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Help with overclock on new system w/ 5820K and MSI X99A Gaming 9 Ack Mobo

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dionisios

Registered
Joined
Jan 19, 2016
Hi- just joined the forum! I recently built a new machine- my first PC build since 2007! I was using an Alienware M17x R3 laptop since early 2011, but that recently died, so I decided to go back to desktop PCs. I have a reasonable amount of experience building PCs and tinkering, but I have never really done any overclocking.

I dove in head first over the weekend after running the machine stock for about a week and needed a little help understanding what the different BIOS settings do.

First, here are the basic specs:
5820K CPU
MSI X99a Gaming 9 Ack Mobo
G.Skill 4x8GB 2400mhz RAM
Corsair H110iGTX Cooler
MSI Gaming 6G 980ti GPU
Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Case

Here's what I've determined so far:
The system runs "stable" at 4.4GHZ at 1.18v. When I say stable, I ran the Aida64 stress test with all options checked for 4 hours and there were no errors reported. Max CPU temps stabilized at between 67-71C. I also tried running a Handbrake 1080P encode (x264 profile 4.1, high bit rate, set to "very slow") and it would stop randomly (but not "crash") at lower voltage settings of 1.165 and 1.175v. 1.18v seems to work at 4.4ghz. I also ran Intel XTU CPU test at 1.18v for 30 minutes and it passed with max temps reaching 67C.

And here is the goal:
I want the system to scale CPU speed and voltage to save energy and run quietly for everyday use, but with a higher max "turbo" setting enabled. The max temps are pretty well handled by the cooling setup, but the idle temps at 4.4GHZ are way too high for my taste (46-49c), and the fans are spinning at 50-60% speed at idle, which makes it too noisy for just surfing the web and doing normal stuff.

Assuming that 4.4ghz at 1.18v is a stable setting, how can I set the OC in BIOS to use that as an effective "maximum" speed and max. voltage (within a couple tenths I assume)? I know it has something to do with adaptive voltage and setting a positive offset, but I can't find concrete info from MSI. Every mfr uses slightly different names for the settings and I don't like to guess. :)

Anyone with familiarity of MSI Gaming BIOS settings willing to help me out? :)
Thanks!
Dion
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Next, replace the fans on the H110i GTX. I have the same cooler, but hated the fans (soooo loud).

I tried 2 different variants for the fans that both worked well

1. Noctua iPPC-2000 PWM (4 in push/pull)...they stay quiet if you keep the RPMs under 1200
2. Prolimatech Red Vortex 14 LED (4 in push/pull)...they have other LED colors, and no LED color too

I have the fans connected to my motherboard to control their speed, set them to run at a fixed speed (that is quiet for me).

I like #2 better, as it was quieter for me (moved the Noctua's to the front of the case for intake). I have them running at 1000 RPM (2 pairs in push/pull).

My temps stay under 70 C for everything I do.

Make sure you have the H110i GTX pump set to "performance mode" (make a big difference)...you have to use the junky Corsair Link software to set it.

Also, I use the Corsair Link to look at the AIO coolant temperature. With the #2 setup, the AIO coolant temp peaks at about 12 C over ambient at max load on my processor. I keep the machine running 24/7.
 
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dionisios

Registered
Joined
Jan 19, 2016
Hi-I didn't know about a "performance mode" for the pump, I'm going to try that and see if it helps the idle temps.
I already switched out the stock fans on the cooler (part of the original plan) for the Noctua Industrial PWM 2000rpm.
I had read that the stock fans were noisy before buying the thing, and I also knew I was going to try and OC so I wanted some extra headroom. I'll report back after changing to performance mode. And man that Corsair Link software is a dog.

I guess I can always go push pull for more oomph if needed.

Here's a link to the build for more info:
http://pcpartpicker.com/b/6HHNnQ
 
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JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Do you have the fans connected into the AIO block or off your motherboard?

If you run them off the AIO block, the default firmware setting will ramp up the fans to high speed based on the AIO coolant temperature. Even setting it to "quiet mode" or "custom mode" with the Corsair Link junk, they would still spin up.

That's why I connected the fans to the motherboard CPU fan headers. The MSI BIOS has a "Hardware Monitor" that lets you customize the fan profiles based on CPU temperature. For my setup, like I said, I use a fixed speed all the time.

If you get 4 and setup as 2 push/pull pairs, you will be able to run them at lower RPM and get better airflow. (The airflow numbers do not stack in push/pull, but the static pressure does).
 
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dionisios

Registered
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Jan 19, 2016
I believe I connected both 4 pin fans to the connector off the pump, which then plugs into the CPU FAN Header 1 on the mobo. My case fans are plugged into CPU Fan 2, so I control the profiles for all fans with 2 separate fan curves in the MSI mobo bios.
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
The connector off of the AIO pump just reports pump RPM back to the motherboard (it only has 1 wire connected). This does not let you control the fans connected to the AOI block.

It depends on what you are looking for, but I felt it more safe to have the motherboard control the fan speed! :D

For my setup, I have the 4 fans (2 pairs of push/pull) connected to the two CPU fan headers. I have my case fans connected to the other fan headers on the motherboard. All can control their speed off of CPU temp, with the CPU fan headers letting you go to lower RPMs.

I have the connector from the AIO pump running to one of the non-CPU fan headers on the motherboard, so that I can see it's speed if I want to.

With the Prolimatech fans I mentioned above, I turned off fan control and just let them spin at max RPM (1000 RPM)...and it's pretty quiet.
 
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dionisios

Registered
Joined
Jan 19, 2016
That sucks- so the CPU fans are only reacting to coolant temp. All this time I thought they were being controlled by my BIOS fan curve. :screwy:
 
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dionisios

Registered
Joined
Jan 19, 2016
Well- I think I have success!
After testing at fixed 4.4ghz (44x100) with fixed CPU voltage at 1.18v, I went back into BIOS and enabled EIST and turbo, and set voltage to "Adaptive".
HWMonitor confirmed that processor scales down to 1.2Ghz when idle and voltage drops as low as .721v. More importantly, CPU temps are at 35-36C compared to 43-44C at the fixed setting at idle, and the fan speeds are much lower and nearly silent.

Next, I opened HWMonitor and ran an Intel XTU CPU test for 10 minutes to observe the behavior, and immediately noticed that HWMonitor was reporting CPU voltage as 1.190-1.195v during the test at peak load. So about .010-.015V higher than my setting.
So, I rebooted backj into BIOS, changed voltage to "adaptive+offset", set the offset type to "-" and the offset value to ".010".
After saving and rebooting again, I opened HWMonitor and ran another Intel XTU CPU test for 10 minutes. Success! Processor is pegged at 1.180V and never exceeds.

I'm running Windows 10 Pro, and I made sure to switch Power settings to "Balanced" and increased minimum processor state to 15% (default was 10%). I also disabled the fast boot and bizarre not-quite-all the way shut-down/sleep features since many people have reported problems with these settings.
Another thing I noticed is that the MSI Gaming App seems to screw with the Windows CPU scaling. If I set the app to "Gaming Mode", I notice that the CPU frequency repeatedly spikes at 100% (4.4ghz) and immediately back down to 1.2ghz. It's almost as if it's fighting with the Windows Power settings. Goofy, so I eliminated it from starting up with windows; I just use the MSI Afterburner which leaves the CPU alone and deals only with the GPU clock speeds.

Now I've got to get a handle on the fan setup and wiring based on comments above. All I know is that Corsair Link is completely useless for fan monitoring, I'm really leaning toward just plugging everything into my MOBO directly and letting the BIOS control fan speed. Any opinions?
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Corsair link is pretty much useless. I use it to monitor the coolant temp and motherboard temps when running 24/7 number crunching runs...that's it.

Do what I said above about connecting the fans to the motherboard header.

The fans that come with the AIO are junk (loud). If you don't have other 140mm fans, connect them to the motherboard...but don't use a splitter as they can draw more than 1 amp combined. I can't find a spec on current draw from a MB fan header, but everything I have read says 1 amp or less. So, connect 1 to each motherboard header.


 
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dionisios

Registered
Joined
Jan 19, 2016
ok- hypothetical question- what if I want to go push-pull on the radiator with 4 PWM fans. How would I connect them to the mobo in that situation? I have 2 CPU_FAN headers on the mobo and they are both true 4 pin PWM connectors and I believe there are 3 additional SYS_FAN headers that I can use for my 3 case fans. But there's a wrinkle...

Currently, I have all 3 of my case fans (3-pin Noctua Industrial 2000rpm) plugged into the Phanteks fan hub that came with the case, which then has a single 4 pin connector that I connected to CPU_FAN2 for speed control. They all draw power using the SATA power connector on the hub, so it's not drawing power through the header, which I like. Phanteks requires that the fan hub is connected to a true 4-pin PWM header in order to function properly.

So, if I do what you're saying and use up both of my CPU_FAN headers for my 2 radiator fans, I'll have to abandon the fan hub and individually connect the case fans to the 3 mobo SYS_FAN headers; more cables criss-crossing the mobo and also drawing power directly from the headers. So I'm unsure of what to do.

I know that I dislike Corsair Link intensely, and definitely want to abandon it for everything but the power supply monitoring and the coolant temp monitoring.



Corsair link is pretty much useless. I use it to monitor the coolant temp and motherboard temps when running 24/7 number crunching runs...that's it.

Do what I said above about connecting the fans to the motherboard header.

The fans that come with the AIO are junk (loud). If you don't have other 140mm fans, connect them to the motherboard...but don't use a splitter as they can draw more than 1 amp combined. I can't find a spec on current draw from a MB fan header, but everything I have read says 1 amp or less. So, connect 1 to each motherboard header.
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
That's not what I'm saying...

Pick fans that do not go over the 1 A when you have 2 on a splitter, off 1 MB header.

Up above I recommended 2 different kinds. :thup: