Can't get over 3.6 GHZ on Phenom II X4 965?!

So I have the AMD Phenom II X4 965 with an ASRock N68-VS3 UCC motherboard. I have seen people say they can get this CPU up to 4.1 GHZ, but I don't have any cooling and would settle for 3.8 for now which should not be a problem from what I have read from other people's experiences.

However I can't seem to get it above 3.6 GHZ w/o the OS refusing to load and having to reset CMOS. I am following the sticky guide on overclocking using multipliers. I have my memory set at the lowest 400 MHZ it recommends and also the lowest voltage. I increased the CPU voltage all the way to 1.55 V and still 3.7 GHZ and above crashes.. Any ideas?

I would like to get some cooling hardware, but there is no point if my mother board or some other component is limiting the max overclock.

Any other beginner software I can use since I obviously am having trouble doing it manually from BIOS? My chipset is NVIDIA Geforce 7025 / nForce 630a..
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  1. Your chipset is the motherboard, not the CPU.

    As for your overclock, try not to change an more than you need.

    I would go back to factor defaults and start with just the multiplier. (and turn off turbo core/boost or whatever your board calls it.)

    Don't mess with voltage or memory.

    As you increase the multiplier, your board will probably increase your core voltage on its own.

    Keep an eye on both voltage and heat as you load test.

    I would start by turning off "turbo" and increasing the multiplier just one "notch" and testing.

    Wash rinse repeat. If you get unstable and have good temps, bump voltage just a little and retest. If you get too much heat but have stability, try lowering voltage just a tad.

    With stock cooling, your temps will probably reach the limit first.

    Baby steps.
  2. Yeah man what you are describing is exactly what I did.

    I never saw a function for "turbo" and the overclocking guide above for the black edition does not mention it.

    Also, the guide above said to manually stick the memory to the factory specification instead of leaving them on auto. That means I left the memory manually set at 400 MHZ and also manually set at the lowest voltage which was 1.49(?) I believe. I was wondering if I should stick the memory in the middle range of the optional voltage, cause I wasnt sure, but to be safe I left it at the lowest setting.

    Are you saying I should leave the memory on Auto? Why is the sticky guide wrong?

    Anyways, I increased the multiplier one step at a time.

    It was stable at 1.45 V at .5 multiplier (17.5 = 3.5 GHZ)
    It was stable at 1.45 V at 1.0 multiplier (18.0 = 3.6 GHZ)
    It did not boot at 1.45 V at 1.5 multiplier (18.5 = 3.7 GHZ)
    It did not boot at next step up in voltage.
    It did not boot at next step up in voltage. Etc until 1.5V and still did not boot..
  3. also don't expect miracles with that motherboard, it's very basic. i'd bet the people bragging about 4ghz+ overclocks are rocking at least mid price boards with much better voltage regulation & cooling. i do remember getting an athlon x3 up to 3.75 on a fairly cheap asrock 870 Extreme3, but if i was going for a high 24/7 overclock on a phenom i'd probably invest in something more like this
  4. ooops, wrong link! what i meant to link :D
  5. AMD chips will boost the speed of an individual core when it has a light load and only one core is needed. That is the "turbo" I am referring to. For the sake of minimizing variables, I recommend just turning it off at first. (You can turn it back on and even find the max stable limits of that function after you get the main OC stabilized.)

    What speed is your RAM supposed to operate at and what speed does it go to when you leave your memory alone (in "auto" I presume) and only alter your CPU multiplier?
  6. Thanks jpoos, that makes sense. I wish I would have gotten a better MB but I can't do that now because I can't afford to get my OEM copy of windows reinstalled for 75 bucks more.

    hmmm anyone else know specifically if that motherboard is for sure limiting me to 3.6? Should I increase my memory voltage at all?
  7. My RAM supposed to operate at 400 MHZ. I am not sure I want to deviate from the sticky guides recommendation to leave it there. I think they said it will change without showing a change on the motherboard.

    I can go ahead and check what it does though when I leave it on auto in a little bit.
  8. I believe it is just 965. On the box there is no BE, and on CPU-Z it just says 965 as well.

    Also, when I run it at max of 3.6 GHZ, it will work at 1.45 V and there is no need to go all the way up to 1.55 to get 3.6 to work. Which leaves me .1V room to work with, however using all of the .1V one step at a time will not get 3.7GHZ to work.

    In response to Zinonly: When I leave the memory on Auto, it still works at 3.6 GHZ at 1.45 V. Under CPU-Z it still shows 400 MHZ.

    I really am not sure if there is a point to overclocking the RAM anyways because i have 4 GB and my system (XP) can only register 3.42 GB. Could that be the limiting factor, or is it more likely my MB?
  9. If you are running a 32 bit OS, then 3.42GB is normal. (My 4G stick never registered as a full 4G when I was running 32-bit XP)

    Verbalizer was asking if you had a BE because those are the one's with "unlocked" multipliers. If you are able to adjust your CPU multiplier upwards, it's unlocked.

    However, if you have a locked CPU, the only way to OC is by manipulating the base clock. That frequency effects a lot more than just your CPU.

    Overclocking with the base clock is more complicated than simply upping the multiplier on an unlocked CPU.

    So to solve the mystery, what is your stock multiplier vs your OC multiplier?
  10. Oh wow I am stupid BE stands for Black Edition haha. Yes I have the black edition. Yeah so I have been adjusting the unlocked multiplier as described in the sticky at the top, one step at a time.

    Stock is 3.4 GHZ which is 17.0 multiplier. I can increase it 2 times (.5 X 2) to 18.0 which is 3.6 GHz.
  11. So before I read the whole thing you posted, which looks very interesting, are you saying you recommend against overclocking on this motherboard period? Or what exactly do you not recommend? I am planning on reading through that all just want a quick response first if you don't mind.

    Because just FYI on the MB CD-ROM it came with an overclocking utility call ASRockOC. Not that that means anything but it would be strange if they are putting that on there and it is not a safe idea to overclock.
  12. I think he doesn't recommend OC at all on your board because it has a weak VRM section.

    If you can under-volt and OC at the same time, then you could possibly go faster without drawing too much current. However, both under-volting and OC lead to instability so it's a low-percentage shot.
  13. Best answer selected by sdbuilt_1.
  14. Gotcha thanks for the help. I think this is solved, and I should have got a better MB! :)
  15. Hi Sdbuilt_1 how did you get this processor working with that mobo, the reason i ask is the processor has a tdp of 125w and the board is designed for 95w?
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