I like to use HandBrake as a quick check to see how my CPU is doing. In the case of the stability test above, it was to see if the motherboard could sustain our CPU's typical overclock of 4.4Ghz at 1.185v with a 3.1v input voltage and 3733MHz overclock. We used a +0.4v VCCSA offset to get the memory that high and a 1.5v DRAM voltage. We didn't mess much with the mesh, but you might be able to get to 3.2Ghz with 1.25-1.3v mesh voltage.
Now, if you remember the flow chart from the first page, I have intermediate stress tests placed after each stage and then a hefty test at the end. That is because stress testing can take days at a time, some people will not call a system "stable" unless it can withstand two days of Prime95 with AVX. I recommend finding a stress testing program that can be run in minutes to an hour, and then when you have tuned all your knobs, then run something like Prime95 for a day or two. I mainly use three stability testing programs; HandBrake encoding of a 4K video (very quick but shows performance and uses AVX), Intel Burn Test with a decent chunk of memory usage (has AVX and can be run however long you like), and Prime95 blend one day and small FFTs for another (latest version with AVX).
Now, there are many out there who still use older versions of Prime95, mainly because older versions didn't utilize the AVX. If AVX is crashing your system because it is overly intensive, you should use an AVX offset, that is what it is there for. However, if you do that you should also use an older version of Prime95 or another stress test without AVX so that you can also test out your maximum multiplier.
Prime95 has a few different tests you can run. The default test is a blend test, which tests most everything, but isn't going to demolish CPU core instabilities as Small FFTs would. There is some documentation on how to disable AVX use within Prime95 by adding in a string in the local.text file created when the program runs, but from my testing, that method didn't work. Many people also use RealBench for hardcore testing. AIDA64 also has a built-in test, and you can choose what you test (core, FPU, etc.) but I would increase the amount of RAM used in that test as the default value is a bit low. AIDA64 is considered a "safe" test by many, but it's not super intensive like Prime95.
I would recommend using an AVX offset if you will use that same offset in real life, but you need to make sure you stress test with a program that doesn't use AVX. In the end, you will be faced with many different roadblocks when you overclock, but the rule of thumb is increased frequency requires increased cooling or increased voltage. Voltage is a double-edged sword because as you increase voltage, you also increase temperatures which decrease stability, so in the end, increasing cooling is one of the best methods of increasing your overclock. I hope this guide has helped as a primer on Skylake-X overclocking; if you need any help or advice feel free to reach out to us in the comments or email the author directly.
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- Page 1 [Introduction to Overclocking and The Flow Chart]
- Page 2 [Disclaimer and Before You Begin Overclocking]
- Page 3 [CPU Multipliers and Voltages]
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