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Need advice temporaryily really overclock a RUNNING system

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May 18, 2010 10:39:27 AM

I am building a PC that will run nonstop 24/7 constantly computing. Needs to be rock solid.

I want to set the 24/7 performance/ heat production/ noise level as low as possible. Perhaps even underclocking or undervolting the system a little.
But when I am also doing other things on the PC (converting video, compressing data) I want to be able to set performance temporarily really high and afterwards back to a low 24/7 mode: WITHOUT EVER REBOOTING.

I am thinking about a i7-930 processor in a Gigabyte X58A-UD7 or a Asus P6X58D motherboard.
Both Gigabyte and Asus promote windows based overclocking utilities. The question is HOW DOES IT WORK IN REAL LIFE. Has anyone experience withe either boards or utilities?

Planning to use windows vista or windows 7 32 bit version (because of software / driver compatibility)

I am planning on using the following system components:
Intel® Core™ i7-930 Processor
Asus P6X58D-E or Asus P6X58D premium (better chipset cooling because of extra heatpipe?)
or
Gigabyte X58A-UD7
Zalman Z-Machine LQ-1000 watercooling case (for the processor and maybe MB chipset)
Intel X25M G2 Postville, MLC-Chips, 34nm
Seagate barracude XT 2TB for storage.
Plextor PX-880SA DVD recorder
Asus BRAVO 220 SILENT/DI/1GD2(LP) fanless graphics card = quiet with not too high power consumption and hopefully decent performance.
Zalman ZM600-HP power supply (hopefully a quiet high quality powersupply)
Kingston HyperX 3GB DDR3-1866 Tri-Kit = hopefully a quality kit allowing for overclocking without heat problems.

I might add a second monitor later on just for office applications with another (cheap) fanless graphic card consuming below 19 watts.

Any opinion is greatly appreciated.
May 18, 2010 2:53:35 PM

Alright. I'd pick asus premium if you can afford. then, LC is ok but. Are you sure you need ssd? You want it for 24/7 for how long? two years? Does anyone know how time affects sdds for real? no, we do not. I'd pick few caviar drives in raid1 config. it will definetely be safer. yes, plextor is the best you can get. about gpu, im not a fan of nvidia. but cant really think of anything that would do better than this one. and your psu. Definetely not zalman. they're not best quality. Seasonic, Antec are the best you can get. Corsair, Silverstone are good also. And if you're not a millionaire Chieftec is very good either, but only CFT- and GPS- series. APS has lower quality components. The rest is ok. It's just that if you want it rock solid, I wouldnt even consider OC. It might be stable but will shorten life of your rig. I think you'll be totally fine with those. Goodluck.
Oh, I forgot about that windows based oc. It works but not always. The best thing for you, if you want to oc, is to set in bios something like automatic oc. Can't remember the name right now. It overclocks your pc when it needs it. Max is something around 25% I guess. But before you do so, oc cpu to 25% and see if it's stable. If now, add more voltage and when you know what voltage you need, set it and then you can turn automatic oc.
May 19, 2010 12:17:31 PM

Thanks szymek,
I looked into the SSD and indeed long term random write performance of a velociraptor seems better than any SSD (apart from the noise). I ran drives in mirroring for years for safety and once it helped alot. I am thinking more of automated data copy on second HDD and regular backups now. I looked into the PSU and definately will buy another. Do you think Enermax is any good (seem to be ultra silent)? Otherwise I am thinking about Seasonic or Antec.

In 24/7 operation I am thinking on standard speed or even underclocking for unattended rock solid performance even during vacations.
When I am at the PC and overclock manually I still want a solid system but am more in control of what happens.

Most important question is OC on a running system. Can you elaborate a bit more on the windows based OC "It works but not always well"?
Does this function work best on Gigabyte or Asus boards?

Also does this automated overclock work well?
Related resources
May 19, 2010 5:32:01 PM

Enermax is not built of good parts. I'd go with Seasonic, Antec, Corsair and if you cannot afford, Chieftec.
OC on a running system is not the best option for you, I've done it on Gigabyte boards, it sometimes hangs when doing so. Usually you have to do it by a small steps everytime cause one big causes the system to hang. And you cannot control every single thing as you can do in bios. But you would have to test your board with Easytune 6 if you'll have gigabyte mb and then you'd know what to do.
Automatic OC works. That's what I know. It works. And the only changing thing is FSB, so you can set the rest of setting according to the highest FSB value and that should work well.
About Gigabyte vs Asus thing. I prefer Gigabyte to Asus. It's just that layout of MB and bios are easier for me to use. I've never experienced any problems with Gigabyte mbs, they are rock solid. However Asus boards are said and usually are better overclockers. I tell you what, pick a good(I mean expensive) gigabyte board. It may not have more power phases than asuss' board but they have better capacitor and ferrite core in other stuff(dont remember english name.) What chasis are you going to use?
May 19, 2010 6:32:18 PM

I mentioned the Enermax because on silentpcreview they spoke very highly about the Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500W as being their best choice of quality and silent PSU.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Recommended_PSUs
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Enermax_Modu87_500W

Guess It will be a seasonic or antec then, which are cheaper over here than Enermax or the zalman. Better quality and cheaper is wat everyone wants I guess.

I guess by chassis you mean PC case?
I plan to use the Zalman Z-Machine LQ-1000 a extremely thick case with watercooling built in, similar to the Resurator XT. Not the best watercooling but conveniently built into a sturdy case.
http://www.zalman.com/ENG/product/Product_Read.asp?idx=...
May 19, 2010 6:36:30 PM

Does anyone have hands on comparison knowledge of
- automatic overclock
or
- windows overclock programs
options between Asus (P6X58D-E or P6X58D Premium) and Gigabyte (X58A-UD7)
May 19, 2010 8:43:55 PM

I just read that review you mentioned and I am impressed. Looks pretty good. But still I wouldn't rely on such a brand if your doing 24/7. That case looks perfect. You'll be much happier man when you finally get this rig to work.
Take that gigabyte board. Take a look at this:
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=24...
cooling looks impressive and you can attach LQ right out of the box. 24 phases, Easytune 6 and get going. Tell you what, I was ocing a cpu on a running system with three different gigabyte boards. first it was based on nforce4 ultra chipset. Could oc through bios(bug which didnt let me boot up even with 10% OC) and ocing in windows could let me go up to 35%. Worked good but had to do 100mhz steps. Then I was ocing Pentium D 920 on a 945 board(i still use it though). CPU was crappy and didnt oc at all. But I could undervolt it down to 1v stable. Then e8500 on a p45 board. Worked good. But didn't achieve as much as through bios. You will have to work out settings that will work for you. That's it. Good luck.
May 19, 2010 11:12:14 PM

The review you mention says the waterblock on the gigabyte board is copper. That would be bad as the rest is aluminium and I read that mixing metals in a water loop is not advisable. For the rest it seems a good board.

The IDE port on the gigabyte is nice though and would perhaps allow me to reuse my old plextor DVD writer.

Seems as if your experience is that overclocking from windows works but can be a bit rough compared to bios overclocking.
!