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Overclocking Protocols

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Jan 3, 2012
Wakirimas Forum Brothers,

I am ready to start the overclocking of my XP3200. As my mutliplier (11) is locked my only option is the FSB. See my rig sig below for the particulars. I have read a great deal in these forums and believe I have the "standard" overclocking protocols down. I would like to adress them here to make sure I understand correctly and do not have any misconceptions.

My FSB allows a maximum selection of 233MHz which would translate to a max overclock of 2.563 GHz (even by modern standards a 16% increase shouldn't be too shabby). I realize that by raising the FSB I'll also be raising the memory speed. With the cpu and ram both overclocked that could make troubleshooting a problem as one or both could have caused an overclock failure (reboot etc.). So this is my plan:

1.) I programmed an excel spread sheet that shows my effective cpu FSB overclock speed (406-466) with my effective ram speed for each of my DRAM ratio settings (1.20/1.25/1.33/1.50/1.67/2.00). Ideally I would need a 1.17 to be 1:1 with my max cpu overclock of 466MHz. However the lowest I can go is 1.20. This means that my RAM will run just a little slower at 388.34 instead of it's rated 400. Am I correct in assuming that since the RAM is underclocked that would remove it as a possible source of failure when overclocking?

2.) Assuming that I have RAM removed as a factor per the above I can now start raising the FSB (once I've set my DRAM ratio to 1.20). The standard method is to tick up the FSB one increment at a time and then test. If there are no failures then repeat the process until there are failures.

3.) As I want to go all the way to 233MHz I do no want to drop the FSB back down so I need to add voltage to my VCore to achieve stability. My VCore settings range from 1.550V to 1.800V in .25 Volt increments. Standard practice is to raise the VCore one increment at a time until stability is reached. I also have a VCore option "H/W" (hardware). This allows the motherboard (I assume) to regulate the voltage. Does this H/W adjust for the overclock or is it useful only for non-overclock settings? It would be nice if it did the overvolting for me.

4.) If stability is achieved in #3 then it's back to raising the FSB and repeating the steps over and over until maximum overclock is reached. This assumes that temps are within acceptable range. My office is in the garage and as such it stays pretty chilly out here this time of year. My CPU is typically 36C at idle and can climb to 60C under stressfull load (this is at the rate 2.2 GHz) and that's using a Thermaltake Copper Air Cooler. The max temp listed for my XP3200 is 89C. According to my manual my motherboard has a Thermal Protection Mechanism that works on a Thermal Sensor signal:

"If the mechanism senses an abnormal temperature rise, it will automatically shut down the system and the CPU temperature will drop down and resume normal."

Yes, you read that last bit right "and resume normal.". Normal what? Operation I assume - when you turn the PC back on. Seems to me this "abnormal temperature rise" could be semantically important. Does this mean overclocking temps or does this mean the rate of increase? This feature is only available with the Athlon XP series chips.

5.) Finally about the voltages themselves. I have been using MSI's PCAlert4 (no longer supported by MSI) to view my temps, voltages, and fan speeds. I have read commentary from some PCAlert4 users that the readings are not exact or true. Is there a utility that you guys would recommend for montioring those statistics?

PCAlert never came with any documentation - I guess they felt it was intuitive. There are sliders above each category that change the values (displayed on the slider). The left one says VCore min. threshold and the right one says VCore max. threshold. If you move the max. threshold higher the displayed number goes higher. The max. threshold goes all the way up to three volts. All voltage, temp, and fan speed readings have these slider readings for threshold. There is a sound warning that is connected to these. My guess is these sliders serve no function other than to sound the alarm when a parameter is outside of the slider ranges you've set. I don't think I can adjust any BIOS values in PCAlert4. If anyone knows more about this program I'd like your input.

FYI current PCAlert4 values are VCore=1.63, 3.3V=3.31, +5V=5.0, +12V=11.88. These voltages do fluctate a tiny amount when I'm idle which I assume is normal.

As always gentlemen I welcome confirmation or correction as my post may require.


Old School Ninja :sn:

So if I overclock to my max FSB of 466MHz to maintain
Man, that's a tome! You really sound scholarly and scientific!

Don't raise the fsb 1 mhz. at a time! You won't live long enogh to see the conclusion. Raise it 5 mhz at a time and leave the CPU voltage alone until you start to see instabliity, like it won't boot all the way into Windows or just won't boot period. When you get to that point, then add CPU voltage in small increments to restabilize it.

Use HWMonitor to monitor the CPU temp. That processor doesn't have a core temp sensor I don't believe so you will have to do with CPU socket temp. Another alternative monitoring program appropriate for that generatin of CPU is SpeedFan. Monitor your temps after every increment of CPU voltage increase. Don't let it get past 65 or 70 C or you risk damaging your CPU. AMD states the max safe temp for their CPUs is around 70 C.

Yes, you will need to start your ram freqency at the step below the ram's rated max frequency of DDR 400. So start it at DDR 333 so it will have room to grow.

When you can't seem to boot anymore and temps become an issue such that you can't add anymore CPU voltage back the CPU multiplier down .5x and then post back to us with results. Then we will need to do some serious stress testing to arrive at a stable CPU frequency.

This is pretty hands on stuff. Don't make it too cerebral.
Ready to Begin

Wakirimas Trents,

I apologize for the lengthy absence but now I've got a little more time to pursue my quest. I upped the FSB to 215MHz without any problems and she was definitely faster. I went to 220 MHz and she wouldn't even POST. I reset CMOS and got back on just fine. I kept an eye on the temps which were fine. I also monitored the Vcore and during normal running it varied between 1.63 and 1.68. The normal reading is 1.65.

The next step would be to start up and go into the BIOS and set the FSB to 220MHz and add the smallest increment of voltage available. Then wait to see if it boots or not. If not then rinse and repeat until 220MHZ is stable.

The one thing that I am curious about is the AMD specs I've seen 1.65 is listed as the max voltage for the cpu. Is that a "normal" max voltage or is that an absolute max voltage (where overclockers shouldn't tread)?


Old School Ninja :sn: