Asus M2NVP-VM Unlock Phenom II X2

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First let me say it's been a very very long time since I've walked
these grounds.  Hoping there are still some experts floating around
that can answer my questions....

I've ordered a Phenom II X2 555 to put into an Asus M2NVP-VM (5005
BIOS).  I've done some reading about how to unlock the this CPU to an
X3/X4 but not sure this BIOS is going to have the options to do so.
Will have to wait and see but wanted to get some ideas before hand...

1 - Has anyone used this mobo to unlock an X2 to an X3/X4?

2 - Does anyone know if it is possible to use a pin-mod to unlock the
cores? (like years ago when you could select different voltages on
celerons by jumpering pins on the CPU)

3 - Anyone know where to find a pinout of the AM3 CPUs yet?  Looks
like AMD is not releasing this info to the general public from what
I've read.

Thanks for any help you can toss out!
Bill Hillman

Re: Asus M2NVP-VM Unlock Phenom II X2

Bill Hillman wrote:
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The information available on the mechanism, is pretty sketchy.
The memo here, indicates a set of GPIO pins on the Southbridge,
are used to tune something on the processor. This makes it sound
like the scheme is more complicated than some static signal levels
(such as you'd get with a pin mod). Nvidia claimed to be adding
the function to a couple of their chipsets, in the form of a
JTAG serial bus. Which would account for four of seven pins. So
perhaps four of the signals, are programmed in BIOS code, to
emulate JTAG protocol (serial clock and data) ?

http://ixbtlabs.com/news.html?10/63/37

In terms of the BIOS release notes for your M2NPV-VM motherboard
go, there is a two year gap, between 1401 release and 5005 release.
The 5005 release covers AM3 processors, so you might need that installed,
before you try your new processor. But once that is done, I suspect
your motherboard is of a generation before that tuning interface
was in usage. It's probably not even hooked up. You're looking for
a motherboard with SB710/SB750/MCP72/MCP78 as a Southbridge, or
looking for one of the newer motherboards that claim to feature
a "core unlocker" switch or BIOS module.

    Paul

Re: Asus M2NVP-VM Unlock Phenom II X2

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Paul, Thanks for the info.

Yeah, I'm beginning to see now that this board is just not going to
have what it takes to get the job done.  I bought the CPU as a future
upgrade path so when I did replace this mobo I'd get one that could
unlock the additional cores and possibly have a cheap X4.  Even at an
X2 this will probably meet my needs since I almost never do any gaming
anymore.  I was just hoping there was an easy way to jump to 4 cores
now just to try it out.  I'm still happy that AMD was able to allow
the use of older boards running an AM3 CPU.

I've updated the BIOS to 5005 and it's running fine with the old
Athlon 64 3200+.  UPS shows my package was delivered today, so might
get a chance to drop in the new big block and test drive it later
today.

Thanks again!
Bill

Re: Asus M2NVP-VM Unlock Phenom II X2

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New CPU installed and running this morning. Did a little playing
around with overclocking the CPU.  Was able to hit 4Ghz pretty
easily!  Stock retail cooler.  I could not find a way to adjust the
CPU voltage on this board, settings are really limited.  Was
pleasantly surprised.  The odd thing is I could not change the
multiplier to more than 19x, probably a BIOS glitch since it would
jump to 5x when I selected 19.5x.  So I bumped the FSB after that. It
would actually post at 4200Mhz but lock right after BIOS screen.
4050Mhz got into windows boot but locked before reaching desktop.  I'm
sure with some fancy cooling and more voltage it could probably go a
little higher.  Maybe dig out the old water cooler thats been sitting
in a box for the past 6 yrs. =)

Someday when I need the extra power and more programs take better
advantage of multicore CPUs I'll replace the mobo with something a
little more OC friendly and unlock the extra cores.

Thanks,
Bill


Re: Asus M2NVP-VM Unlock Phenom II X2

Bill Hillman wrote:

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I don't see an option listed in the BIOS for that.

MicroATX boards aren't always set up for overclocking. That tends to
be a feature of full sized ATX motherboards. But even then, they can be
missing the feature needed to adjust Vcore. I have a full sized ATX
motherboard, which only cost $65, and it had no voltage adjustment.
But the regulator chip on it, turned out to be quite nice anyway, and
the regulator had an "offset" pin on it. By doing a single resistor
change to the motherboard, I could get a 0.1V boost (that's all I tested).
It wasn't enough to make the thing stable at a 33% overclock, but it was
close.

The Vcore regulator is power limited on your board, and that isn't
one of the Asus 140W motherboards. Power dissipation in Vcore rises
rapidly, if you're volt modding, and you want plenty of power head
room if doing so. Power is proportional to V**2, so if you go from
1.3V to 1.4V, the relative power change is 1.4*1.4/(1.3*1.3) or 1.16x.
In some overclocking situations, by adjusting the voltage, you can
easily draw 50% more than the rated TDP of the processor. The most
famous case, was probably overclocking the Pentium D 805 to 4GHz,
where some people laid their motherboard on a foam plastic support,
and the motherboard melted the foam :-) That was a power draw of over
200 watts. So if the motherboard is kinda power limited on Vcore to
begin with, you don't want to push it too far.

If you want instant feedback as to what your changes are doing,
try sticking a finger on the MOSFETs around the CPU socket.
They'll give you some idea how stressful the operation is.
On one of my boards, I had to stop, because the MOSFETs were
beginning to heat up. MOSFETs do have a Safe Operating Area, and
do have the option of going into thermal runaway (in the sense that,
the channel resistance begins to go up, so the heating process of
the MOSFET accelerates - the MOSFETS "go limp" when they get hot).
It means near the end of the power limit, the MOSFET temperature
curve gets steeper. MOSFETs have been known to get hot enough,
to melt the solder underneath. That's for the ones that don't have
a heatsink (because the designer wasn't counting on a 200W load).

Your board has a three phase regulator, and no heatsinks.

http://images10.newegg.com/NeweggImage/productimage/13-131-014-03.jpg

Based on that picture, your best option would be a CPU cooler that
blows downwards. The "spill air" from the CPU cooler can be used to
keep adjacent stuff cool.

    Paul

Re: Asus M2NVP-VM Unlock Phenom II X2

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This board was actually purchased for a friend that is merely a 'user'
and has no clue what a BIOS is.  When I built her system I didn't
think it would ever be used for this purpose.  It's a long story but
know I'll be using it for a little while until I buy a better one down
the road.

While researching info about the Phenom II, I had read some horror
stories about boards being fried by overclocking or unlocking cores.
I was just assuming this board could handle quite a bit of power draw
simply because it shows it compatible with several higher power Athlon/
Opteron CPU's up to 125W.  I will definitely pay close attention
though with the info you've provided should I try to do any further
overclocking.  Also good to know when I do buy another board which
might just get OC'd a bit.

The stock CPU cooler seems setup well to provide cooling for the
surrounding components with air coming out all 4 sides.  The funny
thing I noticed was the heatsink for the Phenom II X2 555 (80W) wasn't
as beefy as the one I removed for the Athlon 64 3200+ (45W) which had
a lower power draw.  Perhaps the heatsink design is more efficient.
The CPU temp according to the BIOS hardware monitor and software in
windows both showed a CPU temp around 45C at 4Ghz (idle) so it must be
doing a decent job.  I didn't really stress it that much, just ran
Sandra a few times as a quick test.  The case I will be eventually
moving it to also has an 80mm fan blowing outside air directly over
the CPU area from the side of the case.

Thanks again for the info Paul!  I had hoped some folks were still
around the old newsgroups with the knowledge I needed and you
certainly didn't let me down!  These days with all the overclocking
websites it's almost information overload at times.  Back when
overclocking first got really rocking with the 'new' Celeron and such,
all we had was these newsgroups and the ACHO FAQ I hosted on my
website.  It's been nice getting those juices flowing again....  =)

Thanks,
Bill

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