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AOpen i945Ga-PHS Motherboard Review

AOpen i945Ga-PHS Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The motherboard is a pretty well rounded platform, it even supports HDTV component output (Y, Pb, Pr) by default!
 76% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: AOpen Dec 03 2005   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > AOpen i945Ga-PHS

Overclocking Test Report and BIOS

Overclocking Results:
Stock Max. OC
Motherboard Speed: 200 MHz

237 MHz

If you're new to Overclocking and not sure what to do, check out these two excellent Guides for some pointers:
Overclocking the CPU and Memory
Overclocking the Videocard

The AOpen i945Ga-PHS motherboard is really built with an eye towards home theatre duty, but that doesn't mean we're going to skip over the overclocking tests!

First we set the memory to run in 533 MHz mode, this way the DDR2 will not max out before the motherboard. Next we had a look through the BIOS to see what controls were available for tweaking... The AOpen i945Ga-PHS lacks the ability to change the CPU voltage, so the options are limited from the start.

Starting at 200 MHz FSB, the speed was increased in 5 MHz intervals. The motherboard handled light overclocking quite well, and hit 220 MHz before things started to become unstable. At that speed, the system would randomly BSOD while loading WindowsXP, or when running certain 3D benchmarks. Increasing the Northbridge voltage to 1.6V helped bring back overclocked stability to the system.

Overclocking moved forwards, but eventually became unstable around the 240 MHz mark. The AOpen i945Ga-PHS had a hard time POSTing, and would not boot into the OS consistently. An increase of chipset voltage didn't solve this. Lowering the FSB a few MHz, to 237 MHz, allowed the system to regain functionality once again. But, that's about all the AOpen i945Ga-PHS could muster.

Experts Tip: Got A Problem? Try A BIOS Flash Update
Even the best engineers can't foresee every possible combination of hardware now, and several months down the road. Hardware compatibility problems spring up all the time, and luckily the vast majority can be fixed with a straightforward update of the motherboard BIOS by flashing the CMOS. If a system is behaves oddly after an upgrade, have a look at the manufacturers website for possible BIOS revisions that are more current than what's being used. If there is a newer revision, download the appropriate BIOS and flash the CMOS with the appropriate software application. Most manufacturers will provide an easy to use Windows application for this, but generally speaking the DOS versions are safer. PCSTATS has a full guide on flashing a motherboard BIOS right here, and lucky for you we've also covered videocard BIOS flashing.
Comments and Feedback? Suggest a Tweak.

The AOpen BIOS:

The BIOS options for the AOpen i945Ga-PHS motherboard are mostly geared towards its integrated features. Overclocking is supported with a limited set of options. In the Advanced Chipset Features section we find the memory settings such as CAS Latency, RAS to CAS Delay and RAS Precharge, as well as the ability to adjust the speed of the memory.

Onboard video options do not really allow for much tweaking, although users can adjust the TV Out formatting between NTSC and PAL for global compatibility.

In the Frequency/Voltage Control section of the i945Ga-PHS motherboard's BIOS we find the FSB options which are adjustable from 100-400 MHz, in 1 MHz increments. AOpen's Power Master option is an automatic overclocking tool. It can also be used to make the system run very quietly by scaling back CPU fan speed. The DDR2 memory voltage can be increased to 2.15V, and the i945G northbridge power up to 1.7V. CPU voltage options appeared to be locked out in our test case.

Up next, the test system specs and full benchmark results.

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Contents of Article: AOpen i945Ga-PHS
 Pg 1.  AOpen i945Ga-PHS Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  PCI Express Videocard Jumpers
 Pg 3.  — Overclocking Test Report and BIOS
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: SYSMark 2004
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbech 99
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, PCMark05
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, 3DMark05
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: UT2003, UT2004
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: Doom 3, Conclusions

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