Issues – SATA and FSB

SATA Issues
I wish I can say that my experience with the Asus P5GD2 Premium was a bed of roses, but this was not the case. The most pressing issue I had was with the Intel SATA controller on the board. For some reason the system would reboot and subsequently fail during initialization of the Western Digital WD1200JD (120GB SATA) and halt boot-up.

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Asus P5GD2 failing to boot from SATA.

Clearing the CMOS, removing the battery, upgrading and playing with BIOS settings did nothing to fix the error. Once I manage to have it booting fine (which usually meant multiple unplugs and resets), I do not reset it for fear of running into this problem again.

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Bizarre BIOS information during a failed SATA boot attempt.
Wow! I now have a 750GB HDD! 🙂

I don’t think my configuration is special in any way, and the same hardware configuration worked on other 915P boards using Intel ICH6R. Doing some research on the web and at other forums, I did not see anyone with similar problems. Just something to be aware of in case it happens to you.

Update (Jan 18, 2005):
The problem seems to go away (or at least seemed more stable) if you increase the chipset voltage. I observed this improvement during my overclocking tests with this motherboard. If you encounter this problem, try boosting the chipset voltage to 1.6V instead of “Auto”.

Do the Funky FSB
As far back as my review of the Asus A7N8X-E and possibly a lot farther back than that, Asus has been doing some funky overclocking of the FSB at default settings. On the A7N8X-E, it meant the memory running at 202MHz, even though it’s set to 200MHz in the BIOS. Regardless of how you configured the BIOS, this overclock was there.

Here on the P5GD2 Premium, Asus continues doing some funny FSB overclocking which goes contrary to what is set in the BIOS. This time, if you set the frequency to anything over 199MHz, Asus would overclock it another 2MHz.

ASUS BIOS Reports

CPU-Z Reports

199 MHz

199 MHz

200 MHz

202 MHz

202 MHz

204 MHz

204 MHz

206 MHz

Here’s an example of how it appears in Windows. With a BIOS setting of 200MHz, CPU-Z identifies the frequency as 202MHz, whereas the Asus software shows an incorrect 200MHz. If you bother to do the math, Asus’ own tool is contradicting itself – 200MHz x 18 is not 3640MHz!

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Asus and its BIOS mis-reports the true FSB frequency of 202MHz.
(Click to Enlarge)

I’m not going to speculate as to why Asus’ boards have some sort of overclocking that can’t be easily disabled, but on this particular P5GD2 I managed to figure out a work-around to this overclocking.

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Asus now reports the true FSB after doing a work-around.
(Click to Enlarge)

As you can see in the above picture, both CPU-Z and Asus’ tool are now showing the correct frequency values. With this solution under our belts, we managed to perform all benchmarks and tests (exception being the Winstone benchmarks) without a 2MHz tilt in Asus’ favour.

So if you’re reading other Asus P5GD2 reviews on the web, keep in mind that their published results may include a 2MHz overclock inflating the results slightly.

I hope Asus fixes this apparent difference in reporting FSB and provide options to disable the default overclocking.

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