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Advice: P5N32-E SLI, E6600 and TWIN2X4096-6400C5DHX

Last response: in Overclocking
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June 15, 2007 7:41:03 PM

Finally got the opportunity to upgrade my home PC to something more powerful. Since I went on a lark and it was kind of a spur of the moment I ended up with the above choice:

P5N32-E SLI, E6600 and TWIN2X4096-6400C5DHX using a Zalman 9700 LED, OCZ GamerXtreme 700W PSU.

Doing some research before diving into Overclocking, I ran into some important guides that helped me step by step through the overclocking process and I've made a few discoveries.

I was overclocking the FSB with the X9 multiplier and found a stable 380FSB as my ceiling (without changing other things that might have let me go higher). I can reach 395FSB before the system stops booting in windows but 380 ran Prime95 overnight with no errors where 390 Halted after 3 hours.

After reading a bit more, I reduced the multiplier which allowed for a 425FSB while my ram reached 850Mhz giving me much better scores than the previous overclock did. What I ran into though is that I had to up the voltage on the core to 1.45v where my previous 380FSB was at 1.40v, and was kind of worried at going higher than what the guides said.

I guess the advice I am looking for is some understanding from people that are "in the know" to help me optimize my build since I know there are things im missing (in the bios). I'm big on screenshots so I took my camera and made a collage of my BIOS to show what settings I have enabled. The screenshot provided shows the settings for my current 425FSB (shown as 1700mhz QDR) and Memory at 850mhz.

The only difference from that screenshot to my 380FSB OC is the VCore Voltage of 1.40, X9 multiplier and obvious FSB 380 and Memory of 760mhz.

Since Prime95 ran fine for 12 hours overnight (on both cores simultaneously), I am open for suggestions to see what else I can get out of the system. I would have LOVED to hit 400FSB with X9 multiplier but I am happy with the results the X8 multiplier brought in PCMark05. I've read that I'll need aftermarket NB and SB cooling to reach higher clock rates but right now the CPU temp idles at 20 and 40 under load. The NB seems to stay at 30 which might be too high.

http://www.maineweb.net/alain/bios.jpg

I will post a link to a screenshot that shows the temps, CPU-Z and misc things to help discussion on this. If there are any requests to better help my situation, please don't hestitate to ask as I can take pictures of the setup, snapshots of whatever and try different things to optimize.

Thanks!
June 17, 2007 7:44:19 PM

Have not had the chance to optimize since I have so much work to do in the shop. Anyone have thoughts on those numbers? My NB seems to be really hot, at 425 FSB, should I be getting an aftermarket cooling solution for the NB?

Sometimes the NB will stay at 30C, but then yesterday I tried Prime95 and the NB was up to 35C... which was too hot to touch for long.

What order should I start lowering voltages? I know the CPU might go as low as 1.43, I'll try that next. But what about the NB and the SB voltage? Should I leave those at 1.6 and 1.4 respectively?

I'm curious to see what it takes to run the system at 400FSB X9, and from what I understand, the issue I have running that has something to do with the "strap"... but then again I'm not sure. How high can I increase the voltage on my RAM before it becomes a concern? Would that help overcome the issue of 400FSB X 9? Windows was bluescreening when I tried anything from 385-400FSB, but then I was able to go as high as 425 with the X8 multi.
June 17, 2007 9:45:30 PM

Tried 400FSB X 9 for 3.6ghz. I was able to boot Windows with 1.475v for my core. Ran Prime95, immediate bluescreen. Upped the voltage till 1.5v and I was able to run Prime95 for roughly 3 seconds before it stopped to return an error.

Wasn't sure if the ram voltage might make a difference so I went from its suggested 2.0v to 2.2v and stopped before going further since I'm not sure how high I can go on that without causing permanent damage. My NB and SB volts stayed at 1.6 and 1.4 respectively, did not touch those at all. Got me wondering if I can tighten the timings on my ram, I saw someone running ram at 2.4v. Maybe once I get the C2D at the speed I want (and stable), I can work on getting better ram performance.

Should I try 1.5v+ for the core? Whats the highest I should go or want to go without causing concern?
Related resources
June 17, 2007 10:17:50 PM

Just got done reading a guide, Here and got a few ideas. Thinking of bringing my OC down to 3.4ghz with a FSB of 380 and multiplier of 9. Ram will be at 750mhz, but since its running below specs, Ill try to tweak the timings a bit and see if I can get away with 1T.

From what I understand though, having two large 2gb chips, I might not get away with faster timmings but if I can then it would compensate for the lower memory performance I get compared to 425FSB X 8multi that I'm running now.

Any input is welcome. I am learning quite a bit though :) 
June 18, 2007 6:28:08 PM

Tried a few different things with 380FSB and apparently the working OC for that was as follows:

380FSB X9 Multi, Ram was running unlinked at 800mhz, and the core voltage was 1.4v, NB at 1.6, SB at 1.4.

When I redid that, I left the memory linked and synced... which apparently brought major issues to stability, I had to up the voltage to 1.5 to get that OC stable.

I decided that 425FSB with X8 multi was a better setup that let me overclock ram for better performance with default timings. Even having my ram at 850Mhz, I was still able to get timmings from 5-5-5-18 2T to 5-4-4-4 15 1T and get a bit more performance. Ram still is at 2.0v, and seemingly works fine. But I will run Memt86 tonight for 8 hours and see how it comes out. I'm not sure what rTC is, but its set at something like 28, maybe lowering that will affect performance? I did notice if I went from 5-4-4-15 to 5-4-4-12 my system would freeze occasionally.

Tightening my ram timings did up the volts for the CPU VTT... which im not sure what it is. It was running between 1.3 to 1.36, but now it is as high as 1.44-1.46.
June 23, 2007 5:39:03 PM

My recent findings were that I noticed I could reduce the voltages by quite a large amount if I only overclocked to 3.0ghz Keeping the FSB to 333mhz with the X9 multiplier. I'm able to lower my voltages by what I think is a large amount seeing as how I went all the way up to 1.55v for Vcore to reach 3.6ghz... now everything is stable with a voltage as low as 1.3v for the core. I was able to set all other voltages at their lowest manual settings and remain stable.

Just an observation, but I think if needed, I can switch profiles back and forth when the processing power is needed. I was able to boot into windows at 3.8ghz as well but, nothing ran well enough for more than 3 seconds. Crazy how voltages scale so high when going from 3.2 to 3.4, I think its almost not worth it to run a system at such a stressed level.
June 23, 2007 6:17:49 PM

i went through 2 of those mobos trying to overclock them, eventually bought an evga680i

So sorry, but i cant really help you, they'd constantly hang one me and could never get over 2.8Ghz stable no matter what i did, this mobo just stuck in 3.5Ghz and it worked without a hitch with the same mem/cpu

Any, my only contribution is is that that mobo runs seriously hot, it has no NB cooler, my gfx card was running @ 98degrees on that board, 6 degrees hotter than this mobo( my old ASRock mobo had it at 78Degrees ). Id ase you get a fan for the NB, maybe the SB too if your running a 3Ghz+ overclock
June 23, 2007 7:02:26 PM

Just figured I would post this while I found it. This was my most decent OC. It's not optimized at all but give an idea on temps. I ran into a weird issue where I sprayed compressed air on the NB and SB and the temps didn't even drop!!! They were frozen to the touch and the temps did not budge from 35c.

June 23, 2007 7:48:58 PM

I think your numbers look pretty good. I am using the same board and am looking at NB cooling. If you touch your NB while the system is idling it will almost burn your finger. I got to 425FSB quite easily but anything over that the system crashes. I'm still working on the perfect settings but I am rather impatient and get annoyed and I'll stop and then come back to it in a few days. Prime95 is good but run Orthos and check your stability. Most say you need to run it for 24 hours to be sure but if it hasn't crashed after 12 you should be fine. I find that if it is unstable with Orthos it will usually crash within a hour or two. There were a lot of problems with the board from the start which turned a lot of people off so you won't get a lot of response about it. I personally find it to be a very good board just a little pickey.
!