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shewhorn

New Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Hi folks,

I'm professional photographer and my cameras all have a voracious appetite for CPU power and hard drive space. I've recently upgraded my system from an Athlon XP 2700 and chose the following components:

- Intel P4 Prescott core, D0 stepping (my first Intel processor in many years, Photoshop seems to be about the only thing this processor beats the Athlon 64s in)

- Abit IC7-G MaxII

- Zalman CNPS7000B w/Arctic Silver 5

- Western Digital 74 gig Raptor for my system and scratch disk

- Hitachi 7k250 for my workspace (I have more storage networked elsewhere... that's the next project, converting my network to gigabit ethernet)

- Matrox P650 (I don't need speed, I need an ACCURATE 2D dual head graphics card which Matrox is the king of)

I'm using my existing case which is an Antec Sonata (I don't like to hear my computer) which I believe has a 380 watt Antec supply in it.

I have 2 gigs of Samsung PC3200 (1 gig x 2).

This is the first system I've bought with the specific intention of overclocking. Fortunately I'm an ex-software engineer so I'm not completely ignorant (just mostly :D ) when it comes to hardware. I've had the system running for over an hour with Prime95 and the UD agent (check out www.grid.org it's a distributed computing project dedicated to cancer research) which pegs the processor at 100%. I'm going to try MemTest86 overnight within the next few days.

Processor temp at full steam with the FSB @ 225 MHz (~3.6 GHz) is reported as being around 60°C (from Abit EQ) with an ambient room temperature of 18°C. Idle temp at that speed is around 44°C +/- 0.5°C. Here's the real kicker for me (I completely wasn't expecting this), at 200 MHz (3.2 GHz) the temp is reported as 57.5°C but it fluctates quite a bit, +/- 1.5°C (someone needs to smack Abit on the head and teach them about moving averages). I must say I'm a little surprised that that there's only a 2.5° C delta between peak load for 3.2 GHz and 3.6 GHz. I know the mobo temps aren't always accurate but... for those of you who are experienced with this does that seem about right?

A little bit more information, when idle vcore is reported to be 1.34 volts. From what I understand it should be 1.3875 for this processor. Under load Abit EQ reports it as 1.3 volts. How accurate is this figure? If it's not very accurate I'd appreciate it if someone could tell me if there's an easily accessible test lead on the top of the board where I could directly meter it. If this is accurate then either... the voltage regulator on the IC7-G MaxII SUCKS or my power supply is a bit anemic or... something is wrong with my mobo. Okay one more or... or this is just normal expected behavior under load. I could up the voltage a little bit but from what I've read that doesn't really seem necessary for 3.6 GHz with the Prescott core (fwiw at 3.2 GHz the monitor app is also reporting a lower voltage too).

I've attempted to go above 3.6 GHz and I've had somewhat good results at 3.65 GHz but after 1 hour Prime95 threw an error and once when opening Firefox the whole machine reset itself. I've had it at 3.75 GHz but Prime95 immediately throws errors. At 3.8 GHz the machine usually freezes while booting into XP. I've tried a 5:4 and a 3:2 divider on the memory but that didn't seem to help that much. As I mentioned earlier, the AGP and PCI bus is fixed at 66/33 MHz.

So, what would be my next step in getting this thing to go faster? I'd like to get it to 3.8 GHz if possible (I've heard of lots of people going to 4 GHz on air). Is my 380 watt Antec supply (I think the one that came with the Sonata is from the "true power" series, a fairly decent supply from what I understand) a bit anemic for the job? Would upgrading the supply get me more stability higher frequencies? What about heat? Hypothetically speaking let's say the mobo readings are accurate, 60°C is within the thermal spec of the processor so would throwing a better cooler at it (I think you can get a Thermalright XP-120 on to the IC7-G MaxII without much difficulty) do anything for me or would it just be a waste of money? It's worth noting I don't want a jet plane sitting next to me.

Cheers, Joe
 
OP
S

shewhorn

New Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Anybody? I went ahead and bought an Antec True Power 550 watt supply (30 amps peak on the 12v rails), I figured that should do okay. I did manage to get the machine running for a little while (20 minutes) running Prime95 at 3808 MHz with the memory divider at 5:4 and the vCore at 1.4875 volts. That's an improvement as prior to that I couldn't get that far past the POST (Windoze might start loading but it would usually hang). Unfortunately I'm not stable at 3808 MHz as the machine just hung and I had to reset it. I'm back down to 3.6 GHz for the moment.

Now that I have a decent power supply what's the next step? Will an XP-120 help? As I mentioned before at 3.6 GHz the board is reporting a temp of 60° celcius but it's my understanding that the ABIT boards report temps about 8° too hot (which I guess is conservative too, it's sometimes over by 14°C). If that's the case I'm running under load at 52°C which I don't think would be too bad. Will a better cooler (for reference I have the copper Zalman (7000B)) bring me stability at 3.8 GHz or have I perhaps found the limit of my particular processor?

Cheers, Joe
 

cetoole

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2004
Location
Maryland
Better cooling might help, but it might also be the limit of the chip. Before buying a new hsf, you might want to take off the side of the case and put a big AC fan blowing in to see if that helps.