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Phenom II X4 965 on Asus M5A78L-M LX

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Just done a cheap CPU upgrade from my brother and replaced his Athlon II X2 255 with a Phenom II X4 965 on a Asus M5A78L-M LX motherboard.

OK - I realize that I've screwed up and slammed a 125W CPU into a 95W motherboard, but I'd like some feedback as to the best course of action from here.

I've read some of the MOSFET warning thread: http://www.overclock.net/t/943109/about-vrms-mosfets-motherboard-safety-with-125w-tdp-processors. If I understand things correctly, the Asus protection scheme means that the CPU will underclock rather than explode the MOSFETs, so it should be _safe_ to run, but suboptimal. Is that correct - or do I really need to be more proactive to prevent e.g. a fire?

Now - seeing that a 960 C3 is a 95W TDP, I'm guessing that the 965 C3 doesn't actually get close to the official 125W TDP limit and is actually more like 110 (or something). I'm guessing that I can underclock + undervolt my way into 960 territory.

This is a budget build, for the purpose of gaming and not much else. Budget is the primary concern (well a short second to safety).

My options would seem to be:

1) Do nothing. It's an Asus motherboard, so put up with any throttling when it occurs. Gaming probably won't stress all cores fully.

2) Undervolt (and potentially underclock) to get to a more guaranteed 95W limit (so avoiding the motherboard auto-throttle). Is there anyway I can check this?

3) Disable 1 (or 2) cores.

4) Replace the motherboard. I'm doing this on a budget, so the replacement would probably be a Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3. This supports 125W CPUs - is there enough headroom that I could push an overclock to 3.8GHz?


Obviously the easy answer is 4), but is it really necessary in this case? The other components are an AMD 6770 and 4GB RAM. The plan is to upgrade to a 7850 or 650ti boost in the next month or so and bump the RAM to 8GB thereafter. Swapping the motherboard directly impacts those other upgrades - so unless it's needed on safety grounds, I'd really rather not bother.
post #2 of 6
MOSFET COOLING!!! If you do end up trying it and it does work, proper air flow over the mosfet coolers is key. with that being said that board does not have any MOSFET heat sinks, get some of those stick on ones. I ran a 965 on a poopoo MSI 870-g45 board for years overclocked to 4Ghz, I had those glue on copper heat sinks and great air flow over the MOSFETS and they would still hit 90C+ under load using my infrared thermometer (the msi board is known to catch on fire with 125W chips).


I still run that chip and board combo as I write this its folding at 100% clocked@4Ghz vcore@1.4v it is using 113.4W according to HWmonitor. Is that because that is all the board will give it, or because that is all it wants I do not know.

As for what I recommend, If it was me I would try it and see how it works. It it doesn't work then upgrade, what have you got to lose besides a board that isn't all that expensive and would need to be upgraded anyway. that new board you linked to has mosfet cooling and supports the 125w chips. there is no reason why you couldn't run @3.8 with that board provided you have adequate cpu cooling and airflow for the board. I ran mine at 3.6 with the stock cooler and no MOSFET cooling before it went under water. If you plan on actually using this cpu and putting it under load then i would say upgrade the mobo to have the safety of knowing you wont catch on fire or not have the performance because you are so under volted and clocked. performance is why you upgraded the CPU in the first place am I right?

Hope I helped some

Alex
Edited by The_ocho - 4/3/13 at 9:39pm
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_ocho View Post

MOSFET COOLING!!! If you do end up trying it and it does work, proper air flow over the mosfet coolers is key.

I'd already tried it and it does work :-) (With an F1 at POST to say the CPU isn't compatible). Stock HSF means there's some airflow over the mosfets, but It looks like I'd be wise to put heatsinks on them.

I'm thinking heatsinks + undervolt + stock clocks might be OK - I'll check if there's any throttling going on (though I don't have access to the machine right now).
post #4 of 6
Just e bay the board and get another rolleyes.gif
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post #5 of 6
bite the bullet and do what motokill recommended.

with a good board you can even overclock his new cpu.
Memory upgrade can be skipped for a while. no games uses 4GB.
Video card upgrade will do the most to video game performance but
safety first. Going cheap can get very costly very quickly.


ASRock 970 EXTREME3 $74.99 + free shipping @newgg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157280

Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 is $55 after $10 rebate now. so, still $65 up front.
970 EXTREME3 should allow for more overclocking headroom than any mATX board.


960T is a thuban based quad core (Zosma) two cores are disabled.
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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions guys - I am listening :-)

But let me re-iterate the priorities:

1) Safety. A fire is a no-go.
2) Budget. I'm in the UK And have £160 to play with ($240). That just about gets the cheapest 7850 or GTX650ti boost (the same price here at £140/$210) and 4GB RAM in the UK.
3) Performance. As much gaming performance as possible for the money. Think Planetside 2, WoW and RTS like the Total War series. His XBox sees most FPS action (due to friends)

I am happy to prioritize a new motherboard over RAM upgrade, but even then I'm effectively having to drop the GPU to a 7790 or GTX650ti non-boost to get under budget (with the GA-78LMT-USB3). I find that hard to justify, so I'm guessing I have to try and squeeze him for another £20 ($30).
In the UK, the difference between the GA-78LMT-USB3 and the ASRock 970 EXTREME3 is another £20 ($30). To stay in budget, I'm now looking at a 7770 or GTX650 non-ti. That's barely even an upgrade from where he is (otherwise the budget bump is 25%!).

This machine is for gaming, so GPU has to be more important than a CPU overclock right (yes - I do appreciate the forum I'm asking this on)?

I'm guessing the net answer is - "Get a GTX650ti boost and a decent motherboard"
How safe is the over-current protection on these Asus motherboards? Can I manage to do the preferred GPU upgrade now, skip the RAM upgrade and shuffle-in a $60 motherboard upgrade in a months time (it's the easier way of absorbing the budget increase :-))? Or do you reckon on doing the motherboard upgrade as higher priority than the GPU
Sure the CPU will be being throttled in the interim (but it's currently working and benching better than the Athlon II X2 right now), but is that an OK option or do I need to be more proactive regarding shutting down 1-2 cores etc until I do the motherboard upgrade?


btw - I also acknowledge the point about the 960T. I was deliberately meaning the alleged regular 960 C3 (HDX960WFK4DGM), which is a 95W deneb core (and on the CPU support list for the motherboard). How is this any different to the 125W 965BE (HDZ965FBGMBOX) I have, other than a drop of 200MHz and maybe a little voltage? Maybe it never existed and only the 945@3.0GHz is available at 95W. I note that the Phenom II X2 565 is a 3.4GHz part and 80W, so dropping 2 cores off the 965 gets me well into safety.
Edited by naturbo2000 - 4/5/13 at 2:21am
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