Ryu Asks: How do you Via?

— 5:14 PM on January 8, 2001

My girlfriend visited me over the holidays; as you might expect, she arrived with her PC in tow. She is a geek girl, and she is into computer hardware. She is more into the aspect of using PC hardware than she is into caring how it works, though. All she desires is speed plus stability, with a leaning more toward stability.

In addition to tracking down some bugs that had been plaguing her, I was also to install a Sony 8x4x32 burner. While completing those tasks, I found myself suddenly bitten with the curiousity bug in regard to her motherboard, and in particular its memory performance. She has a Tekram P5MVP-A4 Via MVP3 Super 7 board with a K6-3 450 at the helm.

Due to the habit of Via boards to vary widely in performance from manufacturer to manufacturer, I loaded up Sandra and did a flurry of benchmarks at all the timings available in the BIOS. Turbo with a CAS latency of 2 proved to be the fastest BIOS setting, with a score of 160 ALU and 163 FPU.

To be honest, I saw this and became a bit distressed. These scores are the fastest I could get the BIOS to provide, and I personally believe them to be abysmally low. So I did what any hard-core tweaker would do: I snagged H. Oda's WPCredit and Cretset.

A program this powerful (and undocumented) was sure to create some questions, which brings me to my appearance here today. The only Via based northbridge information available was for the Apollo Pro and KX133 chipsets; the lack of a MVP3 register sheet quickly turned this into a rather hit and miss experiment. Nonetheless, I felt compelled to try and get the performance up a few notches, and selected the Apollo Pro material in the hopes it would most closely match the MVP3.

According to the Apollo Pro registers, the timings of the memory are already at 5,2,2,2 with no four-way interleave or bank control set at any bank. After enabling what the Apollo Pro would consider four-way interleave and bank control for all banks, I received the scores of 171 ALU and 176 FPU.

It seems I turned something on, but given those scores, I kind of get the impression that four way-interleave is still off. So does someone have some pointers or information on how to tweak the registers of the Via MVP3 chipset? I figure she is getting robbed out of performance with those kind of memory scores. I believe that K6-3 450 would perform better if I could get the northbridge to more adequately feed it.

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