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What are the best precautions to take when overclocking a CPU - For the first time?

Hi guys and girls,
The time has come when i have enough time off work and enough patience to OC my aging 1st gen i7 950. What i need to know is, are there any precautions i need to take as regards the bios settings and anything else i might not realise? I have never overclocked before, apart from messing around with my GPU settings.
It seems extremely daunting right now, but im gonna give it a go.

Temps at the mo are: 38C Idle, 68C under full load.

You can see my system specs on my name badge - and the reasons for o/c'ing will come clear!

I do realise my cooler is not the best by any means, but what is the real difference between mine, and a coolermaster Evo 212 for instance?? Will my cooler not be sufficient for a modest O/C?

I am not looking to smash the guts out of the CPU, but maybe to 3.80/4.00 Ghz?

Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Many thanks gang ;)

Kenton
Reply to Kenton82
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  1. Best answer
    First and most important precaution is to maximize cooling of the processor and the case. OEM coolers usually do not provide any extra cooling needed to OC, sometimes not enough to run processor under full load for long time, let alone OC.
    Other precautions would be to go slow and smallest steps at a time while monitoring voltages, temps and other vital parameters, all the while running benchmarks or other tests.
    P.S.
    Also make sure that you know where BIOS/CMOS reset is and that its reachable because you'll most probably need it many times until you get satisfactory OC.
    Reply to CountMike
  2. Hi Mike, many thanks for the answer!
    I have done my best to maximise the cooling in the case. The CPU cooler is about 6 months old, the fan on the cooler is running full, rather than auto, which means it is spinning at between 2000 and 2200 RPM constantly.
    The case and components are kept clean of dust regularly too.
    I have a 200mm fan at the front (intake) running through a manual speed controller, another 200mm fan on the side (intake) running slower, and a further 200 mm fan on the top of the case (exhaust) this is also controlled manually by the speed controller.
    I then have a 120mm fan at the top rear of the case, to the rear of the CPU cooler (exhaust)

    Temps are pretty normal at the moment, and being in the UK, i dont have problems with ambient temps!

    I see the cooler i have is very similar to the Coolermaster EVO that i see people raving about, but i am not sure how inferior it is.

    I dont really want to get another cooler as i have already spent too much on this antique of a rig! lol. So if i can achieve a modest O/C with this one, and as you quite rightly say, doing things slowly and monitoring the temps as i go, i would be very happy!

    Cheers again Mike!

    K.
    Reply to Kenton82
  3. If it's a cooler of CM 212 Evo class than that should be no problem because it's better than any stock one. Just follow those basic rules for any OC and see how far it gets you.
    Good luck.
    Reply to CountMike
  4. CountMike said:
    If it's a cooler of CM 212 Evo class than that should be no problem because it's better than any stock one. Just follow those basic rules for any OC and see how far it gets you.
    Good luck.


    Cheers Mike. It looks almost the same as the 212. My thermal paste was redone when the new cooler was fitted too.

    Will do, and will update the thread when i either succeed, or when i have broken the old girl! lol

    Many thanks for the help.
    Reply to Kenton82
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