Messing with My Computer

This weekend I was toying with SiSoft Sandra, a computer benchmarking and reporting suite, running benchmarks to see how my computer stacked up with other similar ones.

I’d done this a while ago (I got this computer in February and maybe had it running a couple weeks in, but I’ve been too occupied lately to really check it out) and noticed that my scores were pretty low.

So this time I finally had some time and a little more knowledge (gleaned from excellent forums out there) about overclocking. After cutting my memory multiplier to 5/6, but upping the CPU, DRAM, and Chipset voltages, I was able to get the processor to run at 2.5GHz from the default 2GHz. This is a great increase. I could probably up it even more given safe temperature readings (still around 32-35). That’s why I got these computer parts. High degree of overclockability.

I figured out that my Sandra benches after overclocking my CPU were about at half of what they should be. Well, my processor was a dual-core, so maybe it wasn’t using both?

Turns out that that’s right. After re-installing Windows to try to change the HAL layer to “ACPI Multiprocessor PC” but having no luck, and then noticing after removing the boot-up splash to reveal that only one core (cpu0) shows on the boot screen, I realized that my dual-core wasn’t even working right! And I’d never noticed, since the computer has never really buckled even when running intensive applications.

So I tried all sorts of things. I upgraded AMD drivers, reinstalled WINXP SP2 MCE 2002 (rolled up to 2005) from scratch, tried the Microsoft dual-core fix. I tried forcing HAL updates. I updated to the latest BIOS for my board.

I found some things I missed. Two power connectors weren’t connected to the motherboard, which according to a rep for the mobo I have in one forum I read are necessary for stability. I also moved my RAM chips to the setup required for dual channel RAM.

Obviously in building a computer from scratch after not having a new one for a few years, I didn’t know my shit on the new tech. So I’m not surprised that I never noticed that I was running single channel RAM. I also never suspected both cores weren’t being recognized — the CPU is reported correctly.

But now I know, and I don’t know what to do to fix it. I’m thinking I should just try XP Corp or even XP Pro x64. I dunno. It sounds like a BIOS/mobo error to me, but believe it or not none of the sites I go to for information talk about this kind of situation.

I figure I’ll just try another Windows install to see if that will detect my dual-cores.

Otherwise I am stumped. I might work on it next weekend as a project.

I do like having dual channel RAM now with a CPU greatly overclocked. I just wish I could figure out how to enable both cores!