Building a PC, Part III - Overclocking

FWIW - according to Intel’s thermal specifications for Core 2 Quads (, the maximum temperature for the Q6600 is 62.2C @ 105 watts.

PS - I am doing a very similar build (Q6600 on an MSI P6N Diamond), and I truly appreciate all the pointers. Makin’ me wish I’d picked a different case though. Oh well, at least my Antec Nine Hundred has lots of really cool blue LEDs…

Great write up! Attempting to overclock my old Athlon as we speak :smiley:

How do you determine what is an acceptable temperature for a given CPU when overclocking?

I should probably clarify that the maximum safe operating temp spec I quoted is for the case temperature and not the core temps (so you probably have a little headroom for those readings before you need to get out your heat gun and/or Magic Finger Mark I to measure the case temp).

So, how come computer manufacturers don’t just correctly-clock instead of under-clocking in order to make people jump through hoops and void warranties in order to get the best performance?

I’m just waiting for the Athlon extreme overclock processor to be released.

After all, if you’re selling pre-built machines, why not overclock them all so your costs stay the same and you can charge a little more - splitting the savings between yourself and your customers?

I’m guessing that thousand dolalrs being “saved” was actually being used to purchase actual reliablility (instead of the mere hope of reliability) and lifetime for the hardware - which may or may not be of value.

You weren’t really saving 1000 bucks… as you could generally overclock a 2.93GHz chip even higher.

I’ve commonly seen QX6800 parts clocked up to 3.6GHz, and sometimes 3.8GHz from the really “hardcore” vendors.

I’m not advocating buying “ultra high end” parts… the price/performance ratio is out of whack. However, if you are being realistic, buying a slower processer and overclocking it doesn’t mean you are getting more speed. You can also overclock more expensive parts.

didn’t you say you would discuss the “suspicious” memory score? or did I miss that part?

I’m totally a fan of overclocking :slight_smile:
I don’t have so strong PC, but I love it :).
My PC: Overclock 2800+ AMD64 754 @ 2,6 Ghz :slight_smile: and still with XP

It’s 95 degrees over here in Kirkland right now … I’ve un-overclocked my QX6700 from 3.2ghz to its nominal 2.66ghz, and I’ve downgraded from my GeForce 8800gts to my older but much cooler running GeForce 7800gtx. Wow. Much less heat that way! And my cat is shedding like crazy, jeez.

If you want a system on the cheap, getting the E4300 for $117 (1.8ghz / 800mhz FSB) and setting it to 1066mhz FSB gets you a 2.4ghz chip instantly and with almost 100% chance of success. These Intel chips just aren’t meant to run that slow :slight_smile: At 1333mhz FSB it will be at 3ghz but of course the probability of success is lower. Or you can keep it at 1.8ghz and just run it cool and quiet like I do on my media center PC in the living room.

Hey, nice to see a Building PC article here! Half the time I don’t get anything you say about coding… but this I understand! Heh… the fastest CPU I have at my home right now is a Core Duo T2050. That’s good enough for many purposes, I swear.

Still, though, if you ‘don’t require high end 3D’, why TWO 8600s? Why not two, uh, 7300s or something?

“If you hadn’t bought ValueRAM, do you think this beast could have clocked even hire? :)”

You’re right about that one; also, I have to notice that this chipset (nForce 650i) does not deliver any spectacular OC results.
Here’s what people use to get almost 3.6GHz outta Q6600:
Notice the Asus P5B Deluxe MBO and the OCZ memory? I like the Gigabyte 965P-DS4 even more, it’s cheaper and delivers almost equal results. Of course, RAM-o-choice is Corsair.

I’d like to take the chance to thank you Jeff for your hardware articles. This Summer I’m saving for my next Computer and planning to make it as economical, green and silent as possible.

I’d welcome a post on silencing PCs, that’s something I’m very interested in. Having had a small jet engine in my room through university it would be nice to not be lulled to sleep by the sound of what sounds like a small aircraft preparing to take off!

I really don’t get the overclocking. The benchmarks show something like a 15% speed improvement. Unless you work with a stopwatch at your side, you won’t notice it. Say the overclocking efforts take you two or three hours. A CPU running 15% faster isn’t going to buy the that time back anytime soon. (And, as you point out, giving the extra $1K to Intel is a phenomenal waste of cash…)

Did anyone notice that the BIOS warning is actually saying that overclocking is NOT guaranteed to harm your hardware? Quite a relief, isn’t it? :slight_smile:

My un-overclocked CPU was making too much heat (an old one, I’ve bought it circa 3 years ago). It is an AMD Athlon XP 3000+, which is ~2300 Mhz. Because I’m too g33k to go out to buy a new fan/cooling system or just a new machine, I underclocked it to 1300 MHz! I’ve lost ~1000 MHz.
And you know what is interesting? I found no differences in speed! It has roughly the same speed, less heat (but when CPU is used it makes still too much heat). I just noticed it once when I played a game, because it lagged a bit, what was a bit unusual, but then I realized, that I threw out 1 GHz out of window, had to timper with the settings. This was the only place where I noticed slowdown. But anyways, I play rarely.
Overclocking may be fun, but I won’t risk it, because I guess it voids the warranty if I mess up something (like blowing up the cpu) due to my inexperience and extra 600 MHz isn’t that motivating for me at that high speeds (especially if I have 4 processors). Yep, it is true, I don’t use CPU-crunching applications, just happily webbrowsing and textediting. :smiley:

1.448V is too much for my taste.
And I find strange too that memory scores only 5.3, I get 5.9 with my overclocked and cheap Kigston value ram 667 ( to 355 Mhz and 4-4-4-12 ).

Take a look to the latencies.

I heartily agree with Jeffs comment on saving money by overclocking, saving a few bucks and gettin a few more cycles is any geeks dream(wet?).

When i overclocked my E6400 (good cpu, shame about the cache) I managed to up the FSB to 333mhz AND Undervolt it, thus increasng speed and decreasing heat, the only thing stopping me bumping the FSB more is that the northbridge on my P965 board gets hot.

A lot of people home building media centre PCs buy processors and underclock them so they can major undervolt for ultra low temps(and hence can reduce amount of fans + fan speed)

I dont think you mentioned jeff, but even if you are using all four slots, it is worthwhile (if you bought paired memory) to keep the pairs together in correct paired slots, especially if they are different brands.

Finally, i think it shows my internet addiction when i see the picture of the cat “helping” i was thinking…‘that would make a good lolcat’

Damn you Jeff! You re-kindle my interest in overclocking then I find out my mobo is an overclocking stinker (ASROCK 775DUAL-VSTA).

Hey meccano, I have too my E6400 undervolted ( 1.1625V in Asus P5B ) and running at 355 Mhz FSB :slight_smile:

I’d welcome a post on silencing PCs

I have one here:

I’ll do a specific one for this build, too.