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Overclocking X3 720 On ASUS M4A78T-E

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Ritwik7

Registered
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Hello everybody!

This is my first post in this forum and I'm looking forward to some help.

These are my system specs:

AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE
ASUS M4A78T-E
XFX 9800GT
1x2GB Transcend DDR3 1333Mhz
OCZ Vendetta 2 CPU Cooler
Cooler Master 600W PSU

I overclocked the processor to 3.6GHz stable at 1.525V. I used the AMD Overdrive Utility. This is where I hit a wall. No matter how much more I increased the CPU Voltage (went up to 1.55V) I could not obtain a higher stable OC.

Then I came across Dolk's guide to the Phenom II. He mentioned that it's necessary to increase the CPU NB frequency when increasing the CPU speed. I had not done that before and so I felt that maybe this was the reason I was failing to achieve a better OC. I increased the CPU NB to 2200MHz from the stock 2000MHz. However, I still can't get up to 3.7GHz. My temps on load stay under 50c.

Also, I haven't done anything with my RAM settings. Overdrive shows that my RAM speed is 667MHz. I presume that it means it's running at the stock speed since it's DDR3 1333MHz. The DDR Voltage is set at 1.6V.

Do I need to alter my RAM settings and voltage for a higher stable overclock?

Any help is greatly appreciated.
 
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Ritwik7

Registered
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Just a small update. I increased the CPU-NB frequency to 2400MHz (@1.275V) and got a stable OC with 3.6GHz @ 1.5125V.

Not managing to get higher.

Waiting for some help.

Thanks.
 

Marshmallow64

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2009
Location
California
What are you using to test it is stable and for how long? I use to have that motherboard and along with other forum members it was hard to get stable for a reason unknown.
 

A-Dub

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2009
Location
Arizona
I have almost exactly the same setup as you. I'm stable at 3.6 with 1.45v. I've been able to boot at 3.8, however I was unable to get my system stable at 3.8. I haven't seen many of these 720's go much past 3.6. Yeah, there are people getting a stable oc at ~3.8, but I don't think they are the majority. This is JMHO, YMMV.
 

Marshmallow64

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2009
Location
California
Depends what everyones definition of stable is. No matter what setting I had with that board it would crash around 4-6 hours during prime, but it was still working and never had problems during normal gaming use.
 

A-Dub

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2009
Location
Arizona
Depends what everyones definition of stable is. No matter what setting I had with that board it would crash around 4-6 hours during prime, but it was still working and never had problems during normal gaming use.

True, I OC'd using the mobo bios and used the Overdrive stability test. Mine passed the overdrive stability test so that was good enough for me. Under normal use I could OC to 3.7 but it would not pass the Overdrive stability test. At 3.8 all I could do was boot into windows and run a 1M superpi test.
 

QuietIce

Disabled
Joined
May 7, 2006
Location
Anywhere but there
Hello everybody!

This is my first post in this forum and I'm looking forward to some help.

These are my system specs:

AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE
ASUS M4A78T-E
XFX 9800GT
1x2GB Transcend DDR3 1333Mhz
OCZ Vendetta 2 CPU Cooler
Cooler Master 600W PSU

I overclocked the processor to 3.6GHz stable at 1.525V. I used the AMD Overdrive Utility. This is where I hit a wall. No matter how much more I increased the CPU Voltage (went up to 1.55V) I could not obtain a higher stable OC.

Then I came across Dolk's guide to the Phenom II. He mentioned that it's necessary to increase the CPU NB frequency when increasing the CPU speed. I had not done that before and so I felt that maybe this was the reason I was failing to achieve a better OC. I increased the CPU NB to 2200MHz from the stock 2000MHz. However, I still can't get up to 3.7GHz. My temps on load stay under 50c.

Also, I haven't done anything with my RAM settings. Overdrive shows that my RAM speed is 667MHz. I presume that it means it's running at the stock speed since it's DDR3 1333MHz. The DDR Voltage is set at 1.6V.

Do I need to alter my RAM settings and voltage for a higher stable overclock?

Any help is greatly appreciated.
You should always manually set the RAM timings and voltage. Check CPU-Z's SPD tab for that information.

Are you using only the CPU multiplier for OC'ing or are you raising the HTRef as well ...?
 
OP
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Ritwik7

Registered
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Hi guys!

I've checked stability using AMD Overdrive and OCCT. That's been good enough for my use. However, I sadly couldn't get the system to pass the AOD Test @ 3.6GHz (1.5125V) for a second time. So it seems that even if I increase my NB frequency I'll have to keep the CPU VID @ 1.525V to get stable at 3.6GHz. Isn't that voltage a little to high?

And I'm keeping the HT frequency @ 2000MHz. Should that be dropped?

You should always manually set the RAM timings and voltage. Check CPU-Z's SPD tab for that information.

The RAM I'm using is a value RAM. No operating voltage was mentioned in the package. I don't really understand much of RAM timings, so if you like I could attach a screenshot of the specs according to CPU-Z.

Are you using only the CPU multiplier for OC'ing or are you raising the HTRef as well ...?

Only the multiplier through AOD.

Thanks a lot. Looking for some more inputs.
 

QuietIce

Disabled
Joined
May 7, 2006
Location
Anywhere but there
Dropping the HT Link speed can sometimes help. Try 7X.

What does CPU-Z show as your vCore (processor voltage) and how much is it fluctuating?

The RAM timing labels on the CPU-Z SPD tab should be the same or near the same as your BIOS labels and also includes voltages ...
 
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Ritwik7

Registered
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
My vCore is not fluctuating. It stays at whatever I set it to during OCing. I just mentioned that I'm not able to get stable in 3.6GHz at less than 1.525V. I thought that raising the NB frequency might allow me to be stable at 3.6 GHz with a lower Vcore but that didn't work.

Do you think that a NB frequency of 2400 MHz is OK with 3.6 GHz processor speed? Should I increase / decrease it?

I'll try reducing the HT frequency.

Thanks.
 
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QuietIce

Disabled
Joined
May 7, 2006
Location
Anywhere but there
The NB speed can be as high as you'd like - if it's stable. High NB speeds can also cause instability but not all CPUs are the same so it's hard to say what's right for yours. Usually 2200 MHz is a good speed for a CPU at 3600.


Does the vCore in CPU-Z show the BIOS setting even when it's at 100% load (like running Prime95 or OCCT) with no fluctuation??? If it does then CPU-Z is probably showing the BIOS setting only and not the real-time vCore. For some odd reason some boards will do that ...
 
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Ritwik7

Registered
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Hi again QuietIce. I really appreciate your help here.

My CPU Voltage in BIOS is set to Auto. In-fact, all voltages are. I change the CPU voltage during overclocking using AMD Overdrive. CPU-Z shows the reading that AOD shows. However, I have not checked the readings when running OCCT.

Do you suggest that I manually OC using the BIOS and not AOD? Isn't changing the settings in AOD good enough?
 
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Ritwik7

Registered
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Another question, why does lowering the HT frequency help in gaining stability?
 

QuietIce

Disabled
Joined
May 7, 2006
Location
Anywhere but there
Sitting on the cpuNB is the IMC (Integrated Memory Controller), L3 cache, the crossbar, and an HT Link node (along with a couple of other subsystems). All of these component have to draw power from the cpuNB voltage and all of them have to be brought together in some kind of timing scheme to work. Reducing the demand of one component puts less strain on the cpuNB, which may be what's causing the particular instability you're getting (or not, which is why it only sometimes works ;)).


In most cases there's no good reason to run the HT Link very fast. Unless you're running high-end Crossfired video cards you'll never use all the bandwidth (data capacity/sec) provided by it at even 1600 MHz. In your case, with a single 9800GT, 1400 is probably high enough, though you might see some small gains going to 1600 MHz but I doubt you'll see much more at 1800 MHz. Test it with 3DMark ... :)
 
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Ritwik7

Registered
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Thank you again QuietIce.

Today I had some time to tinker with the BIOS. However, I'm very confused with some of the options, esp. RAM timings. In BIOS their are options like CPU VDDA. I think it's CPU overvoltage but am not sure what values to set this at. Also is there any reason to increase the NB Voltage (not CPU NB)? The options that I'm not changing manually should be left at AUTO?

CPU-Z shows my timings as 9-9-9-24. In the BIOS though there are some timings other than CAS Latency, RAS to CAS delay, RAS precharge and Cycle time.

I'm attaching a few screenshots of AOD and CPU-Z. It would be nice if you guys could help me out.
 

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QuietIce

Disabled
Joined
May 7, 2006
Location
Anywhere but there
In BIOS their are options like CPU VDDA. I think it's CPU overvoltage but am not sure what values to set this at. Also is there any reason to increase the NB Voltage (not CPU NB)? The options that I'm not changing manually should be left at AUTO?
CPU VDDA is usually left at 2.5v?? (or auto).

At this speed there's no reason to change the NB (chipset) voltage.

CPU-Z shows my timings as 9-9-9-24. In the BIOS though there are some timings other than CAS Latency, RAS to CAS delay, RAS precharge and Cycle time.
You need to be looking at the CPU-Z SPD tab, not the Memory tab. That will have all the factory timings and voltages for various speeds. (The memory tab simply tells you what settings BIOS is using.)

I only set the timings CPU-Z SPD shows, the rest I leave on Auto. ;)


You do need to check how your RAM sticks are installed in your motherboard. You should be running dual-channel.
Or maybe it's the BIOS setting? Do you have ganged memory turned on ...???
 
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Ritwik7

Registered
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Nov 19, 2009
Thanks then QuietIce. I'll try what you've said.

And I've only a single RAM module. So no dual channel for me. :)