AMD Overclocking Guide

Discussion in 'Processors and motherboards AMD' started by Psychlone, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. CAHop240

    CAHop240 Member

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    Damn son, thats good reading right there.
     
  2. Psychlone

    Psychlone Ancient Guru

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    @ hadibahal: There's no way that I can tell you what's going to get you over 3GHz, if anything...
    Like I've told all these other guys (and just in case you've missed it) - the stepping that's printed on the top of the IHS (Integrated Heat Sink - that's the metal top of the CPU itself) contains a number and letter sequence that tells (in code) when the chip was manufactured which determines just how overclockable the CPU is. I've had 3 that wouldn't hit 2.8GHz, 1 that wasn't stable at over 2.9GHz, and 3 that are stable at over 3GHz, with one stable at 3.68GHz...and the *ONLY* way to tell, is to look at the number/letter sequence printed on the top of the CPU.
    For me to give you some magic numbers isn't going work...have you read my guide? The guide's purpose is to inform you of what everything is and how it works in relation to everything else, so you have an education in what it is you're trying to do (I'm giving you the tools to be able to do the job properly and be successful, but I'm not going to do the job for you)
    Besides, there's absolutely no way that any numbers that I can throw your way would work for your system since all systems are different (even though you may have the same exact stepping as me, the same exact motherboard, the same exact brand and revision of RAM, etc. - the two systems will *not* overclock the same)

    Good luck... I suggest that you go through my guide and read it again - if you've still got questions on where to start or have no idea what to do after reading it thoroughly, I'd be glad to help (but be prepared to answer some questions that the guide would have answered)

    Bro, we *ALL* have B3 stepping - if you're looking at CPUz or Everest...That's not the actual stepping of the CPU itself.
    The actual stepping is printed on the top of the IHS and is the only place that you're going to find it...no software can poll that information since it's not embedded in any register anywhere. You have to literally remove your CPU from the socket, clean off the thermal paste and physically look at the number/letter sequence to see what actual stepping you have.

    Just since I've had so many people ask this same question, I'm going to c/p a post that I made about this very question/answer here, and I'm going to add it to the original guide. This should help to clear up some of the misunderstandings about steppings.


    Steppings:
    As I've stated in numerous posts, the actual stepping of your CPU is what determines it's overclockability.
    Unless you physically hand-pick one from a store shelf, you'll get whatever they send you...and that means whatever LOT number is sitting on a warehouse shelf, which has absolutely nothing to do with stepping at all. I've found that Newegg usually has the best steppings on hand, but that doesn't mean that you'll get one - I went through 4 from Newegg...1 of them was a decent overclocker, 2 of them were *horrible* (2.8GHz was their highest!), and 1 of them was excellent at overclocking (the one I'm still using, and it's reached 3.675GHz on this board) - not to mention the other 4 that I've tested to this point...so only 4 of them in total were stable at 3GHz with 4 of them being unstable at much over 2.8GHz.
    I've found that Fry's Electronics often has an excellent selection that you can 'cherry-pick'...that's how I got the RAM I have in my rig...they just happened to have revision 1.3 Dominator 8500C5D's on their shelf (about 4 packages back) - these sticks are stable at well over 1200MHz, but Corsair quit making them a year ago...so only places that have the old stock in their warehouses are actually going to even have access to something like that.

    **There is NO way to tell the stepping of a CPU unless you literally pull the CPU out of the socket, clean off the thermal paste, and physically look at the IHS (Integrated Heat Sink) on the top of the CPU itself**
    There is no software that can poll this information because this series of numbers/letters is not embedded into any registers anywhere. So, what you've seen with CPUz or Everest or any other software - means absolutely nothing.
    When I'm talking about a CPU's stepping, it's really more than just a series of numbers/letters.
    You can break down the stepping numbers/letters on the top of the IHS so that it shows the date the actual chip rolled off the manufacturing line along with what core it has, and the color of the PCB (Printed Circuit Board). This is how important it is to know what you're getting; very few Phenoms with a stepping of 0810 or before have shown to overclock higher than 2.8GHz. Most good overclocking Phenoms (3.1GHz or above) come from weeks 16, 18, 19, 21, 22 and the weeks that I have skipped are Phenoms that have a rough time reaching 3GHz even with extreme voltage increases. Also, the steppings of AW, GW, and MW have shown to be in the top of the best overclocking CPUs. (highest MHz with the lowest voltage increase)
    [​IMG]

    What we call the 'Stepping' is really quite a lot more than that...we can group it into 5 categories from those numbers:

    * Core
    * Week
    * Stepping
    * Color of PCB
    * Revision

    The 2 that are imperative for the Phenom are the Week and the Stepping, the Week that it was created, probably due to the manufacturing process itself (like a 'Wednesday's Car' - a car built on Wednesday used to be the better car because during the middle of the week, no one was looking forward to the party at the end of the week and they had already nursed their hangover from the weekend before ;))

    In any case, if there's a way to physically hand-pick your CPU from a dealer, that's what you should do, even if it's more money - because there's no way to tell what you'll get from any online retailer.

    Psychlone
     
  3. goitalone

    goitalone Member

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    Oh well, I am going to be homeless so no more overclocking or PC for me..I just got screwed by my other household member with an injunction and a Baker Act.

    Thanks for the fun and info though Psychlone, guys.

    So long.
     
  4. noob9

    noob9 New Member

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    @ Psychlone

    I swapped over my Motherboard last night and in the process remembered reading this post of yours about stepping/bach info.

    So i noted down what mine had on it. Any chance you could indicate if i have a "bad" CPU from this info please?

    AMD Phenom 9950 BE (bought in September 2008 from local retailer)

    HD995ZFAJ4BGH
    JAAHB AA 0827APMW
    9711774G80130


    Just curious...

    Thank you in advance! :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008

  5. Af.Obselite

    Af.Obselite Master Guru

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    Hey Psychlone...

    I just picked up a 9850BE and noticed that my CPU code is idential to yours...only difference is the week, mine is "0818" compared to your "0816."

    Do you figure this will be a good clocker?
    Also, what's an affordable board that will still allow me to get good results?

    Thanks!
     
  6. Psychlone

    Psychlone Ancient Guru

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    @ Af.Obselite: Your 0818 stepping has shown to be a moderately effective overclocker - couple of them hitting 3GHz at 1.375V

    @ Noob9: Sorry it's been so long to get back to you, but I can't find a 0827 week anywhere in the databases (which the best of them hasn't been updated since September) - sorry I don't have any more info for you.

    But, to both of you and anyone else that's interested, one of the best ways to tell just how good your CPU is going to overclock - is to UNDERVOLT it at stock speeds!
    Start out by going into your BIOS and setting your CPU Voltage to 1.28V, reboot all the way to Windows and run a few minutes of Orthos Stressprime or wPrime, reboot, drop it down another notch and test again. Once you're not stable, that's your LOWEST voltage value for your CPU - and the lower the voltage it takes to be stable at stock speeds, the higher you're going to be able to clock that CPU.

    My JAAHB 0816 GPMW is completely stable at 1.20V - which is why I can crank it up to 3.6GHz without having to pump 1.5V through it. Something that I got used to with my Opteron 165 (one in a million at 3.2GHz, +.025V over stock) is the efficiency of the CPU itself, utilizing much less power to get where I wanted it to be...and this has carried over to the newer architecture - and what AMD really wanted...a CPU that's power efficient (which turns out in our benefit twice if you get one that's very efficient! - once for less power consumption and once for higher overclockability!)

    Anyway, just a rule of thumb for you all to remember - the lower the voltage for stock, the higher overclockability you have - and I bet it'll be that way from now on through newer architectures.

    Psychlone
     
  7. Af.Obselite

    Af.Obselite Master Guru

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    What's the highest voltage one should look to reach on aftermarket air cooling?

    I am hoping to reach the 3.2 GHz mark, at least...so that's my goal.
     
  8. Psychlone

    Psychlone Ancient Guru

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    That's not a stupid question, but there's no way to answer that - there are too many variables to take into consideration that go beyond the CPU's HS/f assembly.

    Case cooling is the one thing that most people miss - and it's just as paramount to good cooling as the most expensive HS/f assembly...without adequate cool air coming in and warm air being expelled, there's no HS/f combination on the face of the planet that's going to do it's job...
    Along with case cooling goes wiring - keeping the wiring out of the way along with any other obstructions is important to adequate air flow.

    Last thing, with the Phenoms, like I've said, they don't like super-high voltage...it will run better at lower voltage - any good stepping will take less than 1.4V to get to 3.2GHz, so keep that in mind.

    Psychlone
     
  9. supermatt9

    supermatt9 New Member

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    Psychlone,

    You are the man. Thanks for all the time you've put into making this work. I'm putting together a new system right now and I've enjoyed reading all your comments.

    I've been building systems for a while now but am new to overclocking so I'm sure I'll have some questions for you.

    Let me start with an easy one. My 9850 BE has week "0831" and stepping "DPNW".

    Can you shed any light on this particular processor and what I might be able to expect from it?

    Thanks!
     
  10. Psychlone

    Psychlone Ancient Guru

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    I love doing this - I get more enjoyment out of tweaking my system and helping others to do the same, as I get out of gaming...but, you're welcome!

    As for your stepping, it's really:

    JAAAB 0831 DPNW - and there's only one in the database, unfortunately, there's no overclock mentioned with it...below is all there is for it:
    Code:
    [size=3]
    [FONT="Century Gothic"][B][color=green]HD985ZXAJ4BGH (HD985ZXGHBOX)  AMD Phenom X4 9850 512KB(4x) 2500MHz socket-AM2+ 1.20/25/30V 125W[/color][/B]
    [I][B]Core...Week...Stepping...Color...Revision...Engineering Sample...AVG OC 	[/I][/B]
    [B]JAAAB[/B]...[B]0831[/B]...[B]DPNW[/B]......Green.....GH.....-................n/a...............none recorded[/FONT]
    [/size]
    Sorry my new friend, but no data means YOU are going to be the one that lets the world know what it'll do!

    So, from that standpoint, what motherboard are you running? Let me help you tweak that beast and let's see just what she'll do!
    Once we find out, you can be the one to enter all the data into the better of the databases...it'll be your overclock, so it's YOUR glory! (mine's already at the top right now, so if you dethrone me, I'll just run it faster ;) j/k maybe)

    Remember reading how the lower the voltage to be stable in Windows at stock speeds? That's the *first* thing I'd try with your new CPU - kind of a 'burn-in' time for the new thermal paste with lower-than-default voltage...this will give you a really good idea of just how high it's going to clock, given the other variables are all in order (good overclocking motherboard, good overclocking RAM (or high MHz RAM to begin with) and thermal properties of your chosen HS/f assembly and case cooling.

    Good luck Bro, and post back when you're ready!

    Psychlone
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008

  11. supermatt9

    supermatt9 New Member

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    Psychlone - I'm using the gigabyte MA790GP-DS4H Mobo. 4 gigs of corsair ram (this ram here - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145184)

    The bios on my mobo seems to have a ton of options but I haven't really looked at it yet as I'm still installing programs and getting the cpu up and running. Tomorrow night I'll dive in.

    THanks!
     
  12. XRaptorX

    XRaptorX New Member

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    Hello Psychlone....

    Finally! Someone who has taken the time to explain the Phenoms!

    Ok so i read this entire thread and because of you, I had to tear open the case and pull off my cpu fan to get my numbers... so here they are:

    HD995ZFAJ4BGH
    JAAHB AA 0829APAW
    9704231H80003

    I'd go look myself, but I can't seem to find the database you're referring to.

    Another thing... My mobo is a different Asus model, the M3N-HT Deluxe. The problem I'm having is that AOD says that it can't detect an AMD 7-series chipset on my computer. Doesn't my board have the 780a SLI? Weird.

    However, I have downloaded and installed all the software you recommended and I'm ready to begin the first steps in your tutorial. I just wanted to know about my stepping and that AOD issue first.

    Also, this memory I'm using... (KHX8500AD2K2/4GR) would you recommend I buy something different? Such as something more agreeable with overclocking... I haven't ever tried to OC memory before and don't quite know if this particular memory will fare well:

    Memory Type DDR2
    Memory Size 4096 MBytes
    Channels Dual (Unganged)
    Memory Frequency 401.8 MHz (1:2)
    CAS# 6.0
    RAS# to CAS# 6
    RAS# Precharge 6
    Cycle Time (tRAS) 18
    Bank Cycle Time (tRC) 25
    Command Rate 2T
    NB Frequency 2009.0 MHz
    Nominal Voltage 1.80 Volts

    I really appreciate the time and energy you put into this thread.... wish there were more guys like ya!


    Raptor
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  13. Psychlone

    Psychlone Ancient Guru

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    @ Supermatt: Although I've never used that motherboard, from what I've read about it - you'll probably do just fine!
    As for the RAM, Corsair is about all I'll ever endorse myself - they make a quality product and it just works. As for DDR2 800, you don't have a lot of headroom to bring them higher, but if they're D9 ICs, you'll be able to crank them up pretty decent. But, the Phenoms do better with simple CPU Multiplier increases rather than FSB increases (so you don't *really* have to worry about putting your memory on a divider, dropping your HT and your NB multi's since you're not raising the FSB)

    @XRaptorX: You're in the same boat as Matt on your CPU's stepping - there's no APAW or week 29 JAAHB's to be found in the databases.
    About AOD, uninstall it and get an older version, like 2.10...reinstalling your chipset drivers also may cure that problem, but overclocking via BIOS is really the only way to get it done properly.
    The memory you've got is just fine - a little high on the latencies, but it'll probably work well all the same. Once you get your CPU where you want it, I'd suggest trying to decrease the main 5 latencies one at a time, rebooting in between each change - there's a chance that you can get those sticks to be quite a lot quicker if they're stable at the lower latencies.

    Good luck guys!

    Psychlone
     
  14. XRaptorX

    XRaptorX New Member

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    Psychlone
    Sorry to bother you again...

    I started the first step of your 'guide' by dropping th CPU multiplier, HT Link Speed, and RAM Divider to their lowest settings, however I can not for the life of me find the RAM divider in my bios settings... could it be called something else?

    Also is there a way we could chat via some messenger? thanks

    below are the images of my bios screens taken from the user's manual.... the values are NOT mine.

    http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=18597928nh2.jpg
    http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=11921528ai9.jpg
    http://img504.imageshack.us/my.php?image=41618175bv2.jpg
    http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=42183551pi7.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  15. Psychlone

    Psychlone Ancient Guru

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    Sorry Bro, (this is going to seem random but you'll get it in a sec) I'm a Certified Chef with Le Cordon Bleu credentials and own a huge restaurant, so the only free-time I really have is coming on here (this is how I decompress! ;)) So I don't use any IM at all...just don't have the time.
    But I do come to Guru3D at least once every day - and even better is that I've helped many good people here with my knowledge of overclocking that I would trust that some of them would chime in if given a chance.

    Back on topic, from your screenshots, you can go to
    ADVANCED > CPU Config > DRAM Config and change your Memory Clock Frequency...anything LESS THAN it's rated speed is going to be a divider (it may look like this: [1066], [800], [667], [400], or it may be the 'half freq' like this: [533], [400], [333], [200] - don't worry about what it looks like, they're both exactly the same)

    So, that would be how to change your RAM divider (RAM divider literally means 'to run your RAM at a fraction of it's rated speed', hence lowering it's speed via the way I just showed you and then making it up in FSB increase)

    But, first thing that I'd like you to do since we don't know anything about your CPU's stepping info, is to go into BIOS and reduce the VCORE (CPU Voltage) to 1.25 and see if it'll boot all the way into Windows, run wPrime or one of the quick stress tests and reboot to BIOS, drop it another .2 (or whatever smallest increment you can) and back to Windows again - you're trying to find the LOWEST VOLTAGE that the stock speed is stable in Windows...from this we can see just how efficient your CPU's stepping is and we can get a rough estimation of how far it'll clock.

    Once you're done doing that, try another experiment (this is really just a shortcut, but not a thorough overclock) - put your CPU Voltage back to stock (1.3V) and then raise your CPU Multi up in small increments, rebooting to Windows between each change...you should be able to get up to roughly 14.5 before needing a CPU voltage increase, then raise your CPU Voltage by .1, raise the CPU Multi up another notch, boot to Windows, etc. - repeating this process until either your idle temps are in the low 40*C range, or you're pushing into 1.4V territory. This will also give you a really good idea of what to expect from that CPU.

    Remember, not all CPUs are created equal - some will only overclock to a grand total of 2.6GHs...some will go much further. You paid for 2.5GHz and anything beyond that isn't guaranteed.

    Good luck!

    Psychlone
     

  16. XRaptorX

    XRaptorX New Member

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    Ok, so I started with 1.25 and kept going down an incrrement at a time and running prime for about 15 minutes at each step. Once I hit the step where it became unstable I went back up to the last stable step and ran prime for an hour. It stayed stable for the entire test and maxed out at 32C with an idle of 28C.

    So now I'll start the next thing you suggested and go back to 1.3 and start increasing the multiplier until I hit the ceiling and start adding voltage. I'll edit this post when I'm finshed...
     
  17. Psychlone

    Psychlone Ancient Guru

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    So what was the lowest voltage that was Prime stable?? This is going to help determine just how good of an overclocker you have.

    I'll be looking forward to the other results as well.

    Psychlone
     
  18. XRaptorX

    XRaptorX New Member

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    oops sorry! hehe it was 1.175. I'm in the middle of the multiplier process... right now as i type this its at x15.5

    (EDIT)

    Ok, now I am up to x16 but i had to add some voltage cuz it wouldn't boot all the way to windows. I went up 5 steps in voltage and finally booted with 1.5V. Right now its @3214.56 and sitting idle at 33C according to ProbeII. Should I try going up to 16.5?
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  19. XRaptorX

    XRaptorX New Member

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    ok next i put everything back to defaults... and dropped the CPU multi, HTLS, and RAM Div. all the way to lowest settings. then i started raising the fsb until it stopped posting and went back one and posted at 253. then i set it back to 200 and and increased the CPU Multi until it hit 16.5.

    oh by the way.... when i dropped all those settings to their lowest, my CPU was running at 1ghz lol
     
  20. Psychlone

    Psychlone Ancient Guru

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    That's a really efficient CPU stepping you've got there - 3.2+ GHz shouldn't be a problem at all.
    Although, it makes me very nervous you running 1.5V! If you can't get to 3.2GHz with 1.4V, you probably shouldn't try any higher.

    You can keep raising the CPU Multiplier until it craps out on you - if you can hit 17X with 1.4V or less, you're in really good shape and can begin increasing the FSB to raise your RAM and HT/NB up a little bit as well.

    Congrats - you're almost done already!

    Psychlone
     

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