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Overclocking guide for newbies here...

Discussion in 'OC Archive' started by NF7-S, 29 Oct 2003.

  1. NF7-S


    Joined: 25 Oct 2003

    Posts: 5,925

    Be nice if this could be a sticky - also if people could post results/experiences using this method...or any mistakes experienced OCers might see...good luck, and thanks to Tesla for the initial procedure which I have adapted.

    Version 1 - 29/10/03 - By Tesla and NF7-S

    Any questions to be kept in this thread. PLEASE read this fully BEFORE even starting - then ONLY use it as a guide for reference. To start with benchmark your PC with 3DMark2001 (link below) and make sure the PC is stable at stock with Prime95 (link below) run this overnight or whilst at work. Get a big bit of paper and pen - make a note of your 3DMark score as this is what we're looking to improve...make a point of jotting down everything that happens - so if all fails you know what worked and can revert to it easily.

    WARNING: I hold NO responsibility for any damage caused

    WARNING: Before starting make sure you find out how to reset your BIOS for if the PC fails to boot and doesn't recover itself

    Okay, I'll start with what you need...

    Prime 95 - http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft.htm

    Mobo Monitor (or your own mobo specific one) - http://mbm.livewiredev.com/download.html

    Memory tester - http://www.memtest86.com/ (you might need this to test your RAM is ok if there are strange problems)

    3D Mark 2001 SE build 330 - http://futuremark.com/download/ (there are other benchmarks at this link to if you want them)

    Now what you need to know...

    HEAT is the enemy, heat is what limits overclocking most of all - and it also kills stuff! Due to heat you might want to consider a few more purchases...

    Coolermaster Aero 7 Lite - http://www.overclockers.co.uk/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Coolermaster_122.html

    Arctic Silver III Thermal Compound - http://www.overclockers.co.uk/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Thermal_Materials_27.html

    Some cleaning fluid that evaporates - Isopropyl alcohol (tape head cleaner) is a good example.

    This will set you back about £20-£25, but IMHO well worth it, and at least you're setting good foundations to help with dissipation of heat. There's great advise on the AS website on how to apply... http://www.arcticsilver.com/arctic_silver_instructions.htm and before that you'll need how to clean the CPU - here... http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/0,,30_182_869_4348^6678,00.html (for AMD users)

    You also need to know...

    That this COULD damage your components, the key to success is patience and understanding...I've read hours of things related to overclocking that has lead to this guide.

    You need to know your components limits...

    RAM & CPU is what we're dealing with, you need to know what the limits are of your components -

    RAM is a major factor on bus speed limitations as is the motherboard. You need to be able to lock your PCI and AGP bus speeds to 6/6 (or any other figure that your bios might display to mean '1' (i.e. 1, 3/3 etc)...some mobos do not support PCI & AGP locking - again this is a major limiting factor.

    As a result I ended up buying new RAM and a new Mobo so I could get some extra speed - of course you can sell on your old kit - so it need not be too expensive - I would guess (inc. the heat sink etc) if you wanted to buy better components for overclocking the overall expense would be between £50-£100. Now that might sound expensive - but believe me speed per £££ it's much cheaper than buying the components that'll run at the speeds we will get! I have my £75 CPU running FASTER than a £280 CPU!!

    CPU is (of course) another limiting factor - not all XP1700 (or whatever CPU it is) are the same - some will have different cores which mean they already run hotter/cooler, then there's the fact that some will just be better 'clockers' - a lot is pot luck, but looking round at some sites (www.overclockers.com forum is a great place to look) you can even find specifics about what your CPU will do - dependant on what core it's got - or even what WEEK it was made!!

    In a nutshell you need to know...

    CPU - Core, stock voltage and FSB http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/0,,30_182_739,00.html (for AMD users). Also safe temperatures to run at (try a search on the overclockers forum). You will also need to know how to unlock your CPU multiplier!
    RAM - Speed - example PC2700 (DDR333) = 333Mhz = 166 FSB
    Mobo - Will it lock PCI/AGP? Also how to reset the bios. (this is VERY important)


    Good components means good performance..."buy cheap, buy twice - buy good, buy once" - never a truer word spoken - I should know!!
    Get a mobo that locks the PCI & AGP, also RAM that's as fast as you can afford...you might want to get a more 'overclocker friendly' CPU - remember you can sell off your old kit and therefore the whole experience needn't cost lots...even with the system you have now (without any extras) - I'm sure we can get a little more out of it!! ;)

    Ok...now on the fun bit...

    Firstly, you need to set AGP & PCI locks to on or AGP=66mhz and PCI=33mhz before doing the following. (Refer to the manual - usually there's a setting of 6/6)

    Put your multiplier on a low setting (10) and up the FSB in increments of 5mhz. After each increase of the FSB run stress tests such as 3DMark, prime 95. When your computer does not complete these stress tests increase the DDR voltage by 0.1v. Re-test. If the tests complete keep going in 5mhz increments. When you get to a unstable FSB again increase the DDR voltage by 0.1v. (I wouldn't recommend going over 2.8v) You will reach a point when the tests fail even at 2.8v this means you have overclocked the FSB too much so lower the FSB to the highest setting in which the test completed (you should have taken a note of the last successful setting (FSB & DDR) you had).

    You now know the FSB limit of your setup.

    Now increase the multiplier in increments of 0.5. After each increment run the stress tests mentioned above. Eventually you will get to a multiplier which is unstable. Try increasing the vcore voltage by 0.025v and re-test. If the pc is still unstable increase the vcore again by 0.025v. (Keep an eye on the temperatures). re-test. If the tests still fail and temperatures are getting what you consider too hot, I would not recommend increasing your vcore any higher . So put your multiplier on the highest stable setting (again you should have noted the last successful multiplier AND voltage setting).

    You now have the highest overclock possible for your setup. Do not worry if you couldn't set the multiplier any higher than 10 - FSB is the single most effective speed setting in your CPU setup - for example - a machine set to 215x10 (2150MHz) is faster than a machine set to 200x11 (2200MHz).

    Lots of people do not like to run there system right on the edge. I would advise to lower the FSB by 5mhz after finding the maximum stable system overclock. Just to be on the safe side...but that's up to you.

    An example: (Completely made up!)

    Athlon XP1800+
    Stock = 1533mHz
    FSB = 133mhz
    Multiplier = 11.5

    1. Lower multiplier to 10. CPU now at 1330MHz
    2. Increase the FSB by 5mhz. CPU now at 138*10=1380
    3. Keep increasing by 5mhz and testing in between each increase.
    4. FSB at 178mhz = unstable. (CPU= 178*10=1780MHz)
    5. Increase DDR voltage to 2.6v
    6. Can increase FSB to 184MHz before becoming unstable. (CPU= 184*10=1840MHz)
    7. Increase DDR voltage to 2.7v. This did not improve overclockability. Lower DDR and FSB back to the last successful setting. So max stable FSB for system is 179MHz @ 2.6V.
    8. Increase multiplier to 10.5 (CPU = 179*10.5=1879.5MHz)
    9. Keep increasing multiplier by 0.5 until unstable. PC unstable at a multiplier of 12.
    10. Increase vcore voltage by 0.025v. CPU stable with a multiplier of 12. (CPU= 12*179=2148MHz)
    11. Cannot increase multiplier without causing stability issues so increase the vcore by another 0.025v.
    12. Cannot get PC to run with stability at 12.5 multiplier. (CPU= 12.5*179=2238MHz)
    13. Cannot increase Multiplier any further. Temperatures are too high to increase vcore...revert multiplier & vcore back to the last successful setting.

    Max Stable Overclock = 12.5*179=2238MHz
    Default = 1533mHz
    An Overclock of 705MHz

    Good luck!
    Last edited: 6 Sep 2004
  2. NF7-S


    Joined: 25 Oct 2003

    Posts: 5,925

    *bump* as I see there are a few newbies out there today ;)
  3. GaTeCrAsHeR


    Joined: 6 Jul 2003

    Posts: 64

    Location: Newcastle

    You just need to add a Pentium overclocking guide now ;)
  4. Dataisgod


    Joined: 24 Oct 2003

    Posts: 248

    Location: Ireland

    thank you for this guide i'm one of those noob's

    just a couple of questions, you just mention increasing the ddr voltage to help increase the FSB does this mean increasing Vcore will not help you get a higher FSB?

    also would people like to give a guide to what they consider an acceptable load temperature for common nforce2 mb etc.

    i people will say different things but it would be useful i think


  5. Mattus


    Joined: 30 Sep 2003

    Posts: 10,916

    Location: London

    Increasing vcore will give you a higher FSB. The reason you do what NF7-S suggests, setting the multiplier very low, is because you can then find the FSB limit of your CPU and RAM, without having to worry about vcore as with the lower multiplier overall speed is lower, requiring less voltage. The idea is to find the FSB limit first without other influences, as compared to multiplier it's far more important.

    I think :D
  6. neo_x


    Joined: 30 Oct 2003

    Posts: 116

    Hmm. a pentium one would be niceeeee.... ;)
  7. PlanetGong


    Joined: 15 Jun 2003

    Posts: 353

    Location: Leicestershire

    Great post very helpful. Now I just need to wait for my new motherboard and cooler to be delivered and I can use it! (I have my 2500xp just sitting in front of me now, waiting to be overclocked!!!)
  8. NF7-S


    Joined: 25 Oct 2003

    Posts: 5,925

    This is just a guide :)

    There are many ways out there, but I think this system gives you a good start.

    Many people here are very helpful, but get fed up of questions that are very basic - this guide should help you get going - then at least you can post 'worthwhile' questions and (more importantly) be likely to get a good amount/type of response as you've used your initiative to at least give it a go!!


    mattwood - yep ;) altho many will say RAM timings are, it's all about personal pref & playing around with settings!!

    GaTeCrAsHeR & neo_x - unfortunately I won't post on things I have no idea! I belive the only difference is the multiplier (I don't think Pentiums have one) - but if anyone want's to add a Pentium one or ANY input AT ALL - please feel free :)

    Dataisgod - I did searched on my specific components to find their 'probable limits' and used this to decide what I would use as a max voltage, many would go higher or lower than what I've done - I think I've found a 'middle ground'.

    Don't forget to keep an eye on the temps - and if you can afford water cooling (I wish!) that'd be a good move - BUT - read loads!

    Good luck :)
  9. hi, thanks for the guide, another noob here. i know these questions are all basic but who knows with time we may know more than you lol - (doubtful). we all gotta start somewhere. i dont know what the safe temp is for system runing is - i cant seem to find on forum - (see what i mean - very doubtful lol) well thanks for the guide, i have a good place to start, i just gotta try and make sense of these benchmark tests etc. i may be back - if my pc dont get blown up hehe. thx again.
  10. NF7-S


    Joined: 25 Oct 2003

    Posts: 5,925

    hmmm, try several searches:

    XXX and temps (XXX being your cpu)

    max and temp

    safe and temp

    that's a good start.

    All temps are based on what components you've got...I have a Barton XP2500 on an NF7-S (well duh) - my temps are 38/60 MAXIMUM - and I really think many consider that a little high, but many also consider that safe.

    The point is no 2 set-ups will be the same, and you may see someone with the same setup but higher (or lower!) temps...the bottom line is TRY to use the search to maximum effect - if no joy post a SPECIFIC question in this forum - I suggest this sort of format:

    Please help with my XXX temps! (XXX being your CPU)

    Please help, I'm a newbie to all this - I HAVE done a search but cannot find the answers I'm after...I have the following:

    CPU (along with any OC details if you are OCing)
    Cooling (ie H/S & fan)
    Case fans in/out

    Any other info you think may be relevant (case side on or off, PC in a hot place -near a radiator etc)

    It's currently running at XX mobo & XX CPU idle and XX/XX under load.

    Is this about right? etc etc
  11. Dataisgod


    Joined: 24 Oct 2003

    Posts: 248

    Location: Ireland

    right NF7 and people i would like your advice i've following the guide and here are my results so far somewhat disappointing i have to say

    dropped the multi to 10 and rose the fsb 200mhz, ran prime for bout 30mins just to see then played games for an hour or two
    load temp 44c under prime

    however i've tried lots of things but i can't get the computer to even post at 205mhz

    i've increased the vdimm from 2.6 to 2.8V
    dropped the multi to 9
    slackened the ram to 3-4-4-8?

    i'm gotta a bloody antec psu whats going wrong?

    i would have thought i would get gradual stability issues like pifast not running, prime 95 not running windows freezing before it would not post. i seem to have hit a brick wall anyone any ideas?


    p.s i haven't run memtest as i've no floppy installed i want to go with out, is there any other program i can run to test my memory?
  12. NF7-S


    Joined: 25 Oct 2003

    Posts: 5,925

    What components have you got? (RAM/MOBO/CPU etc) or is it as listed in your sig?

    It could just be that they are not good clockers...some people can't get about 200 - that's just 'the way it goes', but it might be improved.

    Some XP2500s are bad clockers depending which wek they were made, but I would agree I might have expected a little more if the setup is the one in the sig...if it is might I suggest a dedicated thread?

    What multi can you get up to?
    Last edited: 8 Nov 2003
  13. Tesla


    Joined: 19 Jan 2003

    Posts: 17,410

    Location: Bristol, UK

    He's right. I think i was unfortunate to get a bad clocking 2500+.

    Apparently the majority of them overclock really well and then you get some real stinkers!

    I will try overclocking it again when i have the time. If I cant get it to 3200+ speeds i will probably buy another one then sale this one.

    It wont be at much expense to me. A lot cheaper than buying a 3200+, even if i have to buy a few 2500+'s to get a decent clocker.

    Try dropping the multiplier to 8 and then raise the fsb. Put 2.7-2.8v through your ram. I think 2.8v is a bit dodgy on this board though as it already overvolts the ram by 0.05v. So i stick to 2.7v which i need to get my 3200ram at 200fsb.
    Last edited: 8 Nov 2003
  14. Dataisgod


    Joined: 24 Oct 2003

    Posts: 248

    Location: Ireland

    i've just run prime95 over night for about 8hours and its stable at 200*10 load temp 43C

    the rig is as in my sig, the barton is AQXEA 0329 MPM, its a "4" chip which aren't meant to be great for overclocking apparently.

    What about the chipset voltage? mines at 1.6V default is this normal what happens when i raise it to 1.7V does it make the northbridge sweat?

    i've no floppy so i'll set memtest86 up to run on cd if i can and see how that goes, the guy who built it for me is convinced its not the processor so i thought i'm overlooking something.

    i'll try up the multi later and the vcore correspondingly see if i can get 11, i'll be happy if i get 3200+

    if all else fails i'll start a dedicated thread


  15. NF7-S


    Joined: 25 Oct 2003

    Posts: 5,925

    BUMP for the newbies out there :)
  16. Cycrow


    Joined: 11 Nov 2003

    Posts: 2,961

    Location: London

    the best way to know if ur temps r safe is to simply run ur system on full load for awhile
    if its stable then the temps will usually be fine
  17. NF7-S


    Joined: 25 Oct 2003

    Posts: 5,925

    no offence mate, but I don't drive my car until it breaks!!

    keeping an eye on temps whilst running something like Prime95 is surely a 'safer' option.

    remember this is a guide for newbies - maybe your suggestion is ok once people are a bit more comfortable?
  18. dark_hag666

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 3 Sep 2003

    Posts: 1,698

    Location: Uttoxeter

    iv gota 3000+ barton, wot sort of OC am i looking at untill i pluck up the courage to change my heatsink and fan? im curious
  19. Cycrow


    Joined: 11 Nov 2003

    Posts: 2,961

    Location: London

    maybe ya right
    but its something to think about when they get more confidence

    but ur ur overclocking in small intervals
    it wil lbecome more unstable way b4 the parts get too hot
  20. Chong Warrior


    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 12,062

    Location: Manchester

    Go into the BIOS and raise the 'chipset' voltage from 1.6v to 1.7v I'm almost certain that will help you get your fsb higher:D

    Also put your RAM timings to 11,4,4,3

    Prime95 will find any weakness in your memory. Only real reason memtest86 is recommended is because it can be run in DOS. So you don't need to go into windows, because if your memory is givings errors then you can screw up your OS and registry just by booting up windows.

    Also, nice guide NF7-S:) One thing I feel you should add is, aswell as dropping the multiplier when trying to find max fsb is to slacken RAM timings?
    Last edited: 27 Nov 2003