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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Questions about CPU degradation

I'm not an overclocker. CPU: i7-3770S



2~3 years ago: could run CPU voltage at -50mV offset
By last winter: +20mV offset
The day of this post: +70mV offset



Is it normal to have to increase 50mV every half a year for this CPU? The freezes only occur when idle or light-to-medium load, never during running prime95 v26.6 small FFT (which never has errors too). I guess that's the disadvantage of SpeedStep but I think it's better in the long run. Can I expect this CPU to degrade at this same rate over the next years until the voltage is too high that it kills it, or should I expect the degradation to plateau?


Why do modern CPUs degrade like this? Is AMD with their FX's and Ryzens also guilty of this? I never had to change the voltages of my Pentium MMX, Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium 4, Athlon64 or Athlon64 X2. It feels like we traded one evil (bad electrolytic motherboard capacitors) to another (bad CPUs).
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 03:34 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by johnsmythe View Post
I'm not an overclocker. CPU: i7-3770S



2~3 years ago: could run CPU voltage at -50mV offset
By last winter: +20mV offset
The day of this post: +70mV offset



Is it normal to have to increase 50mV every half a year for this CPU? The freezes only occur when idle or light-to-medium load, never during running prime95 v26.6 small FFT (which never has errors too). I guess that's the disadvantage of SpeedStep but I think it's better in the long run. Can I expect this CPU to degrade at this same rate over the next years until the voltage is too high that it kills it, or should I expect the degradation to plateau?


Why do modern CPUs degrade like this? Is AMD with their FX's and Ryzens also guilty of this? I never had to change the voltages of my Pentium MMX, Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium 4, Athlon64 or Athlon64 X2. It feels like we traded one evil (bad electrolytic motherboard capacitors) to another (bad CPUs).
Your offset doesn't tell us much about what happened. Only load voltage and current draw at that voltage (and what LLC is used at that current too) is what applies here, but on those old chips, it was impossible to get an accurate voltage reading without probing the VRM or motherboard or socket read points (or just hooking up a wire to VCC_Sense and grounded to VSS_Sense).

What loadline calibration were you using? What was the load voltages shown on sensors (they will probably be misreported but some information is better than no information). Does that board even have loadline calibration?
If I'm reading correctly, you were NOT overclocking at all, but were undervolting? And your undervolt degraded? And now you need to overvolt?.....

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 03:56 PM
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Maybe some bios bug, mb fed cpu with losts of voltage + higher temps, and voila...or llc was very high

But it doesnt sound plausible to me, i would try different board for comparation. Never heard of locked or cpu on deff degrading since athlon era
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 04:02 PM
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Seems sort of strange for that to happen at stock clocks. I have a 3770K that I've fed 1.4v+ since 2013 and It still hasn't degraded at all.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 04:05 PM
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Temps were probably low, and you didnt go suicide 24h p95 runs. Also, was it delided? What clock?

Maybe thats the problem here. Maybe OP stress tested that chip to oblivion, or it worked 24/7 some video/rendering for years on a box cooler
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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It froze like a minute after stopping prime95 small FFT that I ran for 5 minutes. Maybe increasing offset voltage is not the solution to this problem. I'm not going to increase it further since it doesn't seem to be helping. What other BIOS settings should I try?

This is at +0.070V in BIOS for CPU offset voltage. CPU-Z says the voltage at idle is 0.900V, though occasionally it drops to 0.888V for a few seconds when going from high cpu usage down to idle. When running p95 v26.6 small FFT it says the voltage is 1.092V, however occasionally it will show 1.200V for a second or two (not on p95, but when something else uses lots of CPU usage temporarily). OpenHardwareMonitor said CPU package temperature was hovering around 69-71C (room temp is 27C) after 5 minutes of p95 small FFT, at idle it was hovering around 37-43C.

Everything in BIOS is set to Auto, except for CPU Offset Voltage which I set at +0.070V. Is there anything else in BIOS I should try to set to stop it crashing when it goes from under load to idle / light load? I want to undervolt my CPU as much as I can if it hasn't actually degraded, my goal is stability (obviously), lowest temperatures without underclocking from stock and I want to keep SpeedStep enabled since the PC is much more often idle / light load than under load. In AI Tweaker DIGI+ VRM section of the BIOS, LLC is set to "Auto", it has 5 other options "Regular", "Medium", "High", "Ultra High", and "Extreme". There are 4 other VRM settings "Fixed Frequency", "Power Phase Control", "Power Duty Control", "Current Capability". I should also mention the PC can boot at lower voltages like -0.080V offset, but it freezes more often in Windows or Kubuntu (live session USB with HDDs unplugged) like after 2 hours.

Mobo: ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM R2.0 (with latest BIOS 1414)
RAM: 2x8GB DDR3-1333 (tested 1 pass memtest and 30 mins p95 blend test, no errors)
PSU: CX430 (also tried a different PSU, still had freezing)
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 07:27 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by johnsmythe View Post
It froze like a minute after stopping prime95 small FFT that I ran for 5 minutes. Maybe increasing offset voltage is not the solution to this problem. I'm not going to increase it further since it doesn't seem to be helping. What other BIOS settings should I try?

This is at +0.070V in BIOS for CPU offset voltage. CPU-Z says the voltage at idle is 0.900V, though occasionally it drops to 0.888V for a few seconds when going from high cpu usage down to idle. When running p95 v26.6 small FFT it says the voltage is 1.092V, however occasionally it will show 1.200V for a second or two (not on p95, but when something else uses lots of CPU usage temporarily). OpenHardwareMonitor said CPU package temperature was hovering around 69-71C (room temp is 27C) after 5 minutes of p95 small FFT, at idle it was hovering around 37-43C.

Everything in BIOS is set to Auto, except for CPU Offset Voltage which I set at +0.070V. Is there anything else in BIOS I should try to set to stop it crashing when it goes from under load to idle / light load? I want to undervolt my CPU as much as I can if it hasn't actually degraded, my goal is stability (obviously), lowest temperatures without underclocking from stock and I want to keep SpeedStep enabled since the PC is much more often idle / light load than under load. In AI Tweaker DIGI+ VRM section of the BIOS, LLC is set to "Auto", it has 5 other options "Regular", "Medium", "High", "Ultra High", and "Extreme". There are 4 other VRM settings "Fixed Frequency", "Power Phase Control", "Power Duty Control", "Current Capability". I should also mention the PC can boot at lower voltages like -0.080V offset, but it freezes more often in Windows or Kubuntu (live session USB with HDDs unplugged) like after 2 hours.

Mobo: ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM R2.0 (with latest BIOS 1414)
RAM: 2x8GB DDR3-1333 (tested 1 pass memtest and 30 mins p95 blend test, no errors)
PSU: CX430 (also tried a different PSU, still had freezing)
Could be the motherboard degrading. You didn't put a lot of voltage through the CPU and doesn't seem to be heat so...

But idle Freezing (probably BSOD)?

Disable C1E and C3 power states in your BIOS and then try again.

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Quote: Originally Posted by sakete View Post
Well, I want you to know I have an academic degree in speculation.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 08:19 PM
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I had to increase voltage a lot here over time on my i5-3570K. In my oldest tests from years ago it could do 4.6GHz at 1.265V in a 24hour prime95 test. The last two or three years or so, I had to run it at 1.28V because WHEA warnings started showing up in the Windows Event Viewer. At some point I had to raise it to 1.3V to make the WHEA warnings go away, and then latest event was last summer where I had to raise it to 1.31V. That i5-3570K is from 2012 and ran at 4.7GHz a lot and then 4.6GHz for several years.

I was thinking this is a degraded CPU, but I also saw another interesting idea:

This could be caused by microcode updates? The CPU for the longest time didn't get any new microcode versions, but then all those Intel security issues started happening. Intel then released new microcodes for their old CPUs to help with the security issues. Before that, the microcode didn't change for years. I remember somewhere in a Haswell overclocking thread I saw Haswell people report that a microcode update would break their overclock. I saw some people there saying that keeping Windows from installing the update would make things go back to normal (without Windows updating the microcode, the CPU will use the years old microcode that's inside the BIOS).
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I think increasing LLC (Load-Line Calibration) may have fixed the problem.
I set CPU Offset Voltage to Auto and LLC to Regular (0%), and that froze Windows instantly after stopping Prime95 v26.6 small FFT.
I then set CPU Offset Voltage to -0.115V and LLC to Ultra High (75%), and starting and stopping Prime95 several times isn't freezing the PC at all. CPU-Z reports core voltage to be 0.720V at idle and 0.972V at under load w/ p95.
I don't even know what LLC means but thanks for bringing it up and giving me the idea to tinker with it. I'm reading somewhere that too high LLC is apparently dangerous as it can overvolt too much for split seconds and degrade the CPU, so I will try out High (50%) and see if I can still maintain a negative offset voltage.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 08:42 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by johnsmythe View Post

Mobo: ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM R2.0 (with latest BIOS 1414)
I KNEW IT! well truth be told i thought it was a biostar board after reading your first post earlier. experience clued me in.
Quote: Originally Posted by Falkentyne View Post
Could be the motherboard degrading.
bingo, that about a $40 mobo at best.

though john smythe idk, budget board with budget components and limited bios. maybe give a reflash to the bios whilst doing a vodoo dance might straighten it out.

however i'm sure under volting a chip will NOT degrade it.

Remember the golden rule of statistics: A personal sample size of one is a sufficient basis upon which to draw universal conclusions.
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