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Hi guys, Im having some trouble stabilizing my OC and Im wondering if there's something I broke or Im just doing something wrong. And if you could help me with it. This was actually my first attempt at any real overclock, Im gonna buy a new system and want to get the most out of it, so I decided to (ab)use this one first so I actually understand what Im doing.




Default settings are 17x200, right now Im at 14x240 (CPU multiplier unlock only has 2 options), and stable, but my core speed is underclocked. It went wrong when I upped my FSB to around 262, I cant remember the exact numbers really cause it's crashed so many times, if my PC wouldnt break down, I would have.

Anyway, I decided to put it as it was for years, 17x205, also cause I couldnt be bothered with flashing my BIOS again and again, my motherboard has 'safeBIOS', putting back the first version of it, the version where the CPU multiplier is still locked... And I got a bit scared when it started to make beeping sounds and the BIOS almost wouldnt load.


I've always been real carefull with this stuff, especially with the Volts, so when OC'ing I hardly changed this, and if I did, I did the minimum, so I dont think, or rather hope I damaged any components.

But before I change my mind and do change the volts, I'd like to get a second opinion. How should I handle overclocking this thing? I know there's more in it.


Last shot from when the system did his uber crash, I wanted to reboot WinXP, my computer didnt, flashed BIOS again cause of freaking fail safe thingie, kept pushing the FSB speed down, didnt work, increased CPU volts, didnt work, changed FSB to 240Mhz, and than, the beeping started and I panicked :o:






My Mobo: http://global.msi.com.tw/index.php?func=proddesc&maincat_no=1&prod_no=161


MSI showing how 'easy' it is to OC your FSB (if only): http://global.msi.com.tw/index.php?func=techexpressdesc2&express_no=42


Couldnt find Intel's specs for the Pentium 4 550, so here are some of it from techpowerup!: http://www.techpowerup.com/cpudb/4/Intel_Pentium_4_550.html


PS: Ive read about a FSB wall of 220Mhz if you keep your PCI-E frequency on default, Ive set PCI freq manual to default so it wont change, and let PCI-E freq automaticly raise when I up my FSB. Is this good or wrong?

Plus I think I've 'loosened up' the timings of my RAM by manually setting it to 4-4-4-12, this was set on auto, and was 3-3-3-9. Am I correct and should I be doing this?

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Great info you supplied to help m8.


Can see a few issues with the screenies youve posted.


At both your overclocks of 3.4 and 3.5Ghz your FSB is over what your board is rated (800mhz). Most boards will go over there rated frontside bus but you need to modify your nb,sb voltages etc etc for the board to run stable. WARNING: Before you play with these voltages rule out all other possibilities and do a lot of research as to the overclockability of your board. Really read up on it before you play with these, preferably if your unsure just realise youve hit the limitations of your board and back off a bit.


Second issue I can see is your ram settings, I would definitely investigate this before worrying about what ive mentioned above.


At your 3.4Ghz overclock your ram is running at 640mhz, according to your sig your ram is only 533mhz? Dependng on the quality of your ram its probably not capable of this speed at those latencies, recommend you loosen your timing at this overclock to 5-5-5-18-2T and see what happens, if that fails go right up to 7-7-7-24-2T and if it works tighten them back up again until you become unstable and back off slightly.


On your 3.5Ghz overclock your ram speed is fine (506mhz) but your latencies seem awfully tight back them off to 5-5-5-18-2T and if it works slowly tighten them up until instability bights then back off slightly.


Try the ram first if that isnt the problem you need to address your FSB.


Good Luck

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Thanks for your reply. I went to overclock.net with these problems too, and now I've set my mutliplier back to x17 instead of x14. FSB @ 215Mhz instead of 240Mhz.

I can set my FSB way higher with the multiplier on x14, but the PCI-E frequency must go up too and thats not cool. If it doesnt, it wont boot.


Upping the FSB results in a stable WinXP, but Im unable to do a cold boot. Upping the volts wont help either, the CPU will throttle @ 68C on 100% load running prime95.




I'll try and mess around with the RAM timings before doing a cold boot this time. Thanks again for the advice.


edit: Managed to do 4 cold boots using the highest RAM timings I could pick, 5-5-5-18 and 4-4-4-12 @ 400 mhz worked, 5-5-5-18 and 4-4-4-12 @ 400 mhz worked too. Im about to do some stress tests, but it seems stable now.

So when I want to up the FSB now, I should set it back to the highest timings right?




Me being stable :)

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Definitely recommend you dont adjust your PCIe frequency, it gains nothing of value and generally leads to problems, anybody who does increase never get very far (no more than 115mhz or 15%) and it doesnt really achieve anything because a modern PCIe 2.0 bus supplies more bandwith than your videocard can use. Definitely dont adjust your PCIe voltage this can fry your gfx card.


CPU temp wise I'd recommend you try and keep to window of 50 to 60 degrees, a lot of people will tell you they can run hotter and generally speaking they can (up to 70) but in my personal opinion anything over 65 degrees is decreasing the life of your chip and the slight increase in your performance just doesnt warrant it. You will notice that as soon as you start to increase Vcore (cpu voltage) temps will increase exponentially, google around and find out what voltage is the intel recommended max ( dont quote me but I think its around 1.5v's for that chip) if your running a stock cooler you will probably find you will be lucky to even reach this voltage without encountering overheating.


As far as setting your multi, its generally the rule to leave this set at its max value, this leaves more headroom in your FSB to overclock for example:

14multi x 200FSB = 2.8Ghz

17multi x 200FSB = 3.4Ghz

By running the higher multi you can use less FSB to achieve a higher clock.

When I built my last system I chose a $200 E8400 with a rated 1333FSB at stock, I chose a P5Q mobo with a maximum FSB of 1600. By increasing my FSB from 1333 to 1600 and slightly increasing my Vcore for stability I have a 3.6Ghz processor. Intel fastest stock part the E8600 is 300mhz slower and nearly twice the price of my E8400. I could push harder but why bother (besides E-Wang) The performance difference in most applications would be negligable, its all about value for money really.


I would recommend you start your clock from scratch, go back to default.


Step 1 would be to decrease the speed of your ram to say 400mhz to stop it from interfering with your overclock (you will set it back higher once your finished with the cpu)


Step 2 would be to do the maths and start increasing your FSB with the multi set at max, go up around 400mhz for a first step and then run prime or orthos for an hour and make sure your stable, after that increase in 200mhz increments until prime or orthos crashes, once youve reached this barrier and provided you have headroom in your FSB increase your Vcore to stabilise the overclock, when you do increase Vcore the less you need to achieve stability the better and monitor your temps closely when you start benchmarking again (they will climb significantly) and as I said earlier find out the maximum voltage recommended by intel and try to stay within it on stock cooling.


Step 3 once your happy with your CPU overclock is to increase your ram speed back to its proper operating speed (533mhz) and tighten up your latencies until it crashes again then back off a bit, doing the ram is easy, if you push to hard the computer simply wont post, keep fiddling until you get it where its comfortable.


Hope this info helps, on another note and something most people dont mention but I have noticed quite a lot is that you will find you will generally get better system performance by concentrating more on your ram speed and especially your timings than you will out of a straight out CPU overclock especially in games.

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Lol just seen your edit, by those screenies looks like your on the right track!


CPU voltage looks good, your ram speed is up and those latencies are nice and tight.


Hows your CPU temp after 10 mins of prime\orthos, whats it holding at?


Notice on your FSB your running at 859Mhz. While you might get a bit more out of it, the next instability your going to hit is your mobo running out of legs so to speak. Your already 59Mhz over its rated speed and the only way to keep the board going will be to increase mobo voltages (dont recommend this if its your first time). Saying that though keep trying you might be able to eek an extra few megahertz of FSB out of the board, they all react differently, my P5Q will actually go up 150-200 mhz above its rated FSB before I need to throw it more voltage but every boards different.


Keep in mind though that if your having to sacrifice your ram timing\speed just to get an extra 200-300mhz out of the processor you would be better off staying lower on the CPU and keeping the tighter ram timings, benchmarks like 3Dmark wont show it up very well but your computer will perform much better at gaming with tighter ram timings than a few extra mhz out of the processor.


To answer your question no you dont have to increase your timings and lower your speed to increase cpu speed but I do recommend you do it to rule out your ram causing your sytem to crash. This way you can concentrate entirely on your CPU overclock without the ram getting in the way and causing issues.


Good Luck! Its always so satisfying achieving this for the first time!

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RAM running @ 573 Mhz 4-4-4-12


My CPU temp was 70C, which is a little bit high but acceptable though on this current OC. My Arctic Alpine has some issues going at his max RPM, either that or the readings are off. It usually is the latter, but 2 days ago on an unstable system I got readings on Speedfan & Everest telling me the CPU fan was going 2000 RPM and my front intake 4000 RPM, and showing much lower temperatures. Something is wrong there, but thats a different problem.


So my next step is to underclock my RAM, max out the few FSB I have left, and from there tighten up the RAM again? (preferably to its highest setting even if a few FSB must be sacrificed?)

In the process I also changed Voltage settings for CPU, NB and DDR, the only 3 I can change, when setting the RAM low again I should set the DDR Volts back again too right? I did minimal changes, from 1.85 to 1.9.


And man, thanks for the advice, again, already helped out a lot, and you actually managed to write more than I do. Yesterday I was already happy my system did a cold boot @ 17x205 with tight RAM timings, now Im stable @ 215 Mhz.




edit: ive read your answer, ty

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573mhz at those timings is probably as good as your going to get, Id be happy with that, 1.9 volts is safe also if its stable.


70 degrees is too hot to maintain 24/7 youll cook your chip at that temp, possibly damage your mobo also.

You also have to take into account your current room temperature, if your in aus its night time and reasonably cool? Your computers ability to cool itself to the same level as it is right now isnt going to happen during the day and your rooms heated up, something to think about.


Before you go further leave your FSB alone and see if you can lower your Vcore and remain stable, even a very slight decrease (eg. 1.485 to 1.470) can have a big effect on your cpu temp, give it a try. Even if you can get your temp down to 65 it could handle that 24\7 (with reservations).

Remember increasing frequency doesnt increase heat, only increases in voltage will generate heat.


How much did you increase your mobo voltages and what exactly did you increase? You need to be careful here remember all your mobo components are passively cooled (eg no fans unless youve installed them), they rely directly on the airflow in your case for adequate cooling and also your boards temp sensor is completely inadequate to accurately measure the temp your northbridge/southbridge etc etc is generating. Only the higher end boards (eg. x38 x48) have the appropriate temp sensors to accurately monitor this. You can check them manually by getting a hold of a temp probe and measuring manually with the case open while running prime\orthos, this is why I recommended against playing with this until you get more knowledge on the subject.


Remember its easy to get overzealous and push to hard when you start doing this, it becomes a bit addictive! You have to weigh whether its worth the risk, as I said earlier those 2 or 3 hundred extra mhz you gain arent going to make any noticable difference to your computers performance but can have a very adverse affect on its stability/lifespan.


What exactly do you do with your Comp? Im guessing you game a bit? Looking at your specs, if youve got the cash shell out $150 on a 9600GT or $180 9800GT, the gains you would get from this would be very impressive, in games you would triple your performance easily.


Bed time anyway, will check back in morning, let me know how you went.

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Im actually gonna build a new system, I used this one for gaming, its 3 years old now, and I dont think I'll be really using it in a few months. I just wanted to get a sense of what I should look for in a new system, and in the meantime I wanted to 'train' sort of speak, messing up this system will be a lot less expensive than messing up my future rig.


But Im not planning on pushing it too hard, think it's already performing pretty good now. And I dont wanna kill it.


About the temperatures, I turn my computer off at night and only use it for gaming. I live in the Netherlands and the weather is always grey and cold so the ambient temperature isnt a problem. Speedfan says the motherboard doesnt get any hotter than 34/35C with orthos or prime95 running. Plus, I have a big 22cm intake fan on the side.


Dont know about the mobo voltages, I have 3 voltages listed in my BIOS, which are;


CPU Volt: Default 1.385V set to 1.425V

DDR Volt: Default 1.85V set to 1.95V

NB Volt: Default 1.55V set to 1.6V


Another question, which relates to the temperature and RAM. I've done some quick memory bandwith benchmarks with Sisoft Sandra, using the following settings:


http://img185.imageshack.us/img185/303/weerx1ak9.th.jpghttp://img185.imageshack.us/images/thpix.gif http://img368.imageshack.us/img368/7686/weerx2zz4.th.jpghttp://img368.imageshack.us/images/thpix.gif http://img185.imageshack.us/img185/4451/weerx3ds7.th.jpghttp://img185.imageshack.us/images/thpix.gif


The first 2 values are increasing as I up my RAM speed and timings. However in the "Performance vs Speed" section there's a major decrease in both values. It seems to me I can get a faster overall speed decreasing the RAM from 533mhz to 400mhz, and trying to tight up the timings? (Should I try to tighten that up? Since my FSB:DRAM divider is set to 1:1 in that case)

While I was on that point (of 400mhz @ 5-5-5-15) I also noticed my CPU temperature was 68C under full load. I had to up the DDR and CPU volts to run on 533mhz, explaining the heat increase like you said. Another reason to turn it down to 400mhz I think.


BTW. I maxed out on FSB speed @ 217mhz, and Im leaving it like this. 219Mhz didnt work, nor did 218Mhz, even with increasing the volts. So I put it back at 217mhz, which makes for a core speed of 3.7Ghz where the stock speed was 3.4Ghz, just below a 10% increase, which I dont know, but looks nice for a 3 year old system if I may say so myself.


Only thing left is getting these timings right, excellent help, thanks tonkatuffmofo :cool:

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Mulling over it last night it seems odd that you would have to modify your voltages to that degree to achieve such a mild overclock.


For example my E8400 will go up 3.8Ghz before I have to touch Vcore for any reason. Generally an overclock between 200-400Mhz on a P4 just require you to raise your FSB to the desired setting. I had a dual core P4 Presler running at 3.65 up from 3.4 with no voltage correction.


Recommend you remember your settings you have at present and try from scratch with these settings, might save you some heat\stress



Vcore: Leave on Auto or default voltage

Set all your mobo voltages back to default

DRam Voltage: 1.9 (dont recommend 1.95 if ram is generic)

Ram set to what you had last night was pretty good gains 573Mhz?

@ 4-4-4-12-2T pretty impressive if this is generic ram


You should be stable at this, its only a very mild overclock, give it a try you never know.


On another not if you can take 100mhz drop in ram speed and be able to tighten your timings by one point, I'd take the tighter timings, you will get more performance.


Recommend you try 450Mhz-500Mhz @ 3-3-3-9-2T @1.9v's


If this fails to post go back to 573Mhz @ 4-4-4-12-2T @1.9v's


Or even try 573Mhz @ 3-3-3-9-2T @1.9V's! Dont like your chances though! LOL. Worth a shot but.


What parts are you looking at for your new system, I can help you in the right direction as far as overclockable\value for money parts if you would like the advice, just spent 6 months researching my new system, use it primarily for gaming and love it to bits! Whats your budget?

I got out of mine for $2200 Aus dollars but it would actually cost me more to build it now as the Aus dollar has dropped its guts, my E8400 is $100 dearer now than it was 2 months ago! Big difference though playing COD4 lately with every setting maxed at a touch over 100FPS.


Keep in mind that price was with all new gear, keyboard, speakers, monitor, the works.


Oh back on to ram timings, they can have a huge affect on performance, did you know that DDR3 1600Mhz 7-7-7-24-2T is only as fast as DDR2 1066mhz 5-5-5-18-2T? The difference in latencies have a big effect especially when you compare prices of DDR2 1066Mhz to DDR3 1600Mhz. Thats why I stayed with DDR2, price to performance for DDR3 just isnt quite there yet. DDR3 is still for people more concerned with there E-Wang at the moment. Something else to think about!

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I wrote a reply, than decided it was time to try out the tight timings, and I actually forgot to press the "Submit Reply" BUTTON :mad:


Anyway, 573Mhz @ 3-3-3-9 (with 1.9V) got me into Windows, but than gave me horrible errors popping out of random programs I had running. Booted, set it to 4-4-4-12 and its all good now.


Just gonna reply to you again... My FSB is @ 215Mhz since this morning cause it wouldnt boot, I've set all my voltages back to default settings except for DDR, which is running on 1.9V.

Yesterday @ 217Mhz, and another decrease in volts, I got 68C instead of 70C on full load, should be even lower now.


For my new system I was looking at Intel's i7 Core. The only affordable at this moment is the 920, but its not really practical and there arent enough mobo's to go around... It'll be a bummer when I buy a 775 socket, when the 1336 is gonna be the next big thing. What do you think? (got a budget of around €1200 btw)


edit: man, i still cant believe i forgot to press the button

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Thats a pretty decent budget, is that just for a case and internal or keyboard monitor and the works?


Core I7 would be nice but very pricey, not just the processor either, the mobo and ddr3 ram there forcing on it will be dear also, on the other hand

C2D's will come down in price and DDR2 is rock bottom already.


Have to weigh up the pros and cons of what your using it for, is the money worth spending? Or better to save on a C2D\DDR2 rig and put the extra coin into GFX card?????? What will give you the better performance for your chosen applications, a better CPU will help encode video faster, but a more high end GFX card will game faster.


Also keep in mind nehalem is new architecture on old fab process, late next year there moving to 32nm process, that will be the chip to get, will be conroe all over again!


Personally if it was me I would wait for nehalem release then pick up a cheap C2D, put the extra coin in a good graphics setup.

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Just for the case, components that is, Im gonna build my own case. Bought a monitor a couple of weeks ago, have a Deathadder mouse and headphones, so I just need a CPU/RAM and mobo. Oh and a GFX card off course :o:


So your advice is to wait for the nehalem, and in the mean time invest in a C2D? Or wait for the nehalem and than buy a C2D? Ive lost you there ;):


Picked up the Coolermaster Hyper TX2 today btw, new CPU cooler, cheapest/best I could find. Gonna install it in a minute, I hope I get some lower temps with it cause this Arctic Alpine is really dying.


Edit: Disregard that, seems like my whole computer is dying. Think my mobo didnt like me forcing the new cooler in, and since the cheapest mobo on a i915 chipset is €150 Im gonna pick up a C2D with mobo tomorrow I think... Not really according to plans, but what the heck..


Edit2 xD : Disregard that, again, its alive! Crappy mounting system of my new CPU cooler made sure there was no or too much contact with my processor... 83C On full load after 2/3 minutes!

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Recommend either wait till nehalems been out a month or two and pick up a high end C2D at a cheap price or wait till 32nm nehalems come out end of next year, wouldnt buy first gen nehalem, will be very costly for only minor performance increase over C2D in gaming, spend the extra money on graphics card\cards
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Finally back again, here's what happened.


Overclocking went good, but running my CPU on 68 degrees Celcius isnt good, so I decided to buy a new cheap cooler, the Hypermaster TX2.


It has push pins, horrible push pins, and when I finally got the CPU cooler mounted, my temp, stressed was getting 80C and hotter. So I tried to get it off and re-attach it, and in the process of doing so, I warped my mobo, twice, and probably messed up the CPU, eitherway, something was dead.


So I had to almost buy a complete new system, P5Q mobo, E5200 CPU, 2GB Corsair's PC5300 667Mhz, kept it budget, cause Im still planning on buying a new system.


Right now Im running on the same CPU cooler that broke my system, but this time I attached it with Intel's push pins, which own. Getting regular temps but I still will ban this crap forever as soon as I have my hands on a new cooler, this time with skrews and a proper mounting rack/backplate.


Oh well, at least I got a new system to overclock...

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