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Overclocking - Or 'My CPU needs to be faster'
#1
PCSX2 is a very CPU intensive program, because while the Emotion Engine in the PS2 was only clocked at 300Mhz, emulation of it is an extremely complex process, and is why you ideally need at least a 3.5Ghz dual core CPU to be able to run PS2 games at any reasonable speed. But even nowadays the vast majority of CPUs out there aren't actually this fast. The race for raw CPU clock speed has been slowed rather heavily due to material restrictions. There is only so much you can do with silicon, instead the companies have been expanding sideways, going for more cores, and developing technologies such as Hyper-threading.

But just because a CPU has been sold with a set clock speed, in the vast majority of cases it can go much faster. CPUs are made in large batches and, I believe, once they are finished a large number of them are tested to see what speeds they are stable at, they take the lowest speed and brand that whole batch as being that lowest speed, while many of the chips can actually run much faster. Of course, there's a chance you get one of the low ones, but that's just down to luck.

Before I continue, I'll add this warning here. Overclocking does shorten the life of the CPU. They are manufactured to have at least a 10 year life, overclocking, running it hotter, will reduce the lifespan, the ballpark figure is usually around half. For most people this really isn't a worry, as 5 years is still easily long enough, as after that time the PC is usually too slow to run abything modern anyway, but obviously its up to you. Equally, there is a slim possibility of hardware failure. Anything you do to your computer is your own responsibility, neither me, nor anyone associated with pcsx2 can be held responsible for anything that breaks, stops working, or anything else. Also, through this process you will likely experience several freezes, crashes, reboots and possibly bluescreens. As with all of these, there is also a chance of data loss if it was being written to the hard drive, so keep backups of important things! If something breaks, don't blame me Tongue2
Also, there are some PC manufacturers, specifically Dell (Though there may be others) that do not allow you to overclock your CPU, and there's not really much you can do about it as its locked in the BIOS.

So, lets start with some tools.

First, you'll want Core Temp. This will be used to watch your CPU temperatures, make sure they don't go too hight.
Next, something to stress your system with. I use OCCT though there are other programs such as Prime95.
And also something for general PC info, CPU-Z.

Finally, we need to do some fact checking. Run CPU-Z to find out what CPU, Motherboard (Mainboard in CPU-Z) and RAM you have, specifically the DRAM frequency for the ram, and the FSBLaughRAM ratio. For instance, my Ram's frequency is currently 560Mhz, but the FSBLaughRAM ratio is 1:2, so I need to double the DRAM ratio to see the actual speed: 1120Mhz:
[Image: ramvo.jpg]
Without an overclock, this value will in all likelyhood either by 667, 800, 1066, 12800, 14400 or 16000Mhz. Make a note of the actual RAM speed, CPU and motherboard model, as you'll likely need these later on. This would also be a good idea to find the CMOS jumper:
[img][/img]
This is the 'panic button' for overclockers. If you somehow mess up the BIOS so the PC won't even boot anymore , find this jumper, switch it so it is covering the other two pins (There will always be three pins, so it always covers the middle one). This resets the BIOS settigns back to the factory default. If you can't find it, google. If google can't help, remove the battery (Big silver thing in that pic), leave for 30seconds then put it back in.

Check what CPU you have, and find the max temp. Generally, the best way to find this is to run a google search. For instance, E6600 max temp, top result says Intel say its 60C. Equally, my 1055T max temp is 62C.
You can also run Core Temp and check the Tj Max, as this is usually the temperature at which the CPU will start throttling itself to avoid damage, so you don't want to be going too close to that! Especially the temperature sensor on the CPU isn't on top of the cores, so does not give the exact core temperatures.

I did find a table here:
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/1...ures.shtml
With some temps for older CPUs, including C2D and C2Quads.

If you can't find any info, 60C is a safe temp to aim for.

Next, you need to see what your PC currently runs at, so you know how much headroom you have. For this, run OCCT on the default test on the default setting (1 hour). This will max out the CPU, raising the temp up to as high as it should go at its current settings. Most people here will probably have the stock heatsink and cooler for their respective brands, which will allow for some overclocking, but not very much. If you want lower temps and higher clocks, you really need a new heatsink and fan. For instance, compare the stock intel heatsink from the C2D range:
http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/9507/in...ckpspc.jpg
With the heatsink I bought:
http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/8068/ifx141.jpg

There's a large market for aftermarket heatsinks and fans, which are available from most online PC hardware stores, and specialist high street retailers. But now, on with the overclocking.

Ocne you know that you have some temperature room for overclocking, you need to go into your BIOS. This tells your PC how to work, where everything is and so on, and it controls how fast your CPU runs, which is what we want.
Getting into the BIOS differs between motherboard manufacturers, but generally you need to press the delete key as your computer boots up. There will be an on-screeen indication, for instance mine says 'press del to enter setup'. Look for something similar to this and you'll be able to get in. If not, google Smile
Once in, you need to find the CPU settings, again this depends on your mobo manufacturer as to where they are located. This generally requires some poking around, which is fine as long as you don't change any settings Laugh Alternatively, hit up google once again (search <mobo model> overclocking , for instance asus p5b overclocking would work for my old mobo).

Once you find the correct part, you need to start changing some settings. You will likely need to change some settings from 'auto' to 'manual' if you want to see them. For reference, here are my two PC's BIOS pages:

[Image: 2008-05-04-70651.jpg]

In this Asus P5B motherboard, I had to go into Advanced, and there set AI tuning to Manual in order to see any of the options below it. Here, the key values are the CPU frequency, the Memory Voltage, and the Vcore voltage. These control the CPU speed, memory volts and CPU volts respectively.

[Image: img0007tdr.jpg]
[Image: img0008km.jpg]
And here's my current BIOS, slightly chopped I'm afraid, I was only using this to make note of the values, not to post anywhere.

Here, the Host Clock Control setting had to be set to manual so I could change the speeds. Again, the key options here were the CPU frequency, and later on I had to change 'System Voltage Control' to manual to get access to the voltages. Key ones were the RAM voltage Control, and the two CPU voltage controls.

For now, we aren't going to touch voltages, we want to increase as much as possible without increasing voltages, as these raise temps far more than just raising the FSB.

For those who don't know, the speed of a CPU is a combination of two factors. The Front Side Bus (FSB, or CPU frequency) and the CPU multiplier. Multiply the FSB by the multiplier and you get the CPU speed. In my above link, the FSB is 275, the Multiplier is x14. 275x14 = 3850Mhz, or 3.85Ghz. On almost all CPUs, the multiplier is locked to a set value, and you can't raise it (Though you may be able to lower it, but this doesn't help). There are some CPUs, (Intel Extreme branded, AMD Black Edition) which come with unlocked multipliers, which allow larger overclocks by letting you raise the multiplier, which is far easier to do. But this comes at a cost, so assuming you didn't buy one of those, you're stuck with raising the FSB. But the FSB doesn't just affect the CPU, ram timings are also tied to it. RAM has a set speed, and while it can also be overclocked, the results aren't usually noticible. Like the CPU, ram speeds are taken from multiplying the FSB by a set multiplier, which you can change. For isntance from the P5B the RAM frequency is 700Mhz, which is the FSB x 2.5. And in the newer one, the ram multiplyer (memory clock) was set to x4, so the ram speed was 275x4 = 1100Mhz. For now, we don't want to overclock the ram, since this can cause stability issues, we're only interested in CPU speeds.

1. Make sure that the RAM is below the original speeds by reducing its multipler if needed.
2. Raise the FSB value by 5.
3. Save the settings and reboot, run OCCT on the default settings for the default hour with Core Temp open to watch the temps.
4. If it completes with no problems, and the temps aren't going too high, go back to step 1. If it does crash go to step 5.
5. Raise the Vcore up a notch. This will raise temps, so don't bother doing this if you were close to the temp limit. Then go back to 1.

If the machine freezes, crashes, bluescreens or anything else, you're clocked too high for it to be stable. Increase the CPU voltage, try again.

Once you can't raise the FSB or Vcore any higher, that's about all the overclock your system can manage. More expensive motherboards have higher quality components which will allow for higher overclocks, and obviously a good cooler is essential to dealing with all the heat. Also, a commonly missed way to keep the temps low is tidyness! A heatsink trapped full of dust isn't going to do a very good job, and equally if the case is cluttered up with cables, how are you going to get any air flowing through it! Finally, a good case can really help with this. Lots of fans, and preferably room behind the motherboard tray to route all the cables can provide you with fantastic cooling.
[Image: tidyw.jpg]

Beautiful Smile

If you have any questions, feel free to ask here and I'll do my best to help answer them. There are also some specialist forums with lots of help, where you can probably get better advice than mine, such as here.

Hopefully this can help people who're struggling to get their games playing quite at the right speed, but I repeat, if you break your PC, please don't complain to me or the PCSX2 team. This is advice, that's all Smile

Also, as I finished this, I found I had two clearer pics (though older, with some different speeds) of my bios. Here they are:
http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/9181/bios1.jpg
http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/1395/bios2t.jpg
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#2
that's not actually true bout pcsx2. as of right now it needs a faster CPU, but the needs have been lowering. I'm able to run more intense games faster and faster over the revisions. If you pay attention on a low-end PC you notice these things.
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#3
(01-21-2011, 09:09 PM)Saiki Wrote: that's not actually true bout pcsx2. as of right now it needs a faster CPU, but the needs have been lowering. I'm able to run more intense games faster and faster over the revisions. If you pay attention on a low-end PC you notice these things.

Really? Awesome! I've only got the one PC to try it on, and my laptop's far too slow. Good to hear that more people will be able to play it though Smile
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#4
Yes, God of war, specifically went from 10 to 30 to 50+ in about a thousand revisions. and others are doing the same. I no longer have to use speed hacks with Kingdom Hearts (1 or 2) but I do anyway, just for sake of not having to change my settings constantly. Everything is changing quick, the core of PCSX2 has become usable on slower PCs and half of the games I tested are running a 40fps or higher (this includes games like Tekken 5, which are VERY hard on pcsx2) The reason you haven' seen a change at 3.5ghz is because there is no change that can be measured when everything is already close to maxed out.
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#5
Where in Indiana? Im in Indianapolis myself
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#6
(01-21-2011, 10:43 PM)Shallow Wrote: Where in Indiana? Im in Indianapolis myself

lol, just wandering this replay what has to do with this thread Laugh ...

anyway...

this is a very good guide for overclocking...

but unfortunately I cannot overclock my cpu right now because it run hot even on stock settings, when I play very cpu-intensive games in pcsx2 sometimes my cpu can hit the 70c mark easily.

with prime95 my cpu can hit the 85+ degrees celsius in a matter of seconds.

I am planning to change the stock HSF with the Coolermaster V6GT soon.
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#7
(01-21-2011, 10:43 PM)Shallow Wrote: Where in Indiana? Im in Indianapolis myself

not that it's ANYWHERE on topic, but I'm up north (and that's as much as you're getting out of me)
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#8
(01-21-2011, 11:27 PM)Saiki Wrote: not that it's ANYWHERE on topic, but I'm up north (and that's as much as you're getting out of me)

oh, sorry lol
wasnt my intention to pry
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#9
(01-21-2011, 09:29 PM)Saiki Wrote: Yes, God of war, specifically went from 10 to 30 to 50+ in about a thousand revisions. and others are doing the same. I no longer have to use speed hacks with Kingdom Hearts (1 or 2) but I do anyway, just for sake of not having to change my settings constantly. Everything is changing quick, the core of PCSX2 has become usable on slower PCs and half of the games I tested are running a 40fps or higher (this includes games like Tekken 5, which are VERY hard on pcsx2) The reason you haven' seen a change at 3.5ghz is because there is no change that can be measured when everything is already close to maxed out.

Lol, a thousand revisions.
That's a lot of time and work, at the very least it went to excellent use.

In order to really test PCSX2 it has to be benchmarked on a wide range of systems every 20-50 revisions. While this isn't easily possible, what if the program benchmarked on it's own by uploading details of everyones settings and average framerates in games. That would give some measurable data on whether it was really improving as quick as we think it is.

Since I don't have a dual core, I can test PCSX2 to see if it's really made an improvement or not.
Final Fantasy X runs closer to a full 60 FPS more of the time and I haven't tested other games. I bought 2 one terabyte hard drives so that I'd have plenty more storage for screencapture or whatever, so I'll have to dump a couple disc images once I find some of the games I haven't touched in ages, like Final Fantasy 12.

FF12 runs like 30 FPS without speedhacks, and I noticed that to improve a games performance sometimes all that needs to be done is changing the frame limiter from 59.94 to 30. It works perfectly with Final Fantasy XII (giving beyond full speed without frame limiter instead of half real time) and other games gain gains momentarily.
CPU: Pentium D 'Presler' 915 2.8 ghz 2x2MB L2 @ 3.5 ghz
GPU: eVGA [Nvidia] 8600GT 256MB SSC DDR3
Tested: FFX, FFX-2, FFXII, MGS3, KH, KH2, The Hobbit NTSC
PCSX2 FTW! Biggrin
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#10
Good. Now, we need Core i3/i5/i7 overclocking ones...
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