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Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable

DevilsPGD wrote:
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One of the differences with Haswell, is internal voltage regulation.
I would have thought that would have a prominent place in this article,
but it barely gets a mention. Two stages of DC regulation, is generally
less efficient than one stage of DC regulation. Yet, the internal
regulator does not run off 12V directly. As far as I know, the
intermediate voltage (where power enters the CPU), is 2.4V. (microarchitecture)

A slide deck from development is shown here.

It means the motherboard regulator converts 12V @ 7A to
2.4V @ 35A, then the switcher dice inside the processor
MCM package, convert that to 1V or less, at 84A or more.
The array of capacitors in the socket area, likely play
a part in keeping smooth power. It's hard to say whether
any of those polymer caps on the outside of the
socket, hold up the internal power plane or not.

It kinda makes a joke out of "multi-phase" power. They
could likely run the outside regulator with four phases
and it would still be fine. So whether that external
regulator on the Sabertooth is doing a lot for you,
isn't clear to me. And if this design doesn't
allow overvolting (since the regulator is completely
inside, and there's no reason to expose VID pins),
then there wouldn't be much point in supporting more
than 35A on the external VCore. Frequency margining
on processors, can be in the 500MHz range, at a constant
VCore value. That's how much a well margined processor
should give you. (I.e. If more than 500MHz was available,
the engineers could raise the nominal frequency rating
of the processor.) The processor self-regulates
temperature, so the temperature the processor has to
support is known.


An RTC failure, would be a failure of PCH (Southbridge).
That is, if the diagnostic works properly. RTC and CMOS
RAM, are in the CMOS well of the Southbridge. That's the
same chip that does your SATA ports. Check VSouthbridge
value (Vsb?) and bump one notch and retest. For the
SATA issue. For RTC, there's nothing you can do
in terms of settings. RTC runs off 3VSB, whatever
voltage that happens to be (3.3V?).


Try running with one stick of RAM, to test your
memory theory.


I can't guess as to which is at fault here, motherboard
or CPU. One test, would be to test the CPU in another
motherboard, and see if it is operational there or not.
Other than that, I'm out of my league here :-)

There's really no reason for the RAM behavior to have


Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable

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At this moment I don't have another Haswell system to monkey with. I'm
looking at ordering two more, but I'd like to get matching motherboards,
and I'm nervous about doing so until I figure out whether this
particular one is a lemon, or if it could be a problem with this model
(but that seems unlikely, if only because there are a couple reported
problems, this isn't one of them)

I am considering ordering a couple more CPUs for my future builds
though, since they're on sale and I'll be working on the builds in about
3 weeks anyway, so this might give me a CPU to swap around. I might bite
the bullet and order another motherboard too.

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Thanks for the insight, and all the information... I'm out of my league
here too, otherwise I'd have fixed it by now.

When I described the issue to ASUS, they opened a RMA on the motherboard
and said it's probably not worth replacing the CPU, so I'll take their
word for it, but since the rapid replacement seems to be taking several
days just to get started, I'm still looking for other possibilities. I'd
hate for the problem to continue, and I suspect there's a fine line
where ASUS just issues an RMA rather than troubleshooting.

If you've had half as much fun reading this as I've had writing it,
I've had twice as much fun as you.

Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable

On 12/15/2013 02:52 AM, DevilsPGD wrote:
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Since the board is new it should pass /all/ tests.

I'd reset the bios and put in a new CMOS battery and try again and if  
the board still hangs and you still get a RTC error, I'd RMA the board.

Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable

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Yeah, that's kinda what pushed me to thinking I should RMA it rather
than spend too much time figuring out what might be wrong.

Unfortunately ASUS is having trouble getting the RMA together, so I've
put a but more effort into getting it up and running, thinking that I'll
just swap the board rather than flattening the OS completely once the
RMA replacement arrives.

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I sadly don't have a spare battery that is known good, but the one
that's there does seem to have the right voltage (off a multi-meter,
unloaded), and frankly, the RTC shouldn't be battery dependent with the
PSU providing power anyway, and the battery does keep the clock visibly
in sync, so I don't think I can point fingers at the battery.

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Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable

On 12/17/2013 06:36 PM, DevilsPGD wrote:
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Well, I'd push ASUS for an RMA then

Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable

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I've got an RMA number, but I wanted a rapid/advanced replacement, which
they apparently offer for $10 and a hold on my credit card. But that's
where the process has fallen off the wheels, the department that is
supposed to initiate that process apparently hasn't bothered, despite
the front-line support having sent the request multiple times.

However, since I'm mostly stable now without it, I'm inclined to just
let them do their own thing for a few days, then once it's been a bit
longer, I have more of a case to escalate it and get it happening.

As it turns out, I'll be out of town from Saturday through Thursday
anyway, so it would just sit on my workbench waiting for me, so it makes
it easier to be patient :)

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Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable

On 12/17/2013 10:30 PM, DevilsPGD wrote:

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I know all about patience.

One day I noticed in my bathroom there was a bare light-bulb with no  
fixture. It had been like that for ten years.

I went to the hardware store to get one but they were out. They said  
they were getting a new supply in three days.

Of course I hurried to another way was I going to wait that long!

Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable

philo wrote:

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If you're in the US, better go back to the store to stock up on the
cheap old incandescent light bulbs (if that's what you meant by "bare
bulb").  Production of them will or has ceased so what you can get is
what is left in stock.

Yep, you get to pay more on initial cost for high-efficienty
incandescents, CFLs, and LEDs to give the utilities more time before
they even start to mend their failing grids while still upping your
rates (but not as much as if they started mending now).

Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable

VanguardLH wrote:
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I don't have a problem with them outlawing an inefficient bulb.

I do have a problem with what they're replacing them with.

Of the available types for 2014:

1) Halogen
2) CFL
3) LED

only the first is perfectly compatible with fixturing.

The other two types, could overheat if surrounded by
a globe. Our old kitchen light back home, has a
heavy glass globe around it, with frosting in areas,
to diffuse the light. Once (2) or (3) are placed
inside, the power converter in the base of the
bulb will be subject to high temperature.
While the basic light emitting tech of the bulb might
be rated for 10,000 or 25,000, the base can have an
electrolytic capacitor in it, which will be "cooked"
by the heat. The base might fail after 2000 hours,
spoiling the economics. Only the power company wins,
not me. I win a prize, of having to buy another crap bulb.

Only the halogen is compatible with existing fixtures.
The one halogen product I had here, had all sorts
of absurd safety warnings about explosion risk, being
showered with debris and so on. Presumably, to cover
what happens if the glass envelope (protective second
outer layer), is scored or scratched, and could then
crack. If a halogen failed, depending on the halogen
inside the gas filled part, the gas itself probably
isn't that "tasty".

Just about every product now, "stinks" when it fails.
A halogen (that doesn't break), should be OK and odor free.
The halogen just isn't that efficient (43W for 60W equivalent).

On the LEDs, there are two types. Bulbs made with a
phosphor coating right on the LED die. And the newer
concept which is remote phosphor (remote phosphor illuminated
by blue LEDs, with a couple red LEDs thrown in to make it
"warm" in color). I bought one sample of a remote phosphor,
says on the box "this bulb is *not* yellow". Took it home,
plugged it in, did some simple color testing,
and... it's yellow :-) Hilarious. I love marketing.
I wish I lived in England and they tried that crap
("fit for use").

I've seen precisely one LED bulb, for which the color
was "bang on". A perfect substitute for incandescent.
In that, the color wasn't absurdly off. Only problem
with the bulb, is it weighed around a pound, and ran hot.
15W to make 60W versus the 10W-12W the new remote phosphor
ones use. There were reports of early failures
for that 15W bulb. And like all great products, it's no
longer for sale, replaced by another generation of
losers. The form factor of that one, it's shaped
like a flood light, a big bulb. 2202LEDNR30-LF3-8FR

(Pretty close to what I got - my base was white I think.
Only the color of the light is good, and what I compare
the crap ones to.)

I have purchased enough incandescents, to give the
LED engineers, one more try to get this right. I
know they can do it, based on the bulb with the
six Nichias in it. So it is possible for the color
to be the right mix between neutral white and warm white.
The remote phosphor ones don't even rate a "warm white"
rating, as they're *yellow*. They are bright though.
Just, annoying color. Maybe in a year's time, someone
can award Philips an award for getting the color right.

I don't mind "cool white" lighting (4500K), as that's what my
kitchen is using right now. I built that light, myself,
from LEDs and my own power source :-) I just won't be
lighting the kitchen with yellow bulbs. Efficient or not.
I've had three CFLs fail in the kitchen. The stink from
the third failure, could be smelled in the kitchen for
an entire week. Needless to say, there won't be
any more CFLs in the kitchen. So now I'm on a
home-made LED light. Which runs off a wall adapter.
The wall adapter runs cool.

If you want to make your own lamp, for a base I recommend
a copper "pipe cap". Go to the plumbing store, and find
the biggest copper end cap you can find. Mine might have
been intended for a 1.5" pipe. That makes a nice heatsink
base for your LED. I drilled and tapped that, so a hex shaped
LED could be bolted to the copper. The copper gives you
more options for heat sinking, depending on how much power
the LED uses.

(Example of the concept - smaller copper caps)

Doing the wiring in here, is a bitch, because my
LED was a quad with individual wiring. I had eight
contacts to wire up, and stuff the wires, without
breaking, into the housing. I think the LEDs in this
example, only had two contacts to wire.

My LED type - eight contacts to wire.

Wishing those LED engineers luck,


Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable

On 12/18/2013 01:08 PM, Paul wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it I've said. We can hold a powerful computer in our hands but  
lightbulb technology is still horrible.


Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable

On 12/18/2013 11:55 AM, VanguardLH wrote:
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Most of the lighting in my house is not critical but in my wife's  
studio, in addition to the full spectrum fluorescents are three  
spotlights where she absolutely must use those GE 100 watt "Reveal"  
incandescents.  I went out and bought at least a 15 year supply of them  
yesterday and would imagine a decent and affordable LED should then be  
available by then.

I also have a few antique chandeliers where I use reproduction "vintage"  
bulbs and since they are a specialty item expect they may still be avail  
in the future...but I have some spares anyway.


Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable

On Sunday, December 15, 2013 1:52:24 AM UTC-7, DevilsPGD wrote:
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I don't know how a diagnostic can tell whether the RTC (Real Time  
Clock, run from the power supply) has failed or if the ATC (Absolute  
Time Clock, powered by the CMOS battery or the +5Vstandby rail) has  
failed when they're checked against one another.  I've twice seen
the ATC's 32 KHz quartz crystal go nuts and make the clock inaccurate  
by minutes a day or even run at twice the normal rate.  The solution  
was to disconnect all power to the quartz crystal -- unplug the AC,  
remove the battery, and either wait for hours or short the two  
terminals of the EMPTY battery holder for a few seconds.  Just  
unplugging the AC and moving the CMOS jumper isn't enough.  Also  
don't rule out a weak battery, even if it reads OK with a meter,  
because some CMOS clocks require higher voltage than others and  
will be flaky unless the battery puts out more than 3.0V.

It may help to run with only 1-2 memory modules because a lot
of motherboards don't like 4 modules at once, except maybe if
underclocked, especially low quality memory like that Corsair,
which is made from chips that are either overclocked or chip  
factory rejects. and have done  
reviews where they removed the heatsinks and revealed this.  
Generally 1333 MHz and slower modules will have no-name factory  
reject chips, while faster modules use 1333 MHz chips, even  
those rated by the module makers for twice that speed.  Lots  
of marginal memory will pass diagnostics, but generally if you  
test with both MemTest86/86+ AND Gold Memory for a few days,  
the defects will come out.

Re: ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable wrote:
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There are only two time pieces involved here.

The RTC is a 32KHz digital watch, inside the Southbridge.
It connects, via transmission gates, to the rest of the
silicon. That allows the CMOS well to be powered by
3VSB, without phantom power flowing through the
transmission gates, and attempting to power up
the rest of the Southbridge. That's how the RTC
only draws 10 microamps from the CMOS coin cell
(or from 3VSB).

The software clock maintained by the operating system,
is what the OS relies on for time-keeping, and it
works off a regularly delivered high-priority clock tick
interrupt. The clock-tick interrupt, in turn, is tied
into one of the system timers, and that's traceable to
a different crystal than the RTC.

Those are the two methods of telling time. The RTC
or Real Time Clock, is for keeping time when the
system sleeps or is powered off.


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