Gigabyte GA-81RXP: overclocker's nightmare

Reboot problem

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The Gigabyte GA-81RXP mobo is a hardware tweaker's dream. This is "the first motherboard to run a Pentium 4 Northwood at over 3 GHz. Thanks to these outstanding overclocking abilities and the rich hardware features, we can only recommend the Gigabyte board," Tom's Hardware wrote in February.

ExtremeTech loves it too: "The board was utterly stable with the "optimized defaults" loaded up, and the board held its own in our benchmarks.

"With its enormous gaggle of features, the P4 Titan GA-81RXP is a phenomenal motherboard for its price and a startling (but welcome) departure from Gigabyte".

Indeed, the entire tech review publishing world appears to love the GA-81RXP, judging from the very long list of Editors' Awards which festoon Gigabyte's web site.

Unfortunately, this love affair does not extend to the enthusiasts who went out and bought the mobo with their own money. "Utterly stable" is not a description that many would recognise.

For in real life, The GA-81RXP is a tweaker's nightmare.

This is the problem, as first reported on February 8, by a contributor to alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.giga-byte.

Hello can / can't anyone else replicate this on their 8IRXP motherboard. If I set the CPU voltage to normal I can shut down PC and start up fine. If I set the CPU voltage manually - even to default 1.5volts it will only boot back up the video / monitor if I turn it off and on at the back of power supply (mains would have same result I assume).

Another writes: just booting up going into bios and changing the vcrore and exiting (and the systems will hang on that restart from the bios)

OK, so that was February; now it's April 15, and the reboot problem still exists, and it doesn't look like Gigabyte is any closer to resolving it, looking at this recent alt.comp post from Mike Mullen, Gigabyte's resident tech-head in the UK.

In this thread he reveals that Gigabyte engineers in Taiwan have been unable to reproduce the problem, and - it looks like - have not even gotten around to testing the mobo with a P4 Northwood. (Incidentally, he also lashes out at Intel Europe for being difficult to deal with, but that seems to us to be a side issue).

Since the reboot problem was first identified , posters on alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.giga-byte have shown mounting frustration with Gigabyte. This is the gist of their complaints: the 81RXP is clearly marketed as an enthusiast's board, but it fails to do the business. Gigabyte in Taiwan has failed to address the problem - so RMA (return to manufacturer) the board and get something from Abit that works.

For ultra-hardcore tweakers there is a hand-crafted solution to the reboot problem- wirewrapping the CPU. There's an article on Hexus.net, which shows you how to do this. But it's a: very finicky b: requires a very high degree of competence and c: bloody easy to mess up your CPU.

Gigabyte has, as one Reg reader notes, been very successful as a "no frills, OEM manufacturer but...maybe they are not ready for prime time in the enthusiast motherboard market". On this showing it is difficult to disagree. ®


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