Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Should I overclock?

Last response: in Overclocking
Share
a b à CPUs
September 7, 2009 5:12:51 AM

Hi all,

I recently finished a build that includes an Intel Q9400 quad core @ 2.66Ghz, 4GB of DDR2 @ 667mhz, an Intel DP43TF motherboard, and a few other goodies.

I've done plenty of reading up on the Q9400 and it seems like it handles being overclocked pretty well. I am not looking to hit astronomical highs with it, just something along the lines of not going over 1.3 volts (i.e. I want the chip to last awhile). I know what I am doing when it comes to the actual overclocking process itself, but what concerns me are the temperatures involved.

This is my first quad core, so I may be a bit paranoid, but I figure better to be safe than sorry. At idle my Q9400 runs at the following temperatures: Core 1- 33C, Core 2-31C, Core 3- 37C, Core 4-37C. At load it runs as follows: Core 1- 55C, Core 2-53C, Core 3- 49C, Core 4-48C. Of course these vary temperatures vary depending on what I am doing, but I have yet to see any of the cores hit 60C. Do those temps seem right?

My cooling set up includes an after market 120mm fan and heat sink attached directly to the CPU, 120mm case fan, a 120mm fan out of an old Dell rigged to the side of my vented case right across from the CPU fan, and the original 80mm fan that was attached the original heat sink rigged in the front of the case (with a home made filter) drawing cool air in.

With that said, is it a good idea to notch it up a bit? What kind of temperatures would I see? Would these temperatures be in the safe zone?

More about : overclock

September 7, 2009 6:48:29 AM

videl said:
Hey...your temps are great...I bet you could safely push this baby to 2.8Ghz - 3Ghz...
The max safe temp for your CPU is 76c I believe...but here's a temp guide...Good Luck! :) 
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/221745-29-sticky-core...


You are wrong, his temps are not that great(idle is good, should be in high 40s) for stock speed and he use an aftermarket cooler, plus hes not even using prime95 to stress so the actual core temp is higher. You're wrong again, the max safe temp for the cpu is not 76c rather it is 80C-85C core temp.

to original poster, what cooler are you using? your temps are not that great because the air flow of the case is not great. and what is your ambient temp? your cpu is at stock right now ? use prime95 small ffts to stress your cpu and post core temperatures. also apply some arctic silver 5 thermal paste or any other good ones, the temp might come down a bit (maybe you done this already)
Related resources
a b à CPUs
September 7, 2009 9:45:43 AM

I forget the brand name of the cooler that I am using directly off of the CPU, but it was a $39 cheap deal I picked up at Tiger Direct. The ambient temperature of the room where the computer can be found is around 74'ish. I applied an ample amount of thermal paste when rigging the motherboard, but not an excessive amount. Yes, the cpu is stock right now; no adjustments what so ever.

I'm thinking that before I fiddle with overclocking, I may invest in a water cooler of sorts for it. It is somewhat cheap as well, but Corsair's CWCH50 Hydro Series H50 looks like a decent cooler. It is simple and the reviews of it seem to indicate that it isn't bad, even on an overclocked i7. It just takes a bit of fiddling with the fans (reversing them) to get it to work properly. Should I just go ahead and spend another $70-$90 so I can safely do an overclock?
September 7, 2009 10:36:09 AM

you are not going to be able to overclock too far with DDR2 667. I would recomend you think about DDR2 800 or 1066.
a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
September 7, 2009 5:20:28 PM

No, I would not recommend a water cooling setup or the added expense. If you are satisfied with your current overclcock then your temps are fine.

The suggestions for running prime95 are what most enthusiasts use to ensure they are maxing out their processors. If you're not doing that, then it would be difficult to say what your max temp is currently. Prime95 is the standard that lets us say,"Ok these temps are good." or "that's a little high for that model."
September 7, 2009 5:25:30 PM

I think that for a minor overclock, DDR3-667 should work fine. That said, DDR2-800 would give a bit more leeway if a decision is made to overclock farther in the future.

As far as the heatsink goes, I believe a decent 120mm heatsink will cool as well as or even better than any of the cheap water cooling setups, and not give all the complications inherent with water cooling. Since the load temp is now listed at 48c, there is plenty of room for higher clocks without worrying about the heatsink.

As for overclocking itself and whether or not it should be done, I think it depends a bit on what goal is in mind. As Videl wrote, you should be able to get 2.8-3.0ghz without too much trouble. The big advantage to overclocking is getting the performance of a more expensive chip without paying the extra money. If you're doing CPU intensive tasks, then an overclock can show good results. If you're mainly gaming, it may not, as graphics are mainly handled by the video card. But don't worry too much about it. A minor overclock is not going to hurt anything and if you don't intend to raise the voltage over 1.3v, I doubt the CPU will notice any bad effects.

As to the overclocking, I would set the voltage to 1.3v (the max you stated) and then set the clock up a bit. Run prime95 and observe both the temp and if it errors out. If everything runs fine for 3-5 hours, stop and bump the clock up a bit and run prime95 again. When either the temp starts to climb over 65c or the computer fails prime95, back off to the last clock that worked and you should be set for a long CPU life. Yes, the CPU can take higher temps than 65c, but I'm looking at long life and trouble free computing here, not setting records. it also depends on how much you run your computer. I run my computers 24/7, so stability and temps are more important than top speeds. If you run for only a few hours at a time, a higher temp may be all right.

Just my 2 cents worth.
September 7, 2009 6:44:29 PM

Sailer, you're instructions are right, but you forgot one thing. That is he didn't use prime95 in the first place to test load temps(he didn't mention so I assume he didn't use). That means his load temps are higher than those he posted. With that in mind, overclocking to 3.0GHZ with his heatsink might be a little too hot.
I would not recommend watercooling setup or the H50, because you wouldn't want to mess with that stuff for a small overclock and 1.3Vcore is max you said.

If you want to buy another heatsink then I would suggest, the core contact freezer, it is 25 dollars after rebate on newegg. I know it's great because I use it and it lowered my temps by 20-25C vs. my stock cooler. But in your case, overclock first and see the temps, if it isn't too bad then no need to buy it.

Original poster, use prime95 small ffts and post your load temps here before overclock. We know even gaming temps won't get this high, but this is just for reference and it helps to determine how much you can overclock.
September 7, 2009 7:03:22 PM

overshocks said:
Sailer, you're instructions are right, but you forgot one thing. That is he didn't use prime95 in the first place to test load temps(he didn't mention so I assume he didn't use). That means his load temps are higher than those he posted. With that in mind, overclocking to 3.0GHZ with his heatsink might be a little too hot.


True enough, he only said loaded and not what he ran to load the CPU. So prime95 may raise the temp a bit, or it may not. Only the actual test with prime95 will tell for sure. Guess I made an assumption here about the stated load temp being accurate.
a b à CPUs
September 8, 2009 12:35:42 AM

Thanks for all of the input everyone. The core contact freezer seems like quite the innovation for a cheap price; I may go that direction if necessary. I'll run Prime95 here in a few minutes and post the results. Then we can see what can be done!
a b à CPUs
September 8, 2009 12:40:54 AM

O and I almost forgot, my main use for the machine is movie watching (i.e. blurays ripped onto the hard drive, which in itself seems to be processor heavy), a bit of graphic editing, and the occasional game (nothing too intense, i.e. Sim City or Tiger Woods every now and then). I like to have a machine with a bit of guts, but nothing too over the top, as I am running a Radeon HD 2600XT for my graphics card. It's reliable and runs HD movies flawlessly.
a b à CPUs
September 8, 2009 1:59:11 AM

Alright, I let Prime95 run for around an hour to gauge the temperatures. Remember, I am not testing stability because I have yet to overclock. Anyways, after things got going, I recorded the following temperatures at the end of a single run (all 8 tests or whatever it is): C1: 75, C2: 68, C3: 75, C4: 72. How do those look? Should I think about a better cooling system/set up before I attempt to overclock?
September 8, 2009 2:52:04 AM

buwish said:
Alright, I let Prime95 run for around an hour to gauge the temperatures. Remember, I am not testing stability because I have yet to overclock. Anyways, after things got going, I recorded the following temperatures at the end of a single run (all 8 tests or whatever it is): C1: 75, C2: 68, C3: 75, C4: 72. How do those look? Should I think about a better cooling system/set up before I attempt to overclock?


Those temps are hot. I have my QX9650 running at 3840mhz, 100% load on all four cores right now and am reading 60c, 60c, 55c, and 55c. I have a TRUE with two fans doing the cooling. You said earlier that you didn't know what heatsink you had, if I remember correctly, but either its not a good one, or you need better fans on it, or a better case that has enough fans to circulate and exhaust the air. But you definitely need to do something about the cooling before overclocking.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
September 8, 2009 1:56:10 PM

Hmm seems to me that your pc fulfills your uses perfectly without overclocking or spending any more money, unless you begin gaming heavily or 3d animation, or serious video encoding, I dont really see the point in overclocking your already fast enough rig!

Best solution

a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
September 8, 2009 11:29:00 PM
Share

@buwish,
I said your temps were great because 30C - 35C is considered very good for idle on a core 2 processor...my friend's core 2 duo is idling @ 32C and it's great...the only thing I wasn't sure of was your load temps...And load temps around 70 are very high to be truthful...overshocks was right, your case air circulation is bad...might wanna get a better case and possibly better cooling...your temps were good when idle probably because you have Intel Speedstep on and it lowers the voltage/speed of the processor so you idle temps were good...but that would all change once you start overclocking because you need to turn off speedstep when overclocking. Try turning off speedstep and see what temps you will get idle @ stock...
a b à CPUs
September 9, 2009 3:40:08 AM

I am thinking the same thing in regard to bad air circulation. I installed a Thermaltake Spin Q that I picked up at Best Buy earlier (I know it isn't top of the line, but the reviews were good) and my temperatures are staying the same, if not a bit higher. The case I have is a "Black Widow" Saprano RS101 and it does seem like a decent case; even has vented sides. My thinking is that the rear case fan that came with it is a POS. I may try another beefed up fan in place of the stock case fan and see what happens then.
a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
September 9, 2009 5:53:22 AM

Maybe that will help...does your case have a fan in the front? to suck air in...And your computer is not in a closed up place is it? like in a desk?
a b à CPUs
September 9, 2009 6:22:01 AM

No, I have the computer basically out in the open; nothing that can be considered closed in. As far as a fan in front, that is a negative. The fan drawing air in is located on the side of the computer at a low point, i.e. where the PCI connectors are.
a b à CPUs
September 10, 2009 2:11:25 AM

Good news, after re-installing the new cpu cooling rig and beforehand "lapping" it, I am getting excellent temperatures under 100% load with a run through of prime 95: The highest out of the four cores hit 54, while the others stayed in the upper 40's.

I'd say I am good to go for an minor overclock. Any dissenters?
a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
September 11, 2009 11:18:07 PM

^Congrats!!! :) 
I say you're good to go! you're ready to overclock. ;) 
How high of an overclock are you planning?
a b à CPUs
September 12, 2009 6:58:01 AM

My goal is to hit somewhere around 2.8-3.0Ghz. I've been reading up on the correct voltages and such for the Q9400, so it's just a matter of time (i.e. when I get the urge) before I get to it.

Thanks for the assistance all!
January 31, 2010 10:45:26 AM

My understanding is that your using a dp43tf motherboard? Intel boards generally can't be overclocked...might want to look into a different board
!