Does anyone here overclock?

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Jun 27, 2009
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I have never overclocked my computers, but right now the system I am using for image processing was built with overclocking in mind. I built it 6-7 years ago for my wife to use as a video processor, but she never used it, so it sat in pristine condition until I started using it in late 2017.

I use it for all my images, but my work since I started using it has mostly been photomicrography utilizing a focus stacking system. My image stacks may be between 100 and 400+ shots, each 211MB in size. If I can speed up some of the processes where the computer has to crunch a bunch of calculations that would be great.

I'm looking for information if anyone has had any experience with overclocking.

My system is a Gigabyte motherboard X58A-UD5, processor 3.47 gigahertz Intel Core i7 X 990, 24576 Megabytes Usable Installed Memory, NVIDIA Quadro 4000 [Display adapter], 2 1TB SSDs, 4 3TB normal hard drives.

Thanks,

Steve
 

Growltiger

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I used to overclock my early i7. The big problem I found was overheating. Any more than a small amount of overclocking made it too hot. You don't want to run it at 100C, with the CPU throttling itself to prevent meltdown! So I suggest before you start thinking about overclocking, find out what your core temperatures are. You need to test while doing the most intensive work, i.e. the focus stacking, or prime95. Install CPU temperature monitoring.

When I updated my system last year to an i7 8700K I used liquid cooling for the first time, and what a huge improvement. My system is overclocked and still remains very cool normally (35C at this moment), but heats up to 80C when driven at 100% CPU. This is fine. My system is designed for silence not speed, if I had a case with lots of fans I could probably make the system faster but noisy.
 
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I have never overclocked my computers, but right now the system I am using for image processing was built with overclocking in mind. I built it 6-7 years ago for my wife to use as a video processor, but she never used it, so it sat in pristine condition until I started using it in late 2017.

I use it for all my images, but my work since I started using it has mostly been photomicrography utilizing a focus stacking system. My image stacks may be between 100 and 400+ shots, each 211MB in size. If I can speed up some of the processes where the computer has to crunch a bunch of calculations that would be great.

I'm looking for information if anyone has had any experience with overclocking.

My system is a Gigabyte motherboard X58A-UD5, processor 3.47 gigahertz Intel Core i7 X 990, 24576 Megabytes Usable Installed Memory, NVIDIA Quadro 4000 [Display adapter], 2 1TB SSDs, 4 3TB normal hard drives.

Thanks,

Steve
My system is overclocked (cautious settings) and has been from the start now a few years old and running without issue.
Asus X99 mobo with i7 5820K standard 3.30GHz overclock to 4.30GHz (most seem to agree could go higher 4.6GHz), using Asus A1 suite.
Temps mid 30's idling never seen the temp rise to unsafe levels under my load - I think the max for extended periods for this CPU is 68C.
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The key is really as already mentioned efficient cooling of both CPU and air flow within the case. It will also depend on the options/settings you have with your mobo BIOS

I think this may be a bit extreme taking up to 5.0GHz!
Intel Core i7 990x Extreme Edition Processor Review - Overclocking
If the system is truly pristine then you may want to get the tools to test and make some small adjustments a step at a time. BUT...
If the system is old and been used then some caution as there is a school of thought that suggests that the CPU has to a degree been burned in to its current state and messing with voltages and multipliers could cause problems.
 
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Based on your system description, I would maybe look into upgrading the video card and utilizing that to get some better efficiency. By the time you get the stuff you SHOULD have (for cooling etc) to effectively overclock to noticeably improved numbers, you would be not too far off from the cost of a new video card and wouldn’t have to worry about stability as much. Your ram could use a little boost as well, although certainly not required. Have you looked into your settings to ensure they are optimal? A lot of people use their primary disk for the scratch disc. Seeing how you have excellent hard drives I would make sure you are using them to their most advantageous. Just my 2 cents. Every time I have overclocked it has been more trouble than the gains received when I could have done other things to get more bang for the buck so to speak.
 
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Your Quadro video card choice is the best for Photoshop and certain other graphic CAD applications if you need 10 bit. You will loose 10 bit ability in PS if you upgrade your card to anything other than Nvidia Quadro or AMD FirePro.

Currently PS and LR have limited GPU features, although I suspect we will see more in the future

Does your stacking software calculation make the most use of CPU cycles or GPU cycles as this may be your best guide?

Stock cooling should be quite adequate for most users with modest OC requirements

Scratch disk is only a potential problem when you run out of RAM and the application has to read scratch disk data. You will only see system performance drop by keeping an eye on efficiency indicator. If it drops below 100% regularly then PS is reading from scratch and performance compromised which may indicate need for more RAM.
With your SSD’s as your scratch disks it does not really matter if you use your primary as well as your secondary.
 
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My 5 year old MSI mb allows very easy OC. Push a button on the motherboard and the I7 goes from 3.5 to 4.0 ghz and the memory gets a tiny bump in voltage.
There's way too many bios parameters to fiddle with these days and the nomenclature and displayed variables are not consistent across every mfgr's mb's. Especially related to memory timings.
 
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Auto over clocking has been implemented in software from some manufacturers for some time Asus A1 suite comes to mind.

With this type of control you reach the BIOS from the desktop without button pressing or even the need to worry about any timings voltages etc. as generally you will get the safe options
 

Growltiger

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When I bought upgrades for two computers from Overclockers UK last year, I was buying for each a motherboard, CPU, liquid cooler, and memory. They come assembled, tested and overclocked.
Interestingly the overclocking settings were different on each. So they really do adjust each one they sell.
(First thing to do was backup the settings so they could not be lost).

I agree it is far too complicated nowadays to do oneself, unless very expert and with lots of time to spare.

(One of them didn't work reliably. The solution was to change the memory, then it was fine.)
 
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I've run an overclocked 3770K for 7 years this coming November. With regard to memory timing, there's not much to be gained by tweaking memory settings. You can see the difference in synthetic benchmarks but you'll never feel it in most real world scenarios. An overclocked machine is useless if it's not stable, so err on the conservative side and stay away from the bleeding edge.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 27, 2009
Messages
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Location
Oregon
So I suggest before you start thinking about overclocking, find out what your core temperatures are. You need to test while doing the most intensive work, i.e. the focus stacking, or prime95. Install CPU temperature monitoring.
Yep, I'm already monitoring temps and have temp controlled CPU cooling. My case is a CoolerMaster High Air Flow. It is a really open architecture with large fans moving a lot of air in and out and smaller fans on power supply, graphics card, RAM, processor custom heat exchanger. Noise isn't an issue for me.

The key is really as already mentioned efficient cooling of both CPU and air flow within the case. It will also depend on the options/settings you have with your mobo BIOS

I think this may be a bit extreme taking up to 5.0GHz!
Intel Core i7 990x Extreme Edition Processor Review - Overclocking
If the system is truly pristine then you may want to get the tools to test and make some small adjustments a step at a time. BUT...
If the system is old and been used then some caution as there is a school of thought that suggests that the CPU has to a degree been burned in to its current state and messing with voltages and multipliers could cause problems.
Well, I've been using it heavily for 1.5 years about half the time it is shut down from 8pm to 9am, the other half it is running over night batch converting raw files and saving them as tifs or running a set of pre-programmed image stacking processes using Zerene Stacker.

Based on your system description, I would maybe look into upgrading the video card and utilizing that to get some better efficiency.
The Quadro 4000 is a pretty good video card. I think I paid around $700 and I would have a hard time rationalizing replacing it in my head.

By the time you get the stuff you SHOULD have (for cooling etc) to effectively overclock to noticeably improved numbers, you would be not too far off from the cost of a new video card and wouldn’t have to worry about stability as much. Your ram could use a little boost as well, although certainly not required. Have you looked into your settings to ensure they are optimal? A lot of people use their primary disk for the scratch disc. Seeing how you have excellent hard drives I would make sure you are using them to their most advantageous.
Yep, that all makes sense. I put the cooling system in as part of the original configuration. I have 24GB of ram, I guess I could double it to 48GB, but when I watch on my system monitors it doesn't look like I'm maxing out my ram.

I do have hard drives alright... I'm going to swap out a couple 3TB drives for 8TBs, but I also have 3 8TB externals as well as several each 6, 5, 4TB externals. The externals are dual offsite copies.

Your Quadro video card choice is the best for Photoshop and certain other graphic CAD applications if you need 10 bit. You will loose 10 bit ability in PS if you upgrade your card to anything other than Nvidia Quadro or AMD FirePro.

Currently PS and LR have limited GPU features, although I suspect we will see more in the future

Does your stacking software calculation make the most use of CPU cycles or GPU cycles as this may be your best guide?
Yep, I am mostly happy with my Quadro card. Most of my time is spent immersed in Photoshop, Zerene Stacker or Adobe Premiere. I used Lightroom at work and learned to hate it, so all my raw conversion and file management on my own systems is in Adobe Bridge.

My 5 year old MSI mb allows very easy OC. Push a button on the motherboard and the I7 goes from 3.5 to 4.0 ghz and the memory gets a tiny bump in voltage.
There's way too many bios parameters to fiddle with these days and the nomenclature and displayed variables are not consistent across every mfgr's mb's. Especially related to memory timings.
That's pretty cool. I agree messing with some of the bios is daunting.

I'm starting to think that I should explore every other thing I can do to improve the performance, before overclocking. I am in the middle of a long term research project and I cannot risk losing this computer.

Thanks to everyone who answered, it is interesting getting new ideas and different points of view.

Steve
 
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