Phenom II X4 Overclocking Master class

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Preparing your overclock

Preparing your overclock

So, how do we start a super overclocking session?

So for this article we'll take as an example the latest Phenom II 965BE processor. From Guru3D I got a super sample of the AMD Phenom II X4 965BE C3 version, batch 0933 EPAW, renowned for its tweakability. A processor that has a default clock frequency of 3400 MHz.

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition


This CPU should be able to reach a very high speed which could allow me, for some benchmarks, to enter the top 10 in the World.

Now here's tip one, before the CPU is cooled down with LN², always check how the system handles the component with Air cooling and then below the zero degrees. For the Air test I use an good Air cooler (the Thermalright TRUE Ultra-120 eXtreme) and for getting the CPU below the freezing point I use a Single Stage Phase Change. During these tests I also look for the maximum speed of the other components in the system, so that I know how far I can go during my LN² session. Below, you can see some examples of what we are looking for:

Pre-overclock pointers and preparation:

  1. The max. FSB/BaseClock/Bus speed frequency of the main board.
  2. Know the maximum speed of the system memory, combined with memory timings.
  3. Find which memory dividers actually work.
  4. Check the motherboard's Northbridge speed under Air and Phase.
  5. Check the maximum GPU Core and memory speed of the graphics cards.
  6. Use the right drivers.
  7. Issues regarding the bios? Update!
  8. Check issues regarding the memory divider, don't let them block the experience.
  9. Differences in core speed between the individual cores (today's tested processor for example had one core with an overclock difference of more than 200Mhz against the other three)

Back to our setup. The tests done with Air and Phase looked very promising, the system was running fine. I had one concern and that was with the speed of one of the four cores. The maximum difference in speed between this core and the other three was more than 200MHZ and that is really a lot. I hope that during the LN² session the extreme temperature will solve this problem. So, the next step will be to prepare the system for LN².

Note: When you use LN², it could be that your system reacts very different to what you saw during your test with Air, and perhaps with Phase Change. Things that worked during these tests now suddenly do not work anymore and visa versa.

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