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AMD Phenom 9950 Black Edition

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December 8, 2009 10:02:59 PM

I've been lurking Tom's Hardware for a while now, gathering information on how to OC CPU's. I understand, like in all forums, that there are ALWAYS new members who will ask questions that might have been asked about a million times before, therefore annoying the crap out of preexisting members. I apologize for whoever I may annoy from this post, but I'm really lost.

As a graduation gift, I guess, I'm getting a pretty nice setup for Christmas. I've owned an old P4 (478 socket I think), with an AGP slot and DDR1 RAM slots. Pretty junky, but it's been sorta alright for what I use it for (mainly gaming). I'm upgrading to the following in about a week or so (when I visit my family in Colorado) :

Antec Signature Series Power Supply 850 Watts
Crosshair II Formula Asus Motherboard
AMD Phenom II 9950 Quad Core Processor
OCZ Technology Gaming Grade Memory DDR2-800
-onboard loaded with 4GIG of ram
On-Board 1000BaseT Cable Ethernet
SMC 802.11N Wireless Card (N wifi, also B/G)
X-FI Fatality Champion Series Sound card with Front Bay
Nvidia 260 Series PCI Express Graphics Card
ASUS DVD Drive
ASUS 2nd DVD Drive (DVD Burner, All Formats)
Zalman High End AMD Processor Cooler System
Dual - (2) 150 GIG Raptor Hard Disk C: and D:
Windows Vista x64 Ultimate Edition
including Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade x64 edition
Starting Disk Pack with Software / Restore Disks

A MUCH better setup than what I was running on before, as you can see. I'll have no issues OCing the gfx card, as I've had a bit of experience screwing around with that, but as far as OCing a CPU, I'm clueless. I understand how the multipliers work, and what number will get me what speed, but I have no idea what I may need to do with the voltages or memory clocks. I want to get able to get to ATLEAST a stable 3 ghz, but I want to see if I can push 3.4ghz without risking frying my CPU and mobo. I'll be perfectly fine with 3.0ghz or 3.2 ghz, though.

If there are any guides out there you can just go ahead and slap at me, then go ahead. But a response from somebody who owns similar specs would be very helpful, as I'm a complete OCing noob.

Edit: FYI, getting new parts or equipment is NOT an option, given that I may need to upgrade one or two parts to hit a certain clock. Maybe next month I'll be able to pick up some more upgrades, going to buy another 260 gtx for sure
December 8, 2009 10:15:56 PM

Well, Im sorry to dash your dreams, but 3.0Ghz is the realistic maximum you are going to be able to OC to. The 9x50 Phenom chips were not very good overclockers. The good news however is that your 9950 should be a Black Edition CPU, meaning that its as easy as increasing the multiplier and testing for stability. Go slowly, increase by .5 and then run Prime95 for 15-20 min. If it passes that short test, up by .5 again and retest. When you hit a point where it either doesnt POST, boot into Windows, or fails Prime95, back off to the last multiplier that passed and then run Prime95 for 6-12 hours. The hardcore like to run for 24-48 hours, but generally if your stable for 12 you should be fine.
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December 8, 2009 10:34:45 PM

And what exactly is Prime95? I've heard of people hitting a stable 3.2 ghz though, but they had to modify the RAM speed and the voltage.
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December 8, 2009 10:38:23 PM

Prime95 is a program that originaly was used to find very large prime numbers, much the same way people use folding@home or SETI@Home today. The great feature is that there is a 'Stability Test' mode in Prime95 that will have your CPU compute a known large prime number several times, and then tell you if the CPU computed it correctly or not. By running said test for several hours, you can find out if you have pushed your CPU too far or not.
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December 8, 2009 10:56:18 PM

Hmm. Well, given that I go to 3.0ghz, will I need to worry about the voltages and all that?

I'll definitely use Prime95 for sure, but I don't have enough patience to wait several hours in order to determine if I need to move up or down in clock
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December 9, 2009 3:13:54 AM

I was just told the guy who built my computer changed the 9950 with a phenom II 940. Guess I won't have to be too concerned about oc'ing now : ) but thanks for the help
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December 9, 2009 3:20:44 AM

Congrats man.
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a c 231 K Overclocking
December 10, 2009 11:08:54 AM

Elementgreen said:
I've been lurking Tom's Hardware for a while now, gathering information on how to OC CPU's. I understand, like in all forums, that there are ALWAYS new members who will ask questions that might have been asked about a million times before, therefore annoying the crap out of preexisting members. I apologize for whoever I may annoy from this post, but I'm really lost.

As a graduation gift, I guess, I'm getting a pretty nice setup for Christmas. I've owned an old P4 (478 socket I think), with an AGP slot and DDR1 RAM slots. Pretty junky, but it's been sorta alright for what I use it for (mainly gaming). I'm upgrading to the following in about a week or so (when I visit my family in Colorado) :

Antec Signature Series Power Supply 850 Watts
Crosshair II Formula Asus Motherboard
AMD Phenom II 9950 Quad Core Processor
OCZ Technology Gaming Grade Memory DDR2-800
-onboard loaded with 4GIG of ram
On-Board 1000BaseT Cable Ethernet
SMC 802.11N Wireless Card (N wifi, also B/G)
X-FI Fatality Champion Series Sound card with Front Bay
Nvidia 260 Series PCI Express Graphics Card
ASUS DVD Drive
ASUS 2nd DVD Drive (DVD Burner, All Formats)
Zalman High End AMD Processor Cooler System
Dual - (2) 150 GIG Raptor Hard Disk C: and D:
Windows Vista x64 Ultimate Edition
including Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade x64 edition
Starting Disk Pack with Software / Restore Disks

A MUCH better setup than what I was running on before, as you can see. I'll have no issues OCing the gfx card, as I've had a bit of experience screwing around with that, but as far as OCing a CPU, I'm clueless. I understand how the multipliers work, and what number will get me what speed, but I have no idea what I may need to do with the voltages or memory clocks. I want to get able to get to ATLEAST a stable 3 ghz, but I want to see if I can push 3.4ghz without risking frying my CPU and mobo. I'll be perfectly fine with 3.0ghz or 3.2 ghz, though.

If there are any guides out there you can just go ahead and slap at me, then go ahead. But a response from somebody who owns similar specs would be very helpful, as I'm a complete OCing noob.

Edit: FYI, getting new parts or equipment is NOT an option, given that I may need to upgrade one or two parts to hit a certain clock. Maybe next month I'll be able to pick up some more upgrades, going to buy another 260 gtx for sure



Wow what are the Odds of this, you have almost identical components to my secondary gaming rig.

The first difference being I'm running DDR2 1066 Corsair Dominator memory, so my first suggestion is set your memory DDR2 slot voltage to OCZs recommended specifications and the timing too, set those manually.

Other than that here are my AMD Phenom 9950 BE/ASUS Crosshair II Formula flashed to BIOS 1101, 3.20Ghz Bios Settings;
Under Extreme Tweaker
AI Tuning = Manual
CPU Frequency = 200
CPU Multiplier = 16x
K8<->NB HT Speed = 2Ghz
K8<->NB HT Width = 16 16
PCIE Clock = 100
CPU-NB Multiplier = 10x

DRAM Configuration = Set to your OCZ Spec timings
Under DRAM Configuration You Find
Memory Clock Frequency = DDR2 800
Tcl = Set to OCZ Specs
Trcd = Set to OCZ Specs
Trp = Set to OCZ Specs
Tras = Set to OCZ Specs
1T/2T Memory Timing = 2T
DRAM Ganged Mode = Enabled
Memory Hole Remapping = Enabled
AI Clock Skew = Auto

Don't worry about going into the last three on this page leave all that on Auto and Esc out of this page of settings

SLI-Ready Memory = Disabled
iGPU Clock = 500
iGPU Shader Clock = 1200

Vcore Voltage = 1.4250v
VDDNB Voltage = Auto
DDR2 Voltage = Set to your OCZs Spec Voltage
SB Voltage = Auto
HT Voltage = Auto
VDDA Voltage = Auto
BR Voltage = Auto
DDR2 Controller Ref Voltage = DDR2_REF
DDR2 Channel A Ref Voltage = DDR2_REF
DDR2 Channel B Ref Voltage = DDR2_REF

CPU Configuration
AMD Virtualization = Disabled
AMD CPU C1E Support = Disabled
AMD Live! = Disabled
AMD Cool' n' Quiet Function = Disabled
CPU Instruction Fetch = Auto
CPU Tweak Control = Auto
Processor DownCore= Disabled

Spread Spectrum Control
CPU Spread Spectrum = Disabled
PCIE Spread Spectrum = Disabled
SATA Spread Spectrum = Down Spread

Press F10 and Exit Saving Settings

These settings I've given you allow a rock solid 3.20Ghz OC on my hardware, if you're unsure what to do with the OCZ memory settings if you provide the exact OCZ modules and model #s you have, I'll be glad to look them up for you.





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December 10, 2009 8:00:13 PM

Whoooooaaa man, thanks a lot of that list, I really do appreciate it, BUT you disregarded my last post about the guy who built this rig switching the CPU out with a Phenom II 940. Also, I'm not too sure how I'd find the model #'s and all of that (maybe cpuz?) for the RAM, but I'll see what I can do. Note that this computer was already built for me, sadly, because I wanted to put this thing together myself.

I noticed you took off Cool n Quiet, which is funny because yesterday I was told by a friend that he strongly advised me to keep that on, so that I don't put anymore stress than needed on to my CPU (and that it would clock itself to default whenever needed, like during a game or something). Also, what exactly does AMD Live! do?

Thanks for the help.
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December 10, 2009 8:59:59 PM

If your not overclocking, Cool n Quiet is good to have on, but while overclocking it either just wont work, or can even cause instability/issues.
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a c 231 K Overclocking
December 10, 2009 10:46:56 PM

Elementgreen said:
Whoooooaaa man, thanks a lot of that list, I really do appreciate it, BUT you disregarded my last post about the guy who built this rig switching the CPU out with a Phenom II 940.


Crap that sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was a lot of typing, I didn't disregard just didn't catch it.

Crap, Crap, Crap, Well I wish I had of seen it because I also have a 940 and could have typed out those settings instead, Oh Well, My Bad, don't have time to do it now.

Cool and Quiet sucks when OCing, almost everyone going after serious OCs disables that.

And I really don't know what AMD Live does, it doesn't help with OC gains, so to me its useless fodder. Crap!!!!!!
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December 10, 2009 11:01:14 PM

It's alright man. If you ever feel up to typing it up, feel free to do it on your own time, otherwise I might be able to hold up on OCing it myself, but I still don't get when to adjust voltages.
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Best solution

December 10, 2009 11:55:26 PM

Well the good news is with the 940 your job just got ALOT easier. 3.4 Ghz is easy, and with a little tweaking/luck, you might get as much as 3.8Ghz.

As far as voltage changes go, you want to know what the highest voltage settings your CPU can handle for starters. There are two schools of thought, one turns up to this max voltage, then finds the fastest stable speed, then slowly backs the voltage down until it becomes unstable, then back up one and test. The other gradually adds voltage as the OC becomes unstable, increasing by one increment until stable. The second is the safer route, and the most used (I think).

Here is the e-z mode OC for your 940. Go into the BIOS and increase the CPU Multiplier by 1 step (cant remember if there are .5x settings or just whole numbers) and then boot into windows. Grab Prime 95 (Google it) and run for 10 minutes. You will want to monitor temperatures, so grab HWMonitor from CPUID.com. If it doesnt fail in 10 minutes AND you didnt break much over 58-60 degrees C, then you can feel confedent in going up another multiplier. When you get to a setting that fails, go back one and your done. If you get a good 940, you could end up at 3.6Ghz+ this way without needing any voltage increase.

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December 11, 2009 12:11:59 AM

So basically, I should just go one step at a time with the multiplier until it goes unstable, then clock the voltage by small increments until it is stable, all while watching out for the heat?

Anything I may need to do with the RAM clocks while I'm doing this? The guide Ryan put up sort of suggests that I only need to keep it on OCZ's suggested clocks, and no more or less.
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December 11, 2009 3:20:52 AM

Pretty much. Since you have a Black Edition chip, you wont have to raise the HT Clock, therefore the memory will always be running at the proper speed.
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December 20, 2009 4:04:18 PM

Alright guys, it's been about a whole day since I've had this computer. I'm about to start OCing this thing : DDDDD
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December 20, 2009 4:41:21 PM

And now I'm already running into some issues. I set the tuner to manual, but I don't know what multiplier to start at. It goes from 3x-30x. I'm assuming I need to find out what multiplier it is running at stock.
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a c 231 K Overclocking
December 20, 2009 8:08:57 PM

Elementgreen said:
And now I'm already running into some issues. I set the tuner to manual, but I don't know what multiplier to start at. It goes from 3x-30x. I'm assuming I need to find out what multiplier it is running at stock.


Well if its a 940 its a 15X multiplier

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December 20, 2009 9:48:17 PM

Alright guys. I was able to get to 3.4ghz stable. About 2 min into Prime95 at 3.6ghz I got a blue screen, and I could already tell that it was a bit shakey.

Anyhow, could probably raise the voltages if I wanted to hit 3.6ghz, but in terms of hardware safety I'm indecisive about whether or not I should really push for 3.6ghz.
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a c 231 K Overclocking
December 21, 2009 11:18:03 AM

3.6ghz is actually a sweet spot for the 940, get the right Vcore & N/B voltages set in and you're there.
CPU Freq = 200
CPU Multi = 18X
K8 NB SP = 1.8
K8 NB W = 16 16
PCIE CLK = 100
CPU-NB Multi = 9X


Vcore Voltage = 1.4625V
VDDNB Voltage = +100MV
DDR2 Voltage as with the DDR2 Timings should be set to factory specs.

It may take a little more or preferably less Vcore for your hardware, every CPU is unique in its end quality, but this should give you 3.6G rock solid, its the exact settings I was using.
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December 23, 2009 1:29:39 AM

I'm told I don't need to worry about the RAM's settings because of the memory controller. I still don't even know what specific type of OCZ RAM I even have.
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December 23, 2009 1:39:16 AM

Oh, and I also need to know what temps to watch out for, as in max temp that it can go and what temps I should start backing off on
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December 23, 2009 2:03:02 AM

My preference is to keep overall CPU temperature below 60C, and to keep the core temps below 62C. These numbers are ingrained in my soul from the Socket 939 AMD days tho, and I am not certain what the actual max temp for PhenomII is, it may well be higher.
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December 23, 2009 2:24:13 AM

Given what B-Unit said, I'm a bit too cautious to hit 3.6ghz.

It wont let me go at a low enough voltage for it to stay under 60c. Doesn't go below 1.425v. When running Prime95 on a much stabler 1.435 I get 59c-60c temps on all cores. I might just go back to 3.4ghz
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a c 231 K Overclocking
December 23, 2009 12:21:52 PM

Try raising the NB voltage and see if it allows running a lower Vcore for your setup that will give you a lower temp and 62c is the 940s temperature threshhold.
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