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Noob seeking help from the masters.

Last response: in Overclocking
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May 5, 2008 5:15:52 PM

Hey guys,

I'm pretty much a noob at overclocking. I have just bought a decent rig for gaming and I'm currently trying to figure it out. I'm going to describe my system and settings and benchmarks, and I would be very grateful for any tips that could help me milk a few more 3dmarks without spending any more money.

System

EVGA 780i MB
q9450 Quad Core
zalman 9500 HS/FAn
4g corsair xms2 ddr2 6400
evga 9800gtx(only one right now, waiting for next gen to decide on SLI option)
Seagate 320gb HD 7200 rpm, 16mb cache sata
Sony BD/DVDR/CDR optical SATA
raidmax 700w ps
coolermaster centurion 5 case, +two extra 120 case fans(4 total)

My bios settings that arent default are as follows

All of these disabled
Floppy
C1E
Excecute Disable Bit
Virtualization
IDE
IEEE
Serial Port
Hpet
all spectrums

Here are my setting Changes:

FSB 1700 (3.4ghz)
Ram linked and synched
Ram 5 5 5 18 2T 1.9v(I've put this at 5 4 4 15 2T 1.9 but saw no difference)


Voltages

CPU 1.3625v
FSB 1.4v
SPP 1.4v
MCP 1.525v
HT 1.25
RAM 1.9v

+ 85mv
+ 85mv
+ 85mv
+ 85mv


I've got all fans set to manual 100% right now.

These are my 24/7 settings. I don't overclock the gpu for these settings because the 9800gtx has a fan bug that sets the fan to 35% when it gets over 60C. Hoping new nvidia drivers fix that soon.

With these settings, I get 16,500 in 3dmark06, which I'm moderately proud of because after I assembled the rig it got 12,000 on the first try.

During stress testing, my cpu runs around 55C as does the gpu. CPU is 36C Idle, and gpu is ~43 IDLE, if I don't go over 60C and hose the fan)

The best score I have been able to get has been 18028.

I accomplished this by bumping the cpu voltage up to 1.4 and fsb to 1800. In addition I overclocked the gpu using rivatuner to 800/1700/1200.

On these settings CPU temp got up to 60C, and GPU approached 80C(due to fan bug, probably would have been mid 60s with 100% fan)

These settings were not 100% stable, I think due to the uneducated gpu OC. It always booted, it always ran sisoft sandra burn in stress test, but twice it froze in 3dmark06.

Any comments or advice would be most appriciated.

More about : noob seeking masters

May 5, 2008 5:58:52 PM

I would like to know one thing... your VDroop on that board! Do me a favor and run CPUz when you hit windows and list the idle voltage. Then run prime 95 small ffts for like a minute and list the lowered VCore field in CPUz.

I wanna know if intel modified their VDroop requirements for the newer chips!

Bios voltage doesnt really help much unless you find your VDrop too, so will need the in windows idle and then the fully loaded vcore.

Oh, does that bug always apply? If you take fan control off of auto and set it at a manual speed... does it still turn it down when it gets hot?

And... did you stress test the card with ATI tools to make sure your OC was in good operational order with no errors?

--Lupi!
May 5, 2008 6:55:39 PM

I'm still the mega noob for Overclocking. I'll download CPUz(Havent' been looking at "actual" voltage) and Prime 95(I've been using sandra) and I'll run them tonight and let you know what I get.

The fan bug on the gpu overrides everything. You can set rivatuner, or any other software to bump the fan up to 100%, but when it gets over 60C it reverts back to 35%. Nvidia has acknowledged the problem and have stated they are working on a fix. I hope it comes soon.

I had used the test function in the nvidia software for the gpu OC settings. They said it was good, but I still had a couple lock ups with the settings.
Related resources
May 5, 2008 10:49:53 PM

ziegemon said:
...
I accomplished this by bumping the cpu voltage up to 1.4 ...

You like to live dangerously, I see...

May 6, 2008 1:11:31 AM

is 1.4 really that dangerous? i pump my voltages up to like 1.52 24/7.
a b K Overclocking
May 6, 2008 1:14:36 AM

Those are quite respectable benchmarks for a non-SLI setup.
Just what kind of CPU/GPU frying benchmarks are you trying to reach?
As we all know, benchmarking to achieve higher and higher marks is not the goal.
The goal is using the benchmarking utility is to see if a change you made has a positive or negative effect, and to see if your configuration is SOMEWHAT in line with a similar configuration.
The true test is how it does in the games and apps you run.
If it does that well enough who cares, or why would you care, how big your e-pen benchmark is?
May 6, 2008 1:46:44 AM

Lupiron

With the voltage set at 1.3625 in bios, the actual idle voltage is 1.320, and under the small ffts test the voltage drops to 1.264

Mondoman,

Sadly I'm too much of a noob to know if you're joking or not.

Night-stalker

I guess he was joking

Just in time publisher,

I just put this comp together last week. I've never really messed with overclocking before. My goal is to find the absolute best settings I can use without risking anything overheating or breaking down, then leave it that way until a game comes out that it doesn't run well(Not counting crysis). At that point, I'll do a hardware upgrade. With the settings listed above I haven't found a game that wasn't crysis that I wanted to play and couldn't run at max settings without hitches, but I'm sure it won't take long for that to change.
May 6, 2008 2:16:38 AM

ziegemon said:
Lupiron

With the voltage set at 1.3625 in bios, the actual idle voltage is 1.320, and under the small ffts test the voltage drops to 1.264

Mondoman,

Sadly I'm too much of a noob to know if you're joking or not.

Night-stalker

I guess he was joking

Just in time publisher,

I just put this comp together last week. I've never really messed with overclocking before. My goal is to find the absolute best settings I can use without risking anything overheating or breaking down, then leave it that way until a game comes out that it doesn't run well(Not counting crysis). At that point, I'll do a hardware upgrade. With the settings listed above I haven't found a game that wasn't crysis that I wanted to play and couldn't run at max settings without hitches, but I'm sure it won't take long for that to change.

Check to see if your board support Loadline Calibration, which should decrease or eliminate vdroop. 1.3625 is relatively high for Q9450. 1.4vcore would be very high. Remember, this is Q9450, not Q6600, it just doesn't tolerate those voltages.

780i chipset motherboard runs natively at 1333mhz fsb, and reliably overclock to 1600mhz. Your 1700mhz is already 100mhz over limit. Good job. It's unlikely higher cpu vcore will help, since the motherboard fsb is the bottleneck, not cpu.
May 6, 2008 3:03:41 AM

Dagger,

Thank you very much for the input. I'll test decreasing the voltages and see how far down I can get without any issues.

When I tried 1800 I had intermittant lockups at 1.3625(1.320 actual). When I ran at 1.4 that seemed to dissappear, except when I was jacking around with the gpu. I'm not sure if the gpu overclock was the actual problem, or just the luck of timing with a failure on the 3.6 cpu. The main reason that I went back to 3.4 was that my temps were getting over 65C. I've reset my heatsink with better thermal compound since then, and once that's burned in well, I might go back for another shot at 3.6. My temps are about 10 degrees lower since the reseat so I'm hoping that will only get better. I did a pretty crappy job the first time.

Just for the sake of my own noobness, when you say those voltages are high, do you mean if they are actually at that voltage, or it's high just setting them there in bios.

I can't recall seeing a bios setting for load line calibration. I'll restart and check.



To everyone else,

Thank you for your helpful responses thus far.

May 6, 2008 3:06:06 AM

The problems that arise during the life of your setup are commonly related to increasing the voltage throughput in your components. You might want to consider balancing how much you gain by extreme overclocking vs how much you gain by just overclocking and measure both against risk.

Since the summer is coming (heat), I have actually returned my rig to it's normal voltages. (I finished Crysis, Prostreet, COD4 etc..) and since we don't have any good titles to look forward to besides maybe Grid this summer I will save the electricity and sell the 8800 640 for a G200 when Nvidia decides the market is ready for the new architecture. (At this point, hell might have to freeze over.. wtf)
You might also consider running the FSB @ 1600 and run the ram @ 800. 1:1 ratio here might offer advantages to keeping your rig cool, voltages down, as well as your electricity bill low.
Since returning my rig to "normal" I have not noticed any difference whatsoever in surfing the internet, downloading files, watching movies, listening to music etc.. Of course not right? I now only overclock if I'm playing a new title period.

Now if you do not wish to heed the above advice and wish to push your hardware to the limit on air and squeeze a little more performance out of your rig..

Buy a 120mm or a couple more fans but make sure you buy fans in the 120mm range with Amps of at least 1+. To put it into perspective, the cosmos case comes with 120mm fans but they are all .16Amps (very weak) While finishing Crysis, I had the whole rig stashed away in the storage room and ran a 14ft Monster HDMI cable to the Bravia in the living room. I yanked out a beefy 120mm 1.35Amp fan from my old rig and had this little turbine blowing directly on my Zalman 9700. Anyway my temps dropped 7 degrees and was able to push it a little more.

Next project will be water cooling no question. I think they have had enough time to get it right. This would be my ultimate suggestion for you to get the most out of your components.

BW11
May 6, 2008 3:40:30 AM

Dagger,

I didn't see any load line calibration options in my Bios.

I dropped my cpu voltage to 1.3 in bios. Which translates to 1.256 actual, with 1.208 under load. I ran a few minutes of p95 with no issues, and 3dmark06(16706) also with no issues.

I'll check it over night and see if I get any errors. Temps went down about 6 degrees.



Blackwater11,

Thank you for the response. I certainly don't want to get into any "extreme" overclocking. I'm just looking for the best possible settings to run 24-7 without any hardware risk. I've got another computer to do everything but play games. I only use my main rig for gaming, and I don't have so many hours to devote to that, so I'm not terribly worried about the power bill from overclocking. The only really graphics intensive game that I play right now is COD4. I played crysis through, just because my old comp didn't run it and I was curious about all the hype. I'm going to try out Age of Conan in a few weeks when it comes out, and I'm really looking forward to Starcraft II, but I doubt either of those are going to push my comp to the limit. I haven't really seen any other games on the horizon that have sparked my interest. I just want to get the most out of my money for the rig in the precious little time I get to fool around on it.

Thank you again for the advice.
May 6, 2008 6:15:58 PM

No errors overnight. System seems pretty stable at 1.3 on the cpu @3.4Ghz.

Does anyone use the corsair xms2 6400 ram that can explain the best settings for the ram?

Many thanks.
May 8, 2008 12:29:54 AM

Night-Stalker said:
is 1.4 really that dangerous? i pump my voltages up to like 1.52 24/7.

For the new 45nm CPUs, Intel says that the voltage above which damage will result (they call it the "absolute maximum voltage") is 1.45V.
Since 1.4V is above Intel's maximum operating voltage for 45nm CPUs, yes, I would consider that "living dangerously". Of course, the only danger is to your wallet...
May 8, 2008 11:51:35 AM

I don't think my actual voltage has ever gotten above 1.38. I've been reading up on doing a pencil mod. I've seen many people say it's a good way to go, but it just seems like a sketchy thing to do(pun intended)

What do you guys think about pencil modding for reducing vdroop?

Is vdroop really an issue, if you know what the actual voltages are going to be?

*edit* I can't spell
May 8, 2008 6:01:41 PM

I say do it. Its proven, and with that 780i chipset, it has the largest VDroop out of any of the mother boards I have worked on! I am crazy that way!

Yes, VDroop is a BIG issue on your board, because you have to set your Bios VCore to such a high number.

As a comparison: Maximus formula with LLC enabled.
The Bios VCore only Drops by .0250, an easy fixed number, and I get zero VDroop.

So if I set my Bios VCore for 1.2500, it only Drops down to 1.2250, and when I Load up my processor, it doesnt droop at all. So its VERY close to my Bios VCore, and with overclocking, that means my poor processor doesnt have to take in 1.3500 Volts while idle, just so I can off set the HUGE Drop and Droop it would normally have when its loaded.

IE, I get to set my Bios VCore like 8 notches below what your 780i chipset has to be set at, all because it has a huge VDrop and VDroop!

To make it clearer, hehe! If you VModded it, you'd be able to set the Bios VCore at 1.2300 or there abouts and still get your 1.208 or so when loaded!

Thats a whole lot of voltage you just dropped down!

--Lupi!
May 8, 2008 10:19:16 PM

Vdroop is a designed-in feature of the CPU. Since CPUs can go from idle (low current consumption) to heavy load (highest current consumption) so quickly, it's difficult to design the power circuitry to prevent dangerous transient voltage overshoots and undershoots. It's my understanding that the "vdroop" is designed in by Intel to help prevent such dangerous transients.

Lupiron said:
I...
So if I set my Bios VCore for 1.2500, it only Drops down to 1.2250, and when I Load up my processor, it doesnt droop at all. ...

Someone else who enjoys living dangerously!
May 8, 2008 10:21:11 PM

ziegemon said:
...
What do you guys think about pencil modding for reducing vdroop?

What's the point? vdroop isn't bad, unless it's outside the Intel spec. If so, RMA the MB or PS.

May 8, 2008 10:22:03 PM

Lupi, Mondoman,


Thank you muchly for the great info.

I'm not sure what to do now, but I do have the pros and cons of it to make an educated decision.
May 8, 2008 10:25:34 PM

Yeah, I've always been saying Vdroop is a good thing, as long as it's not too much.
May 8, 2008 10:27:00 PM

Haha, difference of opinion! VDroop isnt bad, per see, unless you wanna OC very high. Obviously if you are OCing to begin with, you must realize there are risks?

VDrop and droop are intel specifications that make it impossible for the VCore voltage to spike over the VID of the chip.

(When you are running at 100% power and frequency, when you instantly stop that action, the current is still sent to the chip for the split second it takes to cancel the voltage. So that COULD create a vcore spike.)

A high VCore spike could be bad!

--Lupi
May 8, 2008 10:36:58 PM

Maybe there's a median between the two schools of thought. If the EVGA board gives significantly more Vdroop than other good boards, maybe I can do just enough pencil mod to get the vdroop in the range of other boards.

What do you think?
May 8, 2008 10:38:58 PM

Or you could just get the vdroop in the range of the Intel spec. Seems to me that Intel knows more about this than does a third-tier board maker. Of course, that does remove much of the thrill of never knowing if your computer will actually turn on the next time you hit the power switch. :D 
!