Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Gigabyte 78LMT-USB3 Review

Grey and black a color scheme almost as good as black and black. I like it. The board has two 4 pin fan headers one for the CPU and one for a chassis fan. There are six SATA 2.0 ports on the board and 1 IDE connector. Also one internal USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports.

four USB2.0, one VGA, one DVI, one HDMI, and two USB3.0 along with basic audio.

- Richtek RT8868 4+1 phase controller
- 4 true phases
- 2 Renesas K0393 Low side MOSFETs rated for 40A at 25C 
- 2 Renesas K03B7 High side MOSFETs rated for 30A at 25C 
- 680nH inductors
- 38.4g Heatsink
- 270KHz to 330Khz 
- 5K rated capacitors however they are very low capacity
- LLC Auto/Regular/Extreme 
- OCP(around 90A) OVP  
- 1 true phase
- 1 Renesas K03B7 High side MOSFETs rated for 30A at 25C 
- 1 Renesas K03B7 Low side MOSFETs rated for 30A at 25C
- 270KHz to 330Khz
- 1 true phases
- Same MOSFETs as CPU core - No heatsink
- Unknown minimum to unknown maximum KHz
Verdict: 5/10
40A at 25C is very very little. So to be safe it's best to assume a de-rating of 50% at 100C meaning that there is a total of 160A available on the low side. Luckily the RT8868 features OCP so this motherboard shuts down before it catches fire if you push it too far. When under load the capacitors and inductors get into the 110C area without a fan over them. The MOSFETs them selves are kept in the 75-85C area by the heatsink. I'd recommend putting some heatsinks on the inductors and capacitors and a fan over the entire VRM in order to extend life span. Even a basic 50x50mm fan at 2000RPM would help significantly.

- Max VCC: 1.4375V
- VCC LLC Extreme(I+75mv/L+150mv) Regular(I+0/L-30mv) 
- Max VNB: 1.475V
- Max VDDR: 1.9V
- 35x maximum CPU multi 
- 20x maximum CPUNB multi
- Full active core cuntrol with support 1 core per CU mode
- No XMP Support
- Missing tertiary sub timings
- No support for asymmetrical timings
- All timings are either automatic or manual 
- Up to 2400mhz support 
- No Extras 
Verdict: 4/10
This BIOS has many flaws. First of all the CPU voltage setting shows incorrect values until you get the OCP to trip. So when you first boot the board and want to overclock the CPU you will see the option to run 1.7125 Vcore however if you actually set that you only get 1.43V when idling and 1.4V while running regular LLC. Extreme LLC is what it says on the box. It's EXTREME LLC. Giving a ridiculous 75mv Vboost at idle and an even more insane 150mv Vboost under load. I suggest you just don't use Extreme LLC because setting up to not trip the OCP the moment you go under load is really really hard and the low idle voltage will mean stability will always be very very iffy when using it. There are also no OC profiles. The postives of the BIOS are the 1 core per CU mode and the relatively easy navigation and the good responsiveness that some of the overly graphical BIOSs these days lack.

That's 214W on the CPU power line. I tried to push more than that but the terrible LLC options and low maximum voltage setting meant that my attempts always pushed well over 240W(was aiming for 220-230W) to the CPU and tripped the OCP. So if you were really brave and patient you cold maybe get a 9000 series FX to run on this board. But you most likely won't and I don't think it's worth the effort.

Testing Results:
The following hardware ran stable, using Intel Burn Test (IBT) for stress testing.
- G,skill ECO 2x2GB 1333 7-7-7-24 1.35V/max clock: 1866mhz 9-10-9-27-2T 1.65V
- Max CPU clock 8 core: 4444mhz at 1.4375V
- Max FSB clock: 217mhz
Verdict: 5/10
My FX 8320E is not a very good chip. And this boards weak VRM will not give you more 
The OCP on the VRM does it's job however it makes rebooting a pain because it doesn't shut the system down it just kills the CPU VRM which leaves the rest of the system still running. When that happens you need to cut AC power from the system because holding the power button doesn't seem to do anything.

Conclusion: 14/30 Points, 0.233pts/$
Between this board and the 970M Pro3 I think the key to choosing the right one is knowing what you want to do. This board is easy to use and very safe. The Pro3 on the other hand offers much more CPU voltage freedom and can definitely push higher clocks but the only safe guard it has is the temperature related throttling. If you just want a basic AM3+ MATX board to get 4.4-4.6Ghz depend on your CPU this board is enough. The VRM has enough cooling to not catch fire and the OCP will stop you before you kill the MOSFETs. You also have an integrated GPU that can save you if you dedicated doesn't want to work. This board also offers better RAM overclocking however that's not really worth talking about with a board that is limited to 1.4375 Vcore. Either way it's a good board and if you want to run an AMD 8 core in an MATX system but don't plan to overclock very much this board has you covered.

If you want to support what I do here please hammer the various share buttons down below. If you want to keep up with the various things I do follow me on Facebook. I will also be putting a video review up on the Youtube channel sometime soon. It is less for being informative and more for comedic value because I think there aren't enough motherboard jokes on the internet.

As always thank you to CoolerMaster for powering the blog.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

OC stream aftermath

I managed 6.8Ghz on the 8320E using 1.8V.
The whole system managed this and this.

Here's a pic of the system from the end of the stream:

This was my longest stream ever at a whopping 6 hours and 43 minutes. Unfortunately the sound failed twice during the stream. You can find the entire beast in its 2 3 hour long segments up on my Youtube channel.

Thank you to Cooler Master for supporting the blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Live Stream on Monday

If you follow AHOC on Facebook you probably know that I've figured out what I did wrong with the R9 380. I've decided that I'm going to clean the card up and make it what I would call my ideal card. I'll be streaming this on Monday and hopefully I'll get the card to scale with voltage an I'll hopefully get it to hit 1.2Ghz like I originally wanted.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The road to voltage Fury.

So I just made major step towards making the R9 Fury volt mod guide. I have revived the R9 290X Windforce which I killed and managed to get it's VRM under manual control.

Now most of you might be sitting there going DAFUQ How does volt modding an R9 290X have anything to do with volt modding the Fury?
It's simple. The Fury and R9 290X use the same exact voltage controller. If I manage to control the IR 3567B on the 290X it makes taking control of the IR 3567B on the Fury that much simpler.

The first thing I learned about the IR 3567B is that it's pretty smart. So smart, that the damn thing will not let the card run if it doesn't sense current on the VRM phases. With most GPU voltage controllers you cut the power sensing lines and they just ignore the fact that the current reading of 0.8A is wrong and continue running the VRM like nothing's changed. Not the IR 3567B, no the IR 3567B shuts the card down if it sense 0A on the phases. So after I tore all the SMD 300ohm ISEN resistors off the card in hopes that I would remove all power limits. I ended up resoldering every single one of the damn things. However I don't have SMD 300ohm resistors and so I improvised to end up with an R9 290X that looks more like a modern art piece than a GPU.

I also managed to under volt mod the card so it ended up running at 0.56V idle instead of the 0.968V that it should idle and boot at and so naturally it didn't work. I managed to fix that too and the card now boots and runs. At least on stock voltage I haven't tried overvolting it yet because the Windforce cooler no longer fits and I've run out of Seidons to ziptie on to it(it might sound like a terrible idea but the Seidon 120V rev2.0 can keep the 290X sub 70C even with 1.4V and at 55C when running stock volts and clocks).
Either way after this volt modding adventure modding the Fury will be a walk in the park.... I hope.

PS I'm very much aware that the AMD 125W CPU heatsink can't cool an R9 290X however I needed a cooler that could keep the GPU running long enough for me to get to the BIOS and it did that so you can keep the comments about me being an idiot to yourselves thank you very much.

Thank you to Cooler Master for powering this blog by giving me a V1000 PSU.

Sapphire R9 380 Nitro review

Buildzoid's GPU reviews explained

1792 stream processors clocked at 985mhz
4GB of VRAM clocked at 1450mhz on a 256bit bus
2 6pin power connectors officially supporting up to 225W
Core clock throttling temperature 85C°
1 DVI-I port
1 DVI-D port
1 HDMI port
1 DisplayPort

Cooling: 7/10



I currently don't have the equipment necessary to do proper noise testing but just ot give you an idea of the fan noise I'll tell you this. With the GPU at 0RPM my sound meter reads about 51.2dB sitting 8cm from the GPU. With the fans at 50% it reads 53 dB. At 65% it reads 59 dB. At 75% it reads 63dB and at 100% it reads 72dB. I'd recommend running the card around 55-65% fan speed since that's when the noise temperature trade off is quite reasonable.

VRM: 8/10
- 5 true phases provided by an OnSemi NCP81022???
- 2 low side OnSemi 4C10N MOSFETs in parrallel providing a total of 68A per phase at 80C case temperature
- 1 high side OnSemi 4C10N MOSFET providing 34A per phase at 80C case temperature
- Unknow switching frequency
- 1 phase
- 2 low side OnSemi 4C10N MOSFETs in parrallel providing a total of 68A per phase at 80C case temperature
- 2 high side OnSemi 4C10N MOSFETs in parrallel providing a total of 68A per phase at 80C case temperature
- 1 phase
These VRMs kicks ass. They might not look like much but it can push up to 340A to the core at 80C operating temperature. That's enough current for the card not to burn up even above 1.5V core voltage. The memory VRM can also easily handle 68A which explains why Sapphire didn't even bother with a heatsink for it. Finally the VAUX VRM is another 68A single phase. There isn't much to improve with this VRM. Sure it could be an 8 phase on the core and a 2 phase on the other voltages but other than that the VRM setup of the R9 380 Nitro from Sapphire is good enough even for LN2 overclocking. After all at stock an R9 380 only needs about 150A for the core but this card is built for twice that.

+1 Dual BIOS
+1 0RPM fans in idle 
+1 VRAM cooling

The highest I've managed to push this card to was 1110/1650mhz. The VRAM is made by Hynix and has  a stock voltage of 1.6V the core on the other hand has a stock voltage of 1.2V. The only downsides with overclocking this GPU is that there is no software voltage control support and the 20% power limit seems to be causing crashes because it's too low. The last issue is that you need to restart your system if the drivers crash because after one crash many previously stable settings will be unstable. Luckily this card uses an NCP81022 so it's quite easy to get rid of theses problems with a few simple mods and hopefully there will be software support for voltage control some time soon.

Conclusion: 18/20
I like this card. The VRM is plenty powerful even for extreme overclocking and the cooler is capable enough for gaming but also benchmarking runs with raised Vcore when run at 100%. Overall I'd say this is a very well balanced card especially considering that it's the cheapest R9 380 I could find.

Thank you to CoolerMaster for providing the V1000 PSU that was used for this review.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Streaming again this Saturday!

I'm doing another stream this Saturday. I'll be doing volt modding on the R9 380 live and then I'll do some benching with it. Also if I get lucky I will have my TEC cooled Haswell system ready in time for the stream so you might get to see that in action too. I'm going to start the stream at 5PM GMT instead of 6PM GMT however I won't be doing anything too interesting until 6PM GMT so you don't have to worry about missing out on any of the action.

GPU reviews Explained

I will not test gaming performance because there are a million and 1 other sites that do that. It's also very time consuming and if I don't test with enough different games people will complain that I'm Nvidia or AMD biased so instead I will only look at the hardware side of the GPU and how good it is for overclocking.

Here's how my scoring works:

I test cooling by testing the difference in temeperature between the GPU and the ambient temperature at different fan RPMs. However I only score based on the maximum cooling capacity of the heatsink for now because I can't properly test GPU noise levels yet. Here's a break down of the scoring:

Delta T Score
less than 15C° 10
less than 20C° 9
less than 25C° 8
less than 35C° 7
less than 45C° 6
less than 50C° 5
less than 55C° 4
less than 60C° 3
less than 65C° 2
less than 70C° 1
more than 70C° 0

My VRM scores are based on 2 things, real phase count and current capacity over required.

Core VRM Phases Maximum Score
8 10
6 or more9

Other VRM Phases Maximum Score
3 10
2 9

VRM Current over stock Maximum Score
100% or more10
85%-99% 9

So if you have a GPU that has a 4 phase core VRM the highest score it can get is a 7/10 even if those 4 phases can push 100% more current than it needs at stock clocks. If you don't understand why I score in this way this article should clear up any questions.

The extras section of my GPU reviews gives GPU bonus points for features that are useful but not necessary on the card. Theses would be things like 0RPM modes, dual BIOS switches, RGB lighting or other extras that make the GPU just much better than the others.