Thread title is (mostly) sarcastic... I have a 2500K and since the upgrade itch has been hitting me lately I decide to try pushing my overclock a little further, rather than spend any money.
I tried hitting 4.5Ghz again a few months ago and decided against it since my temps went up substantially and I wasn't too pleased with that. A few days ago I thought about the fact that my poor CPU has been squashed under the old Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme with an aging layer of AS5 to keep it happy. I figured it'd be a good idea to reapply some newer thermal paste, since I'd read that Cryorig's CP7 (which came with the H7 I put in my HTPC) is actually a bit better than AS5.
Before touching anything, my system was at 4.2Ghz, vcore set to 1.3v (vdroop set to auto)... been that way for years. After running the Intel Burn Test on Maximum for a few runs the highest my core temps (as reported by HWiNFO) hit were 66,68,74,67.
After changing the paste, lots of UEFI tweaking, re-reasearching how to overclock a Sandy properly and even adding some creative duct-work in my case to ensure that cool air was being drawn in through the right places and hot air was being blown out, I was able to get the chip to happily run at 4.5Ghz with 1.35v (vdroop set to low now), with several power saving features still enabled. After 5 runs of IBT at maximum and an hour of Prime95 small FFT, my highest peak core temps were 64,68,75,67. A very respectable result, considering the boost in voltage and clock speed. The best part is that it was about 15F warmer in my office during the second round of tests as well. After several hours of gaming the temps topped out at 60, with most cores being in the mid 50s.
So, I'm happy with this result. I ran Passmark and its reporting a solid 10% improvement over my previous run at 4.2Ghz in single threaded tests. It actually scored a bit better than the average single thread score for a stock 7600K, which is cool.
But, now... the real question is where should I stop? If under normal conditions when its 80F in my office my CPU is topping out at 60C in games, it seems like I have plenty of head room left... I'm just not sure how much voltage it would take to go higher and how rapidly the temperatures will go up. My idle temps are still in the high 20s to low 30s and power consumption drops nicely at idle, so I doubt I'll be frying my CPU with hours upon hours of heavy loads at high voltages, but I don't want to kill the poor fella. I've read about plenty of people running upward of 1.4v with these, and I played with it a little and couldn't get the thing stable at 4.7Ghz, but I've done a lot of tweaks since then.
Along these same lines, how far can I realistically take the memory voltage? I have some really nice GSkill Ares 2133 DDR3 that I bought to run it at 1866 at 1.5v (since I was under the impression that SB shouldn't run any higher voltage memory), but I have been reading of a lot of people using 1.6v on SB without any issues. Has anyone here had any experience with this? After many years of use are people's Sandy Bridge systems showing any signs of failure due to 1.5v+ memory or 1.4v vcore?
As a side note, I finally found a use for a huge Delta 120x38mm fan I stole out of an old system years ago. I have a fan adapter that allows me to plug fans into either 5v or 12v, and when I hook it up to 5v it actually runs at a reasonably level. On 12v it is so loud and fast its kind of scary (easily 3500 RPM)... its the kind of fan that I genuinely worry about getting injured by when testing it outside a case. I decided to use it as my rear exhaust fan and it moves so much air, its wonderful (far more than the stock coolermaster fan). Though, now I'm wondering if I should be using it as my CPU fan instead.
Desktop - i5 2500K@4.5Ghz - MSI P67A-G43 - 16GB DDR3-2133 - PNY GTX 970 - Samsung SM841 128GB
Laptop - Asus Q500A - Core i5 3210M - 8GB DDR3-1600 - 840 EVO 256GB - AUO 1080P
HTPC - i7 4790 - Asus B85 - 8GB DDR3-1600 - 64GB Crucial C300 - EVGA GTX 1050 Ti