How I got a 780i FTW (may apply to other boards) to properly work with Windows 10

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2019/11/28 11:26:06 (permalink)
I spent about 3 months tinkering to eventually get it working, on two boards nonetheless so it gives me a bit of wiggle room in terms of stability testing and trying out different configurations.
Both boards are 780i FTWs
Core 2 Quad Q6600; stock
One board has 8GB of Corsair DD2 at 800Mhz while the other has a mix of random RAM (I believe 2X2 of one brand and 2X1GB of DELL memory)
Both have SSD boot drives and an HDD data drive.
If I need to add more to the description I'll do so.
There are four kinds of crashes I've experienced in Windows 10
A.  The screen goes black, may or may not instantly BSoD (usually does not BSoD and the watchdog resets from 2-5 minutes).
B.  The GPU stops rendering graphics, essentially the computer is soft locked in that Windows is completely inoperative.  Interestingly as more and more improvements were made with BIOS settings the responsiveness of the system has improved; namely I could open and close windows explorer.
C.  The computer instantly reboots with a DirectX crash.
D.  The CPU spikes to 100% and hard locks, interestingly the 'bug' is easily found when doing scans with Windows Security, as a certain point it will use up 96% of the CPU, starving it.  This also occurs on a Lenovo netbook.
Step 1.  Replace incompatible hardware.
There are two motherboard components that are not compatible with Windows 10 past I think 1603 or Windows 8 past ForceWare 340/365.10.
  • First would be the onboard SATA controllers.  I opted to use an ASMedia106x PCI-E card, using standard MS drivers as the ASMedia drivers are not compatible (causes a Type D crash).  You can downgrade the nForce SATA drivers to generic IDE drivers or use Fernando's modified drivers and use those, however in both cases the computer has a somewhat common tendency of not getting past the Windows logo boot screen.  I've only had the boot issue with the ASMedia card on beta builds in 10, but will be tested down the road.  Using the regular nForce SATA drivers causes a Type C crash.  Yes, I know.  Note: On Windows 8 the Type C crash actually BSoDs with the SATA drivers.
  • The Ethernet ports cannot be used, I never made the correlation until my 2005 era WDA-2320 would crash under 1609 and newer (as I side note I used Windows 8 from that point on until July of this year).  Of course when that card crashes it just disconnects from the network when the motherboard crashes it causes a Type B crash.  I opted to use a PCI-E wireless card (as they're cheaper than a PCI-E Ethernet one locally, plus adding Bluetooth for Xbox One controllers is a nice touch) but the other board I used a USB Ethernet adapter that's also compatible with the Nintendo Switch for when I retire that system.  I would encourage hardware that is compatible with Windows 10 and PCI cards of that nature are probably not common.
Step 2.  Update the nForce System Management Controller driver and uninstall the RealTek Audio Driver (if installed).
  • I have not retested this but I can't really correlate which type of crash is due to the lack of this driver.  Merely put just update the 'PCI Controller' in the Device Manager with the appropriate one from a Windows 7 installation folder.  It will complain it's not compatible but installs fine regardless.
  • The RealTek driver causes crashes A, B and D.  It's...Odd.  I haven't retested this but on the other board that I forgot to do this it was quite random, sometimes it would do B then D in succession.
Step 3.  Configuring the BIOS.
In all honesty I would imagine this would be step one, but considering the other board never got a reinstall after all this testing is why I left it at step 3, otherwise it is unbootable.
NOTE: It is possible, albeit risky to switch over from an nForce SATA controller to the PCI-E card.  The easiest way is to install the card, boot Windows and have the drivers installed.  Then there is no problem switching the boot drive to the PCI-E card.
I've had good luck with the following BIOS settings; as I don't have the BIOS screen up I will adjust the instructions to match.
  • Turn off all SATA controllers; if you don't plan on using them.  Make sure the boot order is set correctly on the PCI-E drives otherwise if reinstalling Windows 10 it will not put the system partition on the correct drive.
  • Turn off both LAN ports.
  • Make sure HPET is on.  This seems to be required for me for to use USB.
  • Turn off C1E states but turn on SpeedStep.  This seems to be required for me to use USB.
As for the USB.  Updating USB drivers and transferring massive amounts of data causes a Type B crash.  Making sure the BIOS is set like this avoids this, but I have not tested it since maintaining stability.  Of course with both CPU settings off the CPU spikes between 2.39GHz and 2.40GHz, and my Dell Optiplex never actually achieves 2.66GHz with its Q9450 makes me feel that Windows expects Speedstepping.
I'll try to rethink a bit but I think that's most of it, anyway.

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    Re: How I got a 780i FTW (may apply to other boards) to properly work with Windows 10 2019/12/01 01:43:43 (permalink)
    Thanks for your post. 

    Specs: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X,  Corsair MP600 M.2, 64GB Corsair RGB Dominator,  ASUS Crosshair VIII Hero,  Corsair 1000D, EVGA RTX 2070 FTW 3

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