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MSI PM8M3-V recap


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MSI show on it's website this image, of a MSI PM8M3-V mainboard:




As you can see, the Vcore output is populate with 7 Oscon polymer caps. In reality, however, you get this:




A strip down version, from 7 caps to 3 (!)... and that is for the power hungry P4 CPU's! Yes, there are also the two top caps, but they are not polymers and even the another top two up are Vcore connected (3300uF 6.3V)...

But the main rip off is the caps type used. They are OST 680uF 4V caps, so not a good caps by any way :( In short, they show you seven polymers, but deliver there OST crap caps. Is not that irony?


To make this post more usefull, the caps list for MSI PM8M3-V goes as follows:

5x 680uF 4V d8 OST RLA (+4 leftovers)

2x 3300uF 6.3V d10 OST RLX

3x 1000uF 16V d8 Panasonic FL (+1 leftover)

12x 1000uF 6.3V d8 OST (+4 leftovers)

2x 470uF 10V d8 G-Luxon

1x 10uF 16V d4 SMD


Mine MSI PM8M3-V is PCB v. 1.0. Only there Ost caps on side, FOUR missing! That is stealing by MSI marketing!




AGP powering is rather underpowered, not to mention NIKOS mosfets bad rep:




Ram's run on Ost caps too, completely:




Vcore is supported with big 3300uF Ost caps (and two small Ost caps nearer the socket LGA 775 on top):




Near NIC (Realtek RTL8100C) is G-Luxons (!) ... a terrible known bad caps. Unacceptable!




The Vcore input have space for 4 caps, just there are used and they are Panasonic FL caps, witch cannot be bought on Digikey and I did not suppose they are even original Panasonic caps... What is worser is, that they are d8 only, while 16V caps are hard to source even with d10, not to mention d8...



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So this obviously cannot stays like that, because the mobo is starting to shown first unstability issues and crash on load, so, there had to be recap. I also wanted badly to give the mobo back the nice polymers, the MSI marketing striped it off... In short, I wanted to trumph out the advert :) Because even better that Sanyo Oscon polymers exist - and that are Nichicon LE polymers. So I made my list of ideas, how the recap shuld look like:


9x Nichicon LE 820uF 2.5V d8 493-3058-ND

2x Nichicon HZ 3300uF 6.3V d10 UHZ0J332MPM-ND

4x Nichicon HZ 1000uF 16V d8 UHZ1C102MPM6-ND

16x Nichicon HM 1000uF 6.3V d8 UHM0J102MPD-ND

2x Nichicon LE 470uF 6.3V d8 493-3066-ND

1x Taiyo Yuden 47uF 6.3V 587-3406-1-ND


However certain things go wrong. The first was, that I managed thru friend to order only the original number of the 1000uF 6.3V caps, 12 of them. I had to improvise and replace the remaining 4 unused before with the Samxon GC caps, witch is similar is quality, tested good caps.

At lest I see what caps are new there, lol.

However worser was, that the only one d8 caps for 16V was really hi-end elytes Nichicon HZ, but they are out of the stock for months. So, what to do? I had no chance but to press on and thy some improvisation there...

And at last I completely forget the little SMD cap behind the AGP slot, witch I indented to replace with ceramic caps, when there is available even 47uF ceramic SMD caps with the little 12210 size!


So the main idea was to get the Vcore voltage filtering on hi-quality level, witch I managed easily by using the best polymers ever produced (nothing beat their ripple current rattings):




But now what to do with the input caps, that are not stock? In the end I managed to squeeze easily in their places (luckily, there is nothing upclose near them) replacement caps, witch I took from my stash - a Panasonic FM 1000uF 16V d10:




Of course I added even the unused one, right after the input coil:




Ram's get a quality Nichicon caps too now, so they cannot complain on discrimination changes:




What I also did miss is the sad look of six empty places, where a good quality ceramic caps should be, so the Vcore will be stable even in extreme situations:




As I mentioned, on the previously unused places I slap the Samxon GC caps:




And the NIC controller must be jumping out of joy, because it got the quality Nichicon LE polymers voltage filtering instead of the G-Luxon crap caps - now this is a jump in quality!




Over on the CPU socket, there come together two important caps. A Nichicon HZ - the best electrolyte caps ever when come to the ripple current (Samxon GA are par to par with it, but nothing other come even close, not even Rubycon MCZ, yet the Man Yue stoped manufacturing them :( ) and then the Nichicon LE - best polymer ever made:




And at last - overal look on the Vcore regulation - now it look far much better that before!




And the result? Well, the CPU and rams and HDD is working perfectly. The Vcore regulators, with the serious heatsinks, are - even that no fan is blowing at them, yet I removed the serial and parallel ports to get them better ventilated - after a day of work, night of stress test and half day of gaming heardly even warm...!

That well shown the fact, that quality caps means lesser temperatures of the components. That was just great. And with stock box fan and no case fan...!


Now just the AGP cap and some of these ceramics...

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So, in the long run, I was just wanted to prove, that I can do it and I can do it better that MSI :D Also my point was, how much can these review board differ from what one can actually buy (compare first two images).

If one look closely, you see that on the "advert" board is 10 pcs of ceramics inside of the LGA 775 socket. And on the sale version, there are just 4 pcs of the ceramics.


Seems that these damn people remove everything that they can. Maybe that is why they disabled a LOT of options in the bios, so user cannot seem them, much less tweak them. Maybe overclocking won't work stable, because of all these removed caps...?


Besides, there is the last MSI PM8M3-V bios v1.5 and previous v1.4 - original ones and unlocked versions where you see all the options with much more settings:

MSI PM8M3-V bioses


MSI PM8M3-V bioses.zip | Ulo?.to


Well, in the version 1.5 I did not unlocked all the settings for the IGP, because I dubt anyone can use it anyway, so...


...and if when they use it, then this is probably not necessary? (from v1.4 unlocked bios) There are pretty much tons of settings what can be unlocked just using Modbin :D At first the mobo looked in bios very very cheap, almost no settings, but when I get to the unlocking, then I realized that there are plenty of settings and even enought of sensors...

MSI_PM8_M3_V_bios6.jpg MSI_PM8_M3_V_bios3.jpg MSI_PM8_M3_V_bios1.jpg


But I did not believe that the mobo can take a 333MHz of ram ram speed - 666MHz of DDR speed! No way in hell:



And also I did not believe that the mobo can utilize a DDR2 rams, even the bios claim it:


:D :nana:


But now we have even better ceramic caps AND higher capacity & with much better ripple ratings tantalum-polymer caps (the big black "thing" inside of the CPU socket is a SMD tantalum capacitor, 100uF. Now we have 470uF ones ;)

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Christian Ney -

Does this classify as standard stock cooling? :D


Yes of course.


I think I should choose the "Aircooling", as this hardly constitute the standard cooling:


MSI_PM8_M3_V_northbridge_cooling1.jpg MSI_PM8_M3_V_northbridge_cooling2.jpg MSI_PM8_M3_V_northbridge_cooling3.jpg


Nah, I was just making fun :) The cooling is not all that important.




Antinomy -

Not standard stock but air cooling yes it is. Until you've mentioned AGP benching I thought - why not throw this junk and buy a better board?


Because no funds for anything decent :o The AGP benching is getting quite bad, ATM. The board run my GFX card in PCI mode, lol:






Not cool! I quess it have to be the last not replaced cap on the mobo, but I cannot seems to get the suitable replacement cap:


...from DigiKey any time soon, because my friend who can order it is kind of slow... So I have to manage and hope, that I can fix that. It started way before the 6800 was put there. It happens with Radeon 9100 too, so it is not the card, but the mainboard.

Also the more AGP voltage I throw up, the less stable it is. Default AGP is 1.55V on this mobo, works best with 1.50V and I cannot go lower :( No setting for that. And exectly THIS voltage is on the last not replaced SMD cap - this hardly could be a coincidence :(

Also the cap is very near the voltage regulator(s) that become quite hot, so it just raised my level of suspecting the culprit. If I'm wrong, then next step will be the voltage regulators near AGP.



Eeky NoX -

Like that one?


I would have no CPU or rams to stick into it, lol. But it is not looking bad... after all :)

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Nevermind :) I was just pointing out, that the Thermalright SI-128 SE is somewhat nonstandard on the little mobo and actually the cooler if almost bigger that the mainboard itself. When installing, I just grab the heatsink... and the mobo is just like "attached" to it :)


Anyay, it was fun. Off to do some tests :)

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  • 1 month later...

Sadly, no help. Even with such good cooling, that can cool a 3.4GHz P4 to 30°C (!) it still crash in gaming :(



The AGP cap - 10uF 16V, 1.5 to 1.8V on it, depending on bios settings

I managed to replace the last remaining capacitor on the MSI PM8M3-V mobo - the 10uF d4 SMD suxxka, that have kinda horrible ESR or 3.2 Ohms:




...with a new SMD tantal-polymer KEMET 220uF 2.5V capacitor T520B227M2R5ATE015


...with have ESR around 0.015 Ohms :D


That should be a huge improve. Also I, out of the desperation, resoldered a bit the drain tops of there NIKOS mosfets near the AGP slot.


And result?




So it looks like that maybe the mainboard was not up to the blame the whole damn time. It is the videocard that have to be recapped... (but as we know now, recap of R9100 did not yield any improvement also)



The Radeon R9100 was crashing when new SoF2 level is loading. Given that it run passively cooled on Licon caps:


...with 60 mOhms ESR one should not wonder. Rest of the caps looks quite similar, so recapping is in order.



The PNY 6800 GT failed after a short time to run in AGP mode, going down to PCI mode and crashing after some gaming is played. Now that is serious problem, because there are just THERE caps, two of them polymers on the voltage input filter and they are Chemicon polymers.

Last one is unknown 100uF SMD cap and that it is for other that ceramic caps! I would be inclined to add some caps in the blank spots too, probably something over 100uF SMD... and I would also like to create a custom effecient heatsink for the mosfets on the card, because they do overheat a lot - GPU VRM temp 71°C: View image: temperatures after 30min



So that pretty much leave the mosfet(s) as the last possible source of the problems. The original mosfet(s) that are used for RAM, NB and AGP powering are Nikos P3055LDG:


25V, 50mOhms, 12A, rise time 6nS, shutoff time 20nS

gate charge 15nC, gate treshold 1.2V


There is not much replacements, that feature so low total gate charge (Qg), but I managed to find something:


Vishay SUD50N02-09P


20V, 17mOhms at 4.5V, 15A, rise time 10nS, shutoff time 25nS

gate charge 10.5nC, gate treshold 0.8V


Slightly slower, but good total gate charge as well, as sensitivity - that should do the trick.





As the socket caps goes, I was not yet ready to pop the HUGE Thermalright SI-128 SE heatsink to solder new caps into and posibly around - notice the missing SMD ceramic caps over the top of the socket - the CPU. But I do have a 22uF 6.3V ceramic caps ( JMK316AB7226MLHT ) and a nice tantal-polymer 470uF 2.5V Panasonic ( 2R5TPF470M6L ) cap to replace the current one. That will have to wait, because I'm more concerned about the AGP troubles.


I recently, around the AGP, exchanged the good Nichicon 1000uF 6.3V electrolyte caps for polymers (except for the two that are for 5V) -2x 2200uF 2.5V and 2x 1200uF 4V used. Still absolutely NO help. Absolutely NO improve. Therefore it cannot be in the graphic card (it fact, it last longer during gaming that with the PNY 6800GT) or in the caps - so the next one in the line are the mosfets.

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Today is the day! :) UPS delivered a 10pcs of Vishay SUD50N02-09P-E3 mosfets samples from German Vishay HQ. Hoooray!


Therefore I immediatelly went to work. First at all, there is a picture that show the "polymerization" of caps near the AGP on the MSI PM8M3-V mobo:




The remaining two non-polymer caps (Nichicon HM & Samxon GC) run at 5V, so there is no good substitute for them, but for the rest, the capacity was bumped (2x 1200 & 2x 2200uF) as well as the specs.


The yellow KEMET tantal-polymer 220uF 2.5V cap is also well visible, as replacement for the 10uF 16V SMD suxxka cap :)


However that did not helped, so it is a time to replace the NIKOS P3055LDG mosfets. I picked (for the start), the two, that are most suspicious: the two most close to the AGP slot - the left one delivering the 1.50V and the right one 2.50V to the AGP.

(as you remember, lowering the 1.50V voltage from default 1.55V helped considerably with stability, so it is not like I picking up on random mosfets)


Sadly, the place is pretty crowded, so I had to pull the caps off first:




And as you can see, there are new Vishay SUD50N02-09P-E3 mosfets soldered in! I did not skip on the tin, as you can see, trying to lower every possible mOhms out... :)


And then I soldered back and... tried the mobo. Worked right away, hooray! (with Riva TNT) Then I tried with my R9100 and it also worked well, so I pulled the machine together and now I typing on it, as you can see :D


But first news is bad news. There is no instant "back to AGP mode" in Win. Still it show PCI mode, so I probably have to reinstall the graphic card to get again AGP mode back, as I always had it, before the crash during gaming...

So no instant fix.


But since it crashed by playing in PCI mode too, then I first try playing, so I can determine the stability. If anyone can cross a finger or two (or even say prayer, tough I cannot believe in anything these days), it might help ;)


Mosfets choices:


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You are right, the mainbard is not particuary worthy of... well, pretty much not worth anything. However I have no other mainboard to play with right now, this one is ATM the best one I do have (the Sapphire PI-A9RX480 lack usable rams and some cooling, before I can pronounce it the new main PC) ... so I trying my best to fix the crashing problem with it, falling back to PCI mode.


However at the cursed PCI mode, I did played for 2h 30min... and... no crash.

I did not want to claim something, but... it does not crashed and I can even do printscreens! (never been able to do this before for a loooong time)


So, maybe this will be a good start.


I would like to mention one more thing. The desoldering, the left mosfet (the 1.50V one) gate did crash up, opening the package a bit when desoldering. It might be, that I was too harsh on the poor old Nikos mosfet, but... I do the same with the previous one and the legs stays and nothing cracks.

To me it looked like a structural failure... but I could be wrong. Yet if I'm right, then it would explain easily the crashing problem - once heat up, problems become... Let's see, if this will be stable, finally. I got tired and a bit having a headache from all the gaming now, so... Enough for today! :D


Vishay mosfets - yea! 175°C max. working temperature - that is ownage! :)




As the ASrock K8 Combo-Z mobo... whoa, that is fantastic. Two different CPUs? How this does work, lol. Never see anything even closely reassembling this! Congratulations to owning one!

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Antimony -

That board works with any CPU and either DDR1 or DDR2 memory. Equipped with both AGP and PCI-E. She's a compatibility whore :D


If you cannot get it running two different CPU's at time, then it is not "that" good, lol :) But of course, this is quite nice board. MaxxMem score 273.6? Best I got it like 17.1 points... :( This is quite much faster, very good board. DDR2 rams helped much as well... Mine aren't nowhere near that fast. Almost 5GHz Celeron D Cedar Mill - that is very interesting too.


My opinion - you better save the money spent for electronics to buy a good board (AM2NF3 or 4CoreDual-SATA2 or 775Dual-VSTA) and then start improving things.


MSI boards are better when they're dead :D


Mosfets come as samples for Vishay, so no money required. And there is also no money to save, so I have to manage this one working. And it looks like that finally I got lucky and the mobo is working well. Only the mode of the operation (and speed) is still slow (PCI), but I try reinstall windows from scratch and we see. Because ATM it looks like that the board is just convinced, that AGP is PCI, lol:



PCI settings rooted in system


As being better dead, well, I beg to difer. It works now rasonably well :) Sure, it does have some quirks, like when being off from electricity, then it lose it's bios settings and time (despite I replaced the battery with a new one) and not allowing 1T ram access (no idea why this bios option simply does not work... perhaps bad flash chip or something like that?) and freezing each time when setting in bios the 8 Bank Interleave. Setting 4 works, 8 crash the machine before post...

But still a mATX board ride well with 3.4GHz P4 CPU entierly stable and that is w/o almost all the caps that are projected to be there.


After all the problems, I still like it. Maybe I manage to find the shortcut (some little tin ball somewhere shorting the time...?) that losing the timings and maybe the bios problems can be cured with new bios chip used? Dunno. But still it is good mobo now :)

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