Questions about cpu overclocking before I get started tomorrow

So I have been doing a ton of research about overclocking the last couple of weeks and I have a few general questions that hopefully someone will be able to help me get answered.

My system:
i7 2700k Sandy Bridge cpu
ZALMAN CNPS9900ALED 120mm 2 Ball Low-noise Blue LED CPU Cooler
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 mobo
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)
Thermaltake TR2 RX 750W Bronze
180GB Intel 520 series SSD boot drive
EVGA 680GTX Superclocked+ Graphics Card
Win 7 Pro

The plan is to overclock my cpu because it is currently bottlenecking my graphics card when I come across in game situations when there is too much going on. My goal is between 4.3 and 4.5Ghz with as small of tweaks to the VCore as possible and still remaining perfectly stable.

my questions:

How necessary is it to reformat and start with a fresh install of windows? Not a big deal because I have plenty of backup options but I am curious of why everything I read says to start with a fresh windows install.

My motherboard has overclock presets but in my humble opinion the VCore settings seem a little high on to me. My best friend (who happens to be an intel engineer) aggrees with me that the settings seemed a little high. For example; at the 4.3Ghz preset it puts the VCore at something like 1.45 volts. Should I be using these presets? And also what kind of VCore settings should I expect to get a stable overclock at my stated goals?

And last but not least, Is my cpu cooler decent? Also, I used the thermal paste it came with when I installed it. Should I use a better paste and redo my heatsink?

Any advice from you gurus out there would be most appreciated.
3 answers Last reply
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  1. It is not necessary to reformat your PC don't worry about it.
    When overclocking always use manual voltage inputs but I cannot say what voltages you should expect. Every component is different and a voltage that works for someone might not work for you.
    Your aftermarket cooler should be good enough. Just be careful with the temperatures to avoid any damage
  2. Agree with not necessary to reformat and reinstall the operating system, usually trial and error booting during the overclock process will corrupt the graphics drivers and they would need to be uninstalled and reinstalled, but not reformat and reinstall the entire OP/SYS.

    Those motherboard presets are too high, 1.45v should be able to run 5.0ghz with a 2700K, you should be able to run 4.5 somewhere in the 1.3v range.

    Regarding your CPU cooling solution it was a top contender in 2009 tested with the Core 2 Duo, but today with a 2700K it's easily beaten by the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ and EVO model.

    The Zalman you own may possibly get you by not going any higher than 4.5ghz with your 2700K, but you really want to keep it as cool as possible, I suggest rethinking your cooling solution.
  3. Although they look kind of neat, the Zalman 9500, 9700, and 9900 series of coolers are, by today's standards, pretty mediocre coolers.

    You can do better for less.
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