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Discussion Just how usable is a 9 year old CPU for me? - My experiences using an i7 2600k in 2020 for a week

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Ok, I am having issues with timings.

Regardless of clock speed, I cannot adjust the timings to 12-12-12-36 as that causes no boot. Even leaving all of them at stock but changing just the first one to 12 causes no boot.

There are a bunch of sub timings below it I suspect need to be changed, but I have no clue what to do.


Jun 2, 2009
Interesting read. The office used PC market is flooded with 2000 series intel processors. You have to make an effort to find more modern processors. That might speak to intels utter lack of self improvement during those generations. Our office uses HPs with i5-2500s. No GPUs. They get work done.
So Cinebench scores.

Current 2600k setup:

4.7ghz 1600mhz cl11 ram
1764cb multi-core - 348cb single core
4.6ghz 1866mhz cl11 ram
1746cb multi core - 343cb single core.

Intel Core i7 2600k
4 Heatpipe RGB triple fan Chinese cooler
MSI Z68A-G45 (B3)
16gb (4x4gb) Corsair Vengence DDR3 1600mhz
Samsung 850 EVO 500gb SSD
Zotac Mini GTX1070 8gb
EVGA GD600w 80+ GOLD
Raidmax NEON ARGB ATX mid-tower case
Windows 10 Pro - Activated

Around 4.4ghz with 1600mhz ram
325cb single core - no multi core tested.

  • AMD Ryzen 5 2600 @4.2ghz 1.3625v
  • Arctic Freezer 34 eSports Cooler
  • MSI B350 Gaming Plus (Bios - 7A34vMF)
  • G.skill Aegis 2x8gb Samsung b die overclocked to 3466mhz CL18 @1.45v
  • MSI Mech OC RX5700 8gb GDDR6
  • Kingston A400 240gb SSD + 500GB Samsung 5900RPM
  • Corsair CX550M 80+ Bronze
  • NZXT S340 Red&Black + 2x Arctic F12 & 2x Arctic F14
  • BenQ GW2270 VA 1920x1080 60hz |
  • Windows 10 Pro
At the time of that benchmark, I had an RX480 and hand bought my RX5700 yet. /SPOILER]
for this benchmark I cranked up the clocks to 4.3ghz and ram to around 3466 cl18 for that benchmark. Normally at 4.2ghz 3200mhz ram
I got 445cb single core in r20. I cannot find my screenshot of multi-core.


Feb 25, 2020
Might be margin of error or its unstable timings, i would test memory benchmarks to see how much you gain from 1600 to 1866mhz, you might get better results staying on 1600mhz and getting as low timings as you possible can, aim near 9-9-9-24

Free trial of aida64 has memory benchmark.

EDIT: seems like gains from 4.6 to 4.7 are very small and you can use much lower voltage to keep it stable. Its also better for the internal memory controller which will be cooler since very high vcore can affect imc temperature because its located in the cpu chip. Then you can use slightly higher VTT and still get decent temps on the IMC (which cant be monitored no thermal sensor for imc)
However you usually dont need to raise the VCCIO / VTT much if you dont raise ram speed over 1866mhz, 1.15v should be fine. DRAM voltage might help with timings even when frequency is lower.
Reactions: SamirD


Feb 25, 2020
Its also the northbridge frequency which matters alot of overclocking with p55 h55 chipset, maybe its same with your gen. You cant change it in bios so when you increase BLCK you will automatically increase nb freq,

With 200blck im getting 3600mhz on the Northbridge and usually thats the high limit for this generation northbridge. Some boards can get issues even with 3450-3600mhz. Cpu can also be a factor in this.

Getting higher nb freq also increases your performance so getting good balance is the key. When i increase to 210 blck i can still run the system (almost 3800mhz nb freq) but need to use crazy vccio voltage of 1.4v which might kill the imc inside CPU in the long run. Im currently settled for 200 blck with 1.325v vccio which is still way too high but managable. I also need 200 blck to get ram frequency of 2400mhz so thats why im using these settings.

Can you change northbridge frequency in bios?

edit: im also using passmark memory test and userbenchmark for ram testing. i dont really trust these for cpu benchmark cause they take -30% performance off from older cpu:s just for the lols.
Both sites are also biased, in theyre own way.
I have voltage for PLL and PCH in bios. Neither is touched.

I believe PCH voltage is the northbridge.

I cannot find any PCH/northbridge/uncore frequency, however i could modify baseclock, but that would mess with my other clocks


Feb 25, 2020
PCH has 2 voltages, i dont think you need to touch any of these. PCH voltage is just main chip voltage usually default is 1.05v which is fine. PCH PLL voltage is default 1.80v and you do not need to raise it, i seen guides ask you to decrease it with gen2-3 cpu but i have no experience with those.

I only need to raise these when im going over 195Blck and that is only cause of the multiplier limitations of my CPU. You dont have to touch BLCK, i guess 101-103 wont do any harm , its up to you.
Well, I definitely used this hardware for more than a week. lol

Today I got some Noctua thermal paste in the mail today and this enabled me to get a little more clock speed, but nothing more than 100mhz before throttling. However, I noticed Cinebench was not as demanding as prime95, so I could get away with higher clock speed.

I bumped the sucker to 5ghz with 1.56v and somehow it ran Cinebench R20 without throttling nor crashing.
The chip doesn't seem to stop clocking higher as long as I keep feeding it more and more voltage, so my main limit is cooling. I also had ram at default 1600mhz CL11. I got a whopping 1902CB, which is far more than what I expected this CPU to pull off. Trying CL11 1833mhz ram didn't touch score at all.

I could not bump the clock speed up anymore since that made the CPU throttle hard and reduce performance.

However, I could try something like 5.1 or 5.2ghz on a single core and see what CB 1t looks like. I would also like to test the CPU at stock to compare Cinebench scores to the 5ghz status.

I have 2 days till the case comes and I put the weak cooler back on it, then sell the sucker, so I will continue to mess with it in these 2 days.

If I had some faster say 2133mhz DDR3 ram as well as a bigger cooler like an NHD15, I probably could top 2000cb. It would be a fun project for sure.