I have noticed that the only OC guide for the K10.5 is labeled "Phenom II OC guide", which leads all of the Athlon users to opening new threads, asking for guidance. So I've compiled this simple guide for one of those threads and decided to convert it to a
Athlon II Overclocking Guide
I hope it doesn't get deleted, because it seems to be really complicated for the OC newbies to follow the (otherwise wondefully written) PhII guide.
Now, on topic...Hi and welcome to OCN!
This guide will lead you through overclocing your Athlon II CPU.
This guide is applicable to Athlon II x2 (Regor), x3 (Rana) and x4 (Propus).If you don't know what CPU you have, or are not very familiar with Overclocking, click below to open the FAQ:FAQ for beginners, click HERE! (Click to show)
***!!!make sure you have an aftermarket cooler!!!***
What is my CPU?
Download and install CPUz, it will give you most detailed information about your CPU.
Including exact frequencies, voltages, core count, name, revision number and much much more.
Otherwise you can see you CPU by pressing the Windows key + Pause.
This opens System Properties and you can see your CPU model and stock frequency.
Do I want to Overclock?
Most often- yes. Overclocking is what makes a 60$ CPU perform like a 120$ CPU. In most systems you will notice faster loading, less waiting, better responsiveness, better FPS in games.
You do NOT want to Overclock if:
-Your system is new and expensive - it will probably handle any load without the need of overclocking.
-Your system is used for important work - overclocking is a risk, which should not be taken on business-critical systems.
-You just recently learned how to use a mouse to play Counter Strike - Overclocking is for advanced users only, preferably with technical background.
-You are using another person's system - Overclocking sometimes voids the warranty, and is plain illegal to perform on machines you do not own.
How much will I benefit from overclocking?
- On gaming systems - Athlon CPUs are usually used for budget gaming solutions, where the CPU is often the weakest (cheapest) link. Overclocking on such systems can go as far as doubling your FPS rates in CPU intensive games, especially on low resolutions (1024x768)
- On systems used for other intensive CPU tasts - audio/video editing, compiling large blocks of code and so on, benefit goes proportional to the raise in frequency - for 20% faster CPU, you'll get 20% faster operation.
- On systems used for web browsing, playing music and videos and so on - you will not notice any benefit.
- With x3 and x4 Athlons, the benefit of OCing is usually greater than with dual cores, simply due to the core count.
***use CPUz to monitor all frequencies***
***use HWMonitor to monitor all temps***What you need (Software):-CPUz
- used to monitor frequencies of every component in the PC and voltage of the CPU-HWMonitor
- used to monitor various temperature sensors and voltages-LinX
- used to test the system for stability. (I recommend LinX, because it's easier to use than Prime95, orthos and so on).What you need (Hardware):
- AMD Athlon II CPU
- Motherboard that can handle the overclock (how to find out- click)
- Solid Aftermarket cooling.Things that help:
- Reputable RAM (Kingston, Corsair, and so on famous brands.)
- North Bridge cooling (depends on motherboard)
- MOSFET cooling (depends on motherboard)
- Solid Power Supply Unit (PSU) (read here
for what is good and what is not)
(general rule - if the PSU is not "heavy" and expensive, it is (in 80% of the cases) bad)Common terms:
CPU - your processor
VCore - the voltage of the CPU
NB - North Bridge (in older boards - the chipset. In newer boards - the integrated memory controller)
HT - hyperTransport - the link between CPU and RAM
Multi - multiplier
Ref.clock - Reference clock
Freq - frequencyHow to OC:
OCing is acheived by changing options in your BIOS. Most of those options are grouped under the same category (Overclock options/CPU settings/JumperFree configuration- names may vary).
You will recognize them by the names: Reference Clock/CPU Frequency/CPU overclock; DDR Frequency/RAM clock; CPU voltage/VCore and so on.
The Athlon II CPUs can be overclocked by raising reference clock.
The reference clock (sometimes *inaccurately* reffered to as FSB) has a value of 200 in BIOS before the OC.
From that ref.clock, all frequencies in the PC are calculated;Example:
CPU multi: 16
Final CPU frequency by core: 16*200 = 3200Mhz (3.2Ghz)
NB multi: 10
Final NB freq.: 10*200 = 2000Mhz (2Ghz)
RAM multiplier: 667
Final RAM freq: (666/100)*200 = 1333Mhz
Now, most of those multipliers (16x CPU, 10x NB, and so on) are already set on Max by default in BIOS. Unless you have a Black Edition CPU (you don't), you can't raise the CPU multiplier.
So, Overclock is achieved by raising the reference clock.
As you saw, reference clock is used to calculate all other frequencies too, so by OCing your CPU, you'll be automatically OCing the rest of the system too.
As good as this may sound, it causes a few problems.
Say the sample CPU from above can safely reach 4000Mhz (4Ghz). To get to this frequency, you'd have to set ref clock at 250, because 16*250 = 4000.
However, this will set the RAM to (666/100)*250 = 1665.
Some 1333 DDR3 sticks will not operate stable at that frequency.
It will also set the NB to 10*250 = 2500.
Some NB chips might not operate stable, or even safe, at those freqs.
Meaning - raising the ref clock overclocks everything at once, but not everything overclocks the same, or can overclock the same.
Therefore, as you raise the reference clock, you should monitor all the frequencies and use the respective multipliers to keep the freqs around stock values.
Always Overclock only 1 component at a time!
In order to overclock the CPU, raise ref clock by 10Mhz.
This will give you (in our sample system)
16*210 = 3360 Mhz CPU freq.
10*210 = 2100 Mhz NB
6.66*210 = 1399 Mhz RAM
This is a very mild overclock. Raise by another 10 Mhz to get 3520/2200/1465. Now these are better frequencies, but they may cause instability.
So we need to drop a few multipliers.
Drop NB multiplier to 9 (from 10). Will give 9*220 = 1980Mhz (which is very close to the stock 2000)
HT multiplier drops automatically as NB multiplier is lowered.
Drop RAM multiplier to 533 (from 666). Will give 5.33*220 = 1172.
Keep raising the reference clock by 10 until you can't log into WIndows.
On EVERY step check the NB and RAM frequencies - if they exceed the stock values by more than 100-300Mhz, drop the multiplier.
By the time you can't boot into windows, raise the CPU voltage by a little (for example, from 1.35 to 1.40, or from 1.40 to 1.45. Do NOT
increase by larger steps)
After the increase in voltage, check if you can boot into Windows.
If you can, increase ref clock by another 10.
If you can't, start lowering the ref clock by 1 or 2 until you can.
After you have succesfully logged into Windows, start testing for stability with LinX. 10 runs with RAM set to 2048 are enough to prove basic stability, but if you don't have enough RAM, 1024 will also do.
LinX will most probably crash. When it does, reboot and lower the ref clock by another 1 or 2. Test again, until it stops crashing.
***During testing ALWAYS monitor your CPU temp using HWMonitor or similar***
***If temps get over 70C, reboot and reset voltage to Auto, lower Ref Clock by 5 or 10 and test again***
After all this is done, CPU keeps normal temp and LinX doesn't crash, you have found the max freq of your CPU. Congrats.
Now it's time to fix the rest.
Open CPUz, go to the SPD tab and write down on paper the values for different clocks.
Get back in BIOS and raise/lower the NB multi until NB reaches ~2500-2800Mhz max. (if your BIOS has a setting for CPU/NB voltage, you may want to increase it by one step. Warning, this is not
the "Chipset voltage". Never
increase "Chipset voltage". If your BIOS doesn't have a setting for CPU/NB voltage, do not increase NB frequency over 2400Mhz.)
raise the HT multi to those freqs - HT works fastest at exactly
2000Mhz, so be careful to keep it there using the HT multi.
Now go to the RAM section and raise/lower the multiplier until you get to stock clock (or close to that).
Then open the Timing/Latencies setting and *manually* enter the respective values from the paper.
***Do NOT enter the values for the shown in BIOS DDR setting (be it 533/667 or other)***
Instead, calculate your REAL frequency with ((DDR setting)/100)*RefClock and enter the values for *THE PREVIOUS SPD FREQ*. (Frequencies in CPUz SPD section are halved - meaning 533=1066 real, 667=1333 real and so on)
For example, if your SPD tab contained (533: 7-7-7-20-27), (610:8-8-8-22-30) and (685:9-9-9-25-34)
and your frequency is (666/100)*250 = 1665Mhz (= 833*2), enter 9-9-9-25 (because 685 is the largest prior to 833).
If your frequency is (533/100)*250 = 1333Mhz (=666*2), enter 8-8-8-22, or if you wish to try- 7-7-7-20 (because 610 is the largest prior to 666, but is also almost equal, so 533 timings might also work).
This will give you a nice RAM timings near stock frequency, which are usually always stable, even with the cheapest RAM, and increase performance.
In case they are not stable (LinX crashes, you get BSOD or such), then enter the next larger values (like 8-8-8-22 instead of 7-7-7-20)
If you wish to experiment further with timings, try to lower all values, but increase TRAS (the fourth one). It provides no performance gain, but causes instability if set too low.
So isntead of 8-8-8-22-30, you can try 7-7-7-27-27.Performance gains from overclocking goes as follows:
CPU (better performance is gained fastest as the the CPU freq raises)
NB (better performance is gained fast as the NB freq raises)
RAM freq (better performance is gained slower with RAM freq increases)
RAM timings/latencies (better performance is slowly gained as RAM timings de
RAM TRAS latency (better performance is not gained by decreasing TRAS)
HT freq (performance drops as HT freq raises)
Aaand that's about it
Hope this guide has been helpful. Feel free to add comments and fixes