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First Time Overclocker...need advice

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March 21, 2009 6:58:44 PM

This is my first time overclocking. I want to make my cpu and ram a little bit faster. Here is what I just bought

Core i7 920
Asus P6T Deluxe V2
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)


I haven't made any changes in bios. Many things are set to auto. There is probably a guide but I didn't see it.
There are all these things to change and I'm sort of overwhelmed. Maybe there's something I should read?
Thanks.


--kortex.
March 22, 2009 12:08:05 PM

Hey kortex, I just began OCing too. I started off with an old Pentium 4 a few months ago, and now I'm taking it slowly with my new Phenom II 710. Here are some precaution before overclocking:

-Lock your PCI frequency at 100mhz or whatever it was so you don't overclock your graphics card along with your cpu, and any other frequencies that seem to go up with your fsb
-in addition to the above, most mobos should have a memory frequency divider or something like that, it allows you to run ram at a lower frequency, because it also goes up with your mobo
-I'd suggest that you disable the spread spectrum. Most people say that it interferes with OCing. I think using spread spectrum is better for your health or something... Maybe it allows you to use your cellphone beside your PC without static or something?
-Make sure you monitor temps and give your pc adequate cooling. Place fans over heatsinks and ram that don't already have fans
-Download a program to test stability and stuff. I use CPU-Z and OCCT.

Now to overclock, you have a 720, which I believe has a locked Multiplier, so you must raise the fsb frequency. In BIOS, go to the Advanced tab (mine is second to the left) and scroll down to that frequency. You may have to set OCing to manual depending on your BIOS. Depending on your current temperatures, you can kick up the fsb by 5 or 10 mhz without changing the Vcore voltage. So, lower your ram frequency, lock the pci frequency at 100, and maybe disable Spread Spectrum, change fsb to 205, then hit exit and reboot. Go to OCCT, and set up a test. If it shows stable, keep messing around with your fsb and raise the Vcore option in BIOS whenever it's not stable. If your system hangs, most ASUS motherboards have a safe OCing feature where you can just reboot to reset the OC. If yours doesn't there's usually a jumper on your mobo labelled CMOS. Moving it over and back should clear the BIOS.

Have fun overclocking. I'd suggest you try it on a cheaper PC before your thousand dollar i7 pc though :D 
March 23, 2009 1:41:41 PM

overclocking the i7 is incredibly easy and relatively safe (as long as you stay within intel's specifications). @OP what CPU cooler do you have? If you have a stock cooler, you can still OC, but I would not suggest it as a long term solution since your temps will run higher than optimal.

If you have a good aftermarket cooler, you can make a couple simple changes in the BIOS to achieve a very good overclock. A good starting point on the 920 is 3.5ghz.

The speed of your processor is determined by taking your Baseclock (blck) and multiplying it by your CPU multiplier (defaulted and capped at 20x on the 920). This means that at stock, your CPU runs at 2.66ghz. (stock 133 baseclock times 20 stock CPU multiplier)

Your RAM speed is also determined by your baseclock. You can change the RAM multiplier just like the CPU multiplier. You own the same set of RAM that I do and it is rated for speeds up to 1600 (probably a bit over if you wanted to OC it too...but that can be done later). So, at stock the BIOS should set your RAM multipler to 12x for your rated speed (133 baseclock times 12x ram multiplier = ~1600mhz).

Now that the basics are understood, I can help you with a good set of starting stats to see if you are stable at 3.5ghz.

1). Enter the BIOS and go to the AI Tweaker Tab

2). Change the tweaker settings to Manual

3). Scroll down to the baseclock setting (might be labeled something like frequency...it should be 133 by default) and set it to 180.

4). Go down to CPU core voltage, and change it 1.2v (this is stock, but sometimes the 'auto' setting overvolts your CPU.

5). Go down to the QPI/DRAM voltage and change it to 1.2v (again, this is stock, but just making sure the 'auto' setting does not supply an unnecessary amount of voltage).

6). Go down the DRAM bus voltage and change it to 1.6v

7). Change your RAM multiplier to 8x (any higher will result in a speed higher than the rated 1600, and may work, but this way you guarantee yourself that any instability will not be related to RAM speed). This will be a ram speed of 1440 (180 baseclock times 8x RAM multiplier)

8). Turn Intel's speedstep OFF

9). Turn Intel's turbo option OFF

10). Scroll over to the memory tab and make sure that your timings are set to the rated ones (7-7-7-20)...they will be the first four timing numbers you see.

Save and Exit and boot to windows. Make sure you have realtemp installed. -

http://www.techpowerup.com/realtemp/

And prime95 downloaded -

http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=205

Open up realtemp and begin running a 'Blend' test in prime95. The program is designed to push your CPU to 100% load and does a good job of testing the stability of overclocks. If your computer does not blue screen in a couple of hours, it's pretty safe to say that your overclock is stable (it should be with these settings).

Make sure your temperatures do not exceed 90 during the prime testing (optimally they should be in the low to mid 70s).

I hope that this helps, and feel free to ask for clarification or additional help.
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March 23, 2009 7:08:34 PM

Wow thank you both for great replies. I'll have try this stuff out. I took a peek at the memory timings the other day when I was first building my computer and I saw a few weird things. I'll have to write them down. I don't think I'll want to go any faster than 3.5, but we'll see :) . My cooler is the new cooler master v10. It seems to be doing a pretty good job. I'll have to run that realtemp program and see what it says.
April 22, 2009 12:01:31 AM

How do Asus's utilities (TurboV and AI Suite) fit into this picture? Should I use them at all or leave them alone? I'm still fairly confused about this process but I'm starting to learn. When I boot up, it says my ram is DDR3-1066... Is it supposed to say that even though I've overclocked? Also, is there anyway to leave speedstep enabled and still overclock?
April 22, 2009 2:02:04 AM

TurboV is an automatic overclocking tool I believe, you chose levels of overclock and it automatically does it for you. Better to do it yourself for peace of mind. AI suite is a visual overclocking tool (with a GUI) with drag bars and stuff. Doesn't work to well for me, I prefer using BIOS so I don't hang while in my OS (which may damage your hdd I believe...) It's supposed to say 1066 only if you haven't BIOS overclocked your system. If you overclocked it using software, then the overclock is applied when that software starts during OS startup I believe, which means booting another OS means you're at stock again... I believe you can leave speedstep on if you don't overclock too high, otherwise your system goes unstable. I'd disable it, to prevent errors. Or do you mean that your BIOS automatically disables it? You could try updating BIOS in that case...

BTW having DDR3-1066 kind of defeats the purpose of having DDR3, since that's the slowest chips available (unless of course you have low timings). Good luck overclocking :) 
April 23, 2009 12:43:50 AM

Well it's OCZ3P1600LV2G, so it's rated for 1600mhz. I'll try the bios I guess. My girlfriend (yeah yeah) uses my computer as well, so I didn't want to leave it overclocked when she uses it. How about speedstep? Is there anyway to leave it enabled while still overclocking?
April 23, 2009 1:57:28 AM

there's no reason not to leave your overclock running 24/7 once it is stable. If your ram is rated for 1600 (which it is) you're going to have to go into the BIOS to set it there. You're going to want to set your memory multiplier to 12x (12 x 133 stock BCLK gives you ~1600). Right now it's set on 8x (8 x 133 ~ 1066).

You can leave speedstep on for overclocking, although it's recommended you turn it off.
April 23, 2009 2:34:13 AM

read the last post for speedstep >.> make a different OC profile and tell your girlfriend to switch to that one when she uses your computer. Man I wonder what how your gf is gonna take it when you say "underclock my computer when you use it so that I don't waste its life span on you"

edit: last 2 posts, I forgot to click submit and left the computer. Guess what, when I came back, foolycooly had posted lol
July 30, 2009 11:20:36 PM

Foolycooly, I did everything you said... But I had an problem. Here's what I did:

BCLK Frequency -> 180

CPU Voltate -> 1.2

QPI/DRAM Core Voltage -> 1.2

DRAM BusVoltage -> 1.6

RAM Multiplier -> I couldn't find this, but I did find DRAM Frequency and I changed it to DDR3-1443. I think it just multiplies it out for you?

Speedstep -> OFF

Turbo Boost -> OFF

Memory Timings -> 7-7-7-20

Here's what happened... I saved the bios and the computer wouldn't reboot, the screen just went black and the computer never started up again. Finally I power cycled and it came up fine. I ran CPU-Z and a few minutes later my computer bluescreened... did I do something wrong or forget to do something? I'm concerned because it wouldn't reboot after I made changes.
August 4, 2009 6:51:05 PM

Anyone? :|
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