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M4A77TD Pro Base Clock Fluctuations

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

Recently, I enquired about adding some custom cooling to the VRMs on my mobo (M4A77TD Pro), after some great advice I garnered from this site. biggrin.gif

The reason I stumbled upon the idea of VRM cooling was because I had noticed my base clock fluctuating significantly while playing games. It's set to run at stock speed (200MHz), but I've noticed that while playing XCOM, CPU-Z will show the base clock occasionally dropping down to 190MHz, which obviously then impacts the CPU core and HT bus speeds.

It's while searching for a solution for this online that I was introduced to the topic of VRM cooling. I noticed on the VRM info database that my motherboard didn't have any VRM cooling and that it used throttling as a mechanism for preventing damage.

Given all the discussions around the strain placed on VRMs while overclocking, I thought I should add my own custom cooling solution and so added the relevant EnzoTech heatsinks to the MOSFETs and tried positioning a fan to assist with airflow over the components.

However, I've noticed that I still get the fluctuations in base clock while gaming. I think the situation has improved slightly, (i.e. the drops aren't as great), but I'm still not happy with the clock changes. I am going to try an reposition the spot cooler I bought so it's closer to the VRMS, but I wanted to see if anyone could suggest any other changes or improvements I could make?

It's probably worth mentioning that I have AMD Cool 'n' Quiet switched off (it's been like that since I started overclocking) and it's definitely the base clock changing, not a multiplier.

Some things I've thought of, but haven't got around to checking are:

  • Spread spectrum - I understand this causes changes to clock speed, but I didn't think it was as great as 10MHz and besides, it only drops by this much, never increases. I'm unsure if this is enabled or disabled on the system, so it's something I'll check tonight.
  • PSU - could the power supply be a problem? Something I need to check is whether or not I get these fluctuations when just stressing the CPU. I don't recall ever seeing this behaviour when running my stability tests and the only reason I noticed it was because I had CPU-Z open on another screen while playing XCOM on the primary display.
  • Airflow in the case - I have three 12cm fans acting as intakes; one at the front and two on the side panel. For exhaust I have my H80i's radiator with both fans attached exhausting hot air out the back of the case, as well as the PSU drawing air from inside to push it out the rear. I might try taking the side panel off and directing a large desk fan inside to test this theory.

Anyway, I hope I haven't bombarded you all with too much information! nerdsmiley.png

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post #2 of 5
Turn off CPU Spread Spectrum and see if this helps. It only helps if you are in an area with greats amounts of EM interference.

When you are gaming, and see the numbers throttling, what is your CPU temp? If you arent getting close to max temp (within 8-10 degrees) I wouldnt think the mobo would throttle anything. The VRM's will be much hotter, but most have a thermal capacity of about 100c or more. You can always get a thermal gun and see how hot things are getting under load.
The Water Ninja
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD FX-8350 @ 4.8Ghz CROSSHAIR V FORMULA-Z MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4g 16Gb G. Skill Ripjaws 4x4 @ 1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 840 PRO 128Gb SSD Intel 160 Gb SSD Intel 250 Gb SSD Generic DVD-RW 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
2 x Noctua (NF-P12-1300 )1300rpm Premium Silent... 2 x Corsair Air Series SP120   COUGAR CF-V12H Vortex Hydro-Dynamic-Bearing  Monsoon 90° Rotary Angle Fitting - 5/8" - Red 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower Dual / Single D5 Top Upgrade Kit 100 ... ModMyToys DreamFlex Premium 3/8" ID Tubing Reta... Coolance Liquid Coolant Bottle, 700mL Fluoresce... Coolance PMP 450 Variable Speed D5 Pump 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower D5 Mod Top V2 Pom version Alphacool NexXxos UT60 Full Copper Radiator 240 Noctua NF-A6X25 FLX Quiet Computer Cooling Fan ... NZXT Sentry Mesh Fan Controller w/ Five 30 watt... 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Toshiba Regza 52" 1920 x 1080 @ 120Hz  Microsoft Wireless Comfort 5000 Keyboard and Mouse SeaSonic M12II 750 
CaseAudio
My TV Stand Cabinet Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX-4300 Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 EVGA Geforce GTX 260 G.Skill Ripjaws X 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair SSD Samsung 7200 Laptop drive Some DVD Burner I took out of a dead Dell. Noctua NH-C12P SE14 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell 19" 16:9 Logitec wireless Enermax 650w Apevia X-Cruiser3 Pink 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
A6-6400K Dual Core MSI A78M-E35 Onboard 4Gb G.Skill Ripjaws 1600Mhz (2 x 2) 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Intel 320 SSD Western Digital 2.5" 1Tb 7200rpm  LG External Blue-ray Combo Drive Noctual NH-L9a 92mm SS02 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit Toshiba Regza 52" 1080p Logitech K400 Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D 
CaseAudioOther
A piece of plywood and some zip ties. Onboard Hauppauge WinTV HVR-2250 dual tuner card. 
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The Water Ninja
(26 items)
 
Pepto Pony
(12 items)
 
MrDVR
(15 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD FX-8350 @ 4.8Ghz CROSSHAIR V FORMULA-Z MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4g 16Gb G. Skill Ripjaws 4x4 @ 1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 840 PRO 128Gb SSD Intel 160 Gb SSD Intel 250 Gb SSD Generic DVD-RW 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
2 x Noctua (NF-P12-1300 )1300rpm Premium Silent... 2 x Corsair Air Series SP120   COUGAR CF-V12H Vortex Hydro-Dynamic-Bearing  Monsoon 90° Rotary Angle Fitting - 5/8" - Red 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower Dual / Single D5 Top Upgrade Kit 100 ... ModMyToys DreamFlex Premium 3/8" ID Tubing Reta... Coolance Liquid Coolant Bottle, 700mL Fluoresce... Coolance PMP 450 Variable Speed D5 Pump 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower D5 Mod Top V2 Pom version Alphacool NexXxos UT60 Full Copper Radiator 240 Noctua NF-A6X25 FLX Quiet Computer Cooling Fan ... NZXT Sentry Mesh Fan Controller w/ Five 30 watt... 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Toshiba Regza 52" 1920 x 1080 @ 120Hz  Microsoft Wireless Comfort 5000 Keyboard and Mouse SeaSonic M12II 750 
CaseAudio
My TV Stand Cabinet Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX-4300 Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 EVGA Geforce GTX 260 G.Skill Ripjaws X 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair SSD Samsung 7200 Laptop drive Some DVD Burner I took out of a dead Dell. Noctua NH-C12P SE14 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell 19" 16:9 Logitec wireless Enermax 650w Apevia X-Cruiser3 Pink 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
A6-6400K Dual Core MSI A78M-E35 Onboard 4Gb G.Skill Ripjaws 1600Mhz (2 x 2) 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Intel 320 SSD Western Digital 2.5" 1Tb 7200rpm  LG External Blue-ray Combo Drive Noctual NH-L9a 92mm SS02 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit Toshiba Regza 52" 1080p Logitech K400 Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D 
CaseAudioOther
A piece of plywood and some zip ties. Onboard Hauppauge WinTV HVR-2250 dual tuner card. 
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Well, try as I might, I couldn't find a spread spectrum option in the BIOS. frown.gif

WRT CPU temp, I have seen the max temp. as reported by the mobo hit 52 degrees C, but that's not often. In fact, the game I noticed it in originally, XCOM, doesn't really tax the CPU all that much. Arma was the game I've seen push the CPU temp up high.

I'm going to run a stress test using Prime95 later on and see if I can get the clock to fluctuate with that.

Thanks for your input so far! smile.gif
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
OK... So today I happened to play a bit of DayZ and when I exited the game, I noticed that the base clock was occasionally dipping as low as 187MHz. The hottest the CPU temp. reported by the HWMonitor was 47 degrees. After an hour or so of idling, the clock was far more stable, only dipping down to 198MHz on occasion.

So, as a test I've been running a Prime95 blend test. It's been running at least 2 hours now and the clock still only drops to around 197MHz.

I'm going to fire up FurMark as well to see if the combination of GPU / CPU stress causes the issue.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
No luck...

The base clock still only drops to 197MHz even when running FurMark + Prime95 simultaneously. confusedsmiley.png
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