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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!,

I got a bit of a tricky situation here. I built this desktop more than several years ago and recently I have decided its time to overclock it. I can't find the finances to upgrade to Haswell yet and its the best option I have right now. The problem is, I just can't quite get it stable. I hope there are still some Core 2 Quad Overclocker's lurking around these days. Any help or advice would be appreciated.
:thumb:


PC Specs

CPU: Intel Q9650 3.0ghz

RAM: 8GB G.Skill Pi DDR3 (4x 2gb)

Mobo: EVGA 780i FTW

PSU: Corsair 750w

Rest of the specs are in the signature.

Current settings

Multi = 9x

HT Spread is disabled

PCIe Spread is disabled

SATA spead is disabled

SLI Ready Memory set to disabled for manual controll

FSB is unlinked and is at 1800mhz QDR (450mhz).

Memory

Memory is at a 1:1 Ratio. I really do think this is where the problem is. As far as I read the 780i boards do not like 4 DIMMS without a ton of tweaking and I absolutely need 8GB of ram. I have dramatically relaxed the timings on the ram to compensate for the board and it noticeably helps.

Clock: 900mhz with 7-7-7-21-2T timings. tRRD is 4, tRC is 30, tWR is 6, tWTR is 10, tREF is 7.8

If I run the timings anywhere close to stock (4-4-4-12)with a tRC of 15/16 the PC won't even post.
:mad:


Voltages

VCore = 1.39375V (This feels ridiculously high and no matter how high I put it doesn't seem to help much in prime 95, I suspect the problem is somewhere else)

VTT = 1.325V (As far as I am aware it is not recommended to go higher?"

Memory = 2.025v (Normal Voltage is 1.9, a slight bit is recommended by the EVGA forums for 4 DIMMS, 2.0 reads 1.984 in operating system so I dialed in 2.025 to bring it closer to 2.0v)

SPP: 1.45v

MCP: 5.25V

SPP-MCP: 1.25V

PLL: 1.6V

GTL Lanes

I have played a considerable bit with this, following the instructions from this link here http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?202292-How-to-set-up-GTL-Ref-Values-for-45nm-amp-65nm

Since I am unable to set negative voltage in the EVGA 780i BIOS I opted to make lanes 1 and 3 closest to 0 and 2.

GTL 0 = 00mv

GTL 1 = 55mv

GTL 2 = 00mv

GTL 3 = 55mv

What seems to be wrong

Well I can't use the PC for more then a half an hour without it freezing. This happens after about three days of use a 3.6ghz, and about several hours into prime 95 at 4.0ghz. I am unsure what is causing the freezing. I have tried voltage, but I am approaching my voltage limits and am running out of ideas. Temperatures are also in the green. Absolute max load is 75C and average is 55-60C under normal loads. I have really good airflow in the case as well with a xigmatech dark knight.

Another odd thing I notice is that cores 1 and 3 (2 and 4 if not counting from 0) are much much slower in Prime95. About 8 tests behind when I can even get pased 5. That leads me to belive the GTL Lanes are way off but the math works out. Am I missing something here?

Thank You!,

Aiden
 

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Seems a pretty high oc already at 450fsb and 1800 ram. I never could get past 450 on my x38, was aiming for 500 but wasnt worth the extra volts/temps for the slight performance
 

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That FSB is ridiculously high, I think you're at the limits of what the 780i chipset can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your replies. I do see a lot of Q9650's hitting 4.2ghz and 4.5ghz on the Q9650 Club thread and they all seem to be using much lower voltages. That is what I was originally confused about.

I did however do some more investigating and I believe it may actually be my ram. My ram is able to hit 1066 just fine at stock clocks but the second I bump the fsb it craps out. I am now attempting to down clock the ram and see if that helps. With lower Ram clocks I am able to lower my FSB VTT back to comfortable limits and my VCore as well.

Vcore: 3.76

VTT: 1.325

FSB: 450mhz

DRAM: 700 mhz (I know its out of ratio, but it seems to be helping.)

The higher my FSB goes the lower my ram wants to sit. Is this normal for these older boards?

And to rephrase my original question. I can't even get stable with a very minor overclock. 3.2 or 4.0 the same thing happens after a blend test in prime95 set to max ram. It does absolutely fine with in-lace FFT and IBT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Auto doesn't seem to work at all for me. If I set it to auto it uses some odd ratio that puts my ram above my FSB's QDR.

For example if I set a FSB of 1600, my ram shows 13xx something. I am forced to leave ram unlinked.

That said on the Core 2 Quad without an unlocked multiplier, everything I do to the FSB overclocks the ram. If I leave them unliked stability goes out the window, and if I leave them synced my ram refuses to go over 850mhz before becoming unstable.

In regards to timings, if I even touch the FSB without relaxing the timings on the ram the ram refuses to post. I have no choice but to mess with it before overclocking making this a real headache like you say.

Of anything I am unsure of how to proceed.

EDIT: I just ran IBT 10 times at 4.0ghz with the above voltages and 700mhz ram. No issues, However my GFLOPS are in the lower 20's...that is ridiculously low and concerns me. I am going to start a blend test of prime 95 with max ram and see if that brings out any stability issues.
 

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I have just realised why you may be struggling here
You have 8gb ram, thats 4 sticks. Having more sticks does reduce overclocking potential as you require volts for the memory controller or maybe even the cpu vcore
Keep 1:1 fsb:dram ratio. Any stable overclock you get around 3.5-3.8ghz you should be happy with as you have 4 dimms installed
smile.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah that is defiantly my thought to however when I thought I was stable at 3.6 as that was perfectly 1:1 and my ram was at stock speeds but I still froze up after 3 days. I could pass prime 95 blend for 48hours too.

I am inclined to believe it is my processor or ram are actually bad. Maybe I am just paranoid here but something doesn't add up.

1. Cores 0 and 2 are signifcantly slower in prime 95, but several tests.

2. IBT set to standard shows 20 average GFLOPS with AVX enabled when most Qq9650's are getting 48-58 depending on the forum I visit.

3. I ran the processor with its stock cooler when I first built this back in high school before I could afford a 3rd party cooler and it ran very hot back in the day. 80c load. Which is "safe" but it was probably always throttling.

I am really trying for 4.0ghz for a few reasons. I am big into flight sim x, and believe it or not the difference between 3.0 and 4.0 is five FPS. That Five FPS is 15 vs 20 FPS and that makes it playable with payware addons. Its kinda sad I am going through this much trouble for Five FPS but if you flew in flight sim with a boatload of payware it would make sense.

That said, I also do content creation and I don't have the money yet for an upgrade. I am planning on Haswell-E or at least Haswell but it will be quite some time.

Honestly, I am really considering a 771 socket mod and grabbing a Xeon for 40 bucks.
 

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I think its more to do with the RAM, not the CPU. Also as other mentioned running 4 DIMMs is hard on the IMC of that Q9650.
 

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Load setup defaults, set ram to its rated speed and voltage and run memtest. No oc at this point

And about the xeon, if you are confident doing the mod and its compatible for your motherboard then it may be worthwhile
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you again for the suggestions. I will run memtest overnight to make sure its not the ram itself being bad and throwing all of this off. As for the mod, I do feel confident. I just want to make sure I will benefit from the performance.

Any thoughts on the GFLOPS though? They seem incredibly low. With no OC at stock settings and ram I only get about 16GFLOPS....that's with as many windows services and bloat I can turn off.

EDIT: Well I passed 4 hours of memtest and about two passes at stock clocks. I decided to start completly from scratch and leave everything on auto. I then went and bumped the FSB straight to 1600 QDR from 1333. (Because that brings my ram perfectly at a 1.1 ratio). I was able to pass memtest as well for two hours this way.

In addition I switched to Linx instead of IBT and was getting about 30 GFlops at stock clocks, and I am now seeing about 34/35 with the 3.6ghz overclock. Going to run prime blend for a stability test but its looking good and I havn't even touched a voltage yet. They are around 1.118v Vcore and the motherboard automatically set 1.325 for the VTT.

I do have a question however. Can to much voltage lead to instability and less performance? Its automatically using much less voltage and the gflops are significantly higher. 34 vs 16 is a nice improvement. At 4ghz LinX was still saying about 22 with the voltage at 1.38 VCore.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiden327 View Post

I do have a question however. Can to much voltage lead to instability and less performance? Its automatically using much less voltage and the gflops are significantly higher. 34 vs 16 is a nice improvement. At 4ghz LinX was still saying about 22 with the voltage at 1.38 VCore.
Yes indeed that can be the case. With VTT in specific, more voltage doesnt always mean stability. There will be a 'sweet spot' which might be lower than you might think, and is different for everyones hardware. But with vcore i think its just more=higher oc (within safe limits and temps of course)
thumb.gif

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
No luck so far. At 3.6ghz with a FSB of 1600 QDR (400 FSB) I cannot get passed about two hours of Prime 95. It seems it freezes up when Core 0 reaches 84K's on blend. I attempted to increase the VCore from 1.35 (automatically set) to 1.3875) and it still freezes up at the same point. I then decreased the FSB to 1.25 thinking I might have to much FSB to be stable and still at the same point it freezes.

So I guess my question is, if its not the VCore, not the ram, and not the FTB VTT, what else could it be? Perhaps I still need more voltage on the VCore? Or maybe I should try tweaking the GTL lanes and if so where do I start?

Thank you for all your patience with my questions!
 

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One thing, dont leave important voltages set to auto as it can overvolt it
I guess its just the fact that you have 4x2gb ram sticks, which puts more stress on the memory controller and difficult to oc

try these settings: first default everything
FSB = 370 mhz
CPU Vcore 1.325v
FSB Termination/VTT = 1.25v
NB Voltage = 1.2v
DRAM voltage = your rams voltage
Enable load line calibration
Disable C1E support
Disable Intel speed step
 
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