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A guide to overclocking Kinetic and StrongARM CPU cards

Published: 6th Jan 2009, 22:34:25 | Permalink | Printable

Charlie Lane has compiled a package of notes and photos on overclocking various StrongARM processer cards, including Castle Kinetics, for RiscPCs. Overclocking is the process of ramping up the digital timing signals of the computer to force the processor to work faster. Charlie told us: "I thought it would be fun to investigate the possibilities of speeding up my Kinetic RiscPC - only to find suitable information on Kinetic cards was rather hard to come by so I set about working it out for myself." Note: Follow the instructions entirely at your own risk.

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Discussion

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Hmm, if I try to download the zip I get an error: 'this user is not able to use direct links. Then 'To download this please visit:' followed by an advert.

Never mind, I think I remember how to do a strongarm overclock - might be worth seeing what I can get out of the old girl after all this time. Just for fun, like.

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 6/1/09 11:32PM
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I've mirrored the zip file here:

[link]

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 7/1/09 12:37AM
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Thanks Chris!

The guide looks good, by the way - it matches up with what I remember.

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 7/1/09 1:38AM
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I'll just make a note-to-self NOT to buy any second hand kinetic cards from Charlie Lane....

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 7/1/09 9:48AM
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3rd paragraph from the bottom in Info.Overclock SA & Kinetic:

"Interstingly the 133MHz RAM on the Kinetic is run at 66MHz. As the main speed increase for this card comes from the speed of this RAM vs the rather slow motherboard RAM it follows that you could double this frequency for a BIG performance boost - in theory. I assume that there's a good reason why Castle chose not to do so."

I was under the impression this used DDR memory, where data is retrived on both the rising and falling clock edges, thus delivering an effective 133MHz 32b bandwidth at 66Mhz over a 64b bus.

 is a RISC OS UserAnon on 9/1/09 11:45AM
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I thought the Kinetic used a 64bit SODIMM with SDRAM and not DDR-RAM? Anyway, 66 MHz/64bit is the maximum the SA110 can do - if you want more to reduce memory latency, you would need additional logic on the card.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 9/1/09 2:28PM
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All DDR is SDRAM, and although usually in DIMM packages, SO-DIMM packaging is available. (I do not mean that DDR is the same as SRAM, of course.)

I agree with you that 66MHz/64b is the native maximum; I am saying this is equivalent to 133MHz/32b. This means the logic to convert between 64b and 32b is inside the ARM already.

I don't see how reducing memory latency below processor latency would help: The memory would be faster than the processor, and therefore only called at the maximum speed of the processor, ie wasted. With sufficient cache, a main store speed half that of the processor (if "single data rate" used) should be good enough, that is, increasing the speed of the memory to that of the processor would not double the overall system speed.

Nonetheless, I may have confused references to the Iyonix's use of DDR with the Kinetic somewhere along the line. I don't see why the Kinetic can't use DDR, the question is if CTL intended it to be used.

(And the answer to the question why didn't CTL run the memory at 133MHz instead of 66MHz, is that it was (if DDR used) already being accessed at that rate, clock speed regardless.)

 is a RISC OS UserAnon on 19/1/09 3:39PM
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Doesn't the board already contain two CPLDs for doing other memory-related hacks anyway?

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 20/1/09 4:23PM
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Thanks for the comments. :)

Keep then coming please. I'm well aware much of what I've written about the Kinetic's RAM is guesswork based on snippets I've picked up. I'd like to know better, both to make this info more accurate & also to reduce the risks to my Kinetic when I get round to fiddling with that bit. ;) BTW: If any are looking for a suitable Peltier but (like me) have had difficulty finding one, this company have been very helpful... [link] Model: 12711-5L31-02CK looks to be the 'best fit' to me. They also do versions with 'RTV sealing' to save on messing with neoprene gaskets, etc...

 is a RISC OS UserCharlie on 9/1/09 6:44PM
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