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Total noob to Phenom II x3 720 OCing, what do i have to do?

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March 13, 2009 3:11:00 AM

yea, i want more performance (so does everyone else on this forum)

however, i do not know squat, so hopefully one of you will fill me in, like you teach me as if i'm a total idiot.

Before you suggest anything, here's my build...


Phenom II x3 720 BE

mobo:
Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P AM3 DDR3 AMD 790FX

PSU:
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail


i think that's the info you need...

however, i have the crappy stock cooler on, so don't expect 3.5 ghz, something more like 3.0 or 3.2, that's about it.

Thanks for the suggestions!
March 13, 2009 4:16:21 AM

just change the multipler to 16x run prime95 if stable your good to go if not go back to 15x
Related resources
March 13, 2009 5:07:16 AM

okay, what's with disabling Cool n' Quiet? sounds like a good thing...

do i just change the multiplier and that's it? just set it and forget?

oh, and do i do it through BIOS or AMD overdrive?
March 13, 2009 5:20:12 AM

yea... i guess something gets screwy when you change the multiplier on Windows, wonder why though...
March 22, 2009 12:34:10 PM

Sooo true, always BIOS. Never software in OS. I just tried to undervolt my phenom 710 like 30 mins ago and I crashed lmao.

For OCing, disable spread spectrum, raise multiplier by one, do an OCCT test. If it's not stable, raise vcore a tiny bit until it's stable, and keep doing that until you're satisfied. Don't worry about locking PCI frequency and RAM frequency and all that; you're raising the multiplier (unlike me XD) so there's no need to worry about increasing the overall frequency of your system. When only OCing the multipler, you only need extra cooling for the cpu.
April 2, 2009 1:21:45 PM

Again, i'm an idiot to this sort of thing...

I know where the option to Cool n Quiet is in my Bios, but where's Spread Spectrum, where is that usually located?
April 16, 2009 11:07:18 PM

I've got a 710 and a m4a78 pro, and if I sell it, I'm getting the exact same motherboard with 4gigs of corsair 1600 xms3 or whatever it's called with a 720, so I'll be able to help you plenty then. Just hope that I get this thing sold... not sure where to advertise it lol. Darn I shoulda got the 720 >.> I thought raising the fsb would cut it, but it doesnt.
April 16, 2009 11:09:21 PM

Oh yea forgot to answer your questions lol the cpu spread spectrum is located above pci spread spectrum option in my BIOS, under AI Tweaker tab or something at the very bottom, the one before 'Advanced'. Not sure if it applies to Gigabyte... this is gonna be my first gigabyte
April 17, 2009 5:04:00 AM

computabug said:
I've got a 710 and a m4a78 pro, and if I sell it, I'm getting the exact same motherboard with 4gigs of corsair 1600 xms3 or whatever it's called with a 720, so I'll be able to help you plenty then. Just hope that I get this thing sold... not sure where to advertise it lol. Darn I shoulda got the 720 >.> I thought raising the fsb would cut it, but it doesnt.


sell it back to newegg? They could take it off your hand, though i'm not so sure...

about the FSB, how much can you OC on that? just wondering...
April 17, 2009 5:09:55 AM

oh, and another thing...

what's the ceiling on OCing if i don't mess with the voltage settings? 3.2? 3.4?
April 17, 2009 10:40:29 PM

Really? Does newegg buy used parts from people? Why would you OC by fsb when you've got the unlocked multiplier? I got my fsb of my 710 to 230 fairly stable. The 'ceiling' depends on how stable you want your proc to run at. I'd say 3.2 for stable operation, but if you get a good chip (or you don't mind running a computer not so stable), you just might be able to get 3.3-3.4, again I've got a 710 which is quite different from a 720 so I can't say for sure.
May 21, 2009 3:37:41 PM

ok... if i want to get to 3.4, what should the voltage be?
May 21, 2009 5:02:44 PM

Chronobodi said:
ok... if i want to get to 3.4, what should the voltage be?


The voltage should be as low as possible yet still able to run Prime95 for about 8 hours. If it fails after a short period of time up it a couple notches. With each notch higher it should last longer. Be sure not go too high though (1.5V? I think)
May 21, 2009 5:32:18 PM

ChronoBodi, I have the same processor and motherboard as you, so I can help you with whatever questions you may have.

Spread spectrum is not visible unless you hit Ctrl+F1, then an additional bios menu option will pop up. It is disabled by default though, so don't worry about it.

Some people are able to get to 3.4 with stock voltage. I believe I needed to pop mine up one tick to make it stable there. My sweet spot seems to be 3.6 Ghz at 1.45 volts, with temperatures at 40C Prime95 load. (Tuniq tower 120 cooler). My temperatures and voltage required really climb fast if I go above that.

Now, this is multiplier overclocking only, I haven't experimented with the bus speeds yet.

I have messed with AMD Overdrive, but found it very unstable. It seemed to work ok at first, but now I can't change anything with it or it locks up. So, like others, I would recommend changing settings in the Bios only.

1.55 volts is listed as the maximum voltage you want to go to for this chip. No chance you're going to do that with the stock cooler on it though. I wouldn't move the voltage but a tick or two above stock without better cooling.

I've read that the temperatures listed in many programs are off for these chips, but I don't really have any confirmation of that. I have been meaning to look into that more myself, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

There is a good guide to overclocking with the bus over at the OCZ forums under the MSI motherboards section. There are others out there, just spend a little time searching and you'll find it. Read enough of them to get an idea for yourself what the limits are, and then start tweaking little bit by little bit.
May 21, 2009 5:40:22 PM

What's the one tick? volt 1.320 to 1.350 or 1.4?
May 21, 2009 5:45:28 PM

I'm not in front of that computer right now, so I'm going off of memory and don't remember exactly. 0.025 volts? 1.325 to 1.35.
June 5, 2009 2:15:11 AM

alright, should i leave the voltage control at "auto" instead of manual? I'm trying to get 3.4 Ghz, but my bios (f3) freezes after like 50 seconds or something. Also, is AMD overdrive acceptable?
June 5, 2009 2:36:47 AM

bildo123 said:
The voltage should be as low as possible yet still able to run Prime95 for about 8 hours. If it fails after a short period of time up it a couple notches. With each notch higher it should last longer. Be sure not go too high though (1.5V? I think)

ok, i have OCed it to 3.4 Ghz, but what's the settings i have to setup in Prime 95?
also, i noticed that my idle temp is now 30C, instead of 28C with 3.2 ghz, is that okay?
June 5, 2009 3:09:41 PM

Chronobodi said:
ok, i have OCed it to 3.4 Ghz, but what's the settings i have to setup in Prime 95?
also, i noticed that my idle temp is now 30C, instead of 28C with 3.2 ghz, is that okay?


The beauty is theres nothing you need to do (setting wise) for prime95 to do its thing.
Once you download the zip here http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft/#newusers drag and drop the prime95.exe anywhere easy to get to frequently.

Open it up, click "Just Stress Testing". Cancel the window asking for which test.
Click Advanced and check off "Round off checking"
Click Options, select Torture test, then select Small FFTs and click OK
Prime95 will test all the cores at once so no need to adjust any settings.
Wait 8 hours and check to see if all the threads are still green. If one fails it will tell you when it started(and will be RED instead of green, and ended (to see how long it lasted)
June 5, 2009 8:54:13 PM

ok, does any game on the market come close to the insane stress of prime95?
June 6, 2009 6:23:59 AM

computabug said:
Really? Does newegg buy used parts from people? Why would you OC by fsb when you've got the unlocked multiplier? I got my fsb of my 710 to 230 fairly stable. The 'ceiling' depends on how stable you want your proc to run at. I'd say 3.2 for stable operation, but if you get a good chip (or you don't mind running a computer not so stable), you just might be able to get 3.3-3.4, again I've got a 710 which is quite different from a 720 so I can't say for sure.

i guess, it's a refund, that probably explains the "Open Box" items you see on Newegg?
June 6, 2009 6:28:22 AM

ok, my cpu's at 3.4 Ghz, with 1.35 volts (1.344 on CPUID, wonder why it's not exactly 1.35)

it wasn't stable at 3.4 on stock voltage, but it's fine with just a tick up from normal.

Question is, what's the right voltage for each multiplier increase for:
3.5, 3.6, 3.7, etc.

(like, can i go to 3.5 without changing the current voltage (1.344)?
June 8, 2009 4:22:41 PM

Chronobodi said:
ok, does any game on the market come close to the insane stress of prime95?



I don't think so, which is actually a great benefit. If it's stable in Prime, its unbeatably stable in game.


Chronobodi said:
ok, my cpu's at 3.4 Ghz, with 1.35 volts (1.344 on CPUID, wonder why it's not exactly 1.35)

it wasn't stable at 3.4 on stock voltage, but it's fine with just a tick up from normal.

Question is, what's the right voltage for each multiplier increase for:
3.5, 3.6, 3.7, etc.

(like, can i go to 3.5 without changing the current voltage (1.344)?


The reason you are not getting 1.35 Volts is due to whats called voltage drop. In fact, usually the heavier the CPU load the bigger the drop will get. Open up CPU-Z and start/stop prime95 and you will see what I'm talking about.

Also since you stabily hit 3.4Ghz I wouldn't bother much more since with practical cooling and additional time spent you won't be seeing large gains. Also there is no linear voltage setting that goes with higher clocks. I believe however the higher the clock you will need somewhat more of a voltage gain than your previous settings. So it kind of goes up exponentially...

But you never know and you may be able to hit 3.5Ghz with the same voltage, although I would throw that possibility on the very edges of a bell curve (highly unlikely you will be able to go to 3.5 with same voltage)
June 17, 2009 3:15:59 AM

ok, i don't know what to do...

i had it at 3.4 Ghz with an extra .05 voltage, and it's not stable... is there something else i forget?

(edit: oh wait... i had cool n quiet on auto, whoops...)

hopefully it should work fine, and should i decrease the voltage to 1.35 instead of 1.37?
June 17, 2009 3:42:25 AM

Do you have the stock cooler? I also have a Phenom II 720. I just changed the multiplyer to 15 to get mine up to 3.0 GHz. Havent tried going any further as I dont want to mess with the voltage or anything.

Also, what are you using for temperature monitoring? In speedfan I have a CPU reading and a CORE reading. The Core reading idled at ~25c before I OC'd and now its 28-30c at idle and the CPU reading is 36-40c at idle.
June 17, 2009 4:18:48 AM

JSD13 said:
Do you have the stock cooler? I also have a Phenom II 720. I just changed the multiplyer to 15 to get mine up to 3.0 GHz. Havent tried going any further as I dont want to mess with the voltage or anything.

Also, what are you using for temperature monitoring? In speedfan I have a CPU reading and a CORE reading. The Core reading idled at ~25c before I OC'd and now its 28-30c at idle and the CPU reading is 36-40c at idle.


well, weird... i don't have any CPU on mine, and i used the CORE for my temps.

and, you can go 3.2 Ghz without messing around with the voltages, any increase after that needs a specific boost in volts to be stable.

mine's 3.4 with a .025 volt increase, on stock cooling. idle temps are 30C, load temps (FSX, prime) are 39-42C.
June 17, 2009 4:20:48 AM

Chronobodi said:
well, weird... i don't have any CPU on mine, and i used the CORE for my temps.

and, you can go 3.2 Ghz without messing around with the voltages, any increase after that needs a specific boost in volts to be stable

Interesting.

Well my Core temp is usually lower so thats good I guess.

I just upped the voltage to 1.35 and the multiplyer to 16. Should I go take the Voltage back to auto? My temps actually seem a touch lower with the upped voltage.
June 17, 2009 5:42:26 AM

Chronobodi said:
ok, i don't know what to do...

i had it at 3.4 Ghz with an extra .05 voltage, and it's not stable... is there something else i forget?

(edit: oh wait... i had cool n quiet on auto, whoops...)

hopefully it should work fine, and should i decrease the voltage to 1.35 instead of 1.37?

Are you leaving cool n quiet enabled or disabling it?
June 17, 2009 5:49:25 AM

disable It!!! it only leads to instabilities for overclocking, as it screws around with the voltages when the CPU is in idle. That's ok for stock volts, but not ok for increased voltages.

and, 16 multi is fine on stock volts, it's only after 3.2 ghz that voltage increases are needed.

JSD13, are you using AMD overclock or BIOS? You're better off doing it in BIOS, as there's always something fishy when you do it in a Window environment as opposed to the BIOS environment. Besides, the program has to overclock your CPU everytime you log onto Windows, whereas BIOS is already set when you save and exit.
June 17, 2009 6:37:55 AM

Chronobodi said:
disable It!!! it only leads to instabilities for overclocking, as it screws around with the voltages when the CPU is in idle. That's ok for stock volts, but not ok for increased voltages.

and, 16 multi is fine on stock volts, it's only after 3.2 ghz that voltage increases are needed.

JSD13, are you using AMD overclock or BIOS? You're better off doing it in BIOS, as there's always something fishy when you do it in a Window environment as opposed to the BIOS environment. Besides, the program has to overclock your CPU everytime you log onto Windows, whereas BIOS is already set when you save and exit.


I did it in BIOS. So youre thinkin I should put the voltage back down to auto then. What benefit does this have if any?
June 17, 2009 6:49:29 AM

if you want 3.2Ghz, go Auto... if you want 3.4 and higher, go Manual and set the volts

what Motherboard you using?
June 17, 2009 5:40:55 PM

Chronobodi said:
if you want 3.2Ghz, go Auto... if you want 3.4 and higher, go Manual and set the volts

what Motherboard you using?

Asus M4a78t-e
June 17, 2009 6:14:36 PM

so, what's the BIOS screen on that one?
June 17, 2009 10:30:12 PM

I posted to a different section some of this info but it might be helpful for you here. I'm not running the same MB, but the basics should be very similar for this CPU. I would strongly recommend not just overclocking the CPU, but also boosting the northbridge frequency to get the best result. Here's what I did.

MB GIGABYTE | GA-MA770T-UD3P AMD770
Bios : FC2
CPU AMD|PH II X3 720 BK AM3 2.8G
CPU COOL SCYTHE|SCMG-2000 (Mugen 2)
MEM 2Gx2|OCZ OCZ3P16004GK
VGA BFG|BFGEGTX260MC896OCDE GTX260
HD 1T|WD 7K 32M SATA2 WD1001FALS
DVD BURN LG|GH22NS30 22X SATA
PSU CORSAIR|CMPSU-550VX 550W
CASE ANTEC|THREE HUNDRED BK

Right now I am running Windows 7, at 3.6 GHz on 3 cores or 3.4 Ghz on 4th core unlocked, CPU voltage at 1.44. Might be able to push this further, but running very stable at that, so probably stay sane on those CPU speeds. (Except with 4th core for some reason get browser crashes, while all other software has run stable) Temps are well in hand at 28-30 C in general use such as browsing, with all cores testing at 100% I have not exceeded 41 C. Memory is currently at 1333 with 6-6-6-24 1T timing, at 1.6 voltage. CPU-NB at 2617 MHz with +.2 bump to CPU-NB VID voltage. I've gone for tighter timings and faster northbridge frequencies rather than higher memory clocks, as that seems to achieve the best performance with AM3 systems.

I think it's a burner of a system for the bucks once tweaked and overclocked. I don't know if your MB will let you unlock that 4th core, or if your particular CPU is capable of it. Some say it's a dicey thing to do so be warned. I had to have my bios flashed to the latest version to get it to work. I then enabled ACC and set it to hybrid. Poof, I had a quad core :) 

I actually am using it with the 4th core disabled most of the time to get the higher CPU speed, but if you use multi-threaded apps much it might be worth it. Either way, when overclocking it's best to try small increases at a time, see what's stable, if you hit an unstable speed short of your goal, tweak the voltage one step at a time until either it's stable or your temps are not in a safe range (Personally I would not go over 1.5). Some people like to push things as far as possible, but the settings I shared give me the performance I wanted, and are in a range I feel comfortable as being sustainable on a daily use level. This is also higher than you should go with stock cooling of course, but you may upgrade at some point.

The 720 is a great little CPU, hope you get it dialed in where you want it :) 
June 18, 2009 12:20:53 AM

Chronobodi said:
so, what's the BIOS screen on that one?

I have the ability to change most things. What do you mean exactly?
June 18, 2009 12:22:22 AM

kscelt said:
I posted to a different section some of this info but it might be helpful for you here. I'm not running the same MB, but the basics should be very similar for this CPU. I would strongly recommend not just overclocking the CPU, but also boosting the northbridge frequency to get the best result. Here's what I did.

MB GIGABYTE | GA-MA770T-UD3P AMD770
Bios : FC2
CPU AMD|PH II X3 720 BK AM3 2.8G
CPU COOL SCYTHE|SCMG-2000 (Mugen 2)
MEM 2Gx2|OCZ OCZ3P16004GK
VGA BFG|BFGEGTX260MC896OCDE GTX260
HD 1T|WD 7K 32M SATA2 WD1001FALS
DVD BURN LG|GH22NS30 22X SATA
PSU CORSAIR|CMPSU-550VX 550W
CASE ANTEC|THREE HUNDRED BK

Right now I am running Windows 7, at 3.6 GHz on 3 cores or 3.4 Ghz on 4th core unlocked, CPU voltage at 1.44. Might be able to push this further, but running very stable at that, so probably stay sane on those CPU speeds. (Except with 4th core for some reason get browser crashes, while all other software has run stable) Temps are well in hand at 28-30 C in general use such as browsing, with all cores testing at 100% I have not exceeded 41 C. Memory is currently at 1333 with 6-6-6-24 1T timing, at 1.6 voltage. CPU-NB at 2617 MHz with +.2 bump to CPU-NB VID voltage. I've gone for tighter timings and faster northbridge frequencies rather than higher memory clocks, as that seems to achieve the best performance with AM3 systems.

I think it's a burner of a system for the bucks once tweaked and overclocked. I don't know if your MB will let you unlock that 4th core, or if your particular CPU is capable of it. Some say it's a dicey thing to do so be warned. I had to have my bios flashed to the latest version to get it to work. I then enabled ACC and set it to hybrid. Poof, I had a quad core :) 

I actually am using it with the 4th core disabled most of the time to get the higher CPU speed, but if you use multi-threaded apps much it might be worth it. Either way, when overclocking it's best to try small increases at a time, see what's stable, if you hit an unstable speed short of your goal, tweak the voltage one step at a time until either it's stable or your temps are not in a safe range (Personally I would not go over 1.5). Some people like to push things as far as possible, but the settings I shared give me the performance I wanted, and are in a range I feel comfortable as being sustainable on a daily use level. This is also higher than you should go with stock cooling of course, but you may upgrade at some point.

The 720 is a great little CPU, hope you get it dialed in where you want it :) 



Thanks. You using stock cooling? Those temps are great if so. I hit 50c with prime95 stock cooler.
June 18, 2009 1:12:20 AM

No look at my system specs, I am using the Scythe Mugen 2, it's a big tower heatsink but excellent, keeps your CPU cool while being for practical purposes, silent.
June 25, 2009 12:58:35 AM

Btw, with no more bumps to voltage I'm now running at 3.8 GHz on the CPU, without any instability. That's a great overclock at a conservative voltage, IMOP.
June 27, 2009 1:43:39 PM

I am also a noob and will share my small bit of experience. I have been very brave in doing this because I have the stock cooler but I haven't been ocing it for long periods of time. I usually just run Cinebench a couple of times in a row to see if it locks up. I have the Asus M4A78T-E. I up'ed the multiplier until I got a crash running Cinebench Multi GPU test several times in a row then I would up the votage little by little until it didn't crash. I am OCing in the ASUS Turbo V app. I got to 15.5x with no voltage increase (1.3) I went to 16 at 1.35 then to 16.5x at 1.4. I went to 1.45 at 17x. I saved all of those profiles and then got really brave and jumped to 18x at 1.475 and everything was fine with Cinebench run repeatedly scoring 8200-8300 taking between 1:38 and 1:40 on the Mult GPU test(7200 at 2:00 at the stock 2.8). The CPU temp got to 51 and would not go any higher no matter how many times I ran Cinebench. I did not go any higher and set everything back to normal. This is the first time I built a computer and the first time I ever OC'd anything. If i were to run the machine oc'd all the time, I would get a good CPU cooler. My case is a Thermaltake Element S with an extra 120mm fan added in the front so it has 2 120s pulling in the front and a 140 and 230 pushing out the back and top. My PS is an Antec 650 earthwatts. I am running the onboard graphics currently. I am very satisfied with the machine. I originally was going to by a Core i7 but since I was upgrading from a 4yo Pentium 4 3.0 so I figured that I could spend half as much and still feel like just as fast because of my frame of reference.
June 28, 2009 3:51:28 PM

hmm...I could never get my 720 to ever be stable at 3.8GHz no matter what. Even at 1.55V.

Has anybody else noticed that Windows 7 dislikes overclocking? I was 100% stable at 3.72GHz in XP then I switched to 7 and it BSODs instantly. I'm currently at 3.6GHz with a 1.5V.
June 29, 2009 12:15:16 AM

No volks, I'm running Windows 7, and not had that experience. Never gone that high on voltage. The key may be cooling, they say the Phenom II's as a whole like cooler temp ranges to get at better overclocks, where are you averaging?
July 15, 2009 12:28:37 AM

Hey guys, I have been experimenting with my phenom 720 also and currently the highest stable clock I can reach is 3.5GHz @ 1.5v (this is on stock cooling) my temps are 30c idle 50 max. Ran overnight for 9 hours. You guys think this is ok?
July 15, 2009 3:21:47 PM

BeRkStA said:
Hey guys, I have been experimenting with my phenom 720 also and currently the highest stable clock I can reach is 3.5GHz @ 1.5v (this is on stock cooling) my temps are 30c idle 50 max. Ran overnight for 9 hours. You guys think this is ok?


Sounds just peachy, I wouldn't push the voltage any higher though. But really any higher than 3.5Ghz wouldn't really be necessary anyhow.
December 16, 2009 5:31:34 PM

yea, 3.5-3.6 is the sweetspot.

3.8-> is like overkill and too hot, 3.2-3.4 is cool, but doesn't sound as cool as
"it's 3.6 ghz, bitch!"

at 3.5 or 3.6, it will be more than fast enough for many normal apps and games.
December 28, 2009 6:45:14 PM

Pretty awesome thread, i'm about to get myself a Phenom II x3 720 myself along with:

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W
SAPPHIRE 100283-2L Radeon HD 5770 1GB
And some other components that dont really relate to this topic...

Looks like we've got a pretty similar setup kscelt so i'll definately try pushing mine up to 3.5 in increments once i order and get it all assembled, but this thread has a ton of helpful info for anyone with this processor, it's my first build so i obviously have to get it running and figure out BIOS and get it all set up first.

kscelt, did you do any other cooling besides the CPU heatsink and fan? The illusion case i'm getting comes with some built in fans and i'm wondering if you added extras to keep your interior cool...
December 28, 2009 11:17:56 PM

finally, i got over my fears and flashed the mobo, set EC to hybrid and ACC to auto.

BAM! quad-core!

but.... it's at 2.8 for now, i need some sort of stabilty program...
considering that it's hotter with the extra core on, i'm only going to oc it to 3.2, 3.4 if i'm REALLY lucky...
and this requires a good cooler as well. I got a xigmatek cobra for that.
December 29, 2009 7:50:12 PM

Chronobodi said:
finally, i got over my fears and flashed the mobo, set EC to hybrid and ACC to auto.

BAM! quad-core!

but.... it's at 2.8 for now, i need some sort of stabilty program...
considering that it's hotter with the extra core on, i'm only going to oc it to 3.2, 3.4 if i'm REALLY lucky...
and this requires a good cooler as well. I got a xigmatek cobra for that.


Hey, if it can Prime95 all night, you just got a really good deal.
November 23, 2010 4:11:18 AM

Old threa here fellas, but I've got something going on.

I have been running my Phenom II OC'd to 3.4 with the multiplier at 17 and the voltage at 1.5 for many months. Recently I have started getting BSODs, so I monitored my temps and Im idling at 54*c.

I put all the multipliers and voltage back to default, now Im idling at 39*c for the core and 44*c for the CPU. I remember when I first OC's Id idle @ 29*c.

I have changed nothing, any idea what would cause the temps to increase? Everest still has my CPU fan spinning at 3400rpm
!