newbie to overclocking - want to overclock ram and cpu

supergeek

Active Member
here are my current specs:

i7 920 c0
p6t deluxe v2
6gb ram 1600mhz
stock cooler
antec 902

First off, the cpu. I know i only have the stock cooler but i was wondering whether it was possible to overclock it to 3ghz, without messing with voltages? how should i go about it?

Also, the ram. First off it's rated at 8-8-8-24 but cpu-z shows 7-7-7-20, even though i think it's set to auto in the bios. I think making the ram run at the timings it was supposed to may fix the random freezing i am having, where the cursor stops moving and the only solution is to press the reset on the case

also, cpu-z reports "DRAM Frequency : 534.3Mhz".. which I assume means the ram is running at 1067mhz? again what would be the best way to overclock this to 1600mhz? note this is the ram Patriot Viper 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 1600MHz Triple Channel kit

many thanks :) :thumbsup:

bios screenie: http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/8131/photopjx.jpg
 
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conan

Active Member
Hi, I don't have any experience with the core 7, but have been overclocking for 10 years on various setups. So, I'll give you some basics that apply to all good overclocks. I'm assuming that your are new to overclocking, so excuse me if you're not and I am telling you things you already know.

There are different areas you can overclock in your PC, mainly (but not limited to),
1. CPU multiplier (if its not locked).
2. FSB
3. Memory
4. Graphics card (clock and memory).

About Overclocking
First, make sure you have everything backed up, and be aware you can permanently damage some of your system components, but this is rare.

Your CPU speed speed is a result of the FSB speed x the CPU multiplier. The best overclock can often be a result of underclocking your CPU multiplier. To explain a little more, the system will get the most speed benefit from overclocking your FSB, if possible keeping the RAM synced both to overclock your ram and also maximise the benefit from an overclocked fsb.

Try to imagine that the bottleneck in your system is the FSB, making this larger (or wider) will increase the amount of data and instructions that can be processed any any given time. Of course the multiplier is relevant, but the FSB has much more effect on your system performance.

Lets say for example, you have a 3.0Gz CPU which is arrived at with a FSB of 333.33 multiplied by a 9x multiplier, so the result of 333.33x9=2999 (3Gz). A multiplier of 8 with a FSB of 375 will result in the same 3Gz CPU speed, but your system (if benchmarked) will show significant speed improvement due to the great FSB.

For the purpose of this post I won't yet go into changing voltages, but will make another post later about that.

Basics of a good overclock
First you will need to change settings for multiplier/fsb/mem speed in your bios from auto to manual. Make sure you understand what is in the bios and what fields do what things. At the beginning, just set multi, FSB, mem to manual but keep the same timings as the auto settings then reboot the PC to make sure it still works as expected.

1. Test the limit of each area you plan to overclock (fairly straight forward).
2. Finding the best compromise of FSB/Multiplier/Mem speed (more difficult).

This is my usual method to get the maximum stable OC.
1.1 I lower the multiplier way down, the purpose of this exercise is to test how high we can get the FSB and then carrying on to the ram. On my current rig I lowered the mutliplier to 5 from 9.
1.2 Set your ram at 1:2 or even 1:3 divider with the fsb (however your motherboard does this), this will make sure that niether problems with the CPU multi or memory capability will not affect the FSB speed. Then start to increase the FSB in small increments. Personally, I increase the FSB by 5 each step until the PC won't boot. Then you should back off to the previous setting and make a note of this figure.
1.3 Now to try the memory, reset the dividers the other way, 2:1 or 3:1 ratio, this will make sure the FSB does not interfere with the memory tests. Repeat pretty much what you did with the FSB, increase by small amount and reboot, rinse and repeat. Make a note of your best stable speed.
1.4 Now we try the CPU multiplier, set the FSB and memeory speeds way down, say 200Hz or similar then change your multi to its default (8 or 9, whatever it was before you started. Then increase by 0.5 or 1, the smallest increment your bios will allow. Reboot, check for stability, then repeat the process. This should give your highest stable multiplier, make a note of this.

So now you should have 3 numbers, each are the (theoretical) highest that can be achieved for the purposes of the overclock.

2. In a perfect world, you would then go into the bios and set each of these parameters for a whizz bang go fast PC, in practice this does not work. The main reason is that as you increase the multi/fsb/mem speed, you are pushing the performance of all 3 items by adjusting one, we tested each item in isolation.

This is now the tricky part, this my own method, but there are other equally valid methods and I'm sure somebody else will contribute. I start by having a target final speed that I think is achievable, and also how I want to get there, what multiplier and what FSB.

For my current system, I have my overclock at 3.2Gz (from 3Gz), I changed from 9x333 to 8x400. So after testing each of the individual settings, then start by setting the multi at 8, and the FSB at 333 (its original speed) and then increasing in increments of 5. This is similar to what we did earlier, but now we have a higher multiplier. I also locked my mem at the 4:1 ratio, so the memory speed was 4x the FSB speed (333 FSB = 1332 mem speed). I managed to get my fsb up to 400 with some voltage adjustments (more on that later), that gave me 8x400 so a cpu speed of 3.2Gz with the memory at 1600 which is its rated value.

The performance increase is more than you would expect for in theory what is a 7% overclock, this is because of the increased FSB. After benchmarks my system was almost 15% faster in CPU intensive tasks.
 
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conan

Active Member
The above post is me trying to get across the basics, there can be much more involved and complicated depending on how far you want to push your system. To get the best out of the system, you will need to increase the voltages supplied to your CPU, Memory and FSB. But........... increasing the voltages and speeds also increases the heat generated, so make sure that your cooling is sufficient before going down this route.

Before I go any further, just a little more on system stability. This has various definitions, but the best test is to have the computer performing tasks that keep the CPU and graphics 100% utilised for a long period. I tend to do this overnight after finishing an overclock, so it gets a 9/10 hour test soaking, many believe that a true test should be 24 hrs.

There are various degrees of stability and success when overclocking, I class them into 4 categories,
1. Successful bios post, starts booting windows.
2. Successful windows boot, can do basic things such as browse net.
3. Successful windows boot, can run superpi and 3DMark.
4. Successful overnight endurance test.

Regarding software tools to check both system performance and stability I use the following, this is not a comprehensive list and there are many others, but these will suffice.

CPU stability/performance
SuperPi http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_PI this will check basic stability of your CPU but also give you an indication of performance improvements.
3Dmark http://www.futuremark.com/ this will stress your PC much more than superpi, also very good if your overclocking your graphics card.

Other useful tools
Everest (or similar) http://www.lavalys.com/ I use to monitor my system temps and voltages.
CPUID http://www.cpuid.com/ to check in windows exactly how your OC is going, showing overall speed, fsb, memory speed and many other details.

Pushing the envelope - voltage adjusting.
To maximise your OC, you will need to increase the power supplied to various parts of your system, usually the CPU, Northbridge chip (for FSB) and memory.

*** WARNING *** This can permanently damage your components
When going through the stages I described in the previous post, you can also bring in increased power to push the boundary further. The basic premise is still the same, small increments, reboot, check stability, but now it is important to also check voltage and temperatures. This has to be done in order to avoid permanently damagaing any components through supplying too much power. Be aware of the maximum voltages and temperatures that your components can run at, if you don't know what they are, then go look it up before you start.

So, going back to the first post, lets take the FSB overclocking as an example. When you reach the maximum FSB at standard power settings, we can then start adjusting power levels to try and increase even further. I start to increase the voltage to the CPU in the smallest increments the bios will allow. So increase voltage, reboot, check stability and temps, go through the loop again until you hit the ceiling. You may then be able to push it a little further by incraesing the voltage to the northbridge, this is the chip that controls the FSB. You can also increase the voltage to the memory, this can usually help when you are trying to push the mem to its maximum.

Overall, I would suggest that overclocking is not rushed into. It should be planned, you should have lots of spare time, a complete system backup before you start, and if in doubt then don't do it. If you have a spare comp, or one that is not critical, then go play on that first to get a feel for things. Take a look round on forums releveant to your particular motherboard, there will be things specific to your board, usually there is a preferred bios version for overclocking (not always the latest). There may be particular blocks, or easy tips that are best found on motherboard specific forums.

A good overclock will normally take 1 or 2 days to really max out your system, so allow time for this then you are not rushing, trying to take shortcuts = high risk to computer. If you get the bug, it can be great fun, very rewarding and very interesting. There's nothing like getting stuff for free, and making a £130 3Gz run as fast as a £400 3.6 Gz CPU is great feeling :)

If you get the bug, it can also get expensive (just like the AV bug on these forums). You can buy specific CPU's and motherboard revisions that will overclock better, start going down the watercooling route, or even phase cooling to allow you to really crank up the voltages. A few years ago I had a 1.8Gz CPU running at 3.2Gz, but that was using phase cooling at -26 degrees :) If you look at some of the extreme overclocks possible with todays CPU's, 5Gz is possible with current 3.0Ghz or 3.2Gz CPU's.
 
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Razor

Distinguished Member

Theydon Bois

Distinguished Member
Are the i7 chips limited to a locked multiplier, and its only the FSB that can be changed? The 920 locked at x20?
 

anothadave

Active Member
the i7 920 has a locked multiplier of 20 but with turbo mode it will kick up to 21. that starts up when an application is only using one or two of the cores. normally with overclocking most people turn that off so they can fine tune the overclock. last thing you want is turbo mode starting and pushing everything over the edge!.

ok first up, officially intel supports 1066mhz for ddr3ram. which is why it always defaults to that. but if u go into the bios you can change it in aitweaker. its the second page on the bios. go to the "dram frequency" its the 5th one down. its probably on auto. if u select it youll have two other options, 1066 or 1600. just select 1600.... thats your ram put up to its proper speed :)


now youll easily get 3ghz out of this! even with the stock cooler. just go to AItweaker again. change the first option (AItuner) from AUTO to manual. you should then have bclck appear, change the bclck to 150. its such a mild over clock for the i7 920 i doubt youll even need to change anything else. u can probably leave it all to auto. normally you would turn off speedstep and turbo but itll manage that no problems so you could leave them on if you want. youll have 3ghz for most applications and then when the turbo mode activates it will have 3.150ghz. id imagine your system can handle it with ease.

watch out for the new ddr frequency though. with the bclck increased then the ram freqruency will increase too. the patriots are good and they should manage 1700mhz with no trouble, if its much higher than that then you might have to select the lower speed.


from what i heard the p6t is a little bit over the top with the voltages on auto. so might be better if u set the cpu voltage yourself. if its too high then the cpu will get hot. the p6t tends to set the voltage higher than you really need. do you have any kind of temperature monitoring software, like "realtemp"? its free. youll also need something like Prime95 to test out your new speed. set it going for a day

i think even with the stock cooler you can get 3.2 or even slightly more.


* i just noticed on AUTO that the dram voltage was set to 1.80v! so id recommend manually setting that one yourself to 1.64v
 
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Razor

Distinguished Member
Are the i7 chips limited to a locked multiplier, and its only the FSB that can be changed? The 920 locked at x20?

There is no FSB on the i7, instead its called Bclk. Also the multiplier on a i7 920 cpu can be upped to x21 and also lowered if you so wish. :)
 

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