20 Replies Latest reply on Aug 5, 2009 3:10 PM by Rich Pulham

    Overclocking Core i7 920


      How to overclock i7 920 with components not too pricy?


      There is an article on Tweaktown.com explaining how to overclock i7 920 to 4GHz stable, they used

      GIGABYTE GA-EX58-EXTREME motherboard ($332.54)

      CORSAIR TR3X6G1333C9 3 channel DDR3 ($119.99)

      Thermalright Extreme 120 cooler ($164.99)

      Silverstone ZU1200W Power Supply ($339.99)


      Is there a cheaper way to overclock it to 3.3 - 3.7 GHz?


        • 1. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
          Rich Pulham Level 1

          Yeah.  Buy an i7 950.  It already runs at 3.06 ghz.  It shouldn't take much tweaking to get to at least 3.3 ghz.  Then you can skip that expensive cooler and  motherboard and you'll be at about the same price.


          BTW, why the 1200 watt power supply?  Sounds like what a gamer requires for running 2 or 3 extreme video cards.

          • 2. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
            Harm Millaard Level 7

            Have a look at my configuration. It is mentioned at the end of the PC Buying Guide, with a link to a picture with all components. I run it standard at 3.6 GHz. The only thing you need to do is increasing the BCLK to 172 and enabling turbo mode. That results in a clock speed of 3612 MHz.

            How to get the best from a PC? Some guides...

            • 3. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
              PaulieDC Level 2

              Processor: The i7 is very easy to OC, and because it's so popular for that, you can find a boatload of forums with settings and techniques, etc. I use an EVGA Mobo ($272 after MIR) and the utility they give you for overclocking makes it stupid easy:

              http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-132-BL-E758-A1-Motherboard-Tri-Channel-Utility/dp/B001KX8VES/re f=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1248967182&sr=1-1


              Asus and Gigabyte may provide the same type of utility, I just don't know. Anyway, the 950 or 965 will get you more speed for more $$, but you can get that speed for free with the right OC setup.


              Power: the Corsair 850W will provide more than enough for what you spec'd (wouldn't run Harm's massive rig, he probably has to tie in to the utility pole outside!). The Corsair PSU is $110 after MIR at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-CMPSU-850TX-850-Watt-Certified-Supply/dp/B001M3G42W/ref=sr_1 _1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1248966619&sr=8-1


              If you think you need more power, the 1000w is $219 after MIR at Amazon also, but double the price for an extra 200w?


              Cooler: I would think there's a cheaper solution, maybe not. I went too cheap with a Zalman 9700 ($40 on sale), and my 4 cores idle around 40c without overclocking. I'll probably upgrade that down the road, for now it suffices.

              • 4. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                RAH_1 Level 1

                I have just looked at your configuration Harm (when I read your articles 2 days ago the image didn’t open for some reason). I read a lot over the last few days here and every where and that drove me mad. In fact am still new to this and especially to Premier, so I decided to built a system for general use + editing, I will be doing small projects to learn and later I may decide on another system dedicated for editing.


                I will have i7 920 (in view to OC to 3.6) and 12GB of memory but still need your help with the rest as I will spend around $2000-2500 on it, apart from that I will get a video capture card because I need to capture analog videos and audio then burn them on DVDs & CDs. Do think the budget is enough for all that?

                • 5. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                  Jim_Simon Level 9
                  I decided to built a system for general use + editing


                  That's not a good idea.  Keep your editing rig separate from your everyday computer for best results.

                  • 6. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                    For analog capture I would have a look at the Grass Valley ADVC-110, not a video capture card. The budget is good for a very nice system.

                    • 7. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                      RAH_1 Level 1

                      Harm how much do think your system cost now?

                      • 8. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                        Harm Millaard Level 7

                        Slightly under 3 K Euros.

                        • 9. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                          the_wine_snob Level 9

                          I strongly agree. Many capture cards introduce OOS (Out Of Sync) issues. While these can be easily fixed, there is NO need to introduce them.


                          If you have a lot of older analog source footage to work with, the GV/Canopus 300 might be worth the extra $, for the Timebase corrections. Either way, this would be my suggested route too.


                          Good luck,



                          • 10. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                            RAH_1 Level 1

                            I hope I get some feedback on this



                            Intel Core i7 920

                            PowerColor Radeon HD4890, RV790, 850Mhz Core Clock, 975Mhz Memory Clock, 1GB 256bit GDDR5, DirectX 10.1, Dual Link DVI

                            Corsair HX3X12G1600C9 12GB (6x XMS3 2GB) PC-12800 (1600MHz) XMS DDR3

                            Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit

                            ASUS P6T SE Motherboard

                            Thermaltake V9 case

                            Vantec ION2+ A series 1000W

                            Pioneer Blu-Ray,DVD Writer BDR-S203BK

                            WD VelociRaptor 10,000 RPM SATA 300 GB (for programs)

                            Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB ST31000528AS (for media files)

                            Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB ST31000528AS (for page file, rendering and scratch)

                            Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB ST31000528AS (for projects)

                            • 11. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                              Harm Millaard Level 7

                              By using PC-12800 memory, where PC-10600 is more than enough for the mobo/CPU, you limit yourself to CL9. Using a hex-kit makes sense, but also have a look at Geil, OCZ or Patriot PC-10600 DDR3 with better timings overall, instead of 9-9-9-24.


                              Check those Seagates very carefully that they do have the latest firmware. They have had very serious problems with earlier firmware, as well as with temperatures and noise levels. The setup looks good, but look at WD Caviar Black as well. For approximately the same price you have faster, cooler and possibly more reliable drives. My experience with Seagates (due to that firmware) was 5 out of 7 disks failing within three months.

                              • 12. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                                RAH_1 Level 1

                                I will change to 12GB PC-10600 memory, I am looking for 6-6-6-18 timing but the best I could have found until now is 7-7-7-20. Also changed to WD Caviar Black.


                                Should I get a cooler? And how to calculate the output power I need from a PSU?


                                Thanks again

                                • 13. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                                  PaulieDC Level 2

                                  At initial glance you defintely have enough power in the PSU you selected. But to be sure, here's one of several calculators out there:




                                  Make sure you peruse the forums at www.TomsHardware.com also, very good site for the PC builder.


                                  I think your rig looks great. I would add only two things to think about:


                                  1) will you build this in the next 8 weeks? If you aren't building right away and can wait 8 weeks, invest in Windows 7 Professional. I'm a big Vista fan, early adopter... its quirks totally outweigh the very dated workhorse OS, XP SP2. I know, I know, I've tooted this horn on these forums for weeks now, but without revealing all details, I know some of what's going on under the hood in that area. You really want 7 Pro (Ultimate not necessary, and 32 & 64 bit both come on the disc). It's a fantastically stable OS, what Vista should have been. You can download the RC version of 7 right now, but in October you'll have to reformat and reload (which I'm fine with, I wanted to run my new i7 rig up and see how it fared, then wipe and reload with the real version of 7).


                                  2) I don't know if this is a marketing ploy or real science, but WD recommends you DON'T RAID the Black series (Harm, have you successfully done that?). They say there's timeout circuitry to fix errors that can last up to two minutes, that can cause the RAID to drop, but it works well in single disk mode. They state that their RE3 series is designed for RAID. Here's their KB article:


                                  http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1397&p_created=113 1638613


                                  Anyway, additional drives are the last thing I need to add, and I'll probably go with the RE3 series... I've been completely sucked in by WD's advertising.

                                  • 14. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                                    Please read carefully the PSU paragraph in the PC Buying Guide. I used the same power calculator that Paulie used and by getting the life-long license I saved myself from a bad investment. Check out the link Paulie gave you and that I gave in my earlier article.


                                    I personally have OCZ3P1333LV6GK tri-kits (two of them for 12 GB RAM) and they give me these timings when OC'ed to 3.6 GHz at standard 1.5V:


                                    03-08-2009 22-43-41.jpg

                                    • 15. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                                      PaulieDC Level 2

                                      Harm, that's some seriously impressive specs. I pushed my DDR3-1600 up to the 1600 limit with 9-9-9-24, and the gains were not huge over the stock 7-7-7-20 at 1067. My PassMark score did increase a little for memory, but not what i would have expected. I bet your setup at those timings are swifter (and less $$$!).


                                      BTW, I ended up loading defaults into the BIOS and resetting everything to stock after trying the OC thing on the memory and CPU, so I'm at stock again (and Premiere isnt doing all that bad, I can certainly edit smoothly using Cineform conversions, unless I load on the effects). This area of overclocking my memory is still a mystery to me... what to set the timings to and what voltages to pick. Building this whole rig was a blast and easy to do, until I got to memory timings and voltages. That's where I become the dork. If I just wanted to run at 1333 and not push to 1600, do I just set the timings to 8-8-8-something? How do you know? And what voltages should be taken off Auto and purposely set? Harm, do you have a guide you follow?


                                      RAH, sorry to go off on your thread... maybe you'll glean some good info from all of the memory stuff that Harm knows about.


                                      I got info on OCing memory from Patriot's site (maybe they aren't considered the best memory, I have no idea, but the website has lots of info FWIW). Then I went to EVGA's site and read THEIR OC guide, and the memory timing/voltage suggestions were totally different than what the RAM site said. How on earth do you know what to set memory at? No wonder many people want to keep it stock! lol!

                                      • 16. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                                        Rich Pulham Level 1

                                        I'm using the WD Black Caviar for my OS and data drives.  I'm using the SE series for my raid drive where I edit my video.  They cost a bit more but I don't want to go through the hassle of rebuilding a raid 0 (even though I back up the files nightly.  The drives run quiet and fairly cool.

                                        • 17. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                                          Harm Millaard Level 7



                                          When overclocking, most of us here, editors, have only ONE thing in mind: STABILITY!!!


                                          We are not trying to get the highest benchmark scores, even though they are nice, we want to be able to edit and encode reliably, even under long load times with large projects. So what most of us are interested in is what settings in the BIOS can we safely make that allows us to run reliably for very long times, even 24 hours encodes, and still get good (notice, not BEST) performance, without shortening the longevity of our system in any significant way.


                                          Overclocking means that you run your system harder than it was designed and approved for. Just as a comparison, when you walk around the block, you will not get into a sweat, but running around the block several times, you may start to sweat, depending on your condition. Same with a PC, so cooling is important. What causes the temperature rise in computers? Simple, the increased wattage required to run at higher speeds in the same way you burn more calories when running instead of walking. This effectively means you have to balance the increased wattage in your PC with the temperatures inside. Somewhat like Louis Armstrong once said: "Everybody has a given number of heartbeats and I'm not going to waste them on jogging". (Obesitas was never a big concern to him. Maybe it should have been.)


                                          The i7 CPU is well known for its overclock capability. The 920 entry model has a  clock frequency of 2.66 GHZ, which is achieved by a BCLK setting of 133 and a multiplier of 20. 20 x 133 = 2666 MHz or 2.66 GHz. At this standard setting the TDP (Thermal Design Power) is 130 W. When you enable Turbo mode in the BIOS of your mobo, the multiplier can vary between 13 and 21, depending on CPU load, so effectively the CPU clock can vary between 1729 (13 x 133) MHz and 2793 (21 x 133) MHz. The CPU will throttle down to save energy to the lower multiplier when idle and throttle back up when under load.


                                          When you experiment with different BCLK (base clock) settings, you will find that the number 172 for BCLK will increase your clock frequency to 2236 (13 x 172) MHz when idle and 3612 (21 x 172) MHz under load. With all settings on AUTO in the BIOS for the different voltages, you will see that the CPU voltage rises to 1.272V (which is well below the Intel maximum of 1.5V for this CPU) and TDP increases to 152 W, up from the standard 130 W. You will also see an increase in CPU temperature and with other components, so you have to watch those carefully, especially if you use the very mediocre stock Intel CPU cooler. You will also notice that the RAM voltage remains constant at 1.5V


                                          I have experimented with a lot of different settings, using BCLK at 183, 192, 202 and other settings, but always leaving all voltage regulations on auto to start with, testing with demanding applications like Prime95 and the PassMark system benchmark to test for stability, watching for the voltages and temperatures of CPU and other components. When I found a reasonably stable setting, I increased the memory voltage up to 1.65V to see if that gave improved stability for a longer time.


                                          In the end I decided on some very simple standard settings for my system that can hold up very reliably under duress:


                                          BCLK at 172, CPU voltage at 1.275V, PCI bridge at 110%, video card at 800 MHz GPU and video memory at 1030 MHz, RAM on auto voltage at 1.5V


                                          The different settings gave me a PassMark system benchmark result like this:


                                          4-8-2009 23-48-27.jpg


                                          So in case I am pressed for time I can easily increase my BCLK settings to 183 or 192 to further OC my system, if the need arises.


                                          Like some doctors say, streching your legs is healthy, but don't overdo it.


                                          PS: Real overclockers/tweakers will easily find better settings, but this suffices for a senior hobbyist like me.

                                          • 18. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                                            RAH_1 Level 1

                                            Thanks for the detailed info Harm

                                            I will follow your instructions about overclocking to 3.6 and use the same cooler you're using Noctua NH-U12P 1366.

                                            But still one problem, I coudn't find 12GB memory with timing 6-6-6-18, anybody knows where they are sold?


                                            • 19. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                                              PaulieDC Level 2

                                              Harm, I can't thank you enough for writing out that huge amount of information! This needs to be a sticky on the top of every forum that talks about overclocking, especially if you're a video editor. The gamers want every last possible clock cycle squeezed out... I don't want that. I'm with you, let's moderately bump it up but still in a stable, safe zone. It's free power so it should be utilized, but not redlined. I'd be totally fine humming along at 3.2-3.6 on my i7.


                                              BTW, I have a Zalman 9700 cooler with the socket 1366 adapter, not the stock cooler. However, while the Zalman works great for dual-cores, it's OK at best for quad cores as a cooler, not spectacular, so I'm not expecting to run the i7 up over 4.0 anyway (and at this point I am NOT pulling the mobo to disassemble the adapter... therefore the Zalman stays put for a while. ). I had the i7 at 3.4gHz for a couple days and each core idled at about 44C, and stressing it just with PassMark shoved it up near 60C in short spurts as the tests ran. Not the frostiest solution by any means. But, it's what I got, so there's another reason to conservatively OC my rig and not push it.


                                              So, I'm with you! Stability Rules! (or at least is a lot more convenient...)



                                              • 20. Re: Overclocking Core i7 920
                                                Rich Pulham Level 1

                                                I bought my memory at Newegg.com and the fastest they had was 7-7-7-20.  But I have the i7-950 which is already at 3.06 ghz so I don't have to overclock so hard.