P4 Overclocking - IntroductionIntroductionA lot of people these days have a lot of different hobbies. They tend to vary from person to person. Hobbies such as sports, music, television, movies etc. But how about those that are not into any of those generalized hobbies? How about those who spend countless hours, like me, on the computer looking for a breathtaking hobby?Well awhile ago, a few "computer junkies" got together looking for that new breathtaking hobby. As they juggled their minds, they looked at a few computer magazines with CPU listings. "P2 266", "P2 300", "P2 333" - Oh, could it be possible to take a P2 266 to perhaps 333MHz?Well here we are, a couple years later. Everybody is doing it, from 14 year olds to grandmothers. What do they call this breathtaking hobby? Well nonetheless, overclocking! It's a hobby which can be quite competitive at times. Today we bring you our Pentium 4 overclocking article. Teaming with some generous sponsors, we paired up an Albatron PX845PE Pro 2 (from chillblast.com), a stick of OCZ PC3500 DDR Memory (from shop4memory.com) & various top of the line cooling products from exoticpc.com.What are you waiting for? Click next and enjoy the ride!
P4 Overclocking - CPUCPU SelectionAs you noticed already, we are using a Pentium 4 processor in this review. But which one did we select?
P4 Overclocking - MotherboardMotherboard SelectionChillblast.com was kind enough to provide us with the Albatron PX845PE Pro 2 motherboard to really help us push our overlocking dream to the max. If any board can max out my CPU, it should be this one.
P4 Overclocking - RAMRAM SelectionFor every overclocker to succeed, they need good RAM. RAM can be the reason why you hit an astonishing overclock, or the reason why you barely make it past stock. Luckily, shop4memory.com provided us with a stick of OCZ PC3500 512MB RAM. This is guaranteed to hit 433 MHZ, will it? Continue to find out...First let's give you a few snapshots of the RAM. here.OCZ has stuck a copper spreader onto the RAM to perhaps help with performance. Of course, the objective is to dissipate as much heat as possible from the RAM to give you that extra MHz you need to reach your goal. Our stick of RAM, as we were told by shop4memory.com, uses Winbond 5ns chips. Definitely some good stuff here.
P4 Overclocking - CoolingCooling SelectionFor every overclock, you also need good cooling. The stock cooling Intel provides definitely is good, but not that good.
P4 Overclocking - The Goal and Test SetupNow that we have covered what we will be using in this overclocking article, it's time for me to state my goal.The Goal: Achieving 16,000 points in 3DMark 2001 SE via overclocking our Pentium 4 CPU.Test System:Processor(s): Intel Pentium 4 2.4 B 533 FSBMotherboard(s): Albatron PX845PE Pro II (Supplied by Chillblast)Memory(s): OCZ PC3500 Memory (Supplied by Shop4memory)Video Card(s): ATI Radeon 9700 Pro (Supplied by ATi)Hard Disk(s): Seagate Barracuda ATAIV 60 GB HDD Sound Card(s): Hercules Game Theater XP 7.1 Operating System Used: Windows XP ProfessionalDrivers Used: ATi Catalyst 2.3Software Used: Madonion 3DMark 2001 SE
P4 Overclocking - Overclocking the CPUOverclocking the CPUOverclocking is a great hobby, but we should always note it can be dangerous. You are taking your CPU or any other device you are overclocking past its official rating. By doing so you are voiding your warranty.When overclocking, you usually will be using your BIOS to do it, but if you have an older motherboard, it might consist of dip switches or jumpers. Most BIOS's have general overclocking options but every motherboard varies to a certain degree. In our case, we have all of our options in the BIOS, so we do not need to open our case to adjust settings - phew! One of the main differences between overclocking an AMD system and a Pentium 4 system is the use of multipliers. The multipliers on an AMD can be unlocked with modification, while the Pentium 4 multipliers cannot be unlocked. We will now move on to showing you a screenshot of the BIOS settings for overclocking we have available on our Albatron PX845PE Pro II.
P4 Overclocking - Overclocking the CPU continuedOverclocking the CPU continuedNext we have an option which is called "Fixed AGP/PCI output frequency". Theoretically, when you raise your FSB, this also raises your PCI/AGP buses from their defaults of 33/66 to higher speeds depending on your FSB. A lot of the time, this can limit your overclock since your AGP/PCI cards might not be able to handle higher AGP/PCI bus frequencies. By enabling this option, you can still raise your FSB without raising your AGP/PCI bus, thus locking the AGP/PCI buses at 33/66. If you decide to keep it disabled, you can also manually use CPU: AGP ratios to find a setting where your peripherals can run at a higher bus speed but still be stable and not affect your overclock. Continuing on, the next thing we have is DDR: CPU ratio. This controls how fast your DDR speed will be set at. Under this menu, Albatron gives you a couple of options. "2.00X", "2.50x" as well as "2.66x". To figure out the DDR speed, the motherboard simply takes what your FSB is set at and multiplies it by the number you choose in this menu. So for instance, if you are running at stock, which is 133 FSB while choosing the "2.66x" option, your DDR memory will be running at a speed of 354MHz. AGP voltage has the same concept as your CPU voltage, also known as Vcore. You will use this feature to provide your video card with more juice to hit a higher clock on both the core MHz as well as the memory MHz. Finally we have your DDR voltage; you will also use this to provide your memory with more juice to hit higher clocks if you see it's limiting your overclock. A lot of companies that you buy ram from, indicate that you will need a certain amount of DDR voltage to hit the advertised speed.
P4 Overclocking - Overclocked Test ResultsOverclocked Test ResultsBefore sticking the pedal to the metal, we decided to do a stock run to see what our base score is. With default settings set in the BIOS, CPU at stock as well as the DDR memory running at 333MHz, we achieved the following scores.- 2.4GHz (stock) Test Results
P4 Overclocking - ConclusionConclusionIn Conclusion, even though we fell short of our initial goal, I still believe that 2.88GHz is a fairly decent overclock from a 2.4GHz processor. With a score of 15669, which is quite high, I believe this system could last me awhile. Below you will find my final comments on the hardware I used during this overclocking adventure.CPU: The Intel Pentium 2.4B 533, which is currently priced at $175 USD on Price Watch, is quite a nice processor. The Intel Pentium 2.8B processor is currently priced at $359 USD. We achieved the performance, even a little more, of a Pentium 2.8B processor at basically half the cost. We would definitely recommend this processor to anyone who doesn't want to put a big hole in their pocket.Motherboard:The Albatron PX845PE Pro II is the best motherboard I have ever worked with. It has a lot of great features and add-ons, and is the king as far as overclocking goes for the Pentium 4. I wasn't able to hit more then 2.8GHz on any other motherboard that I used with this setup (Shuttle AS45GTR, Asus P4S8X, etc), but the Albatron helped me hit 2.88GHz.RAM:In the past I have had great doubts about OCZ's line of memory. But at the end of this article my mind has definitely changed. Even though our OCZ PC3500 was rated at 433 and we only hit 423 (10 MHz under its rating) we believe it was not the memory's fault. On our Athlon XP setup we were able to hit 433 MHz; unfortunately we couldn't get past that.Cooling:Cooling was definitely the big factor in us hitting such high speeds. Using top of the line cooling that our gracious friends over at exoticpc.com sent us, our CPU never went over 30c and our case temperature was a cool 22c. Unfortunately the down side to these great temperatures was the noise.
Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:25 pm CDT
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