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How to overclock an i7 3820 (help? lol)

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, so I've finally got my new computer build up and running... thanks to a lot of you folks here.

Here's the rig:

i7 3820.
Asus Rampage IV Formula mobo
32 GB Kingston Hyper X 1600 MHz ram
Antec 620 water cooler
Radeon HD 5450
Corsair 1000W PSU (i remember specs, friend let me borrow his after the 650W reburf i bought was a DOA)
Samsung Pro 128GB system ssd
sandisk ultra plus 256GB ssd
intel x-25m sata 2 ssd
3 x 500GB WD cavier black 7200rpm drives
Fractal Design XL case

This thing looks like a beast and runs very well stock.

I do want to give it a power boost so maximize my dollar. Something nice and stable. I do audio work... and it benefits from only a stable overclock. If it's unstable, it will crash and be very unforgiving.

Just for some backgroudn on my needs for this computer.... I produce & record music. I use CPU intense virtual instruments (synths).... and samplers that have very large (easily up to 1-2GB) multi-sampled instruments. I need instruments to load as fast as possible. And I need to be able to throw tons of VST plugins onto audio tracks smoothly.

So...
Can anybody help me overclock this thing?

I got into the BIOS and played around w/ some settings. But i'll be honest... i have no clue *** i'm doing in there. I could really use help if someone is familiar with the Rampage IV Formula BIOS. It looks different from the search results I came up with that I tried to follow (unsuccesfully).

I'm not by my computer.. but going from memory... at first i changed a setup called "CPU Level Up" to 4.02GHz.... and then changed the RAM to a value close to 1600MHz b/c it had the RAM running at 1300 which is below spec (and i hear these overclock well). This had the CPU reading at 4.8GHz, which got me a little excited b/c that's a LOT of clock power that i'm not used to (I'm coming from an AMD phenom II 955 overclocked to 3.8GHz). I got it running but it was unstable. I got a crash after doing a few audio items.

Next I turned that down.... and now an extra option called BCLK strap was available in the menu.. i remember being told i should just be able to raise this up to get an easy overclock. I lowered the CPU level UP to 3.8GHz and played with the BCLK strap. I think i raised it to about 112 or something..... i tried to start and it didn't even go to the OS lol... instantly turned off, on, off, on, then told me my overclock failed.

I went back into the BIOs and turned off turbo boost. I then put the BCLK strap at arond 106... this yielded a stable 3.8GHz overclock... which is hardly impressive since it boosts to 3.8 lol. But..... 3.8 is lame. I noticed a clear improvement in ASIO performance in my music DAW when I had the brief 4.8 overclock. The ASIO usage meteres were super low, which is good.

So yeah... I could really use some help here from someone who knows what they're doing in the Rampage BIOS. I have a lot of questions about these options in the BIOS and which would be suited best for audio work:


1. Should I use this "CPU Level Up" option at all?
2. Should I keep Intel's power boost on or off?
3. When I raise things like the BCLK strap.. it seems like my RAM speed is lowered. (I can't remember if that's what exactly happened... but i did notice things being lowered to compensate for rthings being raised.) I want to keep my RAM fast b/c I work with audio samples. Is there a good solution to this?


Thanks again.... if anybody has the time or brain power to help w/ overclock details (or could point me in the right direction of a step by step somewhere) i'd truly be appreciative. No clue what I'm doing here lol... i've never gotten this in dpeth with overclocking... and there's a lot of options in the BIOS and i have no clue what most of them mean, what they do, or what's important.

Thanks guys
Edited by CPhoenix - 3/18/13 at 7:00am
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
PS... although i can't remember the specs of the PSU... i know it's good enough to get a good overclock out of this if i do it correctly. It's my buddies... and he's run multiple computers off of this one PSU.. so i'm confident it can provide enough juice.

I'm looking to target at least a 4.2 GHz overclock. Something respectable and stable. Maybe even 4.5-4.6? I dunno if that's pushing it though, since the 3820 isn't unlocked.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Oh.... also note that the motherboard has 2 PCIe slots that are broken, so those are turned off on the mobo. I didn't need the extra slots though so it's cool w/ me. I had the Radeon HD and a firewire card installed to them.

just though i'd mention this as well in case it matters. I hear the BCLK strap pulls from the PCI bus (did i say that right?). so not sure if those being physically broken make a difference.
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix View Post


Thanks again.... if anybody has the time or brain power to help w/ overclock details (or could point me in the right direction of a step by step somewhere) i'd truly be appreciative. No clue what I'm doing here lol... i've never gotten this in dpeth with overclocking... and there's a lot of options in the BIOS and i have no clue what most of them mean, what they do, or what's important.

Thanks guys
Hi CPhoenix,

Here are two essential threads that will help you get started in the process of properly overclocking your Asus RE and 3820.

Sandy Bridge E Overclocking Guide

[OFFICIAL] == Sandy Bridge-E == Overclock Leaderboard & Owners Club

Cheers.
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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
^wow.. thanks for those threads man, the first one actually did help.

So I figured out how to do the simple overclock by using BCLK. I put it at 125 ( i believe) and got a 4.6GHz overclock. Very nice... and appears to be stable. I need to do a little more testing, but it looks promising. 4.6 should be all that i really need. I won't get greedy, b/c i want stability more than i want bragging rights.

The only thing I noticed is that my ram is running slow at 1300GHz or so. It's spec'd at 1600GHz so i want to get it to that or higher. The last time I adjusted RAM i started geting crashes. If it happens to crash... it sounds like I would want to increase the voltage to it. Is that correct?

i think the big improvement in my overclock so far was disabling the CPU Level Up option. That created nothing but trouble for me lol... no clue how to use that.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix View Post

^wow.. thanks for those threads man, the first one actually did help.

So I figured out how to do the simple overclock by using BCLK. I put it at 125 ( i believe) and got a 4.6GHz overclock. Very nice... and appears to be stable. I need to do a little more testing, but it looks promising. 4.6 should be all that i really need. I won't get greedy, b/c i want stability more than i want bragging rights.

The only thing I noticed is that my ram is running slow at 1300GHz or so. It's spec'd at 1600GHz so i want to get it to that or higher. The last time I adjusted RAM i started geting crashes. If it happens to crash... it sounds like I would want to increase the voltage to it. Is that correct?

i think the big improvement in my overclock so far was disabling the CPU Level Up option. That created nothing but trouble for me lol... no clue how to use that.

Hey NP. thumb.gif
Quote:
The only thing I noticed is that my ram is running slow at 1300GHz or so. It's spec'd at 1600GHz so i want to get it to that or higher. The last time I adjusted RAM i started geting crashes. If it happens to crash... it sounds like I would want to increase the voltage to it. Is that correct?

If you increase your ram speed far beyond 1600MHz, say 1700-2100MHz you may have to bump the DRAM voltage however I don't recommend going beyond 1.65v (to protect the CPU IMC). You will also have to loosen ram timings above 1600MHz to improve stability.
Quote:
i think the big improvement in my overclock so far was disabling the CPU Level Up option. That created nothing but trouble for me lol... no clue how to use that.

Yeah the CPU level up doesn't always get the voltages right either. Sometimes it can do more harm than good. rolleyes.gif
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J III
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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
cool man... i'm going to keep things right where they are!!! THANKS!!!


... actually.... i might bump the BCLK a few more notches lolol... just to see what the limit really is... but i'll probably drop it "down" to 4.6 and be satisfied. I just did some stress tests on it... and i swear to god, i've never had a system this stable. DAW runs like a dream. I had to do some really off the wall ridiculous stuff to put a serious dent in the CPU usage. I still haven't gotten it above 55% on the system meter. My ASIO CPU buffer will go up to 80% b/c of the audio drivers... but the actual CPU still has plenty of power.

Coming from an AMD Phenom II 955..... this is freakin INSANE lol

Seriously... thanks for your help man. 3.6 GHz felt a little boring. But this simple overclock has made a world of difference.... this system is very enjoyable as a music producer
post #8 of 12
Haha, that's awesome. Yeah these SB chips destroy everything over 4GHz. I've been a huge fan ever since I switched from my i7 920 D0. Probably the best investment I've ever made. If you need any more tips just drop me a PM. Cheers. biggrin.gif
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post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix View Post

cool man... i'm going to keep things right where they are!!! THANKS!!!


... actually.... i might bump the BCLK a few more notches lolol... just to see what the limit really is... but i'll probably drop it "down" to 4.6 and be satisfied. I just did some stress tests on it... and i swear to god, i've never had a system this stable. DAW runs like a dream. I had to do some really off the wall ridiculous stuff to put a serious dent in the CPU usage. I still haven't gotten it above 55% on the system meter. My ASIO CPU buffer will go up to 80% b/c of the audio drivers... but the actual CPU still has plenty of power.

Coming from an AMD Phenom II 955..... this is freakin INSANE lol

Seriously... thanks for your help man. 3.6 GHz felt a little boring. But this simple overclock has made a world of difference.... this system is very enjoyable as a music producer

Just a tip: overclocking by changing the BCLK bootstrap will disable the power saving mechanism. If you want to benefit from EIST adjust the CPU multiplier only, leaving the BCLK strap at 1.00 (or 100 like some motherboards call it). That will give you an overclock of 4.3 Ghz (the multiplier on the i7-3820 is only unlocked up to 43).

Also, don't change the BCLK base frequency of 100. As with SB, changing it only brings a small overclock and potential stability problems. I don't know exactly what you mean by "i might bump the BCLK a few more notches", so I'm just telling you in advance. As to changing the BCLK strap, the options are 1.25 (some motherboards call it 125), 1.66 and 2.50. 1.66 only works with a few CPUs, and, as far as I know, 2.50 doesn't really work with any, it's just a theoretical setting. In any case, using the 1.25 strap together with the max 43 multiplier you get a max 5.375 Ghz overclock, which is more or less the max an excellent SB or SB-E chip will do on water, so you're not losing much by not being able to use 1.66 or 2.50.
Edited by tpi2007 - 3/22/13 at 5:38pm
 
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post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tpi2007 View Post

Just a tip: overclocking by changing the BCLK bootstrap will disable the power saving mechanism. If you want to benefit from EIST adjust the CPU multiplier only, leaving the BCLK strap at 1.00 (or 100 like some motherboards call it). That will give you an overclock of 4.3 Ghz (the multiplier on the i7-3820 is only unlocked up to 43).

Also, don't change the BCLK base frequency of 100. As with SB, changing it only brings a small overclock and potential stability problems. I don't know exactly what you mean by "i might bump the BCLK a few more notches", so I'm just telling you in advance. As to changing the BCLK strap, the options are 1.25 (some motherboards call it 125), 1.66 and 2.50. 1.66 only works with a few CPUs, and, as far as I know, 2.50 doesn't really work with any, it's just a theoretical setting. In any case, using the 1.25 strap together with the max 43 multiplier you get a max 5.375 Ghz overclock, which is more or less the max an excellent SB or SB-E chip will do on water, so you're not losing much by not being able to use 1.66 or 2.50.

Actually you can get all c-states to work with increased strap. My 5ghz OC has them all enabled and power useage goes as low as 26w@idle.
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