Asus M3A AM2+ System "Swamp Thing" (56k Warning)

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Asus M3A AM2+ System "Swamp Thing" (56k Warning)

Post by Methious » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:12 pm

Edit: The new board is in Pictures of the first benches are Below with more to follow.

ReEdit: Page 5 And Beyond Extreme 56k Warning Going Into Water Cooling The System And Many Pictures Are Included

I have been looking hard for Mobo to replace my Asus M2N-E nForce 570 Mobo. Mainly what I am looking at is PCIE 2.0, HT 3.0, accept the current X2 6400 cpu, forward compatibility with Phenom in case they do some thing with that platform interesting (besides calling it Spider, they gonna put a spiderman logo on the chip? Not!) Anyway now that lucidity has returned, I had been looking at the 790fx chip set cause it features Pcie 2.0, HT 3.0, and Phenom works on it at full HT speed.

Since I'm like less than a week away from ordering a board, for better or worse cause I have every thing to build another machine cept an AM2 mobo, and I sold one of my x2 systems, seems like a limb ripping the electric meter off the house while your PC is running is errr lets say detrimental. The recent Ice Storm produced a financial windfall for me.

So I eventually found an ASUS M3A AM2+, AM2 board with 770 chip set (rx780 chip I believe it said) that has support for all the things I was looking at. It can be seen here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131234

It's a value based board at like $85 - $90 but it has every thing I would need since I have no plans to SLI or Crossfire in the near future. The $140 - $150 savings would put a nice pcie 2.0 video card in my upgrade budget range. Which is one of the main reasons I started down the upgrade path again. Now that I been hanging around you all I been (all be it though grudgingly) wanting to go intel for a while. So to complete this quest a Value board makes sense. Any body have any experience with the board, heard any thing about it, know why it would or wouldn't be a good board. [-o<

Thanks in advance!
Last edited by Methious on Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:19 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by geokilla » Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:02 pm

How long have you been using your M2N-E man....Already you're upgrading. You're worse than me. :lol:

Judging from the specs provided by ASUS, it looks like the M3A is a pretty decent board. I tried a quick google search for M3A reviews, but I couldn't find any. It can't be any worse than the M2N-E in terms of overclock stability and vdimm voltages can it?
Intel Core i5-3570K @ 4.2Ghz @ 1.16V (CPU-Z + LinX)
Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H F14 BIOS
ASUS GTX 460 768MB @ 800/1950
Kingston HyperX DDR3 8GB @ DDR-1333
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by Methious » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:06 am

The M2N-E used about 10 months, about average for me. I'm hoping it has better overclock stability and vdimm voltages. I ended up with enough spare parts to build another complete system except for the AM2 MOBO.

From what I've seen it supports:
vCore @ 0.025 increments
vDimm 8 step
vChipset 4 step
FSB 200 - 600 MHZ at 1 mhz increments
Memory tuning 533 - 1066
Pcie 100 to 150
Dram @ 1.9 - 2.25 (Mines 1.8 but it runs better at 1.9)
Processor 0.8 to 1.7v
southbridge 1.3 to 1.4

Mainly for me PCIE 2.0 so I can upgrade to (Hopefully) an 8800 gt 512, and get the benefit of the new 2.0 standard, more speed. If I get cheap on it I'll end up with an Ati 3850 or 3870 512 card. It's hard for me to break out that kinda cash for a video card, been running a Geforce 7300 for a while, kinda puny when your looking at Crysis as your graphics aiming point. Thinking maybe that route will set me up for a couple of years on graphics speed. Overclocking the 6400 X2 best I've seen is 3.52, I overclock when I get bored, holding off until I get a thermalrite 120, the specs on the 6400 run 41 - 61C, Idle I'm running 36-37C with a nMedia PC Icetank, 50-51 torture load, not bad for a $25 cooler. For a 320 mhz performance gain vs frying the chip I'm holding off. More likely to lower the multiplier, up the FSB and push up memory performance a little. Better cooling, probably try for 3.4.

The new seller is gonna be a X2 4400, 2 gig ddr2, 160 G Sata 2, M2N-E, Asus geforce 7300 GS or geforce 6300, Generic keyboard, lighted optical mouse, MSI Mega Speakers 2.0 (big honkin wooden PC speakers), in a sidewinder 2 case. Prolly break even on that one, which is good cause you get a new customer.

An yea I'm prolly worse than you lol, last month, New Ultra case, Corsair 620 PSU, 4 gig Mushkin ddr2 800, X2 6400 black edition, X-fi sound card, bought and sold a 7.1 surround sound blaster speaker set, replaced it with Logitec 5.1 140 watt set. This month Mobo, Video card, Cpu cooler. Then I'm probably grounded for a while lol.
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by Zertz » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:14 pm

Methious wrote:Mainly for me PCIE 2.0 so I can upgrade to (Hopefully) an 8800 gt 512, and get the benefit of the new 2.0 standard, more speed.
PCIE 2 is only faster in theory ;)

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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by Methious » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:10 pm

I wasn't looking at it to hard myself until recently, here's some much appreciated input from Apoptosis;
You're going to hurt performance if you get a new model card and an old model motherboard... Don't believe me? AMD and NVIDIA have done a ton of testing and both have shown and proved PCIe 2.0 is a big step up..
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If you're going PCIe 2.0 on the graphics card then be sure to get a board that supports it as it makes more than a 10% difference in some games as you can see with just a single card...
I trust Apop, I think if he cut his finger benchmarks and good advice would drip out (probably in binary code). Then M3A offers forward compatibility with Quad Core, bonus!
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by Methious » Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:19 pm

Went ahead and ordered the M3A AM2+ mobo, and the xfx 8800gt 512m Card from the Egg, Hopefully after all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, weeks of research it'll be a good decision.

Thanks for the input!
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by photo1jimm » Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:38 pm

I would be interested in hearing your comment, impression of the M3A motherboard that your ordered once you have it up and running...

I am thinking of getting the M3A and installing an AMD Athlon x 2 BE2400 and ATI 3850 video card... Reason for installing a BE2400; I want to wait for the quad core AMD Phenom XXXX once AMD gets the bugs worked out... Until then, I'll just compute with the BE2400...
I am under the impression the BE2400 equates to the AMD x2 4400 excet that the BE2400 is 45watt...

Again, hopefully you can tell me about your newly purchased M3A..

thanks...

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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by Methious » Sat Dec 15, 2007 10:43 pm

I'm using the same 6400 processor on the Asus M2N-E, as I will be on the M3A, was kinda planning on running benches on the old board/old video card, old board/new video card, new board/new video card. Forward compatibility with phenom was one of the reasons I picked it, better graphics performance with the pcie 2.0 video cards was another, hopefully better voltage controls for OC was the other.
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by jpierce55 » Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:29 pm

I hope that mobo kicks but, let us know when you find out.

BTW this cooler is suppose to be great, I know you mentioned cooling in your pm.
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/ ... s_id=21314

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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by Methious » Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:57 pm

I can't compare it to the old one any more cause it's USPS back to Asus cause I killed it. After I get done with a networking job tomorrow I'm going to put it in and temps allowing (gotta break in new Artic Silver) I'll bench it. Thermally speaking I'm a little ways away from a new cooler, after all the upgrades I've done in the last 45 days I'll be lucky to get a cake box of burner disks between now and January. Then I gotta broach the subject of water cooling with my better half, if I can get it past her I'm going water. Short of water Thermalrite 120 Ultra for future proofing. Looking at the collection of coolers I have I need to be thinking of that.
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by Methious » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:07 am

Tracking shows Santa Claus is coming a little early this year. Delivery scheduled for today, show in transit to here. Will get pictured, installed, and run up to speed ASAP. Paired with the 8800gt 512 Alpha Dog hopes are high for a mouth watering experience! :partyman:
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by Methious » Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:00 pm

Previous Information to M3A Board being dead was incorrect.

EDIT: It's alive! I went and got a 12 pack of Red Bull, rounded up some Zena Tapes, broke out the Hot Pockets, rounded up the Geek Squad, and we breathed life into the M3A motherboard. (Ok so the Zena Tapes and Hot Pockets are from the movie "The Core" but we did get the red bull) My new power supply is Kaka Doodie, it'll RMA tommorro. In the mean time I'll get it back into the casing, use an alternate power supply, and run the board up and do some testing minus the 8800 GT, no way I'm connecting it to a 450 W power supply, tomorrow I'll venture out and see if I can score some power locally capable of driving it. Apparently the board needed to be cleared before I connected the alternate power supply. Guess it pays to have faith in Asus, cause if it had been a lesser manufacturer I probably wouldn't have rounded up the Squad.
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by Apoptosis » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:43 pm

what power supply was DOA?

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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by Methious » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:44 pm

Just A note that wasn't the Geek Squad that rides around in the little cars, it was the local enthusiasts I know.

I dug around and found a power supply lurking in my collection so I was able to do the first benches with the 8800 gt 512 Alpha Dog. I will also be posting pics of the system Board, componants, further benches etc. Just didn't want to make any one wait longer than I had to so here are the un-tweaked results from a fresh install of XP SP2 all critical updates/patches applied. To the Bench.

PCMARKS 2005
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Simular Hardware Ranking :supz:
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Componants (It read Sempron is a X2 6400 Black Box)
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Details
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All Systems Comparison Graph
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Over All Ranking
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade

Post by Methious » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:56 pm

Hi Apop, wasn't DOA, the corsair 620w, probably a result of that 320 gig sata incident, I had it connected to a WD 320G sata 2 and the power connector to the drive blew smoke, fused the connector to the drive (was an adaptor). Power supply faulted, reset it, ran fine for a while, then during the new build I tested it cause I always do after a no post and all the indicators lit up green except the power good indicator. Ran it against a biostar board CRU51-M7, with a sempron 1.6 in it and it wouldn't post eighther. No biggie I dug out my Ultra Xconnect 700 Watt and it's running every thing until the corsair RMAs. (Went out this morning)

BTW: Thanks for the hardware recomendations it's thus far a killer board, and I love the 8800 GT Alpha Dog! As you can see in the above post I am ranked No 1 with simular hardware. Without LR and your advice I'm sure I could never have achieved that! :supz:
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade 56K warning

Post by Methious » Fri Dec 21, 2007 6:06 pm

Here are some Sisoft Sandra Combined index comparisons. The red overlay represents the Asus M3A 770 chipset.

First AMD 570 Faster memory VS 770
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Second Amd 790 Same Memory 4-4-4-12 timing Vs AMD 770 5-5-5-12 timings
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Last Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 VS X2 6400
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Not much difference in the 770 vs 790, storage is shown Mine: 2 X Raid 0 Maxtor DiamondMax 20 320 GiG 7200 RPM Total VS 1 WD Raptor 150 GB 10,000rpm. Raid might lose performance in real world apps but it benches pretty.

The Intel shot was for the plentiful Intel fans here at LR, so they won't yell at me, there is a difference Intel to AMD, the prices reflect this also. It's still true today, speed and performance are merely a function of money, how fast do you want to go?

Super Pi, Equipment Pics, some other benches later, right now I'm going to Fraps Company Of Heros.
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade 56K warning

Post by DMB2000uk » Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:10 pm

Get a working camera and show us your rig! :axe:

Dan
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade 56K warning

Post by Methious » Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:08 am

I will post some pics soon, I had all my cables run tied and pretty then had a power supply issue, so I had to RMA the Corsair PSU and dig out my Ultra X-connect 700 watt to drive the GPU. At like midnight, so now I have some cabling to do before I post. At 2 am all I wanted to see was windows loading lol. We had 4 guys knocking back Red Bull, a living room full of equipment, 2 tuff totes full of assorted testers, and it turned out to be a simple power supply, being Corsair I didn't really suspect it.

I have some more networking to do up the road today (and a little Company of Heros) but time permitting I'll upload later. I have some more bench utils to down load too, Wild Blue internet isn't as fast as DSL so it takes a while.
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade 56K warning

Post by Methious » Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:23 am

Sorry for the patch work method this is going up, it's a busy time of year and I'm handling it according to request for info as there are no reviews for the M3A out there.

Here are some pics of the board and some of the components.

Mother Board
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Circled are the only issues I had with the board
1.RED Floppy connector at rear of board (I keep a floppy most don't)
2.BLUE Fan connectors to far back for short power leads
3.PURPLE Ide connector side mounted right where hard drives go if your using a large video card
4.GREEN Heatsink held on with wire clips, would have liked mounting holes for after market heat pipes
Minor issues, the board is also shallower than the old M2N-E so it leaves more room up by the drive bay to work and cable in (nice)

Bundle
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The bundle is a little sparse but expected for a Value Board
1. Lower right nice black Asus Ide and Floppy Cable (I opted for some round blue ones)
2. Lower Center Back Panel Cover, new design reduces radio freq interference and is easier to install
3. Lower Left Manual, Full manual with nice install instructions for first timers, very comprehensive
4. Upper Left Asus Q-Connect, Connect the front panel wires out side the case then plug the Q-Connect in (for a value board it's a sweet add in)
5. Upper Right Two sata cables one with 90 degree head a nice surprise, and a Molex to 2 sata power adapter

Ultra Grid Case W/ Ultra X-Connect 700 Watt Psu
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Notice the Tool Less drive bay clips turn the little knobs and the drive is held secure. The only thing you need is a screw driver for the expansion slot screws and MOBO screws. The interior is Ghetto Mod flat black painted, out of the box it's chrome and brushed aluminum. The case itself is steel and quite heavy which I prefer for durability. You can catch it on sale at Tiger Direct some times for $99, which is good for a nice case and 700 watt modular PSU. The PSU isn't one of the enthusiast approved PSU, but I tanked the planned PSU so I am using and pictured this one.

nMedia PC IceTank CPU Cooler 92MM Fan
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The X2 6400 is the hottest of the X2 family so good cooling is a must. This is a budget cooler left from my X2 4200 ($25), to my surprise with a ThermalTake ThunderBlade 120 mm on the rear pulling air out of the case , and an Ultra 120 mm on the front of the case pushing cool air in, and using Artic Silver 5, under torture test the highest temps I've seen are 50C. I recommend better cooling, but for a budget part I can live with it until I can afford better.

8800 GT 512 Alpha Dog
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There's the 8800 GT 512 Alpha Dog, so far on the M3A (which has pcie 2.0 for the card), combined with the X2 6400, I have seen no throttling of the Alpha Dog for lack of cpu speed. Be aware reports say to avoid throttling the card your going to need 2.8 GHZ or higher. Pcie 2.0 has been shown to afford a 10% + performance increase for the card. On a personal note let me say: It's a freakin awesome video card at it's price point. It's 256 meg brother was shown to have some performance hits at higher resolutions so I went with the 512 meg card.
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Re: Asus M3A AM2+/AM2 Mobo upgrade 56K warning

Post by Zertz » Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:45 pm

Interesting board, how's the BIOS compared to the M2N-E?
Methious wrote:There's the 8800 GT 512 Alpha Dog, so far on the M3A (which has pcie 2.0 for the card), combined with the X2 6400, I have seen no throttling of the Alpha Dog for lack of cpu speed. Be aware reports say to avoid throttling the card your going to need 2.8 GHZ or higher.
Did those tests some time ago, my CPU won't clock much over 2.7Ghz so I couldn't bench it further but it gives a pretty good idea of how X2 scales with the 8800GT.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v205/ ... caling.jpg

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