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  1. #1
    LazyShell
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    Thinking about overclocking my CPU

    Before I begin, specs (copy pasted from a thread I made when I got it):
    Spoiler: show
    Specs:
    Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400, LGA775
    Mobo: Gigabyte S-Series GA-P35-DS3L
    Graphics Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 (512MB/GDDR5)
    RAM: Corsair Dominator 2 x 2GB DDR 1066MHz
    HDD: 500GB Wester Digital SATA 7200RPM 3.0GB/s 16MB Cache
    PSU: Antec 650W ATX12V v2.2 (didn't buy on newegg, but I believe its this.)

    I got a new computer a couple months ago, and have been running it more or less with very little customization / overclocking. A few weeks after I got it, I found that thread that explained how to up the fanspeed on my video card, which massively reduced its temperature. So I decided to try overclocking that a bit, because I figured I could get it away with it now. I have very little experience with overclocking so I played it safe and did ATI's built in Auto-Tune feature, which took me all the way to 790Mhz GPU clock and 1100 Mhz memory clock without any significant increases in temperature in idle or high load; I tried a couple hours of Crysis afterwords to make sure. I noticed an improvement for sure, but I don't know how much (I didn't do a before/after diag)

    Anyways, this all brings me back to the main topic. After seeing how easy I could overclock the GPU without a hit to temps (and only to the max that the catalyst control center allows) I started thinking about maybe doing it for the CPU as well. It seems like the bottleneck in my system at stock 3.0GHz, but overclocking it seems a bit more scary to me, especially since I only have the stock fan/heatsink that comes with the E8400.

    So anyways, some questions...
    Could I get away with overclocking my CPU even with the stock fan/heatsink? If so, how much? Would it be worth it?

    Is it worth it to buy a new, better fan/heatsink combo and would it be easy/possible to change? (I've never messed with a CPU installation after I finished it)

    If I did decide to overclock it, how would I go about doing it? Is there a program I can use that would make it safe and easy/automated like CCC's Auto-tune for the GPU, or do I need to do it in the BIOS?

    Last, heres a look at my temperatures (speedfan and core temp for confirmation):
    http://img201.imageshack.us/img201/1975/tempyx5.jpg

    Is this hot for idle on stock? I have no idea whats a good range of temperatures, but the little fire sign scares me that I did something wrong when I installed it (though I've yet to have any problems with the system).

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    temp is acceptable and normal with the stock hsf, but i definately would not oc' it unless you upgrade to a better cooling method. Also, dont worry about fan 1.. Your motherboard likely adjusts the cpu fan higher or lower based on the core temp to reduce noise. Judging by the fire sign, thats the thermal threshold for fan throttling. Just a tad bit warm, but completely normal for that particular processor. Go water cooling! or phase change <3 Dont try overclocking on stock.. you'll fry it.

  3. #3
    Pandemonium
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    Quote Originally Posted by geno View Post
    Could I get away with overclocking my CPU even with the stock fan/heatsink? If so, how much? Would it be worth it?
    Yes, you could get away with it, no it wouldn't be worth it.

    Is it worth it to buy a new, better fan/heatsink combo and would it be easy/possible to change? (I've never messed with a CPU installation after I finished it)
    If you seriously want to overclock you'll need something much better than the stock heatsink. Buy an Arctic Freezer 7 Pro, or a Tuniq Tower. It's not hard to replace, but the clips can be a bit frustrating to clamp down when it feels like you're applying too much pressure. Just be patient, follow directions, and you'll get it.

    If I did decide to overclock it, how would I go about doing it? Is there a program I can use that would make it safe and easy/automated like CCC's Auto-tune for the GPU, or do I need to do it in the BIOS?
    It's my personal policy to never, ever trust software overclocking utilities. Do everything from the BIOS to lessen the risk of something fucking up. As for doing it, do it slowly and in small increments. Start by raising your FSB and then your multipliers, bit by bit. Each time you do, try to boot up. If you blue screen, give the processor some more voltage. Keep increasing by a few increments until it stops crashing. Then test with a stress tester like Orthos or Prime 95. If it crashes, give more voltage. If its fine, increase your speed and voltages until you find a sweet spot that you're satisfied with. Then just lower the voltage as much as you can until its low but stable.

    Remember more voltage = more heat, and heat is the enemy. If your temps exceed 75-80C when stress testing, its too much. Back down the volts or your clocks. And remember... if you can't afford to replace it, don't overclock it.

    Is this hot for idle on stock? I have no idea whats a good range of temperatures, but the little fire sign scares me that I did something wrong when I installed it (though I've yet to have any problems with the system).
    It is pretty hot for stock speeds, but that should go away once you get a better heatsink. Don't underestimate airflow either, make sure your case is venting air properly.

  4. #4
    LazyShell
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    How big of a benefit might I expect if I did get new cooling for the CPU and overclocked it? If its not pretty significant, it looks like I'll probably just leave things the way they are for now. Afterall, I don't really feel like my computer is lagging behind my needs for it right now, and was only planning on doing this if it was as cheap/easy as doing it for the GPU was, lol. I might look back into this later though when I've got some extra money lying around and the need to upgrade the performance of my PC though.

  5. #5
    My Little Ixion
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    I bookmarked this link because it's such a great guide: View topic - Intro to Overclocking guide (read before you ask how!) - Maximum PC Forums

  6. #6
    Pandemonium
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    Quote Originally Posted by geno View Post
    How big of a benefit might I expect if I did get new cooling for the CPU and overclocked it? If its not pretty significant, it looks like I'll probably just leave things the way they are for now. Afterall, I don't really feel like my computer is lagging behind my needs for it right now, and was only planning on doing this if it was as cheap/easy as doing it for the GPU was, lol. I might look back into this later though when I've got some extra money lying around and the need to upgrade the performance of my PC though.
    It can make a pretty huge difference. Most people don't realize that often video cards are bottlenecked by the processor. Your GPU can only process data as fast as the processor sends it, so overclocking only your GPU doesn't make much sense unless it's an older model.

    For example I've overclocked my Q6600 from 2.4Ghz to 3.6... that's a 66% overclock and makes the processor "worth" the same as the $1000 extreme editions. Trust me, with a little time money (less than ~$100 mind you) and effort you'll notice a big difference. Definitely do your research though, and have an idea of what you're doing before you go in there. Adjusting clocks and raising voltages automatically voids your warranty, so if you fry you're stuff don't expect to be able to RMA anything. As long as you're comfortable doing it, I'd say go for it.

  7. #7

    Yes, you could get away with it, no it wouldn't be worth it.
    Donno, have my 3.0 dual OC'd to 3.4 with stock cooling, and it gets no hotter than 45' under load, really. Donno how since my GPU can't do squat without heating up to the 90' range (unless I manually turn up fans) but it works, so, meh.

  8. #8

    E8400 + Arctic 7 = 3.6Ghz np

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