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My Overclock is Suddenly Unstable

Not too sure what went wrong here:

My C2Q Q6700 has been running at 3.2ghz (320 x 10) for about a year. Girlfriend was using the machine and got a bluescreen. Troubleshooted a bit, couldn't track the cause down. I opened intel burn test out of curiosity and got a blue screen. Cannot get a pass in IBT. When I turn off my overclock in BIOS all is fine in burn test afterwards. I did a chkdsk and a sfc /scannow to no avail. Logic tells me that CPU degradation has set in, but at only ~1.335v for a year? This seems unlikely. I did get this CPU in a trade type scenario and am unaware of it's history, but the previous owner was not very tech savvy, and I doubt it was ever overclocked. Bumping up the voltage a notch or two didn't help, and at two notches up heat became an issue (low-profile case with less than ideal ventillation). I expect to be told to just build a new rig, but money is tight right now, and the current I5/I7s don't interest me (waiting for new generation). Please note that while my vcore and RAM voltages are set manually, all else (MCH, or w/e) are at "auto" which is where they've sat all year. My ram is Corsair XMS2 at 1.908V, ~960mhz (481.8mhz dual channel 5-5-5-12)

I'm going to test my ram in MEMTEST overnight. I hope, hope, hope one of my RAM sticks bit the dust (does that really happen often?) as Corsair will replace as they have never been overvolted.

So, I ask two things:

Help me troubleshoot?
Reccommend a CHEAP fix? (last resort would be run at stock)
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about overclock suddenly unstable
  1. Test ram with memtest396+ ! Test with each stick one by one. A couple passes should let you know if they are going bad.

    Also, you can underclock that ram and usually see if its stable like that.

    Thermal paste could be shot! Need new TIM?

    DUST! OMG DUST! Try blowing the thing out as good as possible with some compressed air.

    GPU having issues?

    There's so many things a BSOD could stem from it's ridiculous. Get a code and see if its the same every time. If it's not, it's probably a stability issue. If it IS the same, there's a cause and that can lead you to victory.

    As for degradation, I had my P3 Katmai 450mhz at 633mhz for over six years running 2.1v into that processor. I doubt your Q6700 is degrading just yet.
  2. I ran memtest+ overnight. 6 passes, no errors. I don't think there is any dust: I cleaned it out about a month ago when I installed my new blu-ray burner. The bluray was the only hardware change, no software changes save some windows updates. The thermal paste seems OK as well. I always use artic silver - should last a while: temps are where they have always been hit 80 in intel burn test, a bit toasty, but other stress tests don't get it above 70. This machine was prime, occt, and intel burn test stable a few months ago. When I get home tonight, I will tweak overclock settings a bit. Does anyone with a msi socket 775 board have an idea of baseline voltages for mch, etc?
  3. Best answer
    I'm reading that the max safe temp for a q6700 is 71 degrees C. You might actually have been damaging it for a year with way too high temps. Make sure yo move it away from any heat vents i your house. I would reapply thermal paste. If none of that works, down-clock it a little.
  4. As flexxar said, reapplying the thermal paste is the way to go
  5. Coolio, thanks guys. I will open 'er up and reapply tonight. Perhaps my arctic 7 pro wasn't up to snuff all along? Not the best airflow in my setup: could someone reccommend a cooler that will fit in my short silverstone case? I can get a zalman on craigslist for $35, but not sure about clearance. Will investigate.
  6. If airflow is bad, the cheapest thing to do is get more/better case fans and organize internal wiring to not obstruct airflow. If things don't improve enough, I would then replace the cpu heatsink.
  7. So I opened it up, took the heatsink off, cleaned up and reapplied the paste and temps were even higher afterward. It turns out my freezer 7 pro had died. 0RPM. Hopefully no CPU damage. The pc is in a media type setup, so I don't actually look at it often. My case fans did a surpisingly good job, I guess. Thanks, all. I will mark yours as best answer Flexxar. I will make a new post with photos (hopefully) to explain my difficuty in installing a decent HS: would really like a water-cooled setup, but my silverstone lc20bm case is somewhat dated and limited.
  8. Best answer selected by TJS4EVER.
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