Help with beginner OC (AMD PII X6)

Dear all,

I'm a fairly advanced PC user (since the late 80s) and I have good experience building my own rigs and OCing in the past. I have however been out of the loop for a fair while, and in fact ever since I build my last rig which was an Athlon X2 64 back a few years ago. Ever since I was mostly using a laptop and only now I have decided to finally build a new-ish rig.

My budget is very tight, I had just over £340 to buy every component (case, hdds, gpu, cpu, mobo, memory, power, air cooler, etc) and several of the components I ended up buying were used (gpu, mobo, hdd/ssd). I am however quite happy that whatever the result, it will be a fair deal more powerful than my old Athlon X2 64 (939 socket) or my Intel Core 2 Duo laptop). My most intended usage is Photoshop and Lightroom, Sonar and Ableton (and various VSTs) and some gaming. I do not have high expectations on the gaming side of things, but I will be happy if I can run games in mid-high settings at 1080p.

The components I ended up buying are the following:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1045T (2.7GhZ stock)
Cooler: NZXT Havik 140
Mobo: ASUS Sabertooth 990FX
Memory: Corsair XMS3 4GB 1600MhZ (x4 for a total of 16GB RAM)
GPU: XFI ATI Radeon HD5770 1GB
Case: Generic 'Gaming'-grade MidiATX with 4 included 120mm fans.
Power: Arctic Blue 850W
HDD1: Adata SSD S599 128GB (2.5" inch) *
HDD2: Samsung SSD MMCRE28G8MXP-0VBL1 128GB (1.8" inch)
HDD3: Hitachi HDS721010CLA332 7K1000.C 32MB cache 7200RPM 1TB (3.5'' inch)
HDD4: Samsung HD154UI/VPK Spinpoint F2 EcoGreen 32MB cache 5200RPM 1.5TB (3.5" inch) *
OS: Windows 7 X64 Professional*
Other: Generic Multi-Card Reader/ eSATA combo

* Components/Products with an asterisk were stuff I had/pulled from previous rig.

One SSD will run the system, the second SSD will run some key applications and will also have a second partition to be used as Temp/Cache for various Adobe programs and music tools.
One HDD will be used exclusively for music and photography programs installations. One HDD will be used for games installations, and will also have a second partition for personal data. I am not yet entirely sure which SSD or HDD will do what as I plan to benchmark them first before deciding. I will also have to seek down the latest firmware for the SSDs, as I believe some of the Samsungs ship without TRIM supported and need to be updated, and some Adatas have BSOD issues (although this is probably related to sleep states).

What I hope/want to achieve is to get the 1045T to OC to 3.4-3.7 GhZ (I suspect a more realistic range would be 3.4-3.6). I know it is not an unlocked CPU so the room for OC is limited, but I believe some have pushed it as far as 3.9 on air cooling and 4.7 on extreme cooling (liquid nitrogen). Given that the NZXT Havik 140 is a fairly decent air cooler, I want to believe that at least 3.4 is achievable?

Although I have some experience, it has been a fairly long while since I had to do any of this. Can anyone give me specific advice on my particular set-up and what I should look out for? Is it even possible to reach my minimum expectation or should I settle for a very minimal OC instead?
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More about help beginner
  1. turn the up to the desired ghz, turn down ram a little bit, try auto voltage starting small to 3.0ghz, stress test for about 30min ish and try higher, and watch temps of course
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