I've just completed building my first rig and am seeking some advice as to how I can maximize its horsepower, so to speak.
The specs are as follows: Core 2 E6600, P5B systemboard (in retrospect, I probably should have gone with the deluxe model), Arctic 7 Pro CPU fan, Arctic Silver paste + 2 other fans. I'm running 2GB of Kingston HyperX DDR2 RAM (4 X 512) and a EVGA 8800GTX video card.
I've tried researching overclocking settings - including wusy's post on this very board. I do understand that settings are changed via the JumperFree menu in the system BIOS, though I'm having trouble understanding precisely which settings do what.
I'm certainly not looking for someone to do it for me, as I would very much like to learn how to use the BIOS features for this and future builds. Any overview in laymans terms would be greatly appreciated. :wink:
Yes, I've read wusy's overclocking thread and he clearly states that the P5B board isn't "recommended" for the specs he suggests. I'm not sure if that means the board won't clock to his specs, or isn't recommended to overclock at all.
With respect to my memory, it's Kingston HyperX 6400 (800) 2GB (4 X 512).
800MHz RAM = good. And I think the P5B is fine for overclocking, just tricky unless you have dealt with it a lot before, so not recommended for inexperienced users.
As for explaining things in layman's terms, I can try. You might already know all of this, though.
Core2 processors run on systems with a default FSB speed of 266 MHz. The FSB speed is pretty much the heartbeat of your system. The CPU speed is the multiplier (9 on an E6600) * FSB, and the RAM speed is 2 * FSB (DDR - "Double Data Rate"). There are also RAM "divider" settings (which allow you to run RAM faster than double the FSB rate), though Core2's perform best with MEMORY:FSB at 1:1 ratio.
Since the multiplier is locked on all but the "extreme" Core2's, you can only raise the CPU speed by raising the FSB speed. Raising speed usually requires raising voltages, and results in higher temperatures.
The stock heatsink seems to be good for overclocks up to around 3GHz or so, your Freezer 7 Pro should do a bit better. Acceptable temperatures for a Core2 should be below 65C under 100% load. Higher than this is not good for the CPU. Use CoreTemp for temperature measurement, I've heard it gives a more accurate picture of CPU temp than most other utilities, by reading from a sensor right on the die.
Since you're raising the FSB, not only must the CPU be able to operate at the higher speed (Core2's are great for this), but the RAM must also. This is where DDR2-667 and DDR2-800 are common choices. 667MHz RAM will effortlessly handle a FSB speed of 333MHz, 800MHz RAM will handle 400MHz (Which would get your E6600 to a theoretical 3.6GHz, but I'm not sure your heatsink can handle it). The RAM can operate faster than its rating, but you usually have to relax the timings, which increases latency. I'm not terribly knowledgable about this, but I know low latency=good. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SDRAM_latency. Also, to get the most from your RAM, you'll probably have to raise its voltage and change the timings manually. Most high-performance RAM has some reduced settings that the motherboard uses by default, so it can boot up at the default voltage, and another set of settings that reflect what it can really do - this is usually what gets listed when you buy the RAM.
My RAM, for example, is rated for 800MHz, 4-4-4-12 at 2.1V. However, my motherboard defaulted it to 5-5-5-18 and 1.9V when I first installed. It also seems stable and happy with its 4-4-4-12 timings even at 850 MHz, but I'd probably have to relax them if I went much further.
I'm pretty clear on what FSB is, though it's re: multipliers where I get a little fuzzy.
So, essentially, an E6600 2.4Ghz C2D = default 266 FSB X 9?
Should I incrimentally be raising voltage first & then raise the FSB or the other way around...both? Moreover, while I know the memory frequency is rated 800, I've read that some chipsets do not recognize 800, thereby defaulting to a lower setting (533?). Which utility can I use to see which frequency my memory is operating at?
Lastly, which utility would you suggest to use to moniter CPU temp/stability while overclocking?
CPU-Z will tell you all about your current CPU (clock speed, FSB, multiplier, vCore) and RAM (frequency, timings) settings. CoreTemp is great for monitoring your CPU temperature. And your motherboard probably came with some utility for monitoring other temps and voltages on the board.