Ever since I came to this site I have seen many people start their overclock at the top and then wonder why it is not working. I have also looked through the FAQ's and Tutorials and must say that nothing I have put down below is not in those areas. However, here's my view and hopefully it will help you.
I was taught overclocking from a bottom up philosophy, not a top down. One never starts that high if they want to do it correctly.
- The steps I was taught were as below:
- Set the entire system to default.
- Run Memtest86 for two passes on a boot
- Run Prime95 (two instances for dual cpu's/hyperthreaded) for ~6 hours
- Run SuperPi (32M)
- If all is clean then:
- Set the DRAM to the loosest settings the motherboard will allow. 200/266/333/400 (set for 200, if not there set for 266 ... )
- Lock the AGP/PCI-e/PCI busses to their spec.
- Set the Legacy USB devices to disabled
- Disable any spread spectrum strobe settings
- Raise the fsb 5 units
- Rebooot the system and enter Windows
- Run SuperPi (4M)
If clean, repeat from 7. When a failure occurs: Raise the CPU voltage .1V and repeat at the failure level.
If clean, move on to repeat from 7 and when a failure occurs repeat from 8.
You will find what is called a diminishing return which basically is where the amount of raising of the Voltage is at a limit or not bringing any real effect for the amount of raise. In other words, a raise from 1.3V to 1.4V brings about a change of fsb in the 15 unit level but a raise from 1.4V to 1.5 brings a 2 unit level increase which is not worth the voltage raise. Whe you reach that plateau then return to the worthwhile raised level and enter windows.
Run SuperPi (32M). If this passes then run Prime95 for ~12 hours (2 instances for dual cpu and/or Hyperthreading).
If you pass, then you can now play with the dram and get the tightest settings for its ability.
If you do not pass, then raise the voltages again, keeping in mind the maximum voltages for the CPU, the Heat of Full Load and the Diminishing Return to which I previously spoke.
This is how I have been taught and yes, it is time consuming but that is the fun of the "Art Form". If it was simply to set it to a very high level and hope it worked there would not be nearly as much fun in this now would there?
Remember that this is at the elementary level and after this is done and if problems occur then posting requests for help will allow the veteran overclockers to focus on the more elusive aspects of your overclock.