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Asus Overclocking Question

Hello there,
I've stalked here a while but I'm still new to all this. 2 months ago I didn't know anything about building a PC and now here I am with, I think at least, a pretty high quality budget build. But, this being my first real build, I have some questions about the final steps.
(my build is in my profile, but I'll list it here at the bottom of the post)

So my first question is about the Asus overclocking tools. Are there downsides to using them rather than overclocking the normal/manual way through the BIOS (I've only ever overclocked GPU's. I could learn it online and I don't have anything against learning it, but if the Asus tools won't cause any problems, I'd probably start with them). Also, I wonder about the core unlocking tool specifically. I bought the 560 thinking I'd have a 50% chance of unlocking it to a x4. And yes I know that when I get around to overclocking or unlocking the CPU I'll need a better heatsink

Other than that, a small question: the PWR_FAN connection on the Asus board - I'm pretty sure from my googling that it's ok to use with case fans, but is it really? My XFX 650w doesn't have a 3 pin fan connector, so it doesn't need the mobo regulator if I'm right. And does that PWR_FAN connection control speed on case fans or is it just power?

Everything is in the case except the RAM which should arrive on Thursday. I'm sure I'll have more questions then when I power it up. Until then, thanks for any help

The build:
Phenom II 560, stock heatsink
Asus M4A88TD-V EVO (880G)
Samsung F3 1TB
2x2 G.Skill X Series DDR3 1600
XFX XXX 650w modular
ECS 8400GS 1GB (I really need an upgrade here. but that's for another time)
HEC Blitz case with 2 120mm fans
OS will be Windows Server 2008 R2 through DreamSpark, modded to be Windows 7. Unless that doesn't work out. Then I'm stuck with Vista 32-bit >.<
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about asus overclocking question
  1. Neophilus said:
    1. the PWR_FAN connection on the Asus board - I'm pretty sure from my googling that it's ok to use with case fans, but is it really?
    2. My XFX 650w doesn't have a 3 pin fan connector, so it doesn't need the mobo regulator if I'm right.
    3.And does that PWR_FAN connection control speed on case fans or is it just power?
    1. Correct.
    2. Also correct. The PSU will self regulate it's own fan speed based on the operating temp of the PSU.
    3. I'm pretty sure Asus Fan Xpert will let you control the fan either manually, or by a profile based on a system temp report.
  2. Neophilus said:
    I bought the 560 thinking I'd have a 50% chance of unlocking it to a x4. And yes I know that when I get around to overclocking or unlocking the CPU I'll need a better heatsink
    You won't need a better HSF for just core unlocking. And you can even do a light OC with the stock HSF.

    As for unlocking.. luck....and only luck determines if you can get four cores up and stable.
    There is no way to tell if you getting a 'golden' CPU or just an average one. Some think that, due to marketing demand for dual and triple core CPUs, some perfectly good 4 core CPUs might be switched to run as dual/triple core. That would be a 'golden' CPU.
    Most are probably CPUs that tested with a weaker core or two and has those locked out.

    If you're able to unlock the extra two cores and they run stable for you you're in really good shape. But you'll have to get lucky three times if you want to overclock. Once for each core to unlock and run stable, and then a 3rd time to get all four overclocked and stable.
    You need to be prepared to live with just the two cores if the CPU you get is one of the many that won't unlock even 1 more core and run stable.
  3. Best answer
    The Asus tools are a good place to start. They should be good enough to let you explore what is working best for you.
    3 or 4 cores, unlocked and stable. Maybe a decent overclock with the 3 strongest cores. A top overclock with just the two cores (probably need a good HSF for this attempt).
    You can test the system doing the things you like to do to see how much of an improvement you get. Not all computer tasks need four cores to run excellent. And not all tasks need an overclock to do what you want to do.
    Once you have an idea what you want to do, you can learn about the manual system and fine tune things the way you'd like them to be - or at least the best it can be.
  4. Thanks a lot for all the answers. I'll give the Asus tools a try.
    And yeah I'm fine with the dual core if the unlocking doesn't work out. I figured it would just be a bonus if it did. Same with the overclocking - it's not essential, I'm just trying to get the most value out of my budget that I can.

    I'm glad the PWR_FAN connection will work. Otherwise I'd only have one case fan working. I'm so surprised this board only has two case fan connections. I'll probably have to invest in a fan controller or Y splitter someday I guess. I thought decent quality boards would come with more fan connectors.

    Thanks again for all your answers. RAM will be coming in tomorrow! Exciting times
  5. On a sidenote...

    WOW tomshardware has a lot of scripts running. And I can't post without allowing them, but each page on here loads so slow with all the scripts running. Just woww
  6. All 4 cores are running smooth. Lucky me
    But I'm having big issues with Windows 2008 R2 so I'll just install Vista I guess

    Thanks for your help WR2
  7. Best answer selected by Neophilus.
  8. Good news Neophilus;
    Thanks for the after action report.
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