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Am I on the right track here? Help me please.

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I have an A8N32-SLI, 2GB of Corsair XMS PC3500 and an Opteron 170 with a Zalman CNPS9500 heatsink. Im totally new to overclocking but have been reading a ton about it.

Today I started oveclocking. At first I did as the tutorials said and lowered the CPU mulitplier and slowed down the RAM and started trying to find my max HTT speed. After a few reboots with no problems I decided that this would take a long time so I came up with another plan.

I made a post a week or two ago asking about RAM timings and someone that responded has pretty much the exact system as me as far as mobo, CPU, and memory. He said that he got a 250MHz HTT which came out to a 25% overclock. I figured that since I'm not jacking up the voltage it would be ok to set my system up the same way.

So I put the CPU muliplier back up to 10x, cranked the HTT up to 250MHz, and set my memory timings to auto. Although I haven't ran Prime95 to do any stress testing, everything booted up fine and CPU-Z is showing a 2.5GHz CPU speed. I haven't done any type of stress testing yet because I want to make sure Im even doing this right in the first place. At idle, ASUS Probe is showing a 43 degree core temp.

What I am confused about is that although I have PC3500 memory, CPU-Z is showing my memory running at 166MHz when it should be 216MHz right? These modules run at 2-3-2-6 and CPU-Z shows that they are indeed running at these latencies but the speed is only 166MHz.

Another thing I'm not real clear on is how bad overclocking is for the CPU. At a 25% overclock like I am now will I drastically reduce the life of my processor? As long as temps stay within reasonable limits it shouldn't matter how high you overclock should it? A few people have told me that I should aim for keeping my temps at under 50 with a load. Is this correct?

What kind of speeds can I expect? Is this 25% OC decent enough or should I push for more?

Heres some screenshots of CPU-Z:

UPDATE: I went back into the BIOS and manually set the memory to 200MHz. Since things are running 1:1 CPU-Z is now showing a 250MHz memory speed as it should. When I was in the BIOS I also manually set the RAM to 1T because I read somewhere that these modules should always run at 1T. However, now CPU-Z is showing my timings as 3-4-4-8. Whats the deal? I left the timings set to Auto in the BIOS. Should I go back in and set them to the 2-3-2-6 that they should be running at?

Heres a new screenshot:

So what should I do next? If someone can help me out and point me in the right direction I would help me out tons and really mean a lot to me. I don't know anyone at all that I can help me with any of this. You people are the only help I have.

Thanks in advance.
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Premium Member
10,943 Posts
first things first... you were on the right page when you started to fnd your max speeds. You really should find your mobo, RAM and cpu max speeds instead of just blindly OC'ing... that's knda dangerous. You should be alright but you should go back and find your maxes.

you can increase your htt by about 15Mhz at a clip... and since you know that 250 works start there.
to find your RAM set your timings to 2-3-2-6 and increase by 10Mhz... run memtest for a couple passes of tests 5-6. if it passes increase the frequency again... when it fails up the voltage a bit and/or loosen the timings.

the main thing that will shorten the life of your cpu is the heat. You'll want to keep the heat as low as you can... I think under 55, but I'm not sure for the dual cores.

1,224 Posts
you are definetly on the right track. Dont worry about your HTT maximum speed...it doesn't matter. Try to not leave any settings on "auto" manually set your timings, and voltages...be careful though....use this overclocking calculator to help you with settings, when you are more familiar I will help you out..
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