Would it be SAFE and RECOMMENDED to Overclock my current CPU?

By franklogus · 8 replies
Nov 8, 2004
  1. Hi all !
    I have just finished the "up-grade" of my back-up PC, and I would like some hints about some LIGHT Overclock of it.
    My back-up PC basic spec is :

    - P4 2.8 Ghz (BUS = 533 Mhz) --> STOCK Cooler
    - Asus P4SDX MoBo (supports until P4 3.06 – 533 MHz)
    - 1.024 MB of DDR 333 PC 2700 Memory (4 sticks of 256MB each one) - Kingston KVR333X64C25/256
    - 02 HDD’s :
    01 HDD Maxtor 120 GB, ATA 133, 7200 rpm, 8 MB Cachê (Main).
    01 HDD Seagate 40 GB, Ultra-ATA 100, 7200 rpm, 2 MB Cachê (Slave).
    - Gigabyte Radeon 9600 XT Video Card (128 MB; AGP 8x)
    - ATX Case (from 2001), WITHOUT Lateral Refrigeration Holes.
    - An Exhaust Fan at the internal back of the case

    Well, I would like (if possible) to give a light boost in my PC above described (through a CPU Overclock). As I dont know well about this matter, I am here to ask for some hints about...
    So, my basic questions are:

    1) I would like to increase my current CPU GHz to something around 3.0 GHz. This eventual increase (2.8 to 3.0) could be considered, in a technical language, as a Light OC, or not? Is it possible to do it, using STOCK cooler (and more one existing exhaust fan), and in a SAFE way?
    Really, I am not intending to spend more money with this PC, so, I am trying to do this OC WITHOUT any BETTER cooler ( I know that is, always, advised to get a better cooler when doing a OC; so, my bigger doubt is about to do it with the STOCK one...)
    I have tried to know if the STOCK Intel Cooler of the model 2.8 Ghz (533 FSB) is EXACTLY the SAME STOCK Cooler of the model 3.06 GHz (533 FSB), but I didnt find this information over the internet. I would appreciatte if someone can tell it for me... If the answer is YES (both would have the same cooler), so, I think that I wouldn't have problems by this side...

    2) If it's possible to do it, what I need to change into BIOS to achieve the 3.0 GHz frequency? I need to say that, if possible, I wouldn't like to change the voltages, because I have read that it can be dangerous, and I want to do all the process in a VERY SAFE way...

    3) My current PSU have nominal capacitance of 450 W. I dont remember it's brand (and I do not like to open the PC case), but I am sure that it is NOT a First Class brand... Can I have problems by this side?

    4) Should I try to change the DEFAULT Latencies (2.5 3 3 7) of my RAM memories? I can say that, without any OC, I run smoothly my memories with the latencies 2 2 2 6, without any trouble. If I OC, would my memory have some REAL danger of damage if I maintain these lower latencies?

    5) I have noted that my CPU, when I am playing heavy games (I love racing games) for one hour, sometimes reach 64oC/ 65oC of Temperature (but these temperatures drop quickly when I stop of play, perhaps because of the assistance of the exhaust fan...) . Into the Asus program, which controls the MoBO and CPU temperatures, there is a upper limit of 72oC... I am afraid about to damage the CPU if I OC it, because everybody knows that OC generate more heat ... Is it a real potential problem?

    6) If something goes wrong, would I have the possibilty of return to the Default Settings, or I can have something fried without any previous warning?

    7) As it is my bac-up PC, I generally do not use it in a intensive way; sometimes, it stay without any use for 2 / 3 days... Would this eventual use of it, with this OC, reduce the lifespan of my hardware?

    8) Last, but not less important question... This eventual OC of my CPU recoup the potential danger that I can have doing it? In the REAL World, would I have some effective gain of performance?

    Well, with these basic observations and questions, I would like to hear some opinions about my wish of have a Light ( if I can say this word...) OC ...
    As I am intending to do it (IF POSSIBLE), in a VERY SAFE way and with STOCK CPU Cooler, I need some expert opinions to know if I can continue with my attempt or desist now, before any potential damage. I think that the crucial question is: does the P4 2.8 GHz (FSB=533) have the SAME STOCK Intel Cooler than P4 3.06 Ghz (FSB=533)? If YES, I think that (It's a NON Expert opinion) I could try to do it with a good security headroom...; right?

    Thanks in advance for any hint / useful information !!
  2. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    What are you planning to use this PC for anyway? IMHO, there risks associated with overclocking. As usual, if you're not careful and didnt do your homework enough, you risk losing your hardware.

    If I were in your shoes, I would probably think of OC at a later stage.
  3. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Yes, yes.
  4. franklogus

    franklogus TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 47

    Thanks a lot for your opinions, young&wild and Mictlantecuhtli !!
    I am thinking about the convenience of to do this OC, because it seems that the final result (performance) wouldn't be much expressive for the majority of the applications... But, anyways, I would like to try, because I play some Race Games with this PC, and, normally, these kind of games are CPU Intensive; so, perhaps I will can get some tangible increase ...
    Sorry for the question if it is very basic, but... How can I to increase the FSB?? Into the BIOS of my MoBo, I have the following itens:

    - CPU SPEED: Currently set to 2800 Mhz (I need to change it to MANUAL.. right?)

    - CPU Frequency Multiple: Currently set to [21x] - This item is Disabled to change, if when I set to Manual...

    - CPU External Frequency (MHz): Currently set to 133/33 (???) What means this 33 number?? There is a roll of many other combinations, as 134/34, 135/34, 136/34, 137/34, 138/35, 139/35, and many, many others... Sorry, but which I need to set to get the 3.0 GHz (or around it) in the Final?

    - Memory Frequency : [AUTO] - I think I dont need change anything here, right?

    - CPU VCore Setting: [AUTO] - Same of above ...

    - CPU Vcore: [1,525V] - Same of above ...

    Really thanks for your attention with me, Mictlantecuhtli and young&wild !

    Well, any additional information will be very appreciated!

    Note: Unfortunately, my main doubt keeps on: Is the P4 2.8 533 Mhz STOCK Cooler the SAME of the P4 3.06 533 Mhz? Where can I find this information? (searching for Intel site, I didn't find ...). Thanks in advance for who can give me this valuable information !!
  5. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 325

    You will most likely have to raise your latency (can't damage the RAM, but may have to reset CMOS) or change your FSB/memory ratio to a 5/4 ratio.
    Yes, that's a problem, you case needs more ventilation, and you heatsink fan should be remounted. With temps that high running stock, overclocking isn't wise. That's too hot for a stock under 100% load. Keep an eye on those temps.
  6. franklogus

    franklogus TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 47

    Thanks for your opinion and your warnings, PreservedSwine !
    I only want try to do an light OC in order to see what happens; I do not intend to push it too hard ... if I note that there is some danger (as temps even higher), I will go back to "default"...
    Only two more questions, please... Sorry if I am saying foolishness... Sometimes, I read about to CLEAR/RESET THE CMOS... How can I do this? I only know that if I press the key INSERT, when the PC is at Boot, all the settings go back to default, right??... Would be the "CLEAR THE CMOS" this procedure, or not??
    About to change the combination of number into BIOS, to reach the "3.0 GHz"... I was advised, in another forum, to KEEP the second number (which would be related to AGP/PCI) at 33 (currently, set as default = 133/33), because to raise it could be dangerous... As I need the first number around 143 (143x21=3000), I have not this combination (143/33) as an option inside my BIOS. The next first number that I can combined with the 33 is (166/33), which is VERY HIGH !! So, I need one advice about it, because if I want to set the first number to 143, the combination that I have, as available, is 143/36, which raise the AGP/PCI related number from 33 to 36 (would it be really dangerous?...)
    Thanks all in advance for any additional information !
  7. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 325

    CMOS jumper should be right next to the battery on your mobo. Look at the manual to identify it, or simply remove the battery for a few seconds before replacing it. You might want to try and hit someting marked "advanced" or something similair in your BIOS settings to give you smaller increments in yor FSB and PCI settings. You might want to loosen those memory timings. If your running your emory and FSB in sync right now, your ram is only running at 266mhz. No problem running uber low latency when your RAM is that underclocked, but it could cause sever instability when you run it at proper speed. 3gz shouldn't be a problem for that CPU, but your temps are already pretty high. Be carefull.

    RADEONS don't like at overlclocked PCI bus, and will freeze up when you do it. Is there a "PCI lock" option available in your BIOS?

    That chip will likely be perfectly stable well above and beyond 3ghz (not much of an overclock, really) but your stock temps are unusually high, excessive heat CAN damage a CPU

    Do you have a back-up rig for getting advice in case this one goes down?
  8. franklogus

    franklogus TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 47

    Thanks a lot for your hints, PreservedSwine !
    Your explanation about to "reset the CMOS" was very clear; TXS !
    I would like your opinion (or from somebody more), if possible, about the LOCK the PCI... I have saw inyo my BIOS that there is an item, inside PCI CONFIGURATION, that is called PCI LATENCY TIMER. It is currently set to 32, and the advice that is written in my MoBo Manual, is : "Leave this field to the DEFAULT setting (32), for best performance and Stability". This is the unique item that is (apparently) related to this matter... Would it be the PCI LOCKER, or not? If NOT, I think that my MoBo (Asus P4SDX) do not have this feature...
    You (and other people) say that my CPU temps, when load for about one hour with heavy games (up to 64oC / 65oC), is very high... That's OK... But, my doubt is: why do the program of the Mobo, which control the temp, says that it is OK? Shouldn't it to give some warning about the excessive heat? So, we can conclude that these programs that control temps are needless... right?... Only for reference, my MoBO temps (not CPU Temps) never go above 45oC... In your opinion, is it good for a Mobo, or not?...
    AAhhh... And about your last commentary... The PC which I am thinking about to OC is my back-up... I have another with a better configuration, which is my main PC, currently...

    Thanks a lot again for your attention with me, PreservedSwine !
  9. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    If you have to ask the question whether or not it is safe or recommended than there are two things you must understand.

    1. You are not ready.
    2. If you go about doing this anyway, then you risk damage to your CPU and possibly other components.
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