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Noob needs the voice of experience E5200 OC

Last response: in Overclocking
a b à CPUs
February 18, 2009 2:57:48 AM

I've been a long time parisite here at Toms and thank all the veteran posters that help out guys like me. I try to do my homework first before asking questions but need some practical advise at this point.

It was a long time coming as I just retired my P4 2.4 ghz Northwood and 6600gt.

I recently built a new budget gaming system using an E5200 and Asus P5Q-PRO. I have a 120mm Sunbeam Core Contact HSF and Asus 4850. Corsair 550w PSU and OCZ DDR2 800 ram. Case is an old Power-UP 2526 that seems to have adequate air flow and a niffty handle built into the top. That should cover the hardware installed.


Multi: 12.5
FSB: 291
vCore: 1.3625
Ram: very loose ratio, running around DDR2-775
NB Voltage: 1.36
PCIe: Locked at 100
CPU PLL voltage: Auto (I really don't know what this is)
FSB Termination: Auto (In the dark here too)
If you need any other info to help me out, I'll look it up.

So far, I have this thing 4 hours (still running) Prime-95 stable at 291 FSB with the 12.5 multi for 3.635 gHz. I started at 300 and kept backing off the FSB until found something stable and that seems to be at 291. If I can get there, I'd love to have it at 4 gHz, but I'm thinking that might be a long shot. I have booted into windows at 4ghz, but stupidly had the vcore at 1.46. Since I don't rebuild my comp very often, I'd like to keep the vcore reasonable so I don't burn the chip out in 2 years. Temps are good though across the board. Highest I've seen at any of my testing has been 58.

What is an acceptable vcore to run at without burning the chip out in 2 years or is that strickly based on what temps I'm seeing?

How long do I need to prime to feel reasonably sure that gaming will be 100% stable. I don't think an error in the 22nd hour will show up as a fatal crash in real world apps.

How should I proceed to further push my system? Lower the multi and bump the FSB, or start with vcore?

Based on where I'm at now, what should I realistically expect to hit with this chip?

Again, thanks for taking the time to help.

a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
February 18, 2009 3:43:57 AM

You can probably go as high as 1.44v for 24/7 usage. Absolute safe max voltage is 1.45v. However I would stay around 1.38v - 1.40v, because after that your just adding a ton of volts for very minor increase in CPU speed.

Priming for stability is up to you. Some may say 24 hours, others say 2 hours. I personally do 4-8hours of Prime95 SmallFTT, and 8 hours of Blend. I don't just use Prime95, I also use Intelburn test, Memtest86, and various benchmarks 3D06, Vantage, Furmark(really for GPU only, but it also stresses the CPU via a single thread).

You should just increase FSB and vcore until you get to a point where you are not comfortable with voltage or temps. My own personal choice for 24/7 usage would be 9*400 FSB = 3.6ghz, with memory in a 1:1 ratio.

You can hit 4ghz, if you're willing pump out the voltages, and get good cooling. Air cooling can only take you so far. But if I were to guess, air cooling can get you to 3.8ghz for stable 24/7 usage with manageble temps.
February 18, 2009 6:44:33 AM

I found an FSB wall a little over 333mhz on my E5200. You may want to up your FSB and lower the multi and go from there. The higher FSB will let you set your memory at 4:3 (for 800mhz) and you will be closer to 1:1. Some people say their system feels a bit more responsive when you are closer to 1:1 but I have never really noticed.

Set your multi to 6x and keep raising the FSB, I recommend starting at 333, set memory 1:1, with no voltage increase, and you should be able to find your wall. Once you find your wall work on the multi to get the clock you want.

+1 to keeping the vcore around 1.38 for 24/7

Me personally I just went with the free OC as my final 3.0Ghz, but I didn't have a problem clocking it up to 3.5. I decided to keep it down though.
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a b à CPUs
February 18, 2009 6:52:33 AM

Thanks a bunch flyin and ir,

Well, I pumped the voltage like you suggested since it seems safe at 1.4375v. So far, I've found that my chip's FSB wall hangs around 370 with a multi of 11 but its nowhere near prime stable. I tried all the FSB levels for 4.0 and 3.9 and nothing stable. Going through 3.8 and just as you guessed, its looking good for 330 x 11.5. Its been priming over 1/2 hour so far.

Question on Prime though, if one of my cores is going to fail, its core 0. I also notice it takes a little longer to complete the same test that core 1 does. Is this an issue or something that can be adjusted?

Temps are maxed at 60 with the CPU fan full tilt. If I turn my CPU fan down all the way, I add around 3 degrees. I'm guessing these temps are safe and still allow for a little more voltage if I wanted. I doubt I will since it would probably take 1.48-1.5 to get 4.0 ghz stable (purely a guess since I've never done this before.) What is a good temp break point?

(Edit, Ir-Eferm posted as I was writing)
With the temps I'm sporting now, is it okay to keep the voltage that high, or drop it down to 1.38 and see whats the best I can do there?
a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
February 18, 2009 2:14:43 PM

It doesn't matter which core fails, it is still a failure. Priming will be slower on a core, because your computer has to use a cpu core to do other stuff too.

If you want to prolong the life of the CPU, I would go lower voltage. Which in turn, generally will produce less heat.

If you really want 4ghz, getting E8400 would be the best choice. My E8400 is running 450*9=4.05ghz at only 1.30v. This is well within the VID range of 1.3625v intel spec. 24/7 usage won't be a problem, and should outlive the life of the computer. Just make sure you pick up the E0 revision, and not C0.

The E5x00 and E7x00 series can do 4ghz, but very few can do it with low voltage. I also have an E7300 and it takes 1.46v just to get 4ghz.
a b à CPUs
February 18, 2009 2:40:30 PM

Budget choose the chip, and as much as I can safetly get out of it will be what I get. Took me 3 months to piece this together but I found deals all along the way and only cost $379 delivered after MIRs.
E5200 - $80 with free World in Conflict and Assassin's Creed
Asus P5q-pro - $79 after bundle discount
2 gigs OCZ Ram - $12 after bundle discount
Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer - $30 and comes with Tuniq TX-2 grease
Asus TOP 4850 - $115
Corsair 550vx - $63

Reused the old case, sata drive, and opticals.

I just woke up and the little beast primed 8 hours at 11.5 x 330. CPU fan was set to its lowest and maxed at 66 degrees. For my first OC, I think thats pretty darn good. But in the interest of longevity, I'll tune the vcore down and start the process over again, at 1.38 or 1.4 since this HSF seems to do a stellar job. Can anyone offer any insight on the other settings I have listed above? NB, PLL, and termination?

And then once the CPU is done, I'll start on the RAM and pushing the GPU a little harder too. Thanks again flyin!
February 19, 2009 3:32:17 AM

Your OP of 12.5 x 291 is already pretty good, and so is 11.5 x 330!

I'm with flyin15sec for using 9 x 400 and 1:1 RAM if you want to run 3.6 GHz.

You should try reducing your RAM divider to synchronous 1:1 until you've settled on your CPU OC, THEN experiment with higher dividers. If you can find the optimal sub-timings for your RAM somewhere (try the OCZ forums), that would be ideal.

1.36V NB is way too high--Asus recommends much lower voltage here (1.2 or below for FSB up to 400, then 1.3 for up to 500, if I remember correctly). NB voltage should also be below vCore.

Don't change CPU PLL (leave at stock setting and manually key in the default).

FSB Termination would need a bump--try numbers in the 1.20 - 1.24 range.

Not exceeding 1.3625 vCore would be best. You could explore the region between 1.3625 - 1.45, but I wouldn't, if you're going to use this "long-term".

For all the various BIOS adjustable voltages, you should manually key in the default numbers for those that you will not change (i.e. don't leave it on auto).

24 hour Prime 95 stability with small FFTs is a good standard to go by.

Good references are the various Tom's Hardware system builder marathon articles on the $625 budget build--the recent ones have used the E5200 and OC'd high. I do remember, however, that about 3.6-3.8 GHz was their maximum stable OC. Anything more had unacceptably high temps and voltages.

Have a look at these 2 guides:

Temperature Guide

How to OC Quads & Duos

They are well worth your time in this instance.

Your Sunbeam heatsink is as good as it gets too. If you're feeling adventurous, you could always lap it... :D 
a b à CPUs
February 19, 2009 5:26:53 AM

Thanks for the links Akebono. I havne't seen the temp guide, I'll put my nose in that for a little bit when I have some time at work. I have been through the OC guide which is where I pulled the 1.36 for the NB from, but since its overkill, I'll bump that down. As for 400mhz FSB, all the reading I've done on the E5200 says that won't happen. And I did try a multi of 6 at 400 and it was a no go. I was floored when it posted at 365 x 11. Not prime stable, but hey, windows started at least.

Based on the other recommendations, I backed the vcore down to 1.4. I haven't done any long testing, but 296 x 12.5 worked to give me 3.7 ghz 1 hour stable on P95. While I don't want to replace this in 1 year, I won't be trying to get 6 years out of this one like I did the last one either. Since the temps are below 60 now with the 1.4, I feel comfortable there. On the World in Conflict benchmark, 3.6 gave me 40 fps avg with the lowest of 22. 3.8 netted 44 avg with 26 being the lowest and 3.7 was 43 avg with 26 as the low also. So 3.7 seems to be a sweet spot for this chip for vcore and temps. All testing was done with the ram at 800mhz or lower and the P95 was all SFFT.

I'll also go through all the other setting and pull them out of auto and hard key the defaults.

The SBM are my favs. I have put my 2 cents in the last few on the budget system.

I'll pass on lapping the sink. If I am going to do anything to the HSF, it will be move the fan onto the chassis as a case fan and then buy a PWM fan and get rid of the manual knob to control speed.
February 20, 2009 2:10:59 AM

Always great to help out a pro, skora! You sound like you've got everything down pat.

If you're looking to get about 3-5 years out of the E5200, then running up to the 1.45 vCore limit would be OK. And even if it blows up before then, that chip is not too expensive to replace... ;) 
August 27, 2009 8:33:01 AM

im running my E5200 @ 3.5Ghz using the stock vcore of 1.275v.. and its test prime stable for 24 hrs.. also run in Intel Burn Test for about 50 runs stable... max temps i got was 55C with ambient of 31C.. im using XigmateK HDT-S963 in dual fan configuration (pull-push, 50CFM 92mm Fans) parallel to a coolermaster 90CFM 120mm Exhaust fan.. hope that helps.. btw, i have the E5200 R0 stepping..