10 Yr Old Overclock!!!
So this thread will probably be looked over by everyone here, or possibly even deleted for discussing ancient stuff, but forums are for things like this and I want to share my experiences and hopefully get some input.
CPU - Intel i7-950
MOBO - Asus P6x58D-E
GPU - EVGA GTX 460 SE
RAM - G Skill F3-12800CL9D-8GBRK 9-9-9-24 1.5v (2x4GB)
Corsair CMz4GX3M1A1600C9 9-9-9-24 1.5v (1x4GB)
PSU - Corsair TX650W
HHD - Sandisk 128 GB SSD & WD 2TB HDD (doesn't really matter anyways)
COOLER - Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo (Single Fan)
So I built this rig with all new components in 2010 I believe, and I did so with the intention of overclocking. At one point in its early life I might have, but I never really got anything WOW or even reasonable to stick, and for my purposes the computer has always run perfectly fine. Now that I think of it, I probably told myself not to mess with overclocking until I upgraded my stock cooler, so I probably never even did any OC, although I had experience with an old AMD machine I had built years prior. I honestly (knock on wood) haven't had to replace anything in this machine other than hard drives during its entire life span. I obviously added a single stick of non-matching ram at some point, but the timings, voltage, and brand recognition are the same so for all intents and purposes, i consider them compatible, and have never had an issue with the RAM.
I used to be a big PC gamer, but these days with a family I mostly just use my desktop for day-to-day tasks (still my main machine, even my laptops aren't as snappy) and do mostly consoles for gaming.
I recently got into the digital pinball community (just before XMAS), and have been messing around with Future Pinball with the plan of building a digital pinball cabinet. I can run 95% of the tables on my current machine without issue, but there were a few that were laggy, so I decided to dig deeper into my components once again. I'm not trying to go to any extremes, because I'm sure after 9~10 years there has definitely been some degradation of my components, this machine is on almost 24/7. I decided I'd update all my monitoring apps and start with the GPU. I was able to get my GPU to an easy overclock of 800/1600/1700 without much difficulty (71C on OC Scanner Furmark test) and my CPU under normal usage (stock clocks, volts, fan, etc) was getting in the mid 80s so it was time to open up the case and do some Spring (Winter) cleaning.
It was then I realized i wasn't sure if i had ever reapplied thermal compound to the CPU/Heatsink, and I found more dust inside than I'd like to admit, so I cleaned up the filters, did some tidying of cables, and reapplied thermal compound on the CPU. When putting the stock heatsink/fan back on, one of the 4 retaining clips broke, so it was only being secured in 3 spots. Booted back up and temps skyrocketed to the 90s. This was Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, so I was able to get a new Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo on Thursday with some Arctic MX-4. Snapped it on and my temps on load (Prime 95 stock settings) dropped to 60 C max. Wow what a difference this cooler made! This is what prompted me to start overclocking. I had a ~10 year old machine that I wanted to squeeze a little bit more out of it. I will have to build a new machine for my pinball cabinet anyways (3 monitors so 2 GPUS, neither of which my 460 GTX SE will really work for) and I don't want to dedicate my main machine for my side project.
I have been following MIAHALLENs Overclocking guide, mostly because it was a simple 3 step process (no offense to any guides on this site), and it's gotten me almost to the end. I'm still running Prime tests to find my limits, so I haven't done an overnight stress test yet other than memtest, but this is where I am currently:
BLCK = 170
MULT = 23 (tried forcing 24, but it wont stick. CPUZ only shows 23, and if set to manual turbo boosting isn't an option)
EIST = OFF
Xtreme Full Power - ON
Spread Spectrums - OFF
VCORE - 1.325 (CPUZ shows 1.312)
C1E = OFF
PLL = 1.8
IOH Voltage = 1.3
VTT = 1.4
DRAM = DDR3-1363 (2:8)
VDIMM = 1.5
DRAM Timings = Manual (NO X.M.P) 9-9-9-24-2N
HT = ON
This was able to boot, Prime95 ran for at least 30 min (I had to head out at the time) without errors or crashes, and max temp was 75C.
While this was a decent overclock, I felt that I wasn't utilizing the full speed of my RAM, and I wasn't quite at a 4GHz overclock yet (3.9 is close, but 4.0 is the goal) I tried turning EIST on so I could turn Multi back to Auto to try and get that turbo boost to 24x, but it wouldn't happen, it would only stay at 23x (is there another setting I'm missing somewhere, or one of my other settings I also need to turn back on to get the extra Multi? I suppose it doesn't matter because I want my CPU around 4Ghz and my RAM around 1600)
I then decided I wanted to try for a 20x200 Overclock since that would bring my RAM to exactly 1600, and my CPU to 4GHz. All my settings from above were the same except I changed Multi to 20 and BCLK to 200. I should preface this by saying I spent the last few days isolating my BCLK and my DRAM Freq so I know their limits. CPU @ BLCK 210 (MULTI 12) ran Prime95 for over an hour without a crash or error, and DRAM @ BLCK 210, FREQ 1680 (2:8) ran in memtest86 for 4 Full Passes (11.5 hours) without any errors. If nothing else, this definitely confirms my mixed RAM chips are compatible and able to run at a little above their rated speeds. For DRAM testing I plugged in manual timings, and left the voltage at its rated 1.5V.
After about 10 min I got a BSOD during a prime95 test, max temp 75C (all my prime tests have been blended. Let me know if I should be running small or large fft instead) so I upped the voltage 1 tick (1.336...CPUZ and HW Monitor claim its only 1.320) and got another BSOD after about 10 min, max temp 76C. I'm about to up the voltage by 1 more tick (1.3375 on BIOS) and give it a run, but I'm inching closer to my limit of 80C with every VCORE addition.
I guess the whole point of this extremely lengthy life story that none of you will actually read is.....here are my main questions:
1. Should I continue to raise the VCORE to try and get a stable 20x200 OC?
1a. If so, what would you consider to be a "safe" max temp on a 10 yr old CPU? TJMAX is 100, but I really don't want to push this thing passed 80 on a stress test, as normal computing for me will probably never push it that high, but that is what a stress test is for...
1b. If not, what should I be aiming for, since I know the computer can handle a 210 BCLK
1c. If I go with a lower clock and higher multiplier (23x175) should I try and use 2:10 DRAM Frequency? That would bring the DRAM to 1750 and I haven't tested it that high on memtest yet, so I'd probably have to do that again, which would then force me to raise the VDIMM which is getting a little to extreme for what my end goal is. So I guess I answered my own question...
1d. I've read that come chips just prefer an odd number MULTI. This would apply to my x23, but should I maybe a 21x multi with a 190 or 195 BLCK? This would bring my RAM around the 1600 MHz speed, and attempt an odd MULTI.
2. The PLL, IOH, and VTT values were all defaults MALHALLEN specified in his steps, but he didn't really talk about adjusting them if I have instability. Would changing any of these help with stability, if so, how should I go about upping them? Should I set any of them to AUTO instead?
3. I believe I have a locked core, so is manually setting my MULTI to 24 even possible? The BIOS allows me to type it in, and accepts it, but after boot up and during Prime95, CPUZ shows a MULTI of 23 regardless of what I do. I have checked my Power Plan options (currently set to Balanced, was originally set to High Performance, but in my research someone said that can cause problems so put it on balanced)
4. When I run Prime95, what is the best torture test to run to find a stable 24/7 Overclock? Blend, Small FFT, or Large FFT, or a manual test?
5. I believe I am at my final steps and just trying to dial the final touches in, but please feel free to let me know if you have a differing opinion on how I should be attempting this OC, or if I should just aim for a much lower overclock since my system is so old?
6. I've noticed that under a load there is a 6-8 Degree difference between cores 1/2 and cores 3/4. Is this a sign of a bad alignment/too much or not enough thermal paste/ or just the nature of my chip? For example, max temp of cores 1 and 2 were just 77C, but max of cores 3 and 4 was only 69C
Anyone that actually made it to the end of this post I applaud you, and if I could give you a cookie I definitely would. I appreciate any advice of help on this VERY VERY old CPU/MOBO combo. HAPPY OVERCLOCKING!
Last edited by MayoTheGreat; 01-19-2019 at 10:10 PM.