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Old February 17, 2011, 09:44 AM
draemn draemn is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
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My System Specs

Default Over-clocking X58 with Power Saving enabled

Well,

My first experience at CPU overclocking was a lot of learning and fun. I thought I'd share my experience of doing a 50% overclock with the power-saving features enabled. See my system specs if you want to know, otherwise I'll just say that I'm using a i7-930.

Post 1: Understanding BIOS settings
Post 2: Overclocking and clock speeds
Post 3: Testing for stability

Background to important X58 settings:
CPU clock ratio: For locked chips, you can set this as high as the max turbo boost frequency when you have turbo boost enabled and as low as x12.
CPU C1E state: Basic power saving mode that 'stops' clocks when idle, little to no performance hit.
C3/C6/C7 Sate: These modes increase power saving, but may have a small performance impact when your CPU goes from idle to busy (should have no impact while under load).
CPU thermal Monitor: *I think* this one lets your CPU drop voltages to protect thermals. May impact performance if your voltages/cooling is sloppy.
CPU EIST Function: Lowers your multiplier when idle (or light loads), reducing your overall frequency/power consumption. Has no impact on performance under load.
Bi-Direction PROCHOT: Allows for monitoring thermals and assertion of throttling commands such as CPU thermal monitor.

QPI Link Speed: A saturated QPI for quad cores is around 7.5-8 Ghz. Knowing this, you can change the multiplier to a lower value as you increase BCLK to stay under the limit of your board.
Uncore Frequency: Usually most stable if it's 2*(system memory multiplier)+1, but don't always need the +1.

BCLK Frequency: This is the main method of overclocking X58. Some boards can go as high as 224, but all decent boards will easily get 200 Mhz. This times your multiplier gets your frequency.

System Memory Multiplier (SPD): This times your BCLK gives you your ram speed (i.e. 200x8 = 1600 Mhz).
DRAM Timing Selectable: Always pick EXPERT and change all the channel's timings... won't take that long!
Timings: Unless you are trying to overclock your RAM to hell and back, you only need to change the first 4 timings and can leave the rest at auto.

Voltages:
Load Line Calibration: If you have this option, turn it on! Provides 'cleaner' voltage and is generally considered safe. If your mobo (mine does) has multiple levels, just pick the middle (level 1) mode unless you're pushing past 4 Ghz.
CPU Vcore: Change this to "NORMAL" if you leave power saving features on, otherwise set to a manual number.
Dynamic Voltage DVID: If CPU Vcore is set to normal, use this to increase your vcore. When coupled with power saving features, it will increase the vcore by this amount when your CPU frequency increases. When power saving modes are active, the voltage will not increase by this amount.
QPI/VTT voltage: Wording will change based on manufacture. This voltage is just as important as vcore and extremely important as you overclock your RAM. Should always be at least within 0.5 of your DRAM voltage.
CPU PLL: This provides the voltage that keeps your CPU frequency stable. Most people can lower this to 1.6v with success. If your CPU frequency constantly fluctuates by more than 1 Mhz at load, you may need to increase this.

PCIe voltage: Only extreme overclocks need to adjust this setting, leave at auto*.
QPI PLL: Same as CPU PLL, but for the QPI frequency. Usually leave at auto*.
IOH Core: This voltage may need to be increased based on how many GPUs you have installed (or other power hungry PCIe cards). I found that +0.02 for each GTX 460 1GB gave me stability. You may hear suggestions of 1.16 for 2x GPUs and 1.20 for 3 GPUs... Try to find stability with lower voltages as 1.20v adds up to 10 degrees compared to 1.14v.
ICH I/O: Leave at auto* unless attempting extreme overclock.
ICH core: Leave at auto* unless attempting extreme overclock.

Dram Voltage: Max safe voltage for X58 is 1.65v. Do not increase more than 0.5v above VTT voltage! At your own risk increase past 1.65....

*Note: you may wish to set these manually and should always set these manually for +4.0 Ghz! Leaving at auto may cause problems as you push the limits of your CPU that high... Plus, these other voltages may help stability with a lower vcore.

Last edited by draemn; March 18, 2011 at 10:10 PM.
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