View Poll Results: Does LLC on the Rampage Formula cause idle instability with your 45nm CPU?

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Thread: Rampage Formula and a 45nm CPU? READ THIS!

  1. #1
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    Rampage Formula and a 45nm CPU? READ THIS!

    Do you use a Rampage Formula (a real one, not a flashed Maximus) with an Intel 45nm CPU? If so, this thread applies to you! Do not vote in the poll if you do not have a Rampage Formula and a 45nm CPU!

    Ok, I'm sure you all know what Vdroop is. You know, that nasty little thing that causes your CPU's voltage to significantly drop when under load? I'm sure you all also know of the various motherboard modifications that people have devised to counter the effects of Vdroop, most notably the pencil mod. Some motherboards even have an option in their BIOS to disable Vdroop, the Rampage Formula is one such motherboard. However, it has a little known problem with its method of disabling Vdroop:
    If you use it with a 45nm CPU, your system will be fully prime stable, but it will crash and BSOD under absolutely no load.

    AnandTech was the first source to draw somewhat widespread attention to this issue. A quote from their writeup on the subject:
    Quote Originally Posted by AnandTech
    Finally, let's take one last real-world look at the consequences of removing Vdroop. ASUS' implementation of this feature, labeled as Load Line Calibration and included with their latest line of motherboards, is particularly worthy of our attention for a number of reasons. The first is that setting lower voltages with this option enabled actually results in a condition in which the CPU voltage under load is higher than the idle voltage. Imagine our confusion as we desperately struggle to understand why our system is Prime95 stable for days yet continues to crash under absolutely no load.
    Here is a link to the whole writeup:
    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets...spx?i=3184&p=5

    When I first read the article, I disregarded it, and used LLC on my Rampage Formula with a Q9450. Things were great, fully prime stable, everything was going well. That is of course, everything but the random crashes and BSODs while the system was under absolutely zero load. It took me a while to figure out what was causing the crashes, as I was hoping it was not LLC, because it let me use a significantly lower voltage.

    If you read deeply into that AnandTech writeup, they make it sound like Vdroop control is not possible to utilize on 45nm CPUs and remain stable due to technical reasons (even though their justifications are way off base). I was starting to believe that it actually might be true, until I found this:
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/...05#post3021605

    Apparently, the LLC feature on the Asus P5E works perfectly with 45nm CPUs, but not on the Rampage Formula. Which is just as I thought: It is possible. I did some closer reading of the AnandTech article, and it says that the instability is caused by a sort of "reverse Vdroop", or in other words, the idle voltage is lower than the load voltage.

    However, I have done some testing and it appears that the delta between idle and load is much smaller with LLC enabled than without, going by the CPU-z voltage readings (inaccurate, I know). With LLC enabled, I set voltage to ~1.36750 in the BIOS which resulted in an idle reading in CPU-z of 1.352v, and a load reading of 1.360v. With LLC disabled, I had to increase the BIOS voltage to 1.40625v to remain stable. The idle voltage reading in CPU-z was 1.400v, and the load is 1.352v, the same as the idle voltage with LLC. So, with apparently the same stable load voltage without LLC, the CPU is unstable with LLC at idle. I don't know why this is, but just to make sure, I set the BIOS voltage to 1.38v with LLC and the crashing/BSODs remained at idle. But to illustrate, the voltage delta with LLC is .008v (hardly anything), and .048v without (a lot), as well as the deltas being reversed.

    Clearly, there is something flawed with the implementation of LLC on the Rampage Formula, and AnandTech is wrong about it not being compatible with 45nm CPU, regardless of their fancy looking graphs. Because now the fact stands that LLC works perfectly on 45nm CPUs with the Asus P5E, which is supposed to be an inferior motherboard.

    We need to find a way to jointly contact Asus regarding this issue and have them work on it in a BIOS release. I have already sent two tickets regarding this issue and have not received any response. If many people do so, maybe they will do something.

    Anyway, those with the Rampage Formula and a 45nm CPU, please test with LLC on your overclock; does the system crash when idle and remain stable under load? Please vote in the poll.
    Last edited by 003; 05-29-2008 at 08:41 PM.
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  2. #2
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    As I posted in the other thread I get that exact behaviour.

    THe pencil mod worked wonders but LLC just made it crash.

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    I have LLC enabled, but my computer is never idle (F@H 24/7). From the OP's post, having LLC enabled is only bad if you let your computer idle. Did I read this correctly?


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    Just do a pencil Mod and disable the Loadline Calibration. I was watching CPUz go crazy with fluctuation in Voltages prior to making this change. Prime would system reboot constantly. With the Pencil Mod in place, the Board is now Priming without wild fluctuations, in fact the voltages don't even move when under load. Now for example I set 1.200v in the Bios and CPUz reports 1.184v with no fluctuations.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurasianman View Post
    I have LLC enabled, but my computer is never idle (F@H 24/7). From the OP's post, having LLC enabled is only bad if you let your computer idle. Did I read this correctly?
    Yeah but thats not the point... we want/need this fixed! And it worked properly on an inferior motherboard, the P5E!
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurasianman View Post
    I have LLC enabled, but my computer is never idle (F@H 24/7). From the OP's post, having LLC enabled is only bad if you let your computer idle. Did I read this correctly?
    Not just idle, low usage (web + media player etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by WizardofOz View Post
    Just do a pencil Mod and disable the Loadline Calibration. I was watching CPUz go crazy with fluctuation in Voltages prior to making this change. Prime would system reboot constantly. With the Pencil Mod in place, the Board is now Priming without wild fluctuations, in fact the voltages don't even move when under load. Now for example I set 1.200v in the Bios and CPUz reports 1.184v with no fluctuations.
    In other words, you have exactly the same problem.

  7. #7
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    Same here I even posted a similar question:
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/...d.php?t=185243

    I have almost the same setup here and the same problem so I voted YES

    I really hope they fix this issue with a new BIOS or something.
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  8. #8
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    Anandtech are not wrong, the theory of droop and why you need it is sound and is exactly as described by Intel to XS reps as well as Kris and myself at the XUG event we all attended.

    The basics are really simple, if you remove the droop the overshoot moves higher and as such could damage the CPU, plus the circuitry is under much more stain if you remove the droop.

    Now LLC or enhanced slope can cure some of these issues if implemented correctly, in this case it sounds like Asus have an issue with the rampage which could be more hardware based over software. If you apply a hard mod keep in mind its best to retain a small droop, thus overshoot will still happen but it will not be as high as with no droop at all.

    One last point here is MM measuring of droop is not good, the meter will not respond fast enough, a scope is the best way of telling exactly what is happening.
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  9. #9
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    this would make sense if the droop wasn't so severe. Is there any information about how high it could possibly spike back up?

  10. #10
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    My Rampage is working fine and stable (Prime95 Small/Blend proof) with my E8400 (4Ghz, LLC enable), but last weekend i was playing COD4 on-line for 2 hours and on a full action scene, sound disapear/black screen and game off to desktop with a #.exe error.

    Fire up the game again and no problem at all. This type of issues (multimedia/web applications also) happened to me alot when i had Asus Formula SE (random BSOD). With my ex-Q6600 GO had no problem at all, run for hours, weeks, months total stable without any issue.

    I thought that with Rampage these types of issues where gone, because i find Rampage way better board than Formula SE, but seems that this weekend issue was/is an alert.

    Quote Originally Posted by WizardofOz View Post
    Just do a pencil Mod and disable the Loadline Calibration. I was watching CPUz go crazy with fluctuation in Voltages prior to making this change. Prime would system reboot constantly. With the Pencil Mod in place, the Board is now Priming without wild fluctuations, in fact the voltages don't even move when under load. Now for example I set 1.200v in the Bios and CPUz reports 1.184v with no fluctuations.
    Is there a link with pencil Mod steps?!
    Last edited by JohnMike; 05-30-2008 at 03:14 AM.

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    I think this issue is mainly with ASUS Rampage Formula with 45nm Quads actually if someone has this board and a Core 2 Duo on 45nm and the same problem please post so far I think only NEW Quad's suffer from this
    Thanks to ATI the Prices are The Way they are Meant to be.

  12. #12
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    the issue is the "spike" from high load to low load and the dip when going low load to high load, there will always be a droop between set voltage and load voltage though.

    When you set VID in bios, you are actually setting the max the voltage should spike to from high load to low load, not the actual idle or load voltage, this is where many end users get confused.
    The main issue is multimeters do not respond fast enough to see these spikes and dips, so end users think they have removed the droop or improved the system when infact they could be causing a lot of damage.

    I am off to Taiwan tomorrow, if i get a chance i will talk to a few engineers about this and see if something can be done to reduce the spikes and dips but leave the droop as intended. Remember though this is going beyond what intel designed for and as such is going to cost more to implement on a board...so don't moan if something comes out but costs quite a bit more
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    Hi ,
    I am totally confused here since i do not understand Vdropp and LLC very well.
    I recently purchased a rampage formula and an intel E8400.
    At stock speeds should i disable LLC , if so what is the correct name in the bios , so i know wich one to disable ?=)
    It seems every time i buy a piece of hardware something goes wrong =/
    I always do a bit of research before , i saw lot of positive reviews on this motherboard and now this hmmm

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony View Post
    the issue is the "spike" from high load to low load and the dip when going low load to high load, there will always be a droop between set voltage and load voltage though.

    When you set VID in bios, you are actually setting the max the voltage should spike to from high load to low load, not the actual idle or load voltage, this is where many end users get confused.
    The main issue is multimeters do not respond fast enough to see these spikes and dips, so end users think they have removed the droop or improved the system when infact they could be causing a lot of damage.

    I am off to Taiwan tomorrow, if i get a chance i will talk to a few engineers about this and see if something can be done to reduce the spikes and dips but leave the droop as intended. Remember though this is going beyond what intel designed for and as such is going to cost more to implement on a board...so don't moan if something comes out but costs quite a bit more
    Tony, it never happens when at full load or when coming down from full load (so it seems). All I have to be doing is browsing the internet, or going to the bathroom, and after a few minutes, the system crashes, while it is sitting idle.

    And if AnandTech is not wrong, I still don't understand why it works on the P5E. Obviously, since hard mods work, there is a way to implement it correctly. And finally, someone said this may be 45-nm quad only, or that quads are more susceptible. This may well be the case.

    I still think Asus needs to address this issue. If they got it right on an inferior board, they can get it right on the Rampage Formula.
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    QX9650 + LLC ENABLED = random BSOD + lockups @ idle (P95 + OCCT stable 8 hours)
    QX9650 + LLC DISABLED = nil BSOD's, nil lockups @ idle (P95 + OCCT stable 8 hours)

    It is the consumers choice to either enable of disable LLC; ASUS must take ownership of responsibility to address that which is none other than faulty operation.

  16. #16
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    To: SureShoot
    Hi ,
    I am totally confused here since i do not understand Vdropp and LLC very well.
    I recently purchased a rampage formula and an intel E8400.
    At stock speeds should i disable LLC , if so what is the correct name in the bios , so i know wich one to disable ?=)
    It seems every time i buy a piece of hardware something goes wrong =/
    I always do a bit of research before , i saw lot of positive reviews on this motherboard and now this hmmm
    Don't worry on stock in BIOS find LLC which is (Load Line Calibration) it should be on AUTO so if you run stock live it or DISABLE it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMike View Post



    Is there a link with pencil Mod steps?!

    Yes there is a nice photo to show you exactly what needs to be done

    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/...181921&page=16
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  18. #18
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    Trying to monitor the effects of no VDROOP with a multimeter is like attempting gene splicing with a magnifying glass and a couple of nails. Without a fast scope the overshoot Tony mentions will never be seen. The VDROOP circuit is an elegant design because of its simplicity and cost effectiveness of eliminating what can be a catastrophic failure.

    Properly implemented, VDROOP in no way hinders a 24/7 overclock. All one has to do is look through the DFI P35, X38/X48 threads to see the number of users successfully implementing VDROOP and C1E with their overclocks.

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    I have LLC , speedstep and C1E enabled and I never had an instability with this BIOS configuration. I tried with an E8400 and a Xeon 3110 and absolutely I haven't any trouble at idle.
    Maybe because my system changes multiplier at low loads, having C1E and speedstep enabled?

    I am 450x9 at full load and 450x6 at idle.
    Last edited by Brama; 05-30-2008 at 08:57 AM.

  20. #20
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    I guess I'm another person with the LLC issue.
    On my case, my QX9650 needs 1.35V(bios)/1.33V(Windows)/1.34V(full load) to be stable at 3.8Ghz when LLC is enabled. Without LLC, I have to set the Vcore in bios to 1.375V which reads 1.35v in Windows, but the voltages drops to ~1.30V under full load.
    There have been several occations I got BSOD during idle, but the issue got taken care of by increasing NB voltage to ~1.50V
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Praz View Post
    Properly implemented, VDROOP in no way hinders a 24/7 overclock. All one has to do is look through the DFI P35, X38/X48 threads to see the number of users successfully implementing VDROOP and C1E with their overclocks.
    Trouble is, C1E does not lower the voltages on the Rampage Formula. It lowers the multiplier. And EIST dosen't even exist in the BIOS (when overclocked, at least).

    Without an overclock, C1E may well lower voltage, or when voltage is at AUTO, but otherwise, it does not touch it on the RF. Asus needs to address the LLC issue. If they did it right on the P5E, then can sure as hell do it on the RF.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Praz View Post
    Trying to monitor the effects of no VDROOP with a multimeter is like attempting gene splicing with a magnifying glass and a couple of nails. Without a fast scope the overshoot Tony mentions will never be seen. The VDROOP circuit is an elegant design because of its simplicity and cost effectiveness of eliminating what can be a catastrophic failure.

    Properly implemented, VDROOP in no way hinders a 24/7 overclock. All one has to do is look through the DFI P35, X38/X48 threads to see the number of users successfully implementing VDROOP and C1E with their overclocks.
    Do you work for DFI? You know why I'm asking this question right? Needless to say, this is a model specific problem since other Asus boards with similar chipsets are not displaying this anomally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zucker2k View Post
    Do you work for DFI? You know why I'm asking this question right?
    I don't have a clue why you are asking that. The only reason I mentioned DFI is as far as I know they have the only boards that allow VCORE to change when the voltage is manually set and C1E is enaabled. This in conjunction with VDROOP allows for a completely stable overclock without excessive voltages at idle or under a load.

    Everybody wants to moan that VDROOP hinders an overclock. When the truth is it's the method of implementation that is to blame. My post was not meant to insinuate that this particular board did not have an issue. But rather that it requires more then the ability to be able to read the instructions of a $12.00 multimeter to call into question the design of the power circuit Intel has specified.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Praz View Post
    I don't have a clue why you are asking that. The only reason I mentioned DFI is as far as I know they have the only boards that allow VCORE to change when the voltage is manually set and C1E is enaabled. This in conjunction with VDROOP allows for a completely stable overclock without excessive voltages at idle or under a load.

    Everybody wants to moan that VDROOP hinders an overclock. When the truth is it's the method of implementation that is to blame. My post was not meant to insinuate that this particular board did not have an issue. But rather that it requires more then the ability to be able to read the instructions of a $12.00 multimeter to call into question the design of the power circuit Intel has specified.
    Exactly -- C1E is not an option here. FYI, I have a very good Fluke DMM

    But that is beside the point, as a DMM has nothing to do with the problem I have discovered. The fact of the matter is that LLC on the Rampage Formula is flawed, and that LLC on the P5E, an inferior board, works just fine.

    Clearly Asus has the ability to make it work. Either by a hardware change, or a BIOS update. If by a hardware change, they need to replace all current Rampage Formulas free of charge, as a feature that is advertised on it as a key selling point is broken.

    Another way to address the problem would be by making it possible to use C1E voltage control while overclocked, although LLC would technically still be broken.

    Bottom line is that the current state of the board is unacceptable and something needs to be done about it.
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    Im about to set up my Rampage Formula with my eon X3350 which I am planning on getting to 3.8GHz, I am really worried about this! You think a BIOS flash would fix it? Anyone tried? Thanks, TehPwn!

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