I7 920 4GHz overclock or 3.6GHz?

Hi, the wealth of information of Tom's is always fabulous so I figured I would ask my question here.

I have an i7 920 over-clocked to 4.0GHz (stable Prime95). My memory speed is currently running at 1600MHz. My question is as follows: is it better or faster to run my processor at a lower 3.6GHz with an effective 1800MHz memory Speed (stable Prime95) or leave it at its current state? I have 12GB of G.Skill ram, rated for 2100MHz.

Or maybe there is a way to get a stable 2000MHz clock speed out of my ram that I am unfamiliar with at 4.0GHz. I'm not newb to building computers, but am still a newb at over-clocking in comparison to many of you.

Any ideas or educated answers would be fabulous!


System Specs:
Windows 7 64bit
Asus P6X58D Premium
i7 920 OC'd 4.0GHz.
12GB G.Skill Ram
Evga 470 x2 SLI
Two Vertex 2 HDD
Creative Titanium
7 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Did you ever figure this out? I am curious as to what the results were between the two. I also would ask what you were using to cool your CPU? I have a i7 902 d0. I am running a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus CPU Cooler, with an addition pull fan. I also did a fair amount of sanding, but not nearly what I probably should have done. No mirror finish. I also have the new Silverstone Fortress ft02, case... Amazing air flow. With no voltage changes I'm able to run 3.64GHz.... with HT and SS, though to do it ram is only running at about 1400MHz. Temp is about 38-42C, if I play a game its about 48-52c, but when I run prime 95 for 20min to an hour it started to get up to 80-83c... So I shut it down. Any thoughts or pro tips?
  2. Yes, I hear you... I am in the same boat as far as temperature goes. I've noticed my games load time is significantly faster with the higher cpu speed. I'm a Counter Strike fanatic, along with enjoying some BF3 and graphic intensive games. What speed is your ram rated for??

    I think you will notice a difference bringing the CPU up in speed if your ram can handle it.

    Keep in mind, these systems are blazing fast at these speeds and it is like splitting hairs at times when comparing ram speed vs. cpu speed.
  3. I have this Ram(Corsair 6 GB PC3-12800 1600MHz - CMX6GX3M3A1600C9)< I think it's pretty crappy. This might be one of my limiting features... what do you think?
  4. Yes, I would say this may be a limiting factor for you. I always try to go for high end ram if I can get the coin to do it. I didn't change any voltage on mine either. Sometimes it is just the chip you get too.
  5. Well I can't complain too much.. I paid 27 dollars for heatsink with extra fan, and got 1000MHz extra out of it... Runs stable in every day activities... I might look more into it if I feel I need the extra boost. Right now my gating factor more than anything are my video cards. I've got 2x 6870s in crossfire. My CPU is not even taxed when I play games % wise.
  6. Best answer
    2000MHz is unlikely. The base memory controller clock speed integrated into the cpu is 1066MHz. I had a hell of a time getting 1866MHz to run stable. After complaining to Patriot they told me a min of 1.6V qpi/vtt is required(intel max on spec sheet is 1.355V) and even with a red hot qpi voltage a lot of people have complained that they were only able to hit 1800MHz stable. In regards to better performance with either faster RAM or faster CPU, I say you will not really notice either. I had the i7 920 D0 revision before I bought my current i7 965EE. i was doing a lot of 3dmark11 tests and once I hit my max GPU overclock I started playing with RAM and CPU to try to squeeze the best score I could out of my setup. Increasing my RAM from 1600MHz to 1866MHz and my cpu from 4 to 4.2 only gave me an additional 150 on top of my score of 7400. And you would still have to run at least 5 tests and average them because the score was never exaclty the same. Overclocking my GPU from 725MHz to 850MHz and the onboard memory from 1800MHz to 2000MHz took my score from approx 6100 up to 7400. This was a more noticable difference than overclokcing the CPU and RAM. I can run my 17 965 at a stable 4.13 but I don't simply because the performance gain is so small that it is really just for bragging rights more than anything. At 3.86GHz i only run 72degrees running prime95 and I leave my RAM at 1866GHz just because I like seeing a higher number than 1600MHz. I really don't notice any difference in performance. I am guessing at 4GHz you are running in the green as far as your voltages go but you are probably running at least 80 degrees with water cooling on prime95. I suspect another bump up to 4.2GHz means you will be running pretty hot. I noticed on my i7 920 I could run at 4GHz at approx 80 give or take one degree but once I went to 4.2 my temps would approach 90. I ended up running a full time overclock of 3.8 simply because the temps were in the mid to low 70's which are much closer to the stock 68.1 degrees that intel specs these chips to run under full load. What exactly are your hdd's? A good sata 3 ssd or even just sata3 high rpm hdd will give you a noticable increase in load times.
  7. Best answer selected by terracious.
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