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Thread: Back in the saddle looking for tips




  1. #1
    khronoe is offline Junior Member
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    Arrow Back in the saddle looking for tips

    Greetings!

    I've just joined up after having purchased my new gear and assembling my system. I've just completed my first ground up build in a number of years and naturally things have changed quite a bit since I last did a system build. Mind you I've still been tinkering off and on, but mostly on old system, and all Intel. My new system is the first AMD system that I've built in almost 15 years so there are some things that I'm not quite sure about and would appreciate some tips. I've not had much time to search the forums or do a tremendous amount of additional research yet, but will be doing so. So, if there are links to the questions that I ask here, I'll thank you ahead of time if you answer with that, I'll gladly read it. I'm mostly getting my questions laid out while they are on my mind and will even answer them myself if I find them before anyone posts a response.

    I've posted all my gear in my profile and I'm assuming that's visible to all registered members (at least I set my profile that way). But a quick overview:

    ASRock 990FX Extreme4 board
    AMD FX-8350 CPU
    8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 PC15000 1866 RAM
    2 GB EVGA Nvidia Geforce 660
    EVGA NEX650 650 Watt power supply
    750 GB Seagate 2.5" SSD hybrid
    Corsair Carbide 500R case

    I have some other drives in the system as well but those are the primary specs.

    So far, the only hardware issue that I've had since I built it is the AMD stock fan sounds terrible. I mean it runs and keeps the system nice and cool but it always has this very slight rattle to it. I fully intend to replace the stock fan as soon as I can afford to get a new cooler (considering the Corsair Hydro Series H110 since it fits my case) but I will need to run this one for just a bit longer. I'm not sure if this is a trait of these stock coolers or if I should contact AMD for a replacement, thoughts?

    Aside from that, most of my questions at this point relate to the UEFI settings since I'm unfamiliar with a lot of it at this point. So, here goes....

    1) The board I have can use X-Boost. So first of all, is this feature worth using? As with any overclocking, I can expect it might cause some stability and heat issues, but does anyone really use it successfully in practice?

    2) I configured my SATA controller to AHCI and enabled the AMD AHCI BIOS. I have also turned off SATA IDE Combined setting. I want to be able to hotplug drives in a drive bay that I installed and as I understand this is the way it should be configured. I have reserved all of the six SATA ports from the AMD controller for hard drives and installed my DVD+RW drive on Port 7 of the Marvel controller, also with AHCI enabled (I want use the eSATA port, which uses SATA Port 8). I really just want some verification here that I have configured this correctly and would like to know of any potential pitfalls.

    3) I have turned on all of the power saving features for the processor but have read that running the AMD Cool 'N Quite could cause some issues. This is a gaming system, so I'm aware that it's going to make some noise and put out some heat; however, if keeping those things turned on isn't a problem then I'd love for it to use less power when not gaming...but I'm also not opposed to disabling that stuff if it's going to cause some problems. So my big question here would be, using the FX-8350, should I turn off any/some/all of those features to avoid issues (if any)?

    4) I noticed on my RAM settings that while set to Auto on all of the configurations, my RAM was clocked at 1333 versus the 1866 it's supposed to be set for? And if I run HWiNFO it says it's clocked at 933? Now I ask this question not having done any preemptive reading on the matter, but I'm curious if I need to change the settings? This morning I set it to use the XMP 1.3 Profile and chose the 1866 clock speed and I *think* everything is OK but I'm still unsure on this at the moment.

    5) IOMMU - I've read only a little about this and the default is disabled. At a glance, this seems to be related primarily to running VM's? So unless I'm going to do some fairly regular virtualization I shouldn't need this? And if I did enable it, should I expect any issues?

    6) I've installed all of the drivers that came with the board, but I typically don't install a lot of the utilities that board manufactures send with them. I did try some of these however and they seem to work very well. The only one that I question is the Fast LAN utility. Does anyone use this on a regular basis? It seems like it's constantly running and shaping the traffic but I'm unsure if it really provides any benefit?

    Again, thanks in advance everyone! And I look forward to becoming a regular part of this community!

  2. #2
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Back in the saddle looking for tips

    I'm not an AMD person, but I can answer your general questions.

    Using AHCI mode is always best, whether using SSDs or HDDs. If someone must use an old IDE drive, then they're stuck configuring it that way, but IMO that is not worth any compromise with the other drives. Some mobo manufactures do not recommend using an optical drive (DVD, BD) on the Marvell SATA interface, since apparently it won't work correctly. IMO, just see if it works on the Marvell controller, and if not don't bother diagnosing it, just move the connection to an AMD port.

    Don't forget that DDR means Dual Data Rate memory. So while the actual operating frequency is say 800MHz, the true speed is 1600, twice/double the frequency. BIOS settings for memory currently display the actual speed, 1333, 1866, etc, but some monitoring programs will display the actual frequency. So if you are seeing 933MHz, your speed is really 1866, 933 x 2.

    Almost all memory will default to a lower speed than the advertised highest speed, for compatibility purposes. Manufactures cannot predict if the board/CPU a user has can handle the highest speed, so rather than have the PC fail to boot at a high memory speed, the high speed must be manually selected.

    The 8350 CPU can be a very power hungry processor, particularly when over clocked. It is well worth trying to use the CPU power saving features, and IMO any issues when using them are not a given. I always use them on Intel systems, and they work fine, no issues. I see people claiming the same thing about the Intel CPU power saving options, but I've never had problems using them, and all my PCs are over clocked to moderate levels. An 8350 idling but at high/full clock speeds all the time is something I would try to avoid.

    XFast LAN seems to be most useful if you are constantly downloading large files from slow sites, and also gaming online. You can then configure the priority of your Internet usage. I don't use it since I'm not that kind of user.

  3. #3
    khronoe is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Back in the saddle looking for tips

    Great info, thanks for the reply. I feel a little better now knowing I did everything pretty much correctly. Going back, I see now that one of the issues that I had was trying to enable Ultra Fast boot and didn't realize the contingencies there. My video card didn't support GOP but I got EVGA to send me a UEFI update for it that enables that feature. Now I'm probably going to reload my system and have it use UEFI boot just to see if I gain any performance.

  4. #4
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    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Back in the saddle looking for tips

    Don't forget to disable the CSM option in the BIOS, no idea where it is in your BIOS. That is the "switch" to enable UEFI booting. Your OS drive will be formatted as GPT, and after the Windows 8 installation, you should find "Windows Boot Manager" as the primary boot device.

    Intel onboard (on CPU) graphics support GOP, don't know about AMD. The Vbios update for your video card is essential for UEFI booting.

  5. #5
    khronoe is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Back in the saddle looking for tips

    OK, so I installed my SSD and found the option you were referring to parsec, CSM. On my board, I have to enable RAID versus AHCI and that's when it says I have RAID with GPT. So...I reboot and go into the UEFI shell and run the disk manager utility as it specifies in the UEFI instructions and configure my SSD there (the only option I changed was the default sector size from 512 to 4096). This is where I setup a RAID configuration and I chose "Raid Ready" because that was the only option that would work (didn't try JBOD since it was only one disk). That seems to work and when I reboot to my USB drive to install Windows, it sees the drive but I can't proceed any further because it says I can't install on that partition.

    I've tried manually loading the drivers, formatting the partition and several other things. I feel good that I've gotten this far pretty much on my own but I know I'm still missing something. One of the videos that I watch had dual SSDs in RAID 0 and I'm hoping that's not what I have to do. I have a Surface Pro at work and it does secure boot to a single SSD so I know there has to be a way to do it, just not sure if this board supports single Ultra Fast Boot to a single SSD.

    Note that "Fast Boot" does work and it works very well. I just wanted to figure out Ultra Fast boot just to do it.

  6. #6
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Back in the saddle looking for tips

    Quote Originally Posted by khronoe View Post
    OK, so I installed my SSD and found the option you were referring to parsec, CSM. On my board, I have to enable RAID versus AHCI and that's when it says I have RAID with GPT. So...I reboot and go into the UEFI shell and run the disk manager utility as it specifies in the UEFI instructions and configure my SSD there (the only option I changed was the default sector size from 512 to 4096). This is where I setup a RAID configuration and I chose "Raid Ready" because that was the only option that would work (didn't try JBOD since it was only one disk). That seems to work and when I reboot to my USB drive to install Windows, it sees the drive but I can't proceed any further because it says I can't install on that partition.

    I've tried manually loading the drivers, formatting the partition and several other things. I feel good that I've gotten this far pretty much on my own but I know I'm still missing something. One of the videos that I watch had dual SSDs in RAID 0 and I'm hoping that's not what I have to do. I have a Surface Pro at work and it does secure boot to a single SSD so I know there has to be a way to do it, just not sure if this board supports single Ultra Fast Boot to a single SSD.

    Note that "Fast Boot" does work and it works very well. I just wanted to figure out Ultra Fast boot just to do it.
    First I must say I've never UEFI booted on an AMD system. I don't understand why the AMD RAID installation guide seems to imply you should use a RAID volume in order to use the Ultra Fast boot option. Using a RAID volume is certainly not a requirement in any UEFI booting guide I've seen. I've used (and currently use) Windows 8 with both RAID volumes and single SSDs as the OS drive, using Ultra Fast boot, which works fine. That is on Intel systems.

    Questions, you said: On my board, I have to enable RAID versus AHCI and that's when it says I have RAID with GPT.

    Where does it say that? Seems odd IMO. On all my UEFI booting installations, Windows does the formatting of the OS drive, whether single or RAID 0 volume. Of course I had to create the RAID 0 volume first, but it is unformatted when the Windows installation is done. IMO, your pre-formatted drive is causing the problem.

    Here is a guide to installing Windows 8 for UEFI booting, it does not mention any SATA mode, since that is not required. If it is, that guide needs an update for AMD systems, but I'm skeptical about that.

    UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) - Install Windows 8 with

    Secure boot and Ultra Fast boot (two different things) do not depend on or need a RAID volume. Ultra Fast boot is a modification of Windows Hibernate, that stores the OS Kernel parameters in a hibernate-type file, which are used to decrease start up time. Add to that the faster POST time of UEFI vs BIOS firmware, and you have Ultra Fast boot.

    BTW, Ultra Fast boot is only a few seconds faster than Fast boot. UEFI POST and booting is what is really faster, I can have Fast Boot set to Disabled with a UEFI booting system, and the difference between that and Ultra Fast is ~five seconds.

  7. #7
    khronoe is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Back in the saddle looking for tips

    I agree with everything you're saying parsec, at least from my traditional background and a common sense perspective, hence my being stumped by the issue. I did get this working last night though and here's what I found out for those who are interested...

    1) On this board you must set the SATA mode to RAID and it will say UEFI with GPT, which is how you disable CSM in this UEFI. There is no standalone option to disable CSM.
    2) Once I did that, I had to boot into the UEFI shell and run the RAID configuration utility from the command line and setup the drive in "RAID Ready" mode. It would not let me configure the drive as RAID 0.
    3) Even after that, I still couldn't get it working. I have Windows 8 on my USB drive for installs and it would see the drive just fine but because it was a GPT partition it wouldn't let me install. After reading a couple more guides I discovered the issue was my USB drive being formatted with NTFS, which was done by default by the Windows 7/8 USB Install utility. Ironically enough, that was the only time I've ever used that utility and had just decided to give it a try. This time I just used Rufus to create the USB install drive and that is when it allowed me to see the UEFI boot option for my USB drive.
    4) Boot from UEFI: <usb drive="" name="" here=""> and run the Windows installer and everything worked from there.

    So, now UEFI boot is working I'm starting to tweak things. Despite the fact that it's working now, it's not as fast as when I had it in CSM mode using the Fast Boot option. So either there's something else that I need to configure or it's only going to be fast coming from Hibernate. From a cold boot, Fast Boot was faster, at least so far.

    Another weird side effect is my Marvell Controller is now misbehaving. That's not really a surprise but I don't think that's coincidence. Before configuring the AMD controller in RAID mode, the Marvell controller worked fine and now whenever I install the drivers, I get a BSD. After a reboot, the controller has a warning on it with an I/O error. So for now I've disabled that controller in UEFI until I figure it out. I had it configured in AHCI mode originally because I wanted to use the eSATA port (which on this board the built in eSATA port is on port 8, the second port on the Marvell controller from what I've read).</usb>

  8. #8
    khronoe is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Back in the saddle looking for tips

    So an update and a couple of other small things..

    So far UEFI boot is still working OK except for one problem which I can only guess is related to that, whenever my machine goes into sleep mode, it often will not resume. I have left the standard Windows Balanced Power settings as they are and after it goes to sleep it will attempt to resume but doesn't get past the power on light. I get no lights on my mouse or keyboard and no hard drive activity lights. Even after a reboot it will not resume when it does this, I have to cut the power on the power supply and then it will resume. I have disabled the IDE/1394 Controller, removed an extra PCI card I had, disconnected my DVD drive and left the standard power settings as they are in UEFI.

    Seeing as I'm relatively new to UEFI booting and this is the first time I've configured it I'm sure it's something that I'm missing. I've yet to have time to research the problem in depth and just figured the pattern out last night. This has been happening since I switched to UEFI boot and only gotten progressively worse. Note that I did install the SSD at the same time when I configured UEFI boot so I suppose that could be part of the issue as well, although I wouldn't imagine so.

    Also, I've not yet tried switching back from Ultra Fast to Fast, I may try that this evening.

  9. #9
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    profJim is online now Chief Munchkin + moderator
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    Default Re: Back in the saddle looking for tips

    Have you tried to resume from sleep by pressing the power on switch on the front of your case?
    Q9650 @ 4.10GHz [9x456MHz]
    P35-DS4 [rev: 2.0] ~ Bios: F14
    4x2GB OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 1094MHz @5-5-5-15
    MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack (1GB) video card <---- SLI ---->
    Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 Plus Platinum psu (660w)
    WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data)
    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD (boot)
    SLI @ 16/4 works when running HyperSLI
    Cooler Master 120XL Seidon push/pull AIO cpu water cooling
    Cooler Master HAF XB computer case (RC-902XB-KKN1)
    Asus VH242H 24" monitor [1920x1080]
    MSI N460GTX Hawk (1GB) video card
    Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium
    HT|Omega Claro plus+ sound card
    CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS
    E6300 (R0) @ 3.504GHz [8x438MHz] ~~ P35-DS3L [rev: 1.0] ~ Bios: F9 ~~ 4x2GB Kingston HyperX T1 PC2-8500, 876MHz @4-4-4-10
    Seasonic X650 80+ gold psu (650w) ~~ Xigmatek Balder HDT 1283 cpu cooler ~~ Cooler Master CM 690 case (RC-690-KKN1-GP)
    Samsung 830 128GB SSD MZ-7PC128B/WW (boot) ~~ WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data) ~~ ZM-MFC2 fan controller
    HT|Omega Striker 7.1 sound card ~~ Asus VH242H monitor [1920x1080] ~~ Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium ~~ CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD U.P.S
    .


  10. #10
    khronoe is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Back in the saddle looking for tips

    Hmm, you know that's a good point, I always resume by keyboard and mouse. Small thing but that could make a big difference and I should have thought of it. Always great to have an outside perspective =). I'll try that as well, /facepalm.

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