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Overclock with software, Catalyst, Fusion, Overdrive?

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December 25, 2011 11:01:56 PM

Sorry for the noob questions but I was wondering whats the best way to overclock an older AMD platform to get the best from Skyrim? I currently have all three applications installed: Catalyst 11.12, AMD Overdrive and Fusion installed. Hardware: Phenom II X4 955 BE, HD 5870 1 GB, ASUS Crosshair II (AMD 790FX/SB750 ), 8GB DDR3-1600, all watercooled, running at 1920 x 1200 resolutions. I didn't feel the need to overclock for; Elder Scrolls, Rome TW, Medieval TW. But now I would like to crisp up Skyrim. I've read the older performance tuning guide for the Dragon platform, but I was hoping to stay with the auto clocking features from the driver software.

As I understand, using Fusion profiles allows one to shut-off/quit unneeded software services and to tweak power settings on the cores of the chip via the profiles page. It also allows for up-clocking of cores and down- clocking of cores to even out the thermal profile. The profiles are engaged when one loads up the executable, and thus this software needs to be running in the background. (It has also gone through a number of revisions over the years.)

As I understand it Overdrive allows for easy adjustment of BIOS settings, overclocking CPU, memory timings, and voltage adjustments. It also can perform a self autoclock and test the current overclock settings.

Again as I understand it the Catalyst driver can overclock the GPU, via the auto overclock testing. But it also seems to affect the CPU overclocking too.

Currently I am using only Fusion, with a profile to boost three cores and down-clock the fourth. I have enabled GPU overclocking via Catalyst. Cool 'n quiet is enabled in BIOS, no crashes from Skyrim after the most recent update (4GB patch) playing with ultra settings and wider 90-degree FOV.

Questions: Do I need to have both Overdrive and Fusion running in the background to get the boost in performance? Overclocked CPU and GPU? Or is Fusion all that is necessary? It's not clear to me.
Do I need to allow both programs to perform their auto-clock routines to completion? It seems it will take an hour or so.
Is using Fusion the best way to overclock on demand? No need for overclocks when browsing the web or working.

If I am confused in my understanding of these programs please set me straight, and also suggest a better way to overclock. Thank you for reading this long winded post.
December 26, 2011 11:08:04 PM

Thanks for the link to the guide. I printed it but was hoping software had improved over the last two years. For example, the latest version of overdrive finally showed the correct temps for my board, not zero. But it looks like using the BIOS is still the best route to CPU over-clocking. Now about the video card, should one still use the Catalysts auto-clock?
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December 26, 2011 11:15:38 PM

I'd suggest use MSI Afterburner, even, if your GPU isn't MSI or nVidia the software works excellent and give you a lot of options and control over your GPU.
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