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Twain28
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HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:26 pm

Hello there!
I'm looking for some help on completing my home PC's Overclock operation.
I read many different guides online and many forums, then finally decided to take the jump.
Here are my specs:
CPU Intel Core2 Quad Q9400
ASUS P5QL/EPU Motherboard
MSI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 GPU
RAM 4 x Kingston 2GB DDR2 800 (max bandwidth PC2-6400 - 400 MHz)
PSU CORSAIR CX 600
CPU cooler Deepcool Gammaxx 300

I know my motherboard is not the best choice for an overclock...yet my idea is to reach from the base 2.66GHz to a 3GHz-3.3GHz, so to be able to play the new games at decent speed and keep my system working for a little more, before assembling a new one (let's face it: in one year or so, I should have the money for a new rig).

I started by slowly bringing up FSB from the base value of 333 up to 375, in three-four steps; then I found my motherboard settings for FSB:RAM ratio and set it to 1:1.
(My motherboard actually had some OC presets, yet I tried them and was not satisfied with the actual results, so I resorted to manual thinkering).
I reached 3GHz quite easily; I had no boot issues, and things went quite smoothly:

My OC seems stable enough, so I tried a CPU Linpack test with OCCT for a couple of hours, without getting errors...the thing that's actually troubling me is my CPU's temperature.
During testing, despite its decent - if cheap - aftermarket cooler, my CPU went up to a 75° C maximum, which is not quite a good thing.

To solve this, I wanted to try playing a little with the CPU voltage, yet my motherboard does not seem to have any direct settings for it.
On the dedicated OC page of my BIOS (latest rev. 0408), I can see and alter the following values:
FSB freq: 375
PCIE freq: AUTO
DRAM freq: AUTO
Memory over voltage: AUTO
NB overvoltage: AUTO
CPU VTT: AUTO
SB 1.5 Voltage: AUTO
CPU core offset: AUTO
Phase operating control: AUTO

From what I found, by looking around in many forums, there should be a way to play a little with my CPU voltage to lover its temperature, yet I am really quite at a loss on HOW exactly I should do it.
So, here are my questions and my request of help:
From this point, how do I go on?
Can/shold I try pushing over 3GHz, or should I stop here?
Is there a way for me to set the CPU voltage to lower its temperature, or are there other settings I should look for and alter to achieve such a result?
Would you recommend me to alter any other settings to achieve a better stability of my OC?
Many thanks in advance for any contribution.
 
biffzinker
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:37 pm

Your heatsink's bottom base might be limiting heat removal hence the higher temps although 75c isn't too bad. The middle heatpipe would be the only one centered over the hottest spot on the heatspreader leaving the aluminum in-between to conduct heat to the other two heatpipes farther way from the middle heatpipe.

The heatspreader mainly exists anymore to protect the fragile die underneath, and does less to evenly spread the heat over a larger surface area so you end with a hot spot in middle when the cores are under heavy load.

Image
Edit: This older sticky thread about the Core 2 Duo would still apply to your Q9400.
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31646
It would take you... 2233 continuous hours or 93 days, 1 hour, and 20 minutes of gameplay to complete your Steam library.
In this time you could... Speed run Super Mario Bros (NES) 26,800 times.
 
Twain28
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:36 pm

First of all, thanks for the fast answer, biffzinker.
So, basically, if I understood correctly yout tips:
1. the 75°C. temperature might be related to the heatsink position, and could not be something easily solved (if not by buying a different heatsink, which is somethink I'm not planning to do, atm); another option (dreaded as well) is that you might be suggesting some kind of heatsink-realligning operation (screwing the darn thing down on my CPU took over 5 hours and a lot of sweat...I was hoping never to touch it ever again);
2. 75° C. temperature might not that bad. This kind of puzzles and reassures me at the same time...I know my motherboard and CPU are both built to withstand (not so much) higher temperatures, but, as far as I understood it so far, "the cooler, the better"...once again, keep in mind I'm quite a noob on the matter, so forgive me if I'm this blunt...
3. Given the above, I probably don't need to touch the CPU Vcore (something that I probably am not able to do anyway, as described). After reading through the topic you linked me, I'm not really sure if you are suggesting me to push the OC operation even more, or if you simply suggest me to run more tests, this time with Orthos?

Sorry about asking for confirmation, but after spending over two weeks reading, looking for clues, re-reading, posting for help around many forums and such, I'm starting to be more and more confused about the whole thing... :oops:
 
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:43 pm

I wouldn't bother with removing your heatsink unless your thermal paste has dried out. If it has a clean up of both surfaces (heatsink base & heatspreader) then a new layer of thermal compound is needed.

I was pointing out the design Deepcool choose for the heatsinks base (large aluminum gaps between the heatpipes) or dried out thermal compound could be influencing your core temperatures. I wouldn't bother replacing the heatsink (beats the stock Intel cooler) on an older build if you plan on replacing with a new system build.
Example: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus (smaller aluminum gaps between the heatpipes)
Image

Have you tried switching from auto (core offset, and etc.) putting the Q9400 to default clocks to find out what your starting voltages are? With the core offset on Auto I'm guessing the motherboard is likely changing (increasing) the voltage fed to CPU as you increase the clock speed from 2.66 to 3 GHz. Would help to find out high you can set the clock speed at the default core voltage before instability starts. Switch to running IntelBurnTest for checking CPU stability. http://www.techspot.com/downloads/4965- ... ntest.html

(Picture is from PureOC - Cooler Master LGA1156 Heatsinks: Hyper 212 Plus & Hyper TX3
It would take you... 2233 continuous hours or 93 days, 1 hour, and 20 minutes of gameplay to complete your Steam library.
In this time you could... Speed run Super Mario Bros (NES) 26,800 times.
 
biffzinker
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:19 pm

This thread over at overclock.net for your board might be of help.

The posts by Mattb2e are the ones you should have a look at in response to the original poster (rappling.)

The CPU offset allows you to add and additional 50mv (millivolts) or 150mv to the CPUs default voltage (default Vcore+ either 50mv or 150mv.)
It would take you... 2233 continuous hours or 93 days, 1 hour, and 20 minutes of gameplay to complete your Steam library.
In this time you could... Speed run Super Mario Bros (NES) 26,800 times.
 
Twain28
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:14 am

Hello again, and again thanks,

Regarding the heatsink: I put it on my CPU a few weeks ago...thermal paste was preapplied by deepcool...of course, now I AM wondering if I should have put a more performant paste myself, but then again putting the darn thing on my CPU took almost a whole night, so you can understand I'm not to eager to move it again...last time I checked before I managed to screw it on the board, it looked uniformly smeared on the whole CPU surface...

As for the default clocks, I actually took screenshots with CPUZ before embarking on my OC, but for some reason I was not able to post them here...you can see them on my topic on OC.net (well, that's peculiar! Yestrerday I was not even allowed to post links...). In any case, the motherboard's default clock values are all set to "AUTO", and I can see only a few of the default values, at least from the BIOS (FSB and RAM timings, mainly)...

I had already stumbled on rappling's topic...I guess the idea might be right: leaving the vcore offset to "AUTO" is probably raising the vcore up to the highest values, when under stress. As of now, in any case, I had already put it to manual and selected the lowest possible offset (0). Shall I test it again, this time with IBT?
Oh, in the meantime, I lowered PCIE freq to 101 (something I wanted to do and forgot to, with one thing or another). System booted correctly, so I guess that's ok...
Anything else you'd recommend on the matter, before I go on?

Edit: I took IBT for 15 cycles, standard mode. I'm trying to post a screenshot, so you can see the results. It passed, and CPU temperature maximum was 73°C, as per CoreTemp readings.
Image
 
Twain28
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:05 am

I did yet another IBT, this time 30 cycles...looks like a stable one, to me: :D
Image
 
biffzinker
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:00 am

Since your Asus motherboard has limited core voltage options you might as well leave the Core offset at Auto, the board will only apply one of the two offsets on POST (power up.) Try raising the FSB up in steps up to 400MHz. Check CPU stability with IntelburnTest set to Standard, and leave it at the 10 iterations. IntelburnTest at the Standard stress level will catch an unstable overclock as you move the FSB up to 400MHz. Keep the FSB/Memory Ratio to 1:1.

For checking the long term stability once you've reach the maximum you can raise the FSB/CPU change the stress level from Standard to the next higher stress level and re-run IntelburnTest but keep an eye on the CPU temperatures since if the CPU gets to hot it will throttle. Also since the VRM phases on the motherboard don't have a heatsink your not going to want push the CPU overclock up to high. You could try pointing an extra case fan at the VRM section on the board to remove some of the heat in that area.

I would try to get your Q9400 up to 3.2 GHz possibly 3.4 GHz if your DDR2 allows you to raise the clockspeed up and over 800 MHz (the board might automatically adjust the timings for you.)

You could try HWiNFO it might offer you some additional motherboard temperatures for you to monitor.
 https://www.hwinfo.com/download.php

Edit: Intel has the Q9400 at TCASE (Case Temperature is the maximum temperature allowed at the processor Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS) of 71.4°C but the VID voltage range shows 0.8500V-1.3625V) so your still in the safe range for voltage adjustment, it's the temperature of the CPU your likely to run into trouble.

In your overclock.net thread you were wondering why the multiplier was changing from 6 to 8 that would be Intel's SpeedStep Technology adjusting the multiplier depending on the CPU load.

Conventional Intel SpeedStep® Technology switches both voltage and frequency in tandem between high and low levels in response to processor load. Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology builds upon that architecture using design strategies such as Separation between Voltage and Frequency Changes, and Clock Partitioning and Recovery.


Intel Ark Specifications - Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor Q9400
It would take you... 2233 continuous hours or 93 days, 1 hour, and 20 minutes of gameplay to complete your Steam library.
In this time you could... Speed run Super Mario Bros (NES) 26,800 times.
 
DPete27
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:43 am

Most of those 45nm generation CPUs can run at 400MHz FSB with at/near stock voltage IIRC.

1) Return to the stock 333MHz FSB.  Run a stress test and take note of the voltage.  This is the "stock" voltage.
2) Plug 400MHz in for the FSB, leave the CPU voltage on Auto, and set the RAM ratio to 1.2:1 (or vice versa?).  Your mobo bios should display the target RAM frequency when setting RAM ratios.  You want to stick to your DDR2-800MHz speed.  By upping the FSB without changing the RAM ratio, you'll also be overclocking your RAM.  For purposes of finding the max CPU OC, you don't want to OC the RAM at the same time.  You can tinker with RAM OCing later if desired.  Leaving the CPU voltage on auto will likely apply more voltage to the CPU at FSB = 400MHz.  Run a stress test and see.
3) If the stress test passes.  You can then play around with lowering voltages manually if your mobo's voltage offset values go negative.  Otherwise you'll just have to leave the voltage offset at 0. 
Last edited by DPete27 on Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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morphine
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:44 am

WHICH YEAR IS IT?!?
There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
 
biffzinker
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:23 pm

morphine wrote:
WHICH YEAR IS IT?!?

2008?
Thanks for the added input DPete27 I might of overlooked something, and I never got the chance to play around with overclocking Intel's Core 2 Duo/Quad chips. I did want to though before the switch over to Nehalem (1st Generation Core iX.)
It would take you... 2233 continuous hours or 93 days, 1 hour, and 20 minutes of gameplay to complete your Steam library.
In this time you could... Speed run Super Mario Bros (NES) 26,800 times.
 
Twain28
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:38 pm

biffzinker wrote:
Since your Asus motherboard has limited core voltage options you might as well leave the Core offset at Auto, the board will only apply one of the two offsets on POST (power up.) Try raising the FSB up in steps up to 400MHz. Check CPU stability with IntelburnTest set to Standard, and leave it at the 10 iterations. IntelburnTest at the Standard stress level will catch an unstable overclock as you move the FSB up to 400MHz. Keep the FSB/Memory Ratio to 1:1.

For checking the long term stability once you've reach the maximum you can raise the FSB/CPU change the stress level from Standard to the next higher stress level and re-run IntelburnTest but keep an eye on the CPU temperatures since if the CPU gets to hot it will throttle. Also since the VRM phases on the motherboard don't have a heatsink your not going to want push the CPU overclock up to high. You could try pointing an extra case fan at the VRM section on the board to remove some of the heat in that area.

I would try to get your Q9400 up to 3.2 GHz possibly 3.4 GHz if your DDR2 allows you to raise the clockspeed up and over 800 MHz (the board might automatically adjust the timings for you.)

You could try HWiNFO it might offer you some additional motherboard temperatures for you to monitor.
 https://www.hwinfo.com/download.php

Edit: Intel has the Q9400 at TCASE (Case Temperature is the maximum temperature allowed at the processor Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS) of 71.4°C but the VID voltage range shows 0.8500V-1.3625V) so your still in the safe range for voltage adjustment, it's the temperature of the CPU your likely to run into trouble.

In your overclock.net thread you were wondering why the multiplier was changing from 6 to 8 that would be Intel's SpeedStep Technology adjusting the multiplier depending on the CPU load.

Conventional Intel SpeedStep® Technology switches both voltage and frequency in tandem between high and low levels in response to processor load. Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology builds upon that architecture using design strategies such as Separation between Voltage and Frequency Changes, and Clock Partitioning and Recovery.


Intel Ark Specifications - Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor Q9400

Thanks...I will try this and report soon.
DPete27 wrote:
Most of those 45nm generation CPUs can run at 400MHz FSB with at/near stock voltage IIRC.

1) Return to the stock 333MHz FSB.  Run a stress test and take note of the voltage.  This is the "stock" voltage.
2) Plug 400MHz in for the FSB, leave the CPU voltage on Auto, and set the RAM ratio to 1.2:1 (or vice versa?).  Your mobo bios should display the target RAM frequency when setting RAM ratios.  You want to stick to your DDR2-800MHz speed.  By upping the FSB without changing the RAM ratio, you'll also be overclocking your RAM.  For purposes of finding the max CPU OC, you don't want to OC the RAM at the same time.  You can tinker with RAM OCing later if desired.  Leaving the CPU voltage on auto will likely apply more voltage to the CPU at FSB = 400MHz.  Run a stress test and see.
3) If the stress test passes.  You can then play around with lowering voltages manually if your mobo's voltage offset values go negative.  Otherwise you'll just have to leave the voltage offset at 0.

Thanks to you too. I will try this as well. As you can see from the OC.net topic, I started my first OC by using the motherboard presets: this way, RAM would not OC; when edition ratio, I tried to avoid OCing the RAM as well, since I'm not really wanting to risk burning things... As for voltages, I cannot lower anything, since the motherboard does not really allow any voltage control that I am aware of, save for those (very low-end) settings pointed out by biffzinker, so I don't know if taking note of the default voltage would help me so much...
morphine wrote:
WHICH YEAR IS IT?!?

Er...can't really remember, but it IS quite an old system...it was born a Fujitsu-siemens Scaleo T, but I've been replacing its internal components since 2005! The only original thing left is the case...and I was pondering about an upgrade on that too... :P
As far as I can remember, I bought both the motherboard and the CPU in early 2010...so they've been faithful companions for at least 7 years!
 
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:41 pm

morphine wrote:
WHICH YEAR IS IT?!?

You should see some of the stuff the US military and NASA are still using.
 
DPete27
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:44 pm

Not sure you understood my drift.  The CPU frequency AND ram frequency are tied to the FSB.  If you leave the RAM ratio at 1:1, when you raise the FSB, you'll also raise the RAM frequency.  That's why there are RAM ratio options, so you can raise the FSB without affecting RAM frequency.  Leaving the RAM ratio set to auto would probably keep the RAM at 800MHz regardless of your FSB setting, but don't take my word for it.

The RAM frequency can easily be monitored on CPUz.
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:52 pm

Twain28 wrote:
As for voltages, I cannot lower anything, since the motherboard does not really allow any voltage control that I am aware of, save for those (very low-end) settings pointed out

You do have the option under CPU offset of 0.0 which should mean no voltage is added to the default voltage selected by the CPU. You the have the option of no voltage added or 50mv, and 150mv.
It would take you... 2233 continuous hours or 93 days, 1 hour, and 20 minutes of gameplay to complete your Steam library.
In this time you could... Speed run Super Mario Bros (NES) 26,800 times.
 
Twain28
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:00 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Not sure you understood my drift.  The CPU frequency AND ram frequency are tied to the FSB.  If you leave the RAM ratio at 1:1, when you raise the FSB, you'll also raise the RAM frequency.  That's why there are RAM ratio options, so you can raise the FSB without affecting RAM frequency.  Leaving the RAM ratio set to auto would probably keep the RAM at 800MHz regardless of your FSB setting, but don't take my word for it.

The RAM frequency can easily be monitored on CPUz.

biffzinker wrote:
Twain28 wrote:
As for voltages, I cannot lower anything, since the motherboard does not really allow any voltage control that I am aware of, save for those (very low-end) settings pointed out

You do have the option under CPU offset of 0.0 which should mean no voltage is added to the default voltage selected by the CPU. You the have the option of no voltage added or 50mv, and 150mv.

Again, my thanks to both. I really appreciate your clarifications, as they shed some more light on the matters at hand...
@DPete27: from my tests, AUTO might indeed keep the RAM values at 800MHz. Proof of this is in my second screenshot on the OC.net topic: underclocked CPU had DRAM Frequency at 401.3MHz. So I am guessing forcing a 1:1 ratio might not be that useful, at least until I complete the CPU overclock...
@biffzinker: I guess I'll keep the CPU voltage offset option to AUTO, for now...at least until I found the OC value I need.
So now I'm off to play a bit with the values, as you suggested. Will hopefully report here shortly. :wink:
 
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:07 pm

Good luck on reaching 400MHz FSB, and your DDR2-800 sticks likely have some headroom not sure if they could make it up 1066 MHz. For stress testing a overclock on main memory Windows Memory Diagnostics works or Memtest86+.

Edit: You can find Windows Memory Diagnostics under Windows Administrative Tools.
It would take you... 2233 continuous hours or 93 days, 1 hour, and 20 minutes of gameplay to complete your Steam library.
In this time you could... Speed run Super Mario Bros (NES) 26,800 times.
 
Twain28
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:29 pm

Ok, then...here I am...that took waay longer than expected.
I'll try to be brief, since I'm way late to go to bed: I'll be leaving for a small trip tomorrow, and I'm horribly late, as of now...
Here's what I did:
I first underclocked to look at the default values after running IBT, as DPete27 suggested.
Here's a HWinfo detailed sensor screenshot.
Image

Then I went back to 375 FSB, multiplier set to 8, RAM values to AUTO.
Not surprisingly, RAM went back to 1:1 ratio.
Here's a HWinfo detailed sensor screenshot, again taken right after I ran IBT at standard values.
Image

Afterwards, I tried raising FSB to 385, then to 390, then to 395 and finally to 400, then back to 395, 392 and 390, always taking care to run IBT stress test and check temperatures.
RAM stood at 1:1 ratio.
The results where:
- 385 FSB: stable, passed IBT standard;
- 390 FSB: stable, passed IBT on both standard and higher settings;
- 392 to 400 FSB: unstable, failed IBT standard (I tried 392, 395, 397 and 400 FSB, but no avail).

So it looks like 390 FSB might be my OC limit.
Here are a CPUZ and HWinfo detailed sensor screenshot, the latter taken right after I ran IBT at both standard and higher values (as you can see, CPU maximum values reached 74° C).
Image
Image

Now, since I am leaving for the weekend, I won't be able to test anything more during the next three-four days.
In any case, rest assured that I will read your comments and answer back if possible, and will be available to test some more things when I get back home, if you suggest me to.
At the moment, I am wondering if I should stick to 390 FSB or lower it a little bit to 385, to stay safer.
As always, feel free to post your suggestions and comments on the above. I'll be eager to read them and ponder on them some more, before I get my hands back on my home PC.
 
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:23 pm

If you want to get up to a 400 MHz FSB you are likely going to need to bump FSB VTT Voltage, the NB (North Bridge) Voltage for stability on the Front Side Bus between the CPU, and North Bridge.
Your Q9400 has two separate Dual-Core dies on the green colored organic PCB in case you have wondered what's under the heatspreader. The only way the two dies can communicate for say cache coherency is over the FSB unlike the newer Core i series.
Image
It would take you... 2233 continuous hours or 93 days, 1 hour, and 20 minutes of gameplay to complete your Steam library.
In this time you could... Speed run Super Mario Bros (NES) 26,800 times.
 
DPete27
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:41 am

Looks to me like the stock voltage is staying intact (1.288V across the board) and your temps only went up by 3C.  I'd say that's a win.  You could just leave it at 390MHz FSB.

If you want to get to 400MHz FSB you'll probably have to increase the CPU voltage offset.  That's just another iterative process.  Since you're stable at 390MHz, it shouldn't take too much additional voltage to hit 400MHz.  Set FSB to 400MHz and try +0.1V offset (still pretty safe IMO).  If that's stable,  you can reduce the voltage offset, OR you can raise the FSB a bit more!  Raising voltage will raise temps though, just monitor that as you step up.  Everyone has their comfort range as to what voltage increase and what temps are acceptable.  In your case, since the system is already at the end of it's useful lifespan, you can probably get away with running things a little higher than someone with a 1 year old CPU trying to get another 7 years out of their system.  But it's your call.

Also remember that not all CPUs overclock the same.  The break point of stability at stock voltage, as well as the max frequency do vary from chip to chip.
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Twain28
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:26 am

biffzinker wrote:
If you want to get up to a 400 MHz FSB you are likely going to need to bump FSB VTT Voltage, the NB (North Bridge) Voltage for stability on the Front Side Bus between the CPU, and North Bridge.
Your Q9400 has two separate Dual-Core dies on the green colored organic PCB in case you have wondered what's under the heatspreader. The only way the two dies can communicate for say cache coherency is over the FSB unlike the newer Core i series.
Image

DPete27 wrote:
Looks to me like the stock voltage is staying intact (1.288V across the board) and your temps only went up by 3C.  I'd say that's a win.  You could just leave it at 390MHz FSB.

If you want to get to 400MHz FSB you'll probably have to increase the CPU voltage offset.  That's just another iterative process.  Since you're stable at 390MHz, it shouldn't take too much additional voltage to hit 400MHz.  Set FSB to 400MHz and try +0.1V offset (still pretty safe IMO).  If that's stable,  you can reduce the voltage offset, OR you can raise the FSB a bit more!  Raising voltage will raise temps though, just monitor that as you step up.  Everyone has their comfort range as to what voltage increase and what temps are acceptable.  In your case, since the system is already at the end of it's useful lifespan, you can probably get away with running things a little higher than someone with a 1 year old CPU trying to get another 7 years out of their system.  But it's your call.

Also remember that not all CPUs overclock the same.  The break point of stability at stock voltage, as well as the max frequency do vary from chip to chip.

I'm back. :wink:
First of all, many thanks to you both for your help and patience.
After some days of grave pondering on the matter, I decided I shall not venture any further. My fear of breaking things is quite high, and I am pretty satisfied with the OC results, as it is (you can probably expect some more comments in the afternoon, as soon as I get my hands on my copy of The Witcher III Enhanced Ed :lol: ).
 
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:15 pm

Twain28 wrote:
First of all, many thanks to you both for your help and patience.
After some days of grave pondering on the matter, I decided I shall not venture any further. My fear of breaking things is quite high, and I am pretty satisfied with the OC results, as it is (you can probably expect some more comments in the afternoon, as soon as I get my hands on my copy of The Witcher III Enhanced Ed :lol: ).

The only problem now is your DDR2 RAM is running under (750 MHz = 12 GB/s) instead of stock (800 MHz = 12.8 GB/s) clock speed. Your Q9400 running overclocked is likely to be bandwidth starved but If you could get away with pushing the FSB up to 400 MHz by raising the voltages just for the FSB I pointed out then you DDR2 RAM would be at stock. Not trying to be pushy so if your comfortable with leaving it as it is alright then.

Edit: If your planning on playing The Witcher III your Q9400 even with a slight overclock isn't likely to be enough when the minimum system requirements for the game call for a Intel CPU Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz / AMD CPU Phenom II X4 940.
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:49 am

biffzinker wrote:
Twain28 wrote:
First of all, many thanks to you both for your help and patience.
After some days of grave pondering on the matter, I decided I shall not venture any further. My fear of breaking things is quite high, and I am pretty satisfied with the OC results, as it is (you can probably expect some more comments in the afternoon, as soon as I get my hands on my copy of The Witcher III Enhanced Ed :lol: ).

The only problem now is your DDR2 RAM is running under (750 MHz = 12 GB/s) instead of stock (800 MHz = 12.8 GB/s) clock speed. Your Q9400 running overclocked is likely to be bandwidth starved but If you could get away with pushing the FSB up to 400 MHz by raising the voltages just for the FSB I pointed out then you DDR2 RAM would be at stock. Not trying to be pushy so if your comfortable with leaving it as it is alright then.

Edit: If your planning on playing The Witcher III your Q9400 even with a slight overclock isn't likely to be enough when the minimum system requirements for the game call for a Intel CPU Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz / AMD CPU Phenom II X4 940.

Thanks again...I will ponder some more and try what you suggested...having a PC running fast and good is not a bad thing after all...
...as for the Witcher III, guess what? It plays beautifully on my OC'ed PC! :P (I guess the requirements are a little "pumped up", and, moreover, my nVidia GTX 970 GPU is helping a bit on the matter)
I've played the game so far on 1920x1080 on 60fps with almost all settings to "high", so you see I'm not forcing them to the higest detail, just in case...but I can assure you the game does work and look beautiful! :lol: I'll have a look around for some optimization settings, but I'm already quite happy as it is.
CPU temperature when running the game seems to be around 50-60°C, and we can agree that's fine...as soon as I shut the game, it gradually lowers to the default 40°C :)
 
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:46 am

biffzinker wrote:
your DDR2 RAM is running ... 750 MHz

If he's using the 390MHz FSB as shown in that last screenshot you can also see the RAM was running at 780MHz.  Not that far off 800MHz, so I wouldn't say it's that big of a deal.
@ OP: Like I said before, its your call.  Personally my OCD would kick in at this point and at the very least, I'd check to see how much voltage is required to get a nice even 400MHz FSB which would put you at 3.2GHz CPU and 800MHz RAM.  Difficult to assume how much voltage that would need to be and what it would do to temps, but it never hurts to find out.  You can always return to your 390MHz FSB and stock voltage if you don't like what you see.

Come on, live on the wild side!!  :evil:
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:04 pm

biffzinker wrote:
If you want to get up to a 400 MHz FSB you are likely going to need to bump FSB VTT Voltage, the NB (North Bridge) Voltage for stability on the Front Side Bus between the CPU, and North Bridge.

DPete27 wrote:
@ OP: Like I said before, its your call.  Personally my OCD would kick in at this point and at the very least, I'd check to see how much voltage is required to get a nice even 400MHz FSB which would put you at 3.2GHz CPU and 800MHz RAM.  Difficult to assume how much voltage that would need to be and what it would do to temps, but it never hurts to find out.  You can always return to your 390MHz FSB and stock voltage if you don't like what you see.

Come on, live on the wild side!!  :evil:

So, let me get these straight...if I understood you both well:
- biffzinker is suggesting I change the value for the "CPU VTT" setting from "AUTO" to "1.3" (I am assuming the other value, 1.2, stands as default for the AUTO preset), and raise back up FSB to 400; while
- DPete27 suggests I change the value for the "CPU VCORE Offset" setting from "AUTO" to "100mv" (If I read correctly elsewhere, adding 100mv means adding 0.1v), while raising FSB back up to 400.
I have to confess I am a bit intrigued by the two different approaches, so I am seriously considering trying both to see what's better and if I can achieve 400FSB...ah, what the hell, you only live once....will report here soon...crossing my fingers...
 
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:15 pm

I've never had any problems getting FSBs to run at 400MHz at stock so I've never had to raise the VTT voltage.  Not saying I'm right.  That's just my experience.

There should be an easy way to determine which voltage needs to be increased:
Try increasing the CPU (Vcore) voltage first (since it's more resilient IMO) and set the FSB to 400MHz.  If you can get it stable, great.  If no amount of Vcore voltage gives you stability (let's face it, you're doing 390MHz at stock voltage, surely there's enough left in the tank to increase the FSB by 2% and hit 400MHz with a voltage bump somewhere), then turn the Vcore back down and look at the VTT voltage.

I forget, does your mobo's BIOS have an option for LLC (Load Line Calibration)?
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:39 pm

DPete27 wrote:
I've never had any problems getting FSBs to run at 400MHz at stock so I've never had to raise the VTT voltage.  Not saying I'm right.  That's just my experience.

There should be an easy way to determine which voltage needs to be increased:
Try increasing the CPU (Vcore) voltage first (since it's more resilient IMO) and set the FSB to 400MHz.  If you can get it stable, great.  If no amount of Vcore voltage gives you stability (let's face it, you're doing 390MHz at stock voltage, surely there's enough left in the tank to increase the FSB by 2% and hit 400MHz with a voltage bump somewhere), then turn the Vcore back down and look at the VTT voltage.

I forget, does your mobo's BIOS have an option for LLC (Load Line Calibration)?

First things first: I tried playing with VTT values, as biffzinker suggested, but unfortunately IBT fails and therefore OC is not stable this way...
After this, I got back VVT to AUTO and followed the instructions you posted above to increase Vcore offset value, raising it to "100mv", alongside with raising FSB to 400. IBT ran fine, both in normal and higher mode. See screenshots below (first CPUZ, then values after normal IBT, then values after higher IBT):
Image
Image
Image
So it works, but temperatures rise up to 78°C, under stress.
Next, I tried lowering the vcore offset value to 50mv, and again both IBT normal and higher passed fine, but with almost the same temperatures, if 1-2°C lower (see screenshots below, first CPUZ screenshot, second values after IBT normal, third values after IBT higher...lower °C values might be higher due to the fact I took the tests one right after another, with only a minute or two of rest in between):
Image
Image
Image
Unfortunately enough, as you probably noted, my mobo is not a great one for OC operations...as far as I can understand, LLC should be enabled by default, but I don't have a setting for it in any part of my BIOS...
So, given the results above, what should I do?
400FSB @ +50mv looks stable enough, but I am still quite concerned about the maximum temperatures under heavy stress...should I keep it this way (and do temperatures and vcore look acceptable to you), or would you recommend me to get back to 390FSB @ AUTOmv, and stay safe?

(Again, thanks for keeping the beast within me going on this... :roll: :lol: )
 
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:17 pm

Just a quick, and fun, addon to the above: these are my values after playing The Witcher III GOTY for half an hour...they look good to me...am I wrong? :P
Image
 
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:21 pm

I say leave it alone at 400 MHz FSB, and your Q9400 at 3.2 GHz with the added 50mW if stability checks out. Otherwise the next step up (150 mW) only causes one cores temperature to jump 78c, as long as all 4 cores stay under 85c I wouldn't worry. Every so often check the temperatures make sure everything is a-ok (dust build-up/fan spinning.)

Temperatures look fine to me for your recent post.
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Re: HELP Overclock Q9400 on ASUS P5QL/EPU

Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:39 pm

Vcore offset options are 50mV, 100mV, and 150mV only?  Nothing below 50mV?  :wink:  Like I predicted, it wouldn't take much additional voltage to get things stable at 400MHz FSB.

Up to you on whether to stay at 400 or drop back to 390.  I really don't know if the differences matter much in terms of noticeable performance.  It's 80Hz on the CPU and 20Hz on the RAM.....2.5%  Like I said before, I'd leave it at 400MHz and +50mV because all the frequency numbers are more "even" 

Nice to see that under "typical" load (Witcher 3) your temps are at 62C.  That wouldn't concern me at all.  Keep in mind, IBT or Prime95 are "power virus" programs that stress your system like a Folding program would.  That kind of load/heat is not typical in everyday use.

I also just noticed that your CPU fan is at 1650rpm in all your screenshots.  Is that 100% fan speed or?
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