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Old January 26, 2008, 08:17 AM
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Default Yes, I Am An OC N00b!

Hey folks!

I am sort of tech-savvy, having researched and built my system myself. I am by no means as tech-savvy as most of you, however. You see, I built myself a decent system IMO (see my sig for details). I am fairly happy with the performance I am getting right now, but I believe it is capable of considerably more. However, I have absolutely NO idea how to overclock it, and I have read every guide out there (just about). Everything I try just gets me a no-POST, and a BIOS revert.

So here's the basics. I know I need to up the voltage on my CPU (I am assuming that's what VCore means?). I have tried that - MANY times. I am just not sure how much is TOO much. I have gone as high as 1.38, but was scared to go higher than that. I have made sure that C1E, TM2, EIST are disabled, etc. I am using none of the CIA2 Gigabyte overclocking stuff either.

My memory is over-volted by +.3 to 2.1V, so that it can run at it's rated 4-4-4-15 @2.1V. I figured out the CTRL+F1 thing in the Gigabyte BIOS to adjust memory settings. Is this perhaps where I am going wrong? Should I set memory to "Auto" for now, THEN try to overclock? If the memory uses slower timings, does that kill any gains I get in overclocking the CPU? See how much of a n00b I am? ;)

My CPU is the Q6700, which uses a 10x multiplier. Some guides say to over-volt the northbridge a little as well, the problem is, I have no idea what it is at now, so I am not sure what a "little bit" actually is.

Can anyone help me at all? I need some step-by-step hand-holding here. I would really like to get it to around 3.0-3.2GHz if possible.
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Old January 26, 2008, 11:53 AM
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[note: if anyone with experience sees that I have made an incorrect suggestion, please let me know]

I would OC your memory and CPU separately. Loosen the timings on the ram first so it can run at a faster speed for your CPU OC (this implies not setting memory to auto). The memory timings, if tighter, means that it will run slower, which will limit your CPU speed via the front side bus speed (FSB), which you use to set your CPU clock speed. So slower timings means faster FSB speed = cpu goes vroom.

1. Start with stock voltage, go up in 2-3mhz FSB increments and test to see if you can post + enter windows
2. continue doing this until you no longer can push it, this way you will ensure you are always running on the lowest possible voltage.
3. Once you can't boot, up the voltage a notch at the current fsb, and then see if it will boot.
4. continue on this process until you are at a comfortable speed, (by comfortable I mean one that is OC, but not necessarily an OC that reaches for the stars)
5. Run stability tests (orthos etc) for 10-24hrs. I prefer the former since I can do my OC'ing at night, go to bed and by the time breakfast is ready I will have my results.

If it isn't stable, either (1) not enough CPU voltage (vcore), (2) northbridge needs a boost in voltage, (3) Maybe you have hit a wall and should try a lower multiplier, higher FSB, (4) you've hit the max OC potential of your system.

I continued along this process to OC my e2180 from 2.0ghz to 3.4ghz. I didn't overclock my northbridge because, like you, I don't know what it is running at stock, however that being said I can't imagine a +0.1v to the northbridge (GMCH it is called in the gigabyte bios) will be terrible, if that is what it takes to make you post.

Stay conservative and you'll do fine e.g. don't try to oc from 2.66ghz to 3.0ghz in one shot. Also, according to the processor spec finder on intel's website, you can run up to 1.5v on that CPU. That doesn't mean you should though, because of temps. (url: Processor Spec Finder)
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Old January 26, 2008, 12:22 PM
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What I did to mine was set the voltages to auto and bring up the FSB and don't have ram set at auto either. Maybe just set voltages to auto will do.
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Old January 26, 2008, 01:35 PM
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Is there something that perhaps makes the Q6700 a bad OCer vs. the Q6700 that anyone has heard of? I have tried everything your have suggested, and I still get nowhere. Either that, or I am missing something somewhere.
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Old January 26, 2008, 10:06 PM
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I'm a bit more aggressive when it comes to overclocking than others, what i would do, considering that you have a decent cpu heat sink, would download coretemp (coretemp is the only software that i found that will give you an accurate tempurature on a quad, most others are 15 degrees too cold wich if you did run them you'd have to set your max temps to 50 rather than the actual 65 C)
The max Vcore for your processor is 1.5 provided you have adequate cooling to go that high, wich you dont, your max i would guess at closer to 1.4ish. so download prime95 if you havnt already, and look at your temps with your present overclock, if your already hovering around 65C with coretemp while running prime95 then your finished. your present set up cannot take anymore vcore, so reguardless if your cpu can handle more overclock, your present cooling solution is inadequate. Couple solutions would be to get a better hsf (yes i know you just got the one you have, but its not the best one there is, so if you want more OC you'll need a differant one) or you could order a water cooling system. they arnt cheep, and they arnt really that easy to set up and they dont really give you alot better cooling than the best air coolers do, but water is better than air if you really want to get the most overclock you can.
If your not over 65c with your present hsf, then feel free to jack up that vcore and fsb as much as you like untill you are at 65c while testing with prime95. after your at your maximum temperature, then run the 10 hour test, but remeber that your temps will rise slowly as the test goes on, so if your right at 65 as soon as you turn on prime95, then i can pretty much garantee your going to fail the 10 hour test because of temperatures. So once you reach 65, knock your vcore down a couple knotches and your fsb if you need to, THEN run the 10 hour test. and keep an eye on the temps for the first hour.

and if you didnt get it when cipher mentioned it, its very important to lock your ram timings and speed to as close to stock settings as you can before overclocking your cpu... there are 3 major things most people overclock, cpu, ram, and gpu. do them all seperatly starting with your cpu, after you've reached max speed with your cpu, then adjust your ram to suit, you can oc your gpu anytime, it wont affect the overclockability of either the ram or the cpu to my knowlage/experience. Overclocking your Ram first, wont hurt your cpu in anyway, but if you notice while adjusting your fsb the ram speeds increase as the fsb increases, so if you have your ram set as high as it can go, then you adjust the fsb, the ram speeds will increase and you'll not be able to post. so, cpu, then ram. dont worry about the northbride voltages, thats for extreem overclocking, and your very likely going to run into temperature problems long before you run into unstability with the system as a whole. so untill your water/phase cooling, your main conserns will be the vcore, fsb and the almighty temperatures.

Good luck!
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Old January 27, 2008, 06:21 PM
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Thank you all very much for your help.

After fiddling around for a while, and using a starting setting for my memory of 5-5-5-18, I was able to easily get my overclock to 3.2GHz. I am happy there, as I don't have an extreme CPU cooler, or H2O or really the need to go higher than that (although I am sure I could easily get it to 3.4-3.6GHz if I tried LOL).

However, I was not able to ever get the memory back anywhere near it's rated 4-4-4-15. Best I could seem to do was 5-5-5-15. The OC is perfectly stable so far, and it is only running at 1.3V for CPU voltage (only two "bumps" from stock). CoreTemp, as recommended, does not work in Vista 64-bit, so I am relying on PC Wizard 2008 from CPUID. Seems to be a little off on some things, and I am guessing it may be underestimating my CPU temps, as it is reporting only 48C under load.

So now my only question to all of you is how much performance am I actually missing out on by running the memory at the slower timings than it is rated?
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Old January 27, 2008, 07:12 PM
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Not by much, despite what the memory manufacturers would have believe. A large portion of Intel's processor development has gone into working around their (comparatively) slower memory system, with the net result being very little overall gain from high performance memory.

Certain benchmarks (i.e. SuperPi) are very memory dependent. Valve's Source engine (i.e. Half Life 2) like fast memory if I recall correctly, but with your setup, you'll probably have no trouble maxing out the settings as it is. Some audio/video tasks benefit strongly, while others don't give a hoot. File comparison/extraction usually benefits, I believe.

You've given your memory timings, but you haven't mention what frequency they're running at. You've got a fairly low FSB, so what's your memory multiplier at right now?
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Old January 27, 2008, 07:25 PM
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Thanks for explaining things a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MpG View Post
You've given your memory timings, but you haven't mention what frequency they're running at. You've got a fairly low FSB, so what's your memory multiplier at right now?
As for my frequency and multiplier, what are you referring to? Sorry to sound stupid, but the only things I can find out that I think you're referring to are that the memory seems to be running currently at 480MHz (so that would make it 960MHz righht?) at a ratio of 3/2, whatever that means. See, when I say I am a n00b, I mean it LOL.
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Old January 27, 2008, 07:52 PM
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No worries, you've got it right. Different motherboards show it different ways, that's all. If your memory is the DDR2-800 in your sig, then you're fortunate to have it running at 960 MHz is the first place, to be honest. Those stated 4-4-4-12 timings are for when it's running at only 800 MHz.

Somewhere in your BIOS, there should be a setting to change the memory ratio/divider thingy so that the memory slows down in relation to the FSB. I'm honestly not sure exactly how your particlar motherboard will display it, I'm afraid. But a FSB/memory ratio of 1:1.25 (maybe 4:5?) would see your RAM at 800 MHz, which should let you tighten the timings as advertised.

Not sure what (if any) performance improvement you would see from the memory change alone, but it would let you increase up the FSB higher, and by extension the CPU. Just a thought.
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Old January 28, 2008, 09:32 AM
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I am still not completely comprehending it all, but I wanted to thank you for your suggestions anyway. For now, I think I am just going to leave things as they are, since 3.2GHz is more than good enough for me, and the temps and stability seem excellent. So thank you all again for your help and advice.
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WD SE16 500GB SATAII / WD 250GB SATAII
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