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Overclocking the Asus 990FX Sabertooth

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February 13, 2012 1:19:10 AM

Hi all,

I just built my new DDR3 rig and it has been nothing more than a headache than being able to enjoy it. Below are my specs...

System Specs:

Corsair 600T Graphite Series gaming case
Asus Sabbertooth 990FX motherboard
AMD FX 8120 8-Core Black Edition 3.9 Ghz(stock @ 3.1Ghz)
Corsair H80 Liquid CPU cooler
2- 200mm, 3- 120mm case fans for additional cooling
16 GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 @ 1.50v ram
EVGA Geforce GTX 580 3GB
Corsair TX850 850 Watt PSU
500 GB Seagate HD/ 1 TB WD external HD
24" Viewsonic VX2453mh LED monitor/ 17' Samsung SyncMaster 710N(for TS, temp monitoring, etc)

Ok, being new to the DDR3 world, I have tried what seems to be everything to get the cpu clock anything over 4GHz, I just cant get it to run stable. I cant seem to get the ram timings/voltage and cpu multiplier/voltages right. Ive tried just raising just the cpu multiplier with Vcore set at 1.50v and setting ram freq to 1600 @ 1.50-1.65v and was able to get cpu clock all the way up to 4.45Ghz, posted and booted fine, but as soon as I started Prime95, Windows would just freeze up on me...

Im currently running on Manual, but my board automatically clocked my board up to 3.9Ghz,(CPU/PEG Freq 250, Vcore-1.40v, multiplier-15.5 and ram set at 1600mhz, and it seems to run stable with no crashes, but if I try to go any higher that the 4Ghz mark, I start running into problems because I dont know what im doing when it comes to adjusting the voltages on what needs more juice to go to a higher clock.

Can anyone help me with this? I dont have a temp issue so I know this board can do better than this...im frustrated to a point now im ready to just give up on it.. :( 
February 13, 2012 1:35:41 AM

Blue screens and freezing on boot are usually signs that you need more voltage for stability. I just don't know that I'd feel comfortable recommending that you up the voltage any more. I think you have reached the max, it is a respectable overclock.
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February 13, 2012 1:41:08 AM

it wasnt freezing/BS'ing on me during boots...it would boot up just fine, but it wouldnt freeze up on me until I ran Prime95.. that is the frustrating part. Now I know this FX8120 chip can go higher than 3.9Ghz...ive seen world records broke with a clock as high as 8.4Ghz on this cpu.. (I know I wont get no where near close to that clock!)
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Related resources
February 13, 2012 2:24:43 AM

spasmolytic46 said:
ok what is your cpu temp reading when you launch prime 95? 61C is your max safe range.

http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/Bulldozer/AMD-FX-Series%2...


CPU temp runs around 55' and Vcore temp 60'... I definately have plenty of cooling and head room for the max clock...but im sure that the voltages, whether cpu, cpu to NB, NB, DRAM, im just not getting right and im thinking my ram timings are all out of whack when I start clocking up the cpu...just not sure..
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February 13, 2012 2:34:09 AM

nighthawk34691 said:
CPU temp runs around 55' and Vcore temp 60'... I definately have plenty of cooling and head room for the max clock...but im sure that the voltages, whether cpu, cpu to NB, NB, DRAM, im just not getting right and im thinking my ram timings are all out of whack when I start clocking up the cpu...just not sure..


You're actually pretty close to the max safe temperature limits. Is that just idling or at launch of prime 95 before it freezes? I think you may need to actually drop your cpu voltage. I would suggest dropping to 1.45 or even 1.4 if it'll still boot. Lower voltage means less heat. Prime 95 will make your temps jump up real quick.
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February 13, 2012 3:36:59 AM

spasmolytic46 said:
You're actually pretty close to the max safe temperature limits. Is that just idling or at launch of prime 95 before it freezes? I think you may need to actually drop your cpu voltage. I would suggest dropping to 1.45 or even 1.4 if it'll still boot. Lower voltage means less heat. Prime 95 will make your temps jump up real quick.


That is running full load with Prime95 with my current settings...not the highest that I was running earlier...my Vcore is at 1.40 right now, but im wanting to go a little higher with the clock, but dont know what else to adjust to achieve that goal.
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February 13, 2012 3:53:16 AM

nighthawk34691 said:
That is running full load with Prime95 with my current settings...not the highest that I was running earlier...my Vcore is at 1.40 right now, but im wanting to go a little higher with the clock, but dont know what else to adjust to achieve that goal.


It is really just a case of fine tuning and being patient. I usually spend a week to 2 weeks fine tuning an overclock. You really can't rush it. If I were you, I would see how far I could push the multiplier with a voltage of 1.4. When you hit that spot, start uping the FSB speed. I usually go up in increments of 4 (part experience, part superstition) when you've hit the spot that max's out, I start playing with my voltages again. Going with the smallest bumps possible and seeing what that does to my temps in prime 95. After I'm sure the temps are safe I start trying to raise the multiplier again. I do that until I hit a point where either the voltages or temperature scare me. Again after hitting the max I can go, I start raising the FSB again until I hit a temperature or voltage or that says it's time to stop.

Honestly if you want to have a long life for your processor, I wouldn't push those voltages past 1.45 and I would set a max temp for prime 95 at 55C.
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a b K Overclocking
February 13, 2012 4:18:24 AM

nighthawk34691 said:
CPU temp runs around 55' and Vcore temp 60'... I definately have plenty of cooling and head room for the max clock...but im sure that the voltages, whether cpu, cpu to NB, NB, DRAM, im just not getting right and im thinking my ram timings are all out of whack when I start clocking up the cpu...just not sure..


not sure what you mean by vcore temp. if your talking the core temp is 60 at 3.9 and 1.4V you have zero wiggle room to go higher. even if you are at 55 now you will probably overheat and crash jumping to 1.5V. Those corsair liquid coolers really aren't worth the hassle but if you are running it on low crank it up to high. makes a difference. see the overclocked chart for the H80 in the link below

www.anandtech.com/show/5054/corsair-hydro-series-h60-h8...

besides the cooling issues I dont even get why your messing with the "FSB" on a BE CPU. set it back to 200 where it belongs, set the ram for 1600, and tick up the multiplier one notch at a time. the only thing you should have to touch is the multiplier, and when its not stable bump up the voltage one notch at a time till it is, or you are approaching the safe limit.

When you absolutely can't get it to jump 100MHz from the multiplier and you want to squeeze a little more OR you know what your CPU can run at and you want to overclock your memory you can start fiddling with the FSB.
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a b K Overclocking
February 13, 2012 4:30:48 AM

nighthawk34691 said:
Hi all,

I just built my new DDR3 rig and it has been nothing more than a headache than being able to enjoy it. Below are my specs...

System Specs:

Corsair 600T Graphite Series gaming case
Asus Sabbertooth 990FX motherboard
AMD FX 8120 8-Core Black Edition 3.9 Ghz(stock @ 3.1Ghz)
Corsair H80 Liquid CPU cooler
2- 200mm, 3- 120mm case fans for additional cooling
16 GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 @ 1.50v ram
EVGA Geforce GTX 580 3GB
Corsair TX850 850 Watt PSU
500 GB Seagate HD/ 1 TB WD external HD
24" Viewsonic VX2453mh LED monitor/ 17' Samsung SyncMaster 710N(for TS, temp monitoring, etc)

Ok, being new to the DDR3 world, I have tried what seems to be everything to get the cpu clock anything over 4GHz, I just cant get it to run stable. I cant seem to get the ram timings/voltage and cpu multiplier/voltages right. Ive tried just raising just the cpu multiplier with Vcore set at 1.50v and setting ram freq to 1600 @ 1.50-1.65v and was able to get cpu clock all the way up to 4.45Ghz, posted and booted fine, but as soon as I started Prime95, Windows would just freeze up on me...

Im currently running on Manual, but my board automatically clocked my board up to 3.9Ghz,(CPU/PEG Freq 250, Vcore-1.40v, multiplier-15.5 and ram set at 1600mhz, and it seems to run stable with no crashes, but if I try to go any higher that the 4Ghz mark, I start running into problems because I dont know what im doing when it comes to adjusting the voltages on what needs more juice to go to a higher clock.

Can anyone help me with this? I dont have a temp issue so I know this board can do better than this...im frustrated to a point now im ready to just give up on it.. :( 



I have very close to that exact setup, same MB, CPU, same amount of RAM. I was able to OC my system to 4.2GHz with stock volts. I believe my specs are as follows:

FSB: 205
CPU Mulit: 19.5 or 20 (can't remember exactly)
RAM Volts: 1.65v@1666MHz
CPU Volts: stock
NB/HT volts: stock left to auto
LLC: Set to very high (this may contribute to your instability problems)

I would go into your bios and reset all default settings and start from scratch. Also if you haven't done so already, update to the latest bios version from the ASUS website. Good Luck!
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February 13, 2012 4:32:27 AM

unksol said:
not sure what you mean by vcore temp. if your talking the core temp is 60 at 3.9 and 1.4V you have zero wiggle room to go higher. even if you are at 55 now you will probably overheat and crash jumping to 1.5V. Those corsair liquid coolers really aren't worth the hassle but if you are running it on low crank it up to high. makes a difference. see the overclocked chart for the H80 in the link below

www.anandtech.com/show/5054/corsair-hydro-series-h60-h8...

besides the cooling issues I dont even get why your messing with the "FSB" on a BE CPU. set it back to 200 where it belongs, set the ram for 1600, and tick up the multiplier one notch at a time. the only thing you should have to touch is the multiplier, and when its not stable bump up the voltage one notch at a time till it is, or you are approaching the safe limit.

When you absolutely can't get it to jump 100MHz from the multiplier and you want to squeeze a little more OR you know what your CPU can run at and you want to overclock your memory you can start fiddling with the FSB.


Nice info...I have no idea why my FSB is at 250 now...it was auto clocked to that speed...not by me, but I was reading earier on a thread on this site that im to leave the fsb at stock and just tweek up the multiplier until it doesnt post, then up the voltage a little at a time. The temps were with the cooler fans set on low..im sure it would have been alot cooler if I had em on high. I have a total of 5 case fans, including the liquid cooler on top of it

My question is... when starting from scratch...do I set my ram freq at 1600 @ 1.50v when I start raising the multiplier or leave it at default 1333?
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a b K Overclocking
February 13, 2012 4:40:36 AM

nighthawk34691 said:
Nice info...I have no idea why my FSB is at 250 now...it was auto clocked to that speed...not by me, but I was reading earier on a thread on this site that im to leave the fsb at stock and just tweek up the multiplier until it doesnt post, then up the voltage a little at a time. The temps were with the cooler fans set on low..im sure it would have been alot cooler if I had em on high. I have a total of 5 case fans, including the liquid cooler on top of it

My question is... when starting from scratch...do I set my ram0 at 1600 @ 1.50v when I start raising the multiplier or leave it at default 1333?


the memory controller in the Phenom IIs was 1333, hence why you'd leave it that way until you got your Max clock. in the FXs its 1866 so I see no problem setting the memory to 1600. as the guy above said drop down to stock voltage, and since you know 3.9 works start from there. lower voltage = lower temps. if that's your problem.
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a b K Overclocking
February 13, 2012 4:44:23 AM

If you are overclocking, there is no guarantee you will get a chip that OC's well. Just remember that. I know, it's a FX and those all have unlocked multi's, and so in theory it should do well in the OC department, but reality is sometimes dud's slip through the cracks. I have the same board, but an older 1055T and honestly I gave up trying once I hit 4 GHz. I wish you luck, but sometimes no matter how hard you try, you just hit a wall.
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February 13, 2012 4:57:57 AM

Thanks guys for the info...im gonna poke away at this tomorrow...ive done set my bios back to default and im just gonna work on the multiplier for now. Ive got it at 19.0 @ 3.8 Ghz with ram freq at 1600. Running stable so far...ill let you know how high I get it tomorrow.. thanks again for the help!!

BTW...temps wont be an issue, ive cut the Vcore back to 1.45v and it barely gets to 50'C on low fan speed... ill keep ya posted.
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February 13, 2012 8:53:35 PM

Ok, after leaving fsb at default 200Mhz, I was able to get multiplier up to 21.5 with cpu voltage set at 1.32v = 4.30 Ghz. Temps cpu temp 58'C, Vcore temp 69'C. Now im working on slowly tweaking my ram timings and so far seems to be doing very well. I dropped my ram freq down to 1333 with cas timings set at 8-8-8-22/30 T1 @ 1.55v!! Running stable with these settings, but not sure where to go from here. Leave fsb alone? Tighten ram timings a little more? HT Link is only running 2207Mhz...kinda low?? Cant raise multiplier anymore than 21.5...just crashes from there on...and I dont want to raise cpu voltage anymore yet because im not sure if ive hit a wall with this cpu.. whatcha think?
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a b K Overclocking
February 14, 2012 1:50:23 AM

you could try to raise slowly raise the FSB, just remember this will effect you're HT and RAM speeds, so you may need to adjust NB volts to accommodate. Good Luck, and 4.3GHz is pretty good! considering stock clock is 3.1GHz
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February 14, 2012 3:14:29 AM

rage33 said:
you could try to raise slowly raise the FSB, just remember this will effect you're HT and RAM speeds, so you may need to adjust NB volts to accommodate. Good Luck, and 4.3GHz is pretty good! considering stock clock is 3.1GHz


Thanks man...yeah..its been a looong and very frustrating time to get to this point but its starting to get dialed in very slowly.
I thought about raising my NB freq to lets say 2550Mhz...its at 2207Mhz now....good idea or no? Seems like im bottle-necking at my NB...ram and cpu are pretty quick right now with the timings I have em set at now.
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a b K Overclocking
February 14, 2012 3:57:31 AM

Ill give a rundown on my bios settings when I get home, but bump your cpu nb by +0.015v. Sel llc to ultra or extreme, and disable C1E.

I actually got my cpu to 1.55v before toying with the cpu nb, now I'm 4.7 ghz at 1.344v. The asus bios has so many options it can seem overwhelming.

As for nb and htt, set them = to each other, but do not pass 2600, it will never get stable over 2600.
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a b K Overclocking
February 14, 2012 4:00:38 AM

nighthawk34691 said:
Thanks man...yeah..its been a looong and very frustrating time to get to this point but its starting to get dialed in very slowly.
I thought about raising my NB freq to lets say 2550Mhz...its at 2207Mhz now....good idea or no? Seems like im bottle-necking at my NB...ram and cpu are pretty quick right now with the timings I have em set at now.


2550Mhz sounds pretty doable, but just as noob2222 stated bump up you're NB volts a little at a time to accommodate bump.
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a b K Overclocking
February 14, 2012 8:38:30 AM

My asus 8120 4.7 ghz settings. LLC to ultra, only disabled C1E.
CPU offset +0.0875
CPU NB offset, +0.03125
NB V 1.11250 - stock is 1.10
HT V 1.2250 - stock is 1.20

17.5X 268 mhz, = 4690+ asus's actual adjusted speed of 269ish = just over 4.7 ghz.
8gb of 2133 g.skill memory at specified settings of 9-11-10-27 <--- you will have to set your memory to its own specs.
HT and NB frequency 2415

Even without touching ht and nb frequency, upping the CPU NB voltage increased stability and dropped CPU required voltage massively.

I can push to 5.0 ghz but requires a voltage of 1.43 and increases the temp from 49C to 62C. only use - bragging rights, realisticly 300 mhz isn't worth 0.08V and 13 degrees of extra heat, but it is possible.

I did have a strange issue with my 5870 at 200 mhz X 23.5. If i recall correctly it was a known issue with the 5870 in general with high multiplier. Would run fine doing prime 95, playing games, and doing nothing. Using internet explorer would randomly lock up hard, even the reset button wouldn't restart, had to power off the power supply for it to reboot. Wouldn't happen at 23x multi and hasn't happened at 268 X 17.5 so its not the cpu, just a bug with the 5870.
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February 15, 2012 2:22:36 AM

noob2222 said:
My asus 8120 4.7 ghz settings. LLC to ultra, only disabled C1E.
CPU offset +0.0875
CPU NB offset, +0.03125
NB V 1.11250 - stock is 1.10
HT V 1.2250 - stock is 1.20

17.5X 268 mhz, = 4690+ asus's actual adjusted speed of 269ish = just over 4.7 ghz.
8gb of 2133 g.skill memory at specified settings of 9-11-10-27 <--- you will have to set your memory to its own specs.
HT and NB frequency 2415

Even without touching ht and nb frequency, upping the CPU NB voltage increased stability and dropped CPU required voltage massively.

I can push to 5.0 ghz but requires a voltage of 1.43 and increases the temp from 49C to 62C. only use - bragging rights, realisticly 300 mhz isn't worth 0.08V and 13 degrees of extra heat, but it is possible.

I did have a strange issue with my 5870 at 200 mhz X 23.5. If i recall correctly it was a known issue with the 5870 in general with high multiplier. Would run fine doing prime 95, playing games, and doing nothing. Using internet explorer would randomly lock up hard, even the reset button wouldn't restart, had to power off the power supply for it to reboot. Wouldn't happen at 23x multi and hasn't happened at 268 X 17.5 so its not the cpu, just a bug with the 5870.



Wow...that is some impressive specs...im up to 4.4 now with fsb @ 205mhz, cpu voltage @ 1.36(manual settings, offset disabled), cpu/NB voltage @ 1.25v and NB voltage @ 1.23v running at 2468Mhz. I tried raising fsb to 210 but starts dropping cores on Prime95.
BTW-- what is C1E used for and what good is it being disabled?
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a b K Overclocking
February 15, 2012 3:30:58 AM

C1E is a power saving feature. 14x multiplier and a drop of 0.1v, drops are bad for overclocking. Great for servers and laptops, not so much for overclocking.

Your regulat nb may be a little high, drop it to 1.15, bump the ht voltage slightly, might do the trick
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February 15, 2012 3:34:19 AM

Oh ok...im working on bringing my fsb up along with my NB and NB HT link freq. Got cpu up to 4.515 so far...not sure if im doing this right...lol
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a b K Overclocking
February 15, 2012 3:53:43 AM

Takes some time to fine tune it, what I did was play with just the multi to see what the cpu could take, then worked the fsb. One step at a time helps eliminate what might be causing instability
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February 15, 2012 10:26:08 PM

noob2222 said:
Takes some time to fine tune it, what I did was play with just the multi to see what the cpu could take, then worked the fsb. One step at a time helps eliminate what might be causing instability


I cant seem to figure out what is causing my instability... Ive left fsb at 205, multiplier at 21.5 @ 4.407Ghz. Ive set my HT and NB freq both at 2468. Increased NB voltage to 1.30, HT voltage to 1.23v, and cpu voltage at 1.33v. I dont know what offset voltage is so I manually set the voltages myself. The problem im having is when I go to run Prime95...my system just locks up...no BS's, just freezes up completely. Not sure if my voltages are off, NB/HT freq may be to high or what..

Ive got my ram cas timings at 8-8-8-22 T1 1368Mhz @1.60v(spec is 1.50v @ 1600) Im getting really good benchmarks with my ram timings tight as they are now. Sometimes I can run Prime95 just fine with no crashes with settings they way I mentioned above...but if I try to increase the multiplier or even bump the fsb up .5...it locks up.. I have no idea what is causing it and it is getting really frustrating.. :( 
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a b K Overclocking
February 15, 2012 10:50:16 PM

With 4 sticks of ram I'm guessing since you said 16gb, try t2 command rate, or remove 2 sticks just in case one of them is giving the system a fit. My friend had a i3 2100 that would run fine with 2 of his 4 sticks, he found the weak one and replaced it, now he is good. Even bumping the multiplier will allow the cpu to send and receive more to the memory, could be a glitch.

Voltage offset allows the cpu to drop to 0.9v when idle.
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February 15, 2012 11:23:58 PM

noob2222 said:
With 4 sticks of ram I'm guessing since you said 16gb, try t2 command rate, or remove 2 sticks just in case one of them is giving the system a fit. My friend had a i3 2100 that would run fine with 2 of his 4 sticks, he found the weak one and replaced it, now he is good. Even bumping the multiplier will allow the cpu to send and receive more to the memory, could be a glitch.

Voltage offset allows the cpu to drop to 0.9v when idle.


Ive already replaced the memory twice...these modules are much better than the ones I had which were not even on QVL for my board. Im thinking ive hit a wall and I cant do anymore with the clock. Im getting very good benchmarks with the ram timings the way they are now from before. If I drop back to 4.3...I wont have any issues...ran very stable at that clock..anything above that like where im at now...starts showing instability.
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a b K Overclocking
February 16, 2012 4:14:58 AM

Could be just a weaker chip, luck of the draw sometimes with overclocking, but from 3.1 to 4.3 isn't bad.
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February 16, 2012 4:28:11 AM

Nope...im not complaining at all...1200Mhz over stock is better than I thought I could get out of it. :) 
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April 23, 2012 1:15:49 PM

nighthawk34691 said:
it wasnt freezing/BS'ing on me during boots...it would boot up just fine, but it wouldnt freeze up on me until I ran Prime95.. that is the frustrating part. Now I know this FX8120 chip can go higher than 3.9Ghz...ive seen world records broke with a clock as high as 8.4Ghz on this cpu.. (I know I wont get no where near close to that clock!)



I have the same issue with my Sabertooth 990fx + X4 970. Boot + normal desktop usage, but then heavy use like playing BF3 results in hardware error. My CPU scales pretty well, though my bus speed maxes out at about 216mhz. My multiplier I can take @200mhz up to about 19.5, but only when I underclock the memory.

I have 32G Corsair Vengeance. It's rated for 1600mhz, but it bluescreens at anything other than 1333mhz. I've been through all the combinations you have and am convinced it's a limit with the large amount of memory and the Asus mobo (which I love). I went through tech support with Corsair and they just recommended to keep upping the mem voltage, but it got to pretty dangerous levels. I really need the high memory rather than the final 1-2% of speed from the higher settings.

The other issue I have is that I think my boot disk--even though on a SATA/6 cable/channel/setting/config--has issues with high bus clocks. I had a similar issue on my previous Asus mobo (M3A32-MVP). It causes issues when overclocking, but not as much as getting the memory right.

Also, the Digi+ VRM power management stuff seems to starve components. It's supposed to be more instant and exact, but I've had no luck with it.



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October 3, 2012 5:39:28 PM

nighthawk34691 said:
Hi all,

I just built my new DDR3 rig and it has been nothing more than a headache than being able to enjoy it. Below are my specs...

System Specs:

Corsair 600T Graphite Series gaming case
Asus Sabbertooth 990FX motherboard
AMD FX 8120 8-Core Black Edition 3.9 Ghz(stock @ 3.1Ghz)
Corsair H80 Liquid CPU cooler
2- 200mm, 3- 120mm case fans for additional cooling
16 GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 @ 1.50v ram
EVGA Geforce GTX 580 3GB
Corsair TX850 850 Watt PSU
500 GB Seagate HD/ 1 TB WD external HD
24" Viewsonic VX2453mh LED monitor/ 17' Samsung SyncMaster 710N(for TS, temp monitoring, etc)

Ok, being new to the DDR3 world, I have tried what seems to be everything to get the cpu clock anything over 4GHz, I just cant get it to run stable. I cant seem to get the ram timings/voltage and cpu multiplier/voltages right. Ive tried just raising just the cpu multiplier with Vcore set at 1.50v and setting ram freq to 1600 @ 1.50-1.65v and was able to get cpu clock all the way up to 4.45Ghz, posted and booted fine, but as soon as I started Prime95, Windows would just freeze up on me...

Im currently running on Manual, but my board automatically clocked my board up to 3.9Ghz,(CPU/PEG Freq 250, Vcore-1.40v, multiplier-15.5 and ram set at 1600mhz, and it seems to run stable with no crashes, but if I try to go any higher that the 4Ghz mark, I start running into problems because I dont know what im doing when it comes to adjusting the voltages on what needs more juice to go to a higher clock.

Can anyone help me with this? I dont have a temp issue so I know this board can do better than this...im frustrated to a point now im ready to just give up on it.. :( 





You could also bump up the CPU current, to about +20% and not have to use as much voltage, thereby keeping things running cooler. You shouldn't have to hit 1.5v just for 4ghz. Maybe 1.38 at the highest.
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