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Author Topic: Overclocking a Core i7 920 with X58 Platinum: Advice needed!  (Read 17069 times)

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silvergunTopic starter

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Hello everyone,

Just got my Core i7 920 and I would like to see how far I can take it with the hardware that I have. Although I've read countless overclocking articles over the years (mainly on Tom's Hardware), this is actually going to be my first time doing it. So I guess this makes me a n00b....  8-))

So, here is my hardware setup:

CM Storm Scout Case
Intel Core i7 920
MSI X58 Platinum
Coolit Systems Domino CPU Water Cooling System
G.SKILL 6GB DDR3-1600 CL 9-9-9-24
ASUS GeForce 9500GT Top
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad 750W

I've already tried fiddling around the BIOS and also tried the DIP switches on the MOBO (tried the 166 settings). At this point I'm guessing I'll have to turn off some options in the BIOS or something because CPU-Z is reporting different Core Speed, multiplier and QPI Link every 2 second.

For the record, I'm not necessarily trying to break 4Ghz with this overclock... just wanna take advantage of this 920 and the CoolIt Domino; anything stable between 3.2 and 3.8GHz and I'm happy :smile:
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thebanik

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is the i7 920 D0 stepping or older????

4Ghz should be a piece of cake if its D0. Though I dont know the exact names used in Platinum bios but all you need to change is the voltage of 4 components,

Vcore, VTT, VPLL and VDIMM.

Set Vcore to somewhere in between 1.35-1.4V for 200bclk. VTT - 1.4V, VPLL - 1.88-1.9V and VDIMM - 1.65V- anything your rams can handle.

Keep an eye out for uncore and ram ratios but....
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silvergunTopic starter

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Nah, it ain't D0 stepping.
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silvergunTopic starter

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Gonna try some of these settings... will post back in a few!
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silvergunTopic starter

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Well, did lots of things and I am now able to boot Win7 x64 but I'm missing transparency and most startup programs won't load. Can't load anything from Steam either, so there are definitely issues. I managed to POST at 4Ghz ONCE... but wouldn't do it twice. Still having trouble understanding voltage issues. Not sure how it's supposed to work. Seems like when I try to up the voltage (+0.030) from 1.376, it actually goes down?? MSI's Cell Menu isn't the clearest in that regard... Also need to better understand XMP.

Posting CPU-Z and Everest pics before heading off for a little sleep... not working tomorow so I'll be back at this pretty soon.

Comments/advice?

Thanks!

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silvergunTopic starter

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Well, I am now running stable at 3.4GHz (170x20), DDR3 is running at 1360 (680Mhz ratio 4, uncore 8). I haven't touched any of the voltage settings yet, left them on auto setting. Ran the Everest System Stability Test for over an hour and everything ran perfectly. Temperatures peaked at 45C (CoolIt Domino is set at LOW setting too, this thing is awesome).



I'm pretty sure I could go higher but probably would need to know how to tweak voltage settings through the Cell Menu. Anyone here an expert on this? :)
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silvergunTopic starter

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Well, my last "stable" set up finally gave in yesterday during a two hour Left 4 Dead session... big ol' BSOD. I'm back at 3.2GHz (166x20) now with DDR3 @ 1660. We'll see how it goes but I really wish I knew more about voltage settings. Afterall, I DID manage to boot @ 4GHz once so I should be able to do it with some voltage tweaking. Thought I could get some answers in here but I've been talking to myself more than anything ;p

Oh well, the experiment continues!
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robiatti

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With my C0 stepping I was setup as follows.

19x206 for 3914 I had turbo disabled
C state enabled
C1 enable under Advanced Cpu options.
HT enabled

Memory was set to 4:8 for 1648Mhz timings where 9-9-9-24-1t
Voltages where
Cpu +230
QPI  +150
CPU Pll was 1.85
Memory  was 1.6
Spread spectrum disabled

PCI fixed to 37.4
PCIE was 101

CPU and PCIE Skew was at 100ps each.

All other voltages where at auto
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Intel i7 3930k @ 4.5Ghz
16 GB Crucial Ballistix 1600 @ 9-9-9-24-1t
2 MSI HD7950's
1 128GB SSD OS
2TB SATA3 HD7200Rpm Data
LG DVDRW
MSI x79A-GD45 Plus
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Cooler Master v1000 Watt PSU
NZXT H630 Case

Full water cooling for CPU and GPU's

silvergunTopic starter

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Nice to have some numbers to compare!

I'll probably try these later tonight but this brings up another question: When exactly are you supposed to know when it's time to up the voltage settings on one of these values ? (vCore, QPI, PLL and vDimm) And what symptoms tell you that you have, for example, to modify QPI voltage rather than vCore or PLL? There must be interdependencies between all of these.

Obviously it is entirely possible to overclock to certain degree without ever having to modify voltage. For example, the 1st thing I tried was using the easy OC switches on my Platinum mobo; the 166 settings worked right away but 200 wouldn't POST. So, if it's possible to overclock with these switches, what are the benefits or doing it manually? I've read many thread on here but have never found these answers precisely. It's like it should be so obvious to everyone ;-)

Like I said, I will probably try your numbers on my system but I would still not really know what I'm doing. I would much rather understand how these settings work in relation to each other so I could tweak them properly based on how my system reacts.

Thanks for the heads up, I'll be posting some results later tonight.
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robiatti

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Depends on the type of blue screen you get.

The way I under stand it is if the errors end with 124 ie   0x0000124 this is most likely QPI related.

This is taken from the evga forums and I am only posting as a reference..  The Credit belongs to Freemortal at evga. Not everythign applies to the MSI boards but the important ones do.

      
This guide is an attempt to assemble as much info about the various i7 voltages you can change in the BIOS.  I can't do it alone though.  This community has a wealth of information on the subject.  Please post what you know and I'll add it to the first post here.  Please make it as concise as possible.

If you believe any of this information to be inaccurate, let me know.

NOTE: This guide is applies specifically to the "EVGA X58 SLI" motherboard released in 2008. Most of this info also applies to other X58 motherboards as well but some labels and tolerances may be different depending on the make.  This guide assumes you use a high quality, after-market heatsink and fan.  Do not raise voltages with the stock cooler!

THE VOLTAGES
Caution: The voltage you set is not necessarily the voltage you get.  Furthermore the voltage you read is not necessarily accurate either.  The Eleet utility (along with any other software monitoring utility) will simply report what the motherboard tells it to report.  When measured independently, these readings are close, but not entirely accurate.

VCore (default: 1.28125v, Intel's max 1.375v, VCore over 1.50v on air cooling is risky)
  What it does:

    Sets max voltage to the CPU cores. (if Vdroop is disabled, it will set the min voltage instead)  The i7 doesn't need much voltage at speeds under 3.8ghz.   (For example, I can get 3.8ghz on 1.275 vcore)  Beyond that the voltage requirements climb sharply.

  When to raise VCore:

    * BSOD 101 "Clock Interrupt not received from Secondary Processor"
    * LinX produces errors that are very
    * LinX errors happen within 1 min of LinX
    * LinX produces BSOD within the first minute

  You know VCore is too high when:

    * CPU cores approach a peak of 85c on full load
    * It is unknown how higher voltages may impact the life of the CPU

CPU VTT Voltage (default: 1.1V (+0mV in BIOS) Intel's max 1.35 (+250mV)
What it does:

    VTT connects the cores with the memory.  Raising VTT helps keep a system stable at higher QPI rate.  Since QPI is calculated from bclk: the higher the bclk the more VTT voltage you will need.  VTT is also called "QPI/DRAM Core" on other motherboards,


    Prevent CPU damage: VTT voltage must be within 0.5V of VDimm. Vdimm can fluctuate by as much as 0.05V from settings so you may want VTT within 0.45V of VDimm for that extra margin of safety.  Example: if Vdimm is 1.65V, then VTT must be at least 1.20V.

  When to raise CPU VTT Voltage:

    * BSOD 124 "general hardware failure"
    * LinX errors happen only after 10 min or more
    * LinX hangs but does not BSOD
    * LinX reboots without BSOD

  You know CPU VTT Voltage is too high when:

    * Most users try and stay below 1.45V (+350V) for 24/7 use without additional direct cooling.
    * The motherboard doesn't read the temp so you may need an IR thermometer to be sure you are not pushing VTT too far. 


CPU PLL VCore (default: 1.800V, spec range: 1.65V-1.89V)
What it does:

    Keeps CPU clock in-sync with bclk.

  When to raise CPU PLL VCore:

    * May help with stability while increasing the bclk or CPU multiplier.(or may make it worse)
    * May help with stability past 210 bclk if you observe that during runtime the QPI Link (found in E-Leet) bounces too much.
    * Not a commonly raised.  May actually cause instability.  Test this variable alone.

  You know CPU PLL VCore s too high when:

    * Its possible you could actually gain stability by lowering this.


DIMM Voltage (default: 1.5V, Intel's max 1.65)
  What it does:

    Voltage to the RAM. Despite Intel's warnings, you can raise voltage beyond 1.65 as long as it is always within 0.5V of VTT (as described above).

  When to raise DIMM Voltage :

    * High performance/gaming RAM usually requires at least 1.65v to run at spec.  Some manage to get it slightly lower.
    * Stable bclks over 180 often require VDIMM beyond 1.65V.  Remember to keep VTT voltage within 0.5V of VDIMM.

  You know DIMM Voltage is too high when:

    * Memory is too hot.  [more info on this is needed]


DIMM DQ Vref (default: +0mV)
  What it does:

    It is the reference voltage for a pseudo-differential transmission line. The DQ signals sent by the memory controller on the i7 should swing between logic-hi and logic-lo voltages centered around VREF. VREF is typically half way between the drain and source voltages on the RAM.  Most VREF generator circuits are designed to center between the VDD and VSS voltages on the RAM. There is usually temperature compensation built into the circuitry as well.

 When to raise DIMM DQ Vref:

    * Vref might be adjusted if (after measurement) it was determined not to be properly centered between VDD and VSS of the DIMM. Without a good osciloscope it's difficult to imagine that most users could set VREF correctly. They may be able to set VREF empirically by moving it up or down and checking for POST or BSOD problems.

 Further reading:

    http://download.micron.com/pdf/technotes/ddr2/TN4723.pdf  The document is for DDR2 but differential signaling is a topic that transcends memory models. It has been done for decades in high-end systems and the advantages/drawbacks are well understood.


QPI PLL VCore (default: 1.1v, <1.4v is pretty safe)
  What it does:

    Keeps on-chip memory controller in-sync with bclk.

 When to raise QPI PLL VCore:

    * Try raising this along with Vcore and VTT, but in smaller increments.
    * Helps stabilize higher CPU Uncore frequencies and QPI frequencies (in CPU feature)
    * Try raising this when you increase memory clock speed via multiplier.
    * Try raising when LinX produces errors after a few minutes without BSOD

 
IOH Vcore (default: 1.1V)
  What it does:

    Sets voltage for on-chip north bridge which connects PCIE2.0, GPU, Memory, and CPU.

  When to raise IOH VCore:

    * Possibly needed if you overclock your north bridge (via bclk and CPU Uncore freq.)

 You know IOH VCore is too high when:

    * Memory errors? (just a guess)
    * GPU intensive apps like 3dmark vantage crash. (another guess)


IOH/ICH I/O Voltage (default: 1.5V)
  What it does:

    some sort of on-chip bus voltage. unknown


ICH Vcore (default: 1.05V)
  What it does:

    South Bridge chip on the motherboard.  Connects all motherboard features, cards (not PCIE2.0), and drives to CPU/memory on IOH

  When to raise ICH Vcore:

    * I don't know if raising this can help in overclocking at all.  Possibly necessary in order to keep up with an overclocked northbridge?

  You know ICH Vcore is too high when:

    * unknown.  I wouldn't overvolt it too much though.


PWM Frequency (default: 800)
  What it does:

    unknown

  When to raise PWM Frequency:

    * Overclocking beyond 4.2ghz

  You know PWM Frequency is too high when:

    * VREG approaches 85c


VDroop (default: enabled)
  What it does:

    Safety feature designed by Intel to protect the chip from excessive wear from voltage spikes.  Enabling VDroop keeps actual voltage running below the VCore setting in BIOS

  What does disabling VDroop do?

    * Makes VCore setting the minimum value for actual voltage; CPU will run at higher voltages than what you set in BIOS.
    * Disabling VDroop is the same as enabling Load Line Calibration on other x58 boards.

  Why would I want to disable VDroop?

    * Some overclockers use it because it allows them to get a high overclock while setting lower VCore in BIOS. This is because the running voltage is actually higher than what was set in BIOS.  Disabling VDroop keeps actual voltage higher than what is set for VCore in the BIOS.  Enabling Vdroop keeps actual voltage lower than VCore.
    * It might help if you are pushing the bleeding edge.


Diagnosing errors. What to do when...

BSODs

    * BSOD "IRQL_NOT_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL" (I forget)
    * BSOD 101 "Clock Interrupt not received from Secondary Processor" Try raising VCore
    * BSOD 124 "general hardware failure" Try raising VTT

LinX Errors
If you get an error you would have x same (correct) results and 1 different (an error):

    * If the incorrect result differs slightly from the rest (numbers very close, same powers in Residual & Residual (norm)) it is most likely that there's not enough vcore. In this case only a small vcore bump is usually needed to stabilize the system (alternatively, Vtt & GTL tweaking can sometimes fix this too)
    * If the wrong result differs much from the others (different power or even positive power in Residual or Residual (norm)) it might be 1) insufficient vcore (the error would happen at the very first runs then) or 2) some memory / NB instability (when it worked for say 10 minutes ok and then produced a different result)

  More serious LinX errors:

    * BSOD during testing (at the very first runs) is often caused by too low vcore
    * System hangs and remains hung it is almost 100% not a CPU but memory or possibly NB issue
    * System reboots (with no hang prior to reboot and no BSOD) - a CPU issue, but not vcore related (insufficient PLL or Vtt I guess)
    * System hangs for a short while and then BSODs - once again NB or memory problem (but might be wrong Vtt / GTL setting as well)
    * System hangs and then just reboots - wrong Vtt (too low or too high) or GTL settings


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Intel i7 3930k @ 4.5Ghz
16 GB Crucial Ballistix 1600 @ 9-9-9-24-1t
2 MSI HD7950's
1 128GB SSD OS
2TB SATA3 HD7200Rpm Data
LG DVDRW
MSI x79A-GD45 Plus
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Cooler Master v1000 Watt PSU
NZXT H630 Case

Full water cooling for CPU and GPU's

silvergunTopic starter

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Wow.

Simply amazing info!
Thanks so much for sharing that robiatti. It's gonna take a bit to read and digest all of that but I'm pretty sure I won't be the only one to benefit from this.

I'll post back as soon as I get the chance to tweak some more.
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ltooz_audis

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I have my I920 running @ 182 x 21 = 3822 for a few months now... It's blazing fast and stable with XPx64. I could clocked it to 4GHZ but it didn't improve much for my video rendering. My set up is here http://www.freewebs.com/ltooz/i7msix58platinum.htm if you want to check it out. I don't raise voltages much.

Cheers and congrats on your new system,

Louis
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Master Mason

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Fantastic post about the i7 features! Thanks for posting all of that. I found a few things myself that were clarified. Very nice touch explaining when to OC each component. This should be stickied for all new i7 OC'ers to read.  :hat tip: to you.
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MSI X58 Platinum SLI MS-7522
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