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As you can probably assume from the title, I am a complete newby at overclocking. However, I have read a basic starters guide and a few threads on how to do it so I need help with a few specific questions instead:

1. How exactly can I tell if my computer is stable without having to stress test for hours after each bios tweak? I am aiming for a light OC such as 3.0 ghz.

2. I've started out by raising my FSB speed to 1500 mhz (QDR) which should end up giving me 3.0 ghz. My problem starts when I raise my memory speed to 533 mhz. When I do just that, it displays a line underneath stating that my real memory speed is 523 mhz. What's the difference between the memory value I can change and the real memory value? Keeping everything else on auto, when I save and exit the bios my computer does not even get to POST unless I hit the restart button and give it 5 seconds. Then it does get to POST, but it displays a POST interruption error and allows me to continue or enter the BIOS. If I raise the memory speed value to 543 mhz, my real memory speed value becomes 531 mhz. But, if I add one more mhz to the memory speed value, making it 544 mhz, my real memory speed becomes 543 mhz. Why is there a gap in real memory between 531 and 543 mhz? I think its important to note that 533 mhz is my RAM memory limit (DDR2 1066).

3. Ok, so when I use any memory value greater than or equal to 544 mhz, my computer boots normally when I exit bios and I can get into windows just fine. Unfortunately, my computer does show some stability issues as I can see that my tray icons do not load. There are image-less spaces there, as if the icons did load but I cannot right click them to get a drop-down menu nor can I double click them to open them up.

4. I have tried testing whether I can bring stability by setting my cpu voltage manually but no setting from 1.1 V to 1.35 V does this. Instead my computer restarts everytime it tries loading windows. With no OC and everything set to auto (1333 mhz FSB) HWMonitor shows my Vcore at around 1.1 v but with my most stable tested OC (1500 mhz FSB & 544 mhz memory speed) my Vcore is around 1.25 v.

Here are my specifications:

Motherboard: P5N72-T Premium
CPU: Intel Q9450
Memory: 2 x 2GB DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)
PSU: PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 EPS12V Quad

Thanks for the help.
Edited by sparkk51 - 3/23/13 at 9:03pm