Saturday, June 3, 2023

How to overclock an Intel processor using the Intel Core i9-9900K as an example


Overclocking processors from Intel is primarily associated with the choice of a processor with the index K or KF (K means an unlocked multiplier) and a motherboard based on a Z-chipset (Z490-170). As well as the choice of cooling system.

To understand the whole point of overclocking, you need to decide what you want to get from overclocking. Stable work and be sure that the blue screen of death will not come out? Or do you need to flaunt the coveted frequency of 5000-5500 MHz in front of your friends?

Today we will consider the first option. Stable overclocking for all occasions, however, for those who chose the second option, it will be useful to read.

Motherboard selection
Overclocking should be approached very responsibly and not try to overclock the Core i9-9900K on motherboards that are not designed for this processor (for example, ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 4 , Gigabyte Z390 UD , Asus Prime Z390-P , MSI Z390-A Pro and so on), since the lot of these motherboards is Core i5 and, possibly, Core i7 processors in moderate overclocking. The Intel Core i9-9900K, as a result of overclocking and under a serious constant load, consumes from 220 to 300 watts, which will inevitably cause overheating of the power supply circuits of entry-level motherboards and, as a result, turn off the computer or reset the processor frequency. And it’s good if it’s just to overheat, and not to burn out the elements of the power circuits.

Choosing a motherboard for overclocking is one of the most important things to do. After all, it is the functionality of the board, its settings and the quality of the element base that are responsible for stability and success in overclocking. You can see the list of suitable motherboards at the link .

All motherboards are divided into 4 groups: from entry level to enthusiast product. By and large, the motherboards of the second and, with a big stretch, the third group will do a good job of overclocking the i9-9900K processor.

Choice of cooling system
An important factor in successful overclocking is the choice of cooling system. As I already said, if you overclock on a cooler that is not designed for this, you will not succeed. We need either a high-quality tower that can actually handle 220-250 TDP, or a liquid cooling system of a similar level. It all depends on the budget.

From air cooling systems, pay attention to Noctua NH-D15 and be quiet! DARK ROCK PRO 4 .

Silicone lottery
And the third element that is involved in overclocking is the processor itself. Overclocking is a lottery, and it is impossible to say with 100% certainty that any processor with the K index can be overclocked to 5000 MHz, not to mention 5300-5500 MHz (I mean stable overclocking). You can estimate the chances of winning the lottery by clicking on the link , which contains statistics on overclocking various processors.

Let’s start overclocking
An example in the overclocking process would be an ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XI HERO motherboard and an Intel Core i9-9900K processor . The top air cooler Noctua NH-D15 is responsible for cooling the processor .

First of all, we need to update the BIOS of the motherboard. This can be done either directly, from a special BIOS section with download from the Internet, or via a USB drive, after downloading the latest version from the manufacturer’s website. This is necessary because the number of bugs is reduced in new BIOS versions. The BIOS that is flashed into the motherboard upon purchase most likely has one of the earliest versions.

The processor clock frequency is formed from the BCLK bus frequency and the Core Ratio multiplier.

As already mentioned, overclocking will be carried out by changing the processor multiplier.

We go into the BIOS and select the Extreme Tweaker tab. This is where all the overclocking magic will happen.

First of all, change the value of the Ai Overclocker Tuner parameter from Auto to Manual. The tabs responsible for the bus frequency BCLK Frequency and CPU Core Ratio, which is responsible for the ability to adjust the processor multiplier, immediately become available to us.

ASUS MultiCore Enhancement does not play any role when Ai Overclocker Tuner is in Manual mode, you can either leave it alone or turn it off so that it does not hurt your eyes. One of the unique features of Asus is extending Intel’s TDP limits.

SVID Behavior – provides the relationship between the processor and the motherboard voltage controller, this parameter is used when setting the adaptive voltage or offset voltages (Offset voltages). In any case, it is better to start overclocking with a fixed voltage in order to understand what exactly your instance of the processor can do, because they are all unique. If voltage clamping is used, the value of this parameter is simply ignored. Install Best Case Scenario . But we will return to this a little later.

AVX Instruction Core Ratio Negative Offset – sets a negative coefficient when executing AVX instructions. Programs that use AVX instructions create a heavy load on the processor, and in order not to lose the treasured megahertz in simpler tasks, this setting was invented. Despite the increasing spread of AVX instructions, they are still rare in programs and games. Everything is purely individual and depends on the tasks of the user. I am using value 1.

For example, if you want the processor frequency when executing AVX instructions to be not 5100 MHz, but 5000 MHz, you need to specify 1 (51-1=50).

Next, we are interested in the item CPU Core Ratio . For processors with the K / KF index, select Sync All Cores (for all cores).

1-Core Ratio Limit – this is where the multiplier for the processor cores is set. It’s better to start with 49-50 for the 9 series and 47-48 for the 8 series of Intel processors, respectively, taking into account the BCLK 100 bus, we just get 4900-5000 MHz and 4700-4800 MHz.

We go below:

DRAM Frequency – is responsible for setting the frequency of RAM. But that’s a completely different story.

CPU SVID Support – this parameter is necessary for the processor to interact with the motherboard voltage regulator. The power management unit inside the processor uses the SVID to communicate with the PWM controller that controls the voltage regulator. This allows the processor to select the optimal voltage depending on the current operating conditions. In adaptive mode, set to Auto or Enabled. When disabled, monitoring of VID values ​​and power consumption will be lost.

CPU Core/Cache Current Limit Max – current limit in amperes (A) for processor cores and cache. We set 210-220 A. This should be enough for everyone even for 9900k at a frequency of 5100MHz. The maximum value is 255.75.

Min/Max CPU Cache Ratio – ring bus multiplier or just cache frequency. There is an unofficial rule for setting this parameter, the ring bus multiplier is about two to three points less than the core multiplier.

For example, if the multiplier for cores is 51, then you need to look for cache stability from 47. Everything is very individual. It’s better to start by overclocking only the cores. If the core is stable, you can gradually increase the cache frequency by 1 point.

A 1:1 ring bus overclock with core clock is ideal, but it’s very rare at 5000 MHz.

Go to the Internal CPU Power Management section to set power consumption limits.

SpeedStep – during acceleration, turn off. In my opinion, a completely useless feature in desktop computers.

Long Duration Packet Power Limit – Sets the maximum power consumption of the processor in watts (W) during long-term loads. We set the maximum – 4095/6, depending on the Bios version and manufacturer.

Short Duration Package Power Limit – sets the maximum possible power consumption of the processor in watts (W) for very short-term loads. We set the maximum – 4095/6.

Package Power Time Window – the maximum time in which the processor is allowed to go beyond the set limits. Set the maximum value to 127.

Setting the maximum values ​​for these parameters disables all limits.

IA AC Load Line / IA DC Load Line – these parameters are used in the adaptive voltage setting mode, they set the accuracy of work according to VID. Setting these two values ​​to 0.01 will bring you closer to the voltage set by the user, while minimizing peaks. If the computer, after setting the IA DC Load line parameter to 0.01, goes into blue, it is recommended to increase the value to 0.25. Fixed voltage will ignore processor VID values, so setting IA AC Load Line/IA DC Load Line to 0.01 will have no effect on manual voltage setting, only when working with VID. On motherboards from Gigabyte, these parameters must be set to 1.

We return to the Extrime Tweaker menu to set the voltage.

BCLK Aware Adaptive Voltage – if you are overclocking with a change in the value of the BCLK bus, enable it.

CPU Core / Cache Voltage (VCore) – is responsible for setting the voltage for the cores and cache. Depending on which voltage setting mode you select, further settings may differ.

There are three options for setting the voltage: adaptive, fixed, and offset . There are many opinions on this topic, however, in my case, the adaptive mode turns out to be colder. Often, for the 9th generation of Intel processors, the optimal voltage for 24/7 use is 1.350–1.375V. A similar voltage can be set for 9900K in the presence of effective cooling.

Raising the voltage above 1.4V for the 8-9 series of Intel processors is completely inappropriate and dangerous. The increase in consumption and temperature is not commensurate with the increase in performance that you will get as a result of such overclocking.

For those who have chosen a fixed mode , set Manual Mode. The voltage is selected individually.
For those who have chosen the adaptive mode – adaptive mode voltage settings.
Offset mode Sign – sets in which direction the voltage will shift, allows you to add (+) or decrease (-) values ​​to the set voltage.

Additional Turbo Mode CPU Core Voltage – sets the maximum voltage for the processor in adaptive mode. I use 1.350V, this voltage is a kind of golden mean in terms of temperature / safety.

Offset Voltage – the amount of voltage offset. I use 0.001V, everything is very individual and is selected during testing.

For those who have chosen to set the voltage by offset , set the Offset Mode and select the offset side -/+ and specify the value.

DRAM Voltage – sets the voltage for RAM. A conditionally safe value in the presence of heatsinks on RAM is 1.4–1.45V, without heatsinks up to 1.4V.

CPU VCCIO Voltage (VCCIO) – sets the voltage for the IMC and IO.

CPU System Agent Voltage (VCCSA) – Ring bus and ring bus controller voltage.

Table with the ratio of the frequency of RAM and voltages VCCIO and VCCSA:

However, from personal experience, even at 4000 MHz, a voltage of about 1.15V for VCCIO and 1.2V for VCCSA is required. In my opinion, a reasonable limit is for VCCIO 1.20V and VCCSA 1.25V. Anything higher should be justified either by the frequency of overclocking RAM beyond 4000MHz +, or by the desire to get the maximum at your own peril and risk.

Often, when using the XMP profile of RAM, the VCCIO and VCCSA parameters remain set to Auto, which can increase to critical values, which, in turn, is fraught with degradation of the memory controller, followed by processor failure.

Raising these voltages above 1.35V is not recommended due to the risk of memory controller degradation and the full possibility of killing the processor. Both of these parameters are responsible for overclocking the RAM.

LLC Installation
LLC (Load-Line Calibration) Depending on the degree of load on the processor, the voltage sags, this is called Vdroop . LLC compensates for voltage drop (vCore) under high load. But there are certain features of working with an LLC.

For example, we set a fixed voltage in the BIOS for cores of 1.35V. After starting the computer on the desktop, we no longer see 1.35V, but 1.32V. But, if we run an application that is more demanding on processor resources, for example, Linx, the voltage can drop to 1.15V, and we will get a blue screen or “discrepancy”, errors or loss of cores.

In order for the voltage to sag not so much, the LLC function was invented with different levels of drawdown compensation. Do not immediately chase the setting of the highest / strongest level of compensation. It doesn’t make any sense. It can even be dangerous due to the extremely high voltage (overshoot) at the time of starting and stopping a resource-intensive load before and after Vdroop. It is necessary to optimally select the set voltage with the LLC level. The voltage under load and should sag, but should remain stable. Specifically, in my motherboard BIOS it is 1.35V with LLC 5. Under load, the voltage drops to 1.19–1.21V, while the processor remains absolutely stable under a long and serious load. Higher voltage translates into higher consumption and, as a result, higher temperatures.

For example, when installing an LCC 6 with a voltage of 1.35V during a serious load, the voltage drops to 1.26V, while it is no longer possible to cope with power consumption and temperature using an air cooling system.

In order to visually study the process of LLC work and what effect an overestimated LLC has on Overshoots, I suggest that you familiarize yourself with the works of elmora, in more detail here.

The ideal option, from the point of view of Overshoots, is to use LLC at 1 (the weakest on Asus boards), however, it will be difficult to achieve stability with this mode of operation of LLC during a serious load, as well as a significant overvoltage in the BIOS. Which is also not very good.

An example of using LLC with a value of 8 (the strongest on Asus boards)

When the load on the processor appeared, the voltage dipped, but then LLC turned on and compensated for the drawdown, and doing it so aggressively that the voltage for a moment became even higher than that set in the BIOS.

At the moment the load is stopped, we see an even greater power surge (Overshoot), and then a decline, the operation of the LLC has stopped. It is precisely these Overshoots, which significantly exceed the voltage set in the BIOS, that are dangerous for the processor. Undershoot and Vdroop do not do any harm to the processor, they are only responsible for the instability of the processor when the drawdown is too strong.

CPU Current Capability – Increases the allowable value of the maximum current supplied to the processor. Do not get carried away too much, as the temperature increases, so does the temperature. Optimally 130–140%

VRM Spread Spectrum – it’s better to turn it off and put a cactus at the computer, a slight decrease in radiation due to signal deterioration, and the BLCK bus will not jump.

All other settings are needed exclusively for those who like to squeeze the most out of their systems at any cost.

Stability check
After making all the changes, if the computer does not boot, you need to increase the voltage on the core or lower the frequency. When we still managed to load Windows, open the HWinfo or HWMonitor program to monitor the state of the processor temperature and run Linx or any other program to check the stability and check if the settings are stable. The author uses Linx programs with AVX and Prime95 Version 29.8 build 6 to check the stability of the processor overclocking.

If instability is suddenly revealed, then we increase the voltage within reason and try again. If stability cannot be achieved, lower the frequency. All frequency and voltage values ​​\u200b\u200bare purely individual, and it is impossible to give 100% correct and suitable values ​​for everyone. As already mentioned, overclocking is always a lottery, however, by purchasing a better product, the chance to win will always be slightly higher.

Summarizing all of the above
The maximum allowable voltage for the processor is up to 1.4V. Optimally around 1.35V , with anything higher, temperature issues under load.

It is optimal to find a stable voltage in a fixed mode, then set the adaptive mode and drive in this knowledge for the adaptive mode, then set the offset value as necessary.

When overclocking RAM and using the XMP profile, it is necessary to control the voltage on the CPU VCCIO Voltage (VCCIO) and CPU System Agent Voltage (VCCSA).


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