Chaintech VNF3-250 and Quiet N Cool


Well, I tried to get my DFI Lanparty board working and I’m pretty sure I toasted it. At least I tried the Seasonic Supertornado 400 against a known good machine and it worked fine. Also put the memory in and the OCZ memory seems good. So, now I just have to wait for the new power supply. I fear though that the Lanparty board or worse yet the X2 3800+ is dead. We’ll see.
In the main time, reminded me to upgrade my old Chaintech with latest BIOS. Tried to install the latest Quiet N Cool drivers, but this caused the system to hang. Windows XP SP2 and the latest AMD Processor Driver “”: cause the system to hang on boot. It is quite funky, but you have to go to Start/Control Panel/Power and set it for Minimal Power Management and load that driver, but I’ve never been able to get it to work.
Also, some note on “PC Perspective”: that Quiet N Cool doesn’t work on the Chaintech VNF3-250 if there are two sockets worth of DRAM. How is that for strange interaction 🙂
How to use WinFlash Utility. This is the utility to flash the Chaintech BIOS from Windows. Never mind that it says that it is for ECS, appears to work on any Award BIOS machine.
“”: These folks keep track of all the BIOS for Chaintech with some documentation. The latest official version as of today is the VN120321 which is the March 21, 2005 driver. It says that it mainly changed the Memory Timing to 2T. The previous version is VN120A19 (love that name) also called Version 4, this added Cool’N’Quiet support (but that hung my machine).
“”: Instructions for the completely paranoid that show you how to flash very safely and also how to recover a flash. Basically, you need to have a boot floppy and then use a commandline program awdflash.exe to update things. The command goes into autoexec.bat and is “awdflash.exe _old.bios.file_ /py /sn”
“RM Clock”: is a pretty cool open source project that lets you adjust just about all clocking stuff.

For the true afictionados, the various BIOS have different characteristics, so just loading the latest one is *not* the answer. Here’s a short summary from “”: that essentially
* With newer 90nm Sempron, the 07/29 BIOS didn’t properly recognize all the memory it was running (BIOS showed 1/2 whatever was installed). This doesn’t seem to be a problem with Athlon 64 Newcastle. The 07/29 BIOS has the best 3D performance, and I don’t remember if it has vCore adjustment or not. The memory being read incorrectly by the BIOS didn’t cause any performance issues, but I was unable to install Painkiller with it, as the game checks for a minimum memory amount (>256MB). CPU-Z reported the full 512MB, even tho the BIOS/Windows did not.
* March ’05 BIOS solves the memory reporting problem. However, there’s no vCore adjustment for Semprons (at least 90nm ones) in that BIOS
* So if you’re planning on OC’ing, you’ll need to go for the September or October ’04 BIOS (I don’t remember which one has the vCore adjustment). This isn’t an issue for Athlon 64s it appears.
* The newest (Beta) 09/05 BIOS seems to have similar 3D performance as the 07/29 BIOS, but it seems to be missing the vCore adjustment for Semprons as well. Unfortunately, seems you can’t have it all!!
Keep in mind, my experiences are with a 90nm version, so that 130nm version may have none of these issues. Other folks complain that it doesn’t resume from S3 properly (actually, my machine has never even with the 10 ’04 BIOS) and they claim it has a problem with flipping to 1T command rate, although this hasn’t happened on my Newcastle.

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