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Phenom 960t Dilemma - Overclock x4 Cores @4GHz - VS - Stock Settings x6 Cores @3GHz

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April 15, 2013 6:57:48 PM

Hey everyone.

I'm trying to figure out if the best bang for my buck is running the 960t at x4 Cores @ 4GHz or at x6 Cores @ 3GHz. Here is my reasoning and I'd like some input.

First off at x4 cores I raised the voltage to 1.4v and upped the FSB to 250 with x16 multiplier. Have a look at the attached photo. Everything runs real smooth. Overclocking at x4 is proving to be much easier and much more forgiving. I tried locking one core out at a time to see if I could isolate a bad core if its just one but I received BSOD's for my effort. So what do you think, leave it at x4 @ 4.0 ghz with ratio of 16:250 with a max loaded core temp of 50 deg. OR unlock to x6 @ 3.0 ghz (turbocore'd to 3.4) with my FSB at 200 with a max loaded core temp of 40 deg.

Ok so here is my stable setup at x6 cores. Basically the stock setup. 3.0ghz At x6 cores it likes to stay at low voltages. Its set at 1.22v and fluctuates from 1.165-1.22 and up to 1.33 with c'n'q, TC (3.4ghz) & C1 on. It doesn't like it when I up the voltages with c'n'q, TC & C1 off. I tried to move it up from 1.22 to 1.3 slowly and it wouldn't load windows. I tried reducing it to x4 cores at 1.4v stable then switching on x6 cores and leaving the voltage at 1.4v with c'n'q, TC and C1 off and it would not load windows. I then reverted back to 1.22v and it loaded.

So basically when x6 cores are unlocked it likes 1.22v with c'n'q, TC and C1 on. It runs at 3.0ghz with TC at 3.4ghz. I ran prime95 for around 45 minutes and it's stable with no hardware errors. (on a side note if I up the multiplier and disable TC I start to get hardware errors on core 1 in prime95)

At x6, 3.0ghz TC at 3.4ghz with 1.22v c'n'q, C1 on - The max temp at load is 40 degrees C. That's 10 degrees cooler than my x4, 4.0ghz with 1.40v c'n'q, C1 & TC off - The max temp at load is 50 degrees C. Over the long term the x6 runs a lot cooler and is quite a bit farther from the 55 degree red line.

I use the Benchmark feature in AMD Overdrive to give me an idea as to how my tweaks score overall. With the chip at x4 4.0ghz 16:250 ratio my benchmark score is 6200. With the chip at x6 3.0ghz (3.4 TC on) 15:200 ratio my benchmark score is 5900. The x4 runs at 50 deg C under load and the x6 runs at 40 deg C under load. So with performance comes heat, so the question is does running it hot reduce the lifespan of the chip or because I'm within safe operating temperatures under both arrangements that the lifespan reduction will be negligible. I hoping to get a good 2-3 years out of this chip so what does everyone think? Thanks in advance.

Zeitgeist_911

Phenom II x4 960t unlocked to Phenom II x6 1605t
8gb Corsair XMS DDR3 - PC12800 1600 RAM
AData 256mb 6gb/s SSD
ASUS M4A89GTD-PRO Main
Thermaltake Commander ATX Case
Coolermaster Hyper 212 - Double 120mm Fans
EVGA GTX 570 Video Card
Corsair CX750 PSU
a c 90 K Overclocking
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April 15, 2013 7:19:00 PM

What is your primary use for the computer, if gaming, I'll suggest running 4 cores faster as extra cores won't help as much as speed - if for multi-threaded applications then the additional 2 cores (even at stock speed) would be my choice.
My $0.02 worth
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April 15, 2013 7:51:22 PM

Every chip is different. I did not have a lot of luck overclocking the FSB. So went with the multiplier overclock in bios to 3.4. after windows loads I use Asus Turbo EV to multiplier overclock the first 4 cores to 3.6
I wound up with 4 cores@3.6 and 2@3.4.
Hyper transport set to 2400 and Northbridge @2800 1.38v to match the processor.
Memory@1600.
Of course I was looking for max number of cores for folding.
I am folding in the Chimp Challenge for the next 8 days so my sig shows 0 points for my team but I run 24/7/365.

Running 2 GTX 460's folding and processor folding, max processor temp for the last 16 months has been 54. The video cards dump a lot of heat in the case.
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April 15, 2013 8:10:30 PM

well since most games dont use or need the six core the faster clocked quad core will most likely be better. If u were able to get to 3.4-3.6 on six cores would go with it as a x6 but at 3ghz i dont think ull need it unless ur playing a game that uses the cores or program that uses them. I like my x6 for gaming at 3.4ghz is plays everything i have no prob with my 5850 which is similar to a 7870 performance wise but prob get more performance from new gen hardware but obviously ur fine in the gpu area but id say either one will allow for great performance. So personally id go as the X6 but thats just me lol
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April 15, 2013 8:50:07 PM

C12Friedman said:
What is your primary use for the computer, if gaming, I'll suggest running 4 cores faster as extra cores won't help as much as speed - if for multi-threaded applications then the additional 2 cores (even at stock speed) would be my choice.
My $0.02 worth


Primary use for the computer is video encoding, gaming, photoshop, autocad & office. I do enjoy the performance OC'd x4 gives me but it hot. It runs at higher voltages and about 10 degrees hotter then the x6 at stock. x4 is 50 deg vs. x6 at 40 deg. The stock x6 setting includes turbocore to 3.4 no problem. I'm of the opinion that cooler is better especially for chip longevity. Let me know what you think.

Z

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April 15, 2013 8:54:20 PM

Unolocogringo said:
Every chip is different. I did not have a lot of luck overclocking the FSB. So went with the multiplier overclock in bios to 3.4. after windows loads I use Asus Turbo EV to multiplier overclock the first 4 cores to 3.6
I wound up with 4 cores@3.6 and 2@3.4.
Hyper transport set to 2400 and Northbridge @2800 1.38v to match the processor.
Memory@1600.
Of course I was looking for max number of cores for folding.
I am folding in the Chimp Challenge for the next 8 days so my sig shows 0 points for my team but I run 24/7/365.

Running 2 GTX 460's folding and processor folding, max processor temp for the last 16 months has been 54. The video cards dump a lot of heat in the case.


I removed Turbo EV as It was interfering with AMD Overdrive, but now I'm thinking I had it backwards and should have removed Overdrive instead. I like the idea of overclocking the cores separately as I think that one of my cores may be defective and not capable of an overclock. My problem will be finding a stable voltage as at x6 as upping the voltage from 1.22 causes mucho instability.

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April 15, 2013 8:59:32 PM

lazyboy947 said:
well since most games dont use or need the six core the faster clocked quad core will most likely be better. If u were able to get to 3.4-3.6 on six cores would go with it as a x6 but at 3ghz i dont think ull need it unless ur playing a game that uses the cores or program that uses them. I like my x6 for gaming at 3.4ghz is plays everything i have no prob with my 5850 which is similar to a 7870 performance wise but prob get more performance from new gen hardware but obviously ur fine in the gpu area but id say either one will allow for great performance. So personally id go as the X6 but thats just me lol


I'm in agreement about running in x6 mode as there is a noticeable performance boost when video encoding, Autocad or Photoshop. Gaming is great in OC'd x4 mode but she runs 10 degrees hotter, 50 degrees compared to 40 degrees at x6. Also turbocore is enabled at 3.4 so I am able to reach those speeds at my reduced voltage of 1.22v. I may have a bad core that only works at stock settings and cant be overclocked safely, in that case I can maybe isolate it and leave it stock while raising the multiplier in the other cores. Obv I would then need to leave the FSB at 200.

Thoughts?

Z

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April 15, 2013 9:39:02 PM

well the issue is the fact that u used the in OS software to OC, did u attempt to manually oc via the bios?
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April 15, 2013 11:20:29 PM

I used to run a 960T. Granted I may have gotten extremely lucky with 4.25Ghz as a quad and 3.8Ghz as a hex. All the same I found the limits for both configurations and saved the profiles in my BIOS to allow for easy swapping back and forth depends on my needs.
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April 17, 2013 7:50:05 PM

lazyboy947 said:
well the issue is the fact that u used the in OS software to OC, did u attempt to manually oc via the bios?


I was using the windows OS to try to dial in my voltage issue. Anything 1.3v and above causes hardware failure in x6. I try to get it stable the reset to BIOS to dial it in from there. Problem is the settings I get stable aren't working in BIOS so I basically have to start from scratch again just using BIOS. I thought AMD OD would be faster but it was a waste of time. I reverted back to my x4 running at 1.41v 4.125ghz 16.5:250 cpu ratio. Much easier to modify and way less buggy. I'm going to test every voltage 1.2-1.3 to see what I can get stable with my x6 setup. I think I may have a bad core.

z

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April 17, 2013 8:43:07 PM

cmi86 said:
I used to run a 960T. Granted I may have gotten extremely lucky with 4.25Ghz as a quad and 3.8Ghz as a hex. All the same I found the limits for both configurations and saved the profiles in my BIOS to allow for easy swapping back and forth depends on my needs.


I'm able to squeeze out 4.125Ghz x4 at 1.4v. Cpu ratio 16.5 : 250. And stock speeds only on x6 with a 15 : 200 cpu ratio. The thing loves 1.22v on x6, as soon as I get to about 1.3v on x6 I start to get hardware failure errors in prime95 on the number 1 cpu. I think I may have a bad core but everything is prime stable at stock settings. I have no clue. I'm on x4 until I can figure out what the problem is on x6, may have to disable a core and try x5. Is there an easy way to determine if you have a bad core and which one it is?
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April 17, 2013 10:28:43 PM

Zeitgeist911 said:
cmi86 said:
I used to run a 960T. Granted I may have gotten extremely lucky with 4.25Ghz as a quad and 3.8Ghz as a hex. All the same I found the limits for both configurations and saved the profiles in my BIOS to allow for easy swapping back and forth depends on my needs.


I'm able to squeeze out 4.125Ghz x4 at 1.4v. Cpu ratio 16.5 : 250. And stock speeds only on x6 with a 15 : 200 cpu ratio. The thing loves 1.22v on x6, as soon as I get to about 1.3v on x6 I start to get hardware failure errors in prime95 on the number 1 cpu. I think I may have a bad core but everything is prime stable at stock settings. I have no clue. I'm on x4 until I can figure out what the problem is on x6, may have to disable a core and try x5. Is there an easy way to determine if you have a bad core and which one it is?


Hey man just happy you got one that unlocks stable, especially at such a low voltage 1.22 is awesome !
The only way I could figure to diagnose and isolate a bad core is with prime95. Set it to just barely past stable and run prime several times. If there is a physical fault in the core it should continually trip the same core. Remember the most 960T's were locked for 1 reason or another. Really cool chips tho, I kinda miss mine lol.

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April 18, 2013 4:02:22 AM

For me changing voltages in windows always resulted in a crash. But changing multiplier was never a problem.
Once I found the stable overclock on all cores @3.4 I then used Turbo EV to change the multiplier on one core at a time while running Prime95.
Also do not run multiple windows overclocking software at the same time.
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April 18, 2013 6:18:38 PM

cmi86 said:
Zeitgeist911 said:
cmi86 said:
I used to run a 960T. Granted I may have gotten extremely lucky with 4.25Ghz as a quad and 3.8Ghz as a hex. All the same I found the limits for both configurations and saved the profiles in my BIOS to allow for easy swapping back and forth depends on my needs.


I'm able to squeeze out 4.125Ghz x4 at 1.4v. Cpu ratio 16.5 : 250. And stock speeds only on x6 with a 15 : 200 cpu ratio. The thing loves 1.22v on x6, as soon as I get to about 1.3v on x6 I start to get hardware failure errors in prime95 on the number 1 cpu. I think I may have a bad core but everything is prime stable at stock settings. I have no clue. I'm on x4 until I can figure out what the problem is on x6, may have to disable a core and try x5. Is there an easy way to determine if you have a bad core and which one it is?


Hey man just happy you got one that unlocks stable, especially at such a low voltage 1.22 is awesome !
The only way I could figure to diagnose and isolate a bad core is with prime95. Set it to just barely past stable and run prime several times. If there is a physical fault in the core it should continually trip the same core. Remember the most 960T's were locked for 1 reason or another. Really cool chips tho, I kinda miss mine lol.


I got to tell ya, its actually quite a bit of fun. Although its annoying sometimes the overclocking and tweaking options on this chip seem endless. I do curse it sometimes but I love the option of turning off and on the extra cores depending on what I want to do, play games, watch movies, photoshop, etc. I save the stable and semi stable (speaking of semi-stable i BSOD'd while writing this response lol) profiles in the bios for quick changes. My board also supports some of the FX chips so when I get board I can pop one of those in as well. The core that has all the hardware failures in prime95 is core 1. But that doesn't make sense because core 1 would be one of the 4 cores that came stable working on this chip. Wouldn't it make more sense that the core with hardware failures in prime95 would be core 5 or 6. Let me know your thoughts.

cheers
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April 18, 2013 6:23:28 PM

not really, when its a quad core most likely theres a core 1 that is perfectly stable, but i guess if u wanna put it in the sense of chronological order then the un stable cores could have originally been the first core and they deactivated that one, its not like when they have a defective core its always cores 5-6 lol
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April 18, 2013 6:25:07 PM

Unolocogringo said:
For me changing voltages in windows always resulted in a crash. But changing multiplier was never a problem.
Once I found the stable overclock on all cores @3.4 I then used Turbo EV to change the multiplier on one core at a time while running Prime95.
Also do not run multiple windows overclocking software at the same time.


Ya I'm starting to realize that AMD Overdrive was not a good OC'ing tool. The settings would always change to something I didn't want every time I restated Windows. It would always lower the voltage to like 1.22 so my attempted OC's would crash. So now I just use the BIOS to overclock. Its seems to run much more stable but its still not ideal. Messing around in BIOS, especially mine, leaves a lot to be desired. I have to really spend some time dialing in my voltage for the x6 cores as it gets very unstable after 1.3 volts. So it limits what OC'ing I can do. Right now I'm still at 3.0ghz at x6 and 4.0ghz at x4. And x4 is much more stable to overclock, x6 doesn't like anything but stock. Oh well that's part of the fun and why we all love tinkering with our cpu's.

cheers.
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April 18, 2013 6:30:22 PM

lazyboy947 said:
not really, when its a quad core most likely theres a core 1 that is perfectly stable, but i guess if u wanna put it in the sense of chronological order then the un stable cores could have originally been the first core and they deactivated that one, its not like when they have a defective core its always cores 5-6 lol


The problem is that I don't have the option of turning off core 1 in my BIOS. It only shows cores X1 to X5. It doesn't show core X0 as being able to be turned off in the asus manual core unlocker in the BIOS. So i'm trying to figure out if core X0 in prime 95 is core X0 in the BIOS. What are your thoughts?

Thanks.

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April 18, 2013 6:30:48 PM

That is a nice board id try using the provides asus turbov evo utility. I used it on my x6 and crosshair IV and got my 2.8ghz x6 to 3.7ghz stable, and still gives option to tune in OS, and i used the auto extreme tune. It may be a better tool than overdrive but if its being unstable on boot but stable once in OS then save the lower profile in bios and save a bigger oc in os utility
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April 18, 2013 6:33:52 PM

well once enabled to a six core most likely core 0 in bios represents core 0 in os, they difference is when switching from the x4 and x6. and most likely core 0 doesnt change between x6 and x4 as its always the undeactivated core since u cant enable or disable it
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April 18, 2013 7:00:45 PM

lazyboy947 said:
well once enabled to a six core most likely core 0 in bios represents core 0 in os, they difference is when switching from the x4 and x6. and most likely core 0 doesnt change between x6 and x4 as its always the undeactivated core since u cant enable or disable it


So I guess then it wouldn't make sense that core 0 was the unstable core. But all the hardware failures occur on core 0 in x6 and never does core 0 fail in x4 mode OC'd to 4.0ghz. So another mystery to solve I guess. LOL this chip never ceases to amaze me sometimes.
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April 18, 2013 7:03:13 PM

well u were saying it occured on core 1 tho lol core 1 is one of the disablable cores or does prime 95 go from core 1 to 6? instead 0 to 5?
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April 18, 2013 7:06:35 PM

lazyboy947 said:
That is a nice board id try using the provides asus turbov evo utility. I used it on my x6 and crosshair IV and got my 2.8ghz x6 to 3.7ghz stable, and still gives option to tune in OS, and i used the auto extreme tune. It may be a better tool than overdrive but if its being unstable on boot but stable once in OS then save the lower profile in bios and save a bigger oc in os utility


Ya I should re-install it actually. I removed it because I thought it wasn't compatible with AMD Overdrive and that's why I was getting all these errors. Later to find out that AMD Overdrive was causing the errors and ya my assumption that the chip manufacturer's overclocking software would be the most compatible and best for the chip. Anyway I learned my lesson after quite a bit of wasted time. I'll re-install turbo-v and evo and see if that yields any better results. Thanks for the tip I almost forgot about the motherboard software.

cheers.
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April 18, 2013 7:07:57 PM

lazyboy947 said:
well u were saying it occured on core 1 tho lol core 1 is one of the disablable cores or does prime 95 go from core 1 to 6? instead 0 to 5?


sorry when I wrote core 1 I meant core 0 and it only shows core x1 to x5 not core x0 in the core unlocker manual list.

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April 18, 2013 7:13:04 PM

Zeitgeist911 said:
lazyboy947 said:
well u were saying it occured on core 1 tho lol core 1 is one of the disablable cores or does prime 95 go from core 1 to 6? instead 0 to 5?


sorry when I wrote core 1 I meant core 0 and it only shows core x1 to x5 not core x0 in the core unlocker manual list.



Its because core 0 is i guess like the main core so obviously u cant turn off all cores lol so at least one core is on, really if that was the bad core under the x6 then maybe core 0 under x4 is different but if 0 is the same then it should be a stable core, but also i guess the unstable cores make that core unstable as well im not to sure lol
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April 18, 2013 7:20:25 PM

lazyboy947 said:
Zeitgeist911 said:
lazyboy947 said:
well u were saying it occured on core 1 tho lol core 1 is one of the disablable cores or does prime 95 go from core 1 to 6? instead 0 to 5?


sorry when I wrote core 1 I meant core 0 and it only shows core x1 to x5 not core x0 in the core unlocker manual list.


Its because core 0 is i guess like the main core so obviously u cant turn off all cores lol so at least one core is on, really if that was the bad core under the x6 then maybe core 0 under x4 is different but if 0 is the same then it should be a stable core, but also i guess the unstable cores make that core unstable as well im not to sure lol


LOL I guess it's the thrill of the hunt. I actually enjoy troubleshooting this kind of stuff, some people like to modify and upgrade cars and bikes and all kinds of other stuff and my hobby is computers. I love building them and tweaking them so I'm up for the challenge of getting this chip stable at 3.4-4.0ghz on x6. What are your thoughts on upping the NB voltage. Have you had any success stabilizing the voltages on unlocked core setups like mine by upping the NB voltage? I've had a few people say that it helps and some say that it makes no difference. What do you think?
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April 18, 2013 7:24:14 PM

have not messed with core unlocking at all lol
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April 18, 2013 7:37:37 PM

lazyboy947 said:
have not messed with core unlocking at all lol


This is my first at unlocking cores and its fun but the configuration options are endless so its a double edged sword so many options, which one will work best for my needs? Throw in the random hardware failures and it keeps my free time pretty occupied. I joined OC.net and Tom's just to get opinions on this topic. OC'in this chip is not very self explanatory and add the possibility of a bad core it gets to be a good old fashioned mystery.
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