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Old 01-17-2005, 10:55 PM   #1
Impaqt
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CPU: AMD The Somewhat Complete AMD 64 Overclocking Guide.

The Somewhat Complete AMD 64 Overclocking Guide.

XT-Chance (And WicKed) have another A64 guide Here I Couldnt find it the other day when I wrote this. This guide offers a few more definitions, and a more detailed "How To" A Little bit more tedious approach to overclocking, but my results with this method have been very good so far.

Since we are constantly inundated with requests on how to Overclock ones A64 System, I
Figured I'd take a stab at a guide.

I've been Overclocking Computers for about 15 years, so when I built an A64 rig about 8 Months ago, I figured it would be the same as always.... (I'm now on my 3rd A64 Rig.....)

I was wrong....

Critical Overclocking Programs you’ll need:

CPU-Z: General System Monitor and report.
ClockGen: Make sure your get the version for your Chipset. This program allows you to Overclock from within windows. Not always as reliable as physically changing BIOS settings, but gives you an easy way to play with your settings without dozens of reboots.
Memtest86: You'll need to run this from a Floppy or Bootable CD. This basic program is still considered the best for testing your RAM
SuperPi: Intensive mathematical program that stresses CPU/Memory pretty extensively. I like this program because it gives you a good indication of your overclock in under a minute’s time.

Critical Components for a Quality Overclock

POWER SUPPLY
Power Supplies are missed so often when it comes to figure out why your system isnt overclockig the way it should. DONT SKIMP HERE! Get yourself a quality Power Supply and you'll never regret it. The Power Supply that comes with most cases is garbage. If budget is tight, Go with an ANTEC or ENERMAX case. These usually come with a pretty decent supply. FOr detailed Power Supply Information, see DavidHammock's Power Supply Guide

RAM
A64s LOVE TCCD based ram. see Tim's TCCD Memory Guide for the best options

There are several more factors that go into a quality and Stable A64 Overclock, that there are with Older XP
and Intel based systems. A few of the factors we need to take into Consideration are

CPU Multiplier
CPU Voltage
HTT Frequency
HTT Multiplier
Memory Divider (There is ALWAYS a memory Divider with a A64 system)
Memory Voltage
Ram Timings
Chipset Voltage
AGP/PCI Lock
COOL N' QUIET

Finding the right combination of these settings is the only way to get the most out of your A64

CPU Multiplier
All A64s are at least Half Locked. This means that you can set the CPU Multiplier Lower than
stock, but not Higher. This is a Good thing. Very rarely with A64's would you ever need to raise the CPU Multiplier over
the Factory setting. The exception to this are the FX chips, they are fully unlocked.

CPU Voltage
Most A64s have a default voltage of 1.4v to 1.6V. A64s are extremely efficient and usually can only take about 1.7v before they just start producing excess heat. I've run my Mobile up to 1.9v but found it did NOT help my overclocks and simply caused the CPU to produce enormous amounts of heat. These are NOT XP-M chips! While I doubt that running voltages between 1.75 and 1.9 will cause any permanent damage, it certainly has not shown to be beneficial in any tests I’ve seen so far.

HTT Frequency
A64s don’t use a traditional Front system Bus. Instead they use a HyperTransport. I can only assume its abbreviated "HTT" to differentiate between Intel’s "HT" and Hyper-Threading Technology. They are VERY different.

The HyperTransport is what controls the base frequency for communications and CPU speed in our A64 System.
The CPU Speed is controlled by the HTT Multiplied by the CPU Multiplier, The HyperTransport or Memory controller is controlled by the HTT Multiplied by the HTT Multiplier, and Memory speed is controlled by the HTT Frequency, Multiplied by the CPU Multiplier and then DIVIDED by the Memory Divider. That’s a bit confusing for most folks. And it took me a while to grasp the concept as well.

HTT Multiplier
Most AMD Motherboards are designed to handle an 800-1000 MHz Hyper Transport bus. Factory Default on 754 CPUs is 800 MHz (A 4X Multiplier) and 1Ghz (5x) on 939 CPU's this is a Critical part of Overclocking an A64 to the Max. Pushing the HyperTransport past 1Ghz can cause all kinds of system instability that is commonly misconceived as "I maxed out my CPU" or "My Ram is holding me back"

Memory Divider
This is one of the most Confusing aspects of A64 Overclocking. There is ALWAYS a memory divider.
Setting the Memory to 1:1 means that the HTT bus is multiplied by the CPU Multiplier and then Divided by the CPU Multiplier to set the Memory speed. This means that it is OK to run your Memory at its peak efficiency and still go higher with your HTT bus if your CPU can take it. Take note that I said its "OK" not advisable. There are still sufficient tests out there showing that running a 1:1 ratio will garner you the best overall performance. I plan on adding a few test results in the next week or so showing the difference in performance using a higher memory divider than CPU Multiplier.

Since A64's use an On chip memory controller, the Ratio must be calculated a bit differently than old. 5:6 is NOT always 5:6. See that chart at the end of this post for a prety darn close representation of what each divieder is doing. Thanks to Oskar from DFI for the chart.

Memory Voltage
Most motherboards offer a degree of memory voltage options. The memory of choice lately has been Samsung TCCD Based modules with Brainpower PCB's. These Modules run at 2.6v stock voltage, and can usually do no better with voltage up to about 2.8-2.9 volts. There have been a few reports of better settings with voltages over 3v, but these seem to be pretty rare
situations.

Most other memory can benefit from having additional voltage run through it. The king of this is the elusive Winbond BH-5 based memory modules. If you’re lucky enough to have some of these, you may want to invest in an OCZ Memory Voltage Booster if your motherboard is compatible as these can run some very impressive timings with a lot of voltage....
Speaking of Timings...

Memory Timings
There are 5 Numbers in our Timings that we need to worry about a lot. Personally, I would like to learn more about the other numbers, but as of this writing, I'm pretty much in the dark there.

What we do need to worry about are CAS Latency, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Precharge, and Cycle Time(Tras), and CPC (command Per Clock)
Ideally, we want these timings to be 2-2-2-5 1T. Most TCCD based module does this at 200 MHz (DDR400) and can usually go up to 215-220 with a Bump in Voltage to 2.7, and then we need to loosen them to go higher. 2.5-3-3-7 is still considered reasonable memory timings for an A64 system, and some people even go out to 3-4-4-8, but I would personally advise against using timings that high with an A64 System. We ALWAYS want to use CPC (1T) this means the Command per Clock interface is enabled. 2T performs extremely poorly on A64 systems. But since our memory controller is on the CPU, the Double Sided memory problem that plagues XP Motherboards is not evident. Give AMD a WOOT for that one.....

Chipset Voltage
Usually just a small bump in Chipset Voltage will stabilize a flakey HTT bus. 1.6 is Stock on most motherboards, but 1.7 to 1.8 is acceptable as long as you have decent cooling on your Northbridge chip. Many A64 Motherboards use Passive heatsinks on these chips so before you install your dandy new A64 system, take off your NB Cooler and replace the Factory thermal past with some AS-5. This is usually enough to keep the MB Cool enough to run the extra voltage. Placing Ram Sinks on your Southbridge and any other heat producing chip is never a bad idea either.

AGP/PCI Lock

The AGP and PCI Bus' are tied together on all motherboards that I know of. They are also derived from the FSB (Or HTT in the case of AMD) frequency by a divider. NVidia NForce chipsets have whats called a PCI/AGP Lock. This keeps your PCI and AGP Bus at a constant speed no matter what your HTT bus is. This is CRITICAL. If y our PCI bus is too fast, you WILL corrupt hard drive data. If your AGP Bus is too fast, you WILL have Video problems. Via Chipsts have been known to have Faulty PCI locks. This appears to be corrected in the KT800 Pro Chipset, but KT800 and below SHOW a PCI Lock in most bios's but it doesnt do much... This is a Primary reason why overclockers stay away from these boards.

On your Nforce or Via KT800Pro board you want this setting at 33Mhz if its listed as a PCI lock, or 66-67Mhz if its listed as a AGP Lock. Pushing this offers absolutely no benefit as the bandwidth provided by these frequencies is more than todays Hard Drives or AGP Video cards can use.
COOL N' QUIET
Disable this. This is a feature that will automatically UNDERCLOCK your system if it feels it doesnt need to run so fast.... WHo are "They" to tell us how fast out CPU should run?

Now.... What do we do with all this Information??? Start Overclocking of course.....

First Thing First... Let’s see how fast our Processor can go.

Set your Memory Divider at its lowest setting. (Usually 100 or 133) This will give us a LOT of headroom to push out CPU.

Next, Drop your HTT Multiplier to 3x and your CPU Multiplier 1 Notch (If you have a 2 GHz CPU, drop your Multiplier down to 9x)


with these settings most AMD systems will boot and run at a 230HTT so go there first. Once you get into Windows, Run a 1Million run of SuperPi, and then a Prim95 Max heat test for about 10 Minutes. If it passes both of those, its time to go further.
Go 5 MHz at a Time and Repeat. During this we'll want to raise the VCore of our Processor to maintain stability. Once SuperPi and/or Prime95 fail, raise your VCore .05 Volts and Try again. SEE CPU Voltages Ademdum at the end of this guide for processor specific Voltage recomendations.
This is a Slow Time Consuming process, so have a few Mountain Dews and some chocolate bars handy.

Once your push your HTT bus back over 800 MHz (267HTT Bus) raise your Chipset Voltage up to 1.7

with any luck, you'll hit 260-280HTT Depending on your CPU.

Write this info down and then we move on to testing out Memory.
CPU TEMPS ADDDENDUM
As stated above, A64s are VERY efficient, there have been reports of outrageous overclocks using the stock AMD Heatsink. But I would still recommend a high quality Swiftech or Thermalright Unit. (Dee DavidHammocks HSF Guide for specifics)

Anyway, Standard Desktop chips should be kept under 55c in ALL cases. It should NOT be hard to keep then under 45-48c with good quality cooling. Running higher than that is a good indication that you have misapplied your HSF and/or AS-5 Remount.
Mobile chips are rated a bit higher, but there is still no reason to ever see temps higher than 55c. The lack of an IHS provides better contact with the Heatsink and it’s very possible to keep temps at 45 and lower with quality cooling. Even with high overclocks.

Torture your Memory Next
Memory is usually the Culprit in holding back overclocks. Finding out the capabilities of what our memory can do is critical.

Drop your HTT bus back down to 200, and reset your Memory Divider to 1:1 (Usually "AUTO") Leave your CPU Multiplier at 9x (For a 10 Stock Multi) and let start out at 215 at Stock Timings, Bump VDimm up to 2.7v(Or +.1Volt)

The 2 tests you want to do here are SuperPi 1 Million and Memtest86 You'll need a Floppy disc or Bootable CD to run Memtest86 (Or if you have a DFI UT, there is a Modded BIOS available with Memtest built in)

Run 5 Passes of Memtest86, then boot into Windows and Run SuperPi. You won’t be fast, but SuperPi 1Million runs a LOT of numbers through your Memory. If all goes well, go up 5 MHz at a time until one starts to error.
That’s where we need to start loosening the timings.
Go up .5 on Cast Latency, 1 on RAS to CAS Delay, 1 on RAS Precharge, and 2 on Cycle Time (Tras) and Repeat these tests. Depending on your memory,
you may want to loosen them more, but I would suggest keeping them under 3-4-4-11 if at all possible. If you’re using Memory Other than TCCD based, don’t be afraid to bump your Memory voltage more. Most modules will take 2.9-3.0 Volts just fine and BH-5 has been known to go as high as 3.3 to 3.5v!


Once you've found your Memory’s max speed, this is where we need to do some math. Most likely there’s a sizeable gap between what your CPU can do and what your Memory can do. That’s OK.... That’s why we went down a Notch or 2 on our CPU Multiplier testing.

Lets say your CPU went to 260 Stable with a 1x drop in your Multi, Not bad.... a 340Mhz O/C on a stock 2Ghz chip... but your memory only went to 230 before you had to go to slow in your Timings. That’s OK.... Drop the HTT down to 230 and bring your Multiplier back to stock speed (10 xs in our example) you should have a Rock Solid 300Mhz overclock on your hands.

If the Gap between your Memory and CPU is so high, you can’t get to your Max CPU Speed with your Stock Multiplier, we may need to run a higher Divider on our Memory.
If we're talking 30+ MHz base difference.... You should probably drop your Memory Divider down to 166 and use your Max CPU Speed we figured out. Less than 30 MHz and you'll probably get better performance running 1:1 at your Memory speed. I say this because we'll be losing memory speed at our best settings at that point. Only use a Higher Divider IF your CPU speed will bring your Memory speed to within 2-5 MHz of your MAX Memory Speed. 240HTT X10 = 2400Mhz, Divided By 11 (166) brings out Memory down to 218Mhz If out MAX speed as 236, we're Giving away Memory bandwidth for no reason. However, if your Max CPU bus is 260, then we get this 260x10 = 2600 /11 = 236.
See how that works? Now out Memory is maxed AND out CPU is maxed....

AMD64 Processor Voltage Guidelines

This guide is designed to give everyone a good idea of the voltages you can run on your A64 CPU’s.

Unfortunately, this chart is based on Observation and personal experience. There is ALWAYS a risk when playing with CPU Voltages. If you Blow your CPU up in the “SAFE” range, IT’S YOUR FAULT. If you cannot accept the Risks of Overclocking, then DON’T DO IT.

I’d like to thank Dil-Tech for This THread as it is the basis for this chart.

I have Personally overclocked the following processors:
Newcastle
Clawhammer
Clawhammer Mobile
Winchester
Venice
San Diego

I have taken ALL of them into the “Insanity” level on AIR COOLING. I have yet to Blow up a CPU. But I am the definition of a risk taker. I can afford a new CPU if and When I blow one up and would never blame anyone but myself when catastrophic results present themselves.

Don’t Miss This Sticky from XT-Chance as it contains a lot of detailed information on the cores listed below.

BEFORE USING THE INFO IN THIS CHART
Ask yourself these Questions:

1: Can I afford a New Processor?
If the answer is YES, that’s great. If its NO, then I would personally reconsider messing with my CPU Voltages.

2: How Stable is my Power Supply?
Do you even Know???? Even a quality supply can have rail issues. I have a Vantec Stealth 520 that Droops 12v and had an OCZ420 go bad on me.
Read Jasons reviews on Power supplies. He has one of the best Test rigs out there and can truly get a good idea of how they respond to loads. Also take note of Davids Power Supply Guide and last but not least TEST YOUR SUPPLY
If you disagree with the voltages or temps stated, please let me know and why. I’ve been doing this a long time and I’m very confident in my recommendations but I am also defiantly open to learning more.

EDIT: THumbnail attached Links updated

This guide was Written Completely on the Fly. Any Similarities to other MD64 Overclocking guides is purely coincidental, I hope there’s enough new and/or important information here for newbie’s and expert alike.....

EDIT: Added Temp Guidelines

EDIT: Added Recomended Programs

EDIT: Ran through SpellCheck.

EDIT: Added PCI./AGP Lock Info

EDIT: Added Cool N' Quiet

EDIT: Added Power Supply and Ram Notes

EDIT: Added RAM Chart

EDIT: Added CPU Voltage Guide and Voltage Chart
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Last edited by Impaqt : 12-27-2005 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 01-17-2005, 11:08 PM   #2
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**** thread, lock&b7
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Nice guide, sticky icky icky..
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Old 01-17-2005, 11:24 PM   #3
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you should be proud of yourself....

GJ!
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Old 01-17-2005, 11:48 PM   #4
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Nice guide, i vote sticky
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Old 01-18-2005, 01:32 AM   #5
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Sticky. Good job, too bad most of the noobs won't read it.
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:17 AM   #6
Tim
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Good guide, the original guide was in XT-ChAce his sticky....instead of everyone yelling sticky.....and this has been said before....PM a MOD..

Will read it this evening (am @ work)

Request send to Jason and 4-n-zics
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:29 AM   #7
Korpse
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nice guide - i know how to OC but when i get my 3400nc this will come in useful
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Old 01-18-2005, 08:08 AM   #8
Seamonkey4388
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I just started to overclock and this guide explains everything. Thanks a lot, it's the best one I've read so far.
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Old 01-18-2005, 08:24 AM   #9
WiCKeD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Impaqt
I could of sworn I saw a A64 Overclocking guide around here somehwere, but it either got Unstuck or I'm thinking of another Forum.
It's already in Chace's sticky. He still needs to add some of those definitions (like VDD/board voltage) when he gets back from his unscheduled vacation.

Last edited by WiCKeD : 01-18-2005 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 01-18-2005, 08:53 AM   #10
Tim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WiCKeD
It's already in Chace's sticky. He still needs to add some of those definitions (like VDD/board voltage) when he gets back from his unscheduled vacation.
Yeah what's up with that vacation anyway? I searched the whole forum but could not see why he was banned?
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:02 AM   #11
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I don't know. My best guess is he and a few others ****ed Rabid off by asking why Fable was banned. So it's best not to ask.
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:02 AM   #12
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Good work Impaqt

It's a shame the AMD sections were merged, 'cause I can't quite find all the great stickies that we're made covering all aspects of A64 overclocking/computing.

In the mean time, this should be stickied.
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:04 AM   #13
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btw Korpse.....you might wanna list some temps.....I don't have a clue about the A64 temps...but you might wan't to add that to the guid...

I finished reading it, and I must say that it was very nice to read some oc'ing stuff.....good guide, another approach maybe but a good one, Good job.
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:37 AM   #14
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All i can add is to give them a temp warnings and possibly suggest some heat monitoring programs and maybe a few heatsinks??? U might wanna check ur spelling if u have time (not that mine is perfect)
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:43 AM   #15
Impaqt
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Added Temp section, and Recomendations on Important overclocking programs. Thanks for the suggestion(s). DavidHammocks heatsink guide is more than adequet on the heatsink front.....

Imported into WORD and ran Spellcheck... WOrd lost oll my VB Flags so had to go back in and add em, but Spelling and Gramatics should be much beter now.

Last edited by Impaqt : 01-18-2005 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 01-18-2005, 10:12 AM   #16
TheMeatFrog
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Plz excuse my noobness but can you increase the chipset voltage on the Neo2 plat? If so how?
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Old 01-18-2005, 10:43 AM   #17
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Another question is I always hear about agp lock, what is it and should i turn it on and off?
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Old 01-18-2005, 10:57 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamonkey4388
Another question is I always hear about agp lock, what is it and should i turn it on and off?
Excellent suggestion... Added to the Guid.
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:50 PM   #19
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Excellent guide! The main aspect for me that separates this from the other guides is giving a safe overclocking base to start (ie not just saying go up 5mhz, test, if yes go up more, if no go down 3, etc), as well as the "shortcuts" to allow for quicker evaluation of whether the overclock is suitable. Thanks again, and if I may add...

Any baselines (higher or lower based on your guide) to start with for the following specs:

-90nm Winchester 3200+ (week 50 of last year, ie almost new)

-xp-90 heatsink with 52cfm fan (cant remember the brand but its the one recommended by the heatsink company)

-1gig of Patriot XBL (2-2-2-5 stuff), btw is this TCCD??

-Neo2 platinum mobo (new, but do I need to flash to the latest bios? i'm very very hesitant to flash this, cept they do seem to have some live flash in windows, is this safe to use?)

-neopower 480watt PS, this is more than adequate for any overclock

I'm pretty sure thats everything that would affect an overclock. I don't want to hog the thread, but just wanted to see if you could save me an hour or so starting to high/low to begin with.

Also by going right to the max voltage, especially for the ram, is it safe to do without having a fan on the ram? And is there any reason to after finding max stable overclock settings not trying to reduce the voltage (again especially on the ram).

STICKY!!!

justin

EDIT: I see you have EXACTLY the same ram, and your at 2.5-3-3-7, was this due to your processor not being able to overclock as high as you would want, or just that 2-2-2-5 was not attainable? Should I just start my RAM overclocking attempts at 2.5-3-3-7?

EDIT #2: Thanks again for the advice to remove the stock HSF on the northbridge and put Arctic silver on it before installing the mobo (i'm waiting for the heatsink fan for my build) to reduce the temps and get a higher overclock. I have arctic silver 3, but i doubt the difference from 3 to 5 is really worth the extra money. bah, i just looked and the northbridge HSF is on with those dasdardly difficult pushpins.

Last edited by 7Enigma : 01-18-2005 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 01-18-2005, 05:53 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7Enigma
Excellent guide! The main aspect for me that separates this from the other guides is giving a safe overclocking base to start (ie not just saying go up 5mhz, test, if yes go up more, if no go down 3, etc), as well as the "shortcuts" to allow for quicker evaluation of whether the overclock is suitable. Thanks again, and if I may add...

Any baselines (higher or lower based on your guide) to start with for the following specs:

-90nm Winchester 3200+ (week 50 of last year, ie almost new)

-xp-90 heatsink with 52cfm fan (cant remember the brand but its the one recommended by the heatsink company)

-1gig of Patriot XBL (2-2-2-5 stuff), btw is this TCCD??

-Neo2 platinum mobo (new, but do I need to flash to the latest bios? i'm very very hesitant to flash this, cept they do seem to have some live flash in windows, is this safe to use?)

-neopower 480watt PS, this is more than adequate for any overclock

I'm pretty sure thats everything that would affect an overclock. I don't want to hog the thread, but just wanted to see if you could save me an hour or so starting to high/low to begin with.

Also by going right to the max voltage, especially for the ram, is it safe to do without having a fan on the ram? And is there any reason to after finding max stable overclock settings not trying to reduce the voltage (again especially on the ram).

STICKY!!!

justin

EDIT: I see you have EXACTLY the same ram, and your at 2.5-3-3-7, was this due to your processor not being able to overclock as high as you would want, or just that 2-2-2-5 was not attainable? Should I just start my RAM overclocking attempts at 2.5-3-3-7?

EDIT #2: Thanks again for the advice to remove the stock HSF on the northbridge and put Arctic silver on it before installing the mobo (i'm waiting for the heatsink fan for my build) to reduce the temps and get a higher overclock. I have arctic silver 3, but i doubt the difference from 3 to 5 is really worth the extra money. bah, i just looked and the northbridge HSF is on with those dasdardly difficult pushpins.
TCCD Ram simply wont do 2-2-2 up to 250FSB. 250 at the Timings I'm usings is a pretty decent Speed/Performace ratio.

Push pin clips are a piece of cake.... Just get yourself a small pair of needle nose pliers and be careful. I found that on my DFI board, I could compress the pins enough to pop them out with my fingers even.... Not a big deal...

Your 3200+ is a 2Ghz X10 Multiplier chip.... All my "Examples" in the post should apply to yours setup exactly.

As for maxing out the Voltage immediatly. adding .2 to .2volts to your ram is definatly NOT maxing it out... Just adding a bit a stability. These modules can handle more... There just isnt any docmented benefit.

As per previous post.. please PM a mod if you think this guide is deserving of Sticky status....
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