It has "Dell H2C" cooling, which seems to be a 120mm radiator and water loop, cooling a peltier, cooling the CPU.
Being a dell, the BIOS options are very limited. You can select a CPU speed, and it will change the CPU's unlocked multiplier accordingly, setting the voltage to whatever it thinks is needed. You have very little control over memory timings and voltages, other than SLI/EPP timings or JDEC timings. You cannot change the FSB. You cannot change the FSB : DRAM ratio. The voltage is set automatically based on the speed you select.
The system was set to 3.73GHz when I got it (14*266). This means the BIOS has 1.6v vCore set.
1.6v is scary high.... even my other PC, which is cooled by a Swiftech waterloop based on an Apogee GTX, 360mm rad, and an MCP655 pump I have only ever had the balls to goto 1.5v.
However, DELL have set this 1.6v. Now, much as i dislike them, they have a closer relationship with Intel than you or I. They have sold a number of PCs and must have an idea how many come back under warranty. In short, they must be aware if 1.6v is going to cause electron migration death like on a Northwood P4.
Should we be thinking 1.6v is safe assuming you have the cooling power?
I would be a little concerned since Intel's Specs state that 1.5v is the maximum safe voltage level for that chip. As you noted, it's not all cooling. What's the Warranty? If it's decent, Don't fret. They will fix it.
If the warranty is bad and your work will not pick up the tab, Personally I would dial back a few Mhz till I hit 1.5v. LIkely you will not feel the difference much.
My point was, that I wouldn't usually buy a pre-built system, but it was free. I'd challenge any of you to say no to such a system for free.
Yes, it will be covered by warranty. I don't really care if it dies for this reason.
My point was how can dell be doing this? Is Intel supplying them cherry picked CPUs capable of more voltage? Are all Core 2s able to cope with 1.6v long term? If so my Q6600 can be overclocked more - hell, the swiftech water loop on that system keeps much better temps than this dell system.
I wasn't saying "please help me", just trying to decide what it means for other Core 2s if Dell feel they can do this.
I read an interesting article on electromigration written some time ago and the relationship between operating voltage and damage from electromigration is not considered a linear one ...
Thermal issues obviously moderate the effect markedly so the more efficient cooling system you have the better.
Iv'e not seen many posts from people who have killed core2 cpus tho.
I have the article at work which I sent to my mates here some time ago ... who have a BGA rework station (throughhole soldering etc) used to train technicians. Some of them are also mad overclockers ... and like a good tech article.
It was old tho.
Appreciate if someone else has anything on this topic?