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First time overclocking: Phenom2 955 Black Edition, please help

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August 13, 2009 3:03:12 AM

Hi people, I've been building my own computers for a few years now but I never tried overclocking any CPUs... or anything for that matter. I'd like to know if anyone can walk me through it. I recently purchased an AMD Phenom2 x4 955 Black Edition, and I'm interested to see how much power it has.

Here are the important specs:
AMD Phenom2 x4 955 Balck Edition
Asus M4N82 Deluxe Mobo (added mempipes)
Corsairs XMS2 800mhz DDR2 2gigs (x4, total of 8gigs) RAM
XFX GTX280 (x2 SLI, PCI-E x16 each) GPUs
Auzentech Prelude X-fi 7.1 soundcard

With my Asus mobo, I got 2 softwares that seem to try and simplify overclocking from windows environment, Turbo V, and EPU.

I'd like to know if anyone can give me a step by step intro to overclocking. All the sticky threads seem to be for Intel CPUs, so I need help.

More about : time overclocking phenom2 955 black edition

August 13, 2009 5:10:02 PM

senvae said:
Hi people, I've been building my own computers for a few years now but I never tried overclocking any CPUs... or anything for that matter. I'd like to know if anyone can walk me through it. I recently purchased an AMD Phenom2 x4 955 Black Edition, and I'm interested to see how much power it has.

Here are the important specs:
AMD Phenom2 x4 955 Balck Edition
Asus M4N82 Deluxe Mobo (added mempipes)
Corsairs XMS2 800mhz DDR2 2gigs (x4, total of 8gigs) RAM
XFX GTX280 (x2 SLI, PCI-E x16 each) GPUs
Auzentech Prelude X-fi 7.1 soundcard

With my Asus mobo, I got 2 softwares that seem to try and simplify overclocking from windows environment, Turbo V, and EPU.

I'd like to know if anyone can give me a step by step intro to overclocking. All the sticky threads seem to be for Intel CPUs, so I need help.


I can possibly help you. I have a not so similar setup, however, we have the same processor so I guess that counts for something.

The current clock I'm running at has been stable through 14hours of prime95 and I still have prime95 on. If you want to know my opinion... my first suggestion which is what I'm going to say first off is to torture test all of your components to make sure they're functional without overclocking. Because, if you have a problem beforehand, it'll just scream at you when you overclock. My PSU woke up and died on me when I was overclocking this processor.

So, When you're finished that make a realistic goal for your central processor to operate at (frequency wise). Then work your way up without adjusting bus speeds and just use your processor's multiplier. Then run prime95 for about 10-20 minutes to see your temps (assuming they read accurately). Unless you're confident you have a quality cooler and not stock cooling, then go straight for your realistic goal (3.6-4.2 seems to be standard, higher than that may not be overly stable for more than a few hours of prime95 without having a lot of prior overclocking experience).

If your CPU is running at 62celsius+ without overclocking, you need to get a new cooler, if you don't have the money, you're up creek.

If you're running at 32idle@3.2ghz at default voltages (Without cool'n'quiet adjusting the frequency and voltage) then you should be able to push it up to 3.6-4.0 depending on the quality of the motherboard and cooling setup you have. I highly recommend you keep your temps at 55c or below.

You have to keep stuff like Frequency, Voltage, multipliers, Bus speed and heat in consideration running at above factory frequencies. I believe safe voltage for the phenom II 955BE to be 1.55volts and under. You're more than welcome to view my signature to see the voltage on my 955BE and frequency. I tried to use bus speed 240mhz for a while and that didn't work out well. The difference between bus speed as far as I know is it will increase the speed of your ram, northbridge and cpu without need for using multipliers.

Okay that's just the basics, when you actually start this up, I recommend you MAKE SURE you set your ram to the factory default values and make sure they stay there including voltage. Then, start adjusting frequencies, aim for a goal, try to get there slowly, if you're confident in your cooling, go for your goal and make it stable. First thing to do when you try to boot in your goal is to note how long it takes to crash (if it does). Then try to improve the amount of time it takes to crash. My goal speed was 3.84, but, I couldn't get it very stable. It would last 8minutes in prime95 large fft. Then I adjusted cpu-nb, cpu, nb voltage up until I was getting better results.

I went from 8 minutes to 12 minutes to 32 minutes to 3hours and 30 minutes to 14 hours and on going. As I speak I'm still torturing my 3.8ghz overclock. It seems promising thus far. If it stays like this I'll go into my motherboard and save my settings. I did have to sacrifice 30mhz though to get it stable this long. Heating was an issue, I would add more voltage and it'd take longer to fail, but, my cooling isn't that great.

However, we have different motherboards speaking of them. I recommend you familiarize yourself with your motherboard manual and options. Please keep in mind component failure is your responsibility and you take the risk by overclocking. With that said, enjoy.

Don't panick if you get lots of BSoDs. The only thing you have to worry about is if components start failing on the POST sequence. That's a very good time to stop and check stability of your system overall before you continue. I'm not sure if there is any definite way to know if you're doing damage, the only way I can think of is if you remember your system to be fine before you did overclocking and torture tested your equipment very extensively beforehand and it never performs that way again, you have indeed damaged your system. Not trying to scare you, just make sure your cooling is adequate. Overclocking is really an enthusiast sort of thing so make sure you're ready for failure in components because it can and probably will happen at some point. The best case scenario is shortened processor life. Aim for that hahaha.

Lastly, TIME IS NOT YOUR FRIEND! It can take days to find the right reliability and speed for you. It could take weeks. Perfection is hard to achieve. Personally speaking out of all this btw, none of this is really grabbed from anywhere, I just started it up and went at it. But, I have a lot of experience in troubleshooting certain things so this is pretty easy really. If you're patient and not a complete unlucky person you should be fine.


Also, If I'm wrong about any of this and people are reading it and going "Wow, that guy is dumb" I'm very sorry and please correct me. I would rather not see this guy destroy his hardware because I told him what to do and how to do it.
August 13, 2009 8:52:10 PM

Right, I forgot to give you guys cooling hardware info, I'm not used to giving those away. I have an Ultra Chiltech as CPU cooler, which seems to keep my chip running at 26 C idle, and about 33 C after 2 hours of Crysis (Very High specs, 8x AA, V-SYnc, 1920x1080). My case is the Thermaltake Spedo Advance which is an air cooling wonder tower, it has 8 fans stock, you can get it up to 12 fans.

I guess I was a little bit disapointed playing Crysis Warhead last night, I started to feel like the game was struggling a bit, when last week I was playing a bit with the regular Crysis with same specs and it was almost running perfectly smooth. I know 3.2ghz is already a strong CPU, but it would be nice to play Crysis Warhead trouble free, since I am so close to doing it. Everything was smooth until I got to that level where everything turns to ice, those ice levels seem to eat more at the computer's power.
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August 14, 2009 2:15:20 AM

Actually, unless you case mod it really doesn't have more than 8-9 spots of fans depending on advance/non-advanced. Because I have that particular case without the giant fan on the side as a personal preference sort of thing.

Crysis is a game that nobody can run maxed out, So, If you're disappointed, do be. You're experiencing what 90% of the rest of us have. Only difference is you're hoping overclocking is the answer when it only helps so much.

So, Just find out how your mobo settings work then make up a plan and execute it.

Make sure you monitor your temps. Keep them below 62c. Get it stable, you're golden.
August 14, 2009 3:03:55 AM

Well I just came back from an hour long match of Crysis Warhead on max, and everything was smooth. My EPU software that came with the Asus M4N82 allowed me to boost up CPU frequency to 5% over normal in something called "Rocket Mode" and apparently that is all I needed to play the game smooth. The computer was stable and my temp never entered the 40 C zone. I think that Ultra Chilltech is a marvel. I'll see if I can find a program that can tell me temp for the ram and etc, I wonder if those mempipes are really making a difference.

BTW, the only reason I got the Advanced version of the Thermaltake Spedo is for the power cable extensions, lol. I heard a lot of people complain that the Ultra X3 (what I have in 1000watts) has short wires and can't handle a large case. Turns out my CPU power cable wasn't long enough so I made the right purchase. I wasn't able to use those thermal chambers though cus my GPUs are too big.
August 14, 2009 11:56:21 AM

Max as in High quality or Ultra High quality. There's a very huge difference and to date I've yet to hear anyone able to keep crysis up at 60fps on ultra high and a very high resolution. You say Smooth. Well, My definition of smooth gaming is 50+. What are you defining as smooth? How many fps. And secondly, "Rocket Mode" even though I never heard of that, I'm wondering why you want to overclock posted here looking for help to only settle on "Rocket Mode". 5% increase, that would be approximately 3.36ghz assuming you're running at the default speed 3.2ghz. What settings are you running it on and resolutions, AA and AF settings, etc.

And, that would only raise you a few frames, if that, in Crysis possibly. Barely unnoticeable. So, I'll ask you this. What was your framerate before rocket mode and after rocket mode, and what exactly and very specifically does "Rocket mode" do. And specifically as in, Bus speeds, multipliers. Personally, Manually is the best way to go probably take longer though.
August 14, 2009 12:31:23 PM

First, there is no Ultra High setting that I have seen in Crysis, and Very High is what I am playing with, and 8x AA and V-sync, its not max, but its close enough for me. Crysis Warhead calls their highest specs "Enthusiast" and its seems to be the highest setting, the one I am using as well with 8x AA. I am playing with 1920x1080. What I call smooth is that the motions are fluid, the textures load instantly, the sound is sharp, and the action scenes don't slow down my game. I didn't have FRAPS installed and running, but its safe to assume my frame rate was adequate at the least. All I care about is being able to play the game without noticing some lag or slow downs in the graphics, or have a slideshow effect going on.

Rocket Mode is a pre-set setting option in a software called EPU, which came with the Mobo drivers on the Asus M4N82. Originally, it can automatically manage your power settings to save money on power, but if the CPU demand is high, it will also move up forward into Rocket Mode, which adds 1% power by default. I tried changing it to 30% but my PC became unstable, so I tried working at 5% and the PC was fine. This seems to be a Frequency percentage, or so its written.

MY mobo also came with a software called Turbo V, but you have to enter a CPU frequency, CPU voltage, DRAM Voltage, VDDNB Voltage, and it has an advance option for CPU ratios, and other voltage options like the chipset and HT. Of course I am completely noob with thos options, so I am not touching any of them without knowing what they do.
August 14, 2009 11:17:50 PM

I don't like software overclocking. Doesn't really prove anything in my opinion. It's really not that hard to change bios settings if you have decent case ventilation and processor cooling. You don't need to adjust settings when changing a frequency unless your computer crashes.

If it crashes you just raise voltages until it works correctly (within reason of course). These speeds require more power and generate more heat. The northbridge needs more power in some cases too and the ram as well. Anyway, If your only goal was to get crysis working "fluidly" you've now achieved that and learned nothing about how to overclock your system in the process.
August 15, 2009 4:49:33 AM

I still want to learn about overclocking, but my software would allow me to pick when I need the power and when I don't. If the overclocking isn't going to drastically shorten the lifespan of my processor, I am still game for doing it.

I also use Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 which requires all the power you can throw at it.
August 15, 2009 1:25:07 PM

Lol, Senvae. Processors have a lifetime of 5-10 years in the first place if kept well cooled and ventilated. Worst case scenario is you have a power surge and it gets zapped.

Now, If you overclock, it will shorten your processor life if improperly cooled by a nice bit. But, we're saying maybe last for 3 years if you're constantly overclocked? I'd say 2-3 years. And we're talking a 955 BLACK Edition. That thing is smoking good. Just keep it under 62c and I'm sure that it will last a nice long time even while overclocked. Electromigration. That's the only word I have to use here because overclocking speeds up death of components. So imagine if I'm squeezing juice out of an orange by slowly using an orange squeezing device. Well, If I purposely go faster, I get the juice faster, but, the orange is also used up faster. I'd say depending on how much you overclock say 600mhz like me, you'll still get a nice hefty sum of time to play with it. Unless you plan to own a 955BE for the next 10 years or so? Just wondering.

My final opinion? Don't worry about it, worry about cooling it down first. Then worry about stability. Then worry about how long your processor can last at those speeds and temps. There's more to worry about in killing your processor within 5 minutes than 2-3 years. Overclocking can certainly bring to life how stable your PC actually is. If any components aren't top notch, a simple overclock will kill them. Too bad warranty doesn't cover that. Computers aren't glass, they're machines. Well Oiled machines don't give out easily but, when you neglect them, they will get revenge.

(My analogies really suck, so disregard them if they don't make sense at all)

Edit: This is why I said run a full array of stability tests beforehand.
August 15, 2009 1:30:27 PM

Also, Adobe photoshop would be better suited for a Solid state disk and a decent video card and I guess an AMD processor like yours will suit it. Mainboard quality counts too.
August 15, 2009 9:14:08 PM

Um... the XFX GTX280 is quite a good video card, especially in SLI x16 each. SO I'm not worried about Adobe PREMIERE (not Photoshop). But some extra processor power would help.

Everything seems to be running fine in my PC when I upped the frequency by 5%. Are there any programs out there built to test system stability? Or are there some things I can do to test it myself?
August 15, 2009 10:50:26 PM

Prime95, memtest86+, etc. Though, memtest86+ doesn't detect 955BE that well. I think.

Everest stability test or any stability test. There might be a few stability test suggestions on tomshardware somewhere too. But, ya sorta need to keep it going for more than a few hours. And Like I said though, Check your system stability first then overclock.
August 16, 2009 4:47:37 AM

Gixbit said:
Lol, Senvae. Processors have a lifetime of 5-10 years in the first place if kept well cooled and ventilated. Worst case scenario is you have a power surge and it gets zapped.

Now, If you overclock, it will shorten your processor life if improperly cooled by a nice bit. But, we're saying maybe last for 3 years if you're constantly overclocked? I'd say 2-3 years. And we're talking a 955 BLACK Edition. That thing is smoking good. Just keep it under 62c and I'm sure that it will last a nice long time even while overclocked. Electromigration. That's the only word I have to use here because overclocking speeds up death of components. So imagine if I'm squeezing juice out of an orange by slowly using an orange squeezing device. Well, If I purposely go faster, I get the juice faster, but, the orange is also used up faster. I'd say depending on how much you overclock say 600mhz like me, you'll still get a nice hefty sum of time to play with it. Unless you plan to own a 955BE for the next 10 years or so? Just wondering.

My final opinion? Don't worry about it, worry about cooling it down first. Then worry about stability. Then worry about how long your processor can last at those speeds and temps. There's more to worry about in killing your processor within 5 minutes than 2-3 years. Overclocking can certainly bring to life how stable your PC actually is. If any components aren't top notch, a simple overclock will kill them. Too bad warranty doesn't cover that. Computers aren't glass, they're machines. Well Oiled machines don't give out easily but, when you neglect them, they will get revenge.

(My analogies really suck, so disregard them if they don't make sense at all)

Edit: This is why I said run a full array of stability tests beforehand.

good points you made about the lifespan of OCing. but you forgot to mention that too much voltage (usually 1.45 and up) can drasticly reduce the cpu's OCing ability. i learned that the hard way with my old 5000+
had it OCed at 3.25ghz with 1.47V pumping into it with decent cooling (max temp 56C idle 35C) and one day went to turn on my comp, nodda. owned it for a little over a year, died 2 months ago. im quite happy with the replacement though ;) 

just be careful OCing, dont go agressive with it
August 16, 2009 12:05:42 PM

Well, Don't have to be overclocked all day long ya know. Just do a restart when you need it and turn it off when you don't I guess. I wouldn't be able to tell you because I can't look at my processor under a microscope every day to compare the damage or how much life it will have left in it in a few months.

Also, the Athlon series is not the Phenom series and it also doesn't have 4 cores. If you're referring to that particular processor.

It may last longer or it may die faster. You can buy an Athlon 64 x2 5000+ for $90 + whatever. So, Killing that processor wouldn't make anyone cry, or shouldn't.

These things have many factors and you cannot say that your processor died from overclocking for sure and I mean no offense to you when I say that but, I'm saying there's no way you can know it was for that reason, it's coincidental, and easy to assume it might've been. I say 2-3 years of life best case scenario. When you're into extreme enthusiast stuff like this, if you want to have the same processor for over 2 years you must be retarded. No offense. Seriously though, if you have a processor lifetime issue then this may not be the hobby for you. I plan on getting a new processor at the end of the year. Then selling this one. It's easier to milk money off your used overclocked junker :p  It's still new you'll get a lot of money off of something that is newer on the market than something you wanna keep for 5 years. It's your stuff! This 'lifestyle' is not for the average enthusiast Joe.
August 16, 2009 5:20:15 PM

actually when i bought my 5000+ BE, it was $90 >: (
now its like 50ish dollars. guhh.... well yah im not sure what it was that killed it positivly, but the best assumption i could come up with was OCing. I was sick of that CPU anyways, i needed a much much much more powerful CPU to drive my 3870s major bottleneck.

I persoanlly would rather keep a fairly fast CPU and then every year and a half or 2 years i would upgrade my graphics subsystem. Graphics cards go out of date much much faster than CPUs do. so thats why i want my precious phenom II to stay alive :) 
August 16, 2009 7:14:53 PM

rambo117 said:
actually when i bought my 5000+ BE, it was $90 >: (
now its like 50ish dollars. guhh.... well yah im not sure what it was that killed it positivly, but the best assumption i could come up with was OCing. I was sick of that CPU anyways, i needed a much much much more powerful CPU to drive my 3870s major bottleneck.

I persoanlly would rather keep a fairly fast CPU and then every year and a half or 2 years i would upgrade my graphics subsystem. Graphics cards go out of date much much faster than CPUs do. so thats why i want my precious phenom II to stay alive :) 


You make a good point sir.

And it is well noted.

However, this type of enthusiast hobby can be demanding. I would like to stay in the loop with the new processors that come out. The only thing I dread more than switching the case is the motherboard which is typically the same thing. It's like a 1.57milimeter thick slab of glass in something surrounded completely by solid materials. All it takes is the right moment and your day is ruined as well as your motherboard. I'm one of those people prone to accidents hahaha.
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