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Now let’s see what you can achieve with an MSI K8N Diamond at practical overclocking. We will try to determine the maximum frequency of the clock generator at which the mainboard keeps stable. We took an Athlon 64 3800+ (2.4GHz default frequency) for our tests and reduced its frequency multiplier to 8x. For the memory not to limit the results, we dropped its clock rate to what it was sure to support.

As usual we first tried to find the maximum of the clock generator frequency at which the mainboard would be stable. The frequency multiplier of the HyperTransport bus was equal to x5 in this case. We found this value pretty soon as it was close to the same value with the earlier-tested nForce4 Ultra-based mainboards. The maximum clock generator frequency when our MSI K8N Diamond remained stable was 235MHz.

To continue our overclocking experiments we reduced the HyperTransport multiplier to 4x. This helped us raise the clock generator frequency to 291MHz. The system was stable at that frequency, but couldn’t pass the POST or would hang up altogether if we added just one more megahertz to that value.

Unfortunately, that was the best result we got with the MSI K8N Diamond. We couldn’t go on overclocking even after we had dropped the HyperTransport multiplier to x3. Even with this multiplier the system refused to boot up at the clock generator frequencies exceeding 291MHz. Tweaking other parameters like the width of the HyperTransport bus, the chipset voltage and others didn’t help us, either.

It is possible that the relatively low overclockability of the MSI K8N Diamond should be cured in the BIOS. We have some hope for the better with new BIOS versions, because we did manage to boot the mainboard up at more than 291MHz of the clock generator frequency once, but the board was very unstable and besides, we couldn’t repeat this result again.

So, the outcome of our overclocking experiments is put down in the following table:

MSI K8N Diamond

HyperTransport frequency multiplier

5x

4x

3x

2x

Max. clock generator frequency

235 MHz

291 MHz

-

-

HyperTransport frequency

1175 MHz

1164 MHz

-

-

Although we found the MSI K8N Diamond capable of overclocking, it currently performs worse than the two nForce4 Ultra-based mainboards we have already tested earlier. This may be caused by higher complexity of the nForce4 SLI chipset in comparison to the nForce4 Ultra. We will check out this supposition later, in reviews of other mainboards based on these chipsets which are already waiting for their turn to be tested.

And in the meanwhile let’s continue our discussion of the BIOS features supported by MSI K8N Diamond mainboard. As for the remaining features of the BIOS Setup, the MSI K8N Diamond supports Cool’n’Quiet technology which reduces the CPU frequency when its load is low. D.O.T. and Cool’n’Quiet can work simultaneously, by the way. So if the CPU load is low, its frequency and voltage are reduced, but when the CPU load is close to maximum, it is overclocked above its default frequency.

The CoreCell chip of the MSI K8N Diamond mainboard features another interesting function: it can control the speed of the CPU cooler depending on the CPU temperature. You can set the optimal temperature in the BIOS Setup of the mainboard and the fan speed will be adjusted to keep the CPU at that particular temperature.

 
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