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Help With First i7 Overclock:

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  • Overclocking
  • Intel i7
Last response: in Overclocking
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February 20, 2009 1:14:26 PM

Hey all,

Just built my new i7 PC and am attempting my first overclock. Was planning on just a moderate overclock of 3.2-3.6, but even with 3.2 am having troubles. My system consists of:

Vista Ultimate x64
Gigabyte EX58-UD5 Motherboard w/latest BIOS
Intel Core i7 920 CPU
BFG/Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT OC2 Video Card
Asus Xonar D2 Sound Card
12 GB Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600 RAM
Coolermaster V8 CPU Cooler w/ Arctic Silver
Open Air Case Custom Built Acrylic Case
2 WD Velociraptor Hard Drives In RAID 0 Via Intel RAID Controller
Latest x64 drivers for all components.

Now, here are my current BIOS settings:
8-8-8-24 2T @ 1.660v
XMP Profile Disabled
BCLK - 160
CPU Clock Ratio - 20x
Uncore - x20
QPI Link Speed - x36 / 5.76 GHz
System Memory Multiplier - 10.0x
CPU - 3.2 GHz
DRAM - 1.660v
CPU Vcore - 1.35v
QPI/vtt - 1.355v
PCIE Clock - 100 MHz
PCIE - 1.500v
QPI PLL - 1.100v
IOH Core - 1.100v
ICH I/O - 1.500v
ICH Core - 1.100v
CPU PLL - 1.800v
Load Line Calibration - Disabled
C1E - Disabled
EISP - Disabled
Turbo Mode - Disabled
Isochronus Support - Enabled
Hyperthreading - Enabled (tried disabled too)

Now Temps:
Normal Idle System Temp - 35 C
Normal Idle CPU Temp - 33 C
Normal Idle Motherboard Temp - 40 C
Normal 100% System Temp - 47 C
Normal 100% CPU Temp - 48 C
Normal 100% Motherboard Temp - 45 C
Overclocked Idle System Temp - 40 C
Overclocked Idle CPU Temp - 47 C
Overclocked Idle Motherboard Temp - 45
Overclocked 100% System Temp - 49 C (before freezing at 5 minutes into stress test)
Overclocked 100% CPU Temp - 65 C (before freezing at 5 minutes into stress test)
Overclocked 100% Motherrboard Temp - 50 C (before freezing at 5 minutes into stress test)
CPU Fan Speed - 1900 RPM (on high)

So, as you can see I have tried a few moderate overclocks. My first attempt was to overclock to 3.5-3.6 GHz. Would boot but wasn't stable at all although temps were in a great range. Next I tried the current overclock listed, to 3.2 Ghz with RAM at recommended settings. Everything booted fine, but upon stress testing in the latest Everest my PC froze and I was forced to restart. I currently have my PC running at stock CPU levels with the XMS memory profile, and everything is fine even under 100% load. I purchased the 920 hoping for at least a moderate overclock. I have always used AMD processors in the past, and have done fairly extensive overclocking with them. This is my first Intel build, so I'm currently pretty disappointed. I did extensive research before attempting my overclock, but being my first experience overclocking an i7, and an Intel CPU for that matter, I could very well be missing something. I'm hoping you all can help a girl out!

Just as a note, a small problem I run into is that my BIOS only gives me the option of:
QPI/vtt - either 1.335 or 1.355 (I wanted 1.35). I have tried both.
DRAM - either 1.64 or 1.66. Again, have tried both.

Also, have tried Load Line Calibration on enabled and disabled.
Finally, the Gigabyte "Performance Enhance" has been set to standard, although after setting everything back to stock levels and memory profile to XMS, I set to extreme to see if it did anything. I now have a slight, stable overclock to 2.79 GHz.........whoopie!

Anyway, like I said, any assistance or advice you can give me would be much appreciated as I'm a little frustrated with things. Thanks all!

More about : overclock

a b K Overclocking
February 20, 2009 3:21:19 PM

You need to lower your ram multiplier to 8, that will give you more headroom to overclock your CPU higher.

Plus, word around forums is that maxing out the memory slots may hinder your CPU overclock, it stresses your IMC more.

So unless you have 3x 4gig memory kit, you are using 6 memory sticks. Remove the 3 memory sticks and try playing around just 6gig for now.

Also just noticed, you may want to lower your QPI and Uncore multipliers down.
February 20, 2009 3:28:34 PM

I have a Aus P6t Deluxe i7 920 and a V10 cooler and it runs stable at 3.82 mem 1603. I put in:

CPU Ratio 19.0
BCLK 200
PCIE Freq 100
DRAM Freq 1603
UCLK Freq 3208
QPI Link 7218 MT/S

cpu voltage 1.30
PPL 1.86
QPI/Dram 1.30
IOH Voltage 1.10
IOH PCIE 1.50
ICH Voltage 1.20
ICH PCIE 1.50
Dram Voltage 1.64

Every MB is different though.
Related resources
February 20, 2009 6:08:13 PM

Yeah, actually I had considered the RAM issue and have tried several overclocks with 6 GB instead with the same result.

I have also tried overclocking with my memory multiplier at 8 and BCLK at 160-200 with the same results. Really the only somewhat stable overclock I achieved was the one I listed above, but like I said, upon stress testing it crashed on me pretty quickly. I'm not sure what to do at this point.

Reagrding the 3.2 GHz attempt, I couldn't lower the uncore any further on that one due to the memory multiplier. An 8 memory multiplier yielded the same results, so I might as well keep it at 10 so my RAM will remain at 1600. What would you advise setting the QPI to? Do you really think that will make a difference in stability?

Thanks for the link to the pdf on overclocking. I read over it, and most of it is a rehash of the other overclocking guides I've read before starting. The specific screenshots of the Gigabyte BIOS is helpful, but at this point I'm not exacly sure how to proceed. I'm well in range as far as temps and voltages go. I've tried multiple settings that should be easily obtainable, as they are pretty moderate overclocks, but haven't had any luck. I'm hoping someone here can point out something I've missed or advise me on some specific settings to get me up to at least 3.2 GHz stable. I'm pretty disappointed in my first Intel system to tell you the truth, as it stands currently. I'm really surprised I'm having such a tough time reaching even 3.2 GHz. Heck, I hit nearly 3.2 easily on my old system, which was an AMD Athlon X2 4600+. Sheesh.......

Thanks all, keep any advice you may have coming. It is much appreciated!
a b K Overclocking
February 20, 2009 6:51:07 PM

Well, I can only tell you my experience. I have EVGA X58 with i7 920 Batch#3841A453

At around 3.5ghz, I had increase CPU VTT, another +100mv or .1v. Vcore was at 1.31v. Keep memory at 8, to make sure overclocked memory is not causing your problem.

Because you are using 6 memory sticks. I would try increasing the IOH voltage too.

Have you searched any Gigabyte forums for users of your board? Just getting an idea of what other folks are getting with your board will help out alot.
February 25, 2009 10:24:46 AM

I'm completely frustrated and lost at this point. First off, I can't even get a stable overclock of 3 GHz. And now I'm having serious stability issues at stock speeds.

After we last spoke, I attempted, like I said, an overclock of a mere 3 GHz with a SMM of x8. My PC froze shortly after booting into Windows. This was with only 6 GB of RAM as well. At that point I decided to just run at stock speeds. So I reset the CMOS, turned everything back to auto the same as it was when it was running fine for a couple of weeks before my overclock attempts. Long story short, ever since I've been getting random freezes and resets. It is the strangest thing. I've reset the BIOS sewttings multiple times now, checked and rechecked the settings. Returned them all to their original status from when everything was running fine. I've tried both 6 and 12 GB of RAM. Nothing works.

I figured I must have a bad stick of RAM or component somewhere, so I started running diagnostics. RAMtester, memtest86, 3D mark06, Prime95 torture test, Everest stability testing, everything I can think of. None of them show any errors and, desp[ite running them for hours upon hours, not once did I get a single error, freeze, or restart. I figured everything was fine at that point and started to "compute" as normal, giving up on the overclocking.

Since then, just in the last 24 hours, I have had multiple freezes and at least 10 restarts (just random, the PC will be fine one minute and restart out of nowhere the next). And it happens at the strangest times. At times of complete inactivity........when I'm just browsing online........when I'm watching a movie. Heck even at startup once instead of going to desktop I just got a black screen and then a restart a few minutes later as I waited for it.

I tried pulling my ESATA card (a Vantec) to no avail. I also tried deleting and re-doing my RAID 0 array, then reinstalling Vista. Same garbage! For some reason torturing the CPU and RAM at 100% usage is fine, as well as the video card, but kjust during normal tasks I have all sorts of problems. I'm not sure what to do. I even tried re-flashing the BIOS.

I went to Gigabyte, but as far as I can tell they have no forums. The guy I talked to at tech support told me "that's what you get with Vista x64". I find this hard to believe.

Anyone out there ever heard of anything like this? Have any ideas for me? Any idea what could be wrong? Am I missing something? I don't like a lot of components to begin with, so all that is left inside are my Geforce 9600 GT video card and my Xonar D2 sound card. I guess I'll pull that next and see how that goes, but I can't imagine that is what's causing the problems. All up to date drivers. Newest BIOS. Happens with both sets of 6 GB RAM, as well as all 12 GB. Testing, again, shows no errors or problems. Fresh Vista install, no applications other than diagnostics and Firefox. I don't understand how everything would run fiune for weeks and now this. Temps never went above 65 C. Voltage was never increased above advised levels.

Anyone have any ideas or suggestions? Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! I'm at the end of my rope, and not even worrying about overclocking at the moment. Like I said, I'm pretty disappointed with my first Intel build and kicking myself for going this direction.......
February 25, 2009 10:32:32 AM

I would just put everything back to Auto and only change your BCLK to 166. That should give you around 3.2 - 3.4 range stable.
February 25, 2009 6:03:41 PM

Thanks for the advice, but I think you missed my last post. The last thing I'm worried about at this point is the overclock. I just want to get things running again without freezing and random restarts. Any ideas?
February 26, 2009 7:35:18 AM

Hmmm.....discovered something very strange today. From what I can tell the board works fine and overclocks fine with only one stick of RAM inserted. Any more than that, and the problems begin once again. Is this a faulty board? Does it just not like the brand of RAM even though it is on the approved list? Gigabyte tech support continues to tell me it is Vista x64 or the RAM itself and not the board. They claim Vista has problems with all boards and that 5 of my sticks of RAM are likely faulty despite them all working fine when inserted one at a time. Thoughts?
February 26, 2009 11:25:42 AM

Well what I read so far is... that tech you talked to does'nt know his head from his ass!
**I think it's the board, but try this:

If I were you even though you have the newest bios and would reflash the MB bios again, make sure CMOS jumper is correct. Keep everything on Auto until problem is solved this will help the power supply pumps out proper voltages to everything. Make sure your putting the mem. in the proper slots (A1, B1, and C1) while troubleshooting. (my board won't even post if mem. are in wrong slots). Pull out sound card right now if it's on built in. In Vista put the power on balanced in control panel. Let us know??
February 26, 2009 4:12:11 PM

Thanks for the ideas, they are much appreciated. I looked things over again, and the jumpers seem to be correct. It's crazy, with only one stick of RAM inserted things have been running like a dream overclocked to 3.2 GHz. With 6 GB and 12 GB inserted, problems arise almost immediately. I consult the instructions every time I insert the RAM, so I'm sure it is in the right slots, but thanks for the idea......I know some boards have goofy DIMM layouts and RAM placement can cause issues if not done right.

Even with all the settings on auto (which actually underclocks the RAM to 1066 and 1.275v), with more than one stick it is a nightmare of freezing and random restarts. The strangest thing is that it ran fine with 12 GB for almost 2 weeks before the problems started. Last night I took almost the whole thing apart, reconnected everything, reseated the cards, RAM, and processor, reconnected power cables, etc.........no luck.

I had disabled the onboard sound and had been running an Asus Xonar D2. Last night I re-installed Vista with onboard sound enabled instead. With 6GB of RAM inserted, and no other cards except for the video card (which was part of my previous PC so I know that is fine), Windows actually blue-screened during the install. So I pulled all but one RAM stick, did the install, and everything has been fine since. I've actually been running it overnight, preforming all kinds of tasks on it, AND have had it overclocked to 3.2 GHz with no problems at all.

At this point I'm fairly sure it is not the RAM itself being faulty. Gigabyte has my RAM on the approved list, so that shouldn't be a problem either. Do you think one of the slots is bad on the board? Gigabyte tech support keeps telling me it is not the board and that I cannot RMA the board. They're quite pushy and not helpful in the least. The strangest thing is that the stress testing and torture tests ran fine without errors with more RAM inserted. I'm at a loss.......I guess I could try a different brand of RAM, but then I have 6 sticks of expensive Corsair AND more RAM........a big waste of money.

What do you guys think?

Oh, also, power scheme has been on default (balanced).
February 26, 2009 5:44:39 PM

So I just had another chat with a Gigabyte tech support person. I'm pretty upset the other two I spoke with swore up and down they were having no issues with people running 6+ GB of RAM. After realizing what the problem is, I did some research and there are quite a few people, especially with Corsair and Kingston RAM, having the same issues. It looks more and more like it is an issue with the BIOS.

I'm pretty upset at this point, since I purchased this board specifically to avoid the problems Asus was experiencing and because they were rated to handle 24 GB of RAM. Now I have 5 sticks of RAM that are useless. I might as well go back to my old 4 GB XP system. With only 2 GB of RAM this one is essentially worthless to me. Grrr......

They still claim it is a Vista x64 problem, but that is nonsense. The board won't run or overclock with more than 2 GB of RAM installed. There are similar problems on forums all over.

The only advice the guy could give me was to try updating to the new beta BIOS that "might run better with Vista". They still tell me I can't RMA it even if I wanted to because it is "not a board issue". On top of that, he could only tell me that the new beta BIOS only addressed "stability issues". He couldn't tell me if RAM was even one of them. *sigh*

Guess I'll try updating.......I hate beta BIOS releases........
!