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Having issues overclocking AMD FX 8120

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New Member
Jun 18, 2018
Hello there, I've had this rig for quite awhile. (AMD FX 8120. Sabertooth 990FX mobo. G.Skill Ripjaw Series 8GB DDR3 1600 Ram) And I decided I wanted to overclock it. I've been meaning too for quite awhile and just got around to it. Anyways, of course being an idiot I decided to go full tilt and just "try out" settings from around the net. Trying to hit 4.6 to 5.0GHZ. Of course those failed. Then tried going for 4.2/4.3 and 4.0 GHZ. Well 4.0GHZ has been the most stable "OC" yet. Depending on voltage it will run for 5-10 minutes in Prime95 before Thread #7 and/or Thread #8 stop working. I can't recall the error, which I'll update this post with if there is one. But I'm trying to figure out why? I know testing at higher voltages/GHZ overclocking thermals seems to be my main issue. (CPU jumps from idle temp to 85+C in around 2 minutes. Idle temp being anywhere between 19C and 30C.

The temps are weird in and of itself as this system is using one of those CPU Coolers that are self contained liquid cooling systems attached to a case fan. (Again been a good 3 years since I built this machine so the model alludes me but I'll update with the correct info tomorrow.) But I believe it's a CORSAIR - Hydro Series 120mm Liquid Cooling System.

So of course thermals are my first issue. But a lot of people have been able to get a decent OC even on stock, crap, coolers. So let's forget about this issue as I plan on solving it. But my main question is why is Thread #7 and Thread #8 crashing after around 7-11 minutes of Prime95? My first guess is voltage. But I'm no Pro at OCing. (Obvious right?) So here's my settings. Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction! Again if I can get a detailed error or someone can point me to how to get a detailed error on the crashed threads, let me know.

Target MHZ (4000)
CPU Clock Ratio : 20
CPU Freq: 200
Voltages tested :
Auto (Lasts the longest which is around 11 to 15 minutes before said threads crash)
1.400000 (Everything beyond here is "rough estimate". Basically whatever choices Bios gave me. But I went as far as 1.5x volts with higher settings on CPU Clock Ratio/Freq of course.)

As indicated above, once I got to a certain level of volts is when I tried higher combinations of CPU clock ratio/CPU Freq. Most of which resulted in hard lock after 10 to 30 seconds of Prime95. Which I'm almost positive is due to thermals. I did these settings before saying F it and going for the 4GHZ "mark." So I'm including them as well to show my methodology. What I'm MOST wanting an answer on is the voltages in the 1.3x to 1.42x range which were used to try and stabilize the 4.0GHZ "stable OC." Which never resulted in a hard lock but Threads crashing.

PS: I've done "loose notes" on this OC if you even want to call it that. To try and retrace my steps to establish sweet spot. So if I'm missing information, PLEASE let me know. If I didn't jot it down, I'll repeat the tests required to provide info. I know this is an old proc but quite frankly, with a GTX 970, it still does the job for gaming today. I just want to etch out a bit more performance as the only game that is causing me hassle is Just Cause 3. And if you love computers/gaming, having one game out of 100 become a problem, IRRITATES the hell out of you. So foolishly, you spend hours trying to fix the issue instead of chocking it up to the game and moving on! Plus I figured, I might as well OC this proc while I can till I decide to build another rig.
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You have a heat issue. We really need an idea on what EXACT cooler you have some Corsair AIO cooler can get you a mild to medium OC 4.5 - 4.6 GHZ but some are no better then stock. The guys here who run big OC's are all on Custom Liquid cooled rigs. While your at it please list all your component in your build such as case and fans and how your airflow is going in your case

Why don't you start from scratch …… go into bios and set your bios to Stock and save, boot into windows and download HWMonitor and CPUZ and run prime for at least 20 min with HWMonitor and CPUZ ….. CPU, Memory and SPD tabs open. CPUZ will allow you to run multiple instances of it at the same time. Post your results here when your finished. Keep an eye on your temps ……. 60*C Max for package temp and 70*C Max for CPU temp. Im off to work shortly but someone will help when they see your post.
Yeah, heat is your problem. That generation of AMD CPUs were generally not stable beyond 60c package temp.

You need to establish a baseline temp at stock frequencies and voltages. Do some stress testing at stock frequencies and voltages to check for stability and monitor temps.

What stress testing software are you using and what temp monitoring software? Would suggest Prime95 and HWMonitor.

Frankly, I don't know anyone who got decent overclocks on those 8 core FX CPUs using stock cooling. I think you are wrong about that. They are heaters. We really need more info in your water cooler. When overclocking those 8 core FX chips you really need at least a 240mm radiator and and preferrably, a 360mm rad.
When overclocking those 8 core FX chips you really need at least a 240mm radiator and and preferrably, a 360mm rad.

OP - ^^^^ This right here is the bottom line.
You don't need to look for alternatives, because there aren't any.
Here is an old post I did with an FX 8150 and a Gigabyte UD3 Rev 4 board with a Corsair H100 cooler ……. this would be considered a max STABLE OC with a similar cooler. I can't remember how long I was stability testing this so I use the term Stability loosely here.