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New AMD rig to overclock an unlocked 960T w/ too many questions!!?

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April 21, 2012 8:59:06 AM

Hey fellas!

I built my new system last Sunday and it's great! :D 

Currently, pretty much everything is enjoyably better in almost every way even though I already had the SSD on my old system, I am not exactly sure which components were most responsible for the improvement but I got a noticeable bump in performance and I like it. :) 

WEI went from 5.9/5.9/4.3/5.1/7.8 to 7.4/7.4/4.7/5.5/7.9. Overall not quite impressive compared to a gaming rig but, other than the final score, the sub-differences are fairly significant. I wonder if I can increase the 7.4s.

CrystalDiskMark scores however is lower on 4K QD32 yet higher on SEQ, 512k, 4k. Is this normal?

Anyway, it could still be faster! To put the icing on the cake, I wish to get a bit of extra juice from this baby if this is ok. I'm fairly new to OC'ing even though I've done a couple of basic OC'ing back in the Pentium II / Celeron days. Nowadays there's a lot more involved though and I'm wondering if I can get some guidance here. I've read some guides and I have questions and info along with it, which will be divided in 3 parts:

PART 1 is PREPARATION

PART 2 is FINDING & TESTING LIMITS

PART 3 is OVERCLOCKING & TESTING

My post will be lengthy because I know how you experts like to have a lot of information to work with and answering questions you probably already know from your experience. Not all questions however need to have immediate sequential answers. But I ask that they be organized in descending order if possible.

Aside from that, I'm making the rounds on other forums so you may respond with what you can as soon as possible at your convenience.

I will start with the first two questions because I think these answers will determine if I should continue on with the rest of my Q's. Then, if it's ok, I'll expand the OT.

Thank you in advance.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

PART 1: PREPARATION

Question 1 - Is it safe to continue running two extra cores using what I've got for light to moderate overclocking?
I begin with (A) my hardware and (B) my goal.

(A) Hardware.
  • CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 960T (unlocked to 6 cores)
  • Heatsink - Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (with two Blademasters in push/pull)
  • Motherboard - ASUS M5A88-V EVO, Has heatsink on mosfets. Supposedly 8 + 1 Phase count (VRMs), but not sure if this is accurate or even good enough.
  • Power Supply - Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC
  • Case - Antec 300 Illusion (w/ 2 front intake fans, 1 rear exhaust, 1 above and 1 fan on the side)
  • Memory - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB DDR3 1600 9-9-9-24 1.5V F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL
  • Thermal Paste - Prolimatech PK-1


    (B) Goal - A stable 24/7 OC configuration, no ground breaking records or interest in extreme benchmarking scores. I'm not sure exactly what my final OC config could be but here are hypothetical numbers. I am fine with lowering this to achieve my goal on my current setup.
  • CPU (6 cores or how many good stable cores I end up with) = 4000MHz @ 1.400 vCore
  • MULTI = 16.0x
  • NB = 3000MHz CPU/NB @ 1.300 V
  • RAM = 1666MHz @ 1.55 V
  • FSB = 250 @ NB = 1.20 V
  • HT = 2000MHz

    Question 2 - To even further cool the VRM heatsinks, what fans would you recommend?
    I'm looking at these if they could do the job:

    Adjustable, Bendable Portable USB PC Laptop Notebook Cooler Cooling Fan
    Arctic Breeze Mobile Portable USB Fan

    They're very short so I would need it longer to reach around from outside the rear USB ports and into the case through the pci slots.

    EDIT: Upon closer inspection I'm already getting proper airflow to VRM, as well as RAM and NB/SB chips. My bad. :p 


    EDIT: Just added a Radeon 5450, and two Antec SpotCool's to cool RAM and NB chip.


    The remaining questions continue here...
    April 21, 2012 5:40:49 PM

    Stealth3si said:
    Hey fellas!

    I built my new system last Sunday and it's great! :D 

    Currently, pretty much everything is enjoyably better in almost every way even though I already had the SSD on my old system, I am not exactly sure which components were most responsible for the improvement but I got a noticeable bump in performance and I like it. :) 

    WEI went from 5.9/5.9/4.3/5.1/7.8 to 7.4/7.4/4.7/5.5/7.9. Overall not quite impressive compared to a gaming rig but, other than the final score, the sub-differences are fairly significant. I wonder if I can increase the 7.4s.

    CrystalDiskMark scores however is lower on 4K QD32 yet higher on SEQ, 512k, 4k. Is this normal?

    Anyway, it could still be faster! To put the icing on the cake, I wish to get a bit of extra juice from this baby if this is ok. I'm fairly new to OC'ing even though I've done a couple of basic OC'ing back in the Pentium II / Celeron days. Nowadays there's a lot more involved though and I'm wondering if I can get some guidance here. I've read some guides and I have questions and info along with it, which will be divided in 3 parts:

    PART 1 is PREPARATION

    PART 2 is FINDING & TESTING LIMITS

    PART 3 is OVERCLOCKING & TESTING

    My post will be lengthy because I know how you experts like to have a lot of information to work with and answering questions you probably already know from your experience. Not all questions however need to have immediate sequential answers. But I ask that they be organized in descending order if possible.

    Aside from that, I'm making the rounds on other forums so you may respond with what you can as soon as possible at your convenience.

    I will start with the first two questions because I think these answers will determine if I should continue on with the rest of my Q's. Then, if it's ok, I'll expand the OT.

    Thank you in advance.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    PART 1: PREPARATION

    Question 1 - Is it safe to continue running two extra cores using what I've got for light to moderate overclocking?
    I begin with (A) my hardware and (B) my goal.

    (A) Hardware.
  • CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 960T (unlocked to 6 cores)
  • Heatsink - Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (with two Blademasters in push/pull)
  • Motherboard - ASUS M5A88-V EVO, Has heatsink on mosfets. Supposedly 8 + 1 Phase count (VRMs), but not sure if this is accurate or even good enough.
  • Power Supply - Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC
  • Case - Antec 300 Illusion (w/ 2 front intake fans, 1 rear exhaust, 1 above and 1 fan on the side)
  • Memory - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB DDR3 1600 9-9-9-24 1.5V F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL
  • Thermal Paste - Prolimatech PK-1
    ]http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z21/Stealth3si/th_Untitled1-1.jpg]http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z21/Stealth3si/th_Untitled2.jpg]http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z21/Stealth3si/th_Untitled3.jpg

    (B) Goal - A stable 24/7 OC configuration, no ground breaking records or interest in extreme benchmarking scores. I'm not sure exactly what my final OC config could be but here are hypothetical numbers. I am fine with lowering this to achieve my goal on my current setup.
  • CPU (6 cores or how many good stable cores I end up with) = 4000MHz @ 1.400 vCore
  • MULTI = 16.0x
  • NB = 3000MHz CPU/NB @ 1.300 V
  • RAM = 1666MHz @ 1.55 V
  • FSB = 250 @ NB = 1.20 V
  • HT = 2000MHz


  • Hi,
    My friend recently bought a 960T and we managed to get it to 3.4GHz, Unlocked on stock cooling. I reckon that it could go faster but he didn't want to push it any further without aftermarket cooling.
    I honestly would try but first what are your current temps and Vcore?
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    a c 224 K Overclocking
    April 21, 2012 5:52:37 PM

    Isn't the 960T a Black Edition CPU use the Black Edition Overclock Guide it was designed just for your needs.

    Quote:
    Goal - A stable 24/7 OC configuration, no ground breaking records or interest in extreme benchmarking scores. I'm not sure exactly what my final OC config could be but here are hypothetical numbers. I am fine with lowering this to achieve my goal on my current setup.
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    Related resources
    April 21, 2012 6:40:12 PM

    basically you want to start off on the stock vcore and increase the multiplier till it starts failing stress tests. Then up the vcore by around 0.05v your BIOS may auto adjust the number to meet some criteria like mine auto corrects itself to some marginally smaller or bigger number.
    Just keep upping the multipler and vcore to about 1.4v for daily use 1.45v if you are really determined to hit a point should be okay, but as a rule I wouldn't attempt anything over 1.5v as that can get unsafe and will shorten the life of the chip.
    So long as you are patient you should be able to get close to you 4Ghz mark.
    I myself just bought a fx-4170 and i'm currently trying to get it to 5Ghz as we speak. At 4.8Ghz at the moment and it seems to be holding prime95 well.

    Also I would use 3dmark after a prime95 test just to make sure it's stable under a graphics workload as well.

    Good luck :D 
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    April 24, 2012 6:08:01 AM

    While we're waiting for the new parts to arrive, is there anything else I need to cool?

    otherwise, we'll move on to the next set of questions...
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    a b À AMD
    a c 150 K Overclocking
    April 24, 2012 8:27:04 AM

    It's not spending so much money on case fans and dropping that money on a high end cpu cooler. This is where the most heat is going to come from, so you don't want a crappy heatsink to deal with the high voltage/heat!
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    April 29, 2012 3:08:27 AM

    These are the remaining questions from the original post (click here to go there.)

    Question 3 - What should be the RPM of case and CPU fans when finding limits and during final overclocking?
    Normally I have them running lowest RPM because I like having a quiet PC. I only maximise them during hot weather. Though, I wouldn't mind having it high constantly since I listen to my cans anyway.

    Questions 4 & 5 - What temp type should I be monitoring and what are maximum safe CPU and core Load temperatures?
    According to HWMonitor's reading on 4 cores, there is a 12-15°C difference between core and CPU.



    Question 6 - How do I find the NB temp?
    HWMonitor and Everest show only CPU and mainboard temps. Maybe the NB have no temp sensors?

    Question 7 - What are safe voltage limits?
    CPU Voltage = 1.?V (1.4? 1.475? 1.55?)
    CPU-NB Voltage = 1.35V
    HTT Voltage = 1.? V
    SB Voltage = 1.?? V
    NB Voltage = 1.2 V ???
    CPU VDD = 2.? V

    Question 8 - Are these correct stock voltages for 960T?
    They are set to Offset mode with Auto values (as shown in my BIOS):

    CPU Voltage = 1.225 V
    CPU-NB Voltage = 1.125 V
    HTT Voltage = 1.200 V
    SB Voltage = 1.100 V
    NB Voltage = 1.250 V
    CPU VDD = 2.5 V (.05 V higher than the safe voltage limit!?)
    DRAM Voltage = 1.490 V
    Sideport Memory Voltage = 1.500 V (what is this?)

    Question 9 - Which of the following settings do I disable?

    AMD Turbo Core Technology
    GPU Booster
  • Enhanced iGPU SpeedStep
  • GPU Power Saving Mode
    CPU & NB Voltage Mode [Offset/Manual]
    Offset - CPU & NB Voltage is set to offset value.
    Manual - CPU & NB Voltage is set to a fixed value.
    CPU Load-Line Calibration [Auto/Enabled/Disabled]
    CPU/NB Load-Line Calibration [Auto/Enabled/Disabled]
    Cool 'n' Quiet
    C1E Support
    Anti Surge Support
    NB Thermal Protect
    CPU & Chassis Q-Fan Function
    CPU & Chassis Q-Fan Mode [Enabled/Disabled]
  • Turbo
  • Standard
  • Silent
  • Manual

    Question 10 - Since I want to use power saving features once I settle for a final 24/7 stable configuration, how exactly do I effectively use (any of) them during and after the OC process?
    Anti Surge Support in BIOS
    ASUS EPU OS software
    CPU & NB Voltage Offset Mode in BIOS
    CPU/NB Load-Line Calibration [Auto/Enabled/Disabled] in BIOS
    Cool 'n' Quiet in BIOS
    C1E Support in BIOS
    GPU Power Saving Mode in BIOS
    NB Thermal Protect mode in BIOS
    PhenomMSRTweaker/AMDMSRTweaker OS software
    Undervolting in BIOS


    PART 2 - FINDING & TESTING LIMITS

    Questions 11 & 12 - Do I use BIOS or AMD Overdrive or TurboV EVO to find my limits and in what sequential order should I find the limits?

    RAM
    NB
    HTT
    FSB
    Multiplier

    Question 13 - While finding limits for each frequency one at a time, to keep other frequencies (and their respective voltages) @ stock settings do I manually enter them or leave them on Auto?
    If I need to manually enter them, what is the stock speed for NB and HTT?

    Multiplier - 15x
    FSB - 200Mhz
    RAM - 1600MHz
    NB - 2400MHz? [must be 3 x RAM speed (before DDR) right?]
    HTT - 2000MHz?

    Question 14 & 15 - What program do I use to test the limits and how long should each test be?
    Multiplier/FSB ~ Intel Burn Test, 3DMark, or wPrime?
    RAM/NB/HTT ~ Intel Burn Test, OCCT, or Super Pi 32M?


    PART 3 - OVERCLOCKING & TESTING

    Question 16 - Using the BIOS, in what sequential order should I begin the final overclock?

    RAM
    NB
    HTT
    FSB
    Multiplier

    Questions 17 & 18 - What program do I use to test for 24/7 stability and how long should each test be?

    Multiplier/FSB ~ Linx? Prime95?
    RAM/NB/HTT ~ Prime95 Blend?

    Questions 19 & 20 - Besides the life-shortening effect from overclocking, for the long-term use and stability of a computer, with respect to CPU degradation and longevity, is it better to use an offset voltage (which results in a lower idle but higher transition voltage) or manual voltage (roughly constant voltage)? Will the offset voltage spikes (although within my manufacturer's specified voltages) harm the CPU or cause it to degrade faster over time?

    Assume the system is under load 60% of the time it is on (which is why I want to use offset mode - cooler and less power at idle).

    This post concludes my pre-OC questions.

    If needed, there might be another post with OC questions, and a final post with post-OC questions.

    Thanks!
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    a b À AMD
    a b K Overclocking
    May 1, 2012 5:44:38 PM


    If you are gaming you should probably focus on 4 cores at 3.8GHz or so.

    With the IMC/NB around 2500MHz. 1.38v seems the most impressive as of late.

    You could go 4GHz+ but it might take a good bit more juice to get there.



    edit -- And don't worry about whatever this is

    ----> NB - 2400MHz? [must be 3 x RAM speed (before DDR) right?]

    you should keep the HT around 2000MHz for best stability.


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    May 4, 2012 3:57:29 AM

    I have a 960t on a ASUS 990FX and I'm running at 4 GHz on 4 cores @ 1.37 volts, 200 FSB and 20 multiplier, 2800 northbridge @ 1.25v cpu/nb, 2000 HT. unlocks to 4 ghz 6 cores at 1.43v
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    May 5, 2012 7:01:52 PM

    2600 northbridge seems to be working better for me, and at 1.175 CPU-NB voltage, still 2000 HT
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    June 5, 2012 2:41:35 AM

    Thanks for all your info ya'll!.

    So sorry it's been a while. I've been rediculously busy with other things. For one, my psu was a defect and I had to replace it before i did anything and my registiry got corrupt so I had to reformat everything and bring my computer back to the way it was before.

    now ...beginngin on part 2 finding my limits.....for the ram...i read a couple of OC guides on how to overclock the ram...it says I must knwo the safe voltage for my ram kti or more improtantly what type of IC my ram uses. I went to http://ramlist.i4memory.com/ddr3/ and saw that my ram kit's IC is:

    PC3-12800 Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL (2x4GB)
    9-9-9-24 @ 1.5V
    Elpida (relabeled)
    Hynix H5TQG83BFR-H9C

    If i use this to overclock my ram, does this mean that 1.6V is the max limit when finding the RAM frequency limit?

    I want to use SuperPi 32M to test the ram limit but I can't find it. Can someone direct me to a link to download a 64-bit version for windows 7?

    Thanks.
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    a b À AMD
    a b K Overclocking
    June 5, 2012 8:57:16 PM


    Look at the JEDEC XMP memory profile on the SPD tab . . .



    That is likely a good place to start.

    You should be less concerned with over-clocking your memory, and more focused on your CPU and IMC. You should keep your memory at spec.

    If you wish to raise the system clock, you should drop your memory divider. In order to maintain spec speed, your 'sweet spot' is clock 240MHz with the divider at 6.67 -- the timings above will suffice.

    Your HT should be set to 1600MHz(8x) -- 240MHz x8 = 1920MHz

    Your stock CPU multiplier is 15x -- drop it down to 13x and test for temps and stability. You may raise the CPU multiplier in .5 increments when you are comfortable with going higher.


    edit -- not sure why your image isn't showing up -- it's got the proper image tag.


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    June 6, 2012 12:31:42 AM

    Wisecracker said:
    Look at the JEDEC XMP memory profile on the SPD tab . . .

    http://s193.photobucket.com/albums/z21/Stealth3si/?action=view¤t=Untitled3.jpg

    That is likely a good place to start.

    You should be less concerned with over-clocking your memory, and more focused on your CPU and IMC. You should keep your memory at spec.

    If you wish to raise the system clock, you should drop your memory divider. In order to maintain spec speed, your 'sweet spot' is clock 240MHz with the divider at 6.67 -- the timings above will suffice.

    Your HT should be set to 1600MHz(8x) -- 240MHz x8 = 1920MHz

    Your stock CPU multiplier is 15x -- drop it down to 13x and test for temps and stability. You may raise the CPU multiplier in .5 increments when you are comfortable with going higher.


    edit -- not sure why your image isn't showing up -- it's got the proper image tag.

    thx yea i know i just wanna get the ram outta way first
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    June 6, 2012 9:02:57 AM

    ummm..is it okay if the cool 'n quiet optin in bios is greyed out? it says 'enabled' but the option is greyed out so i can't change the option to 'disabled'.

    i already disabled c1e supprot and cpu/chassis q fan funciton
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    June 10, 2012 6:03:50 AM

    dang My ram overclock is Prime95 unstable even tho they're IBT stable...to get it stable i know i need to increase the ram voltage. would the cpu/nb voltage help too or shall i just keep incresaing ram voltage until it's stable?

    Here are my ram settings in chronological order:

    Ram speed: 1600-1760Mhz @ 1.49V
    CPU speed: 2970Mhz
    NB/HT speed: 1980Mhz
    FSB: 220

    Ram speed: 1768-1784Mhz @ 1.58V
    CPU speed: 2899Mhz~
    NB/HT speed: 2007Mhz~
    FSB: 221-223

    Ram speed: 1792Mhz @ 1.63V
    CPU speed: 2912Mhz
    NB/HT speed: 2016Mhz
    FSB: 224

    Ram speed: 1800Mhz @ 1.70V
    CPU speed: 2925Mhz
    NB/HT speed: 2025Mhz
    FSB: 225

    Here is what i did:

    According to Intel Burn Test, all my ram overclocks above are STABLE. FYI, I did 'very high' stress level, all cores, 5 loops. it lasts around 19 minutes each session.

    I ended my benchmarking @ 1800mhz @ 1.70V and the voltage was getting near 1.75V!
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    June 14, 2012 11:28:58 AM

    i use the computer all day and i really can't afford to use memtest to test for ram staiblity... lately i've been using prime95 blend but .is there anotehr program to reliably test for ram stability..?
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    a b À AMD
    a b K Overclocking
    June 14, 2012 1:43:01 PM


    I don't think you understand . . .

    Quote:
    You should be less concerned with over-clocking your memory, and more focused on your CPU and IMC. You should keep your memory at spec.


    You've gone backwards, really, as the stability of your RAMs will limit your over-clocking.

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    June 14, 2012 7:18:45 PM

    then how do i keep it stable and not limit the over-clocking at the same time?
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    a b À AMD
    a b K Overclocking
    June 14, 2012 7:21:11 PM


    Quote:
    If you wish to raise the system clock, you should drop your memory divider. In order to maintain spec speed, your 'sweet spot' is clock 240MHz with the divider at 6.67 -- the timings above will suffice.

    Your HT should be set to 1600MHz(8x) -- 240MHz x8 = 1920MHz

    Your stock CPU multiplier is 15x -- drop it down to 13x and test for temps and stability. You may raise the CPU multiplier in .5 increments when you are comfortable with going higher.


    You missed this.

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    July 1, 2012 11:48:25 PM

    so i finally was able to get three stable ram configurations using Prime95 Blend for over 36+ hours.

    1587 8-8-8-15-33-2T @ 1.61V

    1760 9-9-9-15-40-2T @ 1.53V

    1768 9-9-9-15-40-2T @ 1.64V

    I also compared several timings, keeping the NB/HT speed as close as possible, but some ram configurations seem to do better or worse in certain timing settings.

    SO it woudl help me out alot to know in terms of ram performance what is better/most important in order of: Read, Write, Copy or Latency?
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    a b À AMD
    a b K Overclocking
    July 2, 2012 12:50:41 PM


    Could we get a general synopsis of where your system is at this point as far as your CPU and IMC/NB speeds, with volts and temps. Are you still unlocked?

    1760 9-9-9-15-40-2T @ 1.53V seems like your RAMs sweet spot --- dependent upon where your CPU and IMC/NB are running.

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    July 2, 2012 2:09:21 PM

    well they are basically stock speeds volts and temps for now because i've only been testing the ram limits. remember i'm still on part 2...testing the ram limits..now it seems iv'e found teh ram's sweet spot..

    next on to the HT link speed..any tips on that?
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    July 12, 2012 9:57:53 PM

    Sicne my last post i decided to keep the HT around 2000-2200 @ 1.20-1.25V

    next, I did some general testing for the NB frequency combinations.

    This is just a general range:

    NB: 3000 - 3072 @ 1.287500V - 1.350000V
    HT: 2000 - 2048 @ 1.20V-1.25V
    RAM: 1667 - 1707 @ ~1.55V

    NB: 2982 - 3080 @ 1.287500V - 1.350000V
    HT: 2130 - 2190 @ 1.20V-1.25V
    RAM: 1704 - 1760 @ ~1.55V - ~1.60V

    How many hours should I test it for?

    Because IME i found that if the NB is usntable in windows it'll freeze within 4 hours, anywhere from the 5th minute mark, or 20 minute mark, 1 hour or little over 3 hours.

    If it's quickly noticeably unstable it will not boot into windows.
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    July 13, 2012 6:05:15 PM

    i just set cpu vcore to 1.33-1.34V but hw monitor shows 1.44V!

    ahh ok. i see i have LLC enabled...

    im going to disable it to see if it improves my OC
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    July 14, 2012 2:39:17 AM

    wow....i stress tested since last nite and my load temps this afternoon went up to 59C becaus of summer weather and now near sunset the weather is cooling down and the load temp is now 54C

    this is seriously going to hurt my final stable OC!

    somehow i have to find a way to reduce the load temps...will update later. on...
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    July 14, 2012 8:24:20 AM

    i just disabled llc and vcore and temps dropped considerably under load. :D 
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    July 14, 2012 9:23:06 PM

    prime95 small fft crashed shortly (with no errors) prior to the 11th hour. :( 

    I'm going to give vcore one bump up to ensure 24/7 stability and then proceed on to blend test...
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    July 15, 2012 4:47:44 AM

    i re-enabled LLC and did voltage offset by .1.

    idle volts dramatically decreased.

    load volts slightly increased.

    both idle and load temps noticeably decreased.

    i'm 3 hrs 50min into Prime95 blend.
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    July 15, 2012 6:37:31 AM

    it errored @ 5 1/2 hour mark. :( 
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    July 17, 2012 12:32:04 AM

    Frankly, I think the original questions to this thread has already been answered for the most part. Granted, I've sort of trailed off into overclocking a little while back ago so I'll wrap this up with this:

    Thank you all for your patience and answers to my questions. I got what I needed to know about the entire process.

    All there is left for me to do is to stabilize my final OC, which I believe deserves its own separate thread for organizational purposes...
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    !