Overclocking the Foxconn Winfast NF4UK8AA
I have some preliminary results from my Foxconn Winfast Nf4UK8AA beta BIOS testing for you. Initial investigations suggest this is a very good update; I know there will be a lot of very happy enthusiasts out there! The most important thing I feel, is that the motherboard is now a good value board, which is getting good support and development. The sooner Foxconn can turn these BIOS updates out and get them on their website the better. They obviously have a good product that gets even better the more work they do on the BIOS.
Ramble over, lets cut to the chase and let you know how my testing went. I had a quick look through the features of the new BIOS and the first thing that raised my eyebrows was the disable cool ‘n quiet, and manual overclocking options. I of course, immediately set these to disabled and enabled respectively, then had a quick dig around for any other new options I could find.
For a start, now HTT adjustments are made from the ‘Overclocking’ section (where they should be imho). An intriguing new option that also caught my eye was the FID adjustment, which makes it possible to change the CPU multiplier and test the max HTT with the motherboard.
Without waiting to see if there were any
more options I decided to start testing straight away. The
voltage settings were already at their maximum, which didn’t seem to trouble my
I watched the post screen with baited breath, heart beating fast, trying not to breathe on my computer in case it caused it to crash… I needn’t have worried, as it booted up and zoomed into Windows XP without a hitch. A quick glance at CPU-Z confirmed the clock speed, then after checking the CPU and system temperature I ran a few benchmarks to check if it was stable (but by no means exhaustive testing), then decided to reboot and just go straight to 267 HTT.
I wasn’t completely irresponsible doing
this, as it had been a very stable overclock for my
system with the old 29/11/2004 BIOS. My suspicions where
correct, and it booted without any problems, and felt rock stable.
I rebooted again and changed the HT to 3x, mem
to 100 (ddr200) T1 (other mem settings auto), and I
bumped the HTT up to 278 (or 2.5GHz CPU speed). This too
booted flawlessly (I was starting to get excited). I
soldiered on with the HTT increases, eventually topping out at 289; although I
suspect that this is the limit of my processor (I had never managed to get past
this even with clockgen). I
think with a different 3000+
Next, I needed to test the max HTT, so I lowered the multi to 8x, HT to 2x, and left the HTT at 289. Needless to say, it booted without a problem; so I upped the HTT right away to 300. ‘Click!’ It rebooted just before it got into Windows XP. To say I was disappointed is a major understatement! However, I went back into the overclocking options and lowered the HTT to 299, and tweaked the mem timings for good measure while I was at it. Whilst doing so, I noticed another new option making it’s debut in this BIOS version; you can now set the bank cycle time (Trc). This was set to 21 clocks, so I left it at that.
Booting after changing these settings didn’t result in a BSOD, or a reboot just before entering Window XP; no, this time I was even able to run benchmarks! I was sure that this was a very stable HTT, so I went back and changed the HTT to 300, but this time letting the memory settings of CAS3, 4, 4, 8 stay. Sure enough, I was able to boot into Windows XP. 303HTT seemed to be the most stable at the 8x multi, while 310 crashed on boot-up once, whilst just allowing me to boot into Windows another time. 311HTT just refused to boot, so I went back down to 303HTT, bumped up the memory a bit and did a few benches. This was a high HTT, with the mem on a 133 divider (mem @ 202MHz), which seemed to be on the limit, I was hopeful of good Sandra scores. However, I was disappointed at the poor memory bandwidth running this divider.
I decided to go back to the 9x multi, as I had achieved better CPU speeds with that than with the 8x multi. The difference this time, was that I would try to find the best stable system speed rather than just go for max HTT or CPU speed. Setting the memory on a 166 divider (which by far seems to be the best performing with my Corsair XMS PC3200 in my experience), I aimed for around 285HTT, and decided to work my way back, until I found a stable speed for the memory. (Remember that 267HTT with 166 mem divider was my most stable highest overclock with the previous BIOS version).
I’m almost sure that this motherboard WOULD have done 285HTT if I’d had some more extreme RAM, and as I have also said, maybe my PSU (although supposedly hyper efficient) is an issue for my max CPU overclock; however, I only had to go down to 282HTT until I seemed to find a stable speed (yet to be Prime95 tested though).
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