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First attempt at overclocking (Q9450)

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May 25, 2008 1:32:47 AM

Hi, I have a question about overclocking a Q9450 (intel quad core @ 2.66ghz). I want to overclock this processor by only increasing the FSB and nothing else. Since the stock GHz on it is 2.66, what is a safe, stable MHz speed I can obtain on this processor without getting a new fan, or anything else.

My RAM, motherboard and power supply:

1000 watt power supply
nVidia 790i ultra SLI motherboard (supports 1600 FSB)
4GB Patriot EP+ Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 2 x 2048MB

Also, I watched a video on YouTube that you can overclock the FSB via the nVidia control panel (ntune?). Since this is my first time overclocking, I want to start out small and safe before touching voltage, or upping the FSB further than what the stock voltage can handle. Having said that, what is a safe and stable speed that my processor can handle, given the mobo/ram?
May 25, 2008 6:27:25 AM

Wow that PSU is overkill

That CPU runs fairly cool and I think you should be able to get at least 2.8 out of it before needing to up the voltage. Speed isn't what causes heat voltage does so just raise the FSB one step at a time checking for stability until it becomes unstable then back it down one.
May 25, 2008 8:54:09 AM

This may sound stupid, but how do I check for stability? And what constitutes stability and unstability? And how much is "one step at a time"? I'm planning on doing all this via the nVidia control panel, not BIOS (only increasing the FSB).

As for my PSU, it's to power dual 9800gx2s, however this processor might bottle neck them, so I want to overclock the processor.
Related resources
May 25, 2008 2:43:21 PM

The CPU your planning on has a 1333FSB which is 333 quad pumped. Just set it at 334, boot up, and run Orthos or Prime95 for a few hours. Total stability is when you can run a stress test for about 24hrs without issue.
May 26, 2008 7:14:14 PM

Also, my cooling is completely stock. If I only increase the FSB to where I get a flat 3.0GHz, can my cooling handle that?
May 26, 2008 9:12:44 PM

It should be able to but it might not be enough. As I said just start at stock and go up slowly and when you either reach instability or temps start getting a little high just back it down a notch and your done.
May 27, 2008 12:59:54 AM

Much appreciated. Thanks ausch.
May 27, 2008 2:25:16 PM

I just overclocked my Q9450 to 3.2 GHz, although i must say i threw out that cheap OEM heat sink and went with the CoolerMaster TX2 (zipzoomfly had it with a rebate). It runs quite stable, although ive noticed that the ASUS p5e board does well to adjust voltages and what not when you manually run up the FSB clock speed. 3.2 will also put the FSB and DRAM speeds at 1:1 too which is nice if you dont want to overclock any DDR2-800MHz memory.
May 30, 2008 8:14:57 PM

When upping the FSB, do you HAVE to mess with the ram timings, or any other settings in BIOS as well?
May 30, 2008 9:57:22 PM

Your RAM is running 2:1 at stock with your CPU at stock so you don't have to change anything else. The board will find the correct divider to work with your RAM as you increase the FSB.
June 4, 2008 6:35:26 AM

I have a Q9450 and I'm at 3.0ghz @ stock volts running mid to high 30s for temp. Pretty easy to get there. Going to jump to 3.2ghz to run an even 1:1 ratio with ram (400mhz FSB x 8.0 cpu multi = 3.2ghz)
June 6, 2008 1:25:14 AM

Hi, I'm trying to OC my new Q9450 on an EVGA 780i. Need some advice . I can't get it to boot @ 3.0 . Any one with this same combo? Suggestions?
June 7, 2008 8:11:49 PM

Hi, I'm also having my first attempt at overclocking this processor with 1600 FSB.

The minimum BIOS VCORE to allow stability on my system is 1.325. This is with all other voltages set to normal and no other adjustments, except for the RAM which was volted and timed according to manufacturer's specs (2.1, 4-4-4-12)

During Prime95>large FFT I get core voltage readings of 1.264 - 1.28 from CPU-Z and HWMonitor. This looks a lot lower than my BIOS vcore. Also Real Temp is showing an unusually narrow temperature margin between idle and full load - less than a few degrees... ?? 63,59,57,55c

Ultimately, this isn't stable Prime95 has a fatal error on the second core after about 10 mins. I'm going to try upping the vcore another notch or two. I'm curious to see how CPU-Z reports. I know when I allow the BIOS to auto volt vcore at this overclock it sets it up around 1.34 and that reflects accurately in CPU-Z. Temps there are too hot, and I wonder if longevity might be compromised even though it is withing operating specifications from Intel.

Antec NeoPower 550 | Antec P182 | GA-EX38-DS4 | QX9450 | ZALMAN CNPS9500 | MUSHKIN XP 4GB DDR2-800 PC-2 6400 SDRAM | Sapphire Toxic Radeon HD 3870
June 7, 2008 11:20:58 PM

As long as temps are below 70 under load, it is fine. Did you try doing small ffts in prime95 to just test cpu stability.
June 8, 2008 12:04:19 AM

No, I haven't tried small ffts since I experimented initially with the BIOS autovolts - when i stability tested then, everything was pretty stable but I was a bit wary of the 1.34 showing up in CPU-Z. If I understand correctly, that reading in CPU-Z is effected by vdroop and it would have actually been higher in the BIOS (if I could see - when it autovolts you can't). I'm really scared of setting my vcore too high - I don't want to compromise the longevity of the processor, and I would be out $$$ if I actually damaged it or my new mobo somehow.

I thought the large ffts would be the best to get stable first based on some of the OC guides I've looked at. I'm worried that I'm not doing something right because I've read in a few places that users are getting 3.2GHz easily on 1.175, but that seems impossible to me! I wish I could figure that one out. Maybe I should crunch some simple numbers to determine if I can get a 1600 FSB some other way, but nobody has endorsed that method yet that I am aware of, and it seems that the 400 w 1:1 is the preferred method.

Is it possible that I might achieve a stable 3.2 at a lower vcore by increasing the voltages for the MCH (NB) and the FSB? Or perhaps figuring out something using a 333 (or something) 2:1 setup needs more consideration?
June 8, 2008 3:37:17 AM

it is possible to get 3.2, experiment and see, btw nvidia chipsets are harder to overclock in my opinion.
June 8, 2008 3:49:40 AM

hm...what interest to me is when the 9500 will reach its limit.sorry to say you should have got something else.im honest.the better 9700 wouldnt even let me clock 3.6ghz on Q6600.
June 8, 2008 4:10:38 AM

I have a Q9450 @ 3.4GHz (425 x 8) CPU Voltage in BIOS is 1.225v. I'm using Zalman CNPS9500
June 8, 2008 4:42:39 AM

Prime95 blend running stable after increasing the MCH by .100. NB is rather hot with the case open, but not unreasonably so. I can hold my finger on the hs for a ten count, although I cook and my asbestos finger tips might not be the best gauges! :D 

Once I finish stability testing with my new MCH NB settings, I'm going to significantly reduce the vcore and by doing so gain some much needed piece of mind... I hope.
June 8, 2008 5:38:17 AM

i still want to torture test for the rest of the night, but it would appear as though my BIOS vcore of 1.325 is the best I can do right now. With load temps during Prime95>smallFFTs around 60c on my hottest core, I'm not exactly enthusiastic about my o.c. - I was really hoping to get 3.2 on stock voltage with this chip.

What should I do?

RMA and hope for a better chip?

Re-examine how I'm overclocking?
June 8, 2008 5:50:28 AM

first you can try to increase FSB to 400 in bios of your motherboard
i guess the system will be ok and your cpu will be stable at 3.2ghz
and then just increasing the FSB once a bit till can not start up your system
,and slow down your cpu's speed also by FSB till you can finish 3DMark stablely or paly 3d gaming for huors
maybe after one day' try you will find your cpu's best speed
haha maybe tired but gains more
June 8, 2008 5:50:32 AM

24hours torture is 100% guarranteed stability.
June 9, 2008 1:06:17 AM

I've now upgraded to liquid cooling, from the stock crappy fan cooling. My computer should come in a few days. I am hoping to hit 3.2ghz with everything on stock.
June 9, 2008 2:13:23 AM

the system is stable, but sadly not 24 hrs prime stable, and with the voltage as high as it is already , i'm not happy. i'm gonna think about it for one more day, but i'm probably going to RMA.
June 9, 2008 3:12:05 AM

Its going to be hard to rma a chip. They might test it and say it works fine.
June 9, 2008 3:47:19 AM

RMA would be possible since they will test it on stock speed.because the chip is tested at those speed and found stable and sold at those speed.so your option is to stick with it or drop it off Ebay.your call.
June 9, 2008 5:07:16 PM

It's not difficult to hit 3.2 GHz and it's great especially for those of you who have low latency DDR2-800 RAM like me. I'm running my Q9450 on a ASUS P5E with the Rampage Formula BIOS. I increased my voltage slightly to about 1.22, nothing serious. Btw you should not worry about the temp reading of your cpu because no program has been able to accurately measure the temps of the Q9450. These cpus are really difficult to overclock anything past 3.5 GHz. I have gotten to 445x8, but my cpu wasn't stable. And all those Q6600 groupies bragging about their Oc's can't touch any Q9450 because of the difference of the L2 Cache. The Q9450 is much a better cpu even though it can't be oc'd crazily because of its 8x multi. Unless you are watercooling your northbridge and cpu, don't anything more than 3.4 Ghz without frying your mobo and cpu. Post up your BIOS settings so people can help you better.
June 10, 2008 8:17:51 PM

Something isn't right cpampine. It shouldn't take voltage that high to hit 3.2, and if I'm reading you correctly you're saying that even at 1.325 you aren't totally stable. My q9450 is at 3.2 on stock voltage.

Do you have the latest BIOS for your mobo?
June 10, 2008 9:34:51 PM

Moose, I'm running BIOS F3 which is the most current revision for my board (see in signature) - I didn't think it was right that I should have to put such a high voltage either! I ran memtest for several hours no prob, so I think I can rule out any problems there.

At 1.325 I am for all intents and purposes stable, but I will eventually get a rounding error on a single core after running prime for about 4-6 hours.
June 11, 2008 1:42:23 PM

Check your northbridge voltage and cpu pll voltage. post those values up, maybe you need to give something else more voltage not your northbridge
June 11, 2008 4:13:16 PM

You can run at stock voltage at stock speed though right? Can you do 3.0 at stock?
June 11, 2008 7:26:25 PM

some observations:

The stock voltage for my old 9450 would identify in the bios as something in the 1.23 range. Note that to clock this chip at 3.2 I had to volt at 1.325 and even then I would get rounding errors in Prime95.

The stock voltage for my NEW 9450 identifies in the bios as 1.25. This chip clocks at 3.2 with no voltage adjustments, although stability testing is still pending, I'm sure more tweaking is in order because small FFTS failed on one core after a few minutes, but not with a rounding error (fortunately?)

I hope a very small increase to vcore will result in solid stability, because so far it looks like my last chip was just a bad OCer.
June 11, 2008 9:34:51 PM

Geesh, I had this whole thing written out and I forgot to sign in anyway.... I'm new to Overclocking my specs:

Q9450
Asus P5N-D
XFX 9800 GX2
4GB CORSAIR XMS 2
ASUS Triton 79 Amazing 120mm EBR CPU Cooler "Limited Edition"

My question is I've never done this before and would like to know the exact settings to make a processor 3.2 or even 3.0
How exactly do you make a processor 3.0? I see options to overlock by 10 percent 20 percent blah blah in my bios. But you guys are tlaking about the manual stuff like voltage and stuff like that.... is there anything you do to make a processor 3.0 like CPU speed and you enter 3.0, then you edit all the voltages and FSB?? THe guide on these forums is a long read but it all goes over my head.... Can someone break it down for me in simple terms that I could understand I would love the help.....

BTW my mobo came with a Northbridge fan and it says only use if watercooliong cause it could do somethign to the processor heat?? So confusing to me, should I just put this on? lol. Oy.... HELP HELP!
June 11, 2008 9:39:06 PM

first off you got a bad chipset to OC as a beginner.i dont know what else to say really.just up the FSB little by little until it wouldnt boot then you up the voltage on other component accordingly.
June 11, 2008 11:31:16 PM

Well alright I'll just do that =P I read that article on the site a bit more and I understand it a lot more.....you say a bad chip to start out OCing... is it because its unstable to OC?
June 11, 2008 11:44:03 PM

its more of a Nvidia hate Intel and that translate straight into the actual product from the 2 company. and so it cause unstable OC and mid OC is achievable. but if you are lucky you can get a very high OC. its pure luck i tell you!
June 12, 2008 6:58:19 AM

I have this cpu at 3.7GHZ at http://static3.filefront.com/images/personal/j/Jatt6/13... The temps are 32c idle now at 35c at http://static3.filefront.com/images/personal/j/Jatt6/13... and 47c at http://static3.filefront.com/images/personal/j/Jatt6/13... loaded. This is on a P35 Motherboard GA-P35-DS3P. The bios options were
FSB 463fsb
Pcie at 100Mhz (Manual) any higher then 100Mhz will blow your card or slot.
memory ratio 1:1 (2.0) (926MHz) using OCZ PC8000 1000Mhz memory
DDR2 Voltage 1.9V
fsb at 1.40v (.15)
nb (1.47v).
cpu vcore 1.36v
Loadline Calibration (disabled)

Thats it.

Now my computer full specs:

Motherboard: Gigabyte brand Motherboard LGA775 Model GA-P35-DS3P rev 1.0
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo Q9450 at 2.6GHZ FSB 1333MHZ 12MB L2 cache
Memory: DDR2 1000 PC8000 2X2GB = 4Gb OCZ Ram
Video Card: Nvidia 8600GT Card Pci Express x16
Speakers: Boston Acoustics
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition x64
SoundCard: Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1
Hard Drive: Total 1.9TB space 80GbIDE WesternDigital+3 500GB SATA Drives WesternDigital (2) and 1 Seagate+320Gb Sata 3.0Gb Seagate hard drives
DVD Drives: Nec AD-7170S
Floppy Drive: Nec Brand
PSU: PC Power & Cooling 750WATT Quad
Keyboard: Multimedia Keyboard by Microsoft
Mouse: Logitech Mx310
Monitor: LCD Samsung 19" Widescreen
CPU Cooling: Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme
Case: Coolermaster Stacker 830SE

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
June 12, 2008 4:37:44 PM

^
pointless regard to OP.
June 13, 2008 5:16:21 AM

Run the RAM 1:2 should be good up to 4Ghz @ DDR3 2000 but you can't. You have to run it 3:2 or 5:4 its only 1333.
June 13, 2008 7:10:46 AM

I'm at 3.2 @ 1.200 volts (cpuz). Running mid 30c temps. Just took a bump to the FSB to 400, running a 1:1 ratio, pciE 100mhz.
June 13, 2008 3:07:41 PM

Is there a particular formula to calculate the needed amount of voltage to get to a certain speed?
July 20, 2008 1:39:05 AM

Here's my first successful attempt with Q9450:

I must admit it's been a few years since I purchased a new desktop (my previous one served me very well - ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe ) and overclocking sure has changed a lot. Gone are the days where I just went into the BIOS and selected overclock by 5%, 10% or 15%.....

Anyways, so I have had this brand spanking new system for about a week now and here's what I ended up with for overclocking.

System:
Asus P5E3 WS Pro (0610 Bios Rev.)
Q9450 Step C1
8 GB (4 x 2GB ) OCZ DDR3 1600 Platinum
4.5 TB ( .5TB Boot drive, 2 TB Raid 0, 1 TB data, 1TB backup drive)
DVDROM (x2)
550W Seasonic
Coolmaster Case
ThermalRight U120E Ultra ( I know, old tech, but tried and true...)
Zalman fans
nVidia 9600 XT (512MB)
XP 64-Bit OS

So I was able to get to 3.2 GHZ to POST and boot without much difficulty, however I spent the next 4 days getting it stable. I believe my configuration is now stable. My definition of stable: 24 hours continuous memtest-86, prime95 running on each of the four cores...

Programs used: memtest-86 and prime95, CPUZ, Asus ProbeII (monitoring temps during prime95 runs)

My approach was to have memtest run at least 3 passes (2.15 hours ea.) with no errors, before I would even consider running prime95.

I did a lot of reading and found a lot of descriptions about what all of the ASUS tweak settings do, but very little about a process to follow, or even which affect what..

I initially started with 8 x 400 Bus = 3.2Ghz for 1:1 on the ram. I specifically purchased the OCZ with this in mind.

Most of my stability problems were discovered using memtest. I was fortunate, because right form the start, the tests would go until 8 min, 37 seconds (test #4) and then I would get errors on Slot 0. Since I could find no cross-reference on how "slot 0" equates to A1,A2/B1,B2 designations I ended up moving the DIMMS around in order to see if a particular one was bad. It turns out that the errors always occurred on Slot 0. So I had a feeling that the ram was ok. So that left chipset things to tweak.

Before I continue, I would like to make a point. A lot of people seem to get puzzled when they test individual dimms and they test fine, but load up the system and they fail. This is why I do all of my testing with the system fully loaded, all panels installed on the case (expected airflow), all drives powered up. This is the only way to do these tests, in my opinion.

Back to tweaking:

My philosophy towards tweaking has always been that increasing voltages is always the least desireable thing to do.

So since it was only slot 0, I began suspecting that there was some timing issues with the physical location of the ram WRT the chipsets/CPU. I spent time playing with the Clock Skew channels for A and B. My conclusion, These weren't causing the problem. They were set back to "normal". I tried a few other things like altering the "Clock Twister" - it made no difference. From what I've read, the command rate can have a big effect, it was set to 2N which is the setting for more stable operation (at the expense of peformance).

So, to not make this post too long, here are the settings that worked for me:
(Any item not specificially identified, was set to the default (AUTO) setting).

Multiplier Ratio: 8
FSB: 400
PCIE: 100
DRAM: 1601
Twister: Light
Booster: Disabled
Booster: Value: 1
DRAM voltage: 1.8 (YMMV)
NB voltage: 1.37 (this is ultimately what yielded the stability)
Command Rate: 2N

VCore: 1.295 (set to AUTO in BIOS, confirmed with ASUS ProbeII and CPUZ)
- I know this is kind of high, but that's what this chip wants, I guess.

So my final configuration yields about 20 GB/s access to main memory (not cached) and 55 GB/s for cached accesses as reported by memtest. Not too shabby.

CPU temp runs around 35C idling in XP-64 and maxes out at 61C when running 4 instances of prime95 (1 on each core).

Keep in mind that the ambient temperature is 85F when I am running the tests. Hey what can I say, the room that the machine is in is not air-conditioned.

The motherboard temp is the last area that I need to try to address. Under no load, the temp is around 40C. And under full load the MB temp gets to as high as 50C!. Yikes. It's almost as hot as the CPU. I dont' know exactly why, but I suspect the OCZ is contributing a lot, that stuff runs hot.. Also the 5 drives and 2 DVD ROMS don't help. The case is pretty full, but I do have 2 additional fans bringing air in. At some point I may try lowering the DRAM voltage a little and see if that helps. I have a difficult time believing that it's the chipsets creating the heat because this board can handle the Xtreme Quads and they run at 400 FSB. So I don't know. I did have to bump up the North Bridge chip as the last thing to make everything work. So that could be it as well. But I only took it from 1.31 to 1.37. There might be a little downward slack there as well. When I have a weekend to let memtest-86 run, I may try it.

There you have it... My fun 4 days of overclocking... I hope this helps out someone else down the road..

Later..
September 2, 2008 12:21:24 PM

Hi i am TrueNoob from Overclock.net

this is my system

Q9450 2.66@3.5ghz 1.375Vcore(in bios)
Evga 750i FTW
8 GB Gskill PQ ddr2 1000 (4x2gb)
Silverstone 750W psu
Coolit Freezone Cooling
2x 512mb 8800GTS K.O (Sli)
500gbhdd...

http://valid.x86-secret.com/show_oc.php?id=410241

anywho, my ssytem runs real stable at 3.5, goal is 3.8

with Nvidia boards you must keep the FSB voltage in the 1.2v area ( for some reason Nvidia these boards like loew fsb voltages)

for me my north bridge is high at 1.5V, 1.55 is max. The reason as to why my voltages are so high on the North Bridge is because i have 8gb of ram, taht puts a huge load on the north bridge and memeory control host (mch).

my south bridge is bumped up just slightly to 1.3

when you try oc'ing on a huge amount of ram and a quad with a 12mb cache, the problem is normally memory when it comes to instability.

my chip gets up to 69C after using the new 100C TJmax. make sure you change real temp or whatever program you use to use a 100C TJ max if it is not already. this chip should not pass 71.6C.

any questions message me on AIM : WhiteAsianDood. OR joing Overclock.net and find me and a lot of other overclock literate people there

i can load into vista at 3.6 , not stable though, and i can post at 3.8 right past vista loader then it crashes. ill figure it out
September 21, 2008 11:25:28 PM

I am also new to building my own system, let alone overclocking. my current setup is


Q9450 2.66@3.8ghz 1.36VCore
XFX 790i Ultra
Thermaltake Kandalf LCS
8 GB Patriot memory DDR3
Ultra X3 1000W PSU
2 x 9800GX2 (BE) in SLI
2 x 300Gb WD V Raptor in RAID 0

I was always running at 3.0 GHZ because I had stability problems at 3.5GHz. Then all of a sudden one day I tried overclocking again at I had no errors and still don't up to 3.8 GHZ. I'm gonna try to see how far I can go.
!