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  1. #1
    Tech Marketing Manager HQ Array Raja@ASUS's Avatar
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    Ivy Bridge-E Easy Overclocking Guide – The Listy/Wordy Edition

    Standard disclaimer: Overclocking is not guaranteed to work, or guaranteed to be reliable. Do so at your own risk.



    Read the guide through in its entirety before attempting any overclocking!







    Ivy Bridge-E CPU Core Overclocking Overview


    1) In my binning of 45 samples, 2% of CPUs will do 4.8GHz at 1.40V. 20% will do 4.7GHz. Almost 48% will do 4.6GHz at 1.40V. 28% will do 4.5GHz at 1.40V. 2% will do only 4.4GHz at 1.40V. The average frequency is therefore 4.6GHz on a reasonable CPU sample. Not a massive sample size, but I think it gives us a realistic indication of what to expect from retail processors.



    2) The power draw of Ivy-E is very low. We measured 120 Watts at full AVX load at 4.6GHz. However, we’re dealing with a smaller substrate/process node which means getting heat away from the die quickly is key. Same trend we are used to by now on the 22nm process.

    4.6GHz at 1.40V is doable using water cooling – we get loaded temps of around 80C on a good triple radiator water loop. For users with air coolers, we recommend a maximum of 1.30V for Vcore - of course this is dependent on the type of air cooler and its capabilities. Use a voltage that keeps loaded temps below 75 Celsius or so.

    We do recommend placing a fan over the VRM heatsink if the system is going to be overclocked.




    Overclocking Ivy-E for the masses is centered on two voltages: Vcore and VCCSA (more on VCCSA later).

    (i) For Vcore the highest we’re using here internally is 1.40V (cooling dependent obviously).

    (ii) Our auto rules will set Vcore and VSSA as changes are made. We recommend starting on auto and simply setting the multipliers, then tuning voltages lower or higher depending upon the CPU sample.

    That’s most of the basics in short-form apart from specifics about Ivy-E and memory overclocking. Before we get to the overclocking section, there’s a memory kit related topic that comes up on these forums (and others) frequently. It seems many users are not aware that combining memory kits – even those of the same model can lead to system instability. Make sure you read the section below before proceeding to overclock the system.




    Notes on X79 memory purchasing


    Let’s start with what not to do: DO NOT COMBINE MULTIPLE MEMORY KITS, EVEN IF THEY ARE THE SAME MODEL. While it may seem attractive to populate as many memory slots as we can, there is a sensible way of doing it that makes setting the system up and getting it stable easier. Purchase a single kit rated at the desired density and timings you wish to run – we recommend memory kits rated no faster than DDR3-1600 for ease-of-use. Speeds faster than DDR3-1600 require an IMC that is “strong”, and may require lots of manual tuning to obtain stability.



    Quick check list of Ivy-E memory related items:


    1) DDR3-1866 is supported as a stock speed. However, it is only supported with one DIMM per channel. If all slots are populated, then the maximum supported memory speed is DDR3-1600. Both situations are likely subject to memory timing, too. Intel usually makes this information available in their white papers.

    Supported speeds are those the processor can run without needing any kind of voltage adjustment. Anything faster than this is defined as overclocking and quite obviously, may require adjustment of voltages and memory timings to work.

    The idea then is to select a memory kit that suits one’s mindset. If plug-and-play operation is desirable, then it would be wise to select memory kits rated no faster than DDR3-1600 or DDR3-1866 (depending upon density).

    If one is inclined to tune a system manually, then purchasing a faster memory kit is possible. Bear in mind that performance gains from running faster memory are minuscule in most applications. If budget is constrained, or you’re simply looking for good performance return for expenditure, then spending excessively on fast memory kits is ill-advised.



    2) Look for memory kits that are qualified to run on the platform they will be used in. In this case, we are looking for X79 qualified memory kits. Memory kits qualified on other platforms may not reach their specified timings when used on X79 and vice versa, too. That’s because the SPD and XMP is programmed with memory timings for the platform they were binned on.


    3) We’ll say it one more time: Don’t combine multiple kits to make up a higher density. Purchase a single memory kit rated at the speed and required density (other purchasing advice withstanding).



    Following the advice above should keep most out of trouble. If inclined towards memory related tomfoolery (overclocking or tweaking) then the following section is worth a read.






    Notes about Ivy-E's Memory Controller

    It’s time to start writing about about Ivy-E’s memory controller. On average, Ivy-E is a little more robust than Sandybridge-E when it comes to memory overclocking. Higher memory ratios are available (over DDR3-2400) and the CPUs seem to have an easier time reaching DDR3-2400.




    I like lists, they keep things on point without BS. My (naive?) belief is that people are more likely to follow lists than large paragraphs of text. Yep, it’s time for another list. This one’s about Ivy-E’s memory controller capabilities:


    1) Most Ivy-E CPU samples are capable of reaching DDR3-2400 with 32GB of memory.


    2) Some samples are capable of speeds beyond DDR3-2666 with 16GB of memory.


    3) As CPU core frequency is increased it can become more difficult to reach memory speeds over DDR3-2133. This situation is also affected by the amount of memory used. For example, it may be easier to run speeds over DDR3-2133 if only 16GB of memory is used.


    4) VCCSA is the voltage that helps facilitate memory overclocking on Ivy-E. DRAM voltage does too (obviously). Speeds over DDR3-2400 may require high levels of VCCSA if high density memory configurations are used. We have used up to 1.40V with 64GB of memory at speeds over DDR3-2400.


    5) Before you are wowed by the voltage or the promise of running DDR3-2400, remember that even if you find a single memory kit rated at these speeds, there is no guarantee that the CPU memory controller will manage the frequency. Each CPU sample varies - some are better and some are worse at overclocking.


    6) Bear in mind that memory timings are just as important as memory frequency. Chasing raw frequency at the expense of timings is worthless on a 24/7 system.

    Just because a CPU won’t run a given memory frequency in a stable manner, don’t despair! It’s usually "technically" faster to drop the memory ratio one step lower and run a tighter set of timings. Doing so can be complex, but that’s what the forum is for. We’re here to guide you on what to run in these situations. Ask!

    7) Memory speeds over DDR3-2400 may be more stable when using the 125 MHz BCLK strap.

  2. #2
    Tech Marketing Manager HQ Array Raja@ASUS's Avatar
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    With the brief overview out of the way, let’s get the board setup for a quick 4.3GHz overclock:

    Enter UEFI and navigate to the Extreme Tweaker section:






    Select the Ai Overclock Tuner option and set it to “Manual” if the memory modules being used DON’T support XMP. If the modules do support XMP, then simply select X.M.P instead.




    Next set the CPU core ratio to 43X:





    This sets the CPU core frequency to 4.3GHz.





    If the memory modules being used do NOT feature XMP, then setting the memory frequency ratio manually is recommended. This can be done quite easily:






    After that, simple press F10 to save and exit.



    The final list!


    1) The first thing to do after applying the overclock is to complete some form of stability testing within the operating system. There are a multitude of programs available to do this, and each has its merits/shortcomings. Running a variety of different stress tests and applications is recommended to gauge system stability.


    2) Check CPU and system temperatures under load are not too hot. At higher temps, the system is more prone to instability. We recommend keeping the CPU core temperature below 75C under maximum load.

    3) If your cooling and CPU is up to the task, then you may wish to overclock the system further. Either way, we starting at 4.3GHz, and tuning VCore to it’s lowest stable point first. The lowest stable point is where the system can reliably pass all stability tests. I usually find the lowest Vcore the system will pass all stress tests at and then add +0.02V to Vcore for good measure.

    From there, increase the CPU ratio in +1 steps, and keep an eye on how much Vcore you need to add to get the system stable. Check CPU temperatures under load also. At the point where one needs a big increase of Vcore for another 100MHz in CPU frequency, it’s wise to back down to the lower ratio and run a lower frequency. We can call this the M.E.P. – most effective point. Each CPU has one. Running an overclock at the CPU's "MEP", ensures that current consumption does not become excessive and it’s kinder to the silicon. On top of that, a paltry 100MHz increase in frequency is not worth the extra power it takes to obtain – the performance "improvement" is not worth it in my view.


    We may add more info to this guide in future (as required).

    Enjoy!

  3. #3
    ROG Guru: Orange Belt Array chrisnyc75's Avatar
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    Great guide/info here. Thanks Raja!
    Asus RIVBE • i7 4930K @ 4.7ghz • 8gb Corsair Dominator Platinum 2133 CL8
    2xSLI EVGA GTX 770 SC • Creative X-Fi Titanium • 2x 840 SSD + 1TB Seagate Hybrid
    EVGA Supernova 1300W• Asus VG278H & nVidia 3d Vision
    Phanteks Enthoo Primo w/ custom watercooling:
    XSPC Raystorm (cpu & gpu), XSPC Photon 170, Swiftech D5 vario
    Alphacool Monsta 360mm +6x NB e-loop, XT45 360mm +6x Corsair SP120


  4. #4
    Tech Marketing Manager HQ Array Raja@ASUS's Avatar
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    No probs, hope it helps some folks.

  5. #5
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    Thanks.. I'm running 4.6ghz cores synced 4960x 1.35vcore 1.32 under load medium LLc 120% and optimized phased control bios 4403 rive sound good raja?? thanks looking forward to the black board... What are you thoughts on stuff like the new Intel management engine 9 optimized for ivy-e with the black board I'm definetlly happy with my rive board but if money was not an option would u get it? I'm under lots of water CPU temps low 50c at prim95 load and 2133mgz memory and three WC oc titans thanks for your update!!!!

  6. #6
    Tech Marketing Manager HQ Array Raja@ASUS's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good CPU you have there.

    If money were not an option, I would upgrade. But as funds are limited for most people, you are not losing out on much by sticking with the board you have. BE has better onboard audio, maybe faster BOOT times etc. Might be a bit more margin on DRAM clocking, but that's for guys that push really hard or benchmark competitively more than 24/7 users.

  7. #7
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    tomorrow I should receive my 4960x is my current setup?
    R4E
    2x titan
    1.5v 4x4GB Corsair Dominator 2133
    corsair 1250w
    xonar dx
    2x ssd hd 840 pro + + velociraptor
    with my current 3960x I used these settings 100x45
    cpu vcore 1.35
    vtt cpu 1.18750
    2nd vtt cpu 1.05760
    cpu vccsa manualmode
    cpu vccsa 1.180
    dram 1.5
    cpu pll 1.8250
    pch 1.1v 1.1
    vtt ddr auto
    ddr 2133 9-11-10-27-1t
    cpu load-line calibration high
    cpu current capability 130%
    cpu voltage frequency auto
    vrn over temperature auto
    cpu power t.probe
    vcore mos 7v
    vccsa load-line high
    vccsa current capability 120%
    vccsa fixed frequency 300
    cpu vccsa boot auto
    cpu vtt 1.3x
    cpu vtt over... auto
    dram-ab current 120%
    dram-ab voltage frequency auto
    dram-ab power phase optimized
    dram-cd current 120%
    dram-cd voltage auto
    dram-cd power phase optimized
    pch 1.1v 1.3x
    which settings should I change to test my 4960 for a setting userday

  8. #8
    Tech Marketing Manager HQ Array Raja@ASUS's Avatar
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    Forget about the 3960X settings and start afresh. Use the voltage guidelines, and start with a low overclock to see how much Vcore your CPU needs.

  9. #9
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    R4E
    2x titan
    1.5v 4x4GB Corsair Dominator 2133
    corsair 1250w
    xonar dx
    2x ssd hd 840 pro + + velociraptor
    4960x@4600
    cpu vcore 1.30
    vtt cpu 1.18750
    2nd vtt cpu 1.05760
    cpu vccsa manualmode
    cpu vccsa 1.160
    dram 1.5
    cpu pll 1.8250
    pch 1.1v 1.1
    vtt ddr auto
    ddr 2133 9-11-10-27-1t
    cpu load-line calibration medium
    cpu current capability 130%
    cpu voltage frequency auto
    vrn over temperature auto
    cpu power t.probe
    vcore mos 7v
    vccsa load-line high
    vccsa current capability 120%
    vccsa fixed frequency 300
    cpu vccsa boot auto
    cpu vtt 1.3x
    cpu vtt over... auto
    dram-ab current 120%
    dram-ab voltage frequency auto
    dram-ab power phase optimized
    dram-cd current 120%
    dram-cd voltage auto
    dram-cd power phase optimized
    pch 1.1v 1.3x
    these settings can go a for a userday? or may damage the cpu?

  10. #10
    Tech Marketing Manager HQ Array Raja@ASUS's Avatar
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    Read the guide. I have told you the highest voltage we use for Vcore and what kind of temps.

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