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Really new to overclocking and it seems like I'm not sure where to start

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dicky96

Registered
Joined
Jan 15, 2021
Hi guys
This is a new experience for me. Well almost, many years ago I did overclock one CPU but then it was just a matter of increasing the multiplier and hoping for the best :eek:

Anyway, I've been putting together a PC purely out of second hand bits and want to see if I can get it to play recent games at high settings

Here is what I have now:

Asus X99 Deluxe II Motherboard Socket 2011
Intel i7-5820K CPU
16Gb (4x4Gb) Corsair Dominator DDR4
GTX 960 4Gb
850W OCZ ZX series PSU
Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED Heatsink
512Gb SDD - some cheap generic brand from Ali Express
Some old 'ATRIX' brand ATX Case from about 2007

This lot cost me about 320 euros to put together over a period of several months looking at ebay auctions. The Motherboard I actually got spares repair and fixed it, the 850W PSU the same.

In a few months I want to put a faster GPU but right now prices are silly season, so I grabbed the GTX 960 as I can then move this to another PC I play Windows XP retro games on (it's the fastest card with native XP support)

Anyway that's what I have.

I set the BIOS to optimal settings, and when I boot the PC it is saying 21% Overclock on the ASUS loading screen

The PC is stable and I ran 3dMark 11, because it is free and I'm being a cheapskate, and it says I have a score of P10 695

So my first question - is the PC running at around it's expected spec for that hardware right now?

Second question - I want to try overclocking the CPU further, I read that these i7-5820K can get near to 5GHz in some cases. Is there a step by step guide for my mobo and cpu combo? I'm not sure where to start.

Third (this may be the wrong section to ask) The DDR 4 are 3000MHz but the benchmark says they are running at 2133MHz so can I improve that as well or is there any point as I already have quad channel memory which gives high bandwidth?

Any other suggestions to get more out of this rig without spending too much? how about M2 or NVMe hard drive?

Once I have the PC overclocked, any suggestions for the best GPU to fit once prices settle down? I don't mind buying one new as I saved money on everything else :cool:
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
This is a good place to start https://www.overclockers.com/3step-guide-to-overclock-intel-haswell. Read it until it all makes sense.

Your biggest hurdle is going to be cooling. The Hyper-202 will take you so far, but at the end of the day it is an entry level cooler suitable to stock operations or mild overclocking. I would see where it gets you before aiming to replace it, however don't expect to go anywhere near 5GHz on it. That said if you want to bookmark some good value (<$100) coolers that still perform within a few degrees of the air best coolers check out the Scythe Fuma Rev 2, Noctua U-12S or U-14S.

In terms of overclocking, 3dMark 11 is an old benchmark and it's not going to stress the CPU heavily. You could use something like Aida-64 trail version or prime95 to do that. The guide will give you an idea of max stress testing and every day use temps. I would also get rid of the "optimal settings 21% overclock" and do things manually. That setting probably uses excess voltage, however you could use that as a starting point for your multiplier and then pull the voltage down to some sane levels. You'll need a monitoring tool like HWiNFO64 or CoreTemp to look at temps and voltage as well.

In terms of your GPU question, we'll need more info first. Most important is what monitor do you plan to use? What resolution and refresh rate specifically. A 3070 is going to be overkill for 1080p 60Hz, for example. Of course budget is important as well, so we'll need to know those three things before providing recommendations. I would suggest starting a separate thread with those details for the GPU when it's closer to when you plan to purchase, as any recommendations made today may not be as valid tomorrow.
 
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dicky96

dicky96

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Jan 15, 2021
Hey thanks Zerileous for the reply. After posting I was worried my thread would be to vague. Plenty of links and info on software there for me so I will get started and post back once I studied that and downloaded all the tools

The 21% appeared after I selected optimal defaults in the bios - are you suggesting I set it back to standard defaults first, then begin manually?

Yeah the GPU I can put on a separate thread later, I won't be seriously looking until around mid April when I hope the market calms down a bit, but I will keep my eye on things in the meantime. This is one thing I would be happy to by new or used. Guess I could have a budget 400-500 euros. And in the Canary islands we don't pay any VAT on imports form the EU or US so that goes 20% further than you may expect :p

Regards monitors resolutions -
On the X99 Rig I currently have a QVIS 28" 4K 60Hz monitor, but only because my business includes CCTV and thermal imaging, and I happened to have a spare 4K CCTV monitor lying around from an order where the customer eventually used his own monitors, though he paid for the order in full. I won't necessarily keep that one, it's just that it didn't cost me anything at the moment.

I have a HP24x 24" 1080p 144Hz with G-sync and FreeSync on one of my other PCs that I mostly use for XP games and older Windows 10 games (dual boot) - for example I'm playing Borderlands 2 and Tomb Raider Legend on that one at the moment but often play a lot of older XP games. That's an i7-2600K at 3.40GHz with 16Gb DDR3 and a GTX 750ti. That's where the GTX960 will eventually end up. Actually that rig also has an Asus motherboard and I wouldn't mind trying to overclock that one too :D

I have three older rigs running Windows (1)XP/Win98 dual boot, (2)Win95 and DOS, and (3 486DLC40 40MHz DOS machine - but that's a topic for some other discussion

I'm not trying to build the fastest gaming PC here (obviously) I'm more interested in seeing what is the highest performance I can get out of older platforms for various OS, and find that in itself interesting..

Anyway enough waffle from me I'll go study the links you gave me

Thanks
 

Johan45

Benching Team Leader Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 19, 2012
I set the BIOS to optimal settings, and when I boot the PC it is saying 21% Overclock on the ASUS loading screen

The PC is stable and I ran 3dMark 11, because it is free and I'm being a cheapskate, and it says I have a score of P10 695

So my first question - is the PC running at around it's expected spec for that hardware right now?

Second question - I want to try overclocking the CPU further, I read that these i7-5820K can get near to 5GHz in some cases. Is there a step by step guide for my mobo and cpu combo? I'm not sure where to start.

Third (this may be the wrong section to ask) The DDR 4 are 3000MHz but the benchmark says they are running at 2133MHz so can I improve that as well or is there any point as I already have quad channel memory which gives high bandwidth?

Optimal setting let's ASUS set the CPU to it's max turbo speed that's why it says 21% OC, you can overclock from here without issue. Odds of hitting 5.0 GHz are very slim without a very good CPU and cooling.
When in BIOS set the XMP for the RAM you find this in the advanced BIOS under AI tweaker and the option called AI overclock or something similar. It'll be at the top of the AI Tweaker page and should offer a drop down menu with XMP option.
The guide Zerilous linked is for Haswell, now this CPU is Haswell based (Haswell-E) but in a slightly different category and as such has a few different dials in the BIOS. This requires a bit more fine-tuning as the speed increases. The general principle is the same so it is a good place to start.
 
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dicky96

dicky96

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Jan 15, 2021
Thanks Johan45
Yeah I do take the chance of getting 5GHz with a pinch of salt, I posted I had read that these CPU can get near to 5GHz. The guy I bought it off, from ebay, said he was getting 4.6GHz, which maybe he was or maybe he wasn't being totally honest. At least the PC seems 100% stable at 'optimal' BIOS settings so all the second hand and repaired parts are probably good.

I'm just interested to see what I can get out of it myself.

I went for the X99, by the way, as it was amongst a bunch of motherboards I bought spares or repair. I fixed some of the others which were newer (Z370, Z390, etc) and sold them, some I couldn't fix, and I fixed then decided to keep this one as I could find cheap used LGA2011 unlocked CPUs - yeah I know I can also get 40 channel Xeon but they were a bit more pricey - and I like the idea of the quad channel DDR4.

Out of interest, with some luck overclocking and a newer GPU how well would this platform handle even the latest games on either of my monitors?
 
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dicky96

dicky96

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Jan 15, 2021
OK I had a look a the tutorial from Zerileous. I want to try the quick check of setting Vcore to 1.20V and multiplier to 46 to see if the CPU is actually a good one or not.

It looks like I have to set a jumper on my motherboard before it will let me change the Vcore voltage in he BIOS. That's OK. but do I then only change Vcore manually? There are other CPU voltage settings in my BIOs (CPU Cache Voltage, CPU Input Voltage, VCCIO CPU 1.05 Voltage) Do I leave those alone?


I set the XMP to XMP DDR4-3000 but lower down the screen it says the DRAM Frequency is DDR4-2666. Should I also change the setting there?

In the tutorial it said there is a trade-off between CPU Speed and DDR speed. As I have quad channel memory should I just leave the DRAM speed at 2113 MHz?


See pics, sorry they didn't come out too well
Thanks
 
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dicky96

dicky96

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Jan 15, 2021
Hi guys
So I tried the tutorial
Once i figured out how to change the CPU core voltage I set it to 1.200V (though the BIOS actually reports the CPU as 1.198V).

I set all cores sync and tried the multiplier at 46x and it crashed half way through booting Windows 10, though i could get into the BIOS just fine to reduce the multiplier.

So I then tried 44x and the same happened, crash half way through loading Windows. At 43x it loads much better, just to the point that the desktop should appear, it flashes on screen - then crashes.

At 42x it loads windows and seems stable. I then tried the AIDA64 stress test and the PC does not crash but I noticed that core 1 was hitting 103C after a short time - the other cores were 95C-87C and the CPU started throttling so I stopped the test. As soon as I stopped the CPU temp drops extremely fast so it seems the heatsink can dissipate the residual heat very quickly so I'm a bit surprised it can't keep the CPU cooler. The heatsink didn't seem to be blowing hot air under the stress test. Off load the CPU temp is around 37C... So yepp, as was pointed out, it seems cooling is the first big problem. I'm wondering if some different heat sink compound would help at all?

So Anyway I got it form 3.3GHz to 4.2GHz pretty easy, ASUS loading screen now says I have 27% overclock and it seems to run at that speed Yayyy! :bday: - where should I go from there?
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
If the thermal compound is old or was maybe the very least expensive free stuff, then yes it could be done better. You could also check your mount, but I'm guessing it just comes down to the limitations of the 212.

You probably need to decrease your voltage and find a stable clock at a lower voltage in order to address the temperatures. You want to make it through and AIDA64 stress test without really exceeding 90C. You do not want to continue running an overclock that throttles under a stress test.

Maybe the best place to start is to go back to optimal settings and see what your temperatures are running AIDA64 as well as what vcore it uses.
 

Johan45

Benching Team Leader Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 19, 2012
Regarding the RAM, if you look in your screenshots on the right-hand side you'll see the actual RAM speed is at 2666 MHz. This is one of the differences between Haswell and Haswell-E, on this platform to run 3000 MHz RAM you'll have to change the CPU strap or you can leave it as is or try setting the RAM to 3200 MHz manually which may require a bit of additional voltage say 1.4- 1.45V to get it stable.
 
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dicky96

dicky96

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Jan 15, 2021
Thanks Johan and Zerileous for the continued help - it's much appreciated :thup:

For now I will leave the RAM at 2666MHz - am I right in saying the quad channel memory makes this less important anyway?

OK, so I did a little experimenting. I increased the Vcore to 1.250V The BIOS actually reports I have 1.251V

I left multiplier at 42x and it booted Windows. I ran the AIDA stress test for about 15 secs and it was hitting 90C+ so I stopped it. The system seems stable and when ticking over the CPU temp is around 45C-50C

I then tried 43x. System boots windows and seems stable. Ran AIDA stress test for a few seconds then stopped it. Tick over CPU temp isn't much more than 42x

Then tried 44x - again Windows is apparently stable, ran AIDA a few seconds then let it ticking over. CPU temp around 50-55C

Then 45x - the system booted windows till just when the desktop should appear, then crashed.

I've now set it back to Optimal defaults, which is 40x on core 1&2, 39x on the other four cores, 0.997-1.001V (it varies a little). I can run AIDA stress test for minutes at a time and I'm getting 80-90C (almost always below 90C) with no throttling. Tick over CPU temp 27C-40C

What does surprise me a bit is how fast the CPU temp can increase or decrease when I turn load testing on and off. It's like the cooling system has no 'thermal mass' if you know what I mean. It can jump up or down like 40C in a second or two.

So now I have some new questions, can I improve the performance of the EVO 212 LED? I'm still not sure about the thermal compound, it's what I use in my electronics repair workshop all the time (on computers, amplifiers, PSU repairs etc) and it has some specs on the dispense (see pics)

If I can't improve that EVO cooler is it really worth the money to buy a better one? It looks like I can get at least to 4.4GHz stable.

Are there any other tweaks I could try to see if the system would be stable at higher speeds? I think I would consider 4.5GHZ to be a bit of a result to be honest, if i can get to that. If I could try it (not under heavy load) with the existing cooler just to see if it can run stable at that speed then that would be nice ,and probably twist my arm regards a better cooler.

If it is worth the money - then what cooler should I be looking at to replace the EVO? Mostly I want to play recent games on this PC, with a faster GPU. By recent I would mean games from about 2016 onwards.
 
Last edited:

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
What does surprise me a bit is how fast the CPU temp can increase or decrease when I turn load testing on and off. It's like the cooling system has no 'thermal mass' if you know what I mean. It can jump up or down like 40C in a second or two.
This is completely normal. THermal mass won't do it as the reason it happens isn't because of the cooler. Even with LN2, you see these instant spikes. It's all down in the core and die. :)
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
OK, so I did a little experimenting. I increased the Vcore to 1.250V The BIOS actually reports I have 1.251V

I left multiplier at 42x and it booted Windows. I ran the AIDA stress test for about 15 secs and it was hitting 90C+ so I stopped it. The system seems stable and when ticking over the CPU temp is around 45C-50C

I then tried 43x. System boots windows and seems stable. Ran AIDA stress test for a few seconds then stopped it. Tick over CPU temp isn't much more than 42x

Then tried 44x - again Windows is apparently stable, ran AIDA a few seconds then let it ticking over. CPU temp around 50-55C

Then 45x - the system booted windows till just when the desktop should appear, then crashed.
I'm not sure what you mean about "ticking over" but the only temp that should matter to you here is the one while the stress test is running.

I've now set it back to Optimal defaults, which is 40x on core 1&2, 39x on the other four cores, 0.997-1.001V (it varies a little). I can run AIDA stress test for minutes at a time and I'm getting 80-90C (almost always below 90C) with no throttling. Tick over CPU temp 27C-40C

Yeah I suggested turning vcore down, and you turned it up, and throttled again. However as I suggested the stock setting gives you a good idea of where you can start and how much headroom you have. Voltage and heat are directly related. You know that you can cool 1.000v now. So from here I would set 1.000v and 40x all core and see what it do. You can probably go a little bit higher with voltage, but take it slow like 100mV at a time (so from 1.000v to 1.100v). For the multiplier I would change it just by 1x every time you test. Once you get to the limit, you can try values in between if supported (like 41.5x). Once you see any core sitting (staying) above 90 C during the test you've reached the max voltage you can cool.

I think that paste could be a problem actually. I have never heard of it, but a commonly used paste here is called Arctic MX-4, I just looked it up and it is rated for 8.5 W/M-k, more than double your stuff. You could definitely try it. However if you're planning to replace the cooler, then a quality cooler will come with quality paste. Please reference my first reply where I advised of 3 different air coolers which are reasonably priced but perform very well. If you want to go higher than that, you can certainly spend more and get more performance, but the Fuma 2, NH-U12S and NH-U14S are all in a sweet spot in terms of value. Please do note these coolers are large, so be aware of dimensions prior to installing.

If you like to watch videos
, otherwise you can search plenty of reviews. The 3 coolers I mentioned are all compared with a 125W load at minute marker 19:45.
 
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dicky96

dicky96

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Jan 15, 2021
Thanks again Zerileous

Yeah I know you suggested turning Vcore down. I experimented at the higher 1.25V just for enough time to see if the system would be stable at higher multipliers, and how high it could go. 'By ticking over', I mean when there are no programs running apart from background windows processes, as I noted the temperatures stayed quite low (around 50C-60C) in those conditions and I just wanted to see if the computer could load and run Windows. So this was not to ignore your advice, I'm sorry if it seems that way, it was for research reasons, if you like and I doubt it harmed the CPU as I didn't let it get so hot it was throttling again and in fairness these CPUs are only about 50 euros anyway.

Anyway as you said, once I had run those few tests it is back to the default optimal setting of 1.001V so I will try increasing the mutliplier at that voltage this evening.

Yeah the paste could well be a problem - it's just the heat sink compound I have in my workshop for general electronics repair, not necessarily computers. it works well enough when replacing output transistors for 1000W per channel or higher PA amplifiers like they use in bars and clubs, so you would think it conducts heat quite well. But sure I can try something else, it's not like thermal paste is expensive. Actually I would like to try that just out of interest to see if the paste you mention really makes a difference

I'll check out the other coolers and video later. Here is the one currently in the PC, there is plenty of spare room around it but if it was any higher the side would not fit on the ATX case.
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Ahh I misunderstood and thought you had attempted a stress test at that voltage. Loading Windows will not tell you a whole lot, as Windows will load far below what is actually stable.

I believe the issue with cooling microprocessors is the transistor density. The 1000WPC amp is likely distributing it's waste heat over a larger surface area of silicon.
 

WhitehawkEQ

Premium Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2010
I see a microscope, do you do any SMT soldering?
Also check out my X99 build here: New Folding build
You can take screen shots of your BIOS by pressing F12, you have to have a USB flash drive plugged in to save the pics.

I have 3 X99 Designare PC's all clocked at 4GHZ, ram at 3.2GHZ CPU is i7 6800K
 
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dicky96

dicky96

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Jan 15, 2021
Hi WhitehawkEQ
Yeah I do component level repair on all sorts of things, including motherboards, I do SMD soldering and also have a BGA rework station. This week I fixed a high powered ATX PSU, an FM radio transmitter for one of the local radio stations, and a laptop PSU for a mate. This is not the main part of my business, I tend to do these jobs when I am not busy with other work and like to buy-to-repair-and-sell as I can do it in my own time.

Thanks for tip regards BIOS screenshots.
 

Time-Bandit

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Off topic and not sure if someone has said this but if not I will, I would suggest you keep a back up of that SSD. I have had friends who have purchased a cheap SSD from aliexpress only to have it die after sometime. I am using one myself currently but only as a cache drive. Some have had good experiences with these so its possible you may have no problems at all, def keep a back up of your drive if you can.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
If you keep a backup of an SSD, you should keep a backup of a HDD as well. SSDs are LESS prone to failure than spinners. That said, when they do go, there is little warning. You should have a backup, period, not because it's an SSD.

If your PC still has a HDD as the OS drive and you're a member here, you need to rethink your priorities. :p :rofl:

Ditch that cache setup and get a real SSD (M.2 even) for an OS, Bandit. Less complication = less problems. :)
 
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dicky96

dicky96

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Jan 15, 2021
Hi guys time for an update

The 512Gb SSD is branded as 'Kingchuxing'. I bought two of the for €44 each a few months ago. The other one is in my dual boot Windows 10 / XP Rig, and it's been there for some months. It boots the XP OS and so far it has given me no problem, though I suspect now I've posted that information publically it probably will give me problems tomorrow LOL. That's called 'sods law'.

Regards the overclock - Today I got a used but working Noctua NH-U14S from a seller on ebay, with two fans, for £32. It has a whole load of different mounting kits including the mount for LGA2011-3, so when that arrives I will fit it and try again. I'm quite pleased with the purchase actually, I think it was a bit of a bargain.

So in the meantime I thought it would be a good idea to try overclocking my i7-2600K rig :cool:

However that should be the topic for another thread, so see you all there :salute:

Rich
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
I hope the two included fans were noctua fans. If so then it doesn't sound like a bad deal at all!