Ultimate Core i7 Overclocking Guide -- We Push Nehalem to its Limits

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JCCIII

"If your machine will withstand a couple of hours of Prime95, you’re doing good. If it’ll run over night, it’s bullet resistant. If it’ll run overnight in the middle of the summer, in an 80 degree room, well, you really have something to brag about."

 

Is not that the truth!

 

How many times have I wondered if my EE was one the verge of a meltdown this summer? 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wholesalers

Yeah! you are right this is exactly what actually happen cool stuff man I like it ;-)

Regards its David from http://www.wholesalepages.co.uk

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JCCIII

.

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sinister213

I recently purchased a dell studio xps 435t with the i7 processor (920) and12 of ddr3 at a major discount through my school. I plan on making it into a capable gaming system with a few upgrades. Efforts to overclock have been futile. Apparently Dell bios negate the ability to change system settings like clock speed. I opened the towere and there is no lead to what type of board dell supplied me with other than 0X501H. Today i bought an evga classified x58 w/triple sli and a corsair 1000 watt power supply (still waiting for gt300).

However, the salesman at comp usa was bashing the evga board and pushing the p6t.  Is the p6t the better board and what are the downfalls if any on the classified board? how capable are they in terms of overclocking? Which board will offer better support for a dx11 gpu? I plan to have all mods done by a local company. they have asus signs everywhere so i know their opinion will be biased. any unbiased input would be greatly appreciated. thanks

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MasterShake

I am overclocking my i7 920, and am running Everest to measure the CPU temps. Which temp should I be looking at? I get a status of each core and the overall CPU.

The cores run at about 70 degrees, while the CPU itself shows about 60 degrees.

 

Thanks!

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ghot

Yes, I'm an AMD fan...whats your point?  I just got an AMD 955BE to 3.7ghz in 5mins on air...and I haven't even dug into the BIOS, really.  Low voltages stock RAM timings...and yes 24 hour Prime95/Blend stable IN an 80 degree room with max load temps at 40-41C.  Gimme a month and it'll be at or near 4Ghz on air and 24/7 Prime stable.  Yes I do build budget systems...is there something wrong with that?

My earlier comment was just to point out that AMD came up with the architechture, Intel just copied it, threw wads of money at it, and other than ungodly memory benchmarks...it doesn't do much better than an AMD, yet costs alot more.

I could buy Gucci jeans too, but what's the point?  Levi's do the same job for a lot less.

I'm really kinda of sick and tired of Intel FAN BOIs and all their BS..to be honest.  AMD with their 3 Fabs smacked down Intel badly a few years ago...and they will do it again...why....because they are better than Intel at designing CPU's.

Be my guest Woofa...keep buying Intels...I'll stick with AMD and a vacation instead  ;)

Only dead fish....."go with the flow"   :/

 

Take an OS, and edit out all the efficiency, and what you have left is a post-XP Microsoft operating system :)

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marscay

Congratulations, another blind AMD fanatic talking absolute BS.

You need a month to get 4ghz stable 24/7??? I was at 3.9ghz 24/7 stable on a Q6600 2 years ago......yes well done AMD and their followers, a truly amazing feat. AMD were well in the lead a few years back but apart from budget rigs they just cannot compete right now.

Anyone who uses their pc for more than reading blogs is nuts to consider PhenomII over i7/i5, for rendering/encoding duties an i7-920 which only costs another £60 verus the top Phenom II chip (where are you vacationing with that saving, basingstoke for 1 day?) absolutely destroys it.

The only reason you're sick and tired on Intel fan boys is because you know it to be true and you're backing the losing horse to save a bag of peanuts.

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pianoman6954

Intel's entire wafer process is different than AMD's.  The QPI is multidirectional and modular without special implementation or seperate chipset intervention, making it nearly infinitely scalable.  So its a little hard to believe the architecture is copied.  A similar method to handling RAM is far from a complete architecture copy.  AMD hasn't been on top since the Pentium 4 was Intels best offering.  AMD didn't get it's reputation for being the fastest or the most efficient, they are cheap, that's all. 

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studlymetts

i'm going to buy a core i7 920 with 12 GB DDR3 RAM

 

What other customizations do i need to make my core i7 920 run at 3.2 GHz?

and do I need to buy a better CPU cooling fan after overclocking it to 3.2 GHz?

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vfxcorp

Re:studlymetts - Yes, to overclock and to deal with the resultant heat increase you will need two more things: a better thermal paste and a better air cooler than the stock items that come with the Intel processor. Through my own experimentation and web research I have found that OCZ Freeze is the near top best thermal paste and performs 1-2 degrees better than the popular Artic Silver 5 and has a much shorter cure time. A better air cooler can make up to a 10-15 degree difference under load compared to a stock cooler. Based on BenchMarkReviews.com, for a 1366 processor, the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme and also Prolimatech Megahalems are the 2009 first quarter bests. Ufortunately Newegg is currently not stocking the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme or Prolimatech Megahalems, but I found the Thermalright Ultra-120 at Microcenter.com.

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vfxcorp

Great OC article. I wished they had gone more into the value or lack of value for Hyperthreading being ON or OFF.

I'm overclocking an i7 940 at 176 QPI (4048 Mhz) with some intense Vue 7 renders working up to 72 C. I did notice that by turning off Hyperthreading in the Bios, it saves about 10 degrees! That's a big heat difference. With Hyperthreading ON my Cinebench R10/64 scores are Single 5411, Multiple 21951, and OpenGL 8966. With Hypertheading OFF the Cinebench seems to do a little better on the Single, but does drop a little bit in Multiple: Single 5450, Multiple 19589, and OpenGL 8920.

Would Hyperthreading show more value in video production software I wonder? What software currently takes advantage of Hyperthreading?

 

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justme

where do i find this???

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Woofa

If not then it's of no use to you, at least speaking strictly i7. If you do then simply go to intel.com and figure it out, it's not that hard as you'll find it where you find the other downloads for the DX58SO.

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Pball1224

With turbo mode still turned on, the best speed I can reach and be stable at is 3.3ghz with a BCLK of 160mhz. Any faster and the temp gets too high and the sys restarts, usualy within 3 minutes of starting a test.

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Woofa

I was wondering while reading this why you got such limited results. Not that they were bad, just not noteworthy. Finally there it was, the motherboard you used, "Intel DX58SO “SmackEDover”." I've got nothing against Intel boards, I'm replying from one of my systems that happens to use a Bad Axe 2 with a Q6700 running at 3.6 on air that has been crunching away on distributed computing projects for over a year almost non-stop and zero issues. However their performance "Extreme" boards are not quite up there with many other motherboards when it comes to overclocking and from my experience the DX58SO is not an exception. The Bad Axe 2 I'm using is probably the best of the Intel Extreme category. Actually, strike the probably. I have my hands on a lot of hardware since I build systems and the Bad Axe 2 is the only one of the extreme boards that has been able to get in the same OC ballpark as a number of other makers like Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte and others from the same generation. It's old hardware now and there are other boards I could put this Q6700 in now that would perform better but it's been established so I leave it as there is no sense fooling with this unless the board takes a dive. I built a new i7 920, EVGA X58 on air for myself two months ago and it wasn't even breathing hard at the 3.66 you recorded and there are plenty of other examples like this out there using EVGA X58, Asus P6T, Gigabyte, etc. mbs. Those aren't just bragging number either as they are well documented and I won't even talk about what my 920 is clocked at right now. I have to wonder why you chose this comparison using the DX58SO. Maybe because Intel supplied the whole kit? I don't know. Anyway put that 920 in a P6T or EVGA X58 and you'll get a different OC experience.

As for the AMD fanboy ghot and the ridiculous comments. There's nothing much more entertaining than someone who doesn't have that much knowledge spouting off about the brand they blindly follow. I don't build just Intel systems nor do I blindly follow either cpumaker, in fact for a few years my systems were mainly AMD based. That situation may return someday, but right now if you aren't budget building Intel is the choice. I use and recommend AMD cpus for media centers and they work excellent for that purpose, workstation environs or top gaming machines they aren't the top dog and haven't been for awhile. ANY Core i7 absolutely crushes any other choice out there right now.

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macumber

Gordon, are you testing any water cooling, peltier, or other solutions with Core i7? I am one income tax return away from building a system and debating air vs water vs something else. Looked at CoolIt, Thermaltake Bigwater, and Danger Den DIY ... dunno what to do. Was planning on doing some overclocking of a Core i7 920 chip.

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Badger1

Nov. 17 I order my Gigabyte GA-EX58 Extreme mobo, Intel 965EE, a kit of 6 gigs of Patriot Viper EE DDR3 1333mhz and a couple of 150gb VelociRaptors. It all comes in by the 21st, I build it, boot it up and it's unlike anything I have ever used. WOW. I run it for a month and start pushing it. It goes to 3.86mhz with the memory running at 1500mhz like nothing and is still under 40c with air. Everytme I get to 4 ghz I lose stability. I see Patriot says the memory is for 1.65v. I am aware of the dreaded 1.65v + on this CPU but I take it to 1.64 and get 4 ghz stable. It goes into standby mode and locks up. I try different and it seems good until it sleeps for 4 hours and blows my HIS 4870 Ice-Q video card. I put an old X1600 I had it and I'm back up and smoking. I think maybe a bad video card. After another 4 hour slep it blows the X1600. It boots up with a real bad looking screen. I next day a Sapphire 4870, install it and it boos up once, says my BIOS is corrupt and it's restoring. That was the last of that system. Gigabyte said power supply. I tried 3 different ones, new memory, a fourth video card, another mobo and another CPU. I went and got an ASUS P6T Deluxe/PalmOC and i booted right up with my old CPU. Being w/o my system for 16 days, the shipping and return charges I paid made this a sad story. My ASUS was flying so I asked their tech support about sleep mode with my memory set at 1.64v. They said there should be no problem. I put it to sleep for 5 minutes and it mimicked the first system and scared me stiff! I have contacted them 4 times and can't get anything of use from them.

I am now running my memory at 1.5v, CPU on auto 1.325v, BLCK at 150 which gives m3 1501mhz on te memory an sets the CPU at 3.75 ghz. It is going in/out of sleep perfectly and feels like it's running the best I've had.

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ghot

You all know the old story  about two disparate people from differnet walks of life ...siwthing jobs or lives for a day  etc?  I'd really like to see what AMD could do with Intels fabs, for a day, and visa versa.  I still can't figure out why Intel just didn't name the processor K11   lol.  The "I" in I7 makes it almost sounds like Intel came up with the architecture.  Yes, that WAS sarcasm.

Take efficiency, and edit out all the intelligence and what you have left is a post-XP Microsoft operating system :)

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Silentblaze513

This is about the Intel i7, not the "budget" amd.  The only thing AMD has to stand on is its so called "6GHz" headroom; of course you won't be hitting anything near that unless you have liquid-nitrogen and liquid-Helium.  Even if you did hit 6GHz on an amd, an intel at 4 to 4.5GHz (on fucking water-cooling) would kick its ass.

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pppriot

LOL. i wonder why AMD can't make something better than the i7 and actually market it. rookie.

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canbbb

Sorry MPC, but I followed HardOCP's method this time for overclocking my 920.  And it's MUCH simpler:

[1] I simply overclocked my BCLK to 180, for a 3.6 Ghz machine; and

[2] I selected 1523 Mhz for the RAM (I know, weird choice)

Everything else I left at "AUTO".  That's it !  Used Prime95 for 2 hours. Stable as a rock.  Did not even need to change the voltages.

I'm not one to shy away from the complexities if that would be the only way to overclock the beast, but it's simply not necessary in this case, so why do it so complicated ??

The Rig:

Core i7 920, overclocked to 3.6 Ghz
6Gb Corsair 1600 Mhz DDR3 
Swiftech H20 water cooling kit (I know, I could push my CPU even further with this)
Asus P6T Deluxe mobo
and lots of other stuff :-)

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Cache

Ugh--that is sloppy and utterly irresponsible.  First of all, 'auto' almost always means extra volts--unnecessary volts--and that means heat that was generated for no reason.  It's potentially dangerous if you don't have the faintest clue how much power is being used by the components of your system. 

I won't disagree that it may be 'easier', but it's far from a good, reliable solution. As a 'first pass' if you want to see if something is possible, maybe--but if you really want to earn any OC chops you have to know how to actually tweak things so you get the best results for a given chip/motherboard/RAM combo.  I can look at my Q6600 and recite by memory what all the settings are and I know--I KNOW--that everything is in place as good as I can get with the settings I've set.

Using the 'auto' means that all you did was take a guess and hope for the best, without any real idea what you could have done with your system.

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canbbb

Cache is right.  :-)

Really, understanding the components, how it all works, and making sure you're doing the right thing is all important.  I have to admit my first post sounded like anyone could do just this.

In my defense, the P6T does a very good job of balancing things out - better than other mobos I've had before.  And it's only after reviewing at length the videos on HardOCP's site that I went that route for my last overclock.  'Sloppy' and 'irresponsible' are certainly not the right terms to be used here (but go ahead... flame away if you feel like it).

For the record, my voltages currently are: CPU: 1.275,  RAM: 1.5 and QPI: 1.2125... well below what this article proposes, and giving me a very stable 3.6 Ghz machine.  Yep, the P6T does deserve that good overclocking reputation it has...

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Cache

Also, I want to apologize for sounding snappish earlier--it was not my intent.  That said, I'm running an Asus p5q pro and have had other Asus boards in the past--they really do make OC'ing fairly effortless for people who may not know everything they 'should' do.  As it stands now, I've undervolted my Q6600 because I'm really not going too far with it, and I see no reason to throw extra electrons around in there. 

And yeah, I left a couple things on Auto when I got around to balancing everything out, it made it very easy to work on one thing at a time and know that if the OC froze up exactly which voltage did it.  I think Auto has it's place--it's just not meant to be used as a crutch, if that makes any sense.  Also--nice work there!

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Cache

"Cache is right."

 Could you relay that to my wife?  She's under the mistaken impression that I'm rarely right...  ;)

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Marcus_Soperus

...this should be required reading for any overclockers and bench techs dealing with the Core i7 procs. The BIOS changes are the biggest I've ever seen. Thanks for posting this!

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