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Bp6 v1(.1) P!!! SMP and single operation with the Powerleap NEO S-370
v 1.2

Much has been said about the BP6 in SMP recently,
and i've had the opportunity to try out and test some of the rumours out there,
and write the results down onto a single webpage.

Note: this webpage is not meant for the technically impaired among us.


Recently I stumbled across this link that discussed the possibility of running 2 P3's on a BP 6 rev. 1.1 Since my current workhorse (a pair of C366@533) is having more and more trouble with the heavy load that I tend to give it on a everyday base, i looked for a SMP-upgrade path. Since the real-life experiences that i've had with VIA where not very on the bright side, and I discovered that this website had a program that can increase the bandwith of the BX with another 25% and spank every VIApro out there, I considered myself in a no-go situation for the VP6, and bought myself a pair of NEO's and two P3's @ 700 Mhz (SL45Y ; cB0 stepping)

H/W Preparations

I made sure that the BP6 rev. 1.1 was in optimum shape, and I did that by using 128Mb PC133CAS2 memory in the board, adding some thermal paste under the 'greenie', kept the NEO's on 100MhzFSB, and didn't use the thermal tape of powerleap in SMP but just used some plain thermal paste. I used the blowers that where issued with the NEO. If, for example, you want to use the IPI blowers issued by Intel, at least use the iron clamps of powerleaps' blowers.

Single

For starters I put in only one NEO with a P3-700 and a blower on top, no modifications on both the BP or the NEO, and fired up the whole shebang. Since I've flashed in this BIOS the P3 got recognised, and ran happily on a 66Mhz bus, that's 466Mhz. Putting the P3 on 100Mhz bus was too much asked, the system would not pass the POST 2 out of 3 times. So figured out with BP6FSB under windows'98 that 97Mhz FSB was stable from POST to W'98. After I removed the thermal tape of Powerleap, I suddenly could POST and run w'98 without a hiccup on 110Mhz FSB. Running windows'98 might be all nice and dandy, SMP mode and more stability is obtained with the installation of Windows 2000 (or Linux, for all you penguins out there)

The SMP-MOD

This page on the powerleap site describes a modification to both the BP6 and the PL-NEOS370 that would enable SMP on the BP6, i've done this mod and two processors where succesfully identified by the bios at boot-time.

W2k-action

The kernel of w2k kan be changed from ACPI or MPS single and MPS mode, wich gives more headroom for testing and benching purposes. You can change the kernel in the hardware list under "Computer", additionally that can also be done in "Safe Mode" when (for obvious reasons) normal mode refuses to run.

The good news is that w2k does run in ACPI/MPS-single mode, and i've been able to configure and work with it at reasonable speeds (770Mhz; 110MhzFSB). I must add that the cpu's are running better the longer I burn them in, so it might be that with the right combination of cooling, bios-flashes and software a 24% overclockers-margin (889Mhz) might be obtainable on the BP6 or any other BX fot that matter.

The bad news is that SMP-ACPI gives a blue screen in w2k that says : "Hardware failure, contact you manufacturer", and running w2k with a SMP-MPS kernel results in a lockup when the system is about to go into the graphical login-prompt.

1st Conclusion

The modification on powerleap's site does result in a succesfull SMP-POST, but severe lockups under w2k indicate that this does not suffice in real-world SMP applications and OS'es such as windows 2000.


Hardware Limitations of a "powerleaped" BP6

In this section I want to give some info about the maximum attainable FSB-speeds in single and SMP configurations that i've ran with P3's and the "powerleaped" BP6. As you might know, these P3's need a 100MhzFSB to run at 100%

Single P3:
POST             : 110 Mhz FSB
Windows98    : 110 Mhz FSB *stable* 1.7v
W2k               : 110 Mhz FSB *stable* 1.7v
note: it seems that the longer the P3 runs in this configuration, the better it starts to perform : increasingly higher FSB's are attainable

SMP P3:
POST             :  80 Mhz FSB
W2k               :  Crash with SMP kernel

Explanation

It seems that P3's on a BP6 are only going to be stable on a single configuration, the stability (mouse/keyboard lockups) is still an issue when the other socket isn't properly terminated. Also the 'greenie' will need extra cooling from a 486-fan, I almost burned up my BP when I ran it at a 110Mhz FSB. The greenie must have been almost 60C at that time.

2nd Conclusion

If you want to get some extra speed out of your venerable BP6 say bye, bye to SMP and get yourself a P3 or C2 and a NEO-S370
And don't use the thermal tape issued by Poweleap, it just stops too much heat from going into the heatsink; just use some thermal paste.

Update: I decided to upload the divx-movie of my activities here


Questions ?

Thanks to : Powerleap, Dennis V. and the whole online BP6-community
p.s.: English is not my native language, so you might notice some spelling-errors in this article, but it's not as bad as JEFFK's english :)
 
 this has been an old-skool html-doc
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