Choice of Graphic Card & Memory:
I have limited my spending budget for this upgrade covering Board, CPU, Graphic Card and Memory to less than $500. The Venice took away $149 and the DFI board $127, with $227 left I would have to go around the Geforce 6600GT which was an ideal choice. Again, my fellow reviewer at [M] pointed me to the Nvidia 6200
; with the OCing headroom, I acquired the Apollo 6200 for $96. As for the pair of memory, it became a bit of a longer story; I chose a pair of 256mb PQI PC4400 for $99.
Yes, I know GSkill would be much better. With shipping cost, I now have spent $481 with $19 left. When the parts arrived a day earlier, I was not prepared for the usual excitement as I was in the middle of downing a 12" across tree trunk in my backyard.
My intention to use the SATA hard drive savaged from another system proved to be a huge headache that same evening. It is a good idea to update BIOS to 310 or newer before hand. This advice was given to me by another old Shrimper. Window XP installation process kept popping out errors; I tried SATA 1,3,4 and finally I got it installed with port 2. I never recall such an event using Intel chipset with SATA installation. Feeling "shallow" for lack of know how, I proceeded to some overclocking following the guidelines given by my fellow shrimpers. The PQI PC4400 turbo rated at 550 MHz would not even reach 220 FSB at rated timing; I received Hard Drive corruption about an hour later. Out the SATA drive, while doing so I broke the SATA socket on the hard drive. Darn, this is more dangerous than cutting a tree. Then, cutting a tree is not like assembling a PC.:)
No more SATA drive for this baby; my standby Western Digital EIDE went in and O/S installed with not a single issue.
With PQI PC4400 in, I have to drop the memory down to 133 MHz to get over 220 HTT. Right here was the time I got into trouble using 166mhz memory setting.
I decided to find out how far it could go using Prime95 before I got into trouble again, still with memory kept to 133mhz setting and 3X HTT.
Failed Prime95 within minutes. But, it was nice to know the Board performs to other reviewers' finding. Consistency in performance is what I call quality product, leave "luck" out of the equation.
300x9 and 1.6 Vcore finds stable Prime95; and 34 seconds SuperPI 1M is not bad. Don't forget I wouldn't be that "brave" had I not been reading all the reviews encouraging me to "jump into the pit with the tiger".
It this point I was really sick of the PQI, in with my cheap Apacer PC3200, at least they could do over 250 HTT ...... with very loose timing.
At least, I could set 266 mhz at BIOS bringing the final memory to 245 mhz. There is only 1 second gain in SuperPI.
Feeling relief that the motherboard is doing exactly as rated by others, I could always return the PQI. Surprisingly, the PQI was able to run at 255 FSB in my P4 system. May be they just don't like DFI or A64. The World's best reseller (no name mentioned) allowed me to return the PQI; and the GSkill came within 2 days. So, a simple upgrade ended up having to do with memory sorting.
With GSkill at hands and a few hours of memory tweaking experience under my belt plus a bunch of experts from [M] secure forum, once again I acted like a seasoned tweaker. HTT is now set to 4x and 400 MHz at BIOS memory. I have to set 2.8 Volt for the memory at 3-4-8-4 any tighter will be greeted by our friendly blue screen.
The system will run Primestable at 305 MHz x 9, however I have to set Vcore to 1.69 Volt. It just doesn't pay, does it? Besides, there is nothing much to gain. Another surprise is that there is not much gain to speak of from using memory divider versus 1:1 ratio with exception of Sandra memory bandwidth.7340 versus 6880 MB/s is the difference.
I thought I have had this baby under control, until the next day ->