CPU Overclocking Guide: How (and Why) to Tweak Your Processor

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rush21hit

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Look at the voltage setting on those world records. Lots of LN2 involved here.

Speaking as a former user of Q6600 @3.0 (Corsair Hydro series were non-existent back then) and i7 920 @2.8. Small OC, I know. Since I want my motherboard not get fried.

Motherboard gets the most hammering in OC. Even the best of the best sometimes failed. Those capacitors can only hold so much. I just want to ensure it also last. Heck, even in normal use, motherboard tends to fail long before any other parts does.
 

Calculatron

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Ever since the articles on the "E" series of the FX-line-up, I've tried to take efficiency into account. I run a mild overclock of 4.0ghz with just under 1.2V on my FX-8320. I can achieve a 4.7ghz overclock, but I just don't think that the performance gains are worth all the extra heat and stress on the components.
 

Murdock4321

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Overclocking used to be pretty complicated and take some trial and error. With all these new processors and new bios', its really pretty easy. I'm still rocking an i7 930 @ 2.85ghz which is rock solid and has lasted me since 2010
 

anbello262

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Well, isn't the procedure exactly the same, just lowering mult and volt instead of rising it? The stability concern (freq/volts) and the iterative methodology is the same, right?
 

redgarl

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I have a 4770k and my chip can barely OC to the boost clock. Also, they run soo hot, it's retarded.

My 2 cents, OC is nice, but you are better investing, if anything more than 30$ in coolers, in a better cpu than landing 100$ on a Corsair something. You don't even know if the chip is going to be stable anyway.
 

Eximo

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Well the i7-4770k is notorious for having really bad samples that barely meet the qualifications of being an i7-4770. I can get mine to 4.5GHz, but I have to go thermonuclear at 1.35 volts to do it, managed to bench it for 3 minutes at 103C before deciding to back it down.

Proof is in the i7-4790k.
 
I've been overclocking since the late 90s with the infamous first monster overclocker that everyone could get their hands on, the Celeron 333MHz->450MHz. Over the past nearly 20 years (holy cow has it been that long?) slowly evolving from a 1280x1024 monitor to a 2560x1440 monitor, I have noticed that overclocking the CPU offers diminished returns in gaming performance.

Today it's more about GPU performance, especially overclocking GPU performance. Like someone said above, it's no longer worth the heat and power increase that it used to be. Overclocking a GPU is where the real game performance increase benefit is. On the other hand, productivity applications like video rendering can benefit from a CPU overclock quite well...about the only thing I ever find myself cranking my 4690K up to 4.7GHz for these days to speed rendering time up.
 

SinxarKnights

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I agree for the most part. However we are at a point where Intel is really the only option for a high end gaming PC. Sadly even AMD's best CPU offerings can't effectively use their own top end GPUs.

In other words, that is true for Intel, not so much for AMD users. Unfortunately due to the cooling requirements of the flagship AMD chips, it is often impossible for a person to overclock it much, but even a modest OC to the CPU can give significant FPS gains depending on how unbalanced the PC is (i.e FX-8350 with a 980ti/1070).
 

mitch074

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Well, the Celeron 333 wasn't the infamous monster - it was the 300A (4.5 x 66 MHz) that could reach 450 with a mere bus switch to 100MHz and a proper mobo or at worst shorting out the B21 pin; and even then, performance improvements mainly came from overclocking the graphics accelerators of the time (like the 3dfx Voodoo or the Nvidia TnT).

As for me, I started overclocking with the Pentium 75 (mine could reach 112.5), a Cyrix P150+@133 and a Pentium 133@166 (2x83MHz and 512 Kb of L2 cache, it could kick a P200's butt). While the Cely 300A@464 I had was the biggest overclock (in proportion) I ever got for myself, I did push several (as in, 4 or 5) Sempron64 from 1.6 to 2.4 GHz without any other tinkering than raising the (cheap) mobo's reference clock and using the stock cooler; I don't doubt for a minute that, had I improved the cooling or used better mobos than bargain bin stuff and spent more time adjusting voltages, a couple of those would have reached 2.6 or 2.7.

Because yes, there was a time when owning an AMD entry-level chip was the veryh best bang for bucks you could get; I still have an Athlon II X4 620 (cheapest quad core, $99) with a base clock speed of 2.6 GHz; with a nice aftermarket cooler and a good mobo, I pushed that one to 3.4GHz stable enough in 2009 to convert DVDs and BRs all night long (I bought a NAS then and backed up all my disks). I must admit that after a week of feeling it heating up my office, I decided to retire it to the living room and replaced it with a Haswell i5 4670K. That one is disappointing though: with a factory boost speed of 3.8GHz, it just can't hold stable past 4.2 GHz. Since I don't feel like cracking the heat spreader open to cool it down more, I make do with a barely-more-than-10% overclock. Meh - still good enough for today's games.
 

Eximo

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I recall having a Duron 750Mhz that would run 1.2Ghz without too much trouble. You make me want to dust off my Voodoo collection and see if they all still work. Used to have SLI Voodoo 2 12MB (GPUs had three times the memory as my computer) with a Pentium @ 83Mhz. When is Nvidia going to dust off the Voodoo brand name, anyway? Should have been Voodoo, Voodoo X instead of Titan.
 

mapesdhs

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"... you can run some Core i7-3770Ks at more than 5.1 GHz"

Not without delidding you can't, or some really crazy cooling (bad idea to allow casual readers to think a normal oc for a 3770K could ever be that high). IB runs way too hot, deliberately so re Intel's use of a naff interface material (check the toms and other articles from back then, and the YT vids on delidding showing load temp drops of 30+C).

It's far easier to oc a SB 2700K to 5GHz, works just fine with a simple TRUE and one fan, takes 5 mins to do this on an ASUS M4E. I've built seven such systems so far, about to do another as a charity build though with a different mbd.

Btw, I've still yet to see a general oc'ing guide that's better than Miahallen's information:

http://www.overclockers.com/3-step-guide-overclock-core-i3-i5-i7/
http://www.techreaction.net/2011/01/04/3-step-overclocking-guide-%E2%80%93-sandy-bridge-v0-1beta/
http://www.techreaction.net/2010/09/07/3-step-overclocking-guide-lynnfield/
http://www.techreaction.net/2010/09/07/3-step-overclocking-guide-bloomfield-and-gulftown/

The general principles apply to any system.

Ian.
 


Hah I still have my two 8MB Voodoo 2 cards somewhere. They were my first SLI cards and lasted from '98 to I believe '02 when upgrading to a Ti4600 when moving up to a more GPU hungry 1600x1200 CRT. Didn't go SLI again until 2009 and GTX 275s. And yes, bringing back the Voodoo name would be awesome. A whole new generation of PC builders have come around since then.

 

Eximo

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My pride and joy is an operational Voodoo 5 5500 I got from ebay. I have it in a ludicrous Poweredge 4200 with dual Pentium II 333Mhz and 256/512MB of ECC (Can't seem to get the BIOS to update to see the 512MB), Soundblaster Awe 32 with Midi daughterboard, Two hot swappable 10GB SCSI drives, a pair of 700W Dell hot swappable power supplies. It plays a mean UT99.

I bought it at a swap meet, no idea the whole computer was intact and working except for not having any hard drives. So I threw a few hundred at it to make it do something.

 

kunstderfugue

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Is there a reason not to overclock in the following manner?

Slowly push the CPU multiplier until you can't boot, then dial back a notch and bench, if you hang while bench dial it down until you cemplete a bench. Once you hit that point at a voltage that's comfortable in temps, dial it down another notch and do a long stress test
 

gaaah

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This article promises to explain the "why" of overclocking. Where is it? Personally I think it is a waste of time.
 

demoth

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Where things stand now are pretty much prefect for the enthusiast. If one is willing to do about a 6th grade level of research on BCLK overclocking a non-K Skylake, you can get a I5 6400 on a (now) cheap Z MB with also now cheap high speed DDR running at 4.5Ghz with a decent cooler. For under $350 and assuming some risk, you can build a system that for most purposes will smoke over $2500 worth of top end X99 or K branded MB/CPUs. Taking into account OCing the top end, high priced stuff to the max, then we are only talking slight advantages and even losses in gaming as more cores past 4 are added, at least for now.

The good part for manufacturers and the reason we can enjoy this is because most consumers today cannot get past the 6th grade level barrier and thus, the inability to monitor temps and such, is the only reason this level of possible price/performance is being allowed.
 

Cryio

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You omitted from the AMD CPU list the best bang for the buck CPU in their entire lineup at the moment.

The FX 8300, 3.3/4.2 GHz for 95W, capable of same overclocking capabilities as an FX 9590.
 
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