How to Overclock an Intel 4770K Guidehornybluecow - October 2, 2013
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How to Overclock an Intel 4770K Guide: Introduction
So you have a shiny new Haswell (1150) CPU and want to see what it can do? In this guide I will cover an assortment of topics, all of which are focusing on the best results and how to achieve them. Currently the retail Haswell chips are having low overclock results past 4.2GHz. It has been said only about 70% of current chips can reach 4.5GHz. There is a lot that goes into a high overclock to avoid damaging components in the computer, so make sure you read the whole guide before trying to overclock yourself.
WARNING! Overclock at your own risk. Overclocking a CPU can void your warranty and cause other problems! OverclockersClub cannot be held responsible for the information provided below. Please, if you have any questions, jump onto the forums and ask away! Overclock at your own risk!
How to Overclock an Intel 4770K Guide: Setup
Now that we have that disclaimer out of the way, let's get to the pre-steps before overclocking. As a reminder, if that disclaimer threw you off wanting to overclock, just remember you can ask questions on the forums. Generally speaking, if you follow the advice in this guide and DO NOT go over the maximum voltage limits, chances are you are not going to damage the chip.
Below are links to the software provider websites and a quick explanation of what is used for. I suggest you download and use all of them.
- Prime95: Used to test for stable overclocks
- Memtest86: Used to test for general memory stability
- LinX: Used to test stable overclocks (Not commonly used)
- Intel Burn Test: Used to test stable overclocks
- HWMonitor: Used to show current temps
- CPUz: Used to list current clock speeds and misc information.
Cooling is a very important part of overclocking! The Haswell line, even though has a rating 84 TDP*, will heat up all the way to 130 TDP and above as the overclock rises. Many coolers that worked great on Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge may have a hard time handling the increased clock speed and thermals on the 4770K. That's due mostly due to the amount of transistors under the lid as well as the integrated voltage regulator that takes up space on die. Off the top of my head, here are a few coolers that will work reasonably well if you don't push to hard on the v-core: Corsair H80 / H110 and Noctua NH-D14. If you do not have a high-end air or water cooler, it is possible to achieve a solid overclock, but you will need to be more cautious when rising the voltage past 1.1v. When you get up towards 1.2 to 1.25v, you get close to the limits of what the core can actually shed through the integrated heat spreader and what the cooling solution can shed.
*TDP = Thermal Design Power, which refers to the cooling requirements to dissipate heat. Example; 84 TDP requires a CPU cooler with the ability to dissipate 84 watts of heat.
The goal here is to make sure you have an 100% stable system before starting a overclock. This alone can and will solve hours of frustrations. All too often the weakest link will cause a failure before you ever get off the ground. While I won't dive much into possible reasons for a failed stability test, I will list the most likely reasons per software below. I do not think I can stress enough that It is very important to run these tests before overclocking. The reason for stability tests is to avoid adding possible reasons for a failed overclock. As an example, if you find the memory failed the pre-tests, you solve the issue before overclocking; otherwise it will continue to fail no matter what settings you pick. All that will accomplish is a headache with a side of frustration.
Once you have downloaded this software it's a simple matter of burning a CD and booting it instead of Windows. This software checks the memory for bad chips by running every known pattern. This is becoming more critical since every Intel CPU in the last few years has the memory controller on-board the chip. The software tests each core to the memory also, just in case the CPU has a bad controller (not very common). The tests can take anywhere from 30 minutes to five hours; it's all dependent on how much memory you have populating the DIMM slots. As an example, an i7 3930K (socket 2011) takes five hours for 64GB of DDR3-1600 memory, while 16GB on the Core i7 4770K can take about an hour and 20 minutes.
- Pass: Congrats! Both the CPU memory controller and the memory itself is good.
- Fail: An error can mean wrong/low memory voltage, failed CPU controller, and/or low memory controller voltage, i.e. SA, DA, DI/O.
To use Prime95 you must boot into Windows and run it from there. Simply picking the "Small FFTs" test as a stress test will test the CPU only and not the entire CPU / memory subsystem. To do this chose either the Blend test or the Custom test to identify the operating parameters and let it run. Make sure to monitor the temps with HWMonitor to keep tabs on the CPU and system thermals. At stocks speeds you should not be going over 80 °C ! Prime95 is used to stress the CPU by using algorithms to create prime numbers. This simulates generally anything you can throw at a processor by getting pegged with 100% usage without letting up. Below is a small stability chart with information of what to expect.
- 0 - 5 Minutes - The CPU passed initial stability but it's not really saying anything other than the fact you can boot long enough to use some programs.
- 6 - 30 Minutes - Means you usually make it through the first memory / controller cycle and are moving into the first CPU test. Not ready for everyday use but may pass some benchmarks.
- 30 Minutes - 2 Hours - Generally most people don't invest the time to run this one the full recommended (online at least) 24 hours to get to the point where the system is fully stable. If you manage to hit two hours then you have a good start on your way to stability.
- 2 - 24 Hours - If you hit 24 hours, congratulations! Your CPU-memory combination is most likely stable enough for daily use and will no doubt provide long term stability.
Fail: If at anytime the system freezes or crashes, then you have a problem. This can be a whole assortment of things from heat and current MHz/GHz to low voltage from the power supply. If you are failing at stock speeds, I would jump on the forums and ask some questions. Make sure to list your current computer hardware for easier diagnosis.