CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 OCed to 3.6 GHz 400x9
CPU Cooler - CM Hyper 212 EVO Idle Temp 35-39c
RAM - 4 GB Dual Channel DDR2 800 @506 MHz (6-8-8-22)
MB - Gigabyte EP43-DS3L Socket 775
GPU - EVGA Geforce GTX 260 896 mb OCed to CC 700 MC 1250
HDD - WD 320 gb
OC - Win7 Ultimate
Everything so far is on stock voltage. Last week i was OCing my GPU to find the best stable spot using Furmark, 3DMark, and Heaven. Yesterday after a bunch of research for cpu OC, i increased the bus speed to 400 from 333 to get 3.6 ghz, and stress tested with OCCT and Prime95 (doesnt go past 58c during testing). After doing more research I think i'm pretty much stuck at these values unless i'm willing to increase from stock voltages and/or need to "tighten" my RAM settings cuz i'm limited to 400 due to the 800/2 bus speed rule of thumb. I'm a OC newb, so alot of these terms fly over my head.
At this point i need to ask whether my assumptions are right or whether i can push farther on stock voltages. Because from my current research it appears i need to start noodling with voltages to get more performance in "tightening" my ram so in order to increase my bus speed to try to push my cpu to reach that magic 4.0 ghz mark.
Heck and if i'm forced to mess with voltages for my ram, i might as well start pushing my GPU even harder and increase its voltages as well. Although it runs pretty hot during intensive games around 70ish, so i dunno if thats a good idea.
I've already seen some gains from my OCing so far. I'd really love to see how much further i can push my PC without seriously damaging it for at least 3 years.
Overclocking is an interesting exercise in seeing what can be done with the different components, however there is also risk involved when you start adding voltage into the equation. A lot of people are happy with a small increase in performance and when your dealing with stock voltages there is not much risk there. That comes later when you decide that you don't want to settle for a small overclock.
The problem is now your at that point and you want to go further so voltage is necessary and with an older locked cpu you don't have the luxury of changing the multiplier.
The thing I usually point out is that when overclocking you have a range of clock speed that is possible with a given processor and the difference between where you can get to without voltage and the target you want to get to has to be worth doing. To explain what I'm talking about is this, if your stock speed is 3.0ghz and you can get to 3.6ghz without voltage then your left with .4ghz and is that .4ghz going to give you measurable performance difference? Let's say that the first .6ghz overclock gave you 15 FPS increase in a game like BF3 and that the last .4ghz was going to give you 8 FPS, is it worth going for that last .4ghz. knowing that the added voltage will affect the cpu by shortening it's life since adding voltage to a processor can have a negative effect on it and yes lots of people do it but they make the choice to do so.
So now if your going to continue then you will have to add voltage bit by bit until what your clock is at can be stable , tightening up the ram will help because you are raising the FSB and that directly affects the ram. The voltages for the gpu will be riskier and you will have to be more cautious with that and it will be a good idea to do one at a time first overclock the video card and then overclock the cpu.