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Does unlocking the 4th core on an Athlon II X3 440 raise its TDP?

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August 4, 2011 10:39:49 AM

I have the Athlon II X3 440, an ASUS M5A78L-M LX mainboard, a CM Hyper TX3, and an Antec Earthwatts EA-650 650W supplying the voltages. The most important thing to note in all this is that the M5A78L-M LX - though an AM3+ "black socket" motherboard - only supports CPU's up to a 95W TDP rating.

I was able to use the ASUS "Core Unlocker" feature the very first time without a hitch. The Athlon II X3 440 was recognized as a Phenom II X4 after the first reboot by the bios, Windows Vista 64-bit, and CPU-Z. Haven't Prime95 tested it yet for true stability.

The Athlon II X3 440 I have has the AADAC code engraved on its heat spreader. As I understand it, this means it's a Propus, because the third letter is a D. The regular Propus' natively have a 95W TDP; so if I unlocked my 4th core anyway, and my processor is a Propus, then technically, should I still be operating at a 95W TDP?

Does this logic seem right to anyone else? Given that my mobo only supports up to a 95W TDP, does unlocking - in any case & under any circumstances - automatically raise the TDP? My individual core temps using both the bios readings and HW Monitor in Windows showed about 32 degrees Celcius with just three cores @ idle; and 36 degrees Celcius with all four enabled, also @ idle. No overclocking has been done... yet ;)  I'm just worried that if I leave it unlocked, I will cause damage to my motherboard or severely shorten the life expectancy of my processor.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance! :) 

More about : unlocking 4th core athlon 440 raise tdp

a c 96 à CPUs
August 4, 2011 11:00:34 AM

without reading your essay, the answer to the question, yes, it will use more power.
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a b à CPUs
August 4, 2011 11:06:17 AM

You'll be fine.

As long as you don't overvolt.

The power consumption is directly linked to power consumption.

Prime 95 is a good stability tester, if you go a little over TDP, at worst the computer might freeze, but it is unlikely damage will occur.

If worst comes to worst and it does die, return it to the place you bought it.

If you unlocked the CPU, kept it at stock or lower voltage, you should be fine.

Overclocking is fine, if you don't raise the voltage. Heck, you could probably raise the voltage carefully...

It's not a "OMG you loaded up 1W more than I'm rated for thus I explode situation".

Progression in inability to provide voltage
Stable (start) -> Boots into Windows, but freezes -> Unable to boot into Windows -> Explosion (extreme levels of overvolting, eg. + .4v).
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August 4, 2011 2:52:35 PM

It's the Phenom II X4 B40. Can't find online what the TDP rating for that is, though. Well, except for here: http://www.game-debate.com/hardware/index.php?pid=490&c... ; though I don't know how reliable that information is. I don't have an L3 cache, so I know it's definitely a Propus and not the Deneb. Unfortunately, CPU-Z reports C2 stepping, but I wasn't planning for a huge OC.

Well, 3 hours into Prime95 testing with all 4 cores going w/ no OC'ing and no errors reported back yet. Peak temperature so far has been 54 degrees Celcius. I guess we'll see. I'm going to let it go at least 5 hours total.

Thanks for your help everyone :)  I just wish I knew for sure if my presumptions were right about it being a 95W even when unlocked because it's based on the Propus, a 95W design.

EDIT: BTW, what's the usual/average burn-in time for Arctic Silver 5?
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August 4, 2011 3:21:27 PM

Awesome! :)  Thanks for all the info and advice... I don't believe mine has an L3 cache physically present because it's a Propus with the code AADAC. I think it needs to have something like CACYC instead in order to be a Deneb with the L3 cache physically present, but disabled (if what I've read up on it is correct). Still, I'm just happy it unlocked to a quad perfectly (so far). My Vista SP2 64-bit index score was at 5.9; but I haven't applied any updates yet; so I'm wondering if it's locked there, or if it can go higher (is it 6.9 in Vista?)

I'm brand-spanking new to overclocking, so I'll need to read up a bit on the subject before I will feel comfortable actually going in and attempting it. As long as I don't go high enough to need to up voltages (as AMDfangirl suggested), I think I'll be alright and feel comfortable. As for cooling, I have another Cooler Master 80mm case fan coming in the mail as we speak, so hopefully that should allow for a little added security. I'd like to add a second fan to the Hyper TX3 as well. Many, many thanks to everyone for their help on this one. Slowly but surely, I'm learning more and more about this stuff :) 
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August 4, 2011 5:13:20 PM

I actually do have Windows 7 64-bit also, but I was hasty once I got the system together yesterday and just loaded up Vista :lol:  Agreed - I definitely need to upgrade the GPU. But this one only cost me 50 bucks for the meantime just so I could have something in there for a little bit. I was wondering if my PSU could handle anything beyond a GTX 280, though...

EDIT: Would an HD6850 be a good match for my processor?
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a b à CPUs
August 5, 2011 5:43:29 AM

RevOne said:
Awesome! :)  Thanks for all the info and advice... I don't believe mine has an L3 cache physically present because it's a Propus with the code AADAC.


If you ended up with a C2, there's a signifgant chance your die could have been a disabled Deneb die. Some people reported Deneb based Athlon II X3s... idk, be happy with what you got for free :D .
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a b à CPUs
August 5, 2011 12:53:29 PM

Yes...your TDP will DEFINITELY increase!! (but by not more than 25%) .Your chip will also run hotter once u unlock the fourth core.
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August 5, 2011 1:06:40 PM

Interesting... thanks amdfangirl :)  Would there be any specific steps I would need to take to attempt to unlock the L3 (assuming it's present) other than using the Core Unlocker feature? To your knowledge, should it have theoretically (automatically) unlocked when I enabled the fourth core? I can't seem to find any information on just unlocking a hidden L3 cache. Most posts and info I am finding pertains specifically to getting that 4th core enabled. If it isn't possible, I wouldn't be upset at all about it. Like you stated, I am very happy with ending up being lucky enough to get a stable, working quad-core processor for all of $45 USD shipped. :) 

Here's where I got my info about the processor I have being a Propus w/ no L3 present: http://www.insidehw.com/Reviews/CPU/Athlon-II-X3-440-A-... ; & here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/260941-29-unlocked-at... .
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a b à CPUs
August 6, 2011 9:27:56 AM

RevOne said:
Interesting... thanks amdfangirl :)  Would there be any specific steps I would need to take to attempt to unlock the L3 (assuming it's present) other than using the Core Unlocker feature? To your knowledge, should it have theoretically (automatically) unlocked when I enabled the fourth core? I can't seem to find any information on just unlocking a hidden L3 cache. Most posts and info I am finding pertains specifically to getting that 4th core enabled. If it isn't possible, I wouldn't be upset at all about it. Like you stated, I am very happy with ending up being lucky enough to get a stable, working quad-core processor for all of $45 USD shipped. :) 

Here's where I got my info about the processor I have being a Propus w/ no L3 present: http://www.insidehw.com/Reviews/CPU/Athlon-II-X3-440-A-... ; & here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/260941-29-unlocked-at... .


I don't know if what I heard was rumour or fact, but it would be logical for AMD to disable Deneb die with possible L3 defects as an Athlon II X3.

Probably more likely as a Athlon II X4. AMD isn't the type of company to waste dies, tbh.

The honest answer is I have no idea. So your best bet is to take what you can get and be happy :) . No point spending hours trying to figure it out if it turns out a Propus.

(Dodgy) article about Athlon II X4 Deneb: http://www.siliconmadness.com/2009/08/some-athlon-ii-x4...

From what I gather, either it works or it doesn't...
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August 7, 2011 8:42:10 PM

Good article... Thanks! It would have been an even better deal if I had lucked out and gotten one of the Deneb-based Athlon II X3's :)  From what I've been reading, if you can find one with the code CACYC on it, you're in luck and it'll most likely be a Deneb with a disabled core and available L3 cache. Whether it works or not when someone with one of these goes to attempt to unlock either appears to be a total crap shoot in itself. Since mine has the code AADAC embedded on it, it appears that these are the Propus-based ones with no L3 cache at all. Even so, unlocking the fourth core and the chances of it being usable/stable isn't always guaranteed with these either; so I was real fortunate that I was able to get one with a disabled, but good working 4th core. I can notice a significant performance difference between leaving it as a triple-core and when I unlock it to a quad. I am real happy about this... :D 

Well, I guess I'm pretty much settled on the idea that even with the fourth core active, the processor is still rated as a 95W TDP CPU. All the information I've found points to the Propus coming in either a 45W or 95W variant; and my guess is that the one I have is derived from the latter. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athlon_II#Propus_.2845_nm_... (not the most reliable source, I know). This is also great news, as my motherboard only supports up to 95W TDP processors; so I get a nice performance gain, while remaining within the manufacturer's optimal operating parameters. I also did try a little OC'ing. I got it up to 3.45 GHz, but I didn't like the temps that were being reported back in HW Monitor (62 degrees Celcius - and rising - after only running Prime95 for almost 10 minutes). I can't get readings for individual cores anymore because unlocking fudges this feature up in the bios for whatever reason when all four cores are active. So, I just brought it back down to 3.0GHz and left it there until I could figure out if there's a better (or right) way to overclock this thing. I'm completely new to OC'ing, and all I did was set it to 15x 3000 for the multiplier and I think it was 240 for the FSB. Like I said, I have no idea what I'm doing, so in order to feel comfortable, I just reverted it back to stock with the fourth core enabled until I can read up more about how to OC properly.
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August 7, 2011 9:18:47 PM

Do you mean that I should uninstall the cooler, clean the copper contact base and the CPU's heat spreader, then reapply a fresh application of thermal paste? I used the AS5 this time and not the paste that came with the HyperTX3. Should either one be better than the other or would it really make that much of a difference at all?

I'll probably have to wait a little bit to save up enough to put towards a new GPU. I was at first going to shell out the cash for a used GTX280, but after reading many reviews and scouring through the benchmarks, I don't think it would really be worth it to do anything less than at least a GTX460 or HD6850. Idealistically, I'd settle for either a GTX470 or HD6870. Is there a good chance that a bottleneck would be created by pairing any one of those cards with my CPU; even when it's overclocked and unlocked to a quad?
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August 8, 2011 9:56:20 PM

I'm beginning to wonder: Did I mount the Hyper TX3 cooler in the wrong direction? I have the fan facing the front of the case. I thought that it would be intaking dead air from the front, blowing air through the heatsink part, then out to the rear mounted case fan. However, if I (carefully) put my hand inside the case, it feels like there's more airflow between the front of the fan and the hard drive cage than there is between the back of the cooler and the rear mounted fan. Right now, I find that I'm still topping out at 55 degrees Celcius (no higher thankfully) after a few hours of Prime95 testing. I want to get it as low as I possibly can, and until I do, I'm afraid to even attempt OC'ing at all. Here's a pic:
http://imageshack.us/f/402/picture93u.jpg/

I'm also going to be removing the bottom optical drive from the bottom 5.25" bay, and installing one of these to get some fresh air coming in through the front of the case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . I also haven't yet received the actual SATA DVD-RW DL drive I'll be mounting in the top bay. Those two in the picture are just left over IDE drives from what was in the case before, but my mobo doesn't have IDE connectors/controllers. Once I have the new SATA drive and that drive bay fan thingee, the build will be done (except for the new GFX card).
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a b à CPUs
August 8, 2011 10:03:27 PM

If you look in the manual, it doesn't matter which direction the actual heat-sink is facing, but the fan, should be on the right side, which you have it, with the silver "CoolerMaster" facing to the right, I actually have same motherboard, and Cooler you do, and queried the same thing.

That is interesting about the TDP though, I wonder what my Phenom(Didn't unlock QQ) is pulling from the 95W socket, and which Zambezi processors will be 95W, either way, I was only keeping this processor as a place-holder for BD, and I'm going to sell it, and buy a BD anyway.
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August 8, 2011 10:51:14 PM

Thanks, Yummerzzz :)  That's exactly how I have it installed (just as you described it and how it looks in the manual). In the manual, it shows a single fan configuration with the fan on the side of the DIMM slots (you can add second fan if you want to. which would be put on the left side or "back" of the main cooler unit).

I'm also hoping that BD processors will come in decent 95W variations, as well. Right now, I can't even use the more popular Phenom II X4's (like the 955 or 965 BE). I can put in at least a 960, though, which is nice. Using any X6's with this mobo seems to only allow up to the 2.8GHz CPU's in that class, I believe. So hopefully, AMD will be striving to keep the TDP's nice and low for BD.

@malmental I'm confused, now :lol:  Anyhow, the LED fan is blowing air out of the back of the case as it's supposed to. The 5.25" drive bay cooler is only so I can get some intake with this case. It's an mATX, with absolutely no room for addons. The drive bay cooler would at least bring some filtered air into the case, I was hoping anyway (all the fans on everything else - the GPU, CPU, and PSU all expel air from the case). I could also then mount my HDD to the drive bay cooler, remove the HDD cage that's in there right now, and custom mount a small fan in the front. I actually have 2 extra 80mm Cooler Master fans that are not being used, but they both have 4-pin connectors and the mobo only has a single 4-pin header and one 3-pin header, which are both already being occupied by the CPU cooler and rear case fan. As for the thermal paste, I actually didn't use the one that came with the Hyper TX3, but instead applied some Arctic Silver 5 I purchased separately. I'm thinking you may be right; I may have overdone the application...

EDIT: This is what it looks like with the side panel on: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/854/picture62v.jpg... . It's getting some air into it, but these ducts mostly help with getting hot air out of the case, as when I put my hands over them, I can feel air being pushed out. I was wishing I could put one of my CM 92mm fans over the square duct, but the Hyper TX3 sits right behind this opening; with not enough room for a fan to be mounted to the side panel.
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August 8, 2011 11:10:09 PM

Quote:
the 5.25 blows out not in ot at least that's what mine did...
you might want to check on that one.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m529/malmental/IMG-20110803-00003.jpg
I have some re-wiring to do, swapping to a modular PSU.
my heatsink is low-pro so it blows straight up, I have 5 x 120mm fans, 3 controlled by fan controller
and the other two are motherboard controlled not including heatsink/fan.
the clear side panel doesn't have a fan and the vents create a 'draw-in' effect.


That's a sweet case (Antec Hundred series?)... That's what I needed from the start - a modular PSU. I had to stuff all the unused wires from the EA-650 into that empty bay between the optical drive cage and the HDD cage. I originally was going to install a CM GeminII S as a cooler - which is also low profile; but I was worried it might interfere with how tall my Corsair Dominator RAM is because of their heatsink "fins". Next time I get a new motherboard, I'm definitely going to pay more attention to how many fan headers it has on board.
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August 8, 2011 11:55:56 PM

That's not a bad price on that case. I'm eventually going to transfer everything to a new one, so I'll be putting that one on the list of cases to consider. I was actually going to do the Scythe, but it sits even lower than the GeminII S, and when I took measurements, I found that it would definitely sit right on top of my RAM. Was a bit of a bummer... :( 

I was also thinking about adding a second fan to the Hyper TX3, but I don't have an additional header to connect it to. Do they make cable splitters (that are safe) for just such a thing? Here's the one I was thinking about getting: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . The Hyper TX3 already came with an extra fan mount.

Okay, so interestingly, CPU-Z is reporting the code name of the unlocked CPU as a Propus, but it rates the Max TDP @ 128W. HW Monitor is saying 142W. I read it somewhere (can't remember where) that when you unlock the disabled cores on any of the eligible processors, it screws with the accuracy of both programs with regard to TDP readings. Should I still be concerned, nonetheless?

And here's where I read that this particular drive bay cooler should be intaking air into the case: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:EELEldARf1EJ:... (requires .PDF viewer) . Does this seem like a reliable source?
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August 9, 2011 2:27:15 AM

Sounds good. I'll get on reinstalling the cooler unit as soon as possible and hopefully that ought to yield a little better performance. Then the real fun will come when I can finally do a little OC'ing.

BTW, I really have to give you a huge thanks for all your help & guidance with everything, malmental... This is my first build ever and I was chock full of questions and concerns about a lot of different things, and your assistance has aided greatly in answering many of those questions. I really appreciate it :) 
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August 15, 2011 1:38:04 PM

Thanks! Okay, so I sold the 9800 GTX for about $57 and bought an HD 4890 for $75 shipped (should have it in about 3 - 5 days). I haven't opened the case and fixed the possible issue with the thermal paste yet. Do you think even if I fix the cooler and overclock the CPU to about 3.4GHz with all four cores running it's going to bottleneck that card? I was really considering selling the CPU and just going with the Phenom II X4 945 (can't get any better than that unless I go with a 95W X6 because of the TDP limit of my board). Thanks in advance! :) 
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a c 104 à CPUs
August 15, 2011 2:00:47 PM

I have build 4 PCs around the Athlon x3 CPU all with boards that have a 95W TDP limit and this was my results:
1 Unlocked 4th core stable and L3 Cache but would not overclock at all with the 4th core so now running 3 core + L3 Cache @3.6GHz
2 Unlocked 4th core stable no L3 cache and didn't try to overclock
3 Would not boot with anything unlocked at all
4 Unlocked 4th core not quite stable no L3 cache this was the only C3 one and its now running happily at 3.7GHz 3 cores (with a 4890)
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August 15, 2011 2:40:46 PM

Wow... you've got a lot of experience with this chip! :)  Many thanks for sharing your results across the board. Looking over your results, I would say mine probably fits the third description best. I did try OC'ing, but mine is a C2 and I didn't feel comfortable with the temps it was reporting back when I began stress testing it @ 3.4 GHz, so I downclocked it back to stock. I'll try reseating my cooler and OC'ing again with the 4th core going. I'm now thinking that I may just leave it at an X3 and OC as high as I can get it stable \with the Hyper TX3.

Does that last one perform really well in games @ 3.7 GHz and the HD4890? I know I most likely won't be able to get mine to clock anywhere near as high because it's a C2, but I'd love to know how this chip performs when paired with this card. Thanks again!
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August 15, 2011 3:48:44 PM

Quote:
what was your voltage when you unlocked and then overclocked it, what did you set it at.?


It was set to Auto in the bios, but HW Monitor said 1.4v I believe.

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a c 104 à CPUs
August 15, 2011 3:52:02 PM

All just unlocked was with voltage on Auto which set it to 1.4.
1 to get 3.6GHz needed 1.475V set in bios but HWMonitor reports 1.49
2 all just left on auto I built this for some else and never tried overclocking
3 all just left on auto never tried to overclock as I use this for work and nothing intensive. I did try increasing the voltage to unlock a core but no success
4 was trying for 4GHz but nothing over 3.7 was stable even at 1.5V and 3.7 was still stable with 1.45 which is how its left.
Yes 4 does run all games very well and can Max out all but the most demanding games at 1680 x 1050 res. and most games at 1920 x 1080. All this was using this £34 motherboard http://www.ebuyer.com/221178-asrock-n68c-s-ucc-geforce-...
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August 16, 2011 3:46:36 PM

Thanks for the feedback simon12 & malmental :)  Okay, so it looks like I ought to be happy with this processor's performance. I'm now thinking I may do a secondary build around this same processor. This one won't be used for gaming as much. Just more for my school coursework and general stuff like web browsing. I may not have luck in getting another X3 440 that unlocks or even at least has C3 stepping, though. I was looking into the Phenom II X4 820 because I can get that one for pretty cheap (even less than I paid for my Athlon II).

Only thing I'm now wondering is if I do get the Phenom II, if I should switch it out for the Athlon II X3 440 and put it in the system with the HD4890 for gaming. I was looking up the Passmark CPU comparison scores, and it looks like the Phenom II X4 820 is only the next AMD processor up from the Phenom II X4 B40 (although it does score significantly higher than just a stock Athlon II X3 440). Another thing is, it's a Deneb and not a Propus, plus I'll possibly gain the extra 2MB of L3 cache on the X4 820 to bring it up to a total of 6MB like the other Phenom II's, and I don't think those scores reflect unlocked CPU's. The other thing is that I know for sure that the X4 820 comes with a lower stock speed of 2.8GHz and is also a C2. I have been reading that people have been able to get it up to 3.5 and higher on average, however; which would make me happy.

Here are the scores: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lookup.php?cpu=AMD+Phen...
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August 16, 2011 4:13:13 PM

Unfortunately, my mobo can't handle a 955BE or 965BE (due to the 95W TDP limitation). I REALLY wanted one of those; and would have been willing to spend the money for a 965. I would have gotten another board, but I only paid $33 USD for this one brand new/shipped; so I couldn't pass up on the deal. The only thing I'm now hoping is that Bulldozer will ship with some nice 95W or less variants so I can get some use out of this thing in the long run. If not, it won't be such a big deal to replace it, I suppose (at least once in the next year and a half when I graduate from college). The highest X4 I can do on this is the 960T, but those things are so rare (there's ONE listed on ebay right now; and bidding is already up to close to a hundred bucks with like two days left to go). The next step down is the 945, a non-BE, but with a decent enough 3GHz speed, all four cores, and the total 6MB L3 right out of the box.

Originally, I paid $45 USD for the Athlon II shipped. The Phenom II X4 820 is less than thirty. And unfortunately, the Phenom II X4 840 is pretty much the same exact processor I have at the moment (the Athlon II), only it comes stock at 3.2 GHz. It's also not a BE, has no L3 cache, and is also built from the Propus (It's essentially an Athlon II rebranded as a Phenom II).

Do you think the 820 wouldn't be worth it? Like, is it that bad of a performer compared to the other Phenom II's? I guess I just don't want to get it just going based off price alone, and then end up getting it and regretting not having just saved up for at least an 830 or the 945. I saw on that chart that the Athlon II X4 640 can outrun it; and those sometimes have an unlockable L3 on 'em. But still, I would end up paying more than 30 dollars for one of those (not much more if I buy a used one on ebay, but more nonetheless) and there's no guarantee of ANY L3 with that one either. Any guidance? Many, many thanks in advance!

EDIT: Looking at the Bulldozer lineup, it looks like I'll be doing the FX8100. So far that's the best one I've heard about with a 95W TDP. Well... that's IF I decide to keep this board. I'm really tempted by that FX8170...
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a c 104 à CPUs
August 19, 2011 6:15:02 AM

C2 is 140W and C3 is 125w there is a 95W one on paper but I don'y think its ever been sold anywhere.
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a c 104 à CPUs
August 19, 2011 8:27:42 AM

Sorry yes its the C2 965 that 140W also I think the C3 980.
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August 20, 2011 1:53:14 AM

Seems there was a thread on here (Tom's) somewhere where someone confirmed a 955 95W only ever being sold in parts of Asia. I can't find one for sale anywhere just doing a quick scan over Google. That would have been a nice option for me.

EDIT: I take that back. Here's two sources:  fficial&client=firefox-a#q=HDX955WFK4DGM&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:o fficial&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbo=u&tbm=shop&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wf&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=b5feaac58e99eeca&biw=1127&bih=494" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.google.com/search?q=HDX955WFK4DGM&ie=utf-8&o... . One is selling it for $175USD and the other $376. Neither even bothers to make any mention of wattage on either page; or list ANY specs for that matter. I don't know if I would even trust ordering it unless I could confirm beforhand that it was the right one.
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August 20, 2011 4:20:44 AM

No Eyefinity for me yet, unfortunately, since I've still only got one monitor and can't really afford to spring for any others at the moment. I have the main HDTV in the living room, also; but that one's got a bigger screen. I wish I could actually have gotten the Phenom II X4 960T (it's a Thuban and I might have had luck in unlocking the two extra cores) and a 6-series ATI or a GTX 5-series Nvidia GPU. Just a matter of budget holding me back really. With this one, I paid $27 for the 820 processor (originally $45 for Athlon II X3), $33 for the mobo, and $75 for the 4890. I couldn't even find a GTX280, much less even a GTX460 768mb selling for the price I got the 4890 for anywhere; and I know the 4890 at least runs on par with the GTX460 768mb, or at least somewhere between that and the 1GB version. And the 4890 is hopefully going to run pretty little circles around the 9800GTX (not even a GTX+) that was in there before.

I was able to put this entire build together for approx. just under maybe $260 USD; $33 of which I actually spent out of pocket to put me in the red. I wouldn't have been able to get even an X4 945 and GTX 460 1GB for that amount of money, unless I got real lucky on ebay pitching for the used one's. I think this machine ought to make me happy for at least a year. Hopefully, it'll hold up enough to play Modern Warfare 3 decently. That'll get me by for the next couple months at least.

Plus, there's a laundry list of games I haven't played that the 4890 could easily handle: Batman: AA, Dead Space 1 & 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the Dragon Age series, the Assassin's Creed series, all immediately spring to the forefront of my mind. I've missed out on tons of games over the years. For finally coming from a Pentium 4 Northwood system with an AGP 4x bus, I hope this little machine will serve me well for the time being.

Additionally, I'm hoping to do an entirely separate build when the time and money is right, and this one (the Phenom II X4 820/4890) will likely become a secondary beater unit for the everyday tasks and the like; then dedicate the other to pure enthusiast level gaming. This is my first ever custom build, too; so if anything, it's been good for getting at least a little bit of experience under my belt.

Geez... why do I always end up typing so much? It's like my fingers just go off on their own sometimes. I swear - I am not this talkative in person :lol:  It baffles me, seriously...
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August 21, 2011 5:56:16 PM

Once again, I can't thank you enough malmental, for all your help and guidance with everything. When you're completely new to this stuff (as I am), it really helps to have someone who's willing to share their knowledge. I think I ought to be happy with it. It's a big step up from my old system, so we'll see if once the novelty of it all has worn off, if I feel I still desire a little more "oomph" from this configuration. The great thing is that upgrading IS an option now (whereas with my old system, it was a total dead end).

I can understand where you're coming from. The only other ATI card I've owned in my entire life was a 32mb Rage 128 Pro for an old Compaq I had back in maybe '98. Everything else has been Nvidia; but I'm definitely willing to give ATI it's time in the light as well. I hear a lot of good things about this particular card, so hopefully my experiences with it will mirror those reports. I'd love to have just a couple hours to mess around on the rig you have. It sounds like a beast! :)  Hey, when anyone can afford to pass on a system with two 560's in SLI, gaming has GOT to be good -=laughing=-

Well, I ended up ordering the Phenom II X4 820 for the heck of it (was only $27 after all) and I should have it by Tuesday. I'm gonna toss it in there and see how it stacks up against the unlocked Athlon II X3 440; then decide on which one I'll keep in that unit. I'll probably just keep whichever processor doesn't end up in this machine, then build another basic system around the other and give it to one of my brothers. He's still running an old Northwood Pentium 4 system, too; so I think he'd definitely like it very much to be brought up to speed with something a bit more modern (he's even more of a gamer than I am... XBOX 360 for him right now, though lol).

Anyhow, thanks for all your help malmental and all the others who have lent a hand in this. I can't stress how much I sincerely appreciate it! :) 

BTW, think my setup can handle Bulletstorm? I think that'll be one of the first games I'll try to beat once everything is finally up and running for good...
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August 21, 2011 6:18:23 PM

Ahh... there's just something so gratifying when you meet or exceed recommended system requirements, isn't there? -=laughing=-
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August 21, 2011 10:21:26 PM

Quote:
Yo.
what's your monitor situation again.?


Here's what I've got: http://insigniaproducts.com/products/televisions/NS-L22... .

It's a 720p LCD HDTV; but when using a DVI to HDMI cable running from my GPU to the TV, it's native resolution is usually automatically set at 1360 x 768. I can output as high as 1920 x 1080, but I don't know if that's progressive scan or interlace (doesn't say, just says 1920 x 1080 on the display dialogue when I set it to that resolution). The other TV I have (that my girlfriend and I use for watching television and playing the XBOX 360) is a Samsung 32" 720p 60Hz HDTV (also will output 1980 x 1080). I believe this is the model: http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-LN32B360-32-Inch-720p-HDT... .
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August 21, 2011 11:16:00 PM

Quote:
1360 x 768 is a real downfall...
I'd have to up it to full 1080P if possible.
that 768 in particular, I can't stand it..


Yeah, tell me about it :lol:  I found that with the 9800GTX in there, I often had to set certain games (Crysis and Bad Company 2 in particular) as low as 1280 x 720 (720p) in order to get good framerates. With most everything else (Assassin's Creed, Dead Space, the Call of Duty games, NBA 2K11), I cranked it up to full 1080p (I'm assuming it's 1080p; may be 1080i, though, since this is a 720p TV). Hopefully, the HD 4890 will let me do a little bit better across the board. That 1GB of GDDR5 memory in the 4890 over the 512mb GDDR3 in the 9800GTX ought to help out with filling textures better at higher resolutions. The only reason I really was so quick to snatch up the 4890 right away, instead of waiting a few months and saving up in hopes for something better, was because I was using these two sources as a reference to see where the 4890 would put me in comparison to the 9800GTX, as well as other cards:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6950-1gb-...

HD 4890 vs 9800GTX
http://www.hwcompare.com/2220/geforce-9800-gtx-vs-radeo...

HD 4890 vs GTX 460 (768MB)
http://www.hwcompare.com/8154/geforce-gtx-460-vs-radeon...

It's strange, because with the old Dell that had a 7800GS AGP in it, if I tried any resolutions between 1360 x 768 and 1980 x 1080, it wouldn't scale fully to the borders of the screen. It would simply adjust to 1980 x 1080 and show a borderless window set at the resolution I was originally aiming for (i.e. 1440 x 480, 1600 x 900). I thought this was the monitor at fault, but it doesn't do that with either of the two newer cards.
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August 23, 2011 12:52:40 PM

I was on the verge of getting a 5770, but saw that even the 4890 was more powerful than that one. I really, REALLY wanted to score a 1GB GTX460... but I wasn't so lucky. You're absolutely right, too: In a lot of the benches I'm now looking at, even the 768MB GTX460 edges out ahead of the 4890 in most games. It's funny, because my 4890 came bundled with H.A.W.X., and the 460 easily wins by a landslide in that game according to the benches you posted. It's tough when people publish differing results. Some say the 4890 approaches even the 1GB 460; others say it's not much more powerful than the GTX280 (until you factor in overclocking). Makes it tough when you're in the market for a card and you're new to this stuff.

I was wondering: what processor do you have running in the SLI 460 rig? It's not the Athlon II X3 440, is it?
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August 23, 2011 2:06:36 PM

Revone I understand that you sold your Athlon II CPU.I have the same problem here but with a Athlon II 455x3 CPU.After I unlocked the fourth core I got TDP 126,2w.The CPU is very stable,no problems in stock 3,3Ghz,not overclocked and I"m not gonna overclock it.My MOBO supports up to 95W TDP too.I don"t know what to do,leaving the CPU unlocked will damage my motherboard?
I put here a screenshot of Core Temp program that shows basic info of CPU and that is a 126w TDP.In original state with 3 cores my CPU has 95w TDP


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August 23, 2011 2:40:33 PM

Hi, gabilondo :)  Yeah, I still wasn't too sure about how it affects the overall TDP, myself. I'm fairly certain that the TDP readings must get screwed up somehow, the same way that you can no longer monitor temps per each core, when the CPU is unlocked. However, I do think that the TDP must be increased, if only just by a little bit. It seems logical that the more cores you have running, the more power it will draw. Yet, it isn't like there aren't 95W quad-cores in existence; especially those based on the Propus die.

Interestingly, where my Athlon II X3 440 when turned into a Phenom II X4 B40 supposedly stayed at 95W, your 455 @ 95W ( http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/K10/AMD-Athlon%20II%20X3%... ) turns into the B55, which is stated to only have an 80W TDP ( http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/K10/AMD-Phenom%20II%20X2%... ). Either way, I think it does raise the TDP, but only minimally, and most programs like CPU-Z will report much higher than it actually is.

Wait... I don't think that's right. That second link says it's for the Phenom II X2 B55. Isn't the Phenom II X4 B55 what the Phenom II X2 555 (and not the Athlon II X3 455) turns into when you unlock the four cores?
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August 23, 2011 3:15:33 PM

When I unlocked the 4th core in BIOS and all other software apears as QuadCore AMD Phenom II X4 B55, 3315 MHz (16.5 x 201)
Sorry for double post.....
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August 23, 2011 4:40:00 PM

gabilondo said:
I don"t know.My CPU is ADX455WFK32GM,and in the list of supported CPU"s for my MOBO appears as 78,5W TDP.But vendors put it as 95W TDP.Now I"m really confused...
http://www.asrock.com/mb/cpu.asp?Model=N68C-S%20UCC


There was a guy who's video I was watching on Youtube and he put a 125W Phenom II X6 into the motherboard that I'm using (a 95W max mobo), and he runs it as a server 24-7. Seems to be alright so far, with the exception of having troubles overclocking the thing. Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEwvyaw8ep4 . I wouldn't recommend doing what he did because I don't know what long term effects it could have on his setup, but in your case, I think you'll be fine. I was still a little in the dark as whether or not the TDP is raised significantly enough to a level where one would need to be concerned. It's why I decided to just go with a CPU that was already a 95W quad-core out of the box.

There's this thread on Tom's about the same thing you're encountering: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265443-29-tomshardwar...
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August 23, 2011 5:04:08 PM

Thank you for your help revone!
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August 24, 2011 6:47:32 PM

Not a problem :)  Not sure how much help I was since I'm still very new to all of this myself; but I'm glad I could help, nonetheless.

Alright, so despite being scared half to death yesterday by the ground rumbling (I live in Virginia), Fed Ex STILL delivered the Phenom II X4 820 through all the insanity -=laughing=-.

I took your suggestion malmental and didn't apply as much AS5 when I remounted the Hyper TX3, and right now, the CPU idles at around 38 degrees Celcius. Much cooler than the Athlon II X3 did. I've unlocked the extra 2MB of L3 Cache, but I still have to run stability tests with Prime95. Other than that, it's working in Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit just fine (I'm using it right now to type this). Even tried a little Batman: Arkham Asylum and Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and no problems to report with the unlocked L3 Cache (I haven't recorded temps on full load yet, however).

Now I'm at the point where I want to try a little OC'ing (first the CPU, then later the GPU). The V-Core says it's currently at 1.28v (this is at stock). I have a locked multiplier, so I know the only thing for me to do is up the FSB a bit (is that correct?). I don't want to leave the V-Core on Auto though. I'd rather set it manually so that it doesn't exceed its threshold. What's the highest acceptable voltage that most would recommend (on air cooling)? I've read you should go too much more above 1.43v in some places.

EDIT: Found a major problem. These are my GPU temps at idle... Something is wrong. I'm gonna end up frying this card. Unless the fan kicks into high gear when I'm gaming.

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a c 104 à CPUs
August 24, 2011 7:53:50 PM

4890s run hot, mine used to hit 93C when gaming and its still running in my brothers PC and its been in regular use for over 2 years.
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August 24, 2011 8:08:47 PM

Did you get that card used from Ebay? I'd take a look at the heat sink and apply new thermal paste if I was you. I bought a used 9800gt that ran 70c at idle and 90c+ when benchmarking, even went up to 105 one time, turns out the heat sink was completely blocked with crap. Just glad it didn't start on fire. Worked good once I got it cleaned out.
It irked me a bit that the guy posted it as nothing was wrong with it, cause obviously it must have been overheated many times before and hadn't been working decent for gaming for a while, the heatsink doesn't get that blocked over a day. There was literally no air getting into the heat sink, and it wasn't a big heat sink at all.
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August 24, 2011 9:29:28 PM

Yeah, I did buy it used on ebay. The seller said they had removed the cooling unit and applied some fresh Arctic Silver 5, but had tested it since then, and reported it running well. According to the listing, they weren't getting rid of it because there was anything wrong with it, but instead because they had upgraded to a GTX 570. Maybe they hadn't quite reseated the cooling unit correctly/fully. Hope it's an easy fix.

I don't have any experience removing a fan from a GPU, so I'll see if I can find a visual aide or some kind of tutorial. I'm going to run a test to see what it gets up to under load.

On a separate note, if I do attempt the CPU OC, should I disable Cool 'N Quiet?

EDIT: Prime95 won't stress test my GPU, will it? Gonna try using the Crysis Benchmark for the GPU I suppose...
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a c 104 à CPUs
August 24, 2011 9:31:19 PM

Don't panic untill you see the load temps GPUs can take alot more heat than CPUs
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August 24, 2011 10:12:19 PM

Well, the fan only seems to want to operate at 37% when it's idle and set to Auto. I went into the Catalyst Control Panel and used AMD Overdrive to manually raise the fan speed up to 60%, and the temps are steadily coming down. Looks like at this speed, it hovers around 52 - 53° C.
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August 24, 2011 11:09:51 PM

Alright, so it seems I'll have to use manual fan controls whenever I want to game. At least until I can pull the fan off and reapply some thermal paste. I have to double check, but I think you can save profiles for regular and heavy load use that can be switched back and forth. I played Crysis for about an hour, had the fan speed at 65%, and the highest temps I got were between 61 and 62 degrees Celsius. Still, would like it to be lower, but I guess I can't expect much with an mATX case. Also, I wish I didn't have to do it manually every time I want to rev up a game; but it's only a minor inconvenience. Not to mention that if I set the fan any higher (>70%), it sounds like a mini jet engine :lol:  . CPU doesn't go above 52° C under load, so I'm pleased with that.
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August 25, 2011 1:10:27 AM

I was hoping I could maybe ask for a little guidance with the OC'ing part.

I unlocked the extra 2MB of L3 cache. For the clock speed, I set the multiplier as high as I could, which was 14 x "something". The HT link was set at the highest value available (2400MHz, I believe). I set the FSB (or I think it said NB) at 235. This bumped everything up to about 3.3GHz (3.29, actually). At idle, it was 44°C. It never topped over 61°C; and would jump up and down between 57 and 61°C. I couldn't manually change the VCore for some reason. It just stood at AUTO. Seems it was set at 1.39v with all the changes. I'm wondering if this is safe, or should I bump it back a little to keep things under 60°C ?

These are the readings after about 15 minutes of Prime95:






I also went in and changed my RAM timings. At default, they were 7-7-7-20. I changed it to 5-5-5-15. Is this how you're supposed to do it? Lower = better, correct?



EDIT: Playing a little Bad Company 2 & Crysis and the CPU temp didn't rise above 54°C with these very settings...
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a b à CPUs
August 25, 2011 10:44:30 AM

Lower RAM timing is better...
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August 25, 2011 2:41:07 PM

Thanks amdfangirl :) 

lol @ malmental...

Here ya go:



OC'ing the processor and changing the RAM timings only bumped it up by 0.1 in each of those categories. The GPU has remained the same because I haven't done any OC'ing with that yet (at least not until I can find a workable solution for the heat issues other than manually changing fan speeds).

The hard drive turned out to be the weakest link. Well, actually, the main 750GB I was going to use ended up not posting in the bios. I couldn't get it to work even if I changed SATA cables, ports, power connectors, jumper settings, etc. . So I have to get another. The one that's in here right now is a (ugh) 160GB 7200RPM Western Digital; but it only does 1.5GB/s. The other one does 3GB/s. No SATA 6GB/s or USB 3.0 with this board... :( 

I'll probably get this when I can: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EDIT: Hmmm.... I was looking in my bios and the RAM appears to have been downclocked to 1066MHz. I'm trying to find information now, but I'm wondering if the DDR3 controller on the Phenom II X4 820 only supports up to that speed. My motherboard natively supports 1333MHz; even higher if I OC.
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