Monday, February 19, 2007

Your mileage may vary

When I initially started this Blog, I warned about using a "cookbook" approach to overclocking. The reason for this warning is that it is a given that the same exact component will perform differently. Assembling the same exact set of components make it even more of a certainty that the same assembled components will perform differently.

My own experiences, more recently with Blackbird and Nighthawk, have proven this truism. Even though I have successfully overclocked both Blackbird and Nighthawk to a stable 3.4 GHz, they have both reached this speed differently.

The Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 in Blackbird runs cooler at idle (32C/90F) and load (47C/117F) than Nighthawk which idles at 39C/102F and reaches 51C/124F at load with the same processor and Zalman CNPS9700 LED Heat Sink & Fan.

Interestingly, the ASUS P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP motherboard in Blackbird runs warmer at idle (34C/93F) and load (37C/99F) than Nighthawk which idles at 28C/82F and reaches 32C/90F at load with the same motherboard and Antec Nine Hundred case (with four 120mm fans and one 200mm fan.)

The above results were obtained using the System Stability Test in Everest Ultimate 2007 (Build 885) running under Vista Ultimate x64 RTM Build 6000.

The CPU VCore Voltage in Blakcbird is also set to 1.40V in BIOS, whereas Nighthawk requires 1.45V to run stable at the same overclocked speed of 3.4 GHz.

Furthermore, even though Blackbird and Nighthawk have the same exact amount and type of memory (4GB of Corsair XMS2 TWIN2X2048-8500C5 each), the same memory requires 2.15V in Blackbird and 2.25V in Nighthawk to run stable at 1:1 (DRAM:FSB) ratio at the same overclocked speed of 3.4 GHz!

The lesson here is obvious.

Even if you had the same exact components as either my Blackbird or Nighthawk computers, there is no guarantee that you will be able to attain the same stable overclocked speed. You may be able to attain more or less. It will also be almost certain that your system will require different settings even if it managed to attained the same overclocked speed.

Your mileage may not only vary, your mileage will vary.

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