Cooling needs to Overclock Intel i5 661 to 4.0GHz?

I have been toying around with overclocking my computer, but have always reverted back to stock speeds after a few minutes because I am only using the fan that originally came with my CPU for cooling. I have an Intel i5 661 @3.33 GHz, which other's have reliably brought up to 4.0GHz. I got up to that speed long enough to run benchmarking with PassMark. Before I put more stress on the system to evaluate my configuration, I would like to upgrade my cooling to something that would allow me to run at a high clock speed for an extended period of time.

A special consideration for my particular rig is that it is in an Antec Fusion Black HTPC case that doesn't offer a lot of room. A CPU fan would have to have a maximum height of 5", and any water cooling parts would have to fit inside an area about 1.5x the size of a CD-ROM bay on the inside, or on the outside. Please let me know if that is unrealistic.

Here is my CPU-Z. Any thoughts unrelated to cooling are also greatly appreciated.

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  1. What temperatures were you getting with your current heatsink?

    Don't have any suggestions for new heatsinks really, as my usual recommendations are enormous, but I will say that it is possible to mount a radiator externally if you want to go with liquid cooling.
  2. To answer your question I played Crysis Warhead for about 30 minutes while Real Temp GT was running. I know hours of Prime95 would be ideal, but I don't want to serious stress my system without a serious cooling solution. My temperatures stayed ~60C with a high of 72C.

    I thought I would add some detailed specifications:

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  3. I love the 32nm cpu's. They run cool. Do not worry too much about damaging your cpu from heat. It will throttle itself if it gets too hot. In a HTPC case you will need a low profile cooler. I suggest the Scythe big shuriken:

    Water cooling defeats the purpose of a small form factor case, and the cooling benefits are marginal. Noise will also be an issue. Almost any oem cooler with a 120mm fan will be much better than stock and give you a reasonable stable overclock.
  4. Thanks :). I ran the PassMark BurnIn Max Heat test and my temperatures went up to 85C after about 20 minutes. How hot is too hot?
  5. Best answer
    jsphdickens said:
    Thanks :). I ran the PassMark BurnIn Max Heat test and my temperatures went up to 85C after about 20 minutes. How hot is too hot?

    I think >75c is too hot.

    Run prime95 and select the option to check for rounding errors. When the overclock starts to fail, you will see rounding errors. If you run clean, I think you are good to go for normal work. While running the test, use cpu-z to verify that your multiplier and clock rate is not being reduced to protect the cpu from itself.
  6. Best answer selected by jsphdickens.
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