Not Shy's Guide To BIOS Settings / Memory & CPU Testing

Discussion in 'General Help' started by notshy, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. notshy

    notshy

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    Oct 14, 2010 at 10:38 PM #1
    notshy

    notshy

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    [​IMG]
    Hey guys,

    This is quite a long post but please have a read and I hope it helps some guys in getting their OSX build nice and stable!

    After having a few troubles with my OSX install - MacMan asked if I'd run Memtest / Prime95 / Burnt In my system and I didn't really have a clue what you was asking about. So off I went and did some research and spent some time on the forum for the guys who made my memory and realised that having things all set to auto and ignoring BIOS settings was a bit stupid and not surprised that my system was not 100% stable.

    So here goes .....

    BIOS Settings

    1. Update BIOS to latest one from motherboard manufacturer and also check that there is a DSDT for the new BIOS from the database - dsdt.php. BIOS updates fix many stability issues which will make your Hack more stable

    2. I would suggest following Lnx2Mac's excellent and detailed commentary post on how to configure your BIOS for a hack
    http://lnx2mac.blogspot.com/2010/07/optimal-bios-configuration.html
    It is a very good guide for settings for a gigabyte BIOS and many of the settings should be the same across different MOBOs but note the points below about different RAM and CPU settings depending on what gear you have.

    Some good general points to help your hackintosh run smoothly and also help with sleep are the following:

    - Setting Advanced CPU Features to ENABLED (rather than Auto)
    - No-Execute Memory Protect = Enabled
    - Init Display First = PCIE x16-1 (and make sure that your Graphics Card is in the 1st slot)
    - Disable any SATA ports that you aren't using
    - SATA Control Mode = AHCI for ALL SATA ports with HDs plugged in - please use ports 1-6 first. I had sleep issues when I had a Win 7 drive in one of the other SATA ports
    - ACPI Suspend Type = S3 (STR)
    - HPET Support = Enabled
    - HPET Mode = 64-bit mode



    3. However after having a few issues I wanted to make sure that my RAM settings were correct so off I went to my memory's supplier's website to check what the correct settings were for my memory. The key settings for my memory were the following settings - CAS-TRCD / TRP / TRAS / tRFC / Command Rate / RAM voltage / VTT/QPI voltage. After a bit of searching a Q&A on the memory suppliers forum I found out the optimal settings for these from the vendors official forum moderators

    4. Also a key setting is BCLK, base clock speed which effects memory speed and also CPU speed, so If you change it once make sure that you adjust your memory multiplier and also the CPU multiplier to make sure that you aren't overclocking one or the other of these.

    For a Gigabyte X58A BIOS template please see the attachments section of this post. Use this template to fill out your BIOS settings if you want me to take a look! Either for normal use or for overclocking settings.


    Testing / Burning In Components

    1. Some of the info that I've read from the TonyMac community, and I would agree in my experiences so far is that, Windows is much better set up with OverClocking monitoring and hardware testing programs that OSX

    2. If possible, once you have OSX installed, use an old/small SATA HD to install windows on a separate HD (easier than having more than one OS on one drive, but there are many many guides out there on how to do it but you can save a bit of time with having a second HD)



    Memory Testing

    1. There are many different applications out there to test memory but one of the most well respected tests and the name that comes up time and time again is Memtest and the updated Memtest86+ (http://www.memtest.org/)

    2. Very easily you can burn an ISO to CD that you can boot from or if you have Windows, you can download their EXE file to make a USB key bootable with the program.

    3. Restart your system, use F12 key to get boot menu and then boot from CD or USB-HDD.

    4. Allow Memtest to run.

    5. You will very quickly find out if you have a major problem with your memory settings, I got errors within first 5 seconds where I had wrong BIOS settings.

    6. However it is recommended that you run Memtest for as long as you can, over night is good, as the test can throw up issues on the second, third, eight pass of the program

    7. If you have issues, I'd suggest double checking your BIOS settings for your RAM including the speed, CAS settings, and voltages. I would also suggest trying one stick at a time and also in different ports, this will test if you have a bad stick of RAM that is causing the DDR2 or DDR3 to fail when they are all together, and also by moving around the RAM ports you can check if you have a bad motherboard RAM socket.

    8. If you are still having issues then I would head over to the support pages of your RAM manufacturer and find out some more info for your specific RAM chips and also add in your mother board manufacturer as all this can help find out any issues.



    CPU Testing

    1. There are again a whole host of programs out there to test your CPU and also monitor your systems temperatures in Windows.

    2. A program for watching temperatures that I used was SpeedFan and was told that it was fairly quick and didn't take up much resources for it to run itself (http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php) But also there are some programs that may come with your motherboard, the gigabyte CustoMac motherboard definitely does.

    3. Two programs which I've used for testing the CPU testing were IntelBurnTest for Intel CPUs (http://www.google.com/search?q=intelburntest) latest version was 2.5 at the time of writing and I also used Prime95 (http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft/)

    4. The reason for having both SpeedFan and the CPU testing programs is that you should watch your CPU temperatures and other temperatures of your system when running these CPU testing programs, if you haven,t got your heat sink mounted properly, used too much thermal paste, or any other issues with the cooling of your CPU, you can damage your CPU very easily if you let it run very hot for any period of time.

    5. Depending on the speed of your cooler and the ambient temperature of your computer's home, the idle temperatures of your CPU should be in the 30-40 C range and under stress tests can be up to around 60-70 C. Unless you really know what you are doing and have some experience in OverClocking then I would suggest that if you CPU temp is any higher than 70 and you should stop any stress testing immediately as it is likely that either there is a problem with your heat sink / fan combo or that you should double check your BIOS settings that you have for your CPU to check you haven't been overclocking it.

    6. There's lots of different schools on thought on stress testing and which is the best application to use however I've found these two quite useful, IntelBurnTest puts the CPU under a very high level of stress for very short periods and gives a quick output of how well your CPU fared and if any data was lost. Prime95 should be run for longer periods and will give a better long term view of how your machine will cope under high CPU stress for sustained periods (more similar to music production, video editing, etc)

    7. I would try Prime95 on a Blend Test first for 30 mins, 1 hour keeping a very close eye on your hardware temperatures, see if any errors come up. The Blend Test tests both the RAM and the CPU so it is a good introductory stress test to run for your whole system.

    8. If your system passes that Blend Test for the shorter period then I would consider running an IntelBurnTest on 5 passes with everything else on auto and check if any errors come up from the test. The IntelBurnTest has been said that it gets your CPU up to 10-20 C hotter than a Prime95 test hence some people believe it is a more extreme test than Prime95 and can route out any issues quickly. The test should run in under 10 minutes and it's worth watching the temps of this while it runs also.

    9. If it passes that test then I would consider running a Prime95 test for up to 24 hours to check how your system fairs in a long term stress scenario. This will also "Burn In" your components, give all your components a full stretch and get them properly warmed up. There's plenty of reading that you can do about the different types of Prime95 tests that you can run, running more than one test at once and running different FFT versions (for example, a bit outdated on version numbers but still a good read http://www.playtool.com/pages/prime95/prime95.html) and also Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime95).


    As said earlier there are many different tools out there to test the hardware build of your system and the majority of them are on Windows. It's worth while having a look into some of these programs and also your BIOS settings to make sure that your system is set up to work as per the instructions of your memory provider and also that your system will be stable in the future.

    None of this is a full proof guide however running these programs should give you a fairly good idea of if you have your hardware set up correctly. Also it is very good to do this with newly assembled machines so that you can diagnose if you have any bad hardware whilst you are still in your RMA with your retailer and also manufacturer.

    It may seem like a dull thing to do when you've just built your new hack and would like to dive off into the world of OSX and installing programs etc. However it can save you a lot of time, effort and expense in the long run to make sure that you have a rock solid build first, get the settings all set up right, and then go off and play with your machine to your hearts content. Plus if you are having some issues any any point with your install - then I'm guessing that one of the first questions coming your way from one of the moderators or community will be "Have you run Memtest/Prime95?"
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2016
  2. MacMan

    MacMan Administrator Staff Member

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    Oct 15, 2010 at 1:16 AM #2
    MacMan

    MacMan Administrator Staff Member

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    Nice job!
    :clap: :clap: :clap:
    :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:
     
  3. Lnx2Mac

    Lnx2Mac

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    Oct 15, 2010 at 1:34 AM #3
    Lnx2Mac

    Lnx2Mac

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    Not Shy,

    Kudos on this nice (and much needed) write up ! :clap: :clap: :clap:
    :wave:
     
  4. tonymacx86

    tonymacx86 Administrator Staff Member

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    Oct 15, 2010 at 2:49 AM #4
    tonymacx86

    tonymacx86 Administrator Staff Member

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    Just made it an announcement/sticky in this forum. ;) Good work!
     
  5. notshy

    notshy

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    Oct 15, 2010 at 9:31 AM #5
    notshy

    notshy

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    Cheers guys, I hope it helps some people with their builds and also helps people make sure they have solid builds.
    :ugeek: :ugeek:
     
  6. jeremydt

    jeremydt

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    Oct 18, 2010 at 2:12 PM #6
    jeremydt

    jeremydt

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    +1

    Looking forward to following this guide.
     
  7. jeremydt

    jeremydt

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    Oct 23, 2010 at 3:23 AM #7
    jeremydt

    jeremydt

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    Is anyone able to make sense of, what to me is, gibberish :)
     

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  8. MacMan

    MacMan Administrator Staff Member

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    Oct 23, 2010 at 5:39 AM #8
    MacMan

    MacMan Administrator Staff Member

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    You have some seriously sick RAM that needs to be replaced.
     
  9. jeremydt

    jeremydt

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    Oct 23, 2010 at 6:22 AM #9
    jeremydt

    jeremydt

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    figured that's what it meant! Brand new ram, so, lucky I did this today before it becomes a week old!
     
  10. jeremydt

    jeremydt

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    Oct 23, 2010 at 9:57 AM #10
    jeremydt

    jeremydt

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    Well, I found what I believe to be the faulty stick.

    I couldn't reproduce the error by testing the sticks individually, so after trial and error of a number of different combinations, I found that whenever this faulty stick went in as the 4th , 5th or 6th there was a failure. No errors when I ran it by itself, with one other, or with two others. It's within 7 day replacement so i'll take the whole PC down to the shop tomorrow in case they want to argue.
     

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