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Basic Guide For Overclocking Q6600 on Asus P5K-E (and similar) Motherboards

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Cooling' started by Pneumonic, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. Pneumonic

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 19, 2007

    Posts: 3,227

    Location: Ipswich

    Given all the recent threads in relation to overclocking on the P5K-E and similar I thought I would write a guide to explain the basics to overclocking on this motherboard, this should also hold true in part to overclocking on other similar Asus boards such as the P5K-C, P5K – Premium, etc… If you are not using the P5K-E however you may notice that there are some differences in your BIOS but the general principles should still hold true.

    Before I start there is a wealth of information on these forums in regards to overclocking, the Q6600 and this motherboard (and similar) and therefore the following threads are certainly worth investigating and should provide you with answers to a lot of your questions!

    Beginners Guide to Overclocking:

    http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?t=17612922

    READ THIS THREAD! This will explain all of the basics that you need to know, I will be discussing late the ins and outs of overclocking on the Asus P5K-E but you should make sure that you have a general understanding of what overclocking is and how it is achieved.

    Intel Quad Core Database:

    http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?t=17779323

    Again this thread details the settings, clock speeds and outcomes of a lot of clocks with the Q6600 both B3 and G0 Stepping… It is certainly worth a good read through and will give you an understanding of the sort of settings you will require to achieve you clock

    Official Asus P5K Thread:

    http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?t=17731841

    Again this thread is a gold mine of information in relation to the P5K boards, giving links to where you can download various BIOS for your motherboard and also links to the spec of your board, thread also contains a wealth of information from overclockers and their experience with the board.

    Overclocking A Very Brief Round Up
    Hopefully you now have an understanding of what overclocking is and how it is achieved, I know when I first started all the numbers and names didn’t make a huge amount of sense until I started to have a play around with the BIOS but to put it simply the clockspeed of your Q6600 is based on two factors your motherboards Front-Side Bus Speed (FSB) and the CPU ratio… for example with a FSB of 400 and CPU Ratio of 8 you will achieve a clockspeed of 3200mhz. (400*8)

    The second important factor when overclocking is the speed that your RAM runs at, again when I first started I was a little confused when people talk about RAM ratios and dividers etc… but again simplified your RAM speed is based on the FSB of the motherboard given the P5K-E supports DDR2 memory you can calculate the speed that you are running you RAM at by simply doing FSB * 2 so for example on our above FSB of 400 the RAM would be run at 400*2 or 800mhz which is the standard speed for 6400 RAM.

    Getting to know your ASUS P5K-E
    Ok to get to the BIOS you need to press [Del] as the board is posting...

    All of the overclocking options on this board can be found in one menu option in the BIOS so lets go take a look!

    Go to the [Advanced] menu and then go down to the first option [Jumper Free Configuration]

    If its your first time in this menu you will see that everything is set to Auto to enable an overclock we must set a number of these options to manual, so go through the menus and set the below to Manual, you will notice that as you set these to manual you get more options appear.

    [AI Overclocking]
    [CPU Ratio Control]
    [DRAM Frequency]
    [DRAM Timing Control]

    With everything set to manual we have all the options that we need to setup an overclock, the options that are going to be of interest are:

    [Ratio CMOS Setting] – this is the CPU Ratio that was discussed earlier you can enter a number from 6 – 9 (default 9) in here and it will multiply this by the FSB to calculate your clock

    [FSB Frequency] – here you set the FSB you want to run the motherboard at, the default to run your Q6600 at stock is 266 (assuming a *9 CPU Ratio)

    [PCI-E Frequency] – I always set this to 101, some people use 100 or 105 but in general take it off Auto.

    [DRAM Command Rate] – Set this to your manufactures recommendations 1T or 2T

    [DRAM Timing Controls] – Set these to your manufactures recommendations, generally only the first four are manually set as they make the most difference to performance, the rest can be set or left on Auto

    [CPU Voltage] – this is often referred to as vcore, for now we are going to set this to 1.300v which should be plenty for you to boot to windows at stock, all Q6600 CPU are slightly different and some need more volts than others but 1.300v should be enough for even the hungriest!

    [DRAM Voltage] - Set this to the voltage recommended by the manufacture, note RAM is far more sensitive to voltage than you CPU and you should be very careful not to overvolt that RAM as this can cause damage

    [CPU Voltage Dampener] Also Called [Loadline Calibration] – THIS IS YOUR FRIEND! Whilst reading through the forums you have more than likely come across the terms vdrop and vdroop, this is where the vcore in the BIOS changes as the CPU is put through different levels of stress… this setting will keep your vcore levels nearer those that you set in the BIOS eliminating a lot of the vdrop and vdroop problems. So make sure you set this to Enabled

    [Northbridge Voltage] - For now keep this on Auto, if you are running 4 sticks of RAM you may want to set this to 1.45v but in general shouldn’t cause a problem leaving this on Auto

    Lets Get Clocking!
    Before you start firstly make sure that you have Prime95 and Coretemp installed and that you have round off checking enabled in the advanced menu of Prime95. These are essential to check the stability of the clock and keep an eye on your temperatures, if at any stage your core temperatures go above 70c then stop Prime95…(you can run higher than 70c if you like! But 70c is my limit on temperatures if you feel comfortable going higher that is of course your choice!)

    A couple of things to consider when overclocking is that if a clock fails you want to make sure that you understand why, so before starting an overclock loosen all of your RAM timings so if you have C4 RAM rated at 4-4-4-12 then set it to 5-5-5-23 this will ensure that your ram is not overstressed… this should also ensure to a point that if the RAM is running faster than it is rated that it should work ok! (to a point)

    I would suggest that you at this point follow the beginners guide to overclocking, firstly going up through the FSB of the motherboard to find where the board has “FSB holes” i.e. where it isn’t stable, and then deciding on the clock speed that you wish to achieve and work your way up to it…

    Alternatively the setting below should get you to 3200Mhz with few problems (fingers crossed)

    [Ratio CMOS Setting] = 8
    [FSB Frequency] = 400

    [DRAM Timings] should be loosened out as explained about – also check that the RAM is running at 800Mhz if not adjust

    [CPU Voltage] = 1.325v

    Set these and save them to Profile 1 [Tools -> Asus OC Profiles -> Save To Profile 1]

    Let you machine load up into windows… if it doesn’t load then go back into the BIOS and increase the vcore but 1.325 should be plenty! Start up Prime95 and Coretemp and let it run for 15 mins keeping an eye on your temperatures… If it last 15 mins then go back into the BIOS and lower the CPU Voltage by 1 notch and retest, do this until the Prime95 fails within the first 15 mins… once it fails increase the vcore by 1 notch and run Prime95 for a good few hours, if it fails increase the vcore by another notch until it passes at least 3 – 4 hours… This should give you a stable platform to build your clock from or a nice 600Mhz overclock to your Q6600

    Once you are happy with your clock and it is stable, reduce your RAM timmings back down towards the Manufactures recommend settings and run Blend Tests In Prime95 to ensure stability

    EDIT 1: What BIOS to use?

    Really in my mind after playing around today with 0806, 0906, etc they are utter rubbish! Best bet by far is 0602... I could not get higher that 3700mhz on either 0806 and 0906 and both under volted the vcore by .1v i.e. 1.5v BIOS came out as 1.4v less vdrop and vdroop (which was huge!)

    so no 0602 all the way...

    If you want to reflash your BIOS I have always used the windows prog and never had a problem the later version of this prog do not let you roll back but download this version: "ftp://ftp.asus.com.tw/pub/ASUS/mb/fl...sUpdt61002.zip" - right click save target works for me or google search for Asus Update v6.10.20 should find you a download as well

    Load it up and go into options and you have an tick box that will let you install older version of BIOS... then just flash and enjoy you new super nice, super stable BIOS :)

    Edit 2: Advanced Overclocking Options
    Ok following some feedback I have decided to go over some of the more "advanced" overclocking options avaliable in the BIOS and some basic options that I didnt cover initially.

    [FSB To Northbridge Strap] - This option basically determines what memory dividers are avaliable, as you increase the speed of the strap you will have to reselect the memory divider that best adjusts you DRAM Frequency. Generally I would set this to 333mhz as it is considered the most stable strap to overclock on. It is also worth considering that higher FSB Straps tend to allow for greater base FSB speeds to be achieved

    Again this is a "safe" setting as far as BIOS settings go, may cause some instability at higher clocks if you decrease the FSB-Strap Speed


    [AI Transaction Booster] - Has a fancy name :) but is actually pretty important :) If you have used a program like memset this is whats known as the "performance level" of the RAM. Basically has a direct effect on memory read performance and also some effect on the memory latency. Once you have achieved a stable overclock you want to try and get the boost level as high as possible.

    This wont damage the machine in any way, but will cause serious instability when you boost it to much


    [CPU / Northbridge Reference Voltages] - Basically used by the CPU/NB to determine if a signal is a 1 or 0, also pretty essential as FSB speed increase over 450FSB, these are reference only so will not damage your CPU/NB best to play around with once your clock starts to become unstable at high FSB speeds

    [CPU PPL Voltage] **WARNING** This can damage your hardware Ok big red writing out of the way :) in all seriousness you play with this one at your own risk :) Ok as I understand it acts as a Link between the CPU and FSB and is important for very high FSB.. Personally I would not run @ over 1.7v for benching but I know people go higher for all other instances I leave this on auto..
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2008
  2. CyZMyAssBaby

    Mobster

    Joined: Aug 17, 2007

    Posts: 2,905

    Location: London, Moscow & Samara

    An excellent Guide & contribution to the forum Pneumonic well done m8.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2008
  3. jubei

    Mobster

    Joined: Apr 3, 2003

    Posts: 2,543

    Thanks for the guide mate.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  4. wolvers

    Soldato

    Joined: Jan 26, 2005

    Posts: 5,145

    Location: In........cognito

    Thank you for taking the time to write this excellent thread.

    I have just ordered this board (but not a q6600) and this is a great heads up for me. :)

    I've read that the 603 bios is the most stable bios for overclocking and has the least vdroop. Do you think that it's worth adding this to your guide along with some information on how to disable and re-enable the speedstep technology as I believe many people recommend this when finding max overclocks?
     
  5. HeX

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jun 20, 2004

    Posts: 10,555

    Location: Huddersfield, UK

    I've read around that the onboard WiFi of the P5K-E/WiFi AP can cause instability at high FSB on this board. Is this true?

    If so is it worth flashing to the later BIOS's to be able to disable it (as early ones are bugged and won't disable the WiFi).
     
  6. Pneumonic

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 19, 2007

    Posts: 3,227

    Location: Ipswich

    I do find that having the onboard WiFi enabled does cause stability @ high FSB... I can not for example achieve a stable FSB for my 4Ghz+ clock (447 FSB) with the WiFi enabled.. I find it starts to cause problems at around 435 FSB

    BIOS wise I am running 0703 beta which is stable up to 448 FSB at *9 CPU multipliers and up to 504 FSB at * 8 multipliers
     
  7. Pneumonic

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 19, 2007

    Posts: 3,227

    Location: Ipswich

    vdoop issues can be nicely resolved on this board with the voltage dampening (on my 0703 BIOS anyways).. In regards to speedstep I have never had an issue with overclocking with it on
     
  8. wolvers

    Soldato

    Joined: Jan 26, 2005

    Posts: 5,145

    Location: In........cognito

    Which bios's has the wi-fi disable bug fixed then?

    edit; what vdroop do you get with the 0703 bios and voltage dampening? Have you done the pencil mod?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2008
  9. Pneumonic

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 19, 2007

    Posts: 3,227

    Location: Ipswich

    I am not sure but I no that its sorted in the BIOS that I am using.. you might want to check the P5K thread (linked above) that details changes made in the BIOS updates
     
  10. wolvers

    Soldato

    Joined: Jan 26, 2005

    Posts: 5,145

    Location: In........cognito

    Ok, cheers.
     
  11. Pneumonic

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 19, 2007

    Posts: 3,227

    Location: Ipswich

    no I havent penicl mod'ed the board
     
  12. Ajwilson20

    Gangster

    Joined: Jan 4, 2008

    Posts: 124

    Thanks for the guide its been really helpful for me to try my first overclocking. Having a problem though as i have followed your guide and tried a 3.2 overclock and it was fine so went for a 3.4 and it running stable in windows but when i run prime95 it fails on 2 of the worder threads. Tried upping the vcore but didnt help

    Im running a p5k-c ,q6600 with a tuniq tower, and 2gb ocz 6400 ddr2 ram

    Only thing i havent done as you have suggested is to change the ram timings as i the options i have dont look like the 5-5-5-12 settings of the ram.

    Thanks, Alex
     
  13. chrispystix

    Gangster

    Joined: May 7, 2007

    Posts: 487

    Ha same thing. All runs fine at 3.3 but 3.4 delivers worker thread probs. Still tinkering though
     
  14. Pneumonic

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 19, 2007

    Posts: 3,227

    Location: Ipswich

    I havent used the P5K-C so not to sure on the BIOS and the options avaliable but you should somewhere in that Jumper Config beable to set those memory timmings..

    not sure if you have tried a *9 multi to get 3.4? running your FSB at 378*9 gives you just over 3.4 and runs your RAM slower than the 400*8 so if it is memory issues this should solve them...

    EDIT:
    Here is a picture of my BIOS (bit crapy am afriad!) but you should have some option like the [DRAM TIMING CONTROL], this is where you can alter those speeds, is only the first four you need to take off auto

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2008
  15. Pneumonic

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 19, 2007

    Posts: 3,227

    Location: Ipswich

    keep uping the vcore, if after 3-4 notches up no success then could be a different issue might want to try setting your [FSB Strap to Northbridge] rather than leaving it on auto.. when you change this setting you will see that you [DRAM Frequency] changes you will need to keep this within the tolerance of your RAM (different RAM will run @ different overclocks, always worth finding out what your RAM will run at, but DO NOT run your RAM at a higher voltage than specified by the manufacture, quickest way to kill it!)
     
  16. Ajwilson20

    Gangster

    Joined: Jan 4, 2008

    Posts: 124

    Thanks for the speedy replies! Found it in the end, and my bios does look the same as that. have put in the timings as 5-5-5-12

    Did try a 9 x 378 and didnt have any luck so have gone back to trying to get a prime stable 3.2 for the time being at 400 x 8. One of the worker thread seems to always fail after a few minutes but have noticed that in cpu-z that my v-core is very low under load, have upped it now to 1.4v in the bios (after trying other increments along the way) but am still only seeing 1.33 ish when idle and 1.2 when under load

    [​IMG]

    Read something about the updates for the bios improving the problems with vdroop, would it help if i updated this? Am running a 470w thermaltake psu for q6600, p5k-c, 2gb 6400 ddr2, 80gb main drive and 500gb storage and a 8800gt so didnt think that was too demanding for the system

    *also prime stable for 15+ minutes while i have been typing this*
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2008
  17. Pneumonic

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 19, 2007

    Posts: 3,227

    Location: Ipswich

    try the RAM at 5-5-5-23 for now and see if that helps you can tighten it up later..

    cant hurt to update the BIOS and see what it does, that is some monstrous vdroop you have there, dont think the board has the voltage dampening option? that would help it..
     
  18. Ajwilson20

    Gangster

    Joined: Jan 4, 2008

    Posts: 124

    I did turn on voltage dampening though which is the funny thing. Think i will call it a night for the time being and resume activities to find the missing voltage tomorrow. Im really happy with the tuniq tower i bought from ocuk which came today as its keeping the temps at 59ish @ 3.2ghz under full load with the fan on at 1500rpm which is better than my stock cooler kept the standard clock at before :D
     
  19. Pneumonic

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 19, 2007

    Posts: 3,227

    Location: Ipswich

    yup they are nice coolers :)

    am certain you will be trying again tomorrow overclocking is like pringles once you pop you cant stop :)
     
  20. HeX

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jun 20, 2004

    Posts: 10,555

    Location: Huddersfield, UK

    To anyone using the P5K-E/WiFi AP I suggest you update to the latest 0906 BIOS.

    I was stuck at 3.33Ghz with my Q6600, couldn't get any higher no matter the voltage.

    Flashed to 0906 last night and I now have 3.5Ghz 1hr prime stable (it wouldn't do longer than 2mins before on the 0503 BIOS), 438x8 @ 1.425V (1.525 in BIOS as it still has the 0.1V bug).
     


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