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How much do I need to OC my Q9550 to avoid bottleneck?

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December 7, 2009 6:20:57 PM

Hey guys. I am currently running three GTX 260 core 216's in tri sli and I was wondering if I would see a drastic performance increase from OC'ing my Q9550 to around 3.8-4.0GHz up from my current OC of 3.4GHz. I do plan on getting a core i7 and SSD drive soon but i just spent a bunch on my vacation so that has to wait (Totally worth it though. Chacala, Mexico is awesome).

More about : q9550 avoid bottleneck

a c 100 à CPUs
December 7, 2009 7:44:49 PM

Even with just 2 260GTXs going from 3.4 to 3.8-4.0GHZ is going to be a nice increase for you much less 3 260s, what kind of gains are you seeing now between 2 260s and 3 260s at your present Q9550 OC?

My Specs;
Q9550 @ 3.83G w Xigmatek S1283 cooler
ASUS Striker II Extreme M/B
4G 2 x 2G DDR3 Patriot Viper 16,000/2000mhz memory
2 MSI 260GTX 216SP in SLI
2 500G Seagate HDDs one running WinXP Pro 32bit one running Vista Home Premium 64bit they are power switch isolated.
Creative X-FI Extreme Gamer Fatal1ty Pro Soundcard
Silverstone OP1000W P/S
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December 7, 2009 8:08:47 PM

I havent benchmarked the system yet. I've just been playing my usual games and seeing how they run. I have noticed that gameplay is smoother with the mild OC of 3.4GHz. I didnt mess with any voltages, all i did was up the FSB from 333 to 400 to achieve 3400MHZ with the 8.5 multiplier. I tried hitting 3.6 by upping the FSB to 424 and windows booted but i got the BSOD after about 30 minutes of Crysis. My chip is the newer E0 stepping so I know it should OC well but I'm hesitant to change voltages unless I can get a pretty significant FPS increase. My cooling is pretty decent. I have a Cooler Master HAF 932 Case and a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus CPU Cooler. Could u please send me the BIOS settings you used to achieve 3.83GHz? How are your temps by the way?
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a c 100 à CPUs
December 7, 2009 9:55:38 PM

What M/B are you using?
My BIOS settings may not help you at all for various reasons being different M/B, different CPU stepping mine is C1, takes more voltage for my stepping than yours does, and possibly different memory.

My highest temps are 62c in Prime95.

It would help if you list your full specs.
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December 7, 2009 10:55:24 PM

My Specs:
Q9550(E0) @ 3.4G w/ CM Hyper 212 Plus cooler
XFX 780i 3-Way SLI Motherboard
4 GB DDR2 1066 G.Skill memory
3x GTX 260 Core 216's in Tri SLI
Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB HDD
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
OCZ GameXStream 1010 Watt PSU

CPU-Z shows my current voltage at 1.296. Is this considered High for an OC of 3.4GHz? How high could i safely bump it up while keeping temps low. Currently in Prime 95 blend after 30 minutes my highest temps were 59c.
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a c 100 à CPUs
December 8, 2009 10:50:13 AM

I have a friend running a Q9550 with the EO stepping, I'll PM him a link to this post, he'll be better suited to relay his Vcore settings since he's running the same stepping as you.
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a b à CPUs
December 8, 2009 1:42:54 PM

ryan2258 said:
My Specs:
Q9550(E0) @ 3.4G w/ CM Hyper 212 Plus cooler
XFX 780i 3-Way SLI Motherboard
4 GB DDR2 1066 G.Skill memory
3x GTX 260 Core 216's in Tri SLI
Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB HDD
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
OCZ GameXStream 1010 Watt PSU

CPU-Z shows my current voltage at 1.296. Is this considered High for an OC of 3.4GHz? How high could i safely bump it up while keeping temps low. Currently in Prime 95 blend after 30 minutes my highest temps were 59c.


I have a EO 9550 on a M/BD that uses DDR3 ram so that may have an effect on your OC thou not sure about that. Any way heres a link to show what I have been running at for about 2 months now.

http://i435.photobucket.com/albums/qq79/arthurh/s2.jpg

My idle Vc is 1.408 thou in CMOS I have it set to 1.38750 V. The Vc you see in my link is while under load called Vdroop and is normal and exspected. I OC with XP and then use Vista to play FSX, my main game of choice, thou I do play FPS as well.

I personally would set my Vc as high as 1.45 in CMOS but try to keep it as low as possible. I also W/C my CPU and NB with lower than ambient temp water, ~ 60-65C. My load temps are 48C on highest core.

The highest temp set by Intel for this CPU is 71.4C but I would not run my CPU near that temp. I think the temp your reporting for your OC is well with in specs so no problem. Same with your Vc. I'm sure your well aware that the higher your Vc and FSB the higher your CPU temps will be.

Just thought I'd tell you what my Vc was at FSB of 1828/3.88GHZ. 1.2625 Vc. By the time I had reached FSB of 1880/3.99GHZ my Vc was 1.31250. Those are as set in CMOS.

So....since you are at 59C under load now you have some head room for a higher OC. Since every system is different I would not be able to say how high you could go before reaching the mid 60s under load, which is as high as I would dare to go and exspect any long time use of my CPU.

Now since you got BSOD in Crysis you need to raise that Vc at the very least to get that CPU stable. Then run P95 to make sure your temps are not too high. I am going to say something that may provoke controversy here but....

Even thou P95 has shown me that at 100% CPU usage I get a 44C load temp I have yet to play a game or personally run a program that used all 4 cores 100% producing that 44C load temp. I use Core Temp to check my temps and Probe II which is a monitoring utility that came with my ASUS M/BD. The latter shows voltages and temps. The CPU temp it shows is the average of all cores running which is much lower than what a single core may see.

So yes there is a margin that you might OC too that would put you at 71C with P95 but in real life useage it would not get that high. That being said remember that I do not use that measure to run my OCs. I have "played" with that method but only for very short time periods and made sure I had CPU Thermo Protect enabled in CMOS which is always enabled but in my haste I may have disabled it. Just make sure it is always enabled.

One more note to the above. Have you ever had your PC lock up on you? I know I certainly have. Do you know what is going on with your CPU in that state? I happened to have Task Manager running when I got a lock up and guess what it showed just for a split second before the lock-up, 100% CPU usage. I had the Performance tab clicked and was getting ready to check some extreme OC I had been working on and all of a sudden the graphs went max concurrent with the lock-up. Don't know what the temps are because you can not monitor them with a locked up PC. BUT...in that state I assume that if my CPU is running at max then so are my temps. So in MHO that calls for an instant shut down at PSU.

One final thing to remember is that as OCers we take on the responsibility of what we destroy in our efforts to get a little more out of our PC than what its specs are. There is no guaranty that once you shut down your PC it will start up again.

Good luck and happy Oc'n. :D 
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December 9, 2009 4:46:27 PM

Thank u so much for all the great info Arthur. This is my first time overclocking so every bit helps. I'm really trying to read as much as I can so I dont accidentally mess something up. I have a 30" Dell 3008WFP monitor thats native resolution is 2560x1600 and I've read that higher resolutions benefit greatly from overclocking. Do I need to OC my video cards as well or will this just add extra heat to my system considering that my CPU is most likely bottlenecking them at their stock speeds.
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December 10, 2009 12:54:05 AM

ryan2258 said:
Thank u so much for all the great info Arthur. This is my first time overclocking so every bit helps. I'm really trying to read as much as I can so I dont accidentally mess something up. I have a 30" Dell 3008WFP monitor thats native resolution is 2560x1600 and I've read that higher resolutions benefit greatly from overclocking. Do I need to OC my video cards as well or will this just add extra heat to my system considering that my CPU is most likely bottlenecking them at their stock speeds.



Your welcome. :) 

You have a nice set up there my friend. I believe that the third 260 only is used as a physics card leaving the other 2 running in SLI even thou they are all three connected.

Your resolution is playable by the power and combined bandwidth of the memory of your graphics cards in SLI. Thou 1 of those 260s might be able to play at lower settings at your resolution.

I do not think that your CPU is bottle-necking those 260s. Most tests of graphics cards are run no higher than 1920 X 1200 because most people do not have a 30" monitor. I have a 28" monitor and its native resolution is 1920 X 1200, therefore those tests have a real measuring stick for me. That being said, your games will play better with a higher clocked CPU, especially those that are CPU dependent.

If I were in your situation I would try for the highest stable OC on that CPU you can achieve. With good air cooling you should be able to get to 3.83GHZ easily. Well, maybe not that easy but achievable at least.

Like 4ryan6 said, if you can get that CPU at 3.8GHZ you will notice a pretty good increase in FPS with your games. If after that you feel you need more graphics power then maybe a GPU OC will be in order. But I have to tell you in the long run a better set of graphic cards will serve you better IMHO.

Question...., how many amps and 12V rails does your PSU have? I did not see a 1010W OCZ PSU thou that does not mean they do not make one. :) 

nVida suggests a 1200W PSU for 3 260s is why I ask.
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a c 100 à CPUs
December 10, 2009 3:28:30 AM

ryan2258 said:
Do I need to OC my video cards as well or will this just add extra heat to my system considering that my CPU is most likely bottlenecking them at their stock speeds.



With your power supply, I'd say no, to overclocking the video cards, you shouldn't need to do it and could possibly overload it, you're already running one card from an adapter anyway, according to your P/S specs you have 4 6pin PCI-E.



http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/memory/ocz_gamexstream_power_supply_1010w-eol
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a b à CPUs
December 10, 2009 12:26:38 PM

4Ryan6 said:
With your power supply, I'd say no, to overclocking the video cards, you shouldn't need to do it and could possibly overload it, you're already running one card from an adapter anyway, according to your P/S specs you have 4 6pin PCI-E.



http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/memory/ocz_gamexstream_power_supply_1010w-eol


Dang man I completely missed that! Thanks for pointing that out. I think I must have miss-spelled it 'cause I did not see it.:(  To the OP 4ryan6 is right on here. ;) 
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