Saturday, March 03, 2007

Brag: Hitting the 5GHz+ overclock, reaching the dream!

I still remember how my jaw dropped seeing THG broke the 5GHz wall for the first time. It was like nothing I have ever seen before. Of course, nowadays, I have gotten used to extreme cooling, but back then, the most extreme I have ever ventured to is water cooling. If you haven't seen the THG review yet, I suggest you watch this video. (Expand to read the rest of the Blog)

That video will make even those who have the experience to overclock to understand that it takes more than mere guts to do such wonder. Not only does one needs uber hardware in terms of processor, motherboard, memory and other related peripherals, but also be ready to spend a lot of money in terms of cooling and modification needed to attain such speed. Of course, a lot of time is also needed to do such.

While it is usually just a matter of time before processor technology matures and reach such speed on stock, Intel dropped their 4GHz plan and so this becomes more like a dream for me. There's just no way 5GHz will be available anytime soon, specially with Conroe running at 1.83GHz for a start.

Fast forward to today, and while nothing has changed on the Conroe front of things, 65nm on NetBurst has matured already. In fact, I am so much into these new cores that I have already forgotten I have these babies in stashed and ready for the picking. And in one lazy afternoon, I pried open one of the box just for the heck of it and achieve 4GHz without breaking a sweat.

That 4GHz moment has triggered something in my OC tastebud and I quickly felt something special for this Cedar Mill core, which is the last of the NetBurst breed for single core. During my lazy time, I tried pushing it more and found out that 4.4GHz is reachable with stock vCore on stock cooler, and it can run all benchmarks just fine. It is rock stable at this settings.

Feeling more brave and even more enthusiastic this time around, I reached for 50% overclock, which is not something common for processors based on NetBurst. After doing a little adjustment on my rockin' Intel D975XBX2 board with value DDR2-800MHz RAM, I targetted for 200MHz (800MHz QPB) and I hit it with flying colors: 4.8GHz easy.

I am very excited, 4.8GHz is reached with a lowly 1.4v and bench stable. I never tried to run any long term benchmark at this speed compared to the 4.4GHz overclock.

At 4.8GHz, I only wanted to see if I can reach my dream. I feel like I am going against all odds here. Sure, the signs all points to a good start, I reached 4.4GHz, and even higher with just a minor adjustment, but bootstrap is now becoming a concern for me. With an unmodded Bad Axe 2, I know I am still good to go, I just need to figure out how to make this baby work at 5GHz, which is 209MHz FSB.

So after doing some testing and trial and error, I manage to find out the sweet spot of the Bad Axe 2 and broke 200MHz FSB with 133MHz bootstrap. It is all smoothsailing afterwards, and I reached my dream clock speed of 5GHz. Below is the image in its full glory!

The final settings is 1.45v on vCore, 209MHz FSB, on stock cooling! While 5GHz is already a "has been", doing it on stock cooler is not something anyone will see everyday. That's all for the day, FanBoy out.

Test Bench (1:1)
Intel® Celeron® D 352 (3.2GHz) with stock cooler
Intel® D975XBX2
Samsung* PC2-6400 (2x512MB, DDR2-800)
Delta* Power Supply 450w
Inno3D* PCI Video Card
Seagate* IDE Hard Drive

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