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How would I overclock q9550 to 3.4ghz?

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March 30, 2008 4:39:08 AM

I'm putting together a new computer and was originally going to get the QX9650 but delays on the 9800gtx have had me waiting a while and I'm now seeing the q9550 popping up. I had planned to run the QX9650 at only stock or a small overclock to 3.2ghz or 3.4ghz which is quite a waste for the money I'd need to pay but it looks like I could OC the q9550 to the same clock speed and only pay a little over half the price.

I've not done much overclocking before (only overclocked a celeron 433 to 488 which was trivial) and the new stuff sounds alot more complicated.

Could anyone describe what sort of things I'd need to change to get the q9550 to 3.4ghz?
Since it needs to change the FSB to 400mhz are there any issues with other hardware that would need to be addressed?

I'm also looking at getting the XFX nForce 780i MB and 2 sets of twin Kingston 2gb 8500 HyperX paired ram (4x 1gb sticks total), would they be able to deal with the OC OK? Or are there better alternatives?

Thanks

More about : overclock q9550 4ghz

March 30, 2008 5:29:00 AM

Heck, you can get a Q9450 and achieve the same results. Q9450 is good for speeds up to 4GHz, so you can save even more money.

There's the OCing guide here, read it and understand it.
March 30, 2008 8:50:59 AM

Money isn't a major concern for me, I'm more concerned with reliability and lifetime so I'd rather do a smaller over clock for the better performance even if it's going to cost me a lot more for only a small gain, besides the q9550 is only AU$50 (~US$45) more than the q9450.

I'd already read through the guide briefly but went back and gave it a proper read, what I wanted to know is what settings specifically I'd be likely to need to change to get to 3.4ghz, as far as I can gather I'd need to do the following:

Set CPU Frequency (FSB) to 400.
Set DRAM Frequency to 800.
Set PCI Express Frequency to 100.
PCI Clock Synchronization to 33.33.
Set the mem voltage.

Is there anything I missed or listed wrong?

Will there be much of a heat increase?

Also is it pointless getting the 8500 ram since I'd be under clocking it to get the 1:1 with the fsb? Should I get 6400 ram (800mhz) instead? I'm more concerned with reliability than performance when it comes to ram, DDR2 is fast enough that other than in synthetics other components will become the bottleneck before the ram does.
Related resources
March 30, 2008 8:13:00 PM

Lifetime is rather impossible, and OCing will just shorten the life span, depending on how much you OC.

The Q9550 has a 8.5 multiplier. To get 3.4GHz, or 3400MHz, you will have to use an FSB of 3400/8.5 = 400MHz. Setting the ram to 800MHz will mean a fsb to ram ratio of 1:1, which some people says offers the best performance. Adjusting the timings to 4-4-4-12 should also help.

Locking the PCI-E and PCI to 100MHz and 33.33MHz respectively is a good idea. You don't want to burn the vidcard nor the PCI cards.

The temps will increase. You will want to minimize the vcore of the CPU in order to minimize the temps. The guide explains this quite well, so follow it carefully.

DDR2 800MHz is more than enough, it is pointless to get faster ram that cost significantly more.
March 30, 2008 9:19:18 PM

780i chipset runs at 1333mhz fsb natively. It's not the best overclocking chipset, but should be able to oc to 1600mhz (4x400) without problems. You should run the cpu at the lowest vcore needed to obtain stability. But don't worry too much, that thing will be obsolete before it burns out anyway. :p 

And yeah, PCI and PCIE should always be locked, especially PCIE. Sound and networking cards are tougher than graphics card, not that you should try to ruin them.

DDR2 800 is the best bang for the buck. Faster ram do not significantly increase overall system performance anyway.
March 30, 2008 10:36:05 PM

Cool, thanks, that all sounds promising :) . I was aware of the fact that OC always decreases lifetime, but my good ol celeron is still going strong so I'm hoping the OC from 333 to 400 will still last me 3-4 years, I'm keeping my old PC (P4, GF4, 512ram) as a 24/7 PC so this one will only need to be on when playing games/doing work anyway.

One other thing, I'm getting an after market cooler for the first time and will probably need to apply the thermal paste myself, can anyone point me to a good guide?
I'm deciding between the ASUS Arctic square (which looks pretty awesome and is the front runner) and the Zalman 9700 led (which IMO doesn't look very nice but has slightly better cooling). I'm also looking at the Antec nine hundred case which should keep things very cool anyway :) 
March 31, 2008 9:28:00 AM

Thanks :D 

I'd have preferred a Xigmatek to the Zalman (I looked up the frostytech website when picking a shortlist), but the Zalman was the best performer available locally :( . The Arctic Square was the best performer out of my aesthetically pleasing shortlist, I also had the Coolerman Hyper TX as top of my price/performance shortlist, but as I'm overclocking I'd rather the safety of the more powerful coolers so I dropped it from my final shortlist :) 
March 31, 2008 11:42:55 AM

I have a pair of arctic squares, and they are decent, but wont win any metals. You might be staying with that 3.4ghz if you get that cooler! They work up to a point, then the heat takes over!

I broke it down and ordered a TRUE which took a week to get here! As reported, and with a single good fan, it beats out the arctic square and my semi-cheep koolance all in the case processor liquid cooler.

To bad no one carries the damn thing locally. Have to wait to get it. But here I am at 3.8, waiting for my processor to blow up! (Though I wont see a 60c core all day!)

And it was only 15 bucks more, and about the same in temperature drop. 15c or so. Thats worth 15 bucks!

--Lupi
March 31, 2008 4:12:28 PM

Hmmm, I must have misspelt ThermalRight the first time I searched for shops that stocked it, now there seems to be plenty :) , I'd take that over the Zalman, and might be a better choice than the arctic square since I don't mind the look of it, can you recommend a good fan for it?
March 31, 2008 4:57:23 PM

Scythe Kaze! Though you may wanna spend another 15 bucks for a fan controller! But look at that air flow! Quite impressive. Like I said right up there. 3.8 and I dont see 60c unless testing. Thats with one fan on a fan controller on just a lil over hearing level. So, on low.

I think a cheep fan mate will be fine if you get just one fan. I bought a pair of them, but one was on slow-mo when it arrived. Spins like a normal fan. RMA'd with jab-tech, and I think I will grab 3 more of those fans, since my controller supports 4! Case fans this time, maybe.

Thanks Evil! (Who made me get a TRUE and fan to begin with.)

--Lupi
April 1, 2008 3:48:53 AM

The Scythe Kaze is a rather nice cooling if you don't mind spending $9 for one. Investing a fan controller, the Sunbeam Rheobus, is also a great idea to keep noise level down when you don't need performance.

If you don't need 110cfm+ fans Yate-loons 65cfm fans are much cheaper, coming around $3.50 at Jab-tech.
April 1, 2008 8:09:37 AM

Bummer can't find Scythe Kaze (or any other Scythe) fans anywhere locally, any other recommendations?

I just looked up the TRUE on frosty tech and it's over 100g heavier, I was already concerned about the weight of the arctic square so could someone just fill me in of what risk there is of warping or cracking the motherboard at these weights? I'm not particularly fond of the idea of carrying it sideways when moving it around/taking it to LANs, or dealing with the risk of damage after an accidental knock.

As good as a fan controller might be, I don't think I'll get one, my other PC makes enough noise I wouldn't be able to tell that the new one was quiet anyway ;) 


Edit:
Also what are your opinions on what would be the optimal function (intake or exhaust) of a 120mm fan in the window of the case (Antec Nine Hundred). After some thinking I realized the exhaust of the Zalman ZM850-HP PSU will be blowing right onto the GFX cards (wait is that an intake or exhaust on top of the PSU?), so I figure an exhaust might be best, get rid of the hot air before it gets to the rest of the system but I'm not sure.
September 24, 2008 11:18:46 PM

can someone help me plz i dont know much about oc and i read the replies on this topic but i just dont know some of the stuff u guys mention...sorry for being a noob!

anyways i have a q9550, gigabyte x48-ds4, 280gtx, and 4gb(2x2gb) corssair dominator PC2 8500

i want to oc my cpu and ram as well so can u guys tell me exactly wat to change and stuff on my bios plz!

thx
December 1, 2008 5:16:02 AM

Did anyone ever answer you?
August 9, 2009 5:24:16 AM

ausskiller said:
Hmmm, I must have misspelt ThermalRight the first time I searched for shops that stocked it, now there seems to be plenty :) , I'd take that over the Zalman, and might be a better choice than the arctic square since I don't mind the look of it, can you recommend a good fan for it?

Cooling CPUs in general , a 100% flat CPU & especialy cooler base is far more important than anyone seems to think.
Nickel plating might be pretty but it has a higher resistance to heat transfer than the copper its covering & is better removed by lapping (Several guides to doing this in forums) the ThermalRight is a bad example of cooler base machining most if not all have a high point across the middle of the base (Check forums inc toms to confirm this if you doubt me) this reduces the real potential of these and many other coolers .
I am currently using an Arctic Square that has been lapped & has Silver Thermal paste on a Q9550 clocked at 3.824 Ghz @ 1.2v , core & temp of 51C in the hottest of the 4 cores while under 100% load ,The CPU had up to 12C difference between the 4 core temps before I gave the top of CPU a light lap with 1200 grade wet n dry abrasive paper using "Isopropyl Alcohol" as cleaner & lubricant . (highly recommended for all lapping , never use detergents or oil based products as they contaminate the surface & are very hard to totally remove , even though you cant see them their still there ! ) the CPU after light lapping now has only 4C difference between the hottest & coolest cores under 100% load, if I was not prepared to lap CPU 100% flat & remove all plating & identification to expose the copper top of the CPU , if I did then the difference between cores would only be 1>2 C & CPU would likely run slightly cooler but im not that fanatical & like to be still able to read CPUs specs on its top.
The above CPU / Cooler example results apply to a greater or lesser extent to any CPU Cooler combination depending on their quality of flatness , you will also notice an almost instant drop in CPU temp & faster return to idle temp as soon as you remove load from CPU in a properly lapped & thermal pasted CPU/Cooler install
best of luck to all & hope this helps
August 9, 2009 5:44:12 AM

Hi, i have the same cpu as you. Below is my validation, it might make it easier for you to OC, my MB is evga 780i



volts
cpu @ 3570 mhz : 1.200v in bios
mem @ 1010 mhz : 2.1v in bios with 5-5-5-15 timings
FSB @ 1.4v in bios
Nb @ 1.50v in bios
make sure you select the unlink option for ram in the bios
if you want more help lemme know i will send you all the voltages/speeds i am using.



that's everything i changed and it worked

a c 95 à CPUs
a c 224 K Overclocking
August 9, 2009 2:36:21 PM

ultranova0 said:
Cooling CPUs in general , a 100% flat CPU & especialy cooler base is far more important than anyone seems to think.
Nickel plating might be pretty but it has a higher resistance to heat transfer than the copper its covering & is better removed by lapping (Several guides to doing this in forums) the ThermalRight is a bad example of cooler base machining most if not all have a high point across the middle of the base (Check forums inc toms to confirm this if you doubt me) this reduces the real potential of these and many other coolers .
I am currently using an Arctic Square that has been lapped & has Silver Thermal paste on a Q9550 clocked at 3.824 Ghz @ 1.2v , core & temp of 51C in the hottest of the 4 cores while under 100% load ,The CPU had up to 12C difference between the 4 core temps before I gave the top of CPU a light lap with 1200 grade wet n dry abrasive paper using "Isopropyl Alcohol" as cleaner & lubricant . (highly recommended for all lapping , never use detergents or oil based products as they contaminate the surface & are very hard to totally remove , even though you cant see them their still there ! ) the CPU after light lapping now has only 4C difference between the hottest & coolest cores under 100% load, if I was not prepared to lap CPU 100% flat & remove all plating & identification to expose the copper top of the CPU , if I did then the difference between cores would only be 1>2 C & CPU would likely run slightly cooler but im not that fanatical & like to be still able to read CPUs specs on its top.
The above CPU / Cooler example results apply to a greater or lesser extent to any CPU Cooler combination depending on their quality of flatness , you will also notice an almost instant drop in CPU temp & faster return to idle temp as soon as you remove load from CPU in a properly lapped & thermal pasted CPU/Cooler install
best of luck to all & hope this helps


For those reading this lapping your CPUs heat spreader voids your warranty, so if you're going to suggest taking this route to someone you also need to inform them of that.

You lapped your heat spreader, but left it cupped in so you could still read the specs?

Because if you can still read the specs, it is still cupped in, in the center, and is not 100% flat.

That makes no sense to me, you've already voided your warranty, why wouldn't you have completed the job?
August 9, 2009 10:56:22 PM

If you are lapping you should remember that if your lapping is not well or proper you will end up with worst results than with an unlapped chip. I am telling you because this has happened with me before lol. good luck =]
a c 95 à CPUs
a c 224 K Overclocking
August 10, 2009 1:14:49 AM

freezed1 said:
If you are lapping you should remember that if your lapping is not well or proper you will end up with worst results than with an unlapped chip. I am telling you because this has happened with me before lol. good luck =]


That is an excellent point man!
January 2, 2010 3:41:56 AM

Hi i have the same Q9550 and it is at 2.86ghz i have never OC'd b4 but would really like to give it a go. do you have instructions on how to do so?

uphorian@hotmail.com


ausskiller said:
Money isn't a major concern for me, I'm more concerned with reliability and lifetime so I'd rather do a smaller over clock for the better performance even if it's going to cost me a lot more for only a small gain, besides the q9550 is only AU$50 (~US$45) more than the q9450.

I'd already read through the guide briefly but went back and gave it a proper read, what I wanted to know is what settings specifically I'd be likely to need to change to get to 3.4ghz, as far as I can gather I'd need to do the following:

Set CPU Frequency (FSB) to 400.
Set DRAM Frequency to 800.
Set PCI Express Frequency to 100.
PCI Clock Synchronization to 33.33.
Set the mem voltage.

Is there anything I missed or listed wrong?

Will there be much of a heat increase?

Also is it pointless getting the 8500 ram since I'd be under clocking it to get the 1:1 with the fsb? Should I get 6400 ram (800mhz) instead? I'm more concerned with reliability than performance when it comes to ram, DDR2 is fast enough that other than in synthetics other components will become the bottleneck before the ram does.

January 13, 2010 1:16:28 AM

ausskiller said:
I'm putting together a new computer and was originally going to get the QX9650 but delays on the 9800gtx have had me waiting a while and I'm now seeing the q9550 popping up. I had planned to run the QX9650 at only stock or a small overclock to 3.2ghz or 3.4ghz which is quite a waste for the money I'd need to pay but it looks like I could OC the q9550 to the same clock speed and only pay a little over half the price.

I've not done much overclocking before (only overclocked a celeron 433 to 488 which was trivial) and the new stuff sounds alot more complicated.

Could anyone describe what sort of things I'd need to change to get the q9550 to 3.4ghz?
Since it needs to change the FSB to 400mhz are there any issues with other hardware that would need to be addressed?

I'm also looking at getting the XFX nForce 780i MB and 2 sets of twin Kingston 2gb 8500 HyperX paired ram (4x 1gb sticks total), would they be able to deal with the OC OK? Or are there better alternatives?

Thanks


my mobo is an ASUS striker II formula, which is built around the same nForce 780i chipset and i got my E0 stepping q9550 to a stable 3,83ghz without any problems (zalman cnps 9500 cpu cooler). the good thing is, the chipset supports unlinked mode for the ram modules, meaning that the memory clocks wont be influenced by the fsb clock at all, just be sure to enable it in the bios. it makes things a whole lot easier :) 
January 13, 2010 1:23:33 AM

ausskiller said:
I'm putting together a new computer and was originally going to get the QX9650 but delays on the 9800gtx have had me waiting a while and I'm now seeing the q9550 popping up. I had planned to run the QX9650 at only stock or a small overclock to 3.2ghz or 3.4ghz which is quite a waste for the money I'd need to pay but it looks like I could OC the q9550 to the same clock speed and only pay a little over half the price.

I've not done much overclocking before (only overclocked a celeron 433 to 488 which was trivial) and the new stuff sounds alot more complicated.

Could anyone describe what sort of things I'd need to change to get the q9550 to 3.4ghz?
Since it needs to change the FSB to 400mhz are there any issues with other hardware that would need to be addressed?

I'm also looking at getting the XFX nForce 780i MB and 2 sets of twin Kingston 2gb 8500 HyperX paired ram (4x 1gb sticks total), would they be able to deal with the OC OK? Or are there better alternatives?

Thanks



oh, and one more thing... i would advise you to buy a single pair of 2gb modules with decent heatspreaders instead of the 4x1. this way youll have 2 free slots and i guess 4 modules generate a lot more heat then 2 ... something to be taken into consideration if you plan on overclocking your rig :) 
January 13, 2010 1:27:59 AM

killfrog58 said:
can someone help me plz i dont know much about oc and i read the replies on this topic but i just dont know some of the stuff u guys mention...sorry for being a noob!

anyways i have a q9550, gigabyte x48-ds4, 280gtx, and 4gb(2x2gb) corssair dominator PC2 8500

i want to oc my cpu and ram as well so can u guys tell me exactly wat to change and stuff on my bios plz!

thx


i have the same corsair memory-kit, got them up to over 1,1ghz at the default voltage, good choice. ive no idea if x48 mobos support unlinked ram, but if they do, be sure to enable it ib ur bios
February 8, 2010 1:47:19 PM

4Ryan6 said:
For those reading this lapping your CPUs heat spreader voids your warranty, so if you're going to suggest taking this route to someone you also need to inform them of that.

You lapped your heat spreader, but left it cupped in so you could still read the specs?

Because if you can still read the specs, it is still cupped in, in the centre, and is not 100% flat.

That makes no sense to me, you've already voided your warranty, why wouldn't you have completed the job?


ALL VALID POINTS
(1) Yes lapping does invalidate the warranty (but so does overclocking) I would suggest you try a 10% O/C before you lap CPU ,this will test any weak CPU (I had an E7400 die in under 3 min @ 10% O/C under 100% load once & had it replaced under warranty , if it dies @ 10% O/C I reckon its faulty anyway & is likely to fail early in normal service ( and that was an auto O/C set by motherboard maker in bios ! not something I set wrong in a manual O/C) )

(2) NO, the heat spreader isn't cupped in centre, just showing 1st signs of polishing , the real issue is High Corners on many heat spreaders causing a "Cupped " centre , carefully lapping the spreader (Top of CPU that contacts the Cooler base pad) is the main issue , the main heat is generated in the centre of the CPU , not around the edges so carefully lapping with 1200 wet or dry (or finer grade if you can get it) & always on a piece of plate glass or other thick , flat , window glass on a flat table or bench is the important thing.
Please be very careful to keep pressure even & in centre of CPU , check every few lapping movements to see what effect your getting , only lap till the 1st signs of polishing occurs in centre of CPU , Always use "Isopropyl Alcohol" to clean & lap CPUs & Heatsinks & keep applying it , don't let the abrasive paper surface dry out (Available at Hardware stores in Australia, other locations may have different suppliers)

(3) Further experiments have proved to me that lapping down to bare copper on CPUs isn't worth the extra effort , no measurable improvement in heat transfer/cooling performance , as long as any high points are lapped off & centre of CPU is in contact with a flat cooler surface with good thermal paste properly applied in between them you will get all the cooling your is capable of providing (Your choice of case & case fans effects the final result but that's another topic to read forums for)

I hope this helps the noobs as well as those who while experienced have never Lapped CPUs & heatsinks (I have lost count how many i have done, especially heatsinks both aluminium & copper) I strongly suggest you learn lapping on an old Aluminium heatsink & get the "feel" for it if you have never done it before & only then lap something important like a new CPU .

Regards & best of luck to those who try the "Art of Lapping"

P.S If your not blessed with lots of time , patience & are a "Perfectionist" ,you probably ought to leave lapping to those who have
April 6, 2010 6:56:57 PM

i have done everything you have said but i have failed to fine PCI @ 33.33Mhz where do i find this? also i am at a loss at what to put the voltage at, is there only 1 to change? yes big noobs i know but i am eager to learn :) 
April 6, 2010 8:45:50 PM

i have the same cpu and i have overclocked up to 4.00 Ghz with the stock intel cooler!!!

September 28, 2010 5:34:27 PM

I am also starting to overclock this chip. I am using the x38 chipset, and need default vcore settings and other settings.

I see a guide mentioned, but no link is included... I have also seen this Overclock on the asus website (for a 9650 chip)

CPU Voltage 1.15 vdrop 1.12
CPU PLL Voltage 1.50
North Bridge Voltage 1.35
DRAM Voltage 1.80
FSB Termination Voltage 1.2
South Bridge Voltage 1.075
Loadline Calibration Disabled
CPU GTL Reference 0.63x

My DRAM will be 2.00, but I dont know what the defaults of the FSB, CPU Voltage and NB/SB are.

I also do not know what the PLL Voltage, CPU GTL Reference are, nor what to do to use them for an OC.
November 21, 2011 9:49:25 AM

I cannot pass FSB 440.
Why ?
All voltage set to maximum.
MB ASUS COMMANDO.
when I set 441 it cannot run.
RAM G.SKiLL.
HELP :) 
!