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Old 05-16-2011, 02:41 PM   #1
business_kid
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What have I done right?


I have an old AthlonXP-2600+ running at 2.078 Ghz which I was assured would do 2.6Ghz, but actually doesn't and 2.178 Ghz is what we settled on. I have 266mhz ram on a board with 333mhz FSB and we sorted that out also, and specified the ram speed.

That sounds like under 10% of a speed increase, if any. But the previous kernel I built here took 55 minutes (time make -j4). The one I built after the mods (nearly same config) took 33 minutes. (make clean; time make -j4) 40%?

I've clearly improved or fixed something. But what? I'm a hardware techie and it's made me dead curious.
Code:
bash-4.1$ sudo grep BogoMIPS /var/log/messages |tail
May 15 14:37:32 genius kernel: Calibrating delay loop (skipped), value calculated using timer frequency.. 4193.78 BogoMIPS (lpj=2096890)
& later
Code:
May 16 17:15:06 genius kernel: Calibrating delay loop (skipped), value calculated using timer frequency.. 4361.15 BogoMIPS (lpj=2180575)
May 16 17:15:06 genius kernel: Total of 1 processors activated (4361.15 BogoMIPS).
 
Old 05-16-2011, 04:14 PM   #2
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As a hardware techie, surely you are aware that clock speed has absolutely zero to do with processor performance; it is a very relative concept and totally worthless for benchmarking.

As for what kernel modifications you made specifically to increase performance, we are unable to say as you have not told us what was changed in this new kernel configuration. There are many possible optimizations that can be made in the kernel config, and if your previous kernel was the stock one that came with your distribution, just compiling the new kernel for your specific processor type rather than the x86 generic it originally was could be responsible for most of the performance increase.
 
Old 05-17-2011, 03:33 AM   #3
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I changed nothing in the new kernel! I think I made 2 small changes. I didn't remove anything meaningful or large.That's why my jaw sagged. It was a test of the box, nothing else.
 
Old 05-17-2011, 04:21 AM   #4
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Athlon 2600+ (T-bred) @ 2.6GHz? Maybe on water or other exotic cooling, but not on air in my experience. About the most I recall seeing from an air cooled 2600+ T-bred is in the order of 2400MHz, with 2300MHz or so being far more common.

2.078GHz is just wrong for the 2600+ T-bred. It should have been at 2133MHz 'offically', though its normally more like 2128MHz (133x16). The 2133MHz number is 133.33x16. Were you previously running 130x16 (well, 129.875x16) to get 2078MHz?

I'd guess that you are using a FSB overclock to get 2178MHz (136.125x16). Thats only a few % faster than stock, and a few more % compared to 130x16 but the extra FSB should have more of an impact than the numbers might make you guess....I doubt that you would see anything like the increase in performance you got from playing with the FSB and core MHz like that.

IMO your performance increase would be in part due to moving from underclocking slightly to overclocking, but probably more due to the kernel mods. Without more info though I'm guessing....

BTW, I have run a LOT of Athlon XPs. Mostly a T-bred 2200+, offically 133x13.5 (1795MHz, 133.33x13.5 is 1800MHz). I found it ran noticeably faster at 166x11 (1826MHz).

If you have an 'unlocked' T-bred, or have an nForce2 board that unlocks automagically, and can find some DDR-333 it would be worth trying 166x13 (2158MHz). I found that running asymmetric FSB/RAM with the RAM slower (333FSB with 266MHz RAM, etc) works out to be slower overall than running symmetric (266FSB with 266MHz RAM, etc..). I also found that 266FSB with 333MHz RAM, etc, gave you virtually no increase in performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MS3FGX View Post
As a hardware techie, surely you are aware that clock speed has absolutely zero to do with processor performance; it is a very relative concept and totally worthless for benchmarking.
Relative, as far as comparing CPU 'X' to CPU 'Y'. No point comparing performance from a P4 to Athlon XP based on core MHz, for example.

Aside from that, I semi-disagree. You cant just bung up the core MHz 10% and expect 10% more preformance, which is what a lot of people expect. Still, more MHz normally helps CPU performance, up to a point. Try pushing any CPU to the 'absolute max' and you tend to see it will run slower than it would at lower MHz values, for various reasons.
 
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
Athlon 2600+ (T-bred) @ 2.6GHz? Maybe on water or other exotic cooling, but not on air in my experience. About the most I recall seeing from an air cooled 2600+ T-bred is in the order of 2400MHz, with 2300MHz or so being far more common.
I did see 2,333Mhz briefly but it was very fond of crashing. I'm not reaching for speed anyhow. It's a bit like seeking speed by taking the back carrier off a push bike to be tweaking this thing.
Yeah, the salesman was a cocky noob, and full of crap. I didn't care really, as long as it was cheap :-/. They had issues with motherboards not reporting speeds correctly, and were changing bios versions wholesale. Then when I blew that old m/b I kept cpu & ram, and just bought whatever would run them that wasn't a via chipset.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
2.078GHz is just wrong for the 2600+ T-bred. It should have been at 2133MHz 'offically', though its normally more like 2128MHz (133x16). The 2133MHz number is 133.33x16. Were you previously running 130x16 (well, 129.875x16) to get 2078MHz?
I didn't set it up(Auto). It was, I gather, using 166Mhz and 12.5(??) stepping.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
I'd guess that you are using a FSB overclock to get 2178MHz (136.125x16). Thats only a few % faster than stock, and a few more % compared to130x16 but the extra FSB should have more of an impact than the numbers might make you guess....I doubt that you would see anything like the increase in performance you got from playing with the FSB and core MHz like that.
ATM, I have ddr ram specified in one place at 133 Mhz(=266Mhz 'cos of ddr) and a 'frequency' clock of 166Mhz set by jumpers to 13x (=2158Mhz) except something is weird 'cos it claims to be going faster
Code:
bash-4.1$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor	: 0
vendor_id	: AuthenticAMD
cpu family	: 6
model		: 8
model name	: AMD Athlon(tm) XP 2700+
stepping	: 1
cpu MHz		: 2180.575
cache size	: 256 KB
fdiv_bug	: no
hlt_bug		: no
f00f_bug	: no
coma_bug	: no
fpu		: yes
fpu_exception	: yes
cpuid level	: 1
wp		: yes
flags		: fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 mmx fxsr sse syscall mmxext 3dnowext 3dnow up
bogomips	: 4361.15
clflush size	: 32
cache_alignment	: 32
address sizes	: 34 bits physical, 32 bits virtual
power management: ts
After a read in wikipedia I have(I think) a Barton or Thornton core in that Athlon, and SiS 741/963 m/b which is good for 333 Mhz

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
IMO your performance increase would be in part due to moving from underclocking slightly to overclocking, but probably more due to the kernel mods. Without more info though I'm guessing....

BTW, I have run a LOT of Athlon XPs. Mostly a T-bred 2200+, offically 133x13.5 (1795MHz, 133.33x13.5 is 1800MHz). I found it ran noticeably faster at 166x11 (1826MHz).

If you have an 'unlocked' T-bred, or have an nForce2 board that unlocks automagically, and can find some DDR-333 it would be worth trying 166x13 (2158MHz). I found that running asymmetric FSB/RAM with the RAM slower (333FSB with 266MHz RAM, etc) works out to be slower overall than running symmetric (266FSB with 266MHz RAM, etc..). I also found that 266FSB with 333MHz RAM, etc, gave you virtually no increase in performance.
Interesting stuff. I have a significant performance boost. To my mind, I've gone up less that 5% (4193 BoboMIPS - 4361 BogoMIPS) in frequency. Both kernels are 3.0 Megs and both Module trees 6.3 Megs installed. 55 minutes was slow for a kernel. 33 minutes is very fast by comparison. Builds are on the same kernel, so no change there.

My only guess was that my ram was being clocked at 166Mhz, which could have meant extra wait states, but it was faster in wine (with a WINEDEBUG trace) than one core of a twin core turion I have here running at 2.0Ghz, so I can't have been losing much.

So I presumed human error. MY human error. I ran that kernel build again - make clean; time make (without the j4) and it built in _30_minutes 18.301 seconds :-O. Faster again. Maybe that's not hugely surprising, as we are challenged for ram (1 gig). But it's high time I followed rule number one as a techie

1. If it works, don't fix it! This problem also qualifies for exclusion under rule no. 2
2. If it's not worth it, don't fix it.

Thanks for all thoughts, guesses facts, and factoids.
 
Old 05-17-2011, 11:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
I did see 2,333Mhz briefly but it was very fond of crashing. I'm not reaching for speed anyhow. It's a bit like seeking speed by taking the back carrier off a push bike to be tweaking this thing.
LOL, yeah, there is that. Back 'in the day' the Athlon XPs were fast, but these days its just another obsolete single core.

BTW, one of the old 'rules of thumb' I've seen for overclocking is "push the CPU as far as it will go and still boot to windows, then drop back a speed step or two". Its not infalible, but generally it makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
Yeah, the salesman was a cocky noob, and full of crap. I didn't care really, as long as it was cheap :-/. They had issues with motherboards not reporting speeds correctly, and were changing bios versions wholesale. Then when I blew that old m/b I kept cpu & ram, and just bought whatever would run them that wasn't a via chipset.
Probably he (she? it? you never know) doesnt know much then, and was thinking '2600+, it must be running at 2.6GHz'. I used to hear that back when the Athlon XPs were new.....

Another non-fan of VIA chipsets? I'd probably take one over a SiS chipset for the Athlons, if I didnt know what I do now. All the KT266a/KT333/KT400 boards I had, or other people I know had, are dead now. I've still got a running nForce1 (asus A7N266) and a SiS 735 (a ECS K7S5A of all things). The A7N266 I pulled out of a plastic bag from under a bench at a place I used to work. A music shop, not a computer shop. LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
I didn't set it up(Auto). It was, I gather, using 166Mhz and 12.5(??) stepping.

ATM, I have ddr ram specified in one place at 133 Mhz(=266Mhz 'cos of ddr) and a 'frequency' clock of 166Mhz set by jumpers to 13x (=2158Mhz) except something is weird 'cos it claims to be going faster
Code:
bash-4.1$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor	: 0
vendor_id	: AuthenticAMD
cpu family	: 6
model		: 8
model name	: AMD Athlon(tm) XP 2700+
stepping	: 1
cpu MHz		: 2180.575
cache size	: 256 KB
fdiv_bug	: no
hlt_bug		: no
f00f_bug	: no
coma_bug	: no
fpu		: yes
fpu_exception	: yes
cpuid level	: 1
wp		: yes
flags		: fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 mmx fxsr sse syscall mmxext 3dnowext 3dnow up
bogomips	: 4361.15
clflush size	: 32
cache_alignment	: 32
address sizes	: 34 bits physical, 32 bits virtual
power management: ts
After a read in wikipedia I have(I think) a Barton or Thorton core in that Athlon, and SiS 741/963 m/b which is good for 333 Mhz
OK, in that case I was totally wrong. You've got a fairly uncommon 166MHz FSB Athlon XP T-bred or Thorton (it cant be a baton, they have 512K cache). Sorry about that, I've seen a few 2600+ t-bred/thorton CPUs and never once seen a 333FSB model, and to be hoenst it slipped my mind they even made them.

IIRC the 166/333MHz FSB t-bred and thortons did have a lot of issues with some chipsets and speeds not being reported right, no matter what you did. You can change BIOS versions till the cows come home (or if you have a bodyclock like mine, change BIOS versions till the cows leave the shed) and still not have things work just the way they should.

BTW, the thortons are just a barton with 256K cache disabled. Or thats what I heard anyway, its pretty hard to pick the difference between thorton and t-bred, you have to check the model numbers on the actual chip. If its a thorton, that would explain how you managed to get 2333 MHz, I'd doubt that you would see 2333MHz with t-bred on a SiS chipset board, they tended to be fairly lame overclockers.

2180MHz, your board is running a higher than standard FSB- 167.7MHz, or close enough to that it doesnt matter. But then you should have been getting 2096MHz @ 167.7x12.5..... I dont know. If it is running a slightly higher than standard FSB clock, its not that common with Athlon XP boards, it was more common in the original Athlon and P3 boards. I'm cynical enough to think that the manufacturers bumped the speed slightly to make the boards benchmark better.

If you dont mind me asking, what board is it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
Interesting stuff. I have a significant performance boost. To my mind, I've gone up less that 5% (4193 BoboMIPS - 4361 BogoMIPS) in frequency. Both kernels are 3.0 Megs and both Module trees 6.3 Megs installed. 55 minutes was slow for a kernel. 33 minutes is very fast by comparison. Builds are on the same kernel, so no change there.

My only guess was that my ram was being clocked at 166Mhz, which could have meant extra wait states, but it was faster in wine (with a WINEDEBUG trace) than one core of a twin core turion I have here running at 2.0Ghz, so I can't have been losing much.

So I presumed human error. MY human error. I ran that kernel build again - make clean; time make (without the j4) and it built in _30_minutes 18.301 seconds :-O. Faster again. Maybe that's not hugely surprising, as we are challenged for ram (1 gig). But it's high time I followed rule number one as a techie

1. If it works, don't fix it! This problem also qualifies for exclusion under rule no. 2
2. If it's not worth it, don't fix it.

Thanks for all thoughts, guesses facts, and factoids.
The RAM should have been clocked at 133/266, even with FSB at 166/333, so far I havent seen a socket A board that will overclock RAM like that without some intervention. That could vary with SPD etc. though. I've played with more than my share of socket A boards, but I'm a long way from using all of them, or even close. There are whole series of socket A chipsets I've only ever used a few times (AMD 761, ALiMAGiK 1).

If it was me, I'd be poking that system.....a lot....to try to figure out whats is happening. But I've got Socket A motherboards hanging around which makes testing easier, and I'm a stubborn bastard when it comes to hardware I consider myself to know fairly well.

For any normal, sane person rule #1 and #2 should come into play- the system is working, its not worth trying to 'fix' it.

I'd probably just chalk it up to old hardware and (sorry) cheap chipsets being quite variable at times. The ECS K7S5A I have runs well, but every now and again it will for no apparent reason run really slowly. Like 'P3-733' slowly when running a 2200+. Rebooting normally fixes that, and if it doesnt turning it off for a while does.
 
Old 05-18-2011, 03:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
If you dont mind me asking, what board is it?
Sorry - never mentioned. It's an Asrock K7S41GX. The K7S41 is good for 400Mhz bus speed, but the GX is only 333 Mhz. Same chips, so I presume it's a little elastic, because I can't see anything with a firm speed limit sign on it.

Now that 166 Mhz shown in the bios is something I can't set. I haver (from memory)
CPU SPEED - By jumper
ACTUAL SPEED - - 166Mhz(Greyed out)
DRAM SPEED - - 133Mhz

What that 166 Mhz drives is anyone's guess.There's all sorts of caveats about overclocking, but on every page there's mention of it, so they presume you will anyhow.
 
Old 05-18-2011, 05:29 AM   #8
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Yeah, remember that for AMD that 2600+ means equivalent to Intel 2.6 Ghz, or something like that. Either way the CPU freq is not very important nowadays, other things are more important, like cache, FSB, etc.
 
Old 05-18-2011, 07:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
Sorry - never mentioned. It's an Asrock K7S41GX. The K7S41 is good for 400Mhz bus speed, but the GX is only 333 Mhz. Same chips, so I presume it's a little elastic, because I can't see anything with a firm speed limit sign on it.
Thats fairly typical of late model socket A 200/400MHz FSB capable chipsets and motherboards. Its a BIOS and motherboard hardware limit, not a chipset limit.

The 'premium' chipsets and motherboards were capable of 200/400MHz FSB, the 'consumer' level chipsets (which were really just the same chip with different markings) and motherboards were limited to 166/333FSB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
Now that 166 Mhz shown in the bios is something I can't set. I haver (from memory)
CPU SPEED - By jumper
ACTUAL SPEED - - 166Mhz(Greyed out)
DRAM SPEED - - 133Mhz

What that 166 Mhz drives is anyone's guess.There's all sorts of caveats about overclocking, but on every page there's mention of it, so they presume you will anyhow.
That 166MHz is the FSB (166/333). What you are saying here makes me wonder if asrock was going to make a jumperless board, but for whatever reason decided to use jumpers.

As for the overclockign everywhere in the manual, thats fairly typical again of late model socket A boards. By that time a lot of users were moving to Athon XPs for overclocking, and the manufacturers figure that techies and 'normal' system builders would just ignore the overclocking options. But if they didnt have some way of overclockign it could hurt sales in various ways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H View Post
Yeah, remember that for AMD that 2600+ means equivalent to Intel 2.6 Ghz, or something like that.
Athlon XP XXXX+ = equivalent to a P4 of XXXX MHz.

Sempron XXXX+ = equivalent to a P4 celeron of XXXX MHz.

That is why a tbred Athlon XP 2200+ is 1800MHz, a Sempron 2200+ is 1500MHz (mind you, the Sempy is 333FSB, the Athlon is 266FSB, but lets not go into that now LOL)

Quote:
Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H View Post
Either way the CPU freq is not very important nowadays, other things are more important, like cache, FSB, etc.
True, but still, its only true to a point. For performance I'd rather run a Athlon II X4 640 (3GHz, 4 x 512k cache) over a 1.5GHz Phenom II X4 (4 x 512k + 6MB L3 cache). Not that a 1.5GHz Phenom II exists.... Even then I'm sure that if you loked hard enough you would find at least one cache-dependant program that ran faster on the Phenom.
 
Old 05-18-2011, 07:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
For performance I'd rather run a Athlon II X4 640 (3GHz, 4 x 512k cache) over a 1.5GHz Phenom II X4 (4 x 512k + 6MB L3 cache). Not that a 1.5GHz Phenom II exists.... Even then I'm sure that if you loked hard enough you would find at least one cache-dependant program that ran faster on the Phenom.
For performance I'd rather run an i7, as I'm pretty sure nothing AMD comes close, not even Phenom. Too bad I don't have the money.
 
Old 05-18-2011, 08:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H View Post
For performance I'd rather run an i7, as I'm pretty sure nothing AMD comes close, not even Phenom. Too bad I don't have the money.
For single core use? Currently the i7 is the king really. Multicore, even there the i7s win out, but with X6 i7s starting at about $600, you can get a whole X6 Phenom II setup for about as much as the i7 X6 CPU (not that its a good idea to shove an Phenom X6 into a 'budget' system). The more affordable quad core i7s are fairly close to to the cheaper Phenom II X6s for multicore use.

Who knows what bulldozer will do though, it could well pass the i7s. The leaked (haha) benchies look pretty good.
 
Old 05-19-2011, 04:06 AM   #12
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I'm amazed to see this one go so far.

@H_TeXMeX_H: I'll note that you would run an i7 for performance; we are in the bicycle territory here, not sports car. I bought one of the few motherboards that were 1) Socket A 2) Agp for my video card - a throwaway from a gaming pc & 3) did not have a via chipset. I think that makes clear where I stood on performance. And temporarily _I_have_ the cash to buy a stupidly 'better' box.

@cascade9: You're dead right about Asrock making a jumperless board. The Design shows signs of a tug of war. 166 is actually fsb (found it) and set from jumpers. Multiplier is jumperless and automatic, but if you set the bios to "By Jumper" you can use the jumpers to set things. They don't supply the jumpers - I had to.
 
Old 05-20-2011, 08:00 AM   #13
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Blame the self-confessed 'borderline athlon XP anorak' for how long this thread has run for.
 
Old 05-21-2011, 04:36 AM   #14
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Well it pushed me to have a look at Intel's i7. For me the telling spec is 32nm against AMD's 45nm.

All the major logic families were designed for 2.0um fab. We have come a long way.
 
Old 05-21-2011, 11:16 AM   #15
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Interesting, the very last thing I look at is process sizing. I guess everybody checks different specs.

Intel always gets the newer fab processes out the door faster. Mostly because they get the needed equiment before AMD. Bulldozer will be 32nm from everything I've seen, but until they are released its hard to know for sure.
 
  


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