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HELP! Overclocking the AMD Phenom x4 955 Black Edition

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October 2, 2013 9:52:11 AM

I need your guys help to overclock my CPU to 4 GHZ I can get to Windows but it crashes when I run Prime95. I only have stock cooling and plan to upgrade to a 212 Evo, I know the basics on overclocking but not enough... Haha.

Specs:
AMD Phenom x4 955 Black Edition
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H Rev 1.1 With F14B Bios.
MSI GTX 550 Ti Cyclone OC edition
8 GB of DDR-2 Memory
Cooler Master EX2 725 Watt Two 28s of An Amp More Than Powerful.
Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit

Help Please!


PS I have the CPU Clock Ratio at 20x, and I haven't touched the CPU host clock control. And my CPU voltage control is at 1.4000V and I added 0.075V and on the Northbridge Control is at 1.300V with 0.2V added. Thanks in advance! :D 
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October 2, 2013 9:59:14 AM

you cant just push the overclock that high without knowing what you're doing and with the stock cooler. Odds are it wont run stable and will deff run hot. To overclock you need to overclock little by little (this will take days for a perfect OC) with stock voltages and see what the max is with it. Then you go past it and add little increases in voltage to see if it can handle it. You will also need to keep a close eye on the temps of your mobo because if its a cheap one, and you happen to be overclocking pretty high, it has a high chance of failing.
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October 2, 2013 10:10:33 AM

With stock I can get it to 3.8 GHZ with 60 Degrees at 100 cpu usage without touching the voltage. Also I've been trying for three days now and my Thermal Compound is Arctic Silver 5
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October 2, 2013 10:18:33 AM

I'm sorry it was 3.6 GHz stable! Sorry!
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October 3, 2013 9:16:19 AM

WHere did my post go? You probably won't get much more out of that motherboard.That's about all the VRMs can handle.
Have a read here: http://www.overclock.net/t/943109/about-vrms-mosfets-mo...
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October 8, 2013 1:58:38 AM

Jeremy10001000

Get your aftermarket cooler installed first before you damage the CPU.

Unless it's become sacrificial to you!
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a c 224 K Overclocking
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October 8, 2013 2:08:40 AM

This Guide has being completely re-written, to shorten unnecessary Jibber Jabber and make it easier to use! It is designed to get you to a conservative stable 24/7 overclock, this is not a throw caution to the wind guide, but it can be used as a stepping stone to get you to your goals, whatever they may be.

Warning: Overclocking is something you do at your own risk, neither I, 4ryan6, or Toms hardware Guide, or the owner Best of Media, take any responsibility for your actions overclocking your own hardware, however you use and apply this information is totally your responsibility. This guide is officially the property of Toms Hardware and Best of Media, no unauthorized copying, or reproduction is allowed.

Preparation Section:******************************************************************************

Its absolutely imperative you have good aftermarket cooling, you'll only get so far with stock cooling, you need a good solid performing cooling solution, and good airflow through your case to get the best 24/7/365 overclock you can get. With this overclock you will be raising voltage which increases heat, that heat has to be dissipated through a good cooling solution.
See Cooling Note Below:


You will be manually setting and saving BIOS settings, therefore you need to familiarize yourself with the procedure for Clearing the CMOS, which is needed when your settings get too aggressive and the motherboard refuses to boot, requiring you to clear the CMOS and start over. All motherboards have different BIOS and CMOS setting terminology so to be specific as to what your motherboard labels a particular function is up to you to discover through your motherboard manual, or Google various BIOS settings you may have, to get a full understanding of what adjusting them does. Some of the motherboard BIOS features allow storing a profile of settings previously used, which is great to have, I suggest you take advantage of that feature.

A Black Edition CPU is a CPU that has an unlocked multiplier, meaning you can either raise or lower the multiplier, this guide is covering overclocking the CPU by raising the multiplier. The critical aspect of raising an AMD CPU multiplier is to keep everything else within specifications in the beginning of the overclocking process! Why? Because anything set outside specifications that is border lining on instability, increases its instability as the multiplier increases. Once you reach a stable overclock you can tweak from there and if the tweaks prove unsuccessful go back to your stable results.

First, You need to manually set your memory speed, and CAS timings, and the required memory slot voltage, to your memory manufacturers exact requirements, and regarding the 1T, 2T, setting, for AMD in my experience the 2T setting is more stable, (I suggest 2T to attain your overclock then after you're sure its stable you can set it to 1T and see if your memory will stay stable at that setting). If you leave these settings on Auto the motherboard may fluctuate these settings at the wrong time causing a crash.See Memory Note Below:

Even though your memory modules are factory rated and tested for certain speeds, they were never tested at some of the multiplier levels available with the black Edition CPUs by increasing the multiplier, you will be pushing them into an untested range that will require adjusting them to get the stability you need. However you first need to discover how far they'll go with their spec'd settings as not all memory modules perform the same, some can actually run their specs and beyond.

All your specification speeds in the beginning of the overclocking process like Hyper Transport, or North Bridge, etc. need to all be set to their default [If you know the default setting] or left on auto settings, all voltages on Auto except for the Memory which you've already manually set and your CPU's Vcore voltage, that you will be manipulating later.

Now CPU wise your part is knowing your CPUs voltage operating range, you have to know that information so when the time comes to set it manually, you don't set a voltage way past its capabilities that will fry your CPU. You will also need to know your CPUs thermal limit, because exceeding that limit will cause a shutdown, indicating either your cooling is insufficient or you've reached your CPUs overclock limits.


You can acquire this information from the AMD website.

If your CPU overheats it will shutdown to protect itself, but if you apply too much voltage you can kill it instantly!

Second, Any automatic overclocking features your motherboard has need to be disabled, additionally any AMD CPU specific features like Cool and Quiet, and any other AMD features that will inhibit your particular AMD CPU from performing 100% of what you require of it need also to be disabled, you can play with these things later on, if you feel you need them after you accomplish discovering your overclock capability.

Overclock Procedure Section:**********************************************************************

To begin, leave the CPU voltage on auto and increase your stock multiplier by .5, and see if you can boot into the OP/SYS, if you can, go into the BIOS look at your health and see if your M/B reports the voltage its using for that increase and record it.

You can also use
CPU-Z out in the operating system to monitor output voltage and operating frequency.

Then increase another .5 multiplier and do the same process recording the voltage changes as the multiplier increases, this is helpful in learning how much voltage change it takes to increase the multiplier a step at a time, however this is only if your M/B reports this voltage, unfortunately some do not.

Continue this process until it refuses to boot, now you have come to the point that you'll have to manually set the CPUs Vcore voltage to continue, it helps as a starting point if you were able to learn the voltages your M/B had automatically set, because you could use that information as a Vcore starting point and increase each boot attempt by 1 voltage increase until you successfully boot into the OP/SYS.

Once you successfully boot into the OP/SYS doesn't mean you're stable, run 3DM06
(See 3DMARK06 Suggestion : ) as a test for stability, each time 3DM06 crashes, increase your Vcore another step and reboot and try running 3DM06 again, continue the voltage increment increase and rebooting until you can successfully run 3DM06 to completion and get a final score, at that point you are pretty much in the ballpark, but still need some fine tuning.

Each CPU and hardware combination is different, where one is stable at a certain voltage level another may not be, and further testing is needed, and fine tuning with prime95.

I always record my progress as I go, so I know exactly the progress I'm making, this takes time and patience, don't rush this as you don't need to run anymore voltage than you have to to run a certain multiplier. Remember as you go if your BIOS has the save Profile Feature, and you discover a 100% stable overclock on your way to your goal, save those settings in a profile to fall back to, if you need to.

At this point depending on where you are voltage wise and how much headroom you have left you can continue raising the multiplier and Vcore to shoot for a higher clock, keep an eye on your temperatures as the voltage levels increase, by using a program like
Core Temp to monitor the temperature levels.

3DMARK06 Suggestion:
I use 3DM06 Advanced Edition.
To use 3DM06 as a CPU stress tester,
under (Tests) select the 2 CPU tests to run only.
Under (Settings) select your Maximum Resolution,
under Anti-Aliasing select 8 Sample AA,
Anti-Aliasing Quality, select 3,
under Texture Filtering select Anistropic,
Anistropic level to 16,
under Repeat + Loop, Select Repeat each test 3 times.
These settings will seriously stress your CPU, and shorten the total testing time involved using 3DM06.
Unfortunately if you are using the free version of 3DM06 your options are limited.


KEEP IN MIND YOU HAVE PURPOSELY PRESET EVERYTHING WITHIN OPERATING SPECIFICATIONS, you raised the multiplier, and you increased the Vcore voltage to compensate for the raised multiplier, however raising the multiplier has side effects that have to be addressed.

#1. The higher multipliers sometimes go beyond the rated memory speed capabilities, so lower the memory speed to get Prime95 Blend Test stable, that will be trial and error on your part to discover.

#2. The higher multipliers go beyond the rated Northbridge settings , so Increase the Northbridge speed, and if you increase the Northbridge speed, you have to increase the Northbridge supplied voltage, and that also will be trial and error on your part to discover.

Keep in mind this guide was not designed as a maximum overclock guide for the AMD Black Edition, as clearly stated in the beginning, so if your goals are for a maximum overclock, you need to study guides designed for that purpose.

Use Prime95 as a fine tuning tool, sometimes Prime95 is a false assumption of stability, I've seen long term runs claiming Prime95 stability, crash in a game, simply because the game adds a graphic and sound load, and Prime95 does not test that.

If you can run Prime95s Small ffts test, but drop cores in the Blend test, it could be memory related and you may need to run the memory at a lower speed, try dropping the memory speed and leave the timings as they are, to discover if the memory is causing the instability. If Blend test stability returns then you may need to tweak (tighten) the memory timings to get the best performance, from having to run the lower speed.

With memory modules specifically designed to run higher speeds at lower voltages in the 1.5v range, I do not suggest running these modules at higher voltages, that is completely up to you, for longevity with these newer modules it will be better to settle for a lower speed, than risk the higher voltage damaging the modules.


Additional Information Section:********************************************************************

Cooling Note:

Factors in cooling are, ambient room temperature, case airflow, and the selected cooling solution method either air or water, since this guide does not cover extreme overclocking, extreme solutions are not necessary, after market CPU air cooling solutions today are very efficient and cooling performance wise fall just short of some of the loop water cooling solutions, and are a lot less trouble setting up and maintaining, the end choice is yours.

Ambient Room Temperature is a very important factor, if its too high, it will seriously affect the cooling of the absolutely best CPU cooling solutions on the market, so it needs to be taken into consideration and will affect your overall overclock outcome. If your ambient room temperature can be controlled to a consistent setting, it will be most advantageous to your end results.

Case Airflow is very critical, and needs to be a priority way back when you are assembling your new toy, keeping in mind wire routing is essential to good airflow, you'll never get good case airflow through a rat nest of wiring.
Cooling fans are extremely important even if you're water cooling you still need airflow over the motherboard itself, to keep the voltage regulators cool.

Some cases are poor airflow performers from the beginning and may require a little case modding effort on your part, by possibly cutting in and installing another cooling fan if your airflow is just not doing the job.
Don't be stuck thinking you cannot add a cooling fan to even the crappiest cooling case, think outside the box, if there is no room for a cooling fan inside the case mount it outside the case, with a nice fan grill it will still look good, and actually improve your exhaust airflow.

CPU Air Cooling Solutions, there are some really efficient after market air cooling solutions, that can actually out perform some of the lower to mid range water cooling solutions, so factors in selecting them are, does it fit your motherboard?, and will it fit inside your case?
Some of these Air Cooling Solutions are massive beasts, and will not fit every case and motherboard situation, so these obviously need to be your main considerations when deciding on which air cooling heat sink you plan to get, researching those considerations, and price and performance is totally in your department, Frosty Tech is a great source of information.

CPU Water Cooling Solutions, the biggest caution of going this route is being absolutely positive you have no leaks, being prepared with a maintenance wise mindset to inspect your system daily, and pre-educating yourself on all that is required to set up a water cooling solution in the first place.
Having hose routing holes in the case if the radiator is mounted outside the case, is also an important consideration are they pre-existing in the case you chose, or do they have to be manually added.
There are so many water cooling solutions today, from simple closed CPU loops, to massive external radiator and reservoir setups, and the decision as to the system you go with, is yours.


Memory Note:
System memory modules are critical in pulling off a stable raised multiplier overclock, they should be matched module sets, because you don't want inconsistencies between the memory modules or you'll never get a stable overclock, until you resolve those issues. Can the issues be resolved? Of course they can, by Timing adjustments and voltage changes, but you are at a serious disadvantage from the beginning, and even if the modules cooperate together at default settings, if they're not matched sets, there is no guarantee they'll overclock together, it is almost the luck of the draw.

Matched memory modules have been pretested to run together at their rated speeds, timings, and voltages, giving you firm input numbers to set in your BIOS. They've also been pretested for certain platforms, if you purchased memory guaranteed to run at a certain cas latency on Intel, they may not run those same timings on AMD. So you're at a disadvantage from the beginning at achieving your stable overclock and you're back to juggling timings in search of memory stability. It should have been taken into consideration when you were purchasing your hardware, to buy memory tested for the AMD platform.

My memory recommendations for this type of overclock are either a matched set of 2G = 2 x 1G, or 4G = 2 x 2G, 8G module setups are much harder to successfully overclock, they're not impossible to overclock just harder, however some motherboards just flat don't overclock well with all the available memory slots occupied, so use an 8G = 2 x 4G set, you need to be aware of any motherboard peculiarities from the beginning, there in falls your research responsibility, because that information is usually clearly stated in your motherboard manual.

If your overclocking motherboard allows loading up all 4 modules, you'd definitely need an 8G matched set, so pretested speed, timings and voltage requirements are already solid numbers that you can input in the BIOS.


Closing Comments Section:********************************************************************

Hopefully this guide will help some of you that are struggling to overclock your Black Edition CPUs, and cannot seem to be getting anywhere!

One important final note to share with you regarding overclocking is learning when to quit, and be satisfied with your results, if you don't learn that, you will repeat your mistakes over and over, and overclocking will end up costing you substantial amounts of money.

If you learn to exercise caution, you can reap serious gains over your stock configuration, and run those increases for a long time, probably all the way to your next hardware upgrade.

Good Hardware Overclocking Luck, To Everyone Reading This!

Ryan

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October 8, 2013 8:19:56 AM

Thank you all! I'm new to the Forum, and everyone has been great help! I can get it up to 3.80 GHz at 67 degrees at max load.
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a c 224 K Overclocking
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October 8, 2013 11:22:10 AM

Jeremy10001000 said:
Thank you all! I'm new to the Forum, and everyone has been great help! I can get it up to 3.80 GHz at 67 degrees at max load.


And that's about 10c too hot! :pfff: 

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