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Some help for a newcomer please - Maximus VIII Hero and i7 6700K

Level 7
Hi All

I am brand new to the forum and to overclocking and I am hoping some experienced forum members might be able to spare a few minutes to help me out with my first baby steps into the world of overclocking. Many thanks in advance and also apologies for the level of detail set out below. A few things have got me stumped at the moment and. as I am not entirely sure what might be relevant, I thought it best to err on the side of too much detail rather than too little.

My system:
i7 6700K
Maximus VIII Hero Bios version 3504
16 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000 MHz (2 x 8GB)
GPU - GTX 1070 Strix Gaming OC 8GB
Noctua NH-U12S CPU Cooler
EVGA Supernova 750W G2 PSU
Samsung 850 Evo 500GB for OS, utility programs and games
Western Digital Blue 2TB for storage
Fractal Design R5 case with 3 X 140mm case fans (2 intake at front and 1 exhaust at rear)
Windows 10 Home 64 bit
Up to date Windows drivers and current Bios for the motherboard. Running reasonably cool, pretty much silent and stable at default settings.

What I am trying to do and where I am at currently:
I am looking to set up a relatively conservative "everyday" overclock at around the 4.4GHz mark for gaming - BL2, Fallout 4, Dying Light and the like at 2k resolution. I have been familiarising myself with the Bios, reading/watching a number of "how to" guides on the internet and have been through Chino and der8auer's guides on the forum here several times.

Where I am at currently is a CPU core ratio of 44 with the base clock left at 100 and a manual voltage setting of 1.265 volts with a load line calibration setting of 5 (8 being the maximum). According to CPU-Z/HW I am getting the 4.4Ghz on all four cores and the memory is running at the advertised frequency. (I have set out the Bios settings I am using detail at the end of the post.) This set up is passing Realbench and aida64 stress tests, giving me a good performance bump over stock on Cinebench R15 runs and appears to be completely stable during normal use. I know the Noctua NH-U12S is not exactly "heavy duty" but CPU temperatures seem pretty good - at around 22 degrees ambient, stress tests are topping out at 70 degrees, the system idles a bit over 30 degrees with maximums in everyday use topping out in the mid 60s with mid 50s being a typical average for "heavy" gaming. GPU max temps during heavy gaming are mid 60s.

So far so good (I think) but I did have a few questions and (potential) issues:

1. With the CPU core voltage manually set at 1.265 volts, HW is from time to time showing maximum volts at 1.280. Is this a function of the line load calibration or is something else going on here?

2. Similarly, I have manually set both the CPU VCCIO voltage and the CPU system agent voltage at 1.1 volts but when looking at these values in the Bios they are both showing up to 1.136 volts. What is going on there? If I leave these two on the auto settings with the XMP profile enabled, the Bios is showing me (what I understand to be) quite high voltages for these - around the 1.33 volt mark. The XMP profile sets the DRAM voltage at 1.35.

3. Benchmarking using Realbench 2.56 is throwing up some results that are a bit confusing for a novice like me. The GIMP image Editing test is showing a score of around 200K and I understand this test focuses on single threaded and memory performance. On the other hand the Handbrake video compression test (which I understand looks at multi-threaded performance) is giving me numbers around 92K. Is this just a function of the numerical scale used for the two different tests or is something going wrong with my multi-thread performance? At this stage, I am not too fussed about the absolute scores. I am just wondering if the disparity between the two scores is pointing to a problem. I have run the benchmark test dozens of times and in each case I have set realbench.exe to realtime priority in task manager for the sake of consistency. Any advice gratefully received.

4 Finally, just a very nooby question regarding setting the voltage to adaptive at the end of this process in the current Bios. When I select the "adaptive setting" it gives me the box to plug in a voltage (the manual setting plus 0.01 or 0.02 volts right?) but that option also leaves up an option to plug in an offset value. Do I leave this on "auto" or should I be plugging in a minimum value of 0.01v here?

Detailed Bios settings:
Just in case any of these are relevant to any of the above
AI overclock tuner - Selected to XMP but answered "no" to the dialogue box that comes up when that option is selected
BCLK - 100
ASUS multi core enhancement - auto
CPU core ratio - sync all cores
Core ratio limit - 44
DRAM Frequency - 3000 MHz (set by the XMP profile)
CPU load line calibration - 5
Intel speed step -enabled
Turbo mode - enabled
CPU Core/Cache current limit - 255.5
Min CPU cache ratio - 8
Max CPU cache ratio - 41
CPU Core/cache voltage - manual, 1.265v
DRAM voltage - 1.35v (set by the XMP profile)
CPU VCCIO voltage - manual, 1.1v
CPU system agent voltage - manual, 1.1v

Many thanks to anybody who waded through the wall of text above and I would be very grateful for any advice or insights.

Wishing everyone a safe and prosperous 2018.


Hi Yeldarb1

Your overclock looks good with nice temps.

To answer your questions:

1) You could try LLC at level 4 and see if this keeps the voltage closer to 1.265v.

2) Setting the cpu vccio and cpu system agent voltages manually to 1.10v is good, as you can see on auto the board over volts those voltages. Going up to 1.136v is perfectly fine.

3) I have the 7700k delidded at 5.2GHz, here is my Realbench 2.56 score.

4) When you set the cpu core/cache voltage to adaptive mode you'll enter your voltage of 1.265v in the "Additional Turbo Mode CPU Core Voltage Override". In adaptive mode with the c-states and speedstep enabled and the windows power plan set to balanced the cpu speed and voltage will throttle at idle, this conserves power and helps to prolong the life of your cpu.

I personally like to set the ram manually rather than using X.M.P. but with your adjustments your ram looks good too !

Thanks very much Nate152.

I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out.

That all makes perfect sense. I will make the changes and do some more monitoring during regular use.

Thanks also for sharing those Realbench results. While your system is more high end and the absolute numbers are higher, the ratios between the component scores are not too far off what I am seeing. That gives me some comfort that nothing horrible is happening during the Handbrake test.

Kind regards

Level 14
The variance in voltages is quite normal, the only way to get accurate readings is with a DVM if you know where to connect the leads.
If it was me I would leave LLC at 5, minimum cache on auto, offset can be left on auto or 0.001 to 0.005, the offset is applied across the complete range from idle to max load
Did you decide on the vcore using manual voltage, is it stable if you lower it any

Either way your temps are good if it is running how you like enjoy

Hi Menthol

Thanks very much for your reply.

On default settings the Bios was showing vcore at 1.264v so I thought 1.265v was a reasonable starting point for a manual setting. (I hear what you are saying about the voltage readings though.) I can re-check this but I did get a failed Realbench stress test at 4.4Ghz with vcore set manually at 1.260v.

I suspect I may not have a great overclocking chip as I needed to set a manual vcore of 1.31v to pass a Realbench stress test at 4.5GHz and no joy at 4.6GHz at that voltage. That's not a great drama for me. I am a bit picky about system noise and the temps I have been getting at 4.4GHz are still with the case fans and the NH-U12S at silent/near silent settings. If I can get 4.4GHz with sustainable voltages and temperatures and keep the rig running near silent, I will be a very happy camper.

I will do some re-testing of all this over the next few days and check back in - just pulled out what proved to be a dodgy power board between my computer and the wall socket and now I am wondering whether that's had any influence on results to date. It is a good thing I quite enjoy the testing process 🙂

Kind regards

Level 14
I agree, there is definitely the point where a few mhz are not worth the dba, I am finding as I get older that point comes much sooner, I came to the conclusion a few years ago I needed more than one rig, a daily quit rig and another to get my kicks on

Hi All

Just checking back in. It appears that the preset XMP profile for my memory was not as stable as I first thought. Starting out with the defaults in the bios and then loading the XMP profile with no other changes was passing stress tests and multiple benchmark runs but in actual use I started to get crashes when waking the computer from sleep and then I couldn't get past the bios into windows. I reverted back to default bios settings and restored my system from a very recent backup (full disk images) and all was well again. (Probably not an issue for the old hands but I was glad I made a system recovery disk on DVD as well as USB because I found it much easier to convince the machine to boot from the optical drive.)

I verified that the memory was indeed on the QVL for the motherboard and then took Nate152's advice and set up the memory manually. (@Nate152 - thanks very much for that advice. I found one of your previous posts where you helped someone out with Corsair LPX memory with the same timings and voltages as mine which was very useful.) As per the memory specs I entered 15-17-35 (the bios gave me three variables to enter) a command rate of 2N and DRAM voltage of 1.35 and Ieft everything else on auto, including the cpu system agent and cpu vccio voltages. As far as the values shown in the bios can be trusted, the result was that the system agent and vccio voltages in "auto" showed at 1.16 rather than the 1.33 I was seeing with the XMP profile.

Those new manual settings again passed benchmark runs and some stress testing and over the past 48 hours I have had no issues with waking the computer, restarts or extended gaming session when I really should be sleeping 😉

I will go back in over the next day or two and see if I can get a stable overclock with manual voltage settings.

Kind regards

Hi All

Unfortunately I am a bit stuck and need some more advice.

At stock CPU speeds and default bios settings (except for setting the memory timings, frequency (3000 MHz) and DRAM voltage as per the memory specs) everything is working nicely. I left the system agent and vccio voltages on auto and in the bios the motherboard is showing each of those at 1.16v which seems to be a reasonable enough number. That's all completely stable and passing realbench stress tests and benchmark runs with low temps.

Likewise, if I leave all memory settings on auto (which runs the memory at 2133 MHz or thereabouts) and set up a manual overclock of 4.4GHz with a manual voltage of either 1.265v or 1.275v, it is stable, passing the same stress tests and benchmark runs and the max temp (@1.275v) for the realbench stress test was 72 degrees. LLC was set at 5, min cache on auto and max cache at 41.

Now the thing is that the realbench benchmark scores I am seeing from those two set ups (stock cpu/3000 MHz memory versus cpu@4.4Ghz/2133 MHz memory) are pretty much line ball. What has got me stumped for the moment is that when I combine the 3000 MHz memory settings with that manual overclock, the realbench benchmark score goes down, in particular for the image editing test. I have tried with system agent and vccio voltages set on auto and also bumping them both up to 1.2v - same result. I have confirmed that the memory is on the QVL for the motherboard and double checked timings and DRAM voltage.

Any suggestions as to what to investigate or try from here would be gratefully received. For the moment I am running with stock cpu speed and the memory at 3000 MHz for day to day use.

Kind regards