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Athlon II X3 435 (4th core unlocked) 3.6GHz stability

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone, I'm new to the forum and this is my first time overclocking. Before proceeding with this I read a few different guides around the web, particularly Dolk's "3 step guide to overclocking your Phenom".

I'm working on overclocking my Athlon II X3 435 with the 4th core unlocked. My plan was to see if I could get an acceptable OC with the 4th core, then if not drop back to 3 cores. So far I haven't seen anything to suggest the 4th core is unstable.

TLDR version: Reached 3.6GHZ CPU, all other clocks at stock. Failed small FFT. Raised CPU voltage from 1.425V to 1.450V. Now passes small FFT but fails blend. Tried raising CPU-NB, still fails blend. What next? (CPU-Z and spreadsheet of settings at bottom)

Here is the process I have followed:

1. Dropped all multipliers (CPU, CPU-NB, HTT, and DRAM) low, then increased the FSB until I found the mobo limit. Per Dolk's guide, I only tested up to POST, I didn't do any stress test in windows to determine the limit. I found at 270MHz it would no longer post, so 265MHz was determined as the limit.

2. Now I brought all multipliers back to stock, and began raising the FSB to increase CPU clock. As the FSB were raised, CPU-NB, HTT, and DRAM multipliers were lowered to keep their clock rates as close to stock as possible. Stock rates for there were:
CPU-NB: 2000MHz,
HTT: 2000MHz,
DRAM: 666MHz.
CPU Multiplier is 14.5x
CPU Voltage is 1.425V

After each 10MHz raise in FSB, I would boot into windows, run a few benchmarks, and stress w/ Prime95 small FFT and blend for 15 min each. I also record CPU temp (not core temp due to unlocking 4th core) during each small FFT test. So far it has gone from 53C at stock to 60C at 3.6GHz CPU (where I am now stuck). Previous tests showed core temp to be about 7C below CPU temp, so I feel I am still comfortable with temps.

3. At 250MHz FSB (3.6GHz CPU), I hit my first BSOD/reset after ~3min of small FFT. From my reading I expected this was due to a lack of CPU voltage, especially since at this point my CPU-NB, HTT, and DRAM were exactly at stock.

4. I now increased the CPU voltage from 1.425V to 1.450V. Small FFT now passed, but now I got BSOD/reset on the blend test, about 5 minutes in. What I read told me blend failures is generally unstable RAM, but my RAM is still running at stock speed and timings. So, I looked at the CPU-NB instead. The last thing I did was increase the CPU-NB from 2000MHz to 2200MHz. Blend test still failed with this change. Any ideas what I should try next? Or maybe I am just up to a wall somewhere and should try for stability at 3.5GHZ?

I also attached my spreadsheet of all my OC logs/settings, if anyone cares to look. Sorry this was so lengthy, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

CPU Clocks.xls 20k .xls file

Screenshot of current settings under load (P95 small FFT)

475

EDIT: SYSTEM SPECS:
GA-770TA-UD3 motherboard
Athlon II X3 435 (unlocked to Phenom II X4 B35)
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
XIGMATEK LOKI 90MM COOLER
Edited by spyder6346 - 12/11/11 at 9:36am
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post #2 of 14
+1 for detailed post!

It's something with the memory... Try manually setting the ram to their 1333 rated timings and voltage manually.
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post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply!

Going off what you suggested, I tried a few things.

1. My timings were exactly what the SPD table lists for XMP-1334, except my tRC was 31, so I corrected it to 35. I also turned the RAM voltage off of auto just to ensure it is at 1.5V as it should be. RAM Ratio was already at 5.33, which gives 1333 speed at 250MHz FSB.

So RAM settings were: 8-8-8-21, tRC 35, 2T, 1.5V

2. Now I ran 1 pass of memtest86+, it ran fine with no errors

3. Rebooted into windows, ran blend, BSOD again after ~5min.

Here is the windows error that comes up on reboot. Does this contain any information that helps to track down the problem?
351

4. Now I figured I would try slowing down the RAM timings, see if that had an effect. I set 10-10-10-24 and rebooted into windows. Ran blend, same BSOD after ~5min.

5. I tried slowing things down even more to 12-12-12-30, but it wouldn't complete POST at this setting. Went back to 8-8-8-21 and tried to slow down the clock speed by setting ratio to 4X (RAM at 1000MHz), but again it wouldn't POST with that setting.

So, I can't slow down the RAM clock speed (without lowering the FSB), slowing the timings didn't help. Anything else I missed on the RAM?
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post #4 of 14
It might be the IMC... The CPU should be fine considereing it passes Small FFT.

Try lowering the CPU Clockspeed to 3.4Ghz and run blend. If it BSODs it could be the 4th core having issues accessing memory
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post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok I tried bumping the CPU-NB up a few notches to 1.225V, still same result.

So, I went ahead and disabled the 4th core, now running all the same settings (3.6GHz) w/ 3 cores. 15 min of blend so far with no problems. So it looks like you were right it may have been instability in the 4th core.

Previously it was stable at 4core/3.5GHz for my 15 min small FFT/blend runs, so I'm going to go back to that and test further for stability.

Once I establish CPU stability at 4core/3.5GHz CPU-NB and HT back at stock (2000MHz), is there a significant performance gain from trying to overclock the CPU-NB? Or should I focus on the memory speed/timings next?
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Athlon II X3 435 Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 XFX Radeon HD 5770  F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK 
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Samsung Spinpoint HD753LF OCZ Vertex 3 Xigmatek LOKI 92mm CPU Cooler Windows 7 64-bit 
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OCZ ModXStream Pro 500  
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post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Also, I just felt the MOSFETS for temperature while I was running the 3core/3.6GHz blend test, and they were too hot to keep my finger on. Is this something to be concerned about? At 3 cores HW Monitor reads 106.88W on the CPU, at 4core it is 142.5W. My mobo (GA-770TA-UD3) has an 8+2 VRM. I don't really fully understand the VRM thing yet, but I think these are the critical specs...
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon II X3 435 Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 XFX Radeon HD 5770  F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Samsung Spinpoint HD753LF OCZ Vertex 3 Xigmatek LOKI 92mm CPU Cooler Windows 7 64-bit 
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OCZ ModXStream Pro 500  
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Athlon II X3 435 Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 XFX Radeon HD 5770  F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK 
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Samsung Spinpoint HD753LF OCZ Vertex 3 Xigmatek LOKI 92mm CPU Cooler Windows 7 64-bit 
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OCZ ModXStream Pro 500  
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post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by spyder6346 View Post

Also, I just felt the MOSFETS for temperature while I was running the 3core/3.6GHz blend test, and they were too hot to keep my finger on. Is this something to be concerned about? At 3 cores HW Monitor reads 106.88W on the CPU, at 4core it is 142.5W. My mobo (GA-770TA-UD3) has an 8+2 VRM. I don't really fully understand the VRM thing yet, but I think these are the critical specs...

This should help you understand VRMs better - http://www.overclock.net/a/about-vrms-mosfets-motherboard-safety-with-high-tdp-processors
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A pleasant surprise :)
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Kukumonster
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A pleasant surprise :)
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post #8 of 14
Hey cool, what are the idle temps with 4 cores ?
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post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
At 4core/3.5GHz, it's idling at 27 with CnQ, or 33 without CnQ.
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Athlon II X3 435 Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 XFX Radeon HD 5770  F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK 
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post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by spyder6346 View Post

At 4core/3.5GHz, it's idling at 27 with CnQ, or 33 without CnQ.

that's nice now don't push it too much.
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