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Definitive Guide To Oc'ing For Newbies


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The Beginner's Guide to Overclocking


This List Is Severely Outdated (all sections)

I can no longer update this list due to lack of time.



1. To overclock it is best to have a custom built machine, meaning that you built it yourself or chose the parts and had someone put it together for you (companies like Dell, Compaq, and Gateway lock/hide the BIOS options required to OC).

2. After determining that you can change the voltage, FSB, and multiplier-(amd only), you can begin.

3. Remember to start AT DEFAULT VOLTAGES.

4. First raise the FSB (1-2 steps) to see what the sytem can do and test each step for stability and temps. Most of the "Pro's" here recommend using Prime95 and other looping benchmarks to test the stability of the system, you can find them HERE. Repeat this step until the system becomes unstable, then proceed to step #5/6.

5. Next, up the vcore by 1 setting at a time and repeat step #4.

6. If you reach a point where an increased vcore won't allow you to go higher, increase the memory voltage by 1 step (no higher than 2.85v is recommended), and repeat step #4.


Key Notes:

1. It is highly recommended that you replace the STOCK HSF before you begin overclocking, any SLK model from Thermalright, Inc. should be good enough, but other options are listed below.

2. Some overclocks require you to "relax" the timings on your memory, know when to adjust them if needed. (see memory timings guide below)

3. IMPORTANT Do not exceed 1.900 volts unless you have extremely good cooling as it will cause severe damage to your cpu. Water cooling is highly suggested for 1.900 and higher cpu voltages.

4. IMPORTANT It is recommended that you do not exceed 50° C when overclocking Intel cpu's and no more than 60° C for AMD cpu's.


General Guide to Memory Timings

say you have Corsair XMS pc3200 LLpt (low latency)ram.

you have it set to the most agressive timings recommended by Corsair:


Trp 2

Tras 6

Trcd 2

1T command

Now, say you're OC is unstable, and you need to "relax" the timings to allow for the higher system clock, how do you do it?

Here's how:

change the settings to the next highest available (this case on a KD7-Raid)

CAS 2 -> 2.5

Trp 2 -> 3

Tras 6 -> 7

Trcd 2 -> 3

1T command -> 2T command

Please remember, not all settings will be the same for different brands of memory and on different motherboards.

NOTE: this is a trial by error part of overclocking, you may need to vary the settings on the ram to get it to work....this is not a "set-in-stone" rule for memory timings


In the event that the system doesn't boot after adjusting the FSB, multiplier, vlotages, or Ram timings, you will need to clear the CMOS on the motherboard. Each motherboard is different so you will need to consult the manual for the location of the "Clear CMOS" jumper, and follow the directions to clear the CMOS. Some motherboard manufacturers offer backup BIOS roms for situations where the BIOS rom becomes corrupted, consult the manufacturer website/customer support for more info.


Overclocking can and will shorten the lifespan of any computer under any condition. The amount of reduction is directly affected by the cooling system, so with proper cooling you can counteract some of the "wear-and-tear" done to the pc.

How much time will it shorten the lifespan?

Usually no more than 33% or 6 years less than the intended lifespan......not much considering the hardware is obsolete long before it would wear out.


Top Recommended OC hardware (no particular order):


Processor (AMD/Intel):

1. 1700xp / P4 2.4C

2. 1800xp / P4 2.66

3. 2000xp / P4 2.6C

4. 2100xp / P4 2.8C

5. 2500xp / P4 3.0C-(needs better cooling than air)

Note: no 2 cpus are the same (even in the same stepping), but newer steppings tend to overclock better due to core refinements.


Motherboard (AMD/Intel):

1. EPoX 8RDA+ Rev. 2 / Asus P4C800-E Dlx

2. Abit NF7-S rev2 / Abit IC7 MAXIII

3. Asus A78nx rev2 / Asus P4P800 Dlx

4. DFI NFII Ultra rev B / Epox 4PDA2+ Rev.2

5. Leadtek nForce2 Ultra400 Deluxe Limited / Abit IS7-G

6. KD7-Raid / Epox 4G4A+

7. Asus A7v8x / Abit IS7

8. MSI K7N2-L /

9. Abit KR7a /

10. Epox 8RDA3+ /



1. Buffalo PC3200

2. TwinMos

3. Corsair XMS (pretty much any speed/size)


5. mushkin - PC3500 Lvl 2 black

6.Kingston - HyperX pc3500

7.OCZ PC3700EL


Video Card (Nvidia/ATI/Other):

1. Gigabyte 9800PRO (with this HSF instead of the stock cooler)

2. Sapphire 9500 PRO (with BIOS flash = 9700 Pro)

3. PNY Geforce4 Ti 4600

4. MSI Geforce4 Ti 4200

5. Chaintech Geforce2 MX400 (the fast SDRAM version)

6. GeForce2 Ti

7. GeForce2 Ultra

**Cards in italics are not the best for 3D games, but score very well in the pit tests when OC'd.

Note: no 2 video cards overclock the same (even same brand/model).


Hard Drive(s):

1. Western Digital

2. Maxtor

3. Seagate


Power Supply:

1. Enermax 450W PSU

2. Antec TruePower 430

3. TTGI 450 (or any other model)

4. Antec TrueBlue 480





Thermal Paste:

1. Arctic Silver Ceramique

2. Arctic Silver (3 or 5)

3. Shin Etsu

4. RadioShack silicone heat compound (rates better than you'd think, but not recommended for 2+ ghz cpu's)


Heatsink (AMD / Intel):

1. slk800 / slk900U (both are from Thermalright)

2. Thermaltake volcano 11 / Coolermaster Aero 4

3. Zalman7000A-Cu



1. Smart Case Fan 2 (Thermaltake)

2. Vantec Tornado (LOUD....possibly louder than a Delta)

3. 80/92mm Delta (very loud, but great cooling)

4. AOC 80mm Aluminum Fan (carried by CompUSA)



1. Lian Li

2. Codegen (most fan mounts in any case i've seen)

3. chieftec's Aluminum Dragon

4. Thermaltake's XaserIII (good starter case)




Last updated on Jan. 8th, 2004 @ 5:40pm CST.

Edited by wizardx2
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As a Noob I think this is a great idea! :tup:


Could you find space to include a review of which mobos are the best for OCing as well?


Hope it works out.

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hey fellow OC'ers. we should work together to develop a definitive guide to OC'ing for Newbies and then set it as a pinned topic.


Raymo, if you would be so willing as to set this as a pinned thread once it gets going with the info, I (and the newbie OC'ers) would appreciate it.


look at this thread as a way to keep the forum clear of excess threads asking about how to OC.



SO...who's willing to help out on this project?

I know I don't oc but :mrgreen:


This does sound like a good idea, perhaps this could include different peripherals and what overall effects they may have on oc

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im about to go through my 4th processor, and I have benchmarks for 3 of them.


XP2500+ Barton (11x166 = 1.83ghz) vs. XP2600+ TbredB(12.5x166 = 2.08ghz) vs. XP2600+ Barton (11.5x166 = 1.91ghz)


so i think Ill write a review on the processors' performance. :mrgreen:

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i've gone higher (2.175) on air.....but i have an exceptional fan...... :P

Best overclocking motherboards..



Abit NF7-S rev2

Asus A78nx rev2

DFI NFII Ultra rev B


No special order but from what i have read on the net its close between abit and epox

Edited by wsrider
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Best overclocking motherboards..



Abit NF7-S rev2

Asus A78nx rev2

DFI NFII Ultra rev B


No special order but from what i have read on the net its close between abit and epox

:tup: Though i'd venture to say that the EPOX 8RDA+ Rev.2 as opposed to the Rev.1 board though it was brilliant.


I'd like to add this board to that list: Leadtek K7NCR18D Pro II Deluxe Limited a.k.a Leadtek nForce2 Ultra400 Deluxe Limited

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Any other suggestions on memory and video?


Obviously we need the best Nvidia and ATI cards for overclocking. I would like to throw in a 3rd company but not sure which one, SiS maybe?

even without a pci lock the a7v8x is a nice board.


You could always add



mushkin - PC3500 Lvl 2 black


For amd anyways. Another note in most cases one stick of memory will overclock farther then 2 or 3. Same goes for single channel over dual channel.

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Maybe indicate that relaxing the timings means to raise the numbers on the timings relax =slower tighter = faster

Might list the timings= cas to ras etc. explain that it's strictly hit and miss. not set rules on what works.

Might mention that memory has default timings how to find what they are

Use of Prime and other looping benchs for stability testing=Links

What to do when you go to high and can't boot. Clearing Cmos

Backup bios chips,

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Here's the rest of my system

Pny Ti 4600 (very Clockable card)

Corsair pc2700XMS (333mhz OC'ed to 370mhz) (SPD setting for OC) 2.0/6/3/3 (aggressive stable readings Non OC)2.0/5/2/2 (VERY GOOD STUFF)$$$ ($200 for 1 stick 512mb)

WDcaviar HDs (pretty good for the price)

Lian Li Case (2 intake fans, 1 exhaust) good flow

CPU P4 2.66ghz (prob the best OC chip I ever had) tops out @ 3700mhz on air (idle 40c)

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