MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only

Discussion in 'Hardware Discussion & Support' started by caps_buster, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. caps_buster

    caps_buster Just one crazy geek :)

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    I working with computes since 1991 and there is not much that I cannot understand, but this MSI mobo is challenging me. So, the mobo in question is a MSI PM8M3-V with PCB rev. 1.0 and latest bios v1.4 used.

    Board: MSI PM8M3-V (VIA P4M800) PCV rev. 1.0
    Bios: Version 1.4
    VGA: PNY 6800GT 256MB DDR3 350MHz/1GHz
    PSU: Enermax Liberty 620W PSU (replaced caps to quality ones!)
    CPU: 2800MHz Celeron D 336 (133x21) 1.350Vcore
    MEM: 2048MB OCZP4001G 2.5-3-2-7 200MHz 2.60V
    HDD: 500G Western Digital 16MB cache (WD5000AAKB)
    COOLER: Intel box cooler, checked, AS paste applied, cooling good (slowing all the way down to 1000 rpm in reality)
    OC: NONE! (tried FSB 133 -> 138 and it get unstable even in Firefox, lol)
    OS: Windows 2000 SP4 Czech

    More info:
    19" iiyama ProLite E1980SD 1280x1024 75Hz DVI
    DVDRW NEC DV-4551A (16x DVDRW)
    IDE 100MB zip
    floppy with 7+1 USB2 reader Mitsumi FA404
    Using PS2 mouse (Logitech MX510 red)
    OkiPage 14ex laser printer
    NetGear WGR614 fireWall / 54MBi WiFi - OFF

    The Cause
    --------------
    While the mobo is perfectly stable in normal usage, gaming is a problem. I working hard to make the mobo stable, it is not stable in 3D games. In the end of making it stable it is not stable even in 2D Windows... lol.

    To cut long story short - at first, it was just a mobo full of known bad caps that sometimes refuse to boot and losing clock AND bios settings when power is cut off. Sometimes it also crash during SoF2 _LOADING_ (never gaming), but that it is. Very rare crash.
    [​IMG]

    So I replaced all the caps, put even these that aren't there back in action and used hi-grade caps. For example the best polymers that even exist Nichicon LE for Vcore and for voltage supply there are Nichicon HZ caps - the best elyte caps even made - king in terms of ripple current, only Samxon GA is "par to par" with them, but that it is. Sourced from Digikey, so, originals.
    [​IMG]

    Result - still not stable. So I blamed the Radeon 9100 with questionable caps and added 120mm fan blowing on it.
    Still no help, rare crashes of game. Fast Writes disabled, AGP 4x (R9100 cannot go faster), 1 WS Write/Read used, Calibration ON.
    So I replaced the Radeon 9100 with GeFroce 6800GT, that have only 3 caps (Chemi-con polymers) and worked well for me before. Truth is a years ago... http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=189594

    Problems get worser. Even exiting SoF2 or Quake3 is impossible now. It always freeze on exit...! It get reasonably stable for playing, yet try save screenshot and it crash ASAP. So I try lower the AGP rate (allow me to choose only 8x or 4x), disable Fast Writes, disable AGP Master 1 WS Write/Read and even disable AGP 3.0 Calibration Cycle (one by one). No help.
    So I toyed with the voltage, raising from 1.55 to 1.70 and no help either.

    Another thing that I added a huge nice heatsink on the NB, because the original one was pretty small and useless. And I discovered beneath it, that there was just a dip of white paste widely off center and that was it. Most of the heatsink did not even have contact with the chip...!
    So I tought - I got this! Laped a BIG heatsink, Arctic past used and screwed it tight on the NB... and again no help.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So the last thing to toy with is the AGP Driving Value. It can be changed from 00 to FF, defaut on Auto show DA.
    Dunno what will happen, but I run out of ideas right now.

    Therefore I'm open to ideas. About the caps - there is one about 10uF SMD cap at the very end of AGP port. This cap I did not replaced. Could this be the culprit? Any suggestion about the Driving Value? I think - try 0 (00), 32 (20), 64 (40), 96(60), 128 (80), 160 (A0), 192 (C0), 224 (E0) and 255 (FF) and see, witch of these values give the best stability?
    [​IMG]
     
  2. caps_buster

    caps_buster Just one crazy geek :)

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    memtest
    [​IMG]
    Granted. 7 hours of my sleep straight w/o a single error.

    Prime 95 memory test at the tightest timings the rams can handle - that means CL2!
    [​IMG]
    (2-3-2-7)

    And I would very much recommend the mobo stability, because there are damn good caps used for rams now:
    [​IMG]


    Prime 95 CPu test
    [​IMG]

    I improved the Vcore output flltering. Before bad 680uF Ost caps:
    [​IMG]
    ...and now a polymer Nichicon LE 820uF 2.5V supercaps:
    [​IMG]
     
  3. caps_buster

    caps_buster Just one crazy geek :)

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    HDD tests did not reveal any problem:

    [​IMG]

    ...so I think we can rule HDD or HDD cabled problem out of the question. Also I would noticed HDD errors, and they are nonexistant.



    ...but I suspecting the one cap that I did not replaced yet, because I did not trust caps at all after some failures. I would like to mention that the PC did not started correctly today. After a post it ended in endless loop with just the flicking lene char from dos "_" in the top left corner. Failing to enter the VGA mode once again. Reset fix that, but you know I suspect the cap:

    [​IMG]

    (the small, 10uF 16V (?) one that I did not yet replaced, the rest are replaced with quality Nichicons)


    After two hours of gaming the PC finally crashed (at first, it took two crash attempts to get SoF2 working, but once it is working, then things go smoothly - no more crashes in loading, as with Radeon 9100) and I took the oportunity to diassemble it right away and check temps and then voltages.

    Temps
    CPU Vcore regulators are lightly mildly warm, as if there is nothing going on. Clearly good surprise, they obviously benefit from the quality caps and even under load stays cool. Great.
    GFX card - cold, well cooled.
    But NB chipset cooler (and now it is a BIG one) is relatively warmer that expected. It is not like hot, but clearly I expected lesser temperature. So my idea that a better cooling is necessary might not be far off the reality what is need. That is why I get the Thermalright SI-128 SE... but the damn bottom scews are missing, so I cannot use it :(
    Rams are about the same temp, as the NB heatsink. Well warm, not hot, but warm.

    Voltages
    3.40V, 5.11V and 12.01V on the wires from PSU to HDD/GFX card. Directly on the GFX card connector there is a 11.99V, so the cables and connection give 0.02V drop. Not bad at all.
    Vbattery is 3.56V.
    But what I see as definitive BAD NEWS is the voltage I measured on the last not exchanged cap. And that is precisely 1.55V.
    Ring any bell? Yeees, this is the AGP voltage set in bios! So clearly this cap have something to do with the AGP and it is not at all impossible, that it could be the culprit behind the crashes.

    Because to me it seems that everytime the GFX card should change it's mode of operation (from TXT mode to VGA mode, from 2D to 3D...), then it is very likely to crash.
    Actually todays 4 times it hang on TXT mode to VGA mode switch, during all the resets and powering on and on again...

    Bottom line - dunno if this is caused by the exchange of GFX card or not, but time and bios settings are lost once again, even I put a new battery there.
    (I have to use small GFX card (old good Riva :) ) to be able to measure the voltage on the small SMD cap.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  4. caps_buster

    caps_buster Just one crazy geek :)

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    Before reinstaled, I installed the NETframework. Version 2.0 works, just install of v2.0 SP1 does not. But in both cases then the testing tools failed miserably:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So testing tools that require way too much are out of the question.


    MSI PM8M3-V bois v1.4 (+ unlocked v1.4) and v1.5 (+ unlocked v1.5):
    http://www.mediafire.com/?9npsvnsc8pmzhx1
    http://dfiles.eu/files/z5ar3lnbl
    http://www.uloz.to/xKAgfX51/MSI+PM8M3-V+bioses.zip


    But now I have the C (Win partition) backup w/o any drivers at all (no VIA 4+1, no sound driver and no Forceware driver) and after that installed. And the reinstall really helped. Call of Duty (1), Quake 3 or the cursed SoF2 not crashing on exit anymore!
    Hoooray!

    ...yet still they crash during longer gaming, witch I blame on the cap and overheating of almost everything inside. Mainly the GPU VRM (71°C with just small ATItool cube!) and the NB. The NB I plan to fix using the Thermalright SI-128 SE cooler (just get the missing female screws for P4) and the GPU VRM? Well, I don't know why it overheat that much. But maybe the Chemicon 330uF 16V SMD d10 polymers are not as good as they should be and a replacement of the TWO input caps on the card (the third and last cap on the board is 100uF suxxka) could help?
    Or add another caps for the voltage filtering of the 12V input?
    Or add a serious cooper custom made heatsink on the GPU VRM?
     
  5. caps_buster

    caps_buster Just one crazy geek :)

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