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Hello I have been thinking about overclocking my machine for a while now, but know absolutely nothing about it. Don't want to take it to its limits just speed it up a bit. My system is as follows.

ABIT Fatal1ty AN8 SLI mother board

AMD Athlon 64 3200 32/64Bit CPU S939 "Venice"

512Mb Corsair XMS, DDR, PC3200C2PRO, Cas 2 (will be a gig soon)

128Mb Gigabyte PCI-E NX66128DP-Geforce6600, 500MHz 8xPipeline, DirectX9.0c, DVI, SilentPipe

350W FSP Bluestorm 350 aPFC ATX 12v v2.01 PSU SATA 24/20 pin ATX power connectors (need a better power supply)

The board came with an overclocking tool (ABIT guru) and it will overclock for me but i doubt it does it that much. It turns my CPU frequency up by 60mhz. I have tried a tool from nvidia that will overclock my machine aswell and am sure it took my CPU frequency from 2100mhz to 3000mhz or close to there. So what are safe values to overclock by? I don't have any fancy cooling either in fact my cooling is minimum i have a decentish heatsink and one 80mm fan in my case.

Cheers James

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it took my CPU frequency from 2100mhz to 3000mhz or close to there.

Yes, a 0.9Ghz overclock with minimal cooling. of course.

Fiver says you'll fry something before next week is over.

Edit : Oh No! Unhelpful people on the internet! Shocker!

Edited by alexnessie
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Have a look here.

Really helpful guide and also really helpful people on there. I'll be using that when I start overclocking.

(When I have RMA'd my faulty RAM.) :(

I have that Guru thing, too. Did yours come with a clock that tells you the temps of your MOBO, CPU and system?

EDIT: "alexnessie" Shut up, that's not really going to help him is it? Just because you're a "L33t" overclocker doesn't mean you have to put other people down.... (N)

Edited by Siders77
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It's not that it was unhelpful, you're just putting him off for NO reason at all.

Alright, want me to be helpful? fine.

Shaggy, go read that forum Siders posted, don't do ANYTHING until you know the limits of you and your hardware.

Do everything carefully, and only in small increments, if you see the temperature of a component shoot up (and i mean 30C-90C in a couple seconds) stop and QUICKLY revert to your last stable and cool settings.

It's okay for components to run slightly hotter when clocked, my graphics card idles around 40C now instead of 35C when i got it, thats okay.

Make sure you have a temperature probe handy when running benchmarks, if you see a component getting to a very high temperature, STOP THE TEST and allow it to cool, then revert back to your last settings.

Please, be careful.

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That's better. :P

Anyway. IF the PC doesn't want to boot up or anything clear the CMOS and that should sort it. :)

By the way, do you have anything like this? \/


I dunno if it's any good but it's what I'll be using when I first start....

I've never used anything flashy like that. I prefer to do all cpu overclocking in the bios.

For graphics card overclocking I use ATITool, but I see shaggy has an nVidia card, so that's no help to him.

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To be honest i prob wont end up doing anything to it until i have a new case and a few more fans anyway. Was just curious if these untilities really did anything noticable. I all so wanted to know how easy it was to do. Like i said i know nothing about overclocking. Am reading the forum Sliders77 posted so hopefully that will give me a better idea of what i need to do before i give it a try. My guru looks slightly diff from the other.

screen capture

Cheers for the replys

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I wouldn't really worry about temps too much. You will probably just find that you reach a limit where the system won't boot, or it won't load Windows. It depends what is holding the system back, and there is a bit of an art to choosing the compromise that will give you the best overclock - For example it might be better to put a divider on the RAM to allow the FSB speeds to go higher, but then you cut memory bandwidth and you get worse performance in some tasks.

I wouldn't bother with any of those Windows-based overclocking tools (except for graphics), just do it in the BIOS. Check that it's 100% stable (Use Prime95 torture test) and you're away. But like people have said, read up on it.

The easiest thing to overclock first is the graphics. Use a program such as RivaTuner and see you much you can get out of the card without it artefacting. Have fun, you should be able to get a decent overclock because you've got all good stuff (apart from that powersupply) (Y)

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I use rivatuner and i'm a complete newbie to overclocking, it hasn't done anything to my computer at all, except bump up the speed of my graphics card. I did have the expert advise of mr andy hill (tankrider) to help me through it though.

Rivatuner is an easy enough program to use, and if you don't go unnecesarily playing with the advanced settings when you don't have a clue what they do you shouldn't have a problem with it.

Once its installed and everything, you just right click the desktop click porperties> then the graphics card tab> then choose clock speeds and it has its own overclock test that puts it at the most stable overclock settings for you. There was a little more involved with it than just installing it and then right clicking the desktop, but if you give andy a pm i'm sure he'd be more than helpfull about it.

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id say im reasonable at it, i understand how it should work, but thats when it gets tricky, things randomlyturn off and i seem to get the bsod a lot.

in my experience unless you are spending lots on watercooling the benefits are really not that noticeable cause you cant really do that much with stock cooling and even with more fans, you would do far better imo just leaving it.

it will shorten the life of components if you push them too much, and if your unlucky your mobo and chip will actually set on fire, like my mates did last week. or just die on you.

i personally think its a bit pointless especially when you have a comp the spec of yours.

im running a dfi mobo 754, a64 3200+ [clawhammer], 1gb 3200 corsair xms, 2x120gb sata barracudas raid0.. and i can comfortably oc the clockspeed from 200mhz to 220, but dont notice a gain to make it worthwile the random crashes.

i have been very impressed with the hdd setup though, 2 barracudas in r0 ar bloody fast!

and dont use those terrible windows based overclocking tools, they are just bad news, if your going to do it, do it properly in the bios. much safer imo, and atleast by learning how to do it in the bios you should understand how it all works, and what each setting does instead of just dragging a silde bar to ''uber turbo''

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I presume you're intending getting top of the range cards to sli, because last time I looked at it, it was better to get one decent high end card for the price you'd pay for two cards in sli. It could have changed since then, but it's worth bearing in mind.


thats a good point - for example, a pair of 6600gts should in theory give you about the same sort of benchmarks as a single 6800 ultra on most older games (Far Cry or older). For newer games like quake4 you're probably better off with the single 6800ultra as it has a 256bit memory interface which you need if you really want run at high resolutions with FSAA turned on.

my dual-core gigabyte 6600gt (SLI on one card) will let me run quake4 at 1024x768 with FSAA comfortably but when I go higher res it starts to get upset.

basically - if you want real power make sure it has a 256bit memory interface (6800, 7800 etc.) and don't buy ATI cos the drivers are complete cack .

Oh, I dont want to start an Nvidia vs ATI fight. I've got Nvidia at home and ATI at work. The ATI is a better card on paper but the drivers are always awful.

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This is a guide to help you with Overclocking

Overclocking is away to get more performance out of your computer. It's the process of running your components (CPU, RAM etc) at clock speeds greater than they were original sold as. This only a guide don't use it as your only guide read others and do you research first. Also remembering the fact that every processor overclocks diffrently even identical ones, therefore you might no be able to match your friends OC, but any OC is good as you are getting free performance.

Overclocking can kill components, therefore if you choose to follow this guide you are responsible for any damage caused. Always back up any data before OCing as it may result in a corrupt HDD

The key facts that you should know:

The following has been added by Hoot

1. The are different ways of overclocking and different ways of improving an overclock, these can be cheap or expensive depends on what you are looking for. A quick free performance boost can be pretty cheap even free or a games master number crunching demon can start eating away at your paycheck. As i say it just depends what you want to do and how much you want to spend.

2. Just because my friend bill got a good overclock it doesn't mean that I will, basically there are lots of contributing factors to a good and safe overclock and is chip dependant. So if someone with the same cpu can get theres to higher frequencies than yours don't be dissapointed they might have spent more money or just might have got lucky.

3. Overclocking is not normally officially supported by manufactuers and will void warranty unless you buy a system/component pre-overclocked. If you buy a brand new cpu and fry it with to many volts for that overclock theres no point complaining to intel or amd or whoever.

Useful Tools:



http://www.memtest86.com/">Memtest 86

http://www.memtest.org/">Memtest 86+




http://www.futuremark.com/">3dmark and Pcmark

Useful Websites:

http://www.overclockers.co.uk" target="_blank">Overclockers.co.uk - Excellent online store, one of the best stockists of performance hardware

http://www.overclockers.com" target="_blank">Overclockers.com - American overclocking site, has good guides and tips for helping with performance and modification ideas

http://www.custompc.co.uk" target="_blank">Custom Pc - Well if you are reading this then you are already here or on the PCPro forum but the forums always have helpful advice on hand

http://www.guru3d.com" target="_blank">Guru 3D - Ultimate resource for graphics card modding and overclocking.

http://www.wimsbios.com" target="_blank">Wimsbios.com - A very good bios resource


Now to the basics:

Processor speeds are dependant on two things FSB and Multiplier. The clock speed is derived from the FSB * Multiplier, i.e if your FSB is 200MHz and your multiplier is 10 then 200MHz * 10 = 2000MHz ~ 2GHz.

Logic would tell you that if you change one of the variables then you would get a faster processor. However, most processors have there multipliers locked, for the purpose of this guide lets presume that you have a half locked multiplier (as used by AMD) that allow you to reduce the multiplier but not raise it Intel processors dont have this facilty. The varable that is going to be changed is the FSB.

Before you start you should get a good benchmarking piece of software to see what performance gain you get. Or use a couple to see the improvements in certain areas. This will give a good before and after.

Also get a tool like motherboard monitor 5 or something you can use to read the Processor temps and case temps. (If your temp reading is accurate then don't exceed 65*C under load when you are OCing, if you reach that level then you should scale back the OCing until you get better cooling)

The Overclocking:

A couple MUST do things in the BIOS

1) Enable the PCI/AGP lock (if you don't have one that limits your overclocking)

2) Disable Cool and Quiet also know as CPU throttling in some BIOS (AMD A64 only)

3) Set the Maximum CPU thermal trip temp to something like 65*C.

The first thing to work out is the fail-safe; what you do if you computer doesn't boot. You will have to clear the CMOS. This is a simple procedure where you move a jumper to short two pins for a couple of second to clear the BIOS settings. You should find out how to do this from your motherboard manual, if that's not handy then look at your motherboard manufactures website. Note that if you clear the CMOS it doesn't clear the BIOS, therefore you don’t have reload the BIOS or anything, making life much easier.

Now its time to raise the FSB, to do this press delete when the computer is posting. This brings you to the BIOS options, you will have to look for a menu that takes you to the frequency and voltage controls. You should look around your BIOS until you find this.

Now to determine the maximum FSB, you want to reduce the multiplier by about 2X so if you have a multiplier of 10 reduce it to 8. (Note that Intel processors can't change the multiplier in either direction unless you have a MoBo that allow it) Now start to increase the FSB by 5MHz increments until the system doesn't post into windows or doesn't start(if it doesn't start then flash the CMOS) When you reach the point where it doesn't run stable try increasing the RAM by one increment i.e. 0.1V and see if its stable if its not then lower the clock until it is. As a general rule never increase your voltage by more than 5 - 7% unless you really know what your doing. When you reach the maximum stable FSB(test with a program such as Prime95 for a couple hours to see if its stable) record the level.

If you have reached the level then it maybe the RAM holding you back. For instance if you have a 200MHz FSB and you use PC3200 memory you may only be able to OC by 20MHz on the FSB. You can now do one of two things.

1) Buy faster RAM, like PC4400 to deal with the speed.

2) Two change the FSB:RAM ratio. Most MoBo will allow the RAM to run asynchronies from the FSB. So you might change it from 1:1 to 5:4 so for ever 5 FSB clocks the memory clocks 4 times giving a 1/5th decrease in RAM speed. This is what you should do at this stage as you dont know if you final OC will use the max FSB.

In your final setup you want the RAM to run as close to a 1:1 ratio as possible as running your RAM at slower speeds cause a bottleneck so you don't get as much performance gain as running with a 1:1 ratio.

Now you know the max FSB you want to return the multiplier to normal and the clock speed to normal. Now its time to OC again, once more raise the FSB in 5MHz steps until it gets unstable. When that happens increase the voltage to the core (Vcore) by one increment (unless you know what your doing do not exceed a 10% increase in the Vcore) When you are nearing the your max FSB then start to increase the RAM voltage like before (again not exceeding 5 - 7% increase) When you think you have your final setup then test it with prime95 for atleast 6hours, if it doesn’t pas then decrease the FSB by 1MHz and test until stable.

Now you have your OCed system. Here is something to remember a processor running 200*10 =2000MHz and a processor running 210*9.5=1995MHz yet the second is faster because its running a faster FSB so it has more memory bandwidth.(note that if you have to use a slower ram speed i.e. using the FSB:RAM ratio of 5:4 you wipe out this increase in bandwidth)

So it may be worth while decreasing the multiplier slightly if you can get a faster FSB. They way to test is using a benchmark such as PCmark to check the difference in speed.

Side Notes:

Remember that playing with voltages should not be done unless you know what you are doing. This is the main cause of components breaking.

If you own a DELL computer well done for reading this article but you cant OC a DELL computer, no-luck. :D

If you are OCing with out a PCI lock you will wont to keep the AGP bus as near to 66MHz as possible and the PCI to 33MHz some motherboards allow you to control them with multipliers. If you let them raise to high it can cause all the data on your HDD to be corrupt and you will need to reformat.

Edited by Hoot
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Nice guide there Hoot (Y) although it lacks mention of the A64 specific setting of the htt multiplier that will limit the fsb (htt speed) to ~ 250MHz.

I recently moved over to an A64 system from my old socket A setup and found that the overclocking is very much different, and includes a couple more factors.

The guide I found that covered pretty much everything and was comprehensive enough to cover everything and allowed me to get my Opteron 144 up to 2.7GHz (300fsb/htt speed) where i hit the motherboards limit :(

The Somewhat Complete AMD 64 Overclocking Guide

In terms of overclocking in windows i found clockgen to be very useful for quickly finding the limits of the cpu and ram without having to re-boot every 30 secs. You'll need ther version specific to your motherboard from here, the once you've found your limits set it all up in the bios and leave it :)

As for overclocking of Nvidia cards i use RivaTuner (i use it to unlock the extra pipelines in my 6800LE as well) to unlock the driver based overclocking function (PM me and ill walk you through it if needed) then use the drivers as Chris said to actually do the overclocking itself.

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