Overclocking AMD FX Series Processors – Basic Tutorial

Overclocking AMD FX Series Processors – Basic Tutorial

This is an introduction to overclocking the AMD FX series processors. If you’ve never tried overclocking before, this may sound scary and even overwhelming. While it is true that you may void your warranty or even damage your components, the risk of this happening is down to pretty much nil if you follow proper guidelines. First off, it’s essential that you have the proper tools for monitoring and testing your system. There are many free tools that are available on the Internet, but for me, there are three that I highly recommend. CPU-Z is a freeware that shows information about the CPU, mainboard, memory and graphics cards. The information that we’re interested in when testing is the core speed and core voltage.

Hardware Monitor is a monitoring software that shows the system sensors such as voltages, temperatures and fan speeds. We watch the temperatures in CPUTIN to make sure that it never exceeds 60 degrees Celsius. And lastly, Prime95 is a stress testing software that we’ll be using to make sure that our overclock settings are stable. The next step is to restart your computer to get inside your BIOS. Here, you can see that I have an AMD FX-6300 processor. It shows here that I have overclocked it to 4.3GHz. I will now reset the BIOS to its default settings. We’ll need to save and restart the system for the default settings to take effect. I use an ASRock 970 Extreme3 motherboard, which I recently flashed to revision of the BIOS. Note that each board will look different and may have different names for the different settings.

Higher end boards may have more options for you to change, while lower end boards may have less. Check your board’s manual to be sure. I have now reentered my BIOS settings. It now shows my processor’s stock speed of 3.5GHz. The first setting we need to change is to set the overclock mode to manual. We’ll now need to manually disable a number of processor features that may interfere with our overclocking. This includes the Spread Spectrum, Turbo Core, APM or Application Power Management. If your board supports CPU Load Line Calibration, make sure you enable it as it will prevent voltage droop during stress testing. Most overclockers also recommend turning off Cool and Quiet, C1E, Virtual Machine, C6 Mode and thermal throttle. I’m leaving Cool and Quiet, Virtual Machine and C6 enabled since it doesn’t affect the type of testing that we’re doing here. Before we change any of the frequencies and voltages, it is important to know what the voltage and temperature thresholds of our processor. For the FX-6300, the maximum core voltage is volts, and I know that because it says so right there in the middle of my screen.

Although I would not feel comfortable setting it to anything over volts. The maximum core temperature is about 65 or 70 degrees Celsius. But I don’t really want it to go over 60 degrees. The easiest setting to change when overclocking the FX processors is the CPU multiplier. Adding 1 GHz to my stock speed seems like a good place to start, so I’ll set my CPU frequency to 4.5GHz. Since this is such a big jump in speed, I know that I’m going to need to increase my core voltage. For now, I’m guessing that volts is a good place to start. Be sure to save your changes before restarting. I just started Windows and have CPU-Z, Hardware Monitor and Prime95 all visible on my screen. In CPU-Z, we can see that the upper range of my multiplier is 22.5, which corresponds to GHz. Hardware Monitor shows that my core temperature is sitting at around 30 degrees. The next step now is to run Prime95’s torture test.

There are two things that we want to watch out for. We don’t want our core temperature to go above 60 degrees, and we don’t want to see any errors in Prime95. After less than two and a half minutes of stress testing, we get a fatal error on worker 6. This means that our voltage is too low for the speed that we want. So we can either lower our CPU speed, or raise our voltage. We now restart our computer so we can get back into BIOS. Since we didn’t see any heat issues yet, we’re choosing to raise our voltage to our self-imposed maximum of volts. We save our settings and restart to Windows.

We run CPU-Z, Hardware Monitor and Prime95 as before. Checking to make sure that the speed, voltage and temperatures are as expected. We start Prime95 and hope for the best. Prime95 ran for about 7 minutes before we hit 61 degrees, which exceeds our maximum temperature. Our next step is to lower our voltage to somewhere between and volts. Again, we got back to the BIOS to change our core voltage to 1.475 volts, save our settings and restart to Windows. This time around, Prime95 ran for almost 18 minutes before the temperature hit 61 degrees. Again, this means we need to lower our voltage even more. We get back to the BIOS to change our core voltage, this time to 1.4625 volts.

You’ll notice that the next step down is volts, which we already failed Prime95 on our first test. At 1.4625 volts, it took Prime95 less than four minutes to get a fatal error. Our previous test at 1.475 volts failed because the processor ran too hot. This basically means that GHz is not a viable speed for us. The only option is to lower our speed. Overclocking is basically an iterative process of trying to find the sweet spot of the highest speed we can get, at the lowest voltage without running too hot or getting errors from Prime95. In most cases, you only need to run Prime95 for 10 to 20 minutes for each iteration, since it usually takes only a few minutes to get an error if the voltage is not high enough, or for the temperature to go above 60 degrees if the voltage is too high. Once you find the sweet spot for your system, you’ll want to run Prime95 for a couple of hours just to make sure that it is stable.

It would be helpful to build a table similar to this for reference. Remember that each system is different. Even if you have the exact same setup as I do, it’s possible that you’ll be able to run your processor at a faster speed and at a lower voltage. This is the reason why it takes several hours to overclock a system. In the end, we derive satisfaction in being able to squeeze more performance, essentially for free. Well, except for the several fun hours spent overclocking your system. Hope you enjoyed this video. Please feel free to write comments below and if you like this video, please don’t forget to subscribe..

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