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Adventures in overclocking

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Here's a resumed history of my adventures in overclocking:

First off, a bit of background. I'm 19, my family is quite poor and the majority of my time is spent studying at the Uni. I live in france but that doesn't excuse any grammar slips in English! I spend most of my free time playing World of Tanks, an MMO based on...well...tanks? The relevant information here is that it runs on a single core and that it is heavily CPU dependant.

My first computer was a HP 6730s. It was a shared computer, so I couldn't just go changing the settings. I got hooked up on WoT on this machine. Before you go google it, here are the specs:

1.7GHz Celeron CPU
Integrated GPU with speeds too low to mention
Native resolution was only 1280x800
Windows Vista

I must say, I suffered with it. My stock fps (game's minimal settings) was 1-2. A few tweaks later, removing all smoke and particles, got me 7fps. Making my game look like cartoon boxes driving around on a lunar landscape got me 11fps. One interesting reference I will use for this game is the no-object-on-screen fps. You just look at the sky at the edge of a map. With this machine, I got 15fps.

My first real software tweak was...updating the drivers for the GMA 4 series chipset. I immediately got +4 fps, which makes a world of difference at that level of torture. NOOS fps was 22.

Then, I entered uni.
I demanded a personal laptop.

What I got was a 360 euro four year old Dell Precision M4300, second hand. At the time, I was just comparing CPU frequencies and eliminating those without a dedicated graphics card. I was served!

This D830-based laptop sports a 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo Merom T7700 and an NVS 135M graphics card. RAM was increased to 3GB and the HDD swapped for a 320GB one.

After moving all my saved work and files from the old machine, installing antivirus software and the latest drivers for the graphics card, I tried out WoT.

It came out a mixed bag. Stock fps at minimal settings was 14, yet NOOS fps was 38. A few tweaks later, fps was 18 and NOOS 42. I felt disappointed. My new machine was much more capable than the old one. Why wasn't it leaps and bounds more performant?


My first step into the OC world was...3Dmark9. I used this software to test my machine's performance, and compare it to the old one. The results showed a huge step ahead in CPU performance, but the graphics cards seemed tied ?! in performance. A few searches later, I find out that the NVS 135M was designed for CAD designs and graphs, not 3D performance.

Open Nvidia panel. Set everything to performance. Since the changes to the ingame fps were minor, I looked into the easiest
overclock I could perform: a GPU core clock increase.

I was initially worried about the effects of overclocking anything. I first had to test my laptop's cooling capacities, so I ran a few stress tests.
The fan seemed sufficient. Idle temp (using the core temp utility) is 44 degrees C. One hour of use brings it up to 47C.
Stress testing brings up the GPU temp to 79 degrees and the CPU to 72. At this point the fan takes action. It passes from a faint humming to a thunderous rumble and air blows out the back like a hairdryer. The temperature plummets from 79/72 to 60/55 after three minutes od this tornado.

So I went ahead and used MSI afterburner.
Stock clocks were 400MHz core, 400MHz memory and since this is an Nvidia, the shaders were at 800MHz. I also pound out I only had a Pci-e 1.1 and not 2, and that my RAM was clocked at 667MHz, being a DDR2.

I pushed the sliders (linked) in slow increments of 10MHz, testing along the way for stability and eventual flames shooting out the back. Yes, I was scared. My new computer was precious and I was supposed to keep it until, well, until we can afford a new one for you, son. Around 3-4 years that is.

Eventually I reached the maximal 520 core, 520 Mem on the slider. The temperature didn't change much during game play, but neither
did the performance. Average fps was 22, with NOOS fps being 50. I thought I could go further, so I decided to use Asus GPU tweaker. This thing gave me the option to go as far as 800MHz. Lol. I accidentally set it to max for 2 seconds and the screen went
immediately red and crashed. Lol. Not trying that again.

I repeated this process until I reached the current clocks of 675MHz core, 500MHz memory. At the same time, I discovered a new tool: GPU Observer gadget and that my card actually goes up and down by 25MHz increments.

At that moment, I got an ingame average fps of 36 and a NOOS of 71. Splendid I though, now to settle down and have fun. My quest was over!

Then the problems started one by one. No, I never let the hardware get damaged. I just couldn't get the computer to maintain such mouthwatering performance.


My problems are the following:
1-High temperatures causing thermal throttling down to 400/400
2-A fan that activates too late, allowing the GPU to hit 80 brielfy and therefore activate thermal throttling
3-An ingame problem with alternating CPU load giving fps drops.


1-Realtemp gave me graphs with which to monitor my temperature's progression. They aren't much different for 650 and 675MHz GPU clock. Essentially, the core temp rises slowly (45 minutes) from 46 to 68 while GPU temp increases a bit faster from 60 to 80 (in about 30 minutes). At this point the thermal alarms set off and the thermal throttling kicks in. The CPU downclocks a bit, while all overclocking to the GPU is undone. This is translated ingame to a half second freeze then a decrease of fps from 36 to 14. According to the manufacturer stats, both of the peak temps are within safe limits.

2-The previous problem is caused by the fan acting too late on the temperatures. It stays silent until 50, hums at bit at 65 then starts blasting at 77C GPU temp. Come a bit more than usual objects on the screen and the card can spike to 80. TT to the rescue!
Using Speedfan, I found that slow fan RPM is 2300, humming is 2800 and blasting is 4500+RPM. This is illogical. Why stay so slow past 70C GPU temp then blow my ears out at 7 degrees higher temp?
My attempts to fix this problem with Speedfan have been unsuccessful. I put my inexperience with this program to cause. I have tried setting fan profiles after ticking the Dell support box. All I could change was at which temperature the 100% fan could kickin. Of course, never past 77C GPU.

Making a fan profile where the fan speed moves smoothly along with the temperature with 10% speed increments had no effect. Setting the maximal fan speed to 85%...still gave off a lound 4500+ RPM.

An intermediate solution to all my problems would be to set the 100% fan activation at 70C GPU, with an objective of getting it down to 65. This has two inconvenients. The first is that 70C is reached rather quickly (10 minutes) and fan struggles getting the temp down to 65 degrees C. Inefficiency, diminishing returns and all that. So what happens is that the fan blasts away from 5 minutes, then quietens for 30 secs before starting all over again.

This disturbs the other residents in the house.

Oh and once I start Speedfan, I cannot switch back to default fan control. The fan blasts away at 100% after closing Speedfan, even if I uncheck the box that makes it do specifically that. It is both ridiculous to have a fan trying to cool at 47 degrees core at 100% speed as it is embarassing for me, as I have to switch off the computer or annoy my family.

The solution was to uninstall Speedfan and its incompatibility with my motherboard.

3-When the game has to load a lot of textures in sniper mode (even if LOD is at bare minimum) the CPU load plummets. It goes from 58% (100% of one core and 16% of the other) to 32%!! That means the core that used to be maxed out isn't even operating at a QUARTER of its previous speed. This is coupled with a downclocking from 2.5GHz to 2.2GHz. Why would the computer thing I've switched to playing a video?! I'm in the middle of pwning the enemy team! FPS get reduced in this situation to 18 fps when sniping
a plain surface or down to 5 fps when sniping a few buildings. I believe this is a WoT specific problem.


To alleviate the load of you having to read the above, here is what you can do to help, by answering these simple questions after taking a minute of your time better spend testing the stability of your 5GHz OC's at 0.001volt increments:



-Is there a way to set the fan speed more precisely than silent 2300RPM/4500RPM blasting? I'd like a constant 3500RPM during gameplay. A dell-compatible method would be great!
-Is there a way to stop my CPU from unloading itself WITHOUT removing speedstep and setting the multiplier using throttle stop?

Edited by krakonfive - 10/16/12 at 4:34pm
post #2 of 22
First question:

No, you can't do anything about that. More than likely you're dealing with the vents being too clogged with dust and the airflow isn't enough to vent the heat. Clean it out and repaste the CPU and see if that fixes the issue.

Second questtion:

You can use a program called SetFSB and overclock the bus speed a bit to get higher performance but that's the best you can do. Aside from those two, there's not much else you can do. Unfortunately at the moment your GPU is holding you back because the World of Tanks engine is only capable of using a single core. So core speed matters, but only up to a certain point as your GPU has to match what it can do. My CPU clocks up to 3.2GHz when at stock and my GPU matches that without an issue.
     
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-6300HQ Dell Proprietary 4GB Nvidia GTX 960M Samsung 12GB (1x8GB 1x4GB) DDR3L 1600 MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
256GB SanDisk M.2 SSD 1TB HGST 7.2k HDD Custom Cooling by Dell Solutions Windows 10 Home 64-Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
15.6" 1920x1080 IPS Screen Dell 130w PSU Logitech G602 Wireless 
Mouse Pad
Xtrac 'Ripper' Mouse Pad 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-2760QM Toshiba Qosmio X775 Nvidia 1.5GB GTX 560M 8GB DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
120GB Samsung 830 SSD + 1TB HGST 7200RPM HDD CD/DVD-RW Stock Windows 10 Home 64-Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
17.3" - 1600x900 Standard backlit 180w Power Adapter Logitech G500s 
Audio
Harmon/Kardon Onboard 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-6300HQ Dell Proprietary 4GB Nvidia GTX 960M Samsung 12GB (1x8GB 1x4GB) DDR3L 1600 MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
256GB SanDisk M.2 SSD 1TB HGST 7.2k HDD Custom Cooling by Dell Solutions Windows 10 Home 64-Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
15.6" 1920x1080 IPS Screen Dell 130w PSU Logitech G602 Wireless 
Mouse Pad
Xtrac 'Ripper' Mouse Pad 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-2760QM Toshiba Qosmio X775 Nvidia 1.5GB GTX 560M 8GB DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
120GB Samsung 830 SSD + 1TB HGST 7200RPM HDD CD/DVD-RW Stock Windows 10 Home 64-Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
17.3" - 1600x900 Standard backlit 180w Power Adapter Logitech G500s 
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post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imglidinhere View Post

First question:
No, you can't do anything about that. More than likely you're dealing with the vents being too clogged with dust and the airflow isn't enough to vent the heat. Clean it out and repaste the CPU and see if that fixes the issue.
Second questtion:
You can use a program called SetFSB and overclock the bus speed a bit to get higher performance but that's the best you can do. Aside from those two, there's not much else you can do. Unfortunately at the moment your GPU is holding you back because the World of Tanks engine is only capable of using a single core. So core speed matters, but only up to a certain point as your GPU has to match what it can do. My CPU clocks up to 3.2GHz when at stock and my GPU matches that without an issue.

The vents were given perfectly clean for the dealer, and I rechecked them last night. No hints of dust buildup.
The airflow is sufficient, when I compared it to a hairdryer I wasn't exaggerating. It can flip open a book with the airflow.
My only problem is a)setting the fans to start earlier b)set them to lower than top speed.

Higher performance for the CPU? That's the last thing I need. Other than the even further increased heat, the mistakes I could make and the further load on the 90W ac power adaptor, I don't even need that performance. 36fps on average is all I need with stock CPU. My problem is maintaining that performance.

If WoT runs on a single CPU core, how does that affect the GPU? When the CPU downclocks itself, the GPU load goes from 97% to 79-80%, As I already wrote, I suspect a memory speed problem here.



Anyways, I acted upon what you said and further experimented with setting FSB and Speedfan.
I used throttlestop to set the frequency at a fixed 2.4GHz. It solved the problem with sniper mode...but not after the inevitable thermal downclock. There the frequency stays the same but load is halved.
Speedfan: I can't make heads or tail of what is happening. Opening and setting a fan profile, putting max fan speed at 85% with pmw1 and deselecting redundant sensors before changing the alarm/desired temps for every one of my components worked...until I stopped playing.
The fans DO set themselves at 3800RPM and the temperature stays stable at 75C GPU and 65C CPU.
But they won't go back down. I close the game client, temperatures fall to 51C GPU, 47C CPU but the fans still turn at 3800RPM. I try deselecting automatic fan control and turning down the fan speed manually...the moment I hit 50% the fans go to their lowest 2300RPM state for 10 seconds then start blowing at 4500RPM.
This is ridiculous. Why the hell would speedfan try and cool my computer past 45C core?! All my settings are asking it not to.
Putting automatic fan control back on is akin to just asking the fan to set itself on fire. The fan tuns at 4500RPM nonstop until I uninstall speedfan. Yes, this is the same automatic control that worked perfectly fine moments earlier.**

Short version is: Speedfan can't control the fans on my D830 motherboard. Anything else out there?
post #4 of 22
Speedfan is known for making mistakes about temperatures. Use CoreTemp or something to that extent to check temps.

The other thing you can try is HWiNFO64. It's what I had to use for my 6970M, back when I had it. tongue.gif

It sounds like the repaste job isn't sufficient. I would dismantle the machine and repaste the GPU and CPU. wink.gif
     
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-6300HQ Dell Proprietary 4GB Nvidia GTX 960M Samsung 12GB (1x8GB 1x4GB) DDR3L 1600 MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
256GB SanDisk M.2 SSD 1TB HGST 7.2k HDD Custom Cooling by Dell Solutions Windows 10 Home 64-Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
15.6" 1920x1080 IPS Screen Dell 130w PSU Logitech G602 Wireless 
Mouse Pad
Xtrac 'Ripper' Mouse Pad 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-2760QM Toshiba Qosmio X775 Nvidia 1.5GB GTX 560M 8GB DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
120GB Samsung 830 SSD + 1TB HGST 7200RPM HDD CD/DVD-RW Stock Windows 10 Home 64-Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
17.3" - 1600x900 Standard backlit 180w Power Adapter Logitech G500s 
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Harmon/Kardon Onboard 
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Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
256GB SanDisk M.2 SSD 1TB HGST 7.2k HDD Custom Cooling by Dell Solutions Windows 10 Home 64-Bit 
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15.6" 1920x1080 IPS Screen Dell 130w PSU Logitech G602 Wireless 
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Xtrac 'Ripper' Mouse Pad 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-2760QM Toshiba Qosmio X775 Nvidia 1.5GB GTX 560M 8GB DDR3 1333 
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post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Speedfan and Coretemp display the same temperatures for both cores. GPU observer and GPU tweaker as well have the same temperatures for the GPU. This eliminates sensor reading errors IMO.

Also, to eliminate the risk of a defective fan or CPU/GPU pasting, I ran a stress test with the fans blowing as hard as they could for the entire duration (30 minutes).

The temperature went from 45C CPU to 60C CPU, and 55C to 72C GPU. So the temperature can be maintained low during load. I want to strike a balance between temperatures (65C CPU and 75C GPU would be ideal) and the fan noise level (3800RPM is the maximal I can support).

So, any other suggestions than opening my case and fiddling with expensive paste?
post #6 of 22
Can you copy and paste some ThrottleStop Log File data to www.pastebin.com and post a link here. Make sure you have lots of data so I can have a look.

I think your Dell uses clock modulation throttling. You can usually disable that when ThrottleStop is set up correctly. Run a log file just to make sure. I own a D830 and compared to modern laptops, it runs very cool. Here's the stress testing I did. Unfortunately your older 65nm CPU will add some extra heat compared to that.

http://forum.notebookreview.com/dell-latitude-vostro-precision/348221-e6400-overheating-throttling-56.html#post6382811

Have you used ThrottleStop to reduce your core voltage yet. Post a screen shot so I can have a look.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'll do this when I'll have time and privacy to blow the fans @100% until it downthrottles :/

How long can you wait?
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by unclewebb View Post

Can you copy and paste some ThrottleStop Log File data to www.pastebin.com and post a link here. Make sure you have lots of data so I can have a look.
I think your Dell uses clock modulation throttling. You can usually disable that when ThrottleStop is set up correctly. Run a log file just to make sure. I own a D830 and compared to modern laptops, it runs very cool. Here's the stress testing I did. Unfortunately your older 65nm CPU will add some extra heat compared to that.
http://forum.notebookreview.com/dell-latitude-vostro-precision/348221-e6400-overheating-throttling-56.html#post6382811
Have you used ThrottleStop to reduce your core voltage yet. Post a screen shot so I can have a look.

No, no need. My problems have been fixed after I discovered that the ik8fanGUI tool can set the maximal and minimal RPMs.....if the motherboard is supported of course redface.gif

My 'fan sensor chip' is not supported. Checking the list of supported motherboards, I find the D820 is supported. According to Dell, the D820 and the D830 have the same fan...so here's my last question:

Is there a way to trick ik8fanGUI into thinking I have a D820 motherboard?
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
UPDATE

Using ASUS GPU Tweak's fan profile fixed the cooling problem.
Max CPU temp:65C, Max GPU temp: 76C

On the other hand, I found out the downclocking was an answer to....severly reduced CPU load. When the multipliers and clock rates are fixed on startup using Throttlestop to 2.5GHz (x13, 1.125volts) the game runs normally but the spots which used to cause downclocking now just make the CPU load fall from 58% to 16%....

Why would the CPU work much less when there is a lot of work (texture loading in sniper mode) to be done?

PS: The PSU heating up could be a problem? The CPU load goes from 58% to 48% then 44% after 1h30 of gameplay. FPS drops from 35 to 22...Not enough power?
post #10 of 22
Lack of power is doubtful for that setup. My setup draws around 210w as is, but that's because of the GPU and overclocked CPU that I have.

A 35w CPU and a 10w GPU doesn't equal a throttled system. tongue.gif If you look up the NVS 135m, you'll find that the GPU is of a 10w design, so that's not the issue. As I said, the game is driven off your CPU more than anything. The reason the CPU usage drops is because the Quadro based GPUs, which is what the NVS series is, are not designed for gaming.

The specs of the GPU are pathetic as well. >_> Just sayin'. That's your problem. It's weaker than the 9500GT.
     
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-6300HQ Dell Proprietary 4GB Nvidia GTX 960M Samsung 12GB (1x8GB 1x4GB) DDR3L 1600 MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
256GB SanDisk M.2 SSD 1TB HGST 7.2k HDD Custom Cooling by Dell Solutions Windows 10 Home 64-Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
15.6" 1920x1080 IPS Screen Dell 130w PSU Logitech G602 Wireless 
Mouse Pad
Xtrac 'Ripper' Mouse Pad 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-2760QM Toshiba Qosmio X775 Nvidia 1.5GB GTX 560M 8GB DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
120GB Samsung 830 SSD + 1TB HGST 7200RPM HDD CD/DVD-RW Stock Windows 10 Home 64-Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
17.3" - 1600x900 Standard backlit 180w Power Adapter Logitech G500s 
Audio
Harmon/Kardon Onboard 
  hide details  
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-6300HQ Dell Proprietary 4GB Nvidia GTX 960M Samsung 12GB (1x8GB 1x4GB) DDR3L 1600 MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
256GB SanDisk M.2 SSD 1TB HGST 7.2k HDD Custom Cooling by Dell Solutions Windows 10 Home 64-Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
15.6" 1920x1080 IPS Screen Dell 130w PSU Logitech G602 Wireless 
Mouse Pad
Xtrac 'Ripper' Mouse Pad 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-2760QM Toshiba Qosmio X775 Nvidia 1.5GB GTX 560M 8GB DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
120GB Samsung 830 SSD + 1TB HGST 7200RPM HDD CD/DVD-RW Stock Windows 10 Home 64-Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
17.3" - 1600x900 Standard backlit 180w Power Adapter Logitech G500s 
Audio
Harmon/Kardon Onboard 
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