A closer look at the Barton/nForce2...
Version 2 of the nForce2 chipset just improved on what was already a nice chipset. It allowed me to hit 200FSB in dual-channel with nice timings, where my old board would crap out at 190 in dual-channel.
Barton, however, seems to be a mixed bag. It's faster than the non-Bartons clock-to-clock, but it's, well, kinda quirky when overclocking.
First, it took a full 2.0 core voltage for me to be able to hit the same 2400MHz clockspeed that I was able to nail with my 2400+ proc at 1.85v. It would seem the extra cache makes it a little tougher to push the clockspeed.
2nd, FSB and memory timings adjustments are simply 'different' than with the non-Barton procs. For example, at 200 FSB, if I set Precharge delay/Cycle time to 6, it'd lock up 3DMark.
Turns out, this didn't matter, because 7 seems to be a really well-performing setting for the nForce2. I literally got better results from 7 than from 5 or 6 (5 was actually really bad). The one that blew me away was CAS Latency. Again at 200, any time I set it to 2.5, it'd crash 3DMark (sometimes even rebooting the machine). CAS 2, however, was gold. Why the heck would a more aggressive setting be more stable???
It'll take a smarter man than me for that one, but it's true. And neither one of the above occurances happened with a non-Barton. Oh well...I'm happy with 2/7/2/2 (I really hate memory timings after all this).
I still love AMD's non-locked multiplier, and this time around, I only managed to corrupt my OS once when trying to push this sucker (imaging rules).
Let's play around a little...