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TerraRaptor

A7N8X-E Deluxe as an alternative for socket 462

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Hi all

 

I wasn't lucky with Abit for sA benchmarking - they never survived more than a few days (had several ones, ones I remember were fully modded from moose83 and stock one from Ananerbe). I also had no luck with Epox boards. Many other boards either don't have mounting holes near socket or miss good/custom bioses. The board that was almost flawless for me is Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe - it has a bunch of modded bioses (thanks Scotty!) and I never had bios corruption issues with it. But it has a major flaw that is killing this board for most of the benchers - no 12V cpu power connector, so it uses 5V rail for cpu vrm. I was using external vrm to avoid this problem but this approach also have certain problems and is not always available for many of us. Anyway, with NB mod, this board is able to hit >250MHz fsb with tight timings which makes it strong alternative for NF7/AN7.

Yesterday I made a simple mod to power cpu vrm from 12V. All you need is to remove/replace stock 6.3v capacitors and coil, solder 12V rail from PSU to the input of VRM:

IMG_2018-12-19_003932.thumb.jpg.ae690867344f0502284041b8e4fefcce.jpg

 

I have used 12V connector desoldered from the dead mobo and made a ground connection from connector as well:

IMG_2018-12-19_012339.thumb.jpg.b891b1b385e87e4a1b9692a1417f2067.jpg

IMG_2018-12-19_012352.thumb.jpg.6dd893fb27f5aa3d34e6bcb005ec3c3d.jpg

 

I have tested it to boot 200x11 yesterday and the mosfets are cool (and it should be quite easy to cover these with radiator). Further steps are NB/SB cooling, Vcore mod, Vnb mod, Vdimm mod which are well known. I will also resolder a 12V connector to a different location as the above shown version was just the fastest one for testing purposes. Although the board is 2-phase design, mosfets are powerful enough (I was benching stock board with 2700MHz 2V barton and the weak point was the 5V rail of my PSU) so current should not be an issue even with higher overclocks. Anyway, A7N8X-E should be WAY easier to find and 5V rail issues will no longer be a limit. Good luck with this nice board :)

 

 

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Nice mod. Would be great to see voltage ripples with oscilloscope or at least compare overclock before and after. Have you checked temps of upper mosfets? They should be opened 2,4x times less resulting in more ripples. Could be tuned out with lower ESR caps and PWM overclocking (never heard of anyone doing this though :D).

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2 hours ago, Antinomy said:

Would be great to see voltage ripples with oscilloscope

Will try to do that with cheap 200Khz osc. Should also go with SS this weekend as all other mods (except cap replacement) are now in place.

 

 

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Okay, I have tested this mod. Setup is as follows:

Corsair XMS3200LL, 2x256MB BH-5 based - capable of 268MHz with my FX57.

Random A-XP 2500+

A7N8X-E Deluxe (3.5Vdimm via hardmod, 1.9Vnb via hardmod, 2.1Vcpu via hardmod) - ceramics/tantals added to socket and nb (this was needed to enhance stability a bit), small radiators are on top of cpu mosfets as they got hot (not extreme temperatures though). Air cooling for NB and ram. Bios used is 1013-1T from Trats with dfi 4-19 romsips.

20020103-012431.thumb.png.9ed92856d15638a811dda9dac875f040.png20020103-023606.thumb.png.dee0d568b6353b304faad61e3d61d038.png20020103-024602.thumb.png.69d412bacd6674365db3f4044879d5c7.png

 

I wasn't yet able to get full stability above 260MHz FSB with 1T bios but the board still performs strong and I believe is on par with tweaked NF7/AN7 on same settings.

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Very nice mod!

Do you have a link or pictures for the hardmode used for dimm/nb and vcore?

I am struggling finding a good NF7-S but i can abuse two A7N8X-E.

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One thing to note is that the board has a built-in CPU OV protection of 2.0v's and will kick in if modded or not, at least that's been the history of it.

If this mod can truly negate the CPU OV protection that's a real win, every voltmod I've ever seen done before could never get around it. Speaking of such I still have a couple of these boards around, both can hit 240(+) on the bus with no voltmods done running the right chip but both are A7N8X Deluxe 2.0's, I don't currently own any of the -E boards.

BTW the ones I have are also a good alternative like the -E version, as long as it's a 2.0 board it should be OK.

And I'll just say good job TR! 😎

Edited by Bones

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@sammurai will post pictures as soon as I get to the board

15 minutes ago, Bones said:

One thing to note is that the board has a built-in CPU OV protection of 2.0v's

So far, I had at least 2.15v measured. Probably just my board. Anyway, ovp-mod should not be hard to implement

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Does this board have "boot from USB drive" option in bios?

That's the only thing I miss on NF7 and always use AN7 to install windows, then bench on it or transfer the ssd to NF7.

To me, most of the NF2 board are very close in terms of performance when modded (voltmod and bios). I don't find a big difference between AN7, NF7 v2, DFI Ultra-B, Soltek FRN-2/3, Epox 8RDA3+. Haven't tested any Asus, MSI or Gigabyte boards, though.

Edited by I.nfraR.ed

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25 minutes ago, I.nfraR.ed said:

Does this board have "boot from USB drive" option in bios? 

Yes, boots fine with flash drives prepared in Winsetup2USB to install w2k/wxp/2k3 if boot device set to USB-HDD.

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17 minutes ago, TerraRaptor said:

Yes, boots fine with flash drives prepared in Winsetup2USB to install w2k/wxp/2k3 if boot device set to USB-HDD.

Thanks! That's a nice option, hate that NF7 does not support it and have to always switch boards.

So it's a very nice alternative, but requires more modding.

You can't easily find socket A boards and CPUs anymore. 3-4 years ago ebay was full with s.A parts, mostly from Chinese sellers. I regret not buying more CPU models that are now gone.

Not that it's a big problem - I have CPU models for months of benching, but still my collection is very far from complete...

PS: Here in Bulgaria most of these CPUs (and many more vintage parts) went through gold diggers :(

Edited by I.nfraR.ed

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1 hour ago, I.nfraR.ed said:

To me, most of the NF2 board are very close in terms of performance when modded (voltmod and bios). I don't find a big difference between AN7, NF7 v2, DFI Ultra-B, Soltek FRN-2/3, Epox 8RDA3+. Haven't tested any Asus, MSI or Gigabyte boards, though.

Back then and out of the box ... DFI , ABIT and EPOX were "king of the hill"

Asus, MSI and Gigabyte boards , were never that good (mainly cause of lack of bios options and o/c specs).

 

44 minutes ago, I.nfraR.ed said:

PS: Here in Bulgaria most of these CPUs (and many more vintage parts) went through gold diggers :(

Unfortunately , not only in Bulgaria.

 

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even here in the UK, the supply has massively dried out, I'm going to have to try and have a look at pc recycling centers etc

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CPUs can be found but for a decent MB you need to be either very lucky either to pay a huge price :(

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