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Can't get unlocked 550 BE stable, help please.

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bpatterson007

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Joined
Sep 19, 2011
I am having an absolute nightarish time getting my 3.1GHZ 550 BE (2 core) overclocked. I have unlocked all 4 cores and am running an H50 water cooler with push/pull config. My stock speed temps are very low at only about 19C. When I stress test they're only hitting about 28C at stock speeds.

I know CPU heat is not the issue, but obviously something is causing my system to BSOD or even fail to boot sometimes.

I've read forum posts till I'm not sure which way is up anymore.

Can someone tell me how to proceed to stabilize this?

Right now I'm loading optimized defaults. From there I adjust the following:

1. Unlock CPU Core, then reboot unlocking all 4 cores.
2. AMD Cool'n'Quiet = Disabled
3. C1E Support = Disabled
4. Speedstep = Disabled
5. System brings RAM up as 1333, but it is easily 1600 capable so I manually adjust ratio to 1:4 (1600 MHz) and timings to 8-9-8-24 (manufacturers specs) and leave voltage to Auto.
6. Leaving voltages at Auto I the highest I can take CPU Ratio is 17.5x (3500 MHz).

Taking the ratio to 18x the BIOS doesn't even POST, screen just stays black and I have clear CMOS.

I know theoretically with my setup I should be able to reach about 4-4.2 GHz although I'm only shooting for about 3.7-3.8 GHz for stable 24/7 operations.

Obviously I am kind of new to overclocking, but I am trying to learn. Any help is greatly appreciated.

I've copied my system for reference from another signature I have set up:

System: Kids OC Experiment

CPU Phenom II X2 550 BE (4 cores unlocked)
Motherboard MSI 890FXA-GD65

Memory 2x4GB Patriot Division 2 Viper Extreme DDR3
Graphics Card Gigabyte HD 6850 1GB GDDR5

Hard Drive WD Caviar 500GB 7200rpm SATA-6G
Power Supply Thermaltake W0382RU - 750 Wat

CPU cooling H50 w/AS5, push/pull 2xScythe Gentle Typhoon AP-15
GPU cooling Stock

OS Win7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
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redduc900

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Dec 17, 2000
Location
Portland, OR
See if you can get a stable overclock using the OC Genie Lite tool in the Control Center software that came with the board.
 
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bpatterson007

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Sep 19, 2011
I kept all the settings I had mentioned as far as RAM and voltages.

I locked the cores so it is now at the default of 2 cores. I kept it the ratio so cpu was at 3.5 GHz...seemed this should have just worked easily enough.

However, about 5 seconds into running Prime95 Large FFT the screen went crazy looking then the computer rebooted.


Also I ran the OC genie lite as requested and spit out the following:

211 FSB
Ratio 17.5x
Frequency 3692
CPU-NB Freq 2110
DRAM Freq 1688
HT Link Freq 2110

Also it adjusted these voltages from Auto
CPU Voltage 1.402
CPU-NB Voltage 1.210
DRAM Voltage 1.651
NB Voltage 1.298

Edit: Using the OC Genie settings Prime95 Large FFT crashed in about 2 seconds to BSOD. Ambient HW Monitor temps are 17C. Ran Small FFT and after ten quick stress minutes core temps maxed at 28C with Genie settings.
 
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bpatterson007

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Sep 19, 2011
Yeah they definitely makes sense. The tests I ran in my previous post were all with 2 cores not 4.

You mentioned 205 HT. Adjust the FSB?
 
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bpatterson007

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Sep 19, 2011
Well to update my situation I have been reading that the latest BIOS 18.3 for my board has been causing a lot of people problems with OC'ing. I downgraded to 18.1 and already I see an improvement. I have just started from scratch and have disabled the typical settings (speedstep, AMD Cool'n'Quiet, C1E).

I set DRAM to 1600 and manufacturer specs of 8-9-8-24.

The ONLY thing I touched besides DRAM was my CPU ratio and I set the two cores (CPU is still locked) to 18X (3600 MHz).

The computer would not even run P95 on the old BIOS as this vanilla setting. Current core temps 15 minutes into P95 are 21C/27C (min/max).

Thoughts? And thank you all for your input, you have made me slow down a bit and work on two cores for now. The other cores will come later.
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
I would not try to run your ram at 1600 mhz util you figure out how high the CPU will overclock with the ram at 1333 mhz. You do realize, don't you, that the AMD integrated memory controller is only rated for 1333 mhz. Some AMD CPUs will play with the ram at 1600 mhz, at least with relaxed ram timings, but many will not. When overclocking its best to deal with only one variable at a time so you know what is causing instability. You have been trying to overclock the CPU with cores unlocked and the memory controller on overload, not to mention that 1600 mhz is the "XMP" (extended memory profile) of your ram rather than the normal operating speed mode. If you will run CPU-z and look at the "SPD" tab you will see what I mean about the ram. Nearly all 1600 mhz ram is really 1333 mhz ram that will run at 1600 mhz with extra voltage and/or relaxed timings (the XMP mode). You need to go about this thing more systematically.
 
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bpatterson007

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Sep 19, 2011
Trents,

Fair enough, that is definitely sound reasoning.

What is your advice on how to proceed?

As of right now my latest stress test (10 min blip) reached core temps of 31C at 3.9GHz with 1.525V.

This was with my RAM at manufacturers settings of 8-9-8-24, but I had kept it at 1600 MHz.

This is also with just two cores, yet all four of mine will unlock. My goal is just reasonable 24/7 overclocks with hopefully all 4 cores in use.
 
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trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Let's start with seeing how far you can get 2 cores to overclock. I say that because you may find you like the performance of 2 cores at a high overclock better than 4 cores a lower or even no overclock, depending on the viability of the locked cores. Most software doesn't take good advantage of more than two cores anyway because most programs aren't thoroughly multi-threaded yet. At least you would have two options for comparison sake. Does this make sense to you?
 
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bpatterson007

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Sep 19, 2011
I hadn't really thought of the lack of applications that truly use multiple cores properly.

It would make sense to theoretically have 2 cores at 4.0GHz as opposed to 4 at 3.6GHz as an example.

Well I'm all for finding the max of the two cores with a little help. All the voltages, especially with northbridge are a tad confusing. It's hard to pinpoint culprits of crashes, BSODs, and failure to POSTs.
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Another factor here is that working with only two cores to start with will help you learn how to overclock systematically so that you can apply these same techniques to four cores if you wish.

So, to start with remove the core unlock and return all settings in bios to default. Make sure the Overclocking Genie is not active. Most bioses will return settings to default by hitting a key, (commonly, its the F9 key).

The next thing is to collect some software tools to monitor the status of the bios and hardware with regard to voltages, frequencies and temperatures and to put the system under stress in order to check for stability: CPU-z (reports info about hardware, voltages, and frequencies, HWMonitor (reports info on voltages and temps) and Prime95 (the "stressor" program). You may have some of these already.
 

reddevil6

Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Location
australia
if unlocking cores the very first thing i would do is unlock then dont do any overclock aand find if all the cores are stable use Intel burn test or prime95, there locked for a reason not all but a good percentage of the locked cores are defective
 
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bpatterson007

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Sep 19, 2011
Reddevil6,

I did test the 4 cores unlocked at everything stock overnight running P95 small FFT. It ran fine on stock settings, it was one of the first tests I did.

Trents,

Well, you keeping making irrefutable sense. Learn how to OC the most simple way with two cores, I can't really argue with that. As for software I have, HW Monitor, P95, MEMTEST86, SuperPI, 3D Mark, etc.

Should I start with straight stock values in the BIOS or at least load optimal?

Also, I am correct in turning off AMD CoolNQuiet, Speedstep, and C1E so far right?

Waiting for more guidance. Thanks to all for the input and advice, it is much appreciated.
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
You need to get the freeware program CPU-z. It is one of our standard tools. We will be asking you to give us pictures of these three tabs of its user interface: "CPU", "Memory" and "SPD".

Do you know how to do screen capture using the Windows Accessories tool, "Snipping Tool" and also the forum tool for uploading pics? To upload pics go to the "Go Advanced" button at the bottom of the new post window, then scroll down to "Manage Attachments". A window will pop up asking you to find and upload the pic. Then close the window and submit the post.

Have HWMonitor open on the desktop to monitor core temps. With all other bios settings at stock, raise the CPU multiplier by .5x increments and run the Prime95 blend test for 20 minutes. Longer Prime95 tests will be employed later to confirm true stability but 20 minutes is long enough to insure you are almost really stable and it doesn't take so long at the beginning stages of the overclocking process. Repeat this cycle of increasing the multiplier by .5x and running the Prime95 blend test until you cannot pass the 20 minute test. Failing means BSOD or a worker drops out of the Prime95 interface. The only thing you are changing in bios at this point is the CPU multiplier.

When you first fail the 20 minute Prime test go into bios and switch your CPU voltage from Auto to Manual and add a small increment of vcore and retest. Add only enough vcore to pass the 20 minute Prime95 blend test, i.e., to restore stability.

At that point report back to us with pics of HWMonitor (so we can see what your max core temps were) and the three CPU-z tabs mentioned above.

And yes, have Cool N Quiet, C1E disabled in bios and in Windows Control Panel have the Power Options set to Performance.
 
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trents

Senior Member
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Dec 27, 2008
And by the way, bpatterson007, welcome to OC Forums! We are glad you came on board.

Oh, yes. Please put the system info from your first post into your "Sig" so we can refer to it readily as the thread gets longer. This is a common forum courtesy.
 

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bpatterson007

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Sep 19, 2011
Ok updated signature, should have done that earlier for simplicity. Wife is on the computer this morning so I will get a chance to play with it around lunch or after today and I will report back. Thanks again for the help.
 
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bpatterson007

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Sep 19, 2011
Okay here are my results. First failure on stock settings and voltage occured jumping from 3500 to 3600 MHz.

Increased voltages by .0125 increments. Passed blend test 20 minute run at 1.3875 volts from a stock of 1.35.
 

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trents

Senior Member
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Dec 27, 2008
You're doing good! Now, proceed with more of the same. I want you to bump up one or two .5x increments and add vcore to get it stable for the Prime95 20 minute run. Report back with pics as before.

As you will soon see, the law of diminishing returns will begin to set in and it will take much more vcore to get one more increment of CPU speed. When you see this effect you know you are approaching the overclocking wall. However, you have plenty of core temp room and vcore room to play with. As we get closer to that wall we will begin to give attention to some other things like NB frequency and voltage and maybe bump the ram voltage up a tad.

Couple of other things:
1. Take note of TIMP0 in HWMonitor at 25 idle/35 load. That reading is your CPU (socket area) temp. That will be important when unlocking cores because when unlocking cores you lose the ability to read core temps. Core temps are the critical ones. Your CPU temp is will then need to be relied upon. To know the differential between core temps and CPU temps is significant because you can then calculate the core temp if you know the CPU temp. So keep in mind that under load there is a an 8 C differential between the two. This differential will remain fairly constant whether you run the processor at two cores or four.
2. Vcore IMO is safe up to about 1.55 under load for a computer running in 24/7 operation.
3. Core temps will begin to climb as you add more vcore. We want to limit core temps to a max of mid 50s C. Overclocked AMD CPUs tend to become unstable when core temps begin to exceed roughly 55 C. They are safe beyond that but not stable.