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Problems Overclocking Athlon II X4 640 - Page 2

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post
If you can run at 8-8-8-21 without any stability issues you should be running at 8-8-8-21. Why: it's not 9-9-9-24, which is not optimal for low-timing-favouring AMD.

Generic memory (aka 1333 9-9-9-24 rated) usually doesn't overclock well because generic memory isn't made to overclock; this memory is usually used in prebuilts and systems that cannot set the timings. The generic settings are at the absolute bottom end of DDR3 and any DDR3 chips/ICs can be made to run at those with 1.5V, so as a result, often lower-binned or worse-overclocking ICs are used, which often hold back your overclock if you use the ref. clock/FSB (and you have to because the 640 is locked). To sum it all up, there's usually always a 1600 9-9-9 memory kit for the same or lower price (which ~70% of the time overclocks better depending on the kit) which is why I'm hereditarily against 1333 CL9 and often facepalm at people using such memory.
Ok, here's what I got from that, correct me if I misunderstood.
-You dislike cl9 1333 (understandable)
-if the ram is stable at 8-8-8-21, I should run it there to possibly help with stability, since AMDs like lower timings.
-I should get new ram as soon as possible, which would probably fix my stability issues.

While yes, Mushkin isn't a top of the line ram company, in my opinion, they are far from generic. It seems that a lot of their ram overclocks well, the ram I got does not, and I new this before buying it. As well, I don't think Ive ever seen any Mushkin ram get bad ratings and reviews. I just figured that keeping the ram at or below stock ratings would be stable even though other stuff is overclocked.

So you understand why I chose to go ahead with low end ram (in specs, not quality), going into it knowing it wouldn't overclock much, if any: I paid $59 for the 8Gig set with free shipping, new.
Edited by Kyrle - 1/21/11 at 6:13pm
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post #12 of 21
Mushkin is over-rated IMO. I mean, I'm a fan of Mushkin myself, but people need to consider that their generic kits are about as good or bad as any other generic kits. If you're going generic, who cares, get the cheapest possible.
$59 for 2x4GB is definitely not overpriced though for a generic kit (in fact it's just about perfect; recently NCIX had the same kit for that price).
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post
Mushkin is over-rated IMO. I mean, I'm a fan of Mushkin myself, but people need to consider that their generic kits are about as good or bad as any other generic kits. If you're going generic, who cares, get the cheapest possible.
$59 for 2x4GB is definitely not overpriced though for a generic kit (in fact it's just about perfect; recently NCIX had the same kit for that price).
I see, you weren't calling Mushkin generic in general, you were referring to my specific ram. I would probably agree that Mushkin is over-rated if it wasn't for two things. First, It is generally a little cheaper than the more popular top names, like G. Skill (which was in my last build). And second, the quality is usually about the same (though probably never better) as the comparable top name versions. These combined make for a great budget build, with little to no sacrifice in most cases. Every little penny helps on a budget. When your goal is something that isn't as ram intensive, like mostly gaming and video converting, its a great choice to consider. That's mostly what I do with this system, and faster ram doesn't seem to have a noticeable effect on their respective real world performances in my experiences. While buying the fastest ram will be noticeable when your using the lowest speed in the same class, the price difference gets more notice.

I am considering switching ram now after what you have said. Although I'm still not completely sure how the ram could be messing me up, I can see how it might be problematic to keep the ram slow when everything else is faster, especially when the ram doesn't overclock well. Your suggestions are not the only reason, but its the straw, if you know what I mean. The lack of overclocking head room is a bigger problem than I thought it would be. When I get my CPU squared, I'll have to spend almost as much time on my ram tweaking settings to find the best performance without losing stability. I like tinkering with settings, but ram timings are a bit tedious for my tastes.

What would you recommend for me? I would be looking to keep the price under $80 if possible, and it cant have tall heatsinks, Standard heat spreaders would be best (like the ones on my current ram). I think I would like to stay at 8Gb (Virtual Machines). Since I've been looking at information about my overclocking problem, I found a bunch of post scattered around saying something along the lines that lower sized ram sticks tend to accept tighter timings better. 8Gb will probably be the max for this system, would it make a difference either way to use 4x2Gb rather than 2x4Gb?

BTW: I took your advice on the timings and dropped them down. I had to raise the ram voltage a little, but its running prime just fine, on the highest stable clock settings I have found. I'll try to bump up my FSB in a minute and see what happens.
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post #14 of 21
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Sorry for the double post, but my last post was rather long, and I wanted to post an update and ask another question. I may have found my instability problem.

While running prime, I decided to watch my voltage (in CPU-Z), to see if it dropped under load. Surprisingly, it did the exact opposite, and raised 0.024 volts. Is this normal? Ive never seen the voltage raise over the value I have set when its under load.

If this is normal and can be disabled, what is it called and where do I find it? I already have all of my power saving type features disabled in both windows and the bios.

If it is not normal, what could cause it?

My concern is that be it by accident or an intentional feature, the voltage seems to be auto-adjusting to the needs of the CPU. This could be a good thing if its intentional unless it decides to think the CPU doesn't need as much power for a moment and lowers it to the point of a crash. If it isn't an intentional feature, the voltage changes could be very erratic, causing my instability.
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post #15 of 21
C1E and Cool'n'Qiuet are the main factors, but the MSI boards also a phase control, mine is signified by 4 led's on the upper right hand side of the board. They act like a level meter and when all 4 are on it means it is using full power.

To disable this feature look under the Green Power or advanced options sections of the bios and disable them. It might not fix it but mine did the same thing until I disabled it.
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post #16 of 21
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As I said, all of that is turned off, and I always have all 4 LEDs lit up. I think the Phase power was disabled by default for me, I don't remember changing it, and it is currently disabled. It may have also been auto-disabled when I turned off cool 'n' quiet.

Here's an update on my latest successful overclock: (CPU-Z info)

24 minute Prime95 blend test
FSB: 248Mhz (247Mhz)
CPU Multiplier: x14.5, 3596Mhz (3580Mhz)
HT Link Multiplier: x8, 1984Mhz (1975Mhz)
NB Multiplier: x9, 2232Mhz (2222Mhz)
Ram Freq: 992Mhz (493Mhz)
Ram Timings: 8-8-8-24-1T
CPU Voltage: 1.555v (1.520v)
CPU-NB Voltage: 1.221v
DRAM Voltage: 1.6v
NB Voltage: Auto
HT Link Voltage: Auto
CPU Core Temps: 22c Idle, 53c Load, 55c Occasional Peak


The reason the CPU Multi is at 14.5 is because at a 250 FSB, the HT Link is 2000Mhz, I'm going to play with that a bit later to see if it effects stability in any way when it is increased and decreased.

It seems I have hit a wall with this processor now as Prime only lasts 4 minutes with a FSB of 250. Temps are about as high as I've been told they should get, and I've went as far as I'm willing to go with the vcore for now. Would putting a 120mm fan with an 92mm adapter on the heat sink help much? I have a good 120 fan, but i would have to order the adapter (none locally), Its like a $2 dollar part, but ive only seen it for $7+, and then there is shipping on this thing, where the box is far heaver than the item. XD

What are the default NB and HT Link voltages? I haven't been able to find any software to read them, and the auto selection in the bios doesn't tell me what it is set at (nor does PC Health in the bios). Raising either (from auto) results in the lowest setting, and lowering either results in the highest setting. There is no list for the voltages, they are only changed by +/-.

I figure they are the next step in increasing stability without increasing the heat much, if any on the processor. Does anyone have any further suggestions to improve stability? My goal is 250x15 (3.75Ghz), I'm almost within reach!!

Where did the mid-50c recommendation for CPU Core temps come from? I think AMD says the limit for this CPU is 73c, which is similar to my old processor (Athlon x2 4400+ 2.2Ghz, Oc to 2.85-ish stable), and I pushed its core temps up to about 71 with prime and had no stability issues. I had that processor for probably 2 years. I know that the temp that AMD lists is supposed to be at the junction of the processor and HSF, but 20c seems to be quite a large buffer all the same.

A couple of questions on stability.

How unstable is too unstable for normal use? It doesn't seem likely that I will be stressing my CPU as much as Prime does. Is there any harm to the computer (or its performance, assuming no crashes) if I were to run at 250x14.5 even though it didn't pass prime, if not how far could you take it before it was a problem, assuming there were no BSoDs or crashes during normal use?
Edited by Kyrle - 1/22/11 at 11:41am
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post #17 of 21
Running with unstable settings might result in data corruption.
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post #18 of 21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pir View Post
Running with unstable settings might result in data corruption.
So there's a chance it could screw up software and files? Is there any risk to the hardware, if I keep it within reason?
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post #19 of 21
You run the natural risk of damaging the Mobo and CPU, but the corruption should be limited to the data processed by the motherboard and cpu -OS and personal files, as compared to the software controlling the devices - bios, flash memory.

I did a test today and got through about 8 Min of prime at 3.81 but I had to take the voltage up to 1.6. I have a new processor coming in the mail so I thought I would give it a shot before the switch. Not really stable but neat.
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post #20 of 21
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OK, so I guess its just best to keep it as stable as possible.

Since the last successful overclock, Ive dropped the FSB a little and have been working down the voltages to their lowest stable settings, after that, I'll up the FSB by 1 notch (2Mhz) and re test.

My thinking is that it wont pass, but if it does, I'll let it run for like 30 mins, then increase again and retest until it becomes unstable again. I'll use the highest stable FSB clock.

Then I plan to mess around with the NB and HT Link multipliers to find out what effect they will have on stability.

Thanks for all the help so far guys, I'm still open to any suggestions you may have, so keep 'em comin'. Who knows, if I'm successful, my approach may help others break through the 3.6Ghz barrier that a lot of people are having trouble with.

My Last board was an ASRock ALiveNF6p-VSTA (http://www.asrock.com/MB/overview.as...ALiveNF6P-VSTA). I basically just took everything except the case (including its fans), MB, CPU+cooler, and ram out and moved it to the new computer. I didn't see any x4 athlons in the supported CPU list, and none of the x4 phenoms in the list were above 2.6Ghz. Will this motherboard support the 640? If so, will it be able to run it at stock speeds with all 4 cores? And overclocked? I already know about the HT Link needing to be 1000Mhz on AM3 processors in AM2/AM2+ boards.

Since I want to take the cooler off the 640 to check the thermal compound anyways, I figure it might be a good idea to move the 640 to the old board and ram to see how it fairs with overclocking on that board if its compatible. It could give me some insight on whats going wrong with my current setup as there is not as many adjustable features on the old board. It overclocked my old CPU nicely.
Edited by Kyrle - 1/23/11 at 2:12pm
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