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Newb OC Overview

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hyper 212+ and fans in the mail. Before I begin OC'ing, I wanted to make sure I got everything down. Most of my knowledge I pieced together from various articles, Intel OC guides, and phenom guides - as no Athlon guides exist. Most AMD guides refer to multiplier unlocks, and Intel is, well, intel. Also, most guides are outdated (no cpunb, ddr2, etc) I think I have everything down, but wanted to make sure so I could go on ahead. I hope to create a guide as well as a 'diary' once I've finished tinkering a setup in a week or two, as no good guides exist. The following is my understanding and what I'd do today:

First, I'd disable CoolNQuiet, also known as Power On. From what I've read, it's actually not bad (lowers speeds when idling to save energy/heat/etc) but when testing for stability and overclocking, it may confuse you. I can simply turn it back on once everything is figured out.

To overclock my CPU, I must raise my FSB, which in turn affects my entire system. The speed of PC's components are all a equation of FSB x (multiplier). If I were to simply start jacking my FSB up, I may be able to get a minor OC of 230xMultiplier from 200, but I may not be able to get much higher due to system instability due to a part I may not know is the cause of, and to figure out, would be a pain.

My understanding is that the FSB affects the following 4 parts:
RAM
CPU-NB
HT Link Speed
CPU (of course)

(I understand Athlon II has the NB incorporated into the CPU, but now I am confused as to what does the motherboard North Bridge do, and how raising the FSB may affect it, and what overclocking it, if that's even possible, would do).

RAM:
Both RAM timings (how fast data is retrieved from the spreadsheet like nature of the memory architecture) and RAM speed (how fast data is communicated to the CPU) have very little impact on system performance, particularly gaming, outside of a 2%/2fps difference from the most extreme to lowest speeds. In essence, it really isn't worth tinkering with unless doing extremely numerous yet basic computations such as data analysis. Read, not gaming, not normal usage. The nature of DDR3 - double data rate - is that speed is 1/2 of what it is rated for, ie 1333 mhz is really 667 mhz DRAM frequency x 2.

There exists a ratio of FSB : DRAM, but I have read conflicting reports on if 1:1 ratio really matters. On top of that, modern DRAM speeds of over 533 means that RAM will not be a limiting factor. What's different today from most guides written 5+ years ago, is that since DRAM Frequency is well above 200mhz (general FSB stock speed) at 533+ mhz (in my case, 667mhz), I don't have to worry about it.

As long as the FSB frequency is below 667mhz (for 1333mhz rated RAM), or the FSBRAM ratio is below 1, all's good.

But if i wanted to, apparently increasing RAM speed is as easy as raising the DRAM mhz value, and raising vdimm voltage if necessary. Timings can also be adjusted manually, although they may be labeled more obscurely, something Google is used to address. I am not sure about the multiplier or ratio in regards to oc'ing.

Ganged and unganged refers to 128bit dual channel vs two 64 bit channels, respectively. Unganged is preferable for multi-core setup.

CPU-NB:
Northbridge is something that is on motherboards, but is now on the CPU. But wait, I still have a NB, which now just doesn't communicate anymore with the RAM (but still with the PCI-E, GPU, and Southbridge). I have no idea if the 'old' motherboard-NB matters anymore, if I need to worry about it at all, or if it affects performance. All I know is if stability is an issue, I can maybe try a slight voltage increase on it, but generally this isn't needed until the highest of levels and motherboard NB doesn't like voltage increases, partly due to lack of heat removal (just that MB heatsink).

Another point of confusion that is the CPU-NB controls the L3 cache - however Athlon II lack an L3 cache. So what does the CPU-NB do if you don't have an L3 cache?

I understand that now the CPU has an integrated northbridge to communicate with the RAM directly, now known formally as the Integrated Memory Controller. And increasing the CPU-NB does yield significant gains, up to 10FPS per ghz, on Phenom CPUs which have l3 cache. But where does the CPU-NB leave the motherboard NB in the big picture, and how does it affect CPUs with no l3 cache?

Anyways, confusion aside, i assume raising the CPU-NB is as simple as raising the CPU-NB-Multiplier. Again, Google can figure out what exact obscure BIOS setting corresponds to this. I assume that the equation is FSB x NB-multiplier. Apparently, CPU-NB is often a culprit of instability, and raising CPU-NBVID, not to be confused with NB-voltage, can help. Also, when getting into higher clock speeds, CPU-NB can be a bottleneck and cause instability and 'errors', which can be fixed by raising CPU-NB to once again allow data to flow freely.

The multiplier is identified as CPU-NB-FID. Voltage, as CPU-NB-VID. May be locked on non-BE.

HT Link Speed
In order to make my x3 into an x4, I had to lower my HT Link Speed from 2.0ghz/Auto to 1.6ghz. This little tidbit was only on one place on the entire internetz, at a RebelsHaven guide, and I was lucky to find it. HT Link Speed is a highway of another sort, and it must be lower than the CPU-NB speed. Also, HT Link Speed has almost zero impact on the system even in benchmark results, not to mention real world applications. Drop as needed for stability, as long as its above a certain sweet spot. Every guide says 1ghz, so I assume 1.6ghz for 8 years later is fine.

In Bios, it is identified as Mhz, a multiplier, and a bit. The bit you simply want at a 'width' of 16bit. And the multiplier x FSB = mhz HT Link Speed, but some mobos are convenient enough to allow you to manipulate the mhz speed.


IN SHORT
So, in order to overclock the system, you want to raise up the FSB as much as you can/want while keeping temps low and the system stable (verified by prime95 blend testing for 2 hours and then 24 hours for complete stability). Step up in 5-10 mhz (starting at maybe +30mhz at first). While stepping up the FSB:

* lower the HT Link Multi to keep it the same total FSBxMulti=HT Link MHZ speed or lower it to a ridiculously low level so it isn't a problem, then simply raise it back to 1.6ghz when done.
* lower the CPU-NB Multiplier to keep it the same total FSBxMulti=CPU-NB speed or lower it to a ridiculously low leve so it isnt a problem, then simply raise it back to stock when done.
* Modern RAM is no longer an issue.

Once stability becomes an issue, raise CPU-ID voltages and keep going.

For each of these steps, once your CPU is overclocked to a comfortable level, you can begin actually overclocking each individually and simply stop when system is unstable to get a bigger performance gain (although probably unnoticeable)






as you can see, the beginnings of a guide. All guides out today are outdated by many years, using AM2, DDR2, low RAM speeds, and discrete northbridge. Modern guides talk about Phenom's with L3 cache that affects CPU-NB differently, multiplier unlocking only, software unlocking, and I haven't seen a single guide that clearly says what you need to do versus saying simply what needs to be done. I hope to write a better guide one day.
Edited by Belial - 2/28/11 at 12:59pm
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post #2 of 17
actually im not sure north bridge affects only L3 cache , when i bumped my NB to 2.4Ghz from stock 2Ghz on my AthlonII i saw quiet noticeable performance gains both in benching and gaming .
btw we have similar builds , mine costed me 175$
Edited by RabbitGT - 2/27/11 at 5:55am
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post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
^ The main cost of my system is my GPU, yours is much cheaper. Considering that the CPU and GPU are the main components, my system is a class up, the 460 is more than twice as good. And how do you have a $175 system if via newegg your PSU is $65 (25 more than mine) and your MB is $65 ($25 more than mine)? Your HDD is also about 4 times more expensive than mine. I also bought all my stuff new, so buying from a friend doesn't count >.>

Thanks for the info though, I assume you think everything I said was correct?

(edit: not to sound like a dick at all, your build looks awesome PM me about it)
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post #4 of 17
you right about the cost , i wasnt in a rush and was buying whenever i saw a good deal avalible , for example i cought a ram 4Gb Kingston for 20$ , mobo went free with the CPU from one of those microcenter deals , the only expensive thing is my PSU i couldnt resist the sleeved cables and amazing efficiency xD
and yea i agree with u on ur post , but NB overclock does increase performance of Athlon II im not sure via what way and i also would like to hear more info about it
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post #5 of 17
Northbridge Clock affects L3 cache and integrated memory controller.
Dropping HT link to 1.6Ghz unlock makes things stable? I didn't know that.
Having generic 1333 memory (assuming 9-9-9 timings) may hold you back with a non-multiplier unlocked processor. It's possible, but Kingston ones can usually OC rather well.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Having generic 1333 memory (assuming 9-9-9 timings) may hold you back with a non-multiplier unlocked processor. It's possible, but Kingston ones can usually OC rather well.
How so? Here's what I understand - I know it's wrong, so I'm going to speak what I would say today in the hope someone can correct me:

1333mhz RAM means a DRAM value of 667 (as RAM speed is x2 due to Double data rate). 667 is way higher than 200, and I seriously doubt I'll ever get a 667 mhz FSB (just because 667x16=10ghz which sounds ridiculous). Because of this, I will always be below below 1:1 FSBRAM ratio. Once the DRAM ratio rises above 1, then you need to start lowering the RAM speed, or begin OC'ing it. To raise/low the RAM speed, you simply raise "RAM mhz" speed in Bios as simple as raising the FSB value.

Quote:
Dropping HT link to 1.6Ghz unlock makes things stable? I didn't know that.
I've read at least 20 forum threads from various websites where people said their Athlon x2/x3 could not unlock - even though they could post, windows/OS would lock up at the start-up screen immediately afterward. Too bad for them, no one realized dropping the HT link helps with unlock. I believe I've seen 3 posts mention dropping HT Link Speed to help with stability, but only 1 from a rebelshaven core unlock guide for x3's that actually specifically said Athlon x3's will not unlock at all unless HT link is dropped.

Quote:
Northbridge Clock affects L3 cache and integrated memory controller.
Right, but there's no L3 cache on Athlon (assuming a Propus die and not a Deneb of older Athlon II versions). RabbitGT said it helps performance. Maybe you can be more specific?

Anyways, I was hoping someone could clear up my confusion about what happens to the Northbridge on my motherboard when I have a CPU-NB (in regards to overclocking, like how does it limit,impact it, does it help, etc) and memory. I'm sure there are plenty of small errors in my fauxguide and maybe we can turn it into a real guide.
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post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belial View Post

Right, but there's no L3 cache on Athlon (assuming a Propus die and not a Deneb of older Athlon II versions). RabbitGT said it helps performance. Maybe you can be more specific?
i didnt do any benching with NB at 2Ghz but i did use everest tests , when my NB was at 2GHz in all my CPU tests my athlon was 2 or 3 CPUs lower then Phenom x4 940 , now with 2.4Ghz NB its 2 CPUs above (above Phenom x4 940 , Opteron x8 HE 2344 1700Mhz and Core2 Extreme QX6700 x4 ) my ahtlon comes close to Core 2 Extreme QX 9650 .
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post #8 of 17
You may need to drop the HT Link speed down to 1600 to unlock but that doesn't mean that it needs to stay there. It is fine if your OC takes it higher say to 1800 to 2000. Mine started at 1600 as well for the unlock but now is at 1800.

Just drop the ram down to 1066 before you start the OC and manually set the timings to 9-9-9-24 (the rated timings for 1333 speed).

NB frequency should be a minimum of three times ram speed. So if the ram is running at 1333 (667) the NB frequency should be at least 2000. It is probably fine to leave it at 2000 and then it will raise as you OC. Some people say that 2400 is around the sweet spot but you may not need it that high for 1333 ram.
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post #9 of 17
Often with overclocking the bus clock, you won't reach the speed you target for both CPu and RAM. This is especially evident on 1055T which needs 286-300Mhz bus clock to reach 4Ghz, but at those bus clocks the only good memory multi options allow for 1600Mhz operation, not 1333. Hence you get held back. Generic memory quality to begin with is not good, so many kits may not reach 1600 and thus hold you back then.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
You may need to drop the HT Link speed down to 1600 to unlock but that doesn't mean that it needs to stay there. It is fine if your OC takes it higher say to 1800 to 2000. Mine started at 1600 as well for the unlock but now is at 1800.
It will post, but the windows animation/windows starting freezes any higher than 1.6. Will keep in mind though.

Quote:
This is especially evident on 1055T which needs 286-300Mhz bus clock to reach 4Ghz, but at those bus clocks the only good memory multi options allow for 1600Mhz operation, not 1333. Hence you get held back. Generic memory quality to begin with is not good, so many kits may not reach 1600 and thus hold you back then.
I don't really understand. Wouldn't I need 1333/2=667mhz FSB speed to make RAM an issue at all? I know this is incorrect, but this is the best I understand it. The guides available now say things about lowering RAM speed, and how DDR2 1066 is such great RAM that you can raise you FSB as much as you want. And whatever it is, why can't I simply jack up the FSB as much as my CPU can handle, and while doing that keep memory speed low? As long as I keep my memory at 1333mhz/7timings then it won't be the reason my system is unstable.

I think I've heard about people needing to underclock certain parts of their system to keep stability with CPU overclock, but I don't remember what parts. I think it was just the memory - in which case, why can't I just underclock my memory if it gets an issue? Benchmarks, articles, anecdotes, all say that memory specs have no perceivable impact, except maybe the lowest class memory vs the highest class overclocked memory, in specific instances. From what I understand, a gain of 100mhz in CPU speed will be much more desirable anyways (which just says how insignificant memory specs are). It's basically about how much memory you have.
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Samsung 830 128gb Corsair H110 w/4x 140mm Yate Loon High Blues W7 x64 Ultimate Yarrgh Matey Dell U2312HM Matte IPS 1080p 
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Sanyo DP19640 18.5" 768p KDS Rad-7xp 1024p CM Storm Quickfire Rapids Brown Rosewill Capstone 750 
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Bitfenix Shinobi Modded CM Storm Spawn Steelseries Diablo 3 2 set CD Speaker + Big Sub 
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Bitfenix Recon Fan Controller Moded 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Delidded i7-3770K 5GHz@1.499 Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H 1.1 Sapphire Dual-X 7950 3L Boost 4x2GB Mushkin Ridgeback 2200mhz 8/11/8/27 1.75v... 
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Intel X25-M 80GB SSD NH-D14 SE2011 Noctua 120/140/140 Fans 3 x Yate Loon Mediums (Petras) 2 x NZXT Havik 140mm Fans 
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Hax'd W7 Ultimate 64-bit Sanyo DP19640 19'' KDS Radius Rad-7xp 17'' Ducky 1087 MX Brown 10keyless 
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Phillips FW-C250 2 Speaker Set w/3 CD Changer JBL Sub 6 Subwoofer NZXT Sleeved LED Strip 1m Blue NZXT Sentry 2 Fan Controller 
Other
Colonial Blue Paracord Sleeving 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom ii X4 955C2, $31, 5 broken pins, works! ... Biostar A770e3 6.3 Red&Black MSI GTX 460 768mb Twin Frozr II 2 x 2GB Kingston HyperX 1333 OC to 1348CL7@1.65v 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Intel X25-M G2 80GB SSD NH-D14 SE2011 6 x Case Fans (4 x YL-M, NZXT case fan, CM Hype... Jerryrigged Chipset-Northbridge 80mm HSF 
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