Overclocking - What should I know first?

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by GFlem, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. GFlem

    GFlem New Member

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    I am a few days from receiving the last piece of the puzzle for my first homebuilt PC. I'm excited to have it done, but I am working on a budget so my processor is underpowered. I have heard from various sources that my processor is capable of a nearly 100% overclock - obviously, this interests me, because a dual-core 3.0GHz chip = perfect for my computer needs.

    I have:

    nforce570 Slit-A motherboard.

    Intel E2140 Dual-core processor. Allendale core, 1.6GHz.

    2GB DDR2 PC6400 memory, 5-5-5-15.

    1) I know that the chip can handle a 40% overclock on the stock cooling fan (all available sources agree - this degree of boost only produced 1*C for several different people). Were I to leave it at this degree of overclocking, would it be necessary (or advisable) in the long run to improve my CPU fan or case circulation?

    2) One of the how-to guides I saw online mentioned needing to change the memory "timing" in the BIOS. What does this accomplish in regards to overclocking?

    3) Just how difficult is this process, anyway? Is it more a matter of getting past my fear of tinkering and just doing it trial-and-error, with the stock settings written down in case things get totally fouled up? Or should I leave this 100% to someone who has done it before?
     
  2. sk0rcher

    sk0rcher The universe is watching

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    First thing is you should probably read up on this article, gives a general idea of what to expect and the pros/cons.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overclocking

    Next, if you really want to overclock you are going to need to replace your cpu's heatsink/fan and put on some decent thermal paste (like artic silver 5). There are other options out there like water cooling though.

    I suggest you start reading up on overclocking as much as you can before you do anything (maybe look for articles on your specific cpu) and talk to someone who knows about overclocking or computers in general. That's what I did. Some people will also say before you overclock you may want to learn how to do so on older computers so you learn from mistakes and what to do.

    That's about it, just know what you are getting into first. And I don't know about a 1 degree difference in 40% increase, all processors are not the exact same.
     
  3. Doomsday

    Doomsday XXX

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    This depends on a lot of things (e.g. fan noise, room ambients, etc). Short answer: once you reach your overclock goal, monitor your temps. If it is overheating or close to it,.... upgrade the cooler. simple as that.

    It is really not necessary to adjust the timings if you buy RAM that is fast and has good timings to begin with. You may need to adjust the timings when 1) your BIOS is detecting the RAM settings incorrectly; 2) you are having stability problems; and 3) you want to push your hardware more for higher clocks.

    Very easy if you are using good quality hardware. Some motherboards offer software tools to overclock "on-the-fly" and has built-in fail-safes as well.
    Just remember that too much voltage can instantly kill your hardware.
     
  4. skinjob

    skinjob Active Member

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    It sounds like you've done some research on the CPU, but did you research how well your motherboard and memory choices lend themselves to overclocking? Those components are stressed as well, so how far you go depends on which component is the weakest link.

    To add to doomsday's responses:
    2) Since overclocking is typically achieved by raising the front-side-bus speed, the memory clock speed will be raised as well. Loosening the timings, or in other words, increasing the number of clock cycles in which memory read/write events take place, allows the memory to work within its design tolerances when the external bus speed is set high. This is useful if your CPU works at bus speeds that exceed the rated specs of your memory.

    3) Motherboards typically provide a jumper or switch of some sort that will reset the bios to its default state, so you don't have to remember the defaults yourself. If you experiment with memory and bus speed settings a lot, you'll probably put your system in a state where it won't boot. It's useful to know where this jumper is when that happens.

    With most of the Core2 chips, it seems that 3GHz is a no brainer. Just crank up the FSB and make sure your memory is running within spec. Going any further will probably involve voltage tweaks.
     
  5. etech

    etech New Member

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  6. trano

    trano Guest

    umm dont make a big jump, take it slowly, check how it handles then up it bit by bit.
     
  7. awns729

    awns729 New Member

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    when everyone says slow, just to put it in perspective, raise FSB <= 5 mhz at a time, generally. if you know people have raised the FSB a lot, then in the beginning you can jump a little higher, but when you even get a little bit closer to the limits of the proc, you wanna raise everything slowly. your system might hang before others' did. you will also want to run benchmarks and stress tests (someone recommend something good?), and if your computer fails, you can either drop down the OC or up the proc voltage by very little. i'm just mentioning a few things that come to mind, there are a lot more, try and read up on your specific processor. even newegg reviews can give you a good idea of what settings you'll have to adjust to OC.

    personally, w/ an AMD athlon 64 3500+, i raised teh FSB to ~240, (from 200) some people have gotten this to 270, but i couldn't, just as you might not reach your OCing goals, just cuz of different conditions and what not. i lowered the multiplier to 10x (instead of 11), and the voltage automatically increased (thanks to my mobo) to 1.375 (a .025 jump). I also had to lower the ram freq from DDR800 to DDR 667 to keepit from overclocking the ram way too much. Since I have an AMD proc, I also had to lower the HTT multiplier from 5 to 4.

    So there's a few things you'll have to mess with, do a good amount of reading before you get started, and google your exact processor and check for overclockers who have done what you're looking to do. Good luck.
     
  8. GFlem

    GFlem New Member

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    UPDATE:

    Finally got my system together. Woo!

    I overclocked it that night, keeping an eye on temperatures carefully. I did what was suggested, raising it a bit at a time, and it stayed stable and low-temp (only 3 degrees in idle temp change at .3 GHz increase on stock cooler)... until I tried 2GHz.

    Then my computer wouldn't boot far enough for me to get back into BIOS :o

    shit shit shit shit

    Finally went back in after letting it sit all night, tried to boot it one more time *FAIL.*

    Pulled the battery out of my motherboard and reset the BIOS to normal standards. Now, it's running at 1.85 GHz, more than enough for my uses, and the failsafes on the MOBO are set so any temp spiking above 60*C will trigger the safety shutdown on the board.

    Thanks for the advice, OT.
     
  9. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Make sure your CPU/FSB/RAM speeds are still multiples of each other. You don't want any fractions in the mix, only whole numbers.
     
  10. Morgan06

    Morgan06 New Member

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    I just picked up an E2180 last week and got it running ~27 degrees idle at 2.66Ghz. Orthos stable for 3+ hours with max temps at 50 in an Antec Aria sweatbox of a case.

    Sub $100 Intels FTW.
     
  11. ryandmiller

    ryandmiller New Member

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    Exactly what he said. If you dont do that your going to frak up your memory controller hub and/or your memory and this is the biggest mistake made when overclocking. Even if you dont do this and it all seems fine at the speed you've reached, chances are your memory and mcu are under some stress and that WILL show up over time.
     
  12. GFlem

    GFlem New Member

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    The only thing I'm truly concerned about is the motherboard schizing out on me because the RAM is running faster than the board is rated for. Apparently it's only "officially" rated for 667MHz ram, and is running at ~728MHz. The RAM itself is rated at 800, so that part I'm not worried about.

    Shit, maybe it'll be a blessing in disguise.... :o If I were to get anything new it would be a new motherboard. This one is sort of restrictive.
     

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