'm running cheap & cheerful 400MHz ram at 333MHz and figured the
underclocking would leave me a healthy timing margin. It does, 24hrs of
memtest86 and 12hrs of Prime95 suggest it's solid, but run anything
graphics intensive, like a movie, and it falls flat on it's face.

Symptoms are
typical of interaction between graphics & system accesses, corrupted
stripes in the display, then the inevitable crash as a crucial area of

system
mem is corrupted. Ok, I've got cheap memory, but use a plugin agp card
and it's solid as a rock - seems a little unfair.

Asus uk tech support are patient & helpful, but basically they say go &
buy premium memory, which memory you ask, as there is currently no
approved memory list for this board. He suggests I visit my friendly

local
retailer and try premium memory brands until I find one that works.

After a long call (friday afternoon) the support guy's resolve falters;

he
says:

1. This board was never intended for public sale
2. It was produced at the request of large OEMs to satisfy the need for
simple, fully integrated boxes.
3. It is their most memory fussy board ever.
4. When the pet OEMs ran into memory problems they were asked which
memory they would like to use and the board/bios was tweaked to suit.
5. There is no publicly available list of the memory that this board has

been
tweaked to work with.
6. A user tweakable bios is not in the pipeline for this board

I'm not prepared to take the risk of buying more memory without a
guaranteed fix so I'm using the known fix of a plugin agp card. It is

now
solid, cheap memory and all.

Thought I'd make life simple this time, pay the premium, buy the big

name
and go for integrated graphics, I won't be making that mistake again.
--
fred



 




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