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Plz! I Need Help On Major Upgrade

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi, i am a new member with basic knowledge on OCing.

[big post, but please help me, questions are in bold]

I currently have an Athlon XP 2400+ on a MSI K7N2 Delta-L Mobo.
(400mhz FSB version using the Nforce2 SPP, really being the Ultra400)

1x Kingston 1GB DDR400 PC3200 (2-2-2-5 currently at 266Mhz)
1x 256MB DDR266
1x 512MB DDR266

2x HDD (1x Maxtor 80GB and 1x Quantum Fireball 40GB)
1x CD/DVD RW Samsung

1x ASUS EN6600GT-128MB

1x low-quality (i presume) ATX 300W PSU (30 at 3,3v - 40 at 5v - 12 at 12v
0,5 at -5v - 0,8 at -12v - 160W max power at combined 3,3/5)

1x 4500rpm stock fan and heatsink w/out thermal grease applied)
a floppy drive and an open case without any additional fans

I have just bought a used Barton 3200+ unlocked cpu, the owner claimed (a CPUZ picture provided) that it works stable at 2,4Ghz 400FSB 1,775vcore

So, i am considering the following and PLZ i want your priceless experienced advice on the following (i apologize in advance for the really long posting):

I know that this is a really enormous post containing a lot of questions, i also understand how bored you may feel reading or answering this, but PLEASE HELP ME!!! The answers to my questions demand a lot of experience and experimentation with OCing, so only you experienced OCers can help me...

ABOUT CPU COOLER: My Mobo has no mounting holes, so the best cooler that requires no mounting holes that i could find in my city's local market (2nd biggest city in Greeece) was a Gigabyte G-power cooler pro (GH-PDU21-MF), so i have ordered it. I am also going to use thermal paste this time

ABOUT RAM: with my new Barton core CPU, i am going to use 2x Kingston 1GB PC3200 DDR400 (Dual DDR setup). I know that this is not the best i can come up with, but unfortunately i just recently did my homework on RAM quality-timings-e.t.c. So, i had already bought 1x these Kingston modules i am going to use and don't really have a lot of money to just throw it away and buy something really better. It is Kingston ValueRAM (KVR 400X64C3A/1G) with reccomended timings 3-3-3-8 at 200Mhz internal FSB.

Do you think that this is going to be a major drawback to my effort to oc my system ? Take into account that i am intending to make a working stable OCing of my new system setup, getting as much power for gaming when i need it (meaning that i'll propably OC only when i am going to play a game and then switch back to regular settings (BTW, do you know any software than can manage this safely and quick, w/out having to go through bios ?), because my PC stays turned on 24/7. I don't want to majorly copromise the health of my system in the long run and i want your ADVICE and EXP on this.

So, if i manage good idle temperatures while having my CPU core voltage at 1,775v (0,125v increase), 400MHz FSB, 200MHz CPU speed increase, my RAM's voltage increased by 0,1-0,2v to manage better timings and my Graphics card OCed only when i play games, will i copromise my System's health a lot in the long run ? or just a little ?

Should i change my System's status from OCed to regular, when i won't play games but just download, use winamp and use Office ? (take into account that my PC is on 24/7). Turning my PC off 3-4 hours per day (i think i can manage this) will improve its health in the long run significantly ?

What timings do you think i can get and how much should i increase the voltage w/out majorly copromising the health of my CPU and RAM modules ?
Can Vcores of 1,9-2,0v (instead of the normal 1,65v) result in significant stress on the CPU even if the CPU temperature is kept by some means low ?

Do you think that it really worths the extra money to just sell my 1GB module and buy 2 new 1GB faster and better modules, instead of say buying a nice 19' LCD monitor to replace my 17' CRT one ? if yes, please reccomend a certain RAM brand and maybe a specific RAM product.
I see that many people refer to OCz RAM with plenty of respect, are they really that good ?

ABOUT CASE MODDING AND COOLING: I am going to switch from an open case to a sealed one and rearange the components in it so that.... i'll place my GOOD HDD at a 5,25'' slot and also buy a Zalman ZM-2HC1 5,25'' HDD case later. Underneath the HDD i'll place the CD/DVD-RW leaving one 5,25'' slot free among them.

I'll keep my other HDD on a 3,5'' slot as it is now, leave the floppy where it is and put the Gigabyte 3,5'' fan controller between them.

(later, when i'll have more money, i'll buy a better HDD and throw away the Fireball, keeping the new and the Maxtor. If i buy a SCSI controller and a new SCSI HDD, about how much will be the increased cost ? (i mean instead of just buying an IDE HDD) does it worth it ? will i get a significant performance boost considering the system setup (Mobo+CPU+RAM+e.t.c.) i am talking about ?

I'll place a big fan on the front of my case (close to the top of it) that will directly blow air on the HDD and then the air will presumely get through the PSU and directly out of the case. So, this fan will only cool my HDD (considering the 24/7 turned on status of my PC) and also help a bit with the cooling of the interior of the case.

i'll place another relatively big fan on the front of the case (and close to the bottom of it) that will blow air into the case, air which will be directed towards the Graphic card. I believe that this airflow will help the cooling of the whole case interior and specificaly the GPU and Mobo. As i imagine it, this fan's major responsibility will be to supply the interior of the case with enough "fresh" air and also help a bit towards the GPU cooling.

I'll place another fan on the side of the case, i am thinking of installing a big fan (well not an enormous one) there, possibly using 220v external power.
This will directly blow air on the mobo.

I am thinking of maybe using a smal frontside fan with a tube to direct airflow exclusively to the G-power CPU cooler. I don't know if this will do any good or it is just overkill.

Additionaly i don't know if the big-side fan will really help cool the mobo and cpu, without doing damage to the overall airflow plan (i mean that i don't know if a side fan can ruin the "air in from the front-air going out from the back" whole airflow scheme, and if this is a bad thing)

In other words, a strong side fan is probably likely to result in a case interior with lots of "fresh" air but basicaly with no well-developed "air currents". This is becasue the side fan is going to disperse the airflow currents that would normaly develop due to the frontside and backside fan operation.

I don't know if having such an airflow type (a current from the fronside towards the backside) inside your case is a major advantage and if having a strong side fan, that will "destroy" this airflow type, is better by significantly increasing the air mass that enters the case and additionaly by directing air towards the mobo.

I am thinking of adding a small fan on the back of the case (close to the middle) to assist the PSU's fan in venting air out of the case, as i am talking about a lot of fans venting air into the case.

additionaly, i am thinking of adding 1-2 small fans ontop of the Mobo's existing heatsinks. My current board temp is relatively low (about 31-39 degrees [C] depending on the load) if you take into account that my case is currently open with NO case cooling.

I know that i am talking about a lot of fans, so i am going to use switches for most of them to controll speed and on/off state depending on the type of use i will be conducting. Meaning i'll turn some of them off when my PC will be idle, just downloading from internet and playing music as i sleep.
Additionaly, i am going to provide external means of power for some of them, in order to avoid having an overall cooling system that will have high demands of power from my PSU.

I want your advice and experience on all of my above thoughts, the fan setup of the case, e.t.c. additionaly what do you think will be the ideal size-rpm of each fan type i am thinking of installing ?

PSU UPGRADE: My current PSU is working like this...
after 5 hours of Civilization 4 play (current system setup, not OCed, vcore set in BIOS at 1,65v, statistics obtained using MBM 5)

board temp (C): 31-39 (average 36)
CPU: 42-63 (52)
core0 1,57-1,71 (1,63v)
core1 1,65-1,74 (1,64v) ------ why 2 core voltages ??? what is this ?
(core voltage is set to 1,65v via BIOS)
+3,3 rail 3,17-3,3 (3,23v)
+5 rail 5-5,03 (5,01v)
+12 rail 11,73-11,92 (11,83v)
-12 rail (-) 1178-12,11 (-11,96v)
-5 rail (-) 5,09-5,29 (-5,2v)
additional info concerning my PSU i have given in the beggining of this post.

What is core0 and core1 reading of the MBM5 ? what is the difference ?

the significant (i believe it is, but on the otherhand i have no experience on this, so is it ?) core voltage fluctuation is due to my poor quality PSU, or is it because of something else (like maybe a mobo issue????) ?

my high CPU (considering it is an Athlon XP 2400+ NOT OCed) temperatures, after 5 hours of Civilization play (don't think that this is considered heavy load, more like medium load ?) are due to my open case, lack of case cooling, lack of thermal paste usuage, low-quality stock CPU cooler. OR do you think that there is more to it ? like some other factor contributing to this ?

Is it possible that the high temperatures are also an indication that the CPU is worn out or getting close to be due to long term use ?

(BTW, please recommend a program that can be use to put my CPU under heavy load so as to be able to measure temperatures, voltages, e.t.c.)

Is the flactuation of the voltage of the rails notable, does it show a poor quality PSU ? Should i upgrade (i am considering this seriously).

My current PSU can provide enough power to my current System based on my calculations BUT i believe that there is chance that in some cases my PSU cannot provide enough power in the 12+ rail, when my CPU and Graphic Card have maxed-out needs. (my PSU can only provide 12A at +12v rail at max, i consider this a low output, am i right ?)

As i have explained above, my System will include a Barton 3200+ OCed at 2,4Ghz, a nice CPU cooler, 2 HDD, e.t.c i have calculated the MAX power consumption (based on several guides all over the internet) and it will be something like this: (i have used maxed out figures, 'cause i believe that it's better to have more power than you need instead of less).

+3,3 = 3,55A (11,7W) +5,0 = 11,1A (55,5W) +12 = 18,5A (222W)
an estimated total power of 300W

additionaly, i want this power to be able to be provided by my PSU while
it is "working" at 80%. So, the figures become:

+3,3 = 4,44A (14,64W) +5,0 = 13,88A (69,4W) +12 = 23,1A (277,5W)
an estimated total power of 360W.

In these calculations i presume that the OCed Barton (2,4Ghz actual speed)
will consume at max 84W (7A from the +12V rail)

and my EN6600GT Oced will consume at max 52,4W (0,05A from 3,3v rail and 4,35A from the 12v rail). I will not mention the other components, 'cause i believe that i have calculated their max power needs per rail quite accurately.

(BTW, my graphic card has a temperature sensor and in the driver i can see that the default core slowdown threshold is set at 127 degrees (C) are they serious ???? i mean i imagine that the GPU will get toasted at about 100 degrees... what in your opinion is the top limit of the GPU's core temperature that does not copromise its health ?)

(Do you know of a program that can "read" my GPu's sensor and keep a log of the temperature readings, while i play a demanding in GPU power 3D game or while i use some program to stress my GPU (maybe 3Dmark ?) and put it under heavy load, so as to monitor the GPU's temperature while i try different GPU overclocking setups ?)

So, based on my above calculations i believe that i ought to upgrade my PSU to atleast a 350W+ PSU by also taking into account the PSU's power per rail.

I would like you to reccomend a nice quality PSU (about 100-120$), that will provide my system with power and will help keep the rail voltage flactuation as low as possible. i believe this is important, or not ?

Additionaly, having made an inquiry in the local market, my options are limitted between the following brands: Chieftec, Heroichi, Fortron. Which do you consider as of better quality ? please advise.

I know that this is a really enormous post containing a lot of questions, i also understand how bored you may feel reading or answering this, but PLEASE HELP ME!!! The answers to my questions demand a lot of experience and experimentation with OCing, so only you experienced OCers can help me...

Thanks...

George
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post #2 of 7
Interesting..

We can split your post up into approx 6 different threads across this forum.

In regards to changing the multiiplier or FSB of your system on the fly (without bios) download Crystal CPUID or CPUMSR. If your chip is unlocked, which I doubt it is, then you can adjust the settings through the software and avoid bios. My opinion, you will get a much more stable oc if you change your settings in bios.

Your right about the air.. you seem to be having one to many fans. I can imagine that will be alot of noise. Why not just invest in a water block and some decent water cooling rather than the 15 fans you mentioned? Less noise and much more efficient cooling.

Keep the memory you have and get a 19" LCD. You will see a bigger improvement there. Kingston isnt as bad as you think. As long as its DDR400, you can reach 200Mhz easy if your board and CPU can handle it. The average oc for your processor (xp2400) is 2.1-2.5Ghz. You will need to unlock it.

I have the XP2400..using the wire trick I set the multiplier to 10.5 and up'd the FSB to about 180 stable. It stays cool at 29 C idle and 39-42 full load with only using a thermaletake polo cooler. Its a bit load but does a great job. I added intake fans and an extra exhaust fan and managed to drop temps to 25 C idle and 39C at load.

What vid card are you using. Your 300w psu wont cut it if your gona add a 3200xp. You asked alot more, but i think those more experienced than myself can help.
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
i am going to use the Barton 3200+ (AQXDA3200DKVE), i have an ASUS EN6600GT-128MB Video Card and Water cooling is out of the question, as i just finished my obligatory-1 year-service in my country's army and i am planning to finish my past-graduate uni studies and find a job. When i do, i'll have the money to buy a water-cooling device, but then again, why buy one and not spend the money on a whole new extra PC System ???

Seriously, at all times i am listening to music, not very loudly but loiud enough to cover any fan noise. believe me. I really appreciate the answer thanks.
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post #4 of 7
Some things of importance.
1. Can you set your PCI/AGP bus speeds? If so set to 33/66 to lock the bus speeds.
2. The PS is a major component in a stable OC!
3. When you excede the 200MHz barrier the RAM also increases in speed unless there is a means in the BIOS to set a divider. Upping the vdimm should increase the RAMs speed beyond DDR400 but may only be safe with your RAM @ 2.7ish volts.
4. With a premium FHS the CPU can take 1.9v but keep the full load temps below 55c.
    
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Duke
Some things of importance.
1. Can you set your PCI/AGP bus speeds? If so set to 33/66 to lock the bus speeds.
2. The PS is a major component in a stable OC!
3. When you excede the 200MHz barrier the RAM also increases in speed unless there is a means in the BIOS to set a divider. Upping the vdimm should increase the RAMs speed beyond DDR400 but may only be safe with your RAM @ 2.7ish volts.
4. With a premium FHS the CPU can take 1.9v but keep the full load temps below 55c.
1. i was thinking of increasing the AGP speed to something like 70+ to get better Graphic performance. do you think that i'd rather "lock" it at 66 and
just overclock my Video Card's GPU core speed and memory speed ?

2. can you reccomend a stable PSU with minimum rail voltage fluctuation ?
i am looking posts all over the net and they always talk with nice words
about Antec. The also mention Sparkle. what do you think ?
3. ok about that. What about memory timings, e.g. when i set the timing at 2-2-2-5. Do i force the Ram to run speedier or i just "tell" the system that my RAM is speedy enough to catch up with the CPU at this rate ? Does increased voltage allow for better timings or just for more increase in the Mhz ?
4. what is an FHS ?
thanks for your reply, i really appreciate it.
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post #6 of 7
1. LOCK it at 66 ... overclocking it can damage the vid card.
2. Antec is a very good unit...
The True PowerII 550 or TPII550 is a very good unit.
The thing to look is not so much the "watt" rating because it's deceptive on a lot of PS. Look at the 12+v rail "a" or amperage. 24a minimum is recommended for a single vid card system.
3. The issues with RAM is when you tighten or reduce the numbers it may not be able to run at higher bus speeds.
4. FHS = Fan Heat Sink for cooling the CPU.
    
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Duke
2. Antec is a very good unit...
The True PowerII 550 or TPII550 is a very good unit.
The thing to look is not so much the "watt" rating because it's deceptive on a lot of PS. Look at the 12+v rail "a" or amperage. 24a minimum is recommended for a single vid card system.
the problem is that i can't buy an Antec, 'cause there is none at sale in my country. Ordering from abroad means that i had to pay 1,5-1,7 times more.

I could find Heroichi, Fortron and Chieftec. I've read a post in some forum that claims that Heroichi and Antec are practicaly the same quality, as some Antec's are truly Heroichi. I don't know if this is true, but even if it is, then
the Heorichi Acepower 480W is being sold about 105$ in my country and it gives 17A at 12v1 rail and 17A at 12v2 rail.

Does this mean an overall of 34A at 12V rail ? Something tells me that this
is not the case. Or is it ?

i mean based on my calculations, the max power at 12v rail that my new system will need is something like 18A. 7A for my CPU, 4,5A for my video card and the rest for fans, mobo, hdd, e.t.c. So, what is really going on with these double rails ? What do they really mean ?
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