The (slightly extreme) dangers of overclocking...

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Francois Caron, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    I just want to share a little story of my overclocking experience last Sunday morning.

    I just finished installing an easily accessible BIOS reset switch inside my computer so that I could experiment with overclocking my Shuttle SS51G. (uh oh!) If the machine doesn't boot up after a failed overlocking attempt, I could reset the computer and try again.

    I've increased the bus speed from 133 MHz to about 144 MHz. This also boosted the memory speed from 333 to about 360. Not too much of a boost, the system should be okay.

    W R O N G !

    I try to boot the system, and BOTH the OS and data partitions of my hard drive are corrupted in a flash! Only problem is I found that out when I rebooted and realized I've lost my Windows XP look. I've also lost whatever allowed the Windows Update engine to work properly. On my data partition, many files were missing. Lost forever? Who knows. I ran the Windows CHKDSK utility a few times and managed to rescue everything from the data drive, but the OS partition had to be rebuilt.

    In the end I hardly lost anything critical. Just a few e-mail files and a couple of minor files such as my green themed Cold Fusion Winamp skin. I did have a backup of my data drive on an external hard drive so all I've lost is the OS drive, And many components from that drive were stored on separate drives or computers.

    CHKDSK seems to have successfully restored the entire contents of the data partition, but it still shows signs of corruption from time to time. So I'll rebuild the entire system (again) from scratch, performing a full format of the entire hard drive once I move anything not yet backed up on the external hard drive.

    I wasn't too panicked over this incident. It's been a very long time since I last reloaded the OS partition and it was filling up with a lot of unused left-over garbage. It was due for a clean-up.

    But anyone out there thinking of overclocking their systems, make sure you have full backups FIRST! [​IMG]
     
  2. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    hehe, that can happen. bad thing about overclockin the shuttle systems is they already have a ton of heat issues, and any little change can just throw em off,thank goodness for Norton Ghost images [​IMG]
     
  3. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I thought that overclocking was done to the CPU, not the systen bus!

    The CPU was less critical because it had to wait for the signal timing from the bus in order to send or receive a signal, and would be able to sneak some extra signals in, in between the timings, but if the bus was overclocked ALL, and I mean ALL, of the timing would be off.

    I've never done that, though. Maybe others have gotten away with it.

    Glenn
     
  4. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    My Shuttle has been heavily modified to pretty much eliminate any potential heat issues: extra holes on the side for the video card and power supply, SilentX PSU (works even with a FS51 v.1 mobo), ventilation notch in the 3.5" cover plate for the hard drive, rear built-in fan grill cut away and replaced with a proper wire grill...

    I believe my problem wasn't with the CPU or the system bus, but with the memory. It's a mixture of two cheap no-name brands that work properly at their maximum speed rating (333), but that have caused me problems when I tried to boost their speed any higher. When increasing the system bus speed, if I underclock the memory, the system is capable of operating normally. This time, I boosted their speed up only slightly so they could pass the POST, but it still ended up being too high for the operating system. Only this time, damage was caused to the partitions BEFORE the OS could abort.

    Anyway, I'll rebuild my system on a bigger hard drive later this week, upgrading from my current 160 GB model to a 200 GB model. I'm running out of space -- AGAIN! [​IMG]
     
  5. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    yeah its tough to beat good memory such as Corsair or OCZ when it comes to overclocking. hehe yeah big hdd's are coo, I love my dual 250 gig sata drives.
     
  6. EricWilliam

    EricWilliam Agent

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    of course, the biggest point is that there is no reason at all to overclock a system these days, software has not caught up with hardware for at least 2-3 years now..anyone with any real knowledge of computers knows the risks of overclocking, with the worst case scenario being a totally dead system..sorry, but i have zero sympathy for someone who hoses their system by intentionally running it faster than what it is rated for..
     
  7. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Get rid of that crappy memory ASAP. [​IMG]

    Get something good like a Corsair TwinX 3200LLPT package (2x256mb or 2x512 mb flavours).

    I have successfully overclocked my ABit NF7-S rev 2 and Athlon XP-Mobile 2500+ to Athlon XP 3400+ levels. The CPU is running a modest overclock at 2300MHz, with a 200MHz FSB. 11.5x multiplier. I am using the latest Merlin BIOS (a modded NF7-S Bios with custom memory and bus timings for best overclocking stability). I'm pretty satisified with it, although I have seen posts where people got theirs to 2600MHz! That's just crazy. [​IMG]

    I was originally using Kingston HyperX 2x512mb low-latency PC3200 RAM...and I could never get it stable at 200MHz FSB. They just don't work well at all on nForce2 motherboards. NOT recommended. Go with Corsair, they seem to work with anything.

    My machine is Prime95 stable at 30 hours. Whew, it took a lot of work to get to that point. [​IMG]
     
  8. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Eric, I disagree somewhat...I intend to use my PC for heavy gaming, DVD upscaling, and HDTV playback. So far that requires a lot of horsepower, especially considering that WMV-HD playback on Geforce 6x00 AGP videocards seems to be permanently broken. An Athlon XP 3200+ can barely play the most challenging WMV-HD content right now.

    With that said, I'd like to run an app that would let me downclock the system when I'm only doing simple stuff such as surfing the net or playing mp3s. I think the NVIDIA System Utility lets you downclock the FSB, although that doesn't work on all motherboards. I suppose I should find the special software that is used for AMD Mobile laptops that can lower the clock multiplier on the fly...although I might need a new BIOS to support that. Hmm....
     
  9. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    yeah im overclockin my unlocked Barton 2500+ on my abit NF7-S rev. 2.0 as well, it runs just dandy at 2.2 ghz with no issues
    ever.althou i dont have the same fsb speed as an actual 3200 proc, I saved over 100 bucks by overclocking, and got more ram,running 1 gig of Corsair twinX3200LL PRO, and a 9800 pro vidcard. I play all of my games at 1600x1200 without any issues and I play all the new games FarCry,CS:Source etc. helps to have an awesome monitor.

    already planning my next gamin rig too.

    A64 4000+ proc
    1 or 2 gigs of Corsair ram
    Nforce 4 mobo when a good rev is released.
    dual Nvidia 6800 Ultras in SLI [​IMG]
     
  10. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Hmm, I don't think any official Athlon 3200+ systems run at 200MHz FSB either...166 is the official AMD-sanctioned maximum isn't it? [​IMG]

    I actually just got my new motherboard and CPU - when I heard that the nforce4 won't have soundstorm, I decided to stick with the nforce2 for just a wee bit longer. I really can't live without DD5.1 live encoding!

    Mike, that sounds like a killer rig - you could heat a house with that! [​IMG]
     
  11. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    I'm overclocking about 600mhz over and never get stability problems (I'd do more if I had a c-stepping chip!). The extra speed is always useful for video encoding and games as Max pointed out. Video encoding is always painful, even in the 21st century so every little bit helps.

    Most people just use Office, IE, Outlook Express, etc.. so overclocking is still a mystery to many. To those who know how to do it right and can take advantage it's a godsend.
     
  12. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    lol yeah I can imagine it'll be runnin pretty damn hot especially with just the vidcards alone, ill have have some nice 120 mm fans in there somewhere to help vent out the heat.
     
  13. EricWilliam

    EricWilliam Agent

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    please show me ONE piece of software the needs a processor over 1.5 Ghz..now, i will give that certain tasks out there require more RAM, faster video cards and such, but as far as raw processing power, no app needs anything over 1.5Ghz..
     
  14. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Windows Media Player 9 or 10, playing any of the released WMV-HD Imax films. Recommended spec of 2.8 GHz to play the 1080p versions of the film.
     
  15. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    Eric thats the most ignorant statement ive heard for a while(no offense), if nothing needed over 1.5 ghz there wouldnt be 2 ghz procs etc. generally most video playback is done with the power of the processor, thats where the horsepower for the system comes from.video encoding and similar apps need the raw processor speed. if yer theory were true a truck wouldnt need a 8 cyclinder motor to haul decent loads.
     
  16. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    [​IMG] No better time for someone would break out the alleged Bill Gates ram quote.

    Let me guess, you have a 1.5gHz processor?
     
  17. EricWilliam

    EricWilliam Agent

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    actually since you asked Scott, no i don't..but here is a list of machine i currently have and use:
    2.0GHz Dell notebook (main work machine)
    dual Pentium-II 400 MHz server (running SBS2000)
    Pentium-III 700MHz "gaming machine"
    Pentium III 700MHz dual booting Win98 and Win2000 (use for programming and network testing)
    Pentium-III 500MHz running 3 flavors of Linux (also for network testing)
    Pentium 233MHz running NT4.0 server
    Pentium 133MHz (running Win95, use as a backup print server)
    Power-PC 133 MHz (running AIX, rescued this machine from a dumpster)
    Pentium 166MHz (running Novell 4.11)

    plus i oversee 150+ machines at my job, ranging from Pentium 133MHz up to Pentium IV 3.0GHz machines..

    Max, your example probably represents less than .1% of the computing world..

    i still stand my original statement..software has not caught up with processing power..more memory yes, more VRAM yes, faster GPU's yes..faster HD's yes, but put an average computer user in front of a 1.5GHz machine and then let them use a 3.0GHz machine, with all other factors being equal, they will not be able to tell the difference..
     
  18. Nathan_F

    Nathan_F Second Unit

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    But you didn't say "average" user. You said "NO" app needs over 1.5GHz. I'd say that's hardly the case.
     
  19. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Yea but who cares about the average user? The average driver only needs 4-cylinders in a car so why make 6, 8, or 12? The average movie watcher only needs 1 speaker from the TV to enjoy a movie so who needs Dolby Digital?

    Despite what you think the HTPC crowd is getting bigger every month. Microsoft saw this and developed MCE for this very reason, with it's partners recommending at least a 2.4ghz CPU. Also, the PC gaming industry is pretty big (ATi alone expects up to $640M for Q1 2005) and gaming at 1.5ghz with today's games would be painful.

    So yes you could be right and still stand by your original statement, provided that you choose all the software. :p)
     
  20. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Half-Life 2 will probably sell over a million copies. Notice the shortage of ATI x800 and Geforce 6800 cards lately? [​IMG]

    A million gamers will have PCs with processors at or around 1.5 GHz!

    And don't forget Doom 3...that game sold a hell of a lot of copies. And you need about 1.5 GHz to play it reasonably, at the lowest resolutions on a mid-range video card.

    And if you want to talk about the average user - well, the average home user who don't play games (except solitaire and minesweeper) have so much spyware, adware, and viruses on their computers, that they HAVE to have >1.5 GHz processors to get any reasonable speed on their systems! :p) [​IMG]


    I answered that question...and you also claim no software needs to use more than 1.5 GHz. Uhhhh...I guess you meant to ask a different question?
     

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