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Northwood maximum effort=2.66 gig

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Senior Moment
Jan 12, 2001
Kansas, USA
Ok, 2.6 gig was my best overclock before this weekend, but I could not run my RDRAM at the 4X setting at that speed. To get to this far, I had 3 extra 80mm case fans, lapped Swiftech MCX478 and northbridge heatsinks, AS-II thermal paste, 40mm fan on northbridge chip, the hacked "77" BIOS, and the CPU VID pins were wire wrapped for 1.85v modified default. Oh yeah, I'd also been "burning in" the CPU off and on for the past several weeks.

Of course, I longed to tweak and squeak some more out of batboy's badboy Northy 2.0a and Abit TH7-II system. I was a man obsessed and for the last couple weeks had been carefully researching info and drawing up a battle plan. Today was the time to attack. Time for maximum effort. Time to break down the 2.6 gig wall.

First, I pulled the trusty Swifty cooler back off and applied some brand spanking new Arctic Silver III that I had just bought. Next, I mounted an extra 80mm fan to blow straight onto the RDRAM modules. I had noticed that the heat spreaders on my RAM definitely got warm to the touch when I was looking for hot spots inside my case. Lastly, I flashed back (oh wow, man) to the official "38" BIOS. I had originally flashed the BIOS with the hacked "77" file to give me more voltage settings, but since then I had done the VID pinning.

Right off the "bat" I tried 2.6 gig @ 1.8v actual voltage (BIOS setting of 1.9v) with the RAM at full speed (400 setting on the TH7-II). It was totally rock stable. Cooling the RDRAM really helped a lot. I began slowly sneaking the FSB and the voltage up. At 134 MHz, the system crashed hard. I had to reset the CMOS jumper to get it back. My Windows registry was toast. Fortunately, I had ghosted the harddrive, so after reformatting and ghosting, I was finally back in business again.

I tried 133 FSB at 1.9v again (2.0v BIOS setting). Kids, don't try this without excellent cooling. The RAM was still running at full speed (533X2=1066 MHz), amazing considering this is PC-800 stuff. I could not benchmark without the system locking up. I nervously pushed the vcore up to the 2.05v setting which was an average 1.95v measured with a couple spikes to 1.97v.

I was praying that the voodoo rubber chicken sacrifice that I had performed would spare my beloved Northy from frying. This time, I got my benchmarks and sighed in thankful relief. I hit the brakes and went back down to 2.6 gig and lowered the voltage. I did it! Whew and yippee! I had her totally pushed to the max. That's all there is and there ain't no more.

I reached my goal of 2.66 gig, which is 133 FSB with a 2.0a. Will I ever do it again? Probably not. I'm perfectly happy at a 100% stable 2.6 gig, especially now since I got my memory bus running at full speed. The mission was an overwelming success. I'm so proud of my system. I would of never made it this far without the help of this forum. THANKS!
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Nice research, nice overclock, and overall an excellent system!

I guess 1.95v must have got your heart racin' :D
This old fart was as nervous as a long-tailed tomcat in a room full of rocking chairs when I had the voltage cranked up that high. I had a window open and the ambient temp was down to 16 degrees C. (60 degrees F) or else I would of probably been sweating. One little hiccup and I would of had a $300 keychain.
nice OC
Even the AMD boys are going to have a hard time touching that system.....

So 2.6 for normal use?
Just wondering what kind of temps you were getting pushing 2.0 Volts through that thing at 2.66Ghz

Once again, nice OC
Congratulations batboy, excellent results there :) I also finally got the wire trick down (and also thanks a lot for all your efforts in explaining how to do that and getting a sticky thread in the Intel MB section etc.). My RDRAM seems to crap out at 144 mhz and 142 Mhz fsb is the highest I can get stable at. Not too shabby either. As you I'm getting more and more pleased with my NW cpu :)
LOL That was a funny line:

"One little hiccup and I would of had a $300 keychain."

Hey I see you in the reflection with the camera! hehe..

Once again that is too sweeeeet..

Turbo, your system is looking great, nice job. Anytime you can get an aircooled Northwood into the 2.4 to 2.5 gig range, you're doing good. Anything more is pure gravy. The folks that are hitting upwards toward 3 gig are generally using 2.2 gig Northwoods and usually have super cooling of some sort. I suspect they are not always truly stable at those speeds either. There will always be a few extremely exceptional CPUs that will fly higher than the rest.

Jay, at maximum effort, I saw a vcore spike of 1.97v (average was 1.95v) and a CPU load temp spike of 48.5 degrees (average was 46 to 48). Let me stress that I would never want to nor would I recommend running at those voltages and temps for an extented period of time.

This experiment was merely to test the limits of my system and to get the highest overclock possible for bragging rights. I'm quite happy to maintain a stable 2.6 gig @ 1.8v with my memory bus running at 520 MHz (520X2=1040) and having CPU load temps averaging about 42 to 44 degrees.
batboy, if you ever try going higher again, I wouldn't set the Vcore any higher than 2.1 in the bios. It seems there's some kind of voltage overprotection thing setting in at or above that setting. I got the cpu completely stable at 2564 Mhz and 2.1V in the bios (supplying around 1.9-1.94V), case open and window open too, much like you :D I wanted to try 2.6 Ghz, so I set the Vcore for 2.15V and .... *black screen* No post ... Hmm, hit the reset button.... No post :eek: Took out the power cord, waited for the standby light to turn off. Plugged the power back in, hit the power button..... No post :eek: Ok, by now I wasn't feeling too hot, well actually I was working up a sweat indeed. Pulled the power, resat the bios, powered back up. Post.... *sigh of relief* Guess what, I'm not going to try that again ;) Funny thing is, I can run complete 3dmarks at 2564 Mhz too, and they're, hmm how should I put it, actually quite good too :D

Anyway, I've decided to run at 2.4 Ghz everyday, and then just use the higher speed for benchmarking. It's nice to know you have a relatively safe margin when your computer has to work every day.

BTW when I did the wiretrick I sorta' "pre-fabbed" the wire, by wrapping it around 4 sowing needles I borrowed from my wife. It worked rather well, I could almost just put the wire down over the pins and then tighten it. I think the entire procedure only took me about 15 mins. or so.
Congrats! Did you find any difference in needed vcore between the 38 and 77 bios? i.e. @2.6 were did you need more than 1.8 volts with the 77?

That takes some guts batboy! When I was trying for 2.7+ a few weeks back, I wouldn't try anything higher than a 1.9 bios setting (1.83 actual). The temps REALLY heat up above 1.8 huh?

Now I am jealous, I want my RAM to run at 533:( I'll head on over to your cooling solution thread now........
LarryJoe, unfortunately I flashed back to the "38" BIOS, went from AS-II to AS-III and installed the 80mm RAM cooler fan all at the same time, so I can't tell if the BIOS thing helped alone. The combination of the things did though. Yep, running at those high voltages was scaring me a little. Even with that Swifty and AS-III and all the other cooling mods, I was knocking on the door of 50 degrees. Guess I just had to test the limits though.
New to this

Hello:D :) I am new to all this overclocking fun and have a few questions I would like to ask...
I have an Abit TH7II-RAID with a P4 2g slot 478 and 768 megs of rambus and a Ti500 video card
I also use a MCX478 heatsink and also have a fan on the rambus and also an extra fan on top of the video card.
I also use a seperate power supply for all the fans...
I can not get higher than 2280 Mhz???
I have the voltage at 1.85 and the video is set to stay at 33/66.
How do you know what to you set the memory at?
How do you know what to set the Differential at?
-What is the Differential?-
And how do you know what to set the voltage at?
Sorry for all the questions, I just am very new to this and am very amazed at how awesome you all got your speeds too...

Thanks for any responses I get
I can not get higher than 2280 Mhz???
Every CPU is different, not all can be overclocked to the same level
Luck of the draw.... You do have a Northwood right?

How do you know what to you set the memory at?
Well the faster the better.... But you want it to be a balance between stability and speed. No point setting all the speeds to max if you are getting crashes all the time... When you could turn things down a notch and bet 100% stable.
So testing is req.

And how do you know what to set the voltage at?
This is a VERY DANGERIOUS question. Changing the VOLTAGE (upwards) will shorten the life of your CPU and could very well kill it. You need to know your temps 1st of all. And if you have safe temps, cant get the next FSB level... then you MAY want to bump up the voltage a notch and try the faster FSB. Do your stability testing... if you fail the stability test, you may need more voltage... BUT ONLY if you temps are safe.

-What is the Differential?-
??? new to me too.... Stuck in the BX world sill and never built a P4 yet, batboy?
Several of us seem to think "4X" differential is the most stable. If you leave the RDRAM on "auto" it'll run at the "400" setting until you get above 125 FSB. At a BIOS setting of 1.85v, my actual measured vcore is closer to 1.75v, which is what I set it at when I'm at 2.5 gig (125 FSB). The key to my success is to set the AGP/PCI clock at "fix". You should easily reach 2.4 gig or more with that rig. What are your CPU load temps?
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Hi, Thanks for the information:D :)

At 2300-
My cpu idle=38

My cpu load=49

What is the highest one would ever set Vcore on an Abit TH7II-RAID