In short, my problem is that I cannot OC in BIOS while I can using the Easy Tune 6 tool.
Now let me elaborate.
I have recently got a HD 5870 instead of my old 5770 and I decided to OC my Q8200 a bit in hope for some performance gains.
My stock clocks were 7x333.
Thing is, BIOS will only let me set the FSB at 341 max. If I just raise it to 342, the system fails to boot and automatically re-boots after a few seconds just to reset my BIOS overclocking settings to default (only the OC settings are restored, everything else, including voltage, remains at the levels I set myself). Setting PCI to 100 and raising voltage doesn't help.
Now if I OC using the Easy Tune 6, I can easily exceed the 341 and I don't experience system instability.
I have just reached bus speed 400Mhz, which multiplied by 7, gives me the total of 2,8 Mhz. 20 tests run in Prime95 when the bus speed was set to 380Mhz (2,66 in total) revealed no errors or warnings. When I set 400 the system froze so I raised voltage to 1,275 (from the original 1,225). Again, the system froze when running Prime95 so I raised it further, to 1,300. In the 15 Prime95 tests that I have run so far the max CPU temp (reached during test 4) has been 50 °C (122 °F), 72 °C (162 °F) for core one. The other cores are a bit cooler. No errors or warnings so far. The only OC BIOS alteration before I started the Easy Tune overclocking had been setting the FSB:RAM ratio to 2.0 (which shows as 1:1 in CPU-Z).
My specs at the moment:
QuadCore Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200, 2800 MHz (7 x 400) (Stock: 2333)
4096 MB (DDR2-800 DDR2 SDRAM)
2 GB DDR2-800 DDR2 SDRAM (5-5-5-18 @ 400 MHz) (4-4-4-12 @ 266 MHz) (3-3-3-9 @ 200 MHz)
2 GB DDR2-800 DDR2 SDRAM (5-5-5-18 @ 400 MHz) (4-4-4-12 @ 266 MHz) (3-3-3-9 @ 200 MHz)
XFX HD 5870 (stock clocks)
PSU: 650W Tacens
Gigabyte GA-G31M-S2L (2 PCI, 1 PCI-E x1, 1 PCI-E x16, 2 DDR2 DIMM, Audio, Video, Gigabit LAN)
My BIOS is the newest non-beta version available.
yeah yeah I do know this mobo is not designed for OC but I want to give it a try anyway. So please, spare me the "stick that mobo up your ***" comments.
Why is it so that I can OC using Easy Tune just fine and my BIOS won't let me do so? Any ideas?
After OCing in ET6, a couple things I'd look at:
Is CPU-Z reporting everything correctly that you 'set' in ET and 2) Does the BIOS reflect the changes that ET made to it? ET6 should change BIOS values (from Windows environment) thus they should show on a reboot. If these aren't matching, I'd say that ET is failing so that it looks like it's OCing, though it's not. I had a Q8200 and it was a pain to OC, but I did succeed to get to 3.01GHz but can't remember what voltage and such I used. Any increase in a 8200 is a success.
I hear other people have managed to get 3 Ghz on Q2000 too.
CPU-Z is reporting correctly. However, no changes are visible in BIOS. Also ET6 doesn't load the settings automatically (although I have enabled the auto-load option) on start-up. I have to load the OC settings manually.
The gain is tangible as I have run some 3dmark 11 tests and when the Q8200 is OCed to 2,8 my score is 300 points higher than with stock clocks. Also the CPU temps strike up so the OC seems to be working.
When you go to FSB of 342 in the BIOS, do you make any changes to voltages or RAM or PCI? Have you tried 343, 344, and a little past the dreaded 342? I know when I got mine to 3.01GHz, I had to set the RAM frequency and set the voltage (It was like 1.725 or something in that neighborhood). When I left those options to Auto, Mine failed to boot. It took days to set the FSB, try RAM, reboot, fail, set FSB, try voltage, reboot, fail. You need to be very systematic about it and keep an Excel spreadsheet or something with all the values you are trying so you don't get flustered. The 8200 is hard enough to OC without forgetting what values you already tried!
For why ET6 can do it in the Windows environment but the same settings don't work in BIOS or why it's not saving the settings, I'm at a loss. After changing them in ET6, you can try firing up CPU-Z and write down what it's reporting for voltage, RAM, frequencies, anything else you can find! If it doesn't report everything you need, try a different monitor (I use PCWizard currently, but have also tried Sandra, HWMonitor and Everest in my attempt to OC). My problem was the voltage fluctuations, had to lock it to a specific range.
I'm not EXACTLY sure the settings on your board, I did my OC on an ASUS P5Q3, but I would think if it has options for voltages and bus speeds, then they should be able to be adjusted accordingly. Good luck, post any other probs you run into...
Side note, you have read the Sticky tutorials on OCing and the such, right?
Thank you for trying to help me out here Scottie. I really appreciate it.
Ok so here is an update... I have suspicions that the reason I can't see the ET6 settings in BIOS is that BIOS resets all the settings whenever I turn my PC off/reboot, which may be the result of improper OC (I got my first BSOD today). I have been told that ET6 should load the settings automatically upon start-up but it doesn't. Apparently, although I haven't been experiencing system instability in the Windows environment (work, gaming, Prime95 testing) since I reached the 2,8Ghz using ET6, the system isn't stable at all.
This is the first OC I have ever attempted so I might be doing something wrong. I have read through a lot of theory but I hear the best way to learn OC is to actually practise (provided that the basics are known and some precautions are taken).
When you go to FSB of 342 in the BIOS, do you make any changes to voltages or RAM or PCI? Have you tried 343, 344, and a little past the dreaded 342?
Yeah, that's exactly what I did. The max I reached was 341 (voltage 1.8150, which is the lower limit for Q8200's VID). And everything seemed fine. So I set it to 350. It wouldn't boot so I kept raising voltage, gradually, until I reached like 1.2250 (which took a lot of saving-exiting-trying to reboot). Then I lowered FSB to 342, just to see if that would work, nothing. I tried a wide spectrum of voltages for the 342 (finally, when I reached 1.3-something, I gave up and decided to give ET6 a try.
I tried not to leave any option set to AUTO (PCI - 100; FSB:RAM ratio - 2.0 and the RAM timings as suggested by the manufacturer). Still nothing. I have seen a youtube tutorial in which a bloke is OCing a Q9300 on exactly the same mobo (I don't know about BIOS version, mine is the newest non-beta). I followed every single step and the system still failed to boot.
At the moment I am running stock clocks (btw unistalling/removing ET6 was a challenge) but I am still hoping to OC the bloody Q8200 using BIOS. Thing is, I seem to be doing everything in accordance with the tutorials I have read. My Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 kept the CPU at 50 °C (122 °F) max when stressed to 100% GPU load at 2,8. The 650W PSU should handle some non-extreme OC. The mobo is poor, I do realise that, but I have read/watched reports of people successfully OCing their quads using the same board.
I know I am an amateur and the problem may be me but I am still hoping to succeed.
I seem to have found the culprit. It is the PCI-E frequency. My mobo does not have a PCI-E frequency regulation independent from the FSB freq.
Now in the OC tutorials I have read, to leave the PCI-E freq at stock value was always a highlighted remark (also to never let the MB contol it as leaving it on AUTO when OCing could get the freq to rise even to 130, which would result in system instability).
Anyway, I was experimenting with C1, HPET, and other BIOS options just to find out that when I set the PCI-E freq to 101, I finally managed to go past the "dreaded 342". Unfortunately, 101 PCI-E freq only allowed for going to FSB of 344. 345 and the system failed to boot. So I raised the PCI-E freq to 102, which allowed for an FSB increase up to 347, which isn't much really.
To reach the desirable fsb of 400, I would probably have to set the PCI-E freq to around 120, which I know I mustn't do.
Various OC tutorials claim that increasing the PCI-E freq may result in system instability, GPU failures (also, it is believed to decrease the video card's lifespan) or even burning the graphic card. I would hate it if I damaged my 5870 in the process so now I am seriously considering abandoning my OC plans.
At this point, I would like to ask two further questions:
1. How much more can I increase the PCI-E freq without having to worry about saying good bye to my graphics card? What is the safe max limit?
2. Is there any Windows 7 software that provides info on what the current PCI-E frequency is (in case I am stupid enough to decide to go for AUTO)?
As for question 1, I'm finding more than once to not go past 112, but there is some more info in the link.
2. I can't find anything on a google search or what I use (PCWizard 2010). Every board is different and thus there seems to be no 'universal' tool to read each chipset/CMOS info. I'll have to bid you good luck with that one
Unfortunately, the information I am getting about the maximum safe value for the PCI-E bus freq is inconsistent. Some people claim that anything past 100 will cause HDD data loss, others argue that 105 is the upper boudnary and anything beyond that will cook my craphics. Yet, there are also those who claim they've had it set to 120 for months and nothing bad ever happened (I also hear that MSI tech support see 120 as the max safe).
Anyway, I am not going to risk frying the 5870 just to get a few more Mhz on the FSB bus.
All I can say is that the G31M is a laugh, even for a budget mobo.
I would suggest using an older version of ET6 in my experience the older versions of ET6 work well like with my pc, I bought it almost a year ago and as times gone on the updates for ETG and other gigabyte software to glitch or fail consistently. You mentioned it worked when you used ET6 to oc so I'd suggest using the version that came with your mobo and attempt to oc it with that version of ET6 and do not allow it to update.