** Guide to Overclocking Phenoms on AM2+ Boards **

Discussion in 'Processors and motherboards AMD' started by OldGuy932, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. OldGuy932

    OldGuy932 Master Guru

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    Overclocking Prerequisites:

    1. A Phenom CPU, B2 or B3 is fine. B2 will not give you problems because of the TLB. I've had phenoms since they were released and I haven't had any problems like that.

    2. An AM2+ Motherboard. Any board that is based off the 770, 780G, 790GX, 790X, 790FX, 780a, 750a, 730a chipsets should work for the guide, the 780a being the most ideal at this point in time at least until SB750 is released to be used with the 790FX chipset.

    3. A good power supply. I will honestly never use a psu unless it was built by PC Power and Cooling, but just make sure you don't use a no name psu because that will cause enough problems by itself before you even start overclocking.

    4. A semi-decent video card. I know not all of you will be overclocking for playing games, but for those of you that are, overclocking a Phenom and running a 7300 LE will give you almost no performance increase. If you have an AMD chipset board, I would recommend getting a crossfire setup because the increased bandwidth helps alot with performance.

    5. Memory. A good set of DDR2-1066 is a must, a 2x1gb set is probably the best setup because 2x2gb's don't tend to overclock very well.

    6. Cooling. Whatever you want, but the ideal temperature range for a phenom is just above freezing. Do not do anything colder than that or it will hinder your overclock rather than help it. I use a Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme(TRUE) for cooling since I haven't bought a watercooling setup yet.

    7. Programs for testing stability and for monitoring temperatures and voltages. Prime95 for CPU stability, Memtest86 for memory although running Super-Pi 32m is generally pretty good for checking, Speedfan for temperatures, voltages, and fan speeds. If you want to use other programs, that's personal preference. Links will be added at a later date.

    8. Patience, and lots of it. Overclocking Phenoms will probably be the most trying experience of overclocking you've ever had, I know it has been for me.


    The Guide:

    Now that you have everything from the previous list, here are a list of options you need to find in your bios and make sure you remember how to get to them.

    1. HTT - Should have a 200 by it somewhere, you might need to enable the options for overclocking to find it.
    2. Voltage settings - There are alot of different voltage settings that can affect how good your overclock actually is, they include vCore, vCore-NB, CPU VDDA, vNB, vHTT, and vMem.
    3. Northbridge multiplier - Like it says, you change the NB's multiplier with it, but it also can limit how high your HTT can go and a few other things too...
    4. HT Link Speed - This option just needs to stay at 200*your NB multi, otherwise things get unstable pretty quick.
    5. CPU Multi - This is the multiplier. It will be especially important to those with the black edition processors.
    6. Memory timings settings. I won't go into much detail about these, but you'll need them because its one of the major components that could be going unstable.

    After finding everything in the previous list, you need to find the limits of each piece of hardware.

    For the Max HTT:

    Drop the cpu multi to the lowest number.
    Put the NB multi to 8x and the HT Link to 1.6ghz.
    Set the NB Voltage to 1.3.
    Set the memory voltage to its rated voltage and put the divider to DDR2-800.
    Set the cpu voltage to 1.3.

    Now start raising your HTT by 5 everytime you boot. If it doesn't boot for some reason, don't worry, its not dead. If you reach that point of no booting before 250htt, make sure you did everything in the list right before this paragraph. If it is somewhere after 250htt, then you will need to drop the NB multi to 7x and set the HT Link to 1.4ghz. Once you hit a point of no booting now, put it back to the last setting that did boot and run some stability tests to make sure that it is stable. If your gutsy, you can increase your nb voltage up to 1.4 if allowed and see if it gets you any farther. Just because something boots does not mean its stable, Ever. For stability for the HTT, you really don't need to run more than Memtest86 for an hour or do a few runs of Super-Pi 32m.

    Note: Some processors just can't get very high HTT at all, my 9600BE is currently maxed at 235htt. But that's why they give you the unlocked cpu multi anyway.

    For Max NB Speed:

    Set everything back to default from finding the max HTT if you did that before.

    For Regular Phenoms
    Drop your cpu multi back down to the minimum. Then try for the maximum htt on the nb 9x setting and ht-link 1.8ghz setting that you can using the same tactics for max htt, but do not drop the 9x setting down. Like before, if your gutsy you can set your nb voltage to 1.4v if it helps.

    For Black Edition Phenoms
    It is a much easier process with black editions. All you need to do is increase your nb multi and test for stability.

    For the Max CPU:

    Set VCore to 1.3v.
    Set NB Multi to 8x and HT Link to 1.6ghz.
    Set Memory divider to DDR2-800 and Memory Voltage to rated voltage.

    For Regular Phenoms
    Now increase the htt by 5 on every boot until the computer does not boot, then set it to the last bootable setting and then run stability testing. Using Prime95, run the small FFT's test for 6-8 hours or until you feel its stable, once you pass small FFT's then you need to run the large FFT's test. Have Speed fan or some other temperature monitoring program running while Prime95 is running and make sure temperatures stay below 55C. This is assuming that you are running air cooling or regular water cooling, not chilled water, phase change, Dice, or LN2. If there is an error found by Prime95, then you'll need to increase VCore. Only increase it by one setting, too much can cause the processor to overheat. If your processor is stable and you are comfortable enough to take it farther, then increase your VCore as needed to get the computer to boot at higher speeds and for it to stay stable as long as you keep your temperatures in check.

    For Black Edition Phenoms
    If you have a Black Edition that works similar to mine, then you'll have to get by with changing the cpu multi. I would recommend working up to the highest htt that works using the same strategy as the regular phenoms, and once that setting proves to be stable drop the htt back to 200 and set the cpu multi to what was closest to the speed you last tested for stability but not faster. Now do the same thing as before by adding 5htt, but do stability testing every time you boot.

    For Black Edition Phenoms
    AMD made the NB multi on Black Editions completely unlocked, meaning that setting it to 12x means you have your NB running at 2.4ghz. All you need to do is set your NB as high as you got it stable, so if you got it stable at 12x, then try to keep it at or just below 2.4ghz.

    Before running off to play games, run Prime95 small FFT's and then large FFT's. If it errors, you need to play around with vcore and vnb to get it to run stable.

    The Phenom FAQ:

    1. What is the TLB bug and how would it affect me?
    The TLB bug is a problem on the chip with the TLB logic of the L3 cache. What happens is sometimes when data is being copied from the L3 to the L2 for it to be processed and before it gets back to its spot in the L3 some other data takes its place and then the original data is just "lost" which causes an error. It only shows up at high utilization on all cores at once, such as running several virtualizations on one system. The odds of finding this bug are slim to none, I myself have never noticed it. Virtualization is when you run multiple os's from the main os through a program like virtual pc. The TLB bug WILL NOT affect you during a gaming session even if that game uses all four cores.

    2. What is the best motherboard I can use for my Phenom?
    There is no one best board in my mind, boards based off the 780a chipset would be the best at this time. Supposedly once SB750 comes out from AMD the 790FX boards will take the crown again. I personally use the Asus M3A32-MVP Deluxe, but DFI, MSI, Gigabyte, Biostar, Asrock, and Sapphire also have offerings at this time. The Asus Crosshair 2 Formula would probably be the best choice because of all the tweaking options and high htt stability.

    3. What is the maximum voltage I should set?
    If you are using the stock cooler, don't use more than maybe 1.35v. If you are using aftermarket air, 1.4-1.45v depending on how good your cooler is. With water, 1.55 should be fine assuming its a good cooling kit and not one built for looks. Phase change cooling anything is acceptable as long as you keep the temperature to a maximum of 0C.

    4. Ganged and Unganged.
    Ganged and Unganged are different ways of a Phenom accessing the memory. Ganged is the standard dual-channel 128bit path that is the standard way of doing dual channel. It is best for performance in single-threaded applications. Unganged splits the memory controller into 2x64bit paths so it is quicker access time in a multithreaded application.

    Disclaimer: I am not responsible if for some reason something does happen to your computer that it does not work anymore after following any part or all of this guide.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008
  2. easy2007

    easy2007 Maha Guru

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    nice guide.:banana:
     
  3. OldGuy932

    OldGuy932 Master Guru

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    Its what happens when you have nothing to do for 2.5 hours. Thankfully I have a 9600 BE coming in on monday so I can have some real fun tweaking. It just feels a little short compared to the other guides though...I'll work on it this week while playing with the BE.
     
  4. easy2007

    easy2007 Maha Guru

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    how gd are the phenoms. im considering getting one although have thought i would wait for 2Q to get the 45nm version which should also have all the bugs fixed plus 6mb of L3 cache.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2008

  5. OldGuy932

    OldGuy932 Master Guru

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    If you're thinking about getting a phenom for gaming, its amazing at doing crossfire. I used to have a pair of x1650xt's I ran in crossfire, it ran alot smoother on the phenom system compared to the core duo system I had. The bandwidth is what does that.

    Now for overclocking, my 9500 was stable at 2860(260x11) but it was too hot for gaming sessions. The 9600 was a bit better at clocking, but it seemed more picky with settings that I used. I got it to run at 2930(255), but it was the same thing with the heat. I don't really notice the difference from overclocking though, the most hardware intensive game I play is Command and Conquer 3, and it runs fine with the processor at stock and a 3850.

    On the note of the 45nm phenoms, those will be even more fun to play with, cause lower power consumption means easier to cool and better clocks. Hopefully there are also better quality boards so I can run the nb at a higher frequency, my max is a little under 2300mhz with the 9500, the 9600 was able to go a little further though. The way I wrote the guide, the nb is the key to everything, because it alone determines how fast the L3 cache runs. Sure overclocking up to 250htt can drop 2ns off the time for it, but with the nb at 13x, it goes all the way from 48ns to 33ns. If the 13x could clock well, it would run just about clock for clock with the current C2Q's, but not the new ones.

    Sorry about kind of going off on a tangent, but I just really love phenoms cause they made overclocking alot more fun for me. They run the games I want to play, so I'm happy. The only good things about waiting is that the next processors that come out will clock better and there won't be a bug to worry about that only comes from 100% util during virtualization.
     
  6. gsbueno

    gsbueno Member Guru

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    Great guide OldGuy932, but i have a question man, what's the damm TLB bug? I've read that if you get a phenom at more speed than 2.4 Ghz it "appears" but you got your one to almost 2900 mhz(the 9500). I'm willing to buy one after the B3 are in stock because they will drop the price so much, but i'm a little worried abot the TLB bug. Thanks
     
  7. easy2007

    easy2007 Maha Guru

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    kk Thx fo help OldGuy932. yh i mean i will ethier buya 9500 or wait a few months and pick up 45nm one coz it will have much better overclocking potiential. anyway thx for help.
     
  8. The_AC

    The_AC Maha Guru

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    Can we make this a sticky?
     
  9. OldGuy932

    OldGuy932 Master Guru

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    Major update just now, added an FAQ so people don't need to search for answers and I made the titles big so its easier to read. TLB bug is the first question in the FAQ.
     
  10. OldGuy932

    OldGuy932 Master Guru

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    Please post comments guys, I'd really like to make the guide as complete as possible. My 9600 BE finally comes in today so I'll get some pics of how tweaking the NB works on it during the week.
     

  11. gsbueno

    gsbueno Member Guru

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    I really love your guide man. Everything is very well redacted and you give us lots of details. i only miss some pics of that options in your BIOS to make this OC more easy. i hope i could get a phenom soon with a k9a2 platinum so i could use this more. thanks man


    By the way, OldGuy932, can you tell me what is that of virtualization? about of the TLB bug, if you are playing at crysis with the 1.1 update that enables this game to use the 4 cores and it gets full use of the 4 cores, what could happen to the phenom? well, thank you again
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
  12. OldGuy932

    OldGuy932 Master Guru

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    Added the little bit about virtualization. Now I'm kinda stuck...I have my 9500 in that is currently prime stable at 2795 with 1.3125v, 1.3v actual, and I have my BE to put it. I wish I could build a second system to keep the 9500 going...

    And I will try to get some bios screens to show some of the stuff.

    Edit: Sadly, I just found out that the NB multi is unlocked as well on the 9600 BE, now the guide is going to need a major update cause I wasn't expecting this to happen. IE setting the NB to 12x gives you 2400mhz and its not locked at 1800.

    Edit 2: Well, at least its currently doing 13x215 with only 1.3 volts. I wonder how high it'll go...

    Edit 3: Now its doing 13x224 with 1.35. The cpu maxed out with 1.3v at 13x217. I just want to hit 3ghz with stable temps on air...I dunno if this processor can do it though...
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2008
  13. OldGuy932

    OldGuy932 Master Guru

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    Well, the BE I got seems to not like going past 2830 before it wants voltage jumps after every 20mhz or so, I'm thinking about putting one of my other chips back in. Another thing but I don't know if its completely true, but using a lower multi and higher htt means the cpu needs slightly less voltage. If I get the guts to do it again, I might even take the ihs off one of them to see if it helps much. Last time I did that I had a visit to the ER cause I caught the blade on my thumb, but at least the processor still worked, and still is.
     
  14. gsbueno

    gsbueno Member Guru

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    Wow man! That's amazing that you get 3 Ghz with a phenom altough it wasn't perfectly stable. Just one question, I'm going to buy a phenom, a 9500 or a 9600 BE, wich will you advise me to buy? I would like to do some overclock. I'm going to buy an Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 PRO with the phenom so I think I'll not have problems with heat with it. My new mobo will be a MSI K9A2 Platinum.

    Besides, if this is possible, can you tell me what is your final "totally stable" overclock for both of them? I mean, with all options you can give me, to put them in my BIOS. Thank you!!!
     
  15. OldGuy932

    OldGuy932 Master Guru

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    The 9500 I got stable at 2.8ghz with 1.3v, I didn't check past that cause I got my BE that day. The BE hit 2.82 with 1.3v before it wanted lots and lots of voltage, 1.4v to boot at 2.9 which wasn't completely stable. I never did get 3.0ghz stable, look at the speed aod says, its the real one. What cpu-z reads is what I think the equivilent speed if you didn't increase the nb multi. If you want to do stuff like what I was trying to show, I recomend the 9600 regular to be honest. Mine hit a max htt of 300 today, I was just playing around. Its your choice though.

    And in other news I'm getting the AM2 mount for my vapochill next week, ordered it today.
     

  16. gsbueno

    gsbueno Member Guru

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    Ok man. I'll get the regular 9600. I'm gonna buy fisrt, the memos and the motherboard. I'll wait a litlle bit to get the 9600 because when the new B3 rev. goes to the market, the B2's will drop price for sure. There's only one month to wait, until CEBIT starts, where AMD will probably show the new phenoms. See you!!
     
  17. OldGuy932

    OldGuy932 Master Guru

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    If you're gonna wait for B3 then just get a B3 as they should clock a bit better than the B2's people are using now. What cpu do you think you'll get for the meantime, or are you just going to wait till then to use the computer at all?
     
  18. gsbueno

    gsbueno Member Guru

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    I'll have to wait because my PC now is a Pentium IV with socket 775 (but my motherboard isn't compatible with the core2). First I'm gonna buy the mother and the ram, and I'll wait to make it work until i buy my phenom.

    Of course the B3's will be better than the B2's, but what I would like to have is a cheap phenom, and if the B2's are not too bad compared with the B3's, i'm sure that they will drop the prize just to finish with the stock. I thought about getting, instead of a phenom, a X2 5000+ BE, but i want to build a pc to last 3-4 years more or less, and the phenom (because of the 4 cores against 2 of the X2) is the best choice, i'm sure
     
  19. OldGuy932

    OldGuy932 Master Guru

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    I would at least get one of the 65nm semprons to play around with. I have one in a secondary pc that does around 3ghz on air, but it can't do that right now cause the ram can't run that fast. The LE-1100 is like $35 at most and the LE-1300 is around $65. Once overclocked they would be faster than your P4, and they would tide you over to getting the phenom.
     
  20. M1ckY

    M1ckY Master Guru

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    Nice guide! I'm for sticky!

    This thing with the L3 cache is amazing. Seems to be the new key to AMD overclocking. And with the BE editions having the multis unlocked and the production in 45nm comming I think the Phenom might soon kick some C2Q ass. :D

    :thumbup:
     

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