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New AMD rig to overclock an unlocked 960T w/ too many questions!?

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Hey fellas!


I built my new system last Sunday and it's great! :thumbsup:


Currently, pretty much everything is enjoyably better in almost every way even though I already had the SSD on my old system, I am not exactly sure which components were most responsible for the improvement but I got a noticeable bump in performance and I like it. :D


WEI went from 5.9/5.9/4.3/5.1/7.8 to 7.4/7.4/4.7/5.5/7.9. Overall not quite impressive compared to a gaming rig but, other than the final score, the sub-differences are fairly significant. I wonder if I can increase the 7.4s.


CrystalDiskMark scores however is lower on 4K QD32 yet higher on SEQ, 512k, 4k. Is this normal?


Anyway, it could still be faster! To put the icing on the cake, I wish to get a bit of extra juice from this baby if this is ok. I'm fairly new to OC'ing even though I've done a couple of basic OC'ing back in the Pentium II / Celeron days. Nowadays there's a lot more involved though and I'm wondering if I can get some guidance here. I've read some guides and I have questions and info along with it, which will be divided in 3 parts:








My post will be lengthy because I know how you experts like to have a lot of information to work with and answering questions you probably already know from your experience. Not all questions however need to have immediate sequential answers. But I ask that they be organized in descending order if possible.


Aside from that, I'm making the rounds on other forums so you may respond with what you can as soon as possible at your convenience.


I will start with the first two questions because I think these answers will determine if I should continue on with the rest of my Q's. Then, if it's ok, I'll expand the OT.


Thank you in advance.






Question 1 - Is it safe to continue running two extra cores using what I've got for light to moderate overclocking?

I begin with (A) my hardware and (B) my goal.


(A) Hardware.
  • CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 960T (unlocked to 6 cores)

  • Heatsink - Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (with two Blademasters in push/pull)

  • Motherboard - ASUS M5A88-V EVO, Has heatsink on mosfets. Supposedly 8 + 1 Phase count (VRMs), but not sure if this is accurate or even good enough. NB chip is cooled by Antec SpotCool.

  • Power Supply - Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC

  • Case - Antec 300 Illusion (w/ 2 front intake fans, 1 rear exhaust, 1 above and 1 fan on the side)

  • Memory - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB DDR3 1600 9-9-9-24 1.5V F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL Cooled by Antec Spotcool.

  • Video Card - Radeon HD 5450

  • Thermal Paste - Prolimatech PK-1




(B) Goal - A stable 24/7 OC configuration, no ground breaking records or interest in extreme benchmarking scores. I'm not sure exactly what my final OC config could be but here are hypothetical numbers. I am fine with lowering this to achieve my goal on my current setup.

  • CPU (6 cores or how many good stable cores I end up with) = 4000MHz @ 1.400 vCore

  • MULTI = 16.0x

  • NB = 3000MHz CPU/NB @ 1.300 V

  • RAM = 1666MHz @ 1.55 V

  • FSB = 250 @ NB = 1.20 V

  • HT = 2000MHz


Question 2 - To even further cool the VRM heatsinks, what fans would you recommend?

I'm looking at these if they could do the job:


Adjustable, Bendable Portable USB PC Laptop Notebook Cooler Cooling Fan

Arctic Breeze Mobile Portable USB Fan


They're very short so I would need it longer to reach around from outside the rear USB ports and into the case through the pci slots.


EDIT: Upon closer inspection I'm already getting proper airflow to VRM, as well as RAM and NB/SB chips. My bad. :P



EDIT: Just added a Radeon 5450, and two Antec SpotCool's to cool RAM and NB chip.


Question 3 - What should be the RPM of case and CPU fans when finding limits and during final overclocking?

Normally I have them running lowest RPM because I like having a quiet PC. I only maximise them during hot weather. Though, I wouldn't mind having it high constantly since I listen to my cans anyway.


Questions 4 & 5 - What temp type should I be monitoring and what are maximum safe CPU and core Load temperatures?

According to HWMonitor's reading on 4 cores, there is a 12-15°C difference between core and CPU.




Question 6 - How do I find the NB temp?

HWMonitor and Everest show only CPU and mainboard temps. Maybe the NB have no temp sensors?


Question 7 - What are safe voltage limits?

  1. CPU Voltage = 1.?V (1.4? 1.475? 1.55?)
  2. CPU-NB Voltage = 1.35V
  3. HTT Voltage = 1.? V
  4. SB Voltage = 1.?? V
  5. NB Voltage = 1.2 V ???
  6. CPU VDD = 2.? V

Question 8 - Are these correct stock voltages for 960T?

They are set to Offset mode with Auto values (as shown in my BIOS):


  1. CPU Voltage = 1.225 V
  2. CPU-NB Voltage = 1.125 V
  3. HTT Voltage = 1.200 V
  4. SB Voltage = 1.100 V
  5. NB Voltage = 1.250 V
  6. CPU VDD = 2.5 V (.05 V higher than the safe voltage limit!?)
  7. DRAM Voltage = 1.490 V
  8. Sideport Memory Voltage = 1.500 V (what is this?)

Question 9 - Which of the following settings do I disable?

  1. AMD Turbo Core Technology
  2. GPU Booster

    1. Enhanced iGPU SpeedStep
    2. GPU Power Saving Mode

[*] CPU & NB Voltage Mode [Offset/Manual]



  1. Offset - CPU & NB Voltage is set to offset value.
  2. Manual - CPU & NB Voltage is set to a fixed value.

[*] CPU Load-Line Calibration [Auto/Enabled/Disabled]

[*] CPU/NB Load-Line Calibration [Auto/Enabled/Disabled]

[*] Cool 'n' Quiet

[*] C1E Support

[*] Anti Surge Support

[*] NB Thermal Protect

[*] CPU & Chassis Q-Fan Function

  1. CPU & Chassis Q-Fan Mode [Enabled/Disabled]
    • Turbo
    • Standard
    • Silent
    • Manual

Question 10 - Since I want to use power saving features once I settle for a final 24/7 stable configuration, how exactly do I effectively use (any of) them during and after the OC process?

  1. Anti Surge Support in BIOS
  2. ASUS EPU OS software
  3. CPU & NB Voltage Offset Mode in BIOS
  4. CPU/NB Load-Line Calibration [Auto/Enabled/Disabled] in BIOS
  5. Cool 'n' Quiet in BIOS
  6. C1E Support in BIOS
  7. GPU Power Saving Mode in BIOS
  8. NB Thermal Protect mode in BIOS
  9. PhenomMSRTweaker/AMDMSRTweaker OS software
  10. Undervolting in BIOS




Questions 11 & 12 - Do I use BIOS or AMD Overdrive or TurboV EVO to find my limits and in what sequential order should I find the limits?

  1. RAM
  2. NB
  3. HTT
  4. FSB
  5. Multiplier

Question 13 - While finding limits for each frequency one at a time, to keep other frequencies (and their respective voltages) @ stock settings do I manually enter them or leave them on Auto?

If I need to manually enter them, what is the stock speed for NB and HTT?


Multiplier - 15x

FSB - 200Mhz

RAM - 1600MHz

NB - 2400MHz? [must be 3 x RAM speed (before DDR) right?]

HTT - 2000MHz?


Question 14 & 15 - What program do I use to test the limits and how long should each test be?

Multiplier/FSB ~ Intel Burn Test, 3DMark, or wPrime?

RAM/NB/HTT ~ Intel Burn Test, OCCT, or Super Pi 32M?





Question 16 - Using the BIOS, in what sequential order should I begin the final overclock?

  1. RAM
  2. NB
  3. HTT
  4. FSB
  5. Multiplier

Questions 17 & 18 - What program do I use to test for 24/7 stability and how long should each test be?


Multiplier/FSB ~ Linx? Prime95?

RAM/NB/HTT ~ Prime95 Blend?


Questions 19 & 20 - Besides the life-shortening effect from overclocking, for the long-term use and stability of a computer, with respect to CPU degradation and longevity, is it better to use an offset voltage (which results in a lower idle but higher transition voltage) or manual voltage (roughly constant voltage)? Will the offset voltage spikes (although within my manufacturer's specified voltages) harm the CPU or cause it to degrade faster over time?


Assume the system is under load 60% of the time it is on (which is why I want to use offset mode - cooler and less power at idle).


This post concludes my pre-OC questions.


If needed, there might be another post with OC questions, and a final post with post-OC questions.



Edited by Stealth3si

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for all your info spikesoprano!.


So sorry it's been a while. I've been rediculously busy with other things. For one, my psu was a defect and I had to replace it before i did anything and my registiry got corrupt so I had to reformat everything and bring my computer back to the way it was before.


ummm..is it okay if the cool 'n quiet optin in bios is greyed out? it says 'enabled' but the option is greyed out so i can't change the option to 'disabled'.


i already disabled c1e supprot and cpu/chassis q fan funciton




Edited by Stealth3si

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dang My ram overclock is Prime95 unstable even tho they're IBT stable...to get it stable i know i need to increase the ram voltage. would the cpu/nb voltage help too or shall i just keep incresaing ram voltage until it's stable?


Here are my ram settings in chronological order:


Ram speed: 1600-1760Mhz @ 1.49V

CPU speed: 2970Mhz

NB/HT speed: 1980Mhz

FSB: 220


Ram speed: 1768-1784Mhz @ 1.58V

CPU speed: 2899Mhz~

NB/HT speed: 2007Mhz~

FSB: 221-223


Ram speed: 1792Mhz @ 1.63V

CPU speed: 2912Mhz

NB/HT speed: 2016Mhz

FSB: 224


Ram speed: 1800Mhz @ 1.70V

CPU speed: 2925Mhz

NB/HT speed: 2025Mhz

FSB: 225


Here is what i did:


According to Intel Burn Test, all my ram overclocks above are STABLE. FYI, I did 'very high' stress level, all cores, 5 loops. it lasts around 19 minutes each session.


I ended my benchmarking @ 1800mhz @ 1.70V and the voltage was getting near 1.75V!

Edited by Stealth3si

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i use the computer all day and i really can't afford to use memtest to test for ram staiblity... lately i've been using prime95 blend but .is there anotehr program to reliably test for ram stability..?


Let it run when your not working on it.


Like when your sleeping

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quesiton; when running memetest....what frequency shoudl it say for the ram speed? no matter if i underclock it or overclock i tmine says 800 (which is stock speed BTW). is that normal or is something screwy gonig on?


also, i'm hestitant on using memtest mainly because it never reprots any ram instability errors while prime95 blend is reporting ram instability errors. so it looks like prime95 is either more reliable in testing ram instability or faster in detecting ram isntability, or am i wrong here? is memtest not accurately gauging ram (in)stability or is slower?

Edited by Stealth3si

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The ram may be stable and it is likely the imc being overstressed on the chip itself. Try raising the core voltage a little and see if that clears up your instability. If not then i would just back down the memory.

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The ram may be stable and it is likely the imc being overstressed on the chip itself. Try raising the core voltage a little and see if that clears up your instability. If not then i would just back down the memory.


+1 for what Boinker says, you won't see any real world difference by oc'ing the ram .:biggrin:

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