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Lesson 04 - Finding your motherboard's maximum stable reference clock speed


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Before we start overclocking the CPU, we first need to find out how far we can push the ref clk. The reference clock doesn't contribute to performance itself but it can be used to fine tune the frequency of the CPU and the other components making sure we get the maximum performance they are capable of. If you have a non Black Edition CPU, where the multipliers are locked and can not be increased beyond their stock setting, you will be using the ref clock to do all of your overclocking.

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Overclocking the Reference Clock

Begin by raising the ref clk to 275MHz. This value is probably greater than most motherboards can actually handle and more than you will need. When we did that the CPU, HT Link, CPU NB and memory speeds went way up. We're going to turn down the multipliers so the frequency of each component is at or below their stock setting. So for this CPU it needs to be below 3200MHz, the RAM below 1600MHz and the HT Link and CPU NB below 2000MHz. Now all of the other settings are at or below their stock settings so the only component we will be stressing is the reference clock.

The system probably won't boot with the ref clk set to 275MHz. 250MHz is more realistic. Just about every motherboard can handle 250MHz so it is safe. I'll hit F10 and yes to save and exit. The system restarted and is going into Windows. Once in Windows we'll start up Prime95 and use the Blend setting to stress the system. With Prime95 running you need to look for these icons turning red and an error message inside the windows or if the system, freezes or blue screens and reboots you have gone too far. Let Prime95 run for about 15 minutes. If the system is stable, reboot, go into the BIOS To watch all of our complete video lessons with full written instructions you will need to purchase a login for the site. Buy Now..

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0 # idkface 2013-10-26 18:10
MSI 890FXA-GD70 MB (latest BIOS) w/ Phenom II x4 975BE

When finding my max reference clock I am unable to go passed 250MHz because the lowest multiplier for CPU-NB is x8 (200 x 8 = 2000). If I push further I'll be raising my CPU-NB. Would finding my max CPU-NB before finding my max reference clock be better in my case? If I know I can push my CPU-NB to a certain point stable then I can be sure that as long as I'm not hitting that during my reference clock OC then any instability will most definitely be from hitting my reference clock limit. Is this correct? Or should I not worry too much about finding a max reference clock since I have unlocked multipliers?
+1 # admin2 2013-10-26 21:00
If you have an unlocked multiplier you don't need to go any further than 250MHz on the reference clock. I would use the unlocked multiplier to dial in the fastest CPU frequency. You can use reference clock increases to fine tune the speed of your RAM, if you want to overclock it. Most of the performance gains will be with the CPU frequency increases.

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