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OC an i3-540 Advice

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hello
I spent good 15 minutes trying to figure out where to post this, and I'm still not sure if this is the right place. I do apologise if so.

In weeks time I'm going to be renovating my old desktop. At it's current state it's quite useless for even web browsing. I'm going to use it as a bit of a experiment to overclock and squeeze out everything from it. Then once I've had my fun, I will probably leave it for my parents to use while I'm at Uni.

I will be using it for gaming. Most interested in CS:GO, DOTA2 and maybe will try other games in my steam library.

So what I want to ask is, with the following rig [below] would anybody be able to give me some advice on what they think the limit to overclocking will be and what performance should expect?

WinXP 32bit
Intel i3-540 Dual Core (Hoping to go to stable 4.4GHz)
ASUS - P7H55-M/USB3
Radeon HD 4000 Series 1GB
2GB Ram (Can't remember what speed, not at home atm).
CoolerMaster TX-3 Evo CPU Cooler
CoolerMaster 230mm sidefan [Intake]
CoolerMaster 2x 120mm rear/top fans [Exhaust]
EZCool 700W PSU (I know it's not reliable, but this pc should need 500W max)
SoundBlaster Audigy 2ZS Platinum

I know that the cpu chip may not perform identical to someone else who reached say 4.5GHz with the exact same rig, but is my aim realistic?

As to my knowledge. I'm fairly educated on computers and hardware. I have overclocked before, but nothing as extreme as this. I've done a bit of reading, will do more when it comes to the fun part, but you can assume I'm fairly newbie when it comes to giving me advice.

Also is there a set voltage the CPU will definitely fry at? Is having high voltage okay as long as temperatures are not too high? Or will a certain high voltage just overload the cpu?
I also intend to overclock the GPU. I will confirm the exact model once I'm home (in a couple of weeks). But in general, should I expect to be able to overclock the GPU by a fair amount provided I have a 230mm blowing against it?

Best Regards,
Nip
post #2 of 13
You cant overclock with this board, H55 chipset doesnt allow it. You need a P55 motherboard to do so.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkBlade6 View Post

You cant overclock with this board, H55 chipset doesnt allow it. You need a P55 motherboard to do so.

But the board has overclocking features. First time I'm hearing this. I've heard that the H55 has integrated graphics, which only make it harder to overclock.
A) When you have a GPU in the PCI slot the integrated graphics automatically switches off.
B) You can manually shut it off if you have a dedicated GPU.
C) You have to lower the integrated graphics clock as you increase the CPU (So the integrated graphics stays the same).

Is one of these not right?
post #4 of 13
Sorry in advance, sort of a wall of text.

A. My board (Gigabyte H55m-D2H) allowed you to run the iGP with a dedicated GPU at the same time I believe so it didn't auto-disable it.
(iGP is integrated graphics processor)

B. You could either set it to disable itself if a dedicated GPU was detected or enabled all the time.

C. I think my iGP frequency was linked to the baseclock by a multiplier so that would mean C is true, probably depends on your board though.
I know I got 4.3GHz stable with the iGP enabled because that's what it's running now in my girlfriend's PC but I don't remember if I had to mess with the iGP frequency for that.

Here's an image with some max recommended settings from Intel.


Personally, I saw gains up to 1.55V Vcore but most i3s won't benefit from such high voltage, mine was weird because it needed more than 1.4V for 4GHz but scaled all the way up to 4.6GHz stable beyond that.

I'd say stay below 1.4V if you want to be on the safe side though and for anything except running very high Bclock you shouldn't need to go over any of the other recommendations. (Edit: By very high I mean like 230MHz or so, unnecessarily high unless you just feel like running it that high)

For an i3 540, 4.4GHz sounds realistic enough depending on your chip. 4GHz should be the least you could expect unless you got a very bad chip.

Watch your CPU temperature though, the i3 is like Ivy in that it runs hot at higher voltages and clocks and good cooling often doesn't help much. (I saw very little difference between air and water cooling)
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post #5 of 13
To lazy to go look for the thread, but two or so years ago someone posted some benchmarks here from a test he did with a i3 550 vs a i7 2600k both @ 4,3 GHz and the i3 was actually very close to the i7 in games.
So if you buy a good mobo, 4/8 GB ram, a good cooler, a new PSU and a decent graphics card then you actually have a great gaming rig. But if you are going to replace so much stuff then you might aswel get a 1155 mobo and a 3570k.
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post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks Mike! That was pretty much what I was looking for in terms of advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sisaroth View Post

To lazy to go look for the thread, but two or so years ago someone posted some benchmarks here from a test he did with a i3 550 vs a i7 2600k both @ 4,3 GHz and the i3 was actually very close to the i7 in games.
So if you buy a good mobo, 4/8 GB ram, a good cooler, a new PSU and a decent graphics card then you actually have a great gaming rig. But if you are going to replace so much stuff then you might aswel get a 1155 mobo and a 3570k.

Yeah that's a good point. I've seen the i3 outperform quad cores (probably in games that don't take much advantage of the 4 cores) so I'm expecting decent performance. So far I have only spent about ~£100 and that is for the CPU, Mobo, CPU Cooler, the 3 Fans. Everything else I have already in the old PC. I don't really want to go as far as spending more money because a) I have a better system already and b) might as well get the i5 2570K and work from that, but that would be spending extra cash on something I don't NEED smile.gif

I also read that ram speed effects the overclocking process, which I wouldn't of ever had guessed. I read something along the lines of that the memory speed is linked to the multiplier (like the iGPU above) so I have to lower the memory multiplier to keep the ram speed the same. Can anyone clarify? If it's a long explanation I will just read the guide I found again, so don't worry about writing a wall of text. Also is there a certain ram memory speed that will benefit the overclocking process?
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by nipplepie View Post

Thanks Mike! That was pretty much what I was looking for in terms of advice.
Yeah that's a good point. I've seen the i3 outperform quad cores (probably in games that don't take much advantage of the 4 cores) so I'm expecting decent performance. So far I have only spent about ~£100 and that is for the CPU, Mobo, CPU Cooler, the 3 Fans. Everything else I have already in the old PC. I don't really want to go as far as spending more money because a) I have a better system already and b) might as well get the i5 2570K and work from that, but that would be spending extra cash on something I don't NEED smile.gif

I also read that ram speed effects the overclocking process, which I wouldn't of ever had guessed. I read something along the lines of that the memory speed is linked to the multiplier (like the iGPU above) so I have to lower the memory multiplier to keep the ram speed the same. Can anyone clarify? If it's a long explanation I will just read the guide I found again, so don't worry about writing a wall of text. Also is there a certain ram memory speed that will benefit the overclocking process?

Yeah, I reckon I could go back to my i3 at 4.3GHz from this i5 at the same speed and unless I was told or ran things that really need the i5 to run well I wouldn't notice, the i3 is underrated by most people.

Personally, I ran on the 8x memory multiplier most of the time, it lets you get to 200MHz+ base clock with standard 1600MHz RAM which is nice.
My 10x multiplier didn't work well, the i3 couldn't handle higher memory speeds and stay stable.
The 6x multi is good if your RAM isn't fast enough to run the 8x multi at the base clock you are trying to run.

The short version of the RAM thing is base clock * multi = RAM speed, keep the RAM speed below what your RAM is rated to run at if you want an easy time overclocking.

You may also need to lower your QPI speed in the BIOS if you get close to 200MHz base clock.
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Q6600 RIG :D
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4790k MSI Z97M Gaming 780 Ti SLi Corsair Vengeance pro 2x8GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Seagate NAS 240GB m500s RAID 0 MCP 350 w/ res top >> MCP655 >> Heatkiller full... Windows 8.1 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q6600 Asus P5Q-E 8800GTX Crucial Ballistix Tracers 
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post #8 of 13
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike-IRL View Post

Yeah, I reckon I could go back to my i3 at 4.3GHz from this i5 at the same speed and unless I was told or ran things that really need the i5 to run well I wouldn't notice, the i3 is underrated by most people.

Personally, I ran on the 8x memory multiplier most of the time, it lets you get to 200MHz+ base clock with standard 1600MHz RAM which is nice.
My 10x multiplier didn't work well, the i3 couldn't handle higher memory speeds and stay stable.
The 6x multi is good if your RAM isn't fast enough to run the 8x multi at the base clock you are trying to run.

The short version of the RAM thing is base clock * multi = RAM speed, keep the RAM speed below what your RAM is rated to run at if you want an easy time overclocking.

You may also need to lower your QPI speed in the BIOS if you get close to 200MHz base clock.

Thanks again.

I can't think of anything else to ask, but more advice is welcome from anyone who has it.
Hopefully I wouldn't have more questions once I begin OCing smile.gif
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by nipplepie View Post

Thanks Mike! That was pretty much what I was looking for in terms of advice.
Yeah that's a good point. I've seen the i3 outperform quad cores (probably in games that don't take much advantage of the 4 cores) so I'm expecting decent performance. So far I have only spent about ~£100 and that is for the CPU, Mobo, CPU Cooler, the 3 Fans. Everything else I have already in the old PC. I don't really want to go as far as spending more money because a) I have a better system already and b) might as well get the i5 2570K and work from that, but that would be spending extra cash on something I don't NEED smile.gif

I also read that ram speed effects the overclocking process, which I wouldn't of ever had guessed. I read something along the lines of that the memory speed is linked to the multiplier (like the iGPU above) so I have to lower the memory multiplier to keep the ram speed the same. Can anyone clarify? If it's a long explanation I will just read the guide I found again, so don't worry about writing a wall of text. Also is there a certain ram memory speed that will benefit the overclocking process?

The bus that connects the CPU to the RAM (the front side bus = FSB) has a certain frequency, usually called bclk (bus clock). The multiplier in the CPU multiplies that speed internally so that it can do stuff faster inside the CPU.
Memory also has a multiplier, CPU-Z calls it FSB:DRAM ratio. Usually it is 4:16 (1:4) because quad data rate bus is the standard nowadays. And then that's multiplied by two because it is DDR RAM (Double Data Rate). So if your bus is at 200 MHz then your memory speed is 200 * 4 *2 = 1600. So you'll have to change the FSB:DRAM ratio if you increase the bclk otherwise you are also overclocking your RAM which you might not want.
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