This is an introduction to overclocking the AMD FX series processors. If you've never
tried overclocking before, this may sound scary and even overwhelming. While it is true
that you may void your warranty or even damage your components, the risk of this happening
is down to pretty much nil if you follow proper guidelines.
First off, it's essential that you have the proper tools for monitoring and testing your
system. There are many free tools that are available on the Internet, but for me, there
are three that I highly recommend. CPU-Z is a freeware that shows information
about the CPU, mainboard, memory and graphics cards. The information that we're interested
in when testing is the core speed and core voltage. Hardware Monitor is a monitoring
software that shows the system sensors such as voltages, temperatures and fan speeds.
We watch the temperatures in CPUTIN to make sure that it never exceeds 60 degrees Celsius.
And lastly, Prime95 is a stress testing software that we'll be using to make sure that our
overclock settings are stable. The next step is to restart your computer
to get inside your BIOS. Here, you can see that I have an AMD FX-6300 processor. It shows
here that I have overclocked it to 4.3GHz. I will now reset the BIOS to its default settings.
We'll need to save and restart the system for the default settings to take effect. I
use an ASRock 970 Extreme3 motherboard, which I recently flashed to revision 1.8 of the
BIOS. Note that each board will look different and may have different names for the different
settings. Higher end boards may have more options for you to change, while lower end
boards may have less. Check your board's manual to be sure.
I have now reentered my BIOS settings. It now shows my processor's stock speed of 3.5GHz.
The first setting we need to change is to set the overclock mode to manual. We'll now
need to manually disable a number of processor features that may interfere with our overclocking.
This includes the Spread Spectrum, Turbo Core, APM or Application Power Management. If your
board supports CPU Load Line Calibration, make sure you enable it as it will prevent
voltage droop during stress testing. Most overclockers also recommend turning off Cool
and Quiet, C1E, Virtual Machine, C6 Mode and thermal throttle. I'm leaving Cool and Quiet,
Virtual Machine and C6 enabled since it doesn't affect the type of testing that we're doing
here. Before we change any of the frequencies and
voltages, it is important to know what the voltage and temperature thresholds of our
processor. For the FX-6300, the maximum core voltage is 1.55 volts, and I know that because
it says so right there in the middle of my screen. Although I would not feel comfortable
setting it to anything over 1.5 volts. The maximum core temperature is about 65 or 70
degrees Celsius. But I don't really want it to go over 60 degrees.
The easiest setting to change when overclocking the FX processors is the CPU multiplier. Adding
1 GHz to my stock speed seems like a good place to start, so I'll set my CPU frequency
to 4.5GHz. Since this is such a big jump in speed, I know that I'm going to need to increase
my core voltage. For now, I'm guessing that 1.45 volts is a good place to start. Be sure
to save your changes before restarting. I just started Windows and have CPU-Z, Hardware
Monitor and Prime95 all visible on my screen. In CPU-Z, we can see that the upper range
of my multiplier is 22.5, which corresponds to 4.5 GHz. Hardware Monitor shows that my
core temperature is sitting at around 30 degrees. The next step now is to run Prime95's torture
test. There are two things that we want to watch out for. We don't want our core temperature
to go above 60 degrees, and we don't want to see any errors in Prime95. After less than
two and a half minutes of stress testing, we get a fatal error on worker 6. This means
that our voltage is too low for the speed that we want. So we can either lower our CPU
speed, or raise our voltage. We now restart our computer so we can get
back into BIOS. Since we didn't see any heat issues yet, we're choosing to raise our voltage
to our self-imposed maximum of 1.50 volts. We save our settings and restart to Windows.
We run CPU-Z, Hardware Monitor and Prime95 as before. Checking to make sure that the
speed, voltage and temperatures are as expected. We start Prime95 and hope for the best. Prime95
ran for about 7 minutes before we hit 61 degrees, which exceeds our maximum temperature. Our
next step is to lower our voltage to somewhere between 1.45 and 1.5 volts.
Again, we got back to the BIOS to change our core voltage to 1.475 volts, save our settings
and restart to Windows. This time around, Prime95 ran for almost 18
minutes before the temperature hit 61 degrees. Again, this means we need to lower our voltage
even more. We get back to the BIOS to change our core
voltage, this time to 1.4625 volts. You'll notice that the next step down is 1.45 volts,
which we already failed Prime95 on our first test.
At 1.4625 volts, it took Prime95 less than four minutes to get a fatal error. Our previous
test at 1.475 volts failed because the processor ran too hot. This basically means that 4.5
GHz is not a viable speed for us. The only option is to lower our speed.
Overclocking is basically an iterative process of trying to find the sweet spot of the highest
speed we can get, at the lowest voltage without running too hot or getting errors from Prime95.
In most cases, you only need to run Prime95 for 10 to 20 minutes for each iteration, since
it usually takes only a few minutes to get an error if the voltage is not high enough,
or for the temperature to go above 60 degrees if the voltage is too high. Once you find
the sweet spot for your system, you'll want to run Prime95 for a couple of hours just
to make sure that it is stable. It would be helpful to build a table similar
to this for reference. Remember that each system is different. Even if you have the
exact same setup as I do, it's possible that you'll be able to run your processor at a
faster speed and at a lower voltage. This is the reason why it takes several hours to
overclock a system. In the end, we derive satisfaction in being able to squeeze more
performance, essentially for free. Well, except for the several fun hours spent overclocking
your system. Hope you enjoyed this video. Please feel free
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