It's strange but it appears that somehow I may actually have gotten the board stable at 3.088. I was really frustrated and messing around, so I have to check the settings, but I am sure that I bumped NB voltage and relaxed memory to 650... Let me run some more tests and I will update with settings and stuff.
Welcome to my first post.
This thread is going to detail my experiences attempting to overclocking an ECS 7050 610i motherboard and E7200 cpu with stock heat sink and fan. I bought this combo at Frys for $99, which, at the time of writing, is $20 less than the lowest pricegrabber price for the processor alone.
I am writing this because I was not able to find anything about overclocking this motherboard on the web, but I wanted to provide some information for others who may be wanting to attempt the same thing.
DISCLAIMER: BEFORE PEOPLE COMMENT ABOUT HOW CRAPPY ECS STUFF IS AND HOW I SHOULD JUST "SPEND ANOTHER $100+ ON A DIFFERENT SETUP," PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT AN OPTION. I REALIZE THIS IS NOT A HIGH PERFORMANCE MOTHERBOARD, AND THAT PEOPLE DON'T USUALLY BOTHER OVERCLOCKING THESE, HOWEVER, I DON'T HAVE AN EXTRA $100, AND I WOULD LIKE TO GET AS MUCH PERFORMANCE AS I CAN OUT OF WHAT I COULD AFFORD.
Of course I would love to drop $1000 on an intel Extreme processor with an X48 mobo with DDR3 on liquid nitrogen cooling, but this is not an option.
Overclocking, in my opinion, should be about getting the best performance and most value out of the best system you can afford. At any rate, this is my very first build and first attempt at overclocking, and we all have to start somewhere.
My ultimate goal on this setup is to take my E7200, which runs stock at 2.53Ghz with an FSB of 1066, to 3.16Ghz on an FSB of 1333. I also do not want my CPU to run hotter than 55 C on full load.
I would also like to run my memory at DDR2 800 speeds.
Although the ECS Mobo and 7050 chipset claim to support 1333 FSB speeds and DDR2 800 memory, both are achievable only with an overclock. They only officially support DDR2 667 and a FSB of 1066.
Initial things to note:
Overclocking options are very limited on the ECS. The motherboard does not have CPU voltage control, and is only able to provide 2.0 volts to memory, which makes things a bit more difficult. Also, it can not run memory in dual channel mode, but this does not appear to cause major performance issues.
Also, in order to clear the CMOS/reset the bios, before you use the jumper YOU MUST UNPLUG ALL THE POWER CABLES FROM THE MOTHERBOARD. It is not enough to turn off power to the system and unplug the PSU.
Also, please note that the retail boxed E7200 HSF already has thermal compound on it.
E7200 Retail Boxed CPU with Stock HSF
ECS 7050/610i Mobo
2GB Corsair XMS DDR2 800, and also 2GB Kingston HyperX DDR2 1066. I will be playing with both sets of memory, and will keep whichever works best with my system (Note: both are rated for 2.1 or 2.2 volts, which my motherboard cannot supply, so I will be loosening the timings. Also, I am trying to obtain some DDR2 that can run at 1.9 Volts.)
EVGA 9600 GT SSC (Not installed yet)
Ultra Xfinitity 600W PSU
At first, I thought this was going to be easy. I assembled the system, installed windows, and went into BIOS and simply changed the FSB to run at 1333. Windows booted right up, and I thought I was in the clear. However, the system did not prove to be stable, as running Prime 95 quickly caused a reboot. My temps according to speedfan under full load at 1333 FSB were under 55C, and according to Coretemp and Realtemp, did not break 50 C.
Current Actions Being Taken:
As of now, I have noted that Prime 95 Blend and OCCT fail rather quickly, so the first step is to get my memory stable. I will be going back to 1066 FSB speeds and am going to try for 667 DDR2 speed at relaxed timings of 6-6-6-20. The goal is to get the memory to run as fast as possible, even with relaxed timings.
Current Question For The Forum
After some research, it appears that with DDR2 higher speed is more important than tighter timings, so is this what I should be shooting for? How loose is too loose on timings?
First, let me applaud you for how well constructed and laid out that post is.
As you have come to realize it will not be easy to OC with your setup and you will not get very far. As for tighter speed being better than tighter timings, I think this is something you need to test for yourself as it has to do with the way the program uses the mem, I have found some prefer tighter timings while others just want speed. If you do find speed to be more important, I usually don't go less than 5-5-5-15, but since this isn't an option for you I would go no looser than your current timings.
I disabled every option that the mobo provided, so
1) disable CIA2 No option 2) disable C1E Disabled 3) disable EIST Disabled 4) disable Virtualization Technology No option 5) disable CPUID Disabled 6) disable No-Execute Memory Protect No option 7) set PCI Express (PCI-e) frequency to 100 mhz Unable to set individual PCIE frequency.
So, the options are pretty limited, but I did what I could. I have a feeling that a lot of the reason that the system is unstable is based off the memory, but that brings me to my next question; am I going to get better performance from a system running a FSB overclock to 1333 (Processor @ 3.16) and underclocked DDR2 @ 600, or from stock FSB 1066 (Processor @ 2.53) and stock DDR2 @ 667? Hopefully it doesn't come to this, and I will probably have to benchmark to figure it out, but just curious if anyone already knows.
Also, if memtest passes at loose timings and underclocked memory, do I need to retest with memtest if i tighten these, or is it just checking hardware, and should either pass or fail independent of timings?