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New budget gaming rig

By Wendig0 ยท 6 replies
Jul 11, 2010
  1. I just built a new gaming rig, and plan on redesignating my older machine as a home server.

    The rig I just built contains:

    Athlon II X3 440 (Rana)
    MSI 870A-G54 Military Class mainboard
    OCZ Fatality 550w psu
    Zalman CNPS9900 NT cpu cooler
    4GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 RAM
    1x 800GB WD Caviar Green
    and is all wrapped up in a CoolerMaster Cosmos S

    The MSI Mainboard has an "EZ Overclocking" Console that allows me to underclock it for better cooling, or Overclock it up to 7% (with the preset settings). I can also manually overclock it, though while I would like to believe I am advanced enough to do this without damaging my system, I simply am not.

    I am also aware that the 440 Rana may have an unlockable 4th core, though I have been unsuccessful in all my attempts to unlock it. I haven't tried changing voltages to the cores to try stabilizing the processor as of yet.

    My question is- Has anyone built a system with this MB/CPU combination, and if so, is there anyone that has been successful in unlocking the 4th core? How did you do it? Would you be willing to post voltages, clock speeds, etc?

    This is the first machine I have attempted to overclock, so if anyone can help me with this I would appreciate it.

    (I didn't include a graphics card in the specs because I haven't purchased one yet. I'm currently using an old Nvidia 9600gso as a stand-in)
  2. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,481   +44

    There's a reason the 4th core is locked, it was tested and concluded defective after production. Don't cause yourself more problems than solutions.
  3. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,119   +121

    I understand that, though I have read several places that there are some people that have successfully unlocked the 4th core, while there are some that haven't. If it can't be unlocked, no matter, as I am more interested in squeezing as much performance out of the other 3 cores as I can.
  4. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    There are two reasons that the cores are locked on the x2,x3's. They can be locked because as Super mentioned, they are defective or sub par, OR, one model is selling very well and they will disable a core on a x3 or x4 CPU to meet the demand for that particular model. its a crap shoot. you may have a perfectly good core in there that will turn your x3 into a quad, or a defective one that will cause errors, not work at all, not even unlock, or be just bad enough to limit your OC. The net is lousy with articles on "unlocking free cores"

  5. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    There isn't much to do about it aside from trying to unlock it. If it didn't work, you likely can't.
  6. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,119   +121

    I played around with different voltages and clock speeds, yet couldn't get it unlocked. I'm really not too worried about it though.

    As far as overclocking the remaining cores, is there anything I should be aware of so that I don't damage the processor? Is there a voltage level that I shouldn't exceed? I'm pretty well married to air cooling at this point in time, though I may make the switch to liquid in the next year.

    I would like to hear oc success stories with this processor on air cooling if possible. Keep in mind I am a noob at this, so post voltages and other values I should look for in the settings if possible.
  7. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,119   +121

    Woot! I don't know what I did in Bios that was different from what I was doing before, but I got the 4th core unlocked and running stable. Instead of my processor posting as a Athlon II X3 440, it now posts as a Phenom II X4 B40, and it's running at 3.6GHz. I ran a 1 hour stability test within the AMD software and didn't have any hangs.
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