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Intel Quad-Core Overclocking

Wednesday, Sept 24th, 2008

It has been a while since I had a stable enough system to consider overclocking. However, my current Intel 975 board has been so rock solid for the last year and a half I couldn't imagine parting with it. I decided to see how fast I could push the Intel 2.4GHz dual-core system instead of doing a complete rebuild and worry about reinstalling the RAID sub-system and OS. For just $380 a few hours of time I managed to upgrade the system to an overclocked 3.0GHz quad-core while doubling the system memory.


Zalman CNPS9700 LED 110mm $53, Corsair Dominator 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 1066MHz PC2 8500 $136, Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 $185

The Zalman CNPS9700 is absolutely massive. I can palm a basketball and this thing barely fits in the palm of my hand. This heavyweight cpu fan weighs in at 690 grams, which is 210 grams heavier than the maximum mounting weight recommended by Intel. I was suprised that after the sink was installed, one could still rotate it on the die. Needless to say, you should exercise extreme caution when moving your PC around with this sink.

The Corsair sticks are tall. Luckily, the memory location on the Intel board provided for no interference with the oversized Zalman. Just another reason why the BOXD975XBX2KR is a great board.

Q6600 2.4GHz Kentsfield SLACR G0 Revision. According to AnAndTech, this revision consumes 3-6% less power for better overclocking. Luckily hooked me up (as usual).

Copper heat pipes

Polished mount. Make sure to clean it with alcohol and a lint-free cloth. I also sprayed compressed air on it just to make sure all the dust particles were removed.

Preparing for surgery. I opted for the tried and true Artic Silver thermal compound #5.

Q6600 and mounting hardware installed

Fan speed adjuster. The Zalman isn't very noisy, but it is noticable if you have your box right next to you while you work.

Overclocking Results

Overall I was pretty impressed with this setup. With a conservative tune, the 3GHz barrier was reached simply by increasing the system bus speed from 266MHz to 334MHz. No voltage adjustments were necessary and the system has been stable for a day now.

With a little more experimentation and voltage tweaks this system should be able to overclock even more. Other OC'ers have pushed this CPU naturally aspirated well over 3GHz. With improved airflow (upgraded fans and perhaps a new LIAN LI case) this shouldn't be a problem.

CPU-Z screenshot. Note the system bus of 1336MHz!

Four cores!

The ricey blue-LED in the Zalman 110mm fan.

So there you have it, from slug to rocketship in for just a few hundred bucks and a couple hours of time. Now if I could just locate another EVGA 8800GTS for an SLI setup...

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