Overclocking noob needs help with Q6600

Shark974

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 4, 2009
Messages
378
I am an extreme amateur, I overclocked my Q6600 to 2.8 ghz, which is all I wanted because stability is high priority for me (didn't try to clock higher). So far it has been running great in normal operation with temps in the mid 40's I believe, so no problems there,

Some questions...

What is a good program for stress testing? I downloaded prime 95, but I just ran it for a while then stopped it because worried about my temps. It really doesnt give me any info like I wanted such as if there were any errors or if my CPU was stable for however long it ran, it just says stopped when you press stop, I need a simple program to assure me my CPU is stable. I also dont want to brutally torture the CPU or anything like some programs advertise, just want to know it will be ok on games like Crysis.

What is a good CPU temp monitoring program? I download core temp, after reading a lot about it I became more confused than ever if it was reliable. Some guy on a forum post I googled said to offset the temps on it ten degrees because the tjmaxx in the program on the Q6600 is supposedly too high by ten. so I did. But that worries me that my temps could be even ten higher than what it says (if the advice was wrong). Anyway with the ten degree offset, after a few minutes of prime 95 my temp on one core got up to 72 and was still slowly climbing, at that point I got scared and stopped it. Is that too high? Wont these CPU's automatically shut down if they get too hot and prevent any damage?

I'm on stock cooling. Is that ok? I'm doing this to give my system a cheap boost (i'm buying a 6870 and dont want to spend the $ to upgrade the whole rig). If I was to get better cooling,. I would not want to spend more than ~$20, preferably $10 on it, as that defeats the purpose of cheap upgrade. Any good aftermarket coolers that fit that bill? Or am I ok on stock cooling?

Another little thing, as a total noob, when I overclocked the FSB, it took the RAM right with it. I have DDR2-800, but it's now running at 936. Is this ok? At first I was scared, but then I read a lot of 800 RAM can overclock because it's really 1066 RAM in disguise. So that might explain why mine seems fine at the higher speed. My cas latency though from CPU Z is 5 5 5 18. Is this really bad? My system seemed to somehow automatically raise the cas when the RAM got overclocked (I think the last number used to be like 15 when the RAM was at 800.... Not sure if I should care, or of I should try to run at 800 and a lower cas, or what.

Thx for any help!
 

e-geek

Gawd
Joined
Oct 13, 2005
Messages
578
Prime95 does cause the cpu to raise to heat levels which are unrealistic compared to real world usage, ie. in p95 it might go to 80c but in real world games it prob gets to only 60 - 70c.

Prime95 - large-fft or blend mode (blend is less stressing on the cpu but tests ram as well) is good for testing a stable overclock, normally just leave it running for a few hours and if it doesn't crash it should be fine in a normal software usage situation.

How long people test for varies considerably so whatever length you're happy with, a couple of hours shows that it shouldn't cause random crashes but doesn't mean it's 100% stable under all conditions - a video game will never push the cpu as hard as p95 and only maybe encoding or software which fully utilises all cpu cores would come close.

I can't recall the thermal limit of core2 quads, but if the temp is still climbing past 72c only after a few mins then i would seriously consider a new cpu cooler before attempting any more speed. There are alot available and you don't need the best or even close to the best as long as it keeps your cpu cool, read reviews of 775 coolers or if you see a specific cpu cooler at your local shop look it up.(don't trust the guys word that it will work "great" for your cpu make sure to check it out first)

I use Realtemp to check cpu temp's but there are other prog's like coretemp, everest which other people swear by - i use the software as a gauge, it's prob not 100% accurate but it's good enough to get an idea if you need better cooling.

As for the cpu it depends on stepping as to what speed is more likely to be achieved, cpu-z tells you stepping details - g0 was the best overall overclocker for q6600's which most people got to 3.6ghz+ but it is all luck whether you can actually achieve that.

If you do get a new cpu fan test the temps at stock speed using prime95 to make sure it's making proper contact/working properly, buy good some thermal paste (cheap as) and seeing as you are new take it slowly - there are plenty of guides out there for core 2 overclocking so read up first and it shouldn't take long to grasp.

Basically take the cpu as high a speed as you can on stock volts and then up voltage when it becomes unstable(within core 2 limit's), rinse & repeat + make sure ram is running the right divider. There is obviosuly more involved in o/c and as you get a better understanding of bios settings you can tweak other volts/settings so you might not require as much cpu voltage for stability.

Overclocking is very easy to get into as long as you read up first, take it slowly and have a realistic goal for speed.
 

Shark974

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 4, 2009
Messages
378
Well I figured out some things...I opened my case to knock all the dust off, clean the dust off the CPU fan, and there's a big 120mm fan on the side of the case on a vent, that I had never hooked up (there's another 120mm fan on the back that has been running the whole time, but for whatever reason I never hooked the side fan up). I had to dig up a three prong to molex adapter but once I did that and hooked it up, well lets just say I feel stupid as my temps took a HUGE nosedive. The CPU now idles in the 30's and under prime barely got to 60. So yeah, huge improvement there, HUGE.

I also tested temps under Crysis in a 720P window (so I could still see coretemp on the side), yeah it will not stress as much as it would at 1080P but I figured it would give me an idea, and yes the CPU only ran upper 50's, and that was before I hooked the fan up when it was getting mid 70's on prime. So I am sure now it's plenty cold.

Now my videocard is a little problem, it's a screamer, not only is it a 4890 which was a heat/power hog anyway, but it's also factory overclocked to 950 (stock 850). Even with the new side fan it got up to 82 playing Crysis. I shudder to think what it was doing before I activated that side fan. But I guess it still works LOL. From what I read GPU's are good up to like 100 though, plus I'll be getting a new card anyway.

I also figured out where Prime was saying "no errors". So I'm good there, though I havent completed a long test yet so far everything is good.
 

Shark974

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 4, 2009
Messages
378
Only thing is, is my cas latency okay? 5-5-5-18? Should I worry about it?

RAM (DDR2-800) clocked at 936? Is that good?
 

grambo

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
1,193
5-5-5-5-18 is standard for DDR2, unless you bought high-end RAM that supports 4-4-4-4 timings, don't lower it or you will have stability issues. Timings on DDR2 are maybe 2-4% performance difference tops so not really important, CPU MHz is more bang for your buck.

Your RAM speed is a function of the overclock (and divider). What mobo are you using? You may be able to use a divider (say 5:4) which will drop the RAM speed down which can help with stability. I'm not sure how you are getting 2.8GHz with DDR2-936 unless you used a divider to INCREASE RAM speed over the bus. I would say go for 3.0GHz using CPU ratio 8 (default for Q6600 I think) and bus speed 375 (so DDR2-750). If that is fine, try 8 x 400.
 

mangyrat

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
92
I personally would go with 9 x333 = 2997 MHZ and for the ram divider 1 : 120 = 799
the default multiplier on the Q6600 is 9 not 8.

Leave the voltage alone.

3ghz is a easy OC for the 6600.
 
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