Okay, I've unlocked the 4th core in my AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE. I've ran the Windows 7 Experience program just to see if anything updated, but my CPU is still rated at 6.7.
Now, I want to really test this and see how well my core really functions. Would 3DMark 06 be a good test? I have the paid for edition that has the numerous CPU tests. Would this be a good indicator of whether or not the core is stable? What other testing tools do people use to test the 4th core?
I always run 3dMark06, 3dMark Vantage, Prime95 (to really stress the cores and get the temps up), the WEI (I've seen it lock up with a bad core) and, well, just booting into Win7. 99% of issues I've seen with unlocked cores start by simply not being able to get into Windows. If you see the the Windows loading screen but don't get the fireflies (or worse, get a BSOD) and you've unlocked a core (or two for the 550/555BEs) then you know you've got an issue. Sometimes a slight voltage increase will fix that, but I did have one instance where a 4th core on a 550BE wasn't good, but unlocking three still worked.
Run through that guantlet and you're pretty much guaranteed to be stable. Watch your temps and make sure you're staying under 65ish at full load with p95 running. If I can get through those, I've yet to see any unlocked AMD processor fail at something else.
Since you have a Gigabyte MOBO you can use Easy Tune 6 (Hw monitor tab) or also Everest Ultimate edition to monitor your CPU temp (it only reports the overall temp not the individual cores but that is the one that matters anyways !!
If using the stock cooler be sure to keep an eye on the temps - my system was running at 68C under Prime 95 testing with just a small OC to 3.0 GHZ. which is pretty close to the thermal shutdown temp of 73C (have since added a cooler master TX3 heatsink\cooler and it now runs at 56C under prime 95 running at 3.2 GHz. ) - Hope it winds up being stable for you - mine has been completely stable for about 2-3 months now so there are good chips out there !!
Well, Prime95 testing didn't go so well. Within a few minutes, the system shut down. I'll have to fiddle with the voltage to see if that can stabilize it some, but it looks like the core itself isn't perfect. Bummer!
Well, what I thought was an issue with the core (and it might still be) was due more to temperature problems. Stressing the CPU with Prime95 resulted in the CPU temperature going up to 68C. So, what was causing the system to shut down was the protection mode when it reach 70C.
So, it looks like I'll need to get a better cooler. I don't think the mid-tower I have has the BEST air circulation even though I have a front fan and my power supply fan along with the CPU fan working. I have the front fan pulling air into the case (it's located on the front bottom) and the power supply fan sucks the air out through the back near the top of the case.
So, I'm pretty sure the air circulation isn't the best. I guess I'll have to look into the TX3 fan.
Anyways, I pretty much rerouted my wires and gathered them up with ties to keep them together and stuffed unused connectors along the back side panel behind the motherboard. Replaced my one-lone ribbon cable (for my floppy drive. Yes, I know! )
Added a rear fan to help pull the air through the case and out the back.
Ran Prime95 through 6 tests and my CPU temp NEVER went above 53C!