Just recently caught the PC building bug, and after many hours of research, I have bought my parts for my first build. I want gaming, but was on a $600 budget (including OS) and so I sprung for the Phenom II X2 555 BE CPU in hopes of unlocking cores and overclocking core speed.
My question is: In what order should I be doing these CPU-altering activities? What order has worked best for you?
Part of the question is procedural: Which is easiest to do first, and/or lends itself to less tinkering and optimizing in the second process?
Another concern is over part safety: An unlocked X2 will already require a lot of voltage (125+W, I think) and overclocking beyond that would invite some scary voltages into that CPU. I do not want to fry anything here. Some other misc. voltage related questions,
Will enabling ACC in the BIOS automatically raise voltages received by the processor? Ex. Will this X2 jump from taking 80W to around 125W as soon as ACC is checked and cores are unlocked?
Is overclocking this CPU even feasible with cores unlocked? I'll be getting a Corsair A70 heatsink so I think I'll have above-average cooling capacity. But I'm mostly afraid of voltage tolerances.
If you unlock the disabled cores, either they work or they don't. If they work, the cpu wattage will be around 125 watts. If they don't, your board won't post, and you will have to reset the bios settings using the cmos jumper or remove the board battery with the power supply unplugged. The boards with 8 pins on the 12v lead from the power supply tend to handle the higher wattage the best, but you can try it on a low end board if you like. It doesn't hurt anything to try. I don't overclock much anymore, but you can try it if you like. I recommend you drop your memory speed first before raising the cpu fsb. For example, I can drop my 1333 ram to 1066 in manual mode, then disable the "spread spectrum" setting and raise my cpu fsb from 200 to 250 fsb, but I didn't notice any faster internet speeds, so I don't use it. I prefer to save energy and have maximum stability while I'm online.