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Overclocking Q9550 E0 + P5Q Pro with 4x 1gb HyperX & 6870 Crossfire

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

Now I know that this may not be the latest and greatest system with ivy bridge just around the corner, but I am looking at overclocking my cpu in order to get the most out of my system until Haswell is released. It has been a struggle to get it anywhere over 390 on the fsb though, with dramatic increases to the vtt and northbridge voltage in order for my system to remain stable... I can post some stable voltages for different frequencies to show you all what I mean, but I was wondering whether this is mostly because I have all my ram slots, pci-e 16x, and the majority of my pci and pci-e 1x slots filled? My full computer specs are:

Motherboard:
Asus P5Q Pro
CPU:
Intel Q9550 E0 (stock is 2.83ghz, 12mb cache, 333fsb, 1.175 VID)
Cpu cooler:
Asus Silent Knight II (copper) with Arctic Silver 5
RAM:
4x 1gb Kingston HyperX (5-5-5-15 or 5-5-5-18, rated upto 1066mhz, running at 800mhz)
Graphics:
2x AMD HD 6870 1gb (920mhz, 1100mhz)
Power supply:
Cooler Master 750w extreme (for memory, pretty sure that's it)
Case:
Cooler Master 920 Advanced Plus (for memory again, should be correct)
+ 1x Blu-ray burner, 1x DVD burner, 1x 750gb HDD, 1x 2tb HDD, and 1x 120gb Corsair Force GT SSD

As for my bios settings everything is set to manual, and apart from all the enable/disable options the main settings are:

FSB: 400
FSB Strap: 333
DRAM: 801Mhz

Common Memory Performance Level: 12

Cpu voltage: 1.2v
Cpu gtl: auto
Cpu pll volts: 1.54
FSB term. Volts: 1.32
Northbridge voltage: 1.26
Southbridge voltage: 1.1
PCI-e Sata Volts: 1.5


Those settings work for 3.4ghz, but the increase required between 3.2 and 3.4 is 0.4 on the cpu pll, 0.1 on the fsb vtt, and 0.06 on the northbridge voltage. I know those numbers are still small, but how come there is a much wider jump between 380 fsb to 400 FSB when compared to 333 fsb and 380 fsb (relatively). I can't make much sense of it, and as this is my first attempt at overclocking I don't have the experience behind me.

Any help on the situation would be greatly appreciated. smile.gif whether it's advice or suggestions on how to lower my volts for the same stable clock or how to increase the clock without adjusting the voltages as dramatically, thank you. smile.gif
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post #2 of 7
#1: Look up the P5Q thread in here and you'll get alot of tips.

A few things you should know:

#1: 4 sticks of RAM stresses the P45 North Bridge (memory controller) and your OC will be easier/higher with only 2 sticks.
#2: Set your RAM to 1:1 ratio with the FSB for the best results
#3: You're at very low VCore and it's time to start increasing it rather than PLL and VTT. You shouldn't need to mess with those until you're up near 4.0GHz.

If you're shooting for 4.0Ghz, you'll be looking at the neighborhood of 1.30-1.34 NB, 1.35-1.40 VCore, 1.3-ish VTT. 1.5 is usually all you need for PLL. You'll have to talk with the P5Q people about GTL settings for that board.
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions 2thAche. thumb.gif

1. I have heard that having all 4 slots filled will reduce my cpu overclock, but at this point in time I'd be looking at either dropping down to 2gb of system memory (not really an option), or spending ridiculous amounts of money on older technology (for the price of a 2x 2gb [4gb] DDR2 kit I could get a DDR3 kit with 8gb), so I was trying to see if I was able to maybe balance between the two with a moderate overclock that will allow use of the ram I already have plus eliminate any bottlenecks that my 6870's may cause in crossfire (every time I up the frequency, my avg, max, and min fps go up in all games/benchmarks).

2. This is what I have done - 400fsb gives me a CPU overclock of 3.4Ghz, and I have the memory set to 400Mhz (800Mhz effective) on the 333 fsb strap setting (I heard 400 for the fsb strap is slower and/or not as stable?).

3. I understand that as I up the frequencies I should be upping the vCore, but I was actually struggling to keep it stable on the 6x multiplier (default is 8.5x, so I was testing to see if my frequencies and voltages were ok for the fsb across the northbridge, vtt, etc. before trying to feed the cpu all the power). Basically I'd up the FSB Voltage, PLL and Northbridge Voltage as required (obviously not all at once) until I was stable for the higher fsb. Is this the correct overclocking stability method I should be taking? I was using Prime95 for approx. 3 hours and 10 runs of Intel Burn Test to determine whether it was stable before upping it again too (what I'm currently running on has passed over 6 hours of Prime95 and 20 runs of Intel Burn Test, which was included in the original post).

I know there is more room for the vCore and Northbridge voltages, but I've pretty much maxed out the 'safe' voltages for my VTT and PLL already, and this is suppose to be an 'easy' (moderate at most) overclock that requires not too much change compared to that of the stock settings. What exactly does the GTL setting control/change? I'd be more than happy with 3.6, and over the moon with 3.8 if I can, but temps will probably be going quite high by the time I reach that point (maxes out a tad bit over 73 degrees Celsius on Core 0, which is about 5 degrees hotter than every other core). Might have to try reseating my heatsink, again... rolleyes.gif
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post #4 of 7
You can get 4GB kits of 1066 on ebay for about $50. Just pick a good set, it's a no-brainer, then you can run up 450-470FSB and put that Q9550 where it belongs. Best I've found is the G-Skill DDR2 1100 with the black heat spreaders.
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2thAche View Post

You can get 4GB kits of 1066 on ebay for about $50. Just pick a good set, it's a no-brainer, then you can run up 450-470FSB and put that Q9550 where it belongs. Best I've found is the G-Skill DDR2 1100 with the black heat spreaders.

I understand that this would help my system achieve a maximum overclock, but I am looking for a more 'proud' overclock (around 3.6Ghz - 3.8Ghz).... Unfortunately, in Australia the DDR2 kits (whether it be 4gb or 2gb) are simply overpriced. I could get over 8gb of high speed, performance DDR3 kit for the price of a generic 4gb DDR2 kit. To be honest I don't really want to spend money on ram that won't be utilised in my next system and is probably worse off in performance when compared to what I currently have, as well as being the exact same amount (if anything I'd be hoping for an 8gb kit). I know that my northbridge is strained because of this setup, but is there nothing else that I can do to help stabilise or lower the huge voltage increases when overclocking? And just out of curiosity does my crossfire setup also put more strain on the northbridge? Thanks again for your help, I do appreciate it, I'm just hoping there is another way to go about things as I'd rather save for my next build (Haswell) whilst prolonging the performance of what I already have. rolleyes.gif
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post #6 of 7
Well, lets try some tuning.

Change your FSB strap to 400.
You're running more VTT than VCore, there's no reason for that. Your VTT should be lower than your VCore. Set your VTT to 1.25 for now. VTT increases are for high-FSB OCs
Your VCore is only 1.2? Set it to 1.28 for now
Set your CPU mutliplier to 6x
Set your RAM timings to the 1066 set (5-5-5-18?)
Set your RAM to 1:1
Set your RAM voltage to one notch over what the manufacturer spec (If it's 2.0V, set 2.025 or whatever your board does)
Start with 2x1GB RAM
set your NB voltage to 1.33, and make sure it's getting air
start around 420FSB, see if you can boot
If you can boot no prob, run Prime Blend. If it passes 10-15 mins, then go back to BIOS and:
Add 5-10MHz more FSB until you either fail to boot or fail Prime Blend.
Add another notch of NB voltage
Retest/repeat until stable. Push to 1.35-1.36 on the NB volts if needed.

Report back what you find.

After that, you can add the other two sticks (still using 6x CPU multiple) and start over to see what your max FSB/RAM is with 4 sticks at your higher NB voltage.

There's no reason your setup can't run 3.6 to 3.8GHz

After we find/tune your max FSB, we'll move on to the CPU tuning.
Edited by 2thAche - 3/30/12 at 11:54am
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot for the tips and testing methods 2thAche, I will report back once I find some spare time to try them out (have some final exams this week). thumb.gif
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