Sunday, January 14, 2007

Your mileage may vary

I have 2 almost identical systems (Blackbird and Nighthawk), yet their overclocking potential have been different. Blackbird is stable at 3.4 GHz overclock, yet the maximum stable overclock for Nighthawk is 3.2 GHz.

Both systems have the same motherboard (ASUS P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP), same processor (Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 with stock HSF), same memory (4 GB of XMS2 TWIN2X2048-8500C5), same power supply (Antec NeoHE550), and the same case (Antec Nine Hundred) with the same number of fans (one 200mm and four 120mm).

The only differences are the graphics (Blackbird has the BFG 7950GT while Nighthawk has the BFG 8800GTS), the number and model of disk drives (Blackbird has six Seagate 750GB SATA-2 drives while Nighthawk has two Maxtor 500GB SATA-2 drives), the audio (Blackbird has the Soundblaster XFi Platinum while Nighthawk uses the onboard audio), and the number and models of optical drives (Blackbird has a Samsung SATA DVD-RW Lightscribe drive while Nighthawk has a Memorex IDE DVD-RW and a Plextor SATA DVD-RW.)

None of these differences should make a difference in their overclocking capabilities, but one never knows.

It is commonly accepted that 2 systems with the same exact components will overclock differently.

Do not feel bad or pressured to match (or exceed) what others with similarly configured systems are able to achieve with their overclocking. If you are one of these "others," don't gloat and just be grateful for your fortunes.

On to overclocking my BFG 8800GTS Graphics Card

I have initiated overclocking my BFG 8800GTS graphics card using ATITool 0.26.

You might be wondering why I am using ATITool 0.26 if I have an Nvidia 8800GTS graphics card. As it turns out, ATITool can be used for both ATI and Nvidia graphics cards. I selected ATITool because of its many capabilities, e.g., ability to find max core and memory speeds automatically, artifact checking, and the ability to save and load multiple profiles.

The Nvidia 8800 graphics cards have excellent overclocking potential similar to the Intel Core 2 Duo processors.

The first milestone I want to achieve with my BFG 8800GTS graphics card is to overclock it to the same GPU clock as the BFG 8800GTS OC graphics card: core clock from 500 MHz to 550 MHz and shader clock from 1200 MHz to 1300 MHz.

That's where the BFG 8800GTS graphics card is running at the moment while I use ATITool 0.26 to test for stability, i.e., no artifacts. ATITool 0.26 has been checking for artifacts at this new speed for almost one and a half hours as I write this post.

I will share the results of this overclock (including 3DMark06 benchmarks) with you in my next post tomorrow.

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