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Can I overclock with 500w PSU?

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July 26, 2011 9:49:06 PM

So I just bought the intel i5-2500k and I figured since I bought the unlocked version I might as well overclock it a little :) . Anyways, I've never overclocked before and was wondering whether my current PSU is sufficient to overclock to somewhere between 4.0 and 4.5 GHz. I have a rocketfish 500w PSU (550w peak). Do I need to upgrade my power supply in order to overclock?

I know the stock cooler isn't recommended for overclocking, but if I need to get a new cooler and a new PSU I wonder if the small performance increase (.5 - 1 GHz) is even worth the cost.

More about : overclock 500w psu

July 26, 2011 10:04:36 PM

I would not recommend overclocking with a stock cooler. Second if you decide to Overclock a cheap performance air cooler is the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus. A high performance but more costly cooler would be the Noctua Nh-D14. Also If you are only running a single video card and not to many case fans. Your 500w PSU should be enough to get you started into overclocking.
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July 26, 2011 10:39:27 PM

Your PSU isn't the issue here, it's the heatsink. If you're going to do any overclocking, I'd recommend getting a more serious heatsink, otherwise you'll fry the chip.

Try something like this.

I've been using that for the past 6 months for my i5 and it's amazing. You should be able to OC to ~4.6-8GHz with it.

Good luck!
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July 26, 2011 10:45:21 PM

I would be a bit iffy on that PSU. Newegg doesn't carry them and only place I saw it was Best Buy. Plus I can't even find detailed specs on it beyond the fact that its a 500w PSU. So I have no idea on what the 12v rails carry Amp wise, and thats important to know.

I would first though get a better heatsink like suggested. A Zalma, Thermalright or something in that range would be great. But watch your system as if you stress the PSU too much it might fry. If it gives issues overclocking, then you might want to move to a better brand PSU such as Corsair or Thermaltake.
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July 26, 2011 10:57:30 PM

you could try this site for getting an idea of where you are at...

http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine


basically it claims a .1V over volt on your CPU is about 25 watt of extra pull on your system. Assuming that is correct OCing will only cause you issues if you are right against the limit on your PSU.
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July 27, 2011 12:12:32 AM

Yeah I realize I need a better heatsink, I was mostly wondering about the PSU. I was thinking of getting this heatsink:
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10....

So I guess the message I'm getting is that I would probably be taking unnecessary risks with my current PSU.

I was pretty sure that's what you would tell me but it would have been nice to save $100.

I know this is a pretty vague question, but what kind of performance increase should I expect if I were to overclock it from 3.3 to 4.5 GHz? Mostly I mean the performance increase on modern and future games (Crysis 2, Starcraft 2, Skyrim, etc.). I want to know if it's worth the ~$130 for a new heatsink/PSU.
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July 27, 2011 12:31:58 AM

Buuntu said:
I know this is a pretty vague question, but what kind of performance increase should I expect if I were to overclock it from 3.3 to 4.5 GHz? Mostly I mean the performance increase on modern and future games (Crysis 2, Starcraft 2, Skyrim, etc.). I want to know if it's worth the ~$130 for a new heatsink/PSU.


You'll notice quite a difference. Almost every logical process that a computer does is sent through the CPU; especially when dealing with video games, since it's mostly all geometrical/physics calculations. Just as well, you'll see an increase in video games because the CPU almost always handles PhysX (unless the user specifies otherwise or you have a GPGPU).

Bottom line, is it worth the extra $130? ...only if you're actually going to be able to utilize that performance increase. Meaning, does your system have a bottleneck to where you wouldn't actually benefit from the increase in CPU speed?

How much RAM are you working with by the way? And what kind of motherboard do you have?
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July 27, 2011 12:52:23 AM

These are my current specs:

Motherboard: MSI P67A-GD65
CPU: Intel i5-2500k (3.3 GHz)
RAM: 8GB dual channel DDR3
GPU: MSI GTX 460 Cyclone 1GB
PSU: Rocketfish 500w
HDD: Western Digital Caviar 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0GB/s

I don't think I should have a problem with a bottleneck but I don't really know how to check that.
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July 27, 2011 1:08:54 AM

I doubt you have a bottleneck with a single GTX 460...to check have task manager open and a program that monitors GPU frequency. When playing a game alt-tab to your desktop during play.

If your GPU is at 100% then it is the bottleneck, if you have a core or multiple cores sitting at 100% on your CPU then it is bottlenecking. Of course if you are pulling in 140FPS then I woudl not worry too much about the bottleneck. I imagine with your set up it will be your GPU. Additionally some games have an FPS cap on them in which case niether may be at 100%.
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July 27, 2011 1:09:14 AM

Looks solid to me. If anything, I would have upgraded the PSU anyway, regardless of CPU OCing.

And there's not really an actual way to "check" a bottleneck of a system. It's really more of understanding the limitations of each component/feature in relation to the others and their maximum potential. Though, you could use this.
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July 27, 2011 2:03:08 AM

Damn... I ran GPU-Z and task manager at the same time with Crysis 2 and the GPU load would sometimes hit 99% while the CPU usage usually stayed below 50%. I guess that means that there isn't much point in overclocking then right? I thought the GTX 460 was one of the best video cards out there. Maybe video cards are just lagging behind modern processors now?

I might still upgrade the PSU though. I don't want to risk frying anything and I'll probably need it sooner or later.
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July 27, 2011 3:50:39 AM

Buuntu said:
GPU load would sometimes hit 99% while the CPU usage usually stayed below 50%.


Do you not OC your graphics card? If not, try downloading EVGA Precision. Let me know if you do and I'll give you settings for different level profiles for OCing the 460.

Buuntu said:
...I thought the GTX 460 was one of the best video cards out there.


I've owned one for a while now and they're amazing. I used to run them in SLI but found it was kind of overkill for what I was doing at the time and got rid of the 2nd card. I usually get a 20-25% increase in GPU performance when OCing the single card.

And yes, a new PSU would be a smart investment, indeed.
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July 27, 2011 4:09:43 AM

It's a MSI card, so wouldn't I use MSI Afterburner?
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July 27, 2011 4:12:56 AM

Buuntu said:
Damn... I ran GPU-Z and task manager at the same time with Crysis 2 and the GPU load would sometimes hit 99% while the CPU usage usually stayed below 50%. I guess that means that there isn't much point in overclocking then right? I thought the GTX 460 was one of the best video cards out there. Maybe video cards are just lagging behind modern processors now?

I might still upgrade the PSU though. I don't want to risk frying anything and I'll probably need it sooner or later.


Most current CPUs, such as a Core i7 950 or a Core i5 2500K are more than powerful enough for even a GTX580/HD6970. It would take a lot of GPU to bottleneck the CPU, and also a low resolution.

As for frying something, you shouldn't but if the PSU gets overloaded and does die out it could send a surge and kill another component. If you go for a better PSU, A Coresair GS600 or TX650 are the best bet for a decent price.

Buuntu said:
It's a MSI card, so wouldn't I use MSI Afterburner?


Yes.
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