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Need Phenom X3 720 advice, along with some other questions...

Last response: in CPUs
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July 25, 2011 6:13:00 AM

I have a Phenom X3 720, and I can unlock it to a X4, and it is stable. This is at stock voltage and at stock clocks too, aka nothing is touched, except unlocking the core.

Most games I have, I don't notice them using 100% of the CPU at all. My temps also stay around 30-40C while playing these games. The games I play btw are APB: Reloaded, World of Warcraft, and StarCraft II. Sometimes a bit of GTA IV as well.

Since my cores don't seem to go to 100% (which, not directly related to this topic, can anyone recommend a program that would display CPU usage and core temps, etc in a game?), would overclocking my X4 from 2.8Ghz to, say 3.0Ghz, or even as far as it would go stable, help at all? Also what about voltage? If my cores are stable at stock speeds, would altering the voltage from 1.3X to 1.40 do anything at all? And also, what about unlocking? I would probably have to test this myself, but if I don't notice a difference in FPS really between X3 and X4, should I unlock? Also, in terms of overclocking, voltage, and unlocking, would any of this affect the lifetime of this CPU? I would imagine overclocking and voltage modifying would probably shorten the lifespan on this CPU (but then again, isn't this CPU made for overclocking?), but does unlocking affect lifetime?

Also about temperatures, what is a good range for this CPU? As I said, my temps tend to stay around 30C to 40C on average. I've only seen it at 50C when doing a stress test with Prime95 for maybe 10mins or so, and it tends to stick around that value. I think the highest I've seen was 57C, and that was when I first applied Arctic Silver 5 and I think I was overclocked slightly. Haven't seen it go up that high anymore though.

Also unrelated to my CPU directly, but I have a Radeon HD 5570 GPU. Its voltage is 0.9, and I can go up to a 700Mhz core clock, and 900Mhz memory clock. I can do 700Mhz core clock, but I can only get up to 830ishMhz. If I could somehow modify the voltage to maybe, 1.0, would that help my memory clock?

As for a bunch of other questions, what do the Northbridge and HT Bus control exactly? And as for RAM, I have DDR3 1333 PC310666 RAM (2x2GB sticks), but CPU-Z only is reporting me to have 667Mhz RAM speeds. Is this "right"? I thought for sure the 1333 would be the actual RAM speeds.

And final question, applying thermal paste. I read that I should have a rice-sized amount in the middle of the CPU, and leave it at that. However, that seems like a REAL small amount to cover the entire CPU. Would it be right to, say put some on the heatsink, spread it over the entire heatsink with a credit card, then do the same on the CPU, then put the heatsink on?

Also for a short summary:

1. Should overclocking be done if games don't use 100% of the entire CPU or any core?
2. Would modifying the voltage from 1.3X to 1.40 at stock frequencies do anything performance-wise?
3. Has there been a case where going from a triple core to quad core affected performance significantly in games?
4. Does overclocking, voltage modifying, and/or unlocking affect CPU lifetime?
5. Is 30C-40C (50C on full constant load) a safe temp range for this CPU?
6. Is there any program that can overlay into games that shows info like CPU Core usage, temps, etc?
7. Would going 0.1 volt up on a Radeon HD 5570 help increase the memory clock speeds?
8. What do the Northbridge and HT Bus control?
9. Why is my DDR3 1333 PC310666 clocked at 667Mhz in CPU-Z? Is this right?
10. Is a rice-sized amount of thermal paste in the middle of the CPU good enough to cover an entire CPU?

I understand this is the CPU & Components section, but I'm hoping I'm not breaking conduct with asking some off-topic questions :p 
a b à CPUs
July 25, 2011 6:40:35 AM

That looks pretty good to me. I'm usually high 20s or low 30s during idle but it's like an Athlon ii x4 lol
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July 26, 2011 6:19:12 AM

Anyone have anymore feedback plz?
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a c 103 à CPUs
July 26, 2011 6:55:21 AM

As long as you have +/-3GHz you'll be fine gaming-wise on three or four cores,
that is a massive although hypothetical voltage boost, id you alter vcore, do it in tiny increments, not in straight tenths :p 
yes, my x3 435 (unlocked to a x4 B35@3.5GHz) is much better on wow but I tell wow to use all the cores
overclocking affects lifespan although it depends on chip quality to begin with, cooling, voltage, a lot of things,
unlocking wont affect its life noticably although technically yes it will as you are using more volts for the extra core
50c at load? groovy, all fun there boy
not aware of any overlay temp monitors sorry there is sometimes a windowed mode for games though,
inc the voltage on the card wont increase the memory speeds, it only boosts stability for the core btw, step the card to a 5770(or check out the newer 6770) or 460Nvid if you can
Northbridge> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northbridge_(computing)
HT Bus> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HyperTransport
ram speed is fine, ddr means double data rate after all, and two times 667=?
yup, ricegrain is about the right amount in most cases, although some coolers have parallel pipes and benefit from a different method of application
and out of the two possible answers for your second post, your coolers crap :p 
hope this helps some,
Moto
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July 27, 2011 2:44:06 AM

Cool nice feedback. I ended up redoing the thermal paste on my CPU, temp stayed below 50C for the first 5 mins, when it usually went up to 50 nearly instantly, so overall I think its alright.

Also for WoW, how are you forcing cores? I thought WoW automatically used the max cores your system had (IIRC, I thought it did this since one of the 3.X.X patches)

Anymore feedback would be great though :) 
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a c 103 à CPUs
July 27, 2011 4:47:46 AM

There's a config file in your wtf folder, in there it says how many cores, you just change the number to 3, 4 or 15, dependant on your cpu ofc,
Moto
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July 27, 2011 5:06:01 AM

Motopsychojdn said:
There's a config file in your wtf folder, in there it says how many cores, you just change the number to 3, 4 or 15, dependant on your cpu ofc,
Moto


I added
Quote:
SET processAffinityMask "15"

to my config earlier (Phenom II X4), so I guess thats the right one :p  I don't know if I noticed a difference or not in FPS though (I just reinstalled WoW earlier today as well)
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a c 103 à CPUs
July 27, 2011 6:05:43 AM

You wont notice a fps boost,
but say your running a virus scan and D/l'ing a movie to watch whilst playing,
it wont choke your system up as much as it would have previously
Gratx on completing the 5 hour Re-install quest as well man :p 
Moto
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