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Worth overclocking? Advice appreciated...

Last response: in Overclocking
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March 25, 2011 9:10:55 PM

Hi Guys,

I apologize in advance as I am sure this has been asked multiple times. I did search through many threads and read the relevant ones as well as the AMD overclocking guides etc.

I have the following setup that I built two weeks ago:

Phenom II 955 BE
Gigabyte GA-880GMA-UD2H
GSkill RipJaws 1600mhz ram (9-9-9-24-2N 1.5V)
Raidmax Case (5x120mm fans)
XFX 5830 DDR5 1GB
Antec 650 PSU
Computer is running on stock heatsink along with the five case fans. Highest temp recorded on stock clock of 3.2Ghz is 52 degrees C

Goals:
My wife mostly uses this desktop to edit photos using Adope PS9 and Videos with Elements. I use it to play Starcraft 2, and for the first time since owning the game (while the computer was at no overclock and ram at lower speed) I was able to play with virtually no lag at Ultra settings... Which made me really happy.
Of course this machine spends probably 70% of it's runtime surfing the web...

Question:
Is it worth it to overclock the CPU given the above? I obviously would like to get the most out of my processor, but I also don't necessaryily have a need for the extra power unless it will be noticeable in photoshop or Starcraft. I was thinking a Mild clock of 3.5-3.6 Ghz would be appropriate... What do ya'll think?

History of what has been done:
I went ahead and set the ram to 1600mhz in the bios as it was running at 1333 on auto. I also changed the timing from the auto setting of 11-11-11-29 1.6V to the SPD of 9-9-9-24 1.5V... Should I set it back to normal? Was I correct in setting the timing to the Manufacturers specs?

I also increased the multiplier to 17.5 and achieved a clock of 3.6Ghz while leaving the Vcore on Auto. I also ran 3DMark and got a score of 16850 but without the full version II don't really know of system stability. But with out AMD cool n' quiet or whatever the computer stayed at that clock even when I wasn't at load... So this is obviously a disadvantage of overclocking, but does it make a difference in the long run.

I also played around with Gigabytes software (Easy Tune 6) and did their Easy Boost. It had the multiplier at 20 and my temps hit 60 which I figured were too high to run normally and I didn't want it to continue on "seeing" what was stable, so I aborted and figured I would clock on my own... But it shows about where my feasible range is on my current setup and with my current cooling.

Cliff notes and Question:
I've tried overclocking, but I am hesitant as to whether the modest increase that I can gain will be significant to the programs I run. Is this the right way to go about overclocking? Is it worth doing to go up to 3.5 or 3.6 Ghz since I believe thats all I can do and stay under 57 degrees C or so??

Thanks for taking the time to read this as I know it's long. Any help or advice offered is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
March 26, 2011 12:21:37 AM

Turn off cool and quiet in your bios. I also have 4 gb gskill rip jaws that are 1600 mhz set at 7-8-7-24-2t. Now do you have the stock cooler? I bought the same cpu (955 be) and have it clocked to 4.2ghz on air with a zalman 9700 cooler. Now for what your doing a 3.6ghz clock is really good. Download coretemp and make sure your max temp does not exceed 63 degrees celcius. Let me know how it goes.
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a b À AMD
a c 241 K Overclocking
March 26, 2011 4:00:04 AM

you try to tighten the back timmingnya, do it step by step until a strict limit on the timing, for example, from setting 11-11-11-29, 10-10-10 Tighten a later test with the IBT (intelburntest Ram test set at Maximum of 20 Loop longest 15 minutes) and if stable Tighten again become 9-10-9-24 so on until he could reach the most stringent timing and maximum, and test again with the IBT.
then you benchmark use Maxxmem2 ( http://www.maxxpi.net ) how the results achieved, strict timing results are sometimes not as we wish.
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March 26, 2011 6:15:30 PM

Ok so if I understand correctly, I should try to get lower timings then the Manufacturer rated ones? It is currently set per G-Skills website at 9-9-9-24 2T and 1.5 V...

When I first built the system and ran it, the Mobo had the ram clocked at 1333 mhz and timing of 11-11-11-29 2T, so I changed it to 1600 mhz and the OEM timing. Should I go lower? Or will it perform at the rated 1600 fine at the stock timings?

As to the overclocking, if I raise the multiplier to get me to 3.6 ghz and assuming my temps are with in-line, should I leave the voltage on auto? And in your opinions, is going up 400 mhz going to net me any gains in photoshop or StarCraft when considering I will have to run the processor at that multiplier and voltage all the time versus letting the mobo auto regulate down to multiplier of 6 and voltage of 1.0 and amp it up to 16 when needed?

Is there anyway to keep the auto regulation so it only goes up to lets say 17.5 under-load and still clocks down to the X6 when not in heavy use and use a lower voltage.
FYI, the system clocks the processor to 1.4V when at a multiplier or 16 right now. At 17 it stays at the same 1.4V all the time... Which I think is the max recommended for the 955 BE right?

Thanks again for the help guys, its much appreciated!
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a b À AMD
a c 241 K Overclocking
March 27, 2011 1:41:34 AM

severel need disabled in bios c1e, cool n quite, spread spectrum.
for ram when you success in 1600 thighen timing to 9-10-9-24 at vdim ( max 1.65?)
in the overclock cpu voltage just follow needed clock. But important always keep temperatur below 60c and alys must test stabillity.
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Best solution

a b À AMD
a b K Overclocking
March 27, 2011 1:51:41 AM

You should turn off the auto-volts and figure out what voltage you actually need for stability. Your CPU will run much cooler that way.

Phenom II can handle 1.55v and 62C. There are two versions of the 955. The newer C3 revision overclocks better and takes less voltage to reach the same clock as C2 version. Also consider overclocking your memory controller (CPU-NB).

Photoshop and Starcraft are both CPU intensive, so any little bit helps.

You can create your own custom "cool and quiet" settings with PhenomMSRTweaker, that way you aren't using excess power when just reading email.
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March 27, 2011 3:21:49 AM

The higher you go (IE): 1600/1800 etc you want to drop timings (1600= 9-9-9) 1800=10-10-10. If you drop you ram to 1333 you can tighten timings (1333= 7-7-7. Also lower mhz 1333 you can drop your voltage to your ram 1.5 1.45 etc. I have a set that is rated 1600MHZ @ 7-8-7-24-2T. If yours are rated @ 9-9-9 then run them at that@ 1600MHZ. You can also try 8-8-8-2T or 9-9-9-1T
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March 27, 2011 9:59:47 PM

Wow, I still have a lot to learn... Thanks again for all the replies. If I can indeed made my own cool n' quiet settings that might be idle as I see that being the best solution...

So a few more questions,
1. When setting my voltage is it correct to simply set the multiplier and the voltage, then exit and save the bios to immediately return to the bios upon reboot to look at CPU health and current voltage? Is that the voltage that the MOBO is giving the CPU with my current "overclock". Then I just continue to turn that down until I can no longer boot? Or is it best to change voltage and then run CPUz through the OS (windows 7 64 bit btw) to get a voltage there?

2. The Phenom MSRTweaker, after I download, are there any special precautions that I need to stick to, to ensure the CPU will maintain health?

3. It sounds like the timing I have my ram at is ok. I did run Memx and got the following.
Copy=11378 Read=8855 Write=6779 and a latency of 64.7ns. Unfortunately I don't know enough to really interpret most of those... It looks like the lower your timings are the better the performance, correct? What is the difference between 1T and 2T?

Thanks so much for the help!
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a b À AMD
a b K Overclocking
March 28, 2011 12:25:51 AM

When overclocking (or undervolting), follow these guidelines:

- Tune in BIOS or Software (if you are feeling lucky)
- Benchmark your new settings
- Stress Test your settings
- Monitor your temperatures
- Long term regular usage will determine if you are indeed stable

AMD Overdrive and a few other programs can do all of these steps, but individual programs work better.

PhenomMSRTweaker is a good program, but has it's own quirks. It's really for advanced users, but I think it's exactly what you were looking for. As far as precautions, you can only damage your hardware by heat and voltage. Excess heat will degrade your processor over time until it dies, while excess voltage will likely pop a mosfet or capacitor, and do it quite quickly. Undervolting with PMT will not damage your hardware, but you need to do the standard stability checks above. With my Phenom II 955 I was able to use a low power setting of 2500MHZ @0.9625v for some super cool, low wattage fun, while keeping a 4GHZ overclock for my high power setting.
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March 28, 2011 4:46:10 AM

^... Set your specs, bump 1 number at a time and run your stress test. Make sure max temp of your CPU doesn't reach higher than 63 degrees Celsius.
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March 28, 2011 2:20:36 PM

So when looking at the voltage. Should I simply raise the clock to where I want to be (since I believe that I want around 3.6ghz and I know that I am stable at 1.4V) and then lower the voltage little at a time until it won't boot into the OS?

Then raise it to the step above and run the stability test correct?

After I have found a stable voltage and overclock, I can then use Phenom MSITweaker to gain the Cool n' Quiet functionality back? I did read up on the tweaker software and it seems easy enough (set your P0 and P1, when in balanced mode, the software allows the processor to be ran at 6.0 multiplier and your overclock multiplier... Correct?), my question is in regards to the voltage.

Will P0 (performance) use the bios set voltage for the overclock? and the P1 will use what voltage for the underclock?

Thanks again for all the help, I think I about have a handle on this...
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a b À AMD
a b K Overclocking
March 28, 2011 6:01:54 PM

Yeah man, just like that. With PMT you can change your low power (P1) and high power (P0) clock to anything you want. I used a low power multiplier of 12.5 with 0.9625v. You just need to stability test your low power setting just like you would your overclock.
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March 29, 2011 1:41:35 AM

Same difference...LOL. I usually start LOW until it boots, then run tests. everytime I get a shutdown I UP the V-Core one. But either way man, you have it! Good luck!!!
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March 30, 2011 12:11:46 AM

Thanks again guys! Really appreciate the help!

Cheers!
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March 30, 2011 12:15:30 AM

Best answer selected by teedoff00.
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