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Overclocking an ASUS m5a97 for my RAM

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February 5, 2013 8:33:15 AM

Im about to purchase an ASUS m5a97 motherboard and it says I can use 2133 mhz memory speeds as long as I over clocked it. I'm also purchasing an AMD 8350 cpu and Patriot Viper 3 Black Mamba (2133 mhz).

I was just wondering if I could get a few opinions from some veteran O.C's. I need to know how safe it would be to overclock this. I bought a Cooler Master full tower case that moves quite a bit of air. Am I going to need some kind of alternative cooling method to keep my overclocked parts working over the years or is this something I shouldn't even worry about?

Thanks for reading in advance.
a b K Overclocking
February 5, 2013 11:10:25 PM

Good cooling is essential but how long are you planning on holding onto your rig? "over the years" sounds ominous to me, overclocking with increased voltage decreases the life span expectancy of your components even if you do keep them cool
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a b K Overclocking
February 6, 2013 3:23:23 AM

You can safely overclock the CPU without having any meaningful reduction in its longevity or reliability, if you are reasonable in your expectations and stay within proper voltage and heat limits. You will DEFINITELY need some sort of aftermarket cooler for the processor in any event- the stock cooler will leave the processor running hot enough at stock speeds to shorten its life expectancy far more than a proper overclock would.

As far as the RAM goes, you have zero risk of harming that by going up to the rated speed. Memory is rated based on what it's promised to be capable of running at in terms of speed and latency while being powered to the specified volage. If it's the 16gb kit you purchased, you should be able to run 11-11-11-27 latency at 1.5v and up to 2133mhz. There would be no benefit to running slower clocks than this in terms of wear and tear on the memory. I don't know for a fact what the fastest memory multiplier is for the M5A97. you might not able to get the memory to that full clock speed in practical application. If the top speed offered is 1600mhz (8x multiplier) for the memory, you'd need to have the base freuency on the CPU all the way to 266mhz instead of 200mhz to hit that RAM speed. That isn't going to be the easiest thing to tune for the processor. 2133mhz is actually faster than the base HT speed too, which has to be faster than the memory speed- so if I were you, I might settle in somewhere around 1800mhz, depending on what your options are as you tune the CPU settings (everything from CPU speed to NB, HT, and memory is calculated as a ratio to the CPU base clock that is 200 by default).

Just an FYI, the M5A97 is a good board, but has fairly basic voltage regulation with 4+2 power phasing. The FX8350 is a very demanding chip, and the realistic odds are that you won't be able to push it to the extremes that more expensive boards can even with proper cooling. That doesn't mean you have to leave it untouched, but don't try to emulate the speeds people reach with 990FX or Crosshair V Formula model boards either.
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a b K Overclocking
February 6, 2013 3:28:56 AM

PS- I just reread that you haven't yet made the purchase. I'd serious advise you to consider these two parts instead:

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That is the same board I run two systems around- better power phasing, much better overclocking potential and a wider range of BIOS options and fine-tuning. You'll be thankful for the investment in the long-run. I know, because I upgraded from the M5A97 myself. On sale at the moment too.

The memory is top-notch quality, will easily overclock past 1600mhz if you run timings as loose as those on the units advertising higher clock speeds, and is low-profile enough to not get in the way of your CPU cooler.

Just my $.02
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February 6, 2013 8:16:46 AM

Best answer selected by GreviousWounds.
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February 6, 2013 8:18:24 AM

ocmusicjunkie said:
You can safely overclock the CPU without having any meaningful reduction in its longevity or reliability, if you are reasonable in your expectations and stay within proper voltage and heat limits. You will DEFINITELY need some sort of aftermarket cooler for the processor in any event- the stock cooler will leave the processor running hot enough at stock speeds to shorten its life expectancy far more than a proper overclock would.

As far as the RAM goes, you have zero risk of harming that by going up to the rated speed. Memory is rated based on what it's promised to be capable of running at in terms of speed and latency while being powered to the specified volage. If it's the 16gb kit you purchased, you should be able to run 11-11-11-27 latency at 1.5v and up to 2133mhz. There would be no benefit to running slower clocks than this in terms of wear and tear on the memory. I don't know for a fact what the fastest memory multiplier is for the M5A97. you might not able to get the memory to that full clock speed in practical application. If the top speed offered is 1600mhz (8x multiplier) for the memory, you'd need to have the base freuency on the CPU all the way to 266mhz instead of 200mhz to hit that RAM speed. That isn't going to be the easiest thing to tune for the processor. 2133mhz is actually faster than the base HT speed too, which has to be faster than the memory speed- so if I were you, I might settle in somewhere around 1800mhz, depending on what your options are as you tune the CPU settings (everything from CPU speed to NB, HT, and memory is calculated as a ratio to the CPU base clock that is 200 by default).

Just an FYI, the M5A97 is a good board, but has fairly basic voltage regulation with 4+2 power phasing. The FX8350 is a very demanding chip, and the realistic odds are that you won't be able to push it to the extremes that more expensive boards can even with proper cooling. That doesn't mean you have to leave it untouched, but don't try to emulate the speeds people reach with 990FX or Crosshair V Formula model boards either.


Thank you very much, this helps a lot. :) 
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