With a hot
little AMD Athlon64 3800+ in hand, we embarked on pushing the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum to its
overclocking limits. A pair of Corsair Memory TwinX 3200 XL DDR modules were installed, the heatsink slapped
on, and the power switch thrown.
The first item on the list was to lower the clock multiplier to 8x so
that the CPU would not be our limiting factor. After that, the Front Side Bus of
the MSI K8N Neo2 was slowly raised...
Unlike the Gigabyte
produced nForce3 Ultra motherboard we tested just a few days ago, the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum just didn't take to overclocking at first. With its
original BIOS, even raising the motherboard clock speed to 201 MHz caused the
system not to POST. The BIOS was flashed to a new revision, and then
the overclocking really began. At 205 MHz the K8N Neo2 ran into memory problems, but raising the memory voltage
to 2.85V solved that.
As we continued upwards, the board hit another roadblock at 220
MHz which necessitated us enabling the 5:4 memory divider. With it enabled, the board eventually maxed
out at 236MHz FSB.
Looking Around The BIOS
nForce3 based motherboards no longer
put the memory timing options in the advanced chipset features section. Instead we
get all the usual AGP tweaks we'd expect from a motherboard.
the CoreCell menu are the DRAM configuration settings. HT Frequency can be adjusted from
1 GHz to 200 MHz, although you probably won't want to decrease it. AMD's
special Cool 'n' Quiet feature is here but disabled by default.
can also adjust the CPU multiplier in whole numbers from 4x-12x (maximum our 3800+
will allow). The motherboard clock speed can be adjusted from 200-350 MHz in 1 MHz
increments, and the AGP can be locked at pretty much any speed you like.
Maximum CPU voltage is 1.85V, memory 2.85V and AGP at 1.85V.
Inside the DRAM configuration menu we see
all the usual memory timings tweaks we'd expect from a high performance
motherboard; CAS Latency, RAS to CAS and Row Precharge time.