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-   -   MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/cpus-motherboards/62923-msi-pm8m3-v-rev-1-unstable-gaming-only.html)

trodas August 27, 2013 09:00 AM

MSI PM8M3-V rev. 1 - unstable gaming only
I working with computes since 1991 and there is not much that I cannot understand, but this MSI mobo is challenging me. So, the mobo in question is a MSI PM8M3-V with PCB rev. 1.0 and latest bios v1.4 used.

Board: MSI PM8M3-V (VIA P4M800) PCV rev. 1.0
Bios: Version 1.4
VGA: PNY 6800GT 256MB DDR3 350MHz/1GHz
PSU: Enermax Liberty 620W PSU (replaced caps to quality ones!)
CPU: 2800MHz Celeron D 336 (133x21) 1.350Vcore
MEM: 2048MB OCZP4001G 2.5-3-2-7 200MHz 2.60V
HDD: 500G Western Digital 16MB cache (WD5000AAKB)
COOLER: Intel box cooler, checked, AS paste applied, cooling good (slowing all the way down to 1000 rpm in reality)
OC: NONE! (tried FSB 133 -> 138 and it get unstable even in Firefox, lol)
OS: Windows 2000 SP4 Czech

More info:
19" iiyama ProLite E1980SD 1280x1024 75Hz DVI
IDE 100MB zip
floppy with 7+1 USB2 reader Mitsumi FA404
Using PS2 mouse (Logitech MX510 red)
OkiPage 14ex laser printer
NetGear WGR614 fireWall / 54MBi WiFi - OFF

The Cause
While the mobo is perfectly stable in normal usage, gaming is a problem. I working hard to make the mobo stable, it is not stable in 3D games. In the end of making it stable it is not stable even in 2D Windows... lol.

To cut long story short - at first, it was just a mobo full of known bad caps that sometimes refuse to boot and losing clock AND bios settings when power is cut off. Sometimes it also crash during SoF2 _LOADING_ (never gaming), but that it is. Very rare crash.

So I replaced all the caps, put even these that aren't there back in action and used hi-grade caps. For example the best polymers that even exist Nichicon LE for Vcore and for voltage supply there are Nichicon HZ caps - the best elyte caps even made - king in terms of ripple current, only Samxon GA is "par to par" with them, but that it is. Sourced from Digikey, so, originals.

Result - still not stable. So I blamed the Radeon 9100 with questionable caps and added 120mm fan blowing on it.
Still no help, rare crashes of game. Fast Writes disabled, AGP 4x (R9100 cannot go faster), 1 WS Write/Read used, Calibration ON.
So I replaced the Radeon 9100 with GeFroce 6800GT, that have only 3 caps (Chemi-con polymers) and worked well for me before. Truth is a years ago... Accelero S1 rev. 2 and installing Noiseblocker fan - techPowerUp! Forums

Problems get worser. Even exiting SoF2 or Quake3 is impossible now. It always freeze on exit...! It get reasonably stable for playing, yet try save screenshot and it crash ASAP. So I try lower the AGP rate (allow me to choose only 8x or 4x), disable Fast Writes, disable AGP Master 1 WS Write/Read and even disable AGP 3.0 Calibration Cycle (one by one). No help.
So I toyed with the voltage, raising from 1.55 to 1.70 and no help either.

Another thing that I added a huge nice heatsink on the NB, because the original one was pretty small and useless. And I discovered beneath it, that there was just a dip of white paste widely off center and that was it. Most of the heatsink did not even have contact with the chip...!
So I tought - I got this! Laped a BIG heatsink, Arctic past used and screwed it tight on the NB... and again no help.
http://s23.postimg.org/512h8yzgn/MSI...outhbridge.jpg http://s12.postimg.org/vcj1eeoa1/MSI...orthbridge.jpg http://s21.postimg.org/eb78qvm43/MSI...e_cooling1.jpg http://s16.postimg.org/5rdw31txd/MSI...e_cooling2.jpg http://s12.postimg.org/5c04za4ix/MSI...e_cooling3.jpg

So the last thing to toy with is the AGP Driving Value. It can be changed from 00 to FF, defaut on Auto show DA.
Dunno what will happen, but I run out of ideas right now.

Therefore I'm open to ideas. About the caps - there is one about 10uF SMD cap at the very end of AGP port. This cap I did not replaced. Could this be the culprit? Any suggestion about the Driving Value? I think - try 0 (00), 32 (20), 64 (40), 96(60), 128 (80), 160 (A0), 192 (C0), 224 (E0) and 255 (FF) and see, witch of these values give the best stability?

trodas August 28, 2013 05:11 PM

Looks like the version 1.5 is the latest bios:
BIOS - エムエスアイコンピュータージャパン株式会社

So I updated the bios, let almost the default settings (all default for AGP) - 8x, Aperture size 128MB, all on, Fast Writes Off.

However no help. The SoF2 game works well - untill I hit the screenshot button. Then in crash:


So bios are no help.

LionRed August 28, 2013 05:39 PM

Man... you have replaced so many bad caps on quite a few parts and the system is so old...who knows what it could be. There could be caps that are looking perfectly fine, but could still be bad.

Why so much effort? Or is it just the challenge? Or computer parts are really expensive in Czech?

If I still lived in Canada ...I would just send ya over one of my old Core2Duo MB, CPU and ram. But from NZ it would cost me way too much.

trodas August 28, 2013 06:08 PM

Easy answer - my HW was mostly stolen and police are doing nothing to get my stuff back. So I just have to work on it harder... The mobo is, unforunately, weird. I replaced ALL the caps, filled even the blanks, yet still one is there not replaced:


The small SMD missing one... About 10uF 16V I suppose.

Another problem is, that the mosfets might not be up to the job:

I see NIKOS brand MOSFETS on the board. I have a very strong suspicion that NIKOS specs or has in the past spec'd their transistors well above their actual capability.
...but that would not very plausibly explain why the Radeon 9100 failed too, sometimes. It is too small power draw card to be causing trouble even to inferior mosfets. I think. If I gather the SMD cap and it not help, well, then it will be pretty bad.

The mobo is unfortunately v1.0 PCB, and this does not support the Core Duo, even if this is a LGA 775 socket:
...so I have a little use for Core Duo CPU w/o a mainboard. Othervise this would be, of course, great. I thinking about getting a true P4, but no luck yet. People that offered help (in USA) are likely got it (from eBay), but then claim that they cannot open their mailbox, and not fixing that for long time, so... hard to comment BS like that, but whatever.
Another question is stability, of course. When a mild overclock from 133MHz FSB to 138 cause crash of even Firefox after quick time, then I have my doubts about if the mobo even can take it.

It have not only even 200MHz ram speed settings, but also 266MHz and 333MHz settings. However I seriously doubt that the mobo can make stable that working speed of rams, not to mention impossibility to get ram (DDR 1) capable of running that fast :)

Not to mention that the mobo offer even DDR2 support, with is a lie (chipset limits, no sockets for DDR2):
http://s9.postimg.org/j6p3rjg2j/MSI_PM8_M3_V_bios3.jpg http://s24.postimg.org/40qtcoz29/MSI_PM8_M3_V_bios2.jpg
...so the BIOS lie a lot, lol.

Soullessone21 August 28, 2013 06:33 PM

Pm me im sure i have a board and cpu and ram for you :) i would love to find out how fun it would be to ship to you :)

I love reading your rebuilds they remind me of braineater before life made him to busy.

anyway i am happy to cover the cost just get me your info :)

Dzzope August 28, 2013 11:49 PM

wow... that's allot of work on an old board... Gotta love the never give up attitude though.

trodas August 29, 2013 02:25 AM

Uhm, you guys did not seen all the pics of the recapping yet. There are 15 of them I choosed and I will publish them soon... I just first wanted to fix it, because it is kinda lame to present the work, that took me too much troubles w/o definitive good result like a - yea, it works stable now!

I can show, however, that memtest is stable (but Prime95 memory testing - torture test/custom/set Min. FFT 1792 and that beat the crap out of memtest stress for rams), because one user on BadCaps forum wanted it too much, so, the PC worked while I sleep:


Oh, well. Like I say, the stability in normal operation is perfect. Overclock not recommended, lol. If someone know, how to tweak the AGP Drive, it might help. I know that this is probably determined by the AGP slot _and_ graphic card coexistence, but some utility that test the AGP transfers and show errors is probably need.
OTOH the most fast test is to start SoF2 and hit screenshot button. Instant crash.

I probably try reinstall also.

Soullessone21 - you are more that wellcome, my dear yet unknown friend. Czech republic is in the middle of Europe, so I wonder too how problematic this could be. You got a PM.
But that does not mean that I give up - just that I will have a more stable platform to use and this MSI suxxka for experimenting :thumb:
I really appreciate your offer to help, but I still feel bad for not being able to fix this mobo. It is not damaged or anything... And it took me half a year to get the quality parts, and still - no help. That is very disapointing.
BTW, I try to live up to braineater :thumb: Got some interesting works to share right now, just translating them to english...

Dzzope - thank you, I will just try harder. In the new bios I already unlocked like 50 or so options (Modbin, just they are hidden for normal causual user) and will flash it, so I can tweak the mobo more, when it does not run well or stable at default settings.
Lot of work? I wish you can seen how I laped the bottom of the heatsink for the NB chip. That was the hardest part of the NB heatsink exchange, because there is well-done hardened paint on the cooler, so I got to strip it all down to pure metal.
In same way I thinking about laping the NB core - under the letters and chrome are pure cooper backplate, on witch is from the other side sitting the silicone wafer. Getting rid of the letters and chrome enhance the heat transfer, but it is probably not cause of overhearing the NB, as the crash come even on cold machine at morning, as well, as on hotter machine at the end of the day.
Oh, well. Gotta find the bug.

PS. there are how I improved the Vcore output flltering. Before bad 680uF Ost caps:
...and now a polymer Nichicon LE 820uF 2.5V supercaps:

Dzzope August 29, 2013 02:35 AM

Soul... on the sending of bits... If you have trouble give me a shout.. I can pick up stuff in Ireland and either send from there or from Kiev.

I might even be able to get some old P4 stuff or AMD socket 939 stuff from home if it's still lying around. More toys to play with at the very least. :)
I'll be home in 2 weeks for a few days (brothers wedding), will have a looksy then. :)

trodas August 29, 2013 06:21 AM

Dzzope - happy wedding then :) And a P4 or S939 is wellcome - P4 is way faster that the Celeron D 336. However I will prefer stability first :) Memory and chipset seems to be good. I tried the "bad" setting in bios - the Bank Interleave to 8. Freeze completely as before. Yet now cuting the power off the mobo did not reset the bios, with the new battery in place, lol. Gotta unplug the machine, open it and reset the bios by switch...
But because of that I checked the temp on NB, CPU VRM and so on. Very mild heat is there. The NB is almost cool, so my huge heatsink is doing it's job well. And this mild temp is after a whole day, night of memtest and whole forenoon.

Prime 95 CPU test:

Prime 95 memory test at the tightest timings the rams can handle - that means CL2!
And I would very much recommend them the stability, because there are damn good caps used for rams now:

PS. your sig is hilarious :haha: :thumb:

PS2. gotta measure what voltages are on the last not replaced cap, but if the voltage ale bellow 6.3V (and I'm sure it is), then i find a good replacement:
Invalid Request
47uF instead of 10uF and mainly a kick-a$$ ripple current for such smal cap :thumb:

trodas August 30, 2013 02:37 AM

HDD tests did not reveal any problem:


...so I think we can rule HDD or HDD cabled problem out of the question. Also I would noticed HDD errors, and they are nonexistant.

...but I suspecting the one cap that I did not replaced yet, because I did not trust caps at all after some failures. I would like to mention that the PC did not started correctly today. After a post it ended in endless loop with just the flicking lene char from dos "_" in the top left corner. Failing to enter the VGA mode once again. Reset fix that, but you know I suspect the cap:


(the small, 10uF 16V (?) one that I did not yet replaced, the rest are replaced with quality Nichicons)

After two hours of gaming the PC finally crashed (at first, it took two crash attempts to get SoF2 working, but once it is working, then things go smoothly - no more crashes in loading, as with Radeon 9100) and I took the oportunity to diassemble it right away and check temps and then voltages.

CPU Vcore regulators are lightly mildly warm, as if there is nothing going on. Clearly good surprise, they obviously benefit from the quality caps and even under load stays cool. Great.
GFX card - cold, well cooled.
But NB chipset cooler (and now it is a BIG one) is relatively warmer that expected. It is not like hot, but clearly I expected lesser temperature. So my idea that a better cooling is necessary might not be far off the reality what is need. That is why I get the Thermalright SI-128 SE... but the damn bottom scews are missing, so I cannot use it :(
Rams are about the same temp, as the NB heatsink. Well warm, not hot, but warm.

3.40V, 5.11V and 12.01V on the wires from PSU to HDD/GFX card. Directly on the GFX card connector there is a 11.99V, so the cables and connection give 0.02V drop. Not bad at all.
Vbattery is 3.56V.
But what I see as definitive BAD NEWS is the voltage I measured on the last not exchanged cap. And that is precisely 1.55V.
Ring any bell? Yeees, this is the AGP voltage set in bios! So clearly this cap have something to do with the AGP and it is not at all impossible, that it could be the culprit behind the crashes.

Because to me it seems that everytime the GFX card should change it's mode of operation (from TXT mode to VGA mode, from 2D to 3D...), then it is very likely to crash.
Actually todays 4 times it hang on TXT mode to VGA mode switch, during all the resets and powering on and on again...

Bottom line - dunno if this is caused by the exchange of GFX card or not, but time and bios settings are lost once again, even I put a new battery there.
(I have to use small GFX card (old good Riva :) ) to be able to measure the voltage on the small SMD cap.

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