Upgrading an old computer

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:01 pm

I must say the 955 overclocks pretty damn good! The stock speed is 3.2ghz and right now I'm at 4.1ghz and it seems to be totally stable. I had it at 4.2ghz and was able to run a Cinebench benchmark just fine but when I ran Prime95 and came back around 20 minutes the PC had rebooted so I went down to 4.1 and Prime95 has been running for around an hour with no issues. If it runs for 2 hours with no errors then I'm going to call that stable. I know some people recommend running it for 12 hours+ but in my experience if an error is going to occur it usually shows up fairly early. I haven't tried overclocking the NB or FSB yet, just raised the multiplier and added a bit more voltage.

Here are my OC results running Cinebench as a test

Stock 3.2ghz- 650 pts
3.5ghz- 708 pts
4.1 with NB oc'ed to 2400mhz - 846pts
4.2ghz - 848 pts
4.31ghz - 881 pts

4.1 with the NB at 2400mhz was the fastest speed I could get that was totally stable. I was pretty surprised I was able to even boot into Windows at 4.31ghz. Let alone actually be able to complete Cinebench! When running Prime95 at 4.31 is crashed after just a few seconds. Being stable at 4.1ghz is pretty good imo. That is a 900mhz increase! After all that what settings am I going to run it on? Stock. Then what was all this for then you may ask. Just for fun, the PC is used by a family member who won't benefit from the increase to 4.1ghz. The main reason I am going back to stock is due to the power savings. When you overclock you lose all the energy saving benefits such as the CPU lowering its power when it isn't needed. It is nice to know I can go to 4.1 on it if I ever need to.
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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:08 pm

One thing I learned from overclocking this old PC is how much overclocking really increases the total wattage used of the system. I would have thought increasing the Vcore from 1.37 to 1.47 wouldn't really add that much power usage. I can't remember the exact numbers but at stock it was around 250-260watts. I had the vcore close 1.50 for one or two runs. 1.47 I think is what I had and the wattage was over 350 under load! I shut it down quickly after I saw that since the PSU in it is some old cheap one that is only 380w and it was really really hot. The air coming out of the back fan was hotter than a damn heater! I switched it out for a better quality 450w PSU I had laying around which I should have done before anyways and it ran much cooler under load. I was using a Kill-A-Watt meter to check power usage. I started out only using it out of curiosity on how much power it was using and to make sure it wasn't pushing the 380W PSU. Good thing I did. Well under normal use it only gets to 200 watts or so anyway but still I had the better one just sitting around doing nothing. Plus the old one is filled with dust which isn't helping anything.

I also found that the power savings settings do work when overclocked but only to a certain point. I can go as high as 3.7ghz and it will still lower the clocks and voltage in Windows when it is at idle. Any higher than 3.7ghz and the minimum/maximum processor percentage settings disappears from power settings. So at least I can get an extra 500mhz while still keeping the power saving settings. I wonder why it doesn't work any higher than 3.7ghz? I don't see why it should matter, no matter how high the multiplier or voltage is raised it should still be able to lower itself down when at idle or a light load. Oh well 3.7ghz is better than stock 3.2ghz. Cinebench scores at 3.7ghz are 751 vs 650 at stock.

Another interesting thing I found about this CPU is that the thermal limit is only 62C(144F) That is the lowest limit I've seen for a "modern" CPU. Usually 62C would be considered a decent max temp for air cooling. My stays in the 120s at stock clocks and got up to the high 130s when overclocking. Still I wonder why it has such a low thermal limit? Nowadays CPUs are apparently fine running at 212F(100C)! Even though the manufacturers claim the CPUs can ran at that high of a temp there is no way I'd ever let it get close to that. I'd be getting worried at around 180F(82C). If it was getting hotter than that then it is time for a better cooler.

Here are some RAM overclocking results. I never really mess with RAM overclocking, I don't know a ton about the timings.

FSB 200(Stock)
Timings 6-3-3-9-12(Auto)
Read 4594 MB/s
Write 2194 MB/s
Latency 14.9 ns
---------------------
FSB 225
Timings 6-6-6-18-24
Read 4857 MB/s
Write 2309 MB/s
Latency 15.5 ns
---------------------
FSB 250
Timings 6-6-6-18-24
Read 5359 MB/s
Write 2561 MB/s
---------------------
FSB 266
Timings 6-6-6-18-24
Read 6853 MB/s
Write 2687 MB/s
Latency 14.4 ns
---------------------
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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:48 am

Since this PC will only be used for streaming and web browsing overclocking the CPU wouldn't see much of a benefit. I was mainly overclocking just for fun to see how far the chip could be pushed. The settings I decided to stick with are stock speed (3.2ghz) undervolted. The motherboard set the default Vcore to 1.375. I've never really messed with lowering the Vcore before so I really didn't know how low I should expect it to go. I was thinking anything 1.3 or lower would be pretty decent. I ended up being able to lower the Vcore all the way down to 1.15v and it is completely stable! Idle temps are now around 79F-84F (26C-29C) When under 100 percent load in Prime95 for an extended amount of time it only gets up to around 105F(40C). So it should pretty much stay under 100F(38C) during normal use. The system's power usage now maxes out at around 160watts under load and about 110w at idle.

So I think these settings should be pretty good for awhile. If I ever need extra power I know I can crank it up 1ghz over stock speeds which is a pretty amazing overclock imo. But like I said this PC is just used for things like Youtube,Netflix and web browsing. I'd like to pop in a GPU that would at least be able to run Dolphin at 1080p, but until there is a card capable of that for around $20-$30 it probably isn't going to happen.

Besides a GPU the only other upgrade it will probably need someday is RAM. I've got 4GB of DDR2-800 in it right now but according to the specifications of the board on the ASRock website it can support up to 16GB of DDR2-1066. With the 955 overclocked to 4ghz+, 16gb of DDR2-1066 and a modern video card I bet you could game fairly decently on it. As long as the game didn't require the SSE4 instruction set. Pretty crazy that a system from 2008-2009 could still be used for gaming. I wonder what the best GPU for it would be that wouldn't be bottlenecked by either the CPU or PCI-Express 2.0 interface.
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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:38 am

Since I have the 5400+ just laying around as an extra chip now I thought why not pop it into a board? It could still make for a decent extra PC. Turns out the only AM2 board I have is a Gigabyte GA-M51GM-S2G . I got it from an "interesting" place. I was leaving my friends apartment one day and the garbage for everyone around there was this long wooden box thing. There was no cover so you could see right into it. Right on top was a black IBM CRT monitor and a black computer case with this motherboard inside. Of course I took them! The motherboard had no CPU or RAM. The monitor worked perfectly but I had never tried the motherboard until a few days ago. To my surprise it started up and recognized the CPU,HD,RAM and PCI-E GPU just fine. The problem is that when you restart the board it freezes. For example the CMOS battery is dead but if I go into the CMOS and change the settings then hit save it will actually save the settings but the board freezes when restarting. I hooked an XP drive my another PC to it and surprisingly it booted fine and ran with no issues. It is an odd issue but for something that came out of the trash what can you expect? I'm surprised it works at all! I'm going to mess with it a bit more and see what I can figure out. The bios is about 10 versions behind the latest one so I'm going to try and update that and see if it helps.
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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:04 pm

I have a question about RAM if anybody would care to answer. Like I said I don't know much about RAM timings and what not. In the above post I changed the timings from 6-3-3-9-12 to 6-6-6-18-24 because I figured I would have to lower them to OC and basically didn't really know what I was doing as far as timings were concerned. Anyways the RAM is DDR2 800 and I was able to increase the FSB to 260 stable. I obviously had to lower the CPU multiplier to do this but I ended up with a CPU clock speed a little above 4.1ghz with the FSB at 260. So that overclocks the ram to DDR2 1040. I ended up not needing to even change the timings. I was able to achieve this with the settings at the stock 6-3-3-9-12.

Now to me that seems like a pretty good overclock and timings. I was surprised I was able to get this kind of overclock on it because it is from a lot I bought on Ebay awhile back of 50 identical sticks of 1GB DDR2-800 for $20. For that price I assumed they would work ok but most mostly likely wouldn't OC at all. Here is a picture of one of the sticks.

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So is this overclock and timings pretty good for DDR2-800? One thing I forgot to add is that I also never changed the voltage, it is at stock. I'll have to check and see what the stock voltage is because I can't remember off hand.
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Dr. Zoidberg
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Dr. Zoidberg » Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:43 pm

Calavera wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:04 pm
So is this overclock and timings pretty good for DDR2-800?
1040 is a decent boost.

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:51 pm

Dr. Zoidberg wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:43 pm
Calavera wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:04 pm
So is this overclock and timings pretty good for DDR2-800?
1040 is a decent boost.
I actually had it all the way to 1064 but dialed it back a bit just to be sure it was stable. The next step up was above 1066. If I went above 1066 when Windows would go to load it would give a different load screen with a progress bar, but then wouldn't load. :dontknow" 1066 is the maximum the board supports so maybe going over that causes some kind of weird problem.

Oh and the AM2 Gigabyte board I was talking about in the previous post, I think I found the problem. A couple of the capacitors are slightly bulging so that could be the problem. Still if the capacitors were bad I'd think it would just not work at all. Not still work but with weird issues. Like I said when I hooked up an HD with Windows XP installed it seemed to work fine. Oh well who knows? I'm not too worried about it.
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melancholy
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by melancholy » Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:43 pm

Calavera wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:51 pm
Oh and the AM2 Gigabyte board I was talking about in the previous post, I think I found the problem. A couple of the capacitors are slightly bulging so that could be the problem. Still if the capacitors were bad I'd think it would just not work at all. Not still work but with weird issues.
That’s actually exactly what blown capacitors do. They still get electricity, but output at a inconsistent rate that sends wrong voltages to other parts of the board. That’s why a PC with blown caps will sometimes not turn on, sometimes work fine, sometimes freeze or become buggy, etc.

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:04 pm

melancholy wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:43 pm
Calavera wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:51 pm
Oh and the AM2 Gigabyte board I was talking about in the previous post, I think I found the problem. A couple of the capacitors are slightly bulging so that could be the problem. Still if the capacitors were bad I'd think it would just not work at all. Not still work but with weird issues.
That’s actually exactly what blown capacitors do. They still get electricity, but output at a inconsistent rate that sends wrong voltages to other parts of the board. That’s why a PC with blown caps will sometimes not turn on, sometimes work fine, sometimes freeze or become buggy, etc.
Ah I see. This is the first board I've ever had with blown capacitors so I wasn't sure what the symptoms are. I could probably get replacement capacitors pretty cheap but I don't even have a soldering iron. I'll probably just throw it back in with the other random motherboards to maybe fix one day but more then likely to just sit there.
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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:02 pm

I was messing around with overclocking the Phenom II X4 955 again just for fun and I was able to pass a score of 900 on CinebenchR20!

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The stock score on CinebenchR20 for the X4 955 is 650 and I was able to get an extra 266 points from overclocking. The overclock I used to get this score I would not even consider running all the time. It was just to see if I could get over 900. On the daily driver overclock settings at 3.8ghz I scored 811. The 916 points settings was 4,332ghz and a 262mhz FSB speed.

Of course I realize this is just a number and doesn't really mean anything overall since I doubt the system was very stable at the speed, but I'm just impressed I was able to get 916 points out of it. It even beats out the stock score for Phenom II X6 1055T which is 913.
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