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AMD Bulldozer and Piledriver Overclocking Guide - Asus Motherboard

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post #1 of 3038
Thread Starter 
About the Guide Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
This Guide was created as a simplified method to Overclocking Bulldozer and Piledriver CPU's. I've listed the most important settings to change in order to reach stability, in order to take the guess work out.
FSB Overclocking is not discussed, as it's not required with a Black Edition CPU. **But if you know about FSB Overclocking, you can just use what you learn here, and apply it to that method.


***Overclock at your own Risk thumb.gif

Software
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Recommended Stress Tool is Prime95 Version 27.7 or newer Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Known bugs and fixes:

1. Does not work on AMD Bulldozer processors. Fixed in gwnum 27.5 (there will not be a prime95 27.5).
2. Length 1280K FFT crashes on Pentium 4s with 512K L2 cache or less. Fixed in 27.6.
3. Hyperthread detection is not working properly. Fixed in 27.6.
4. The 6K 2^N-1 and 8K, 10K, 12K, 16K 2^N+1 AVX FFTs are missing. Fixed in 27.6.
5. Some exponents above 536 million generate roundoff errors and incorrect results. Fixed in 27.6.
6. FFT crossover points need retuning. Many can be more aggressive, but a few need to be more conservative. Fixed in 27.6.

Temperature Monitoring Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
HW Monitor -
Package Temps, aka Core Temp (62C Max)
CPU Temp, aka Socket Temp (70C Max)

Ai Tweaker Settings Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
  • Ai Overclock Tuner - Auto, Manual, DOCP
  • CPU Ratio - Adjusts the CPU Clock Multiplier (CPU Multi x FSB = CPU Speed)
  • AMD Turbo CORE Technology - Disable in order to manually Overclock the CPU
  • CPU Bus Frequency - A.K.A. FSB. This adjusts the base clock for, HTT, NB, CPU, DRAM.
  • PCIe Bus Frequency - Defaults to 100, not recommended to change, as it may damage GPU/HDD.
  • Memory Frequency - Adjust the Memory Divider. (DRAM Divider x FSB = DRAM Speed)
  • CPU/NB Frequency - Adjust the CPU/NB Divider - Defaults to 2000-2200Mhz
  • HT Link Speed - Adjust the HT Link Divider - Defaults to 2600Mhz
  • CPU Spread Spectrum - Disable - to increase overclock stability
  • PCIe Spread Spectrum - Disable - to increase overclock stability
  • EPU Power Saving Mode - Disabled
  • CPU & NB Voltage - Offset and Manual Mode - Change to Manual Mode for Overclocking
  • CPU Manual Voltage - ** Available under Manual Mode - Increase the CPU Voltage when increasing the CPU frequency.
  • CPU/NB Manual Voltage - ** Available under Manual Mode - IMC Voltage - Increase when overclocking memory - may require an increase when increasing CPU frequency.
  • CPU VDDA Voltage - Default 2.5v. Higher setting 2.695v will stabilize voltages under load but increases temps. Lower setting 2.2v will lower temps.
  • DRAM Voltage - Adjust the voltage for DRAM. Default 1.5v
  • NB Voltage - Adjusts the voltage for the North Bridge Chipset on the motherboard - Default 1.1v
  • NB HT Voltage - Adjusts the voltage for the Hyper Transport - Default 1.2v
  • NB 1.8V Voltage - Adjust the voltage for the Chipset/CPU Multiplier. Higher multi requires more voltage
  • SB Voltage - Adjusts the voltage for the South Bridge Default 1.1v


AI Tweaker Image - Recommended Settings Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

DIGI+ Power Control & CPU Configuration Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Wiki: The AM3+ Socket offers improved power regulation and power quality specifications, including an increased maximum current support of 145 A versus 110 A.

DIGI+
  • CPU LLC - Adjust CPU LLC. Recommended - Ultra High (75%)
  • CPU/NB LLC - Adjust CPU/NB LLC. Recommended - High (50%)
  • CPU Current Capability - Sets the Maximum Current Support. Recommended 130%
  • CPU/NB Current Capability - Sets the Maximum Current Support. Recommended 130%
    Note: Raising the Maximum Current Support does not make the CPU draw more Current. It just allows it to scale properly with voltage, to prevent Overvolting. Watts = Volts x Amps
  • CPU Power Phase Control - Sets the Phase Control. Extreme helps stability, but increases thermals
  • CPU Voltage Frequency - More testing required
  • VRM Spread Spectrum - Enabled runs in reduced EMI Mode - Recommended Disable
  • CPU Power Duty Control - Extreme gives better stability, but higher thermals. T-Probe tested to 4.7Ghz
  • CPU Power Response Control - Recommended Auto
  • CPU/NB Power Response Control -Recommended Auto
  • CPU Power Thermal Control - 130 Tested to 4.7Ghz (not sure what this effects)
  • DRAM Current Capability - Set higher Capability for higher frequencies - Recommended 130%
  • DRAM Voltage Frequency - more testing required
  • DRAM Power Phase Control - Extreme gives better stability but higher thermals. Recommend - Optimal

Advanced Tab
  • Cool'n'Quiet - Always Enabled will lower frequency of Cores under load.
    Recommend - Always Disabled - or Always Enabled once your Overclock is fine tuned.
  • C1E - Enhanced Halt State. Lowers Power Consumption - Recommend - Disabled while testing Overclock (Enabled - Once fine tuned)
  • SVM - Virtual Machine - Recommend - Disabled unless running Virtual Machines
  • Core C6 State - Effects Overclock. Recommend - Disabled
  • HPC Mode - Recommended - Enabled - Prevents Throttling when Socket Temp gets high. (In some cases it may cause freezing - if this occurs its recommended to disable)
  • Amp Master Mode - Disabled - (Set to Auto once Overclock is fine tuned)

DIGI+ & CPU Config Image Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

***Picture Requires updating to reflect Recommended Settings


What to expect from your CPU Cooler
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Tricks to Keep things Cool Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Whether you are using a closed loop water cooler or air cooling, here are some trick to lower temps even more.
  • You can use the Stock CPU Cooler fan, with some double sided foam tape and either stick the fan to the case, or stick it to the Close Loop Cooler block, so that it is positioned blowing down over the VRM heatsink. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
  • Another way to lower Socket and VRM Temps is to install a fan behind the motherboard so that it is blowing on CPU Socket. All the components link at the socket, so if you can move heat from it, it will help with overall cooling.

DRAM Voltages and OC Stability Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
By using 1.5v or lower for DRAM voltage you can reduce the stress on the IMC to improve stability with overclocked settings.

Special thanks to DEUSXXX for testing
POST

How to Apply Thermal Paste Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Why it's just the Center of the IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader) that really matters, when applying Thermal Paste.


*** Do not Delidd your FX CPU it's soldered.
It's only meant to represent the size of the CPU Die.

M5A97 Notes Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
It seems that the LLC functions on some of the M5A97 Motherboards does not function as intended.
If you run into stability issues and strange voltages using LLC, it's recommended to leave it set to Auto.

Edited by ComputerRestore - 8/1/13 at 1:20pm
post #2 of 3038
Thread Starter 


devil-smiley-019.gifOverclock Time devil-smiley-019.gif

Recommended Settings up to 5.0Ghz.
M5A97 Users Please see the M5A97 Notes
RECOMMENDED SETTINGS (Click to show)
  • Ai Overclock Tuner - Manual
  • AMD Turbo CORE Technology - Disabled
  • DRAM 1600Mhz @ 1.5v
  • CPU/NB Frequency - 2200Mhz
  • HT Link Speed - 2600Mhz
  • CPU & NB Voltage - Manual Mode
  • CPU/NB Manual Voltage - Set between 1.25v-1.3v (Increases stability for high overclocks)
  • CPU LLC - Ultra High (75%)
  • CPU/NB LLC - Auto
  • CPU Current Capability - 130%
  • CPU/NB Current Capability - 130%
  • DRAM Current Capability 130%
  • Cool'n'Quiet - Disabled
  • C1E - Disabled
  • SVM - Disabled unless running Virtual Machines
  • Core C6 State - Disabled
  • HPC Mode - Enabled (Some motherboards this has caused freezing so keep that in mind)
  • Amp Master Mode - Disabled

    ***The power saving features should be disabled until you find your stable overclock. Then feel free to re-enable them to benefit from power savings
Read all the steps before proceeding

  • In the BIOS, set the Recommended Settings. Then Save and Exit.
    Do not adjust the CPU Manual Voltage, or CPU Ratio yet.
  • Back in the BIOS, scroll to CPU Manual Voltage and Manually Set it to whatever value it shows for your CPU. They all vary
  • You need to find the Max OC you can get at the stock voltage so move to CPU Ratio and adjust it up.

    Most Piledriver CPUs will run an extra 400-500Mhz on Stock Voltages
    Most Bulldozer CPUs will run an extra 700-800Mhz on Stock Voltages


  • Exit and Save changes, and boot into your Operating System.
  • Load and run Prime95 Small FFT for 10 Minutes.
    • If no Cores Fail, then increase another point on the CPU Ratio and run Prime95 again.
    • If a Core Fails then increase the CPU Manual Voltage one point and run Prime95 again.
    • If your system Freezes or BSOD, then reduce you CPU Ratio by one point and run Prime95 again.
    • If your system Freezes or BSOD after increasing the CPU Ratio by one point then increase your CPU Manual Voltage by three points and run Prime95 again.

      (each run of Prime95 for this step will be 10 minutes on Small FFT's)
  • When Overclocking, make sure to monitor temperatures. Once you have reached the thermal or voltage limits of your overclock (or just one you are happy with) Then it is time to run a full Prime test.
  • Full Prime Test = Custom Setting - using 75% of your ram for a minimum of 6-12 hours
    this is just what I recommend. If you are happy with 2 hours of prime, that's fine
  • If your system fails the Prime test, then increase the CPU Manual Voltage by one point and re-test. Or, if it passes, then enjoy your faster running CPU.

Thermal and Voltage Limits for the CPU Click (Click to show)
Thermal Limits
CPU Core - 62 Celsius
CPU Socket - 72 Celsius

Voltage Limits
- CPU Manual Voltage 1.55v

Edited by ComputerRestore - 6/27/13 at 7:20pm
post #3 of 3038
Thread Starter 


FSB & MISC Overclocking Section. (Sometimes offers fine tuning, but not required)
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
  • FSB Overclocking Recommended Ranges
  • FSB - 230 to 300**
  • **290 - 300+ may or may not work on your Motherboard biggrin.gif
  • VDDA Voltage - 2.5 vto 2.65v - increasing this voltage will improve system performance when increasing the FSB
  • HTT/CPUNB Speeds - Linking these speeds when FSB Overclocking has shown performance increases. The suggested range is 2400-2500Mhz for both. (If possible, linking the DRAM speed in this range will also increase performance)
  • PCIe - Manually set to 100Mhz

Other than that, the settings for NB,HT Link, CPU, DRAM, will all be the same as when Multiplier Overclocking.

FSB OC - Things to Consider Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Because most things are affected by the FSB (Multi * FSB = Frequency) you need to take into consideration what will be effected.
  • CPU
  • HTT
  • CPU/NB
  • DRAM

So in simple terms, you just need to select the highest stable FSB speed that you can, which will give you your desired OC results.

Also, once you have your desired Overclock, within your safe voltage, you can also increase the FSB by 1 point at a time, until you have your max stable overclock.

Recommended FSB Ranges Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Quote:
FSB - 250
DRAM - 2000Mhz
CPU/NB - 2500Mhz
HTT - 2500Mhz
Quote:
FSB - 275
DRAM - 2200Mhz
CPU/NB - 2475Mhz
HTT - 2475Mhz
Quote:
FSB - 280
DRAM - 1866Mhz
CPU/NB - 2520Mhz
HTT - 2520Mhz
Quote:
FSB - 300
DRAM - 2400Mhz
CPU/NB - 2400Mhz
HTT - 2400Mhz

FSB + Turbo - The Best of Both Worlds
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Would you like to have great Multithreaded Performance as well as a lot better Single Core Performance?
Do you also like to save on hydro?

Well then this might interest you.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


  • With Turbo Enabled, increasing the FSB also increases the Turbo Frequency
  • With Offset Voltage Mode you can fully utilize C'n'C and APM Mode
  • I recommend to keep the offset voltages to Auto with the "+" using Ultra LLC on the CPU and Auto LLC on the CPU/NB.
  • If you are going for an extreme difference between stock frequency and Turbo frequency, then you should increase the CPU Offset Voltage to Compensate
    Example: 4.6Ghz with a Turbo of 5.6Ghz you might need an offset of +0.15v
  • The higher you raise the FSB, the higher the Auto CPU and CPU/NB voltage will be set.

As you can see from my pictures, for my system the best FSB speed was 233. This allowed me to run my ram near my spec of 1866Mhz and also allows me to stay within my thermal limits when Turbo engages.

The actual turbo listed is not what it will go to. The Turbo listed is the highest level of Turbo - on an FX8350 that would be 4.2Ghz, so a Multiplier of 21. The normal turbo that will run all 8 cores is 4.1Ghz so a Multiplier of 20.5, which will let me run 4.776Ghz with a 233FSB.
Under a heavy load, the CPU will cycle between my set CPU Ratio and the Turbo Speed to run cooler. Or it will just stay at the set CPU Ratio - which is ~4.5Ghz

So using this method I will have a 17% increase in Single Threaded Performance and a 12.5% increase in Multithreaded Performance.
With the power saving features I idle at 68W. (Full System)
At full load 280W which is the same as a Manual 4.5Ghz Overclock.

UnOfficial Overclocking Method
Based on a Theory: Testing done by Mr-McRaven Link to Testing Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Recommended Settings
Quote:
1600Mhz Ram
- FSB 240
- CPU/NB 7x/8xMulti @ 1680Mhz/1920Mhz [0.9v-1.075]
- Ram 6.66x Multi @ 1600Mhz [1.3v-1.5v]
- HTT 11x Multi @ 2640Mhz
***Requires Fine Tuning with voltages.

Edited by ComputerRestore - 5/17/13 at 8:55am
post #4 of 3038
Can I use this guide for the Sabertooth 990FX?
post #5 of 3038
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by philharmonik View Post

Can I use this guide for the Sabertooth 990FX?

You sure can. I think that the Sabertooth has a couple more options for Sub Zero Overclocking that I don't have listed. But otherwise it's the same.
post #6 of 3038
Nice guide, though I seen on the ROG site that CPU and PCIe Spread Spectrum should be disabled. Unless I am misinterpreting something.

From the site:
Quote:
CPU Spread Spectrum: Modulates the processor clock to reduce radiated noise emissions – disable for overclocking as clock modulation reduces logic sampling margins.


PCIe Spread Spectrum: Modulates the PCIe clock to reduce radiated noise emissions – disable for overclocking as clock modulation reduces logic sampling margins.
 
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post #7 of 3038
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius Silver View Post

Nice guide, though I seen on the ROG site that CPU and PCIe Spread Spectrum should be disabled. Unless I am misinterpreting something.

From the site:

Thanks for that.

I researched it a bit more and found you are exactly right about the Spread Spectrum.

The only reason to have it on is if you live in an area with high amounts of EMI.
The reason to have it disabled, is that while overclocking it can accidentially register a clock cycle as EMI, causing a BSOD or freeze.

I will update the guide.
Edited by ComputerRestore - 1/16/13 at 6:37pm
post #8 of 3038
Hey, thanks for this guide!

I couldn't get any kind of stability at any voltage & clock whatsoever.
I restored optimized defaults & followed your steps and VIOLA! some stability graduated.gif
Now running 4.2GHz at stock voltage, which happens to be 1.3875v, & CPU/NB is set to 1.2v
Also note that I've set APM & CPU spread spectrum both on Auto.

Did a 10min OCCT run;


Is this graph okay? worriedsmiley.gif
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post #9 of 3038
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashura View Post

Hey, thanks for this guide!

I couldn't get any kind of stability at any voltage & clock whatsoever.
I restored optimized defaults & followed your steps and VIOLA! some stability graduated.gif
Now running 4.2GHz at stock voltage, which happens to be 1.3875v, & CPU/NB is set to 1.2v
Also note that I've set APM & CPU spread spectrum both on Auto.

Did a 10min OCCT run;


Is this graph okay? worriedsmiley.gif

Nice, glad it's working for you.

For CPU Spread Spectrum, I had to do an update, because it can effect higher overclocks if it's enabled, so for that I'd recommend to Disable it.

Your graph does look a bit strange. From 1 minute to 5 minutes is the only time the CPU is at 100%, otherwise it's showing near 0% usage for the rest of the time.
If you are using Ultra LLC for the CPU and it's increasing the voltage above what you have set (as shown by the graph) then you can lower it to High LLC. It's best to have it compensate just enough so the voltage barely changes under load. If the voltage increases, then your LLC is set too high.

Also the way it's listing your CPU seems off. It seems to show that you have Turbo Enabled with a higher CPU Ratio set. If you have an Overclock set, with Turbo Enabled, then the CPU will run at 4.1Ghz under load, even if you have the CPU set higher (4.2Ghz)
Edited by ComputerRestore - 1/17/13 at 6:59am
post #10 of 3038
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComputerRestore View Post

Your graph does look a bit strange. From 1 minute to 5 minutes is the only time the CPU is at 100%, otherwise it's showing near 0% usage for the rest of the time.
Actually, those are Idle periods. 1 min at start & 5 min at end. I thought those minutes would be excluded from the time I set doh.gif
Quote:
If you are using Ultra LLC for the CPU and it's increasing the voltage above what you have set (as shown by the graph) then you can lower it to High LLC. It's best to have it compensate just enough so the voltage barely changes under load. If the voltage increases, then your LLC is set too high.

Also the way it's listing your CPU seems off. It seems to show that you have Turbo Enabled with a higher CPU Ratio set. If you have an Overclock set, with Turbo Enabled, then the CPU will run at 4.1Ghz under load, even if you have the CPU set higher (4.2Ghz)
LLC is enabled. That's all I can do on my budget board. frown.gif
Also, TurboCore is disabled.
Edited by Ashura - 2/9/13 at 3:52am
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