PC Tech Forum

porterjw's Build Guide


Hello and welcome to porterjw's Build Guide!

Building a computer. Yes, actually *building* a computer... While that may seem like a daunting task, it's far more simple than many people think. Components today are almost entirely modular and installing an Operating System has never been easier.

As a precursor before we begin - this is not a guide that explains the differences between case styles, CPU types, pros/cons of HDD vs SSD, or different RAM speeds - we have separate, detailed guides on those subjects already. This is meant to be a tutorial for a few types of people: those curious about building their own PC and wondering if it's something they can/want to do, those who decided to take the plunge and build their own custom setup, and those that have built one years ago and perhaps just want a refresher.

The test subject for this Guide is a system I built in 2013 and currently serves as my backup desktop. While the technology and processing power has changed in the years since, the core components and assembly of them has not, and will not for quite a while to come. Since this is a backup system, I had the option to do a complete tear-down and cleaning, and then a rebuild so you can see everything from bare chassis to finished unit.

PC Type

What type of system do you want to build? Will it be a family PC, a system that be used for business, something for video editing, or a full-powered gaming rig? Different builds require different levels of performance - the computer is no longer a one-size-fits-all machine. Family and Office systems can get away with lower power/performance parts since they'll be used mainly for emails, homework, and general internet browsing. Video editing systems will want to focus heavily on higher and faster RAM while gaming setups will typically have a higher-end CPU and extensive video processing capability. It's good to have a general idea of what sort of system you want to build before jumping in.

Case Selection

Choosing a case is partly dependent on the type of system you want, the desk area you have to work with, and personal preference. Finding the right balance between the first two and the third can take a lot of research.

Unless you purchased a bare case, it should come equipped with at least 2 fans (front and rear). Yours may have more, or it may have none. The number of fans and their location is something to look at during the case selection process. Airflow is extremely important inside your case as it helps keep your system cool by exhausting the heat dissipated by your heat sinks over your processor and chipsets.

The Build

And now we begin the actual build... The first thing you want to do is place the case on a level surface. If you're worried about scratching the finish of your work area, a piece of cardboard will protect both the table and case as you move it about. While many people (at times myself included) have built systems on a carpeted floor, it's not recommended to do so due to the potential of static discharge.

Next we'll remove both side panels and (optionally if you are installing front fans) the front fascia. This process will vary depending on case model or Brand and may require a phillip's screwdriver. Most cases now offer tool-less designs and larger-headed thumb screws that remove easily with just your fingers, and both side panels will more than likely have this feature. Your front fascia is held in place by clips that will pop out with gentle but firm force and will have wires attached to it - these feed the power/reset buttons, indicator lights, and front USB ports if applicable.

(Front fascia pulled forward)

(Wire loom for front Power/USB ports)

These wires will connect to the motherboard eventually, but for now they will just be in a bundle and tucked into the chassis. If you have enough room to pivot the fascia without removing it to install the fan, that would be ideal. If not, you'll have to gently pull the wires through the opening until you have enough space to work in. If you purchased a case with a window (glass or acrylic) it will have a protective sheet over the outside. *DO NOT* remove this sheet until you finish building the system and have everything put together as the acrylic especially can scratch easy. Set the side panels and fascia (if removed) aside in a safe area.

Contained in the chassis will be a random bag of stand-offs, different sized screws, perhaps a zip tie or two, and maybe a spare latch or other random part. Best advice one can give here is put the bag in a bowl before you open it as these are small parts and it's very easy to spill as you're fishing around for what you need and then spend time looking for whatever fell to the floor. You're going to need parts from the bag for the next step, so just open it in a bowl and gently empty the bag. If you're lucky you'll get a case from a supplier that bags each size screw separately. If this is true for you, don't open the individual bags, just lay them out on your work surface.

(Your case will have fewer or more types of screws depending on the brand and size)

Power Supply Unit (PSU) Installation

This will be the very first thing we actually want to install. We're going to do this first for two reasons: 1) this is typically the bulkiest part of the build and we'll want to secure it in place now rather than risk maneuvering it over sensitive components later, and 2) we'll want to get whatever cable loom connected to it out of the way (either draped over the top of the frame or routed out a rear frame opening) so we're not trying to fish it between other components in later steps. When selecting a PSU, you'll often see the terms 'modular' and 'fully modular' used. A standard (non-modular) PSU will have all of the wires needed to power the system permanently attached. A modular PSU will usually have only the main motherboard wire bundle attached and smaller cables that power the CPU and other components can be added as-needed. A fully modular PSU will have the option of removing every wire bundle (Note: for modular/fully modular PSU's, even though you may not have any/many wire bundles on the PSU itself, it's still recommended to install this first.)

(Fully modular PSU - every wire bundle can be removed and added indivudually)

Depending on case style, your PSU will either be installed on the top or bottom. The screws to secure this to the chassis will be slightly larger with a broader head.

(Mounted in lower part of case)

(View from rear of case - four screws secure the unit)

Case Fans (and where to power them from)

If you ordered a case without fans, or decided to replace the stock ones with either higher CFM (Cubic Foot per Minute) airflow or lower noise units, we'll install those next. Your exhaust fans will mount inside the chassis either on the rear or upper part of the case, but your intake(s) could possibly mount in the space between the front fascia and chassis, or inside the chassis but require the screws to be installed from behind the fascia.

The 'Golden Rule' of airflow is this:

Front/Bottom fan = INTAKE, Rear/Upper fan = EXHAUST

(Lower front intake fan)

(Upper rear exhaust fan)

Airflow works best when the air actually flows, not meets opposing air every few inches. A system that follows the above rule and uses only two case fans that have a middle-of-the-road airflow rating will run cooler than a system with fans providing a higher airflow rating pushing air everywhere and causing turbulence in your case. Your heat sinks (covered later) have one purpose - pull generated heat into their fins to cool the components they are attached to. Similarly, your fans have one purpose - flow air over the heat sink fins to carry that warmth out of your system. Different cases will have differently-sized fan diameters - if you need to purchase fans, make sure you look at the case specifications page to determine what size you need.

You have two different options to power your fans; 3 or 4 pin headers on the motherboard (usually identified by the SYS_FAN(X) designation where X is the header number), or by SATA/Molex connector. The number of 3/4 pin headers will mainly vary depending on the size of the motherboard and, to a lesser degree, the Brand (some companies like to skimp). For a micro ATX board, you're looking at 2-3 fan headers in addition to the CPU and for a full ATX board, you'll generally see 3-5 headers in addition to the CPU. The locations of these fan headers will vary between motherboards. In this instance, Fan 1 is located near a PCIE slot and Fan 2 is located at the very bottom of the board.

Three pin headers will provide power for a fan to run at it's rated speed constantly while four pin headers will allow for fan throttling. Simply put, throttling a fan will allow it to run at a lower speed under lower loads, or be user-adjustable. SATA/Molex connected fans will run at their rated speed only.

(Note: your CPU will have it's own fan header, usually designated by CPU_FAN, and that header will be very close to the CPU Socket. This header should be used to power ONLY the CPU fan.)

Motherboard Installation

(Note: some aftermarket CPU coolers require the installation of a bracket on the back side of the Motherboard before the actual cooler can be mounted. If this holds true for you and your case does not have a removable Motherboard tray or direct access to the rear of the socket, you MUST install the bracket before securing the Motherboard to the case!

If you are using an above-mentioned bracketed cooler, it is highly recommended that the CPU and heat sink assembly are installed before installing the Motherboard inside the case! See the two areas below this segment for those instructions if you'd like to get those squared away before proceeding with this part.)

The type of Motherboard you are using will depend on the location for the grounding (standoff) posts. Almost all mid/full-tower cases (seriously, you have to actively search to find one that doesn't) will support at least micro- and full-ATX boards, meaning you should see far more threaded holes in the case than you will be using. Simply look to see where the holes on your board are and thread the posts into the corresponding spots on the case frame.

(Your mounting points look like this)

(Motherboard case standoffs)

(Standoffs screwed into proper holes. Make sure you only install where your motherboard has a screw hole)

It's perfectly fine to gently position the board in the case to get a better idea if you aren't sure where to place a few of them, just make sure you don't bend the board or excessively scrape it around on the frame.

Your motherboard will also come with a shield plate to protect the ports on the back of the case. This plate will be specific to your motherboard's I/O features. This should be installed prior to securing the board in the case. There are no screws, it simply snaps into the opening in the rear of the case.

Once the posts are installed in their correct positions, it's time to mount the board to them. Simply place the board on top and use the screws provided to secure and ground the board. Hand tight is what we're looking for here. Not hand tight plus another quarter turn, not hand tight until you can't turn anymore...just hand tighten until you feel resistance. PCB can take a bump or two, but applying too much pressure to such a small area such as a screw opening can damage the surrounding area.

(Continued in Post 2)

HP recalls 50,000 Lithium-Ion Laptop Batteries worldwide

HP has just announced a recall and replacement program for Lithium-Ion laptop batteries, with a multitude of models affected. There are an estimated 52,000+ devices impacted in North America alone, according to Consumer Reports. The danger is a common one with electronic devices nowadays; the batteries have the “potential to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to customers”. Since many of these sleek modern HP systems affected sport non user-replaceable batteries, users will have to return the whole system for service. HP will cover the full costs of new battery plus any technician service time required.

The HP recall involves lithium-ion batteries for the HP ProBook (64x G2 and G3 series, 65x G2 and G3 series); HPx360 310 G2; HP Envy m6; HP Pavilion x360; HP 11; and HP ZBook (17 G3, 17 G4, and Studio G3) – or check the table below. Please note that the HP ZBook Studio G4 is a product that is compatible with, but did not ship with, the affected batteries.

If the above list and reference table still leaves you in some doubt whether your system is affected or not, HP has created a special Battery Program Validation Utility. The utility takes under 30 sec to confirm whether or not your PC is affected.
For those that do find out that their HP system is covered by the recall and replacement program, HP asks these users to apply a BIOS update putting the system into Battery Safety Mode. This special BIOS allows safe use of affected systems when connected to an HP power adapter. After the BIOS update, reboot and the battery will discharge and cease future charging until it has been replaced.

According to Consumer Reports, HP has received eight reports of batteries overheating, melting, or charring. In one case a user received a first degree burn on their hand, and there were three incidents of property damage totaling $1,500.
Source: https://hexus.net/tech/news/laptop/113858-hp-recalls-50000-lithium-ion-laptop-batteries-worldwide/

CPU Overclocking Guide

PCTechForum CPU Overclocking Guide

For Unlocked AMD and Intel CPUs

By @Darren

I. Introduction

Hello and welcome to PCTechForum's guide to overclocking your Processor (CPU). This guide should serve as an introductory look at squeezing some extra performance out of your processor. It is not intended for those of you that are out to wring every last MHz out of your CPU, so if you're attempting to break the world record, look elsewhere.

That said, this guide should provide plenty of info and guidance for mild to moderate overclocking and should be more than enough for most. This guide assumes you have no experience overclocking and aims to help beginners learn the basics and refresh more experienced users.

II. Disclaimer

The authors of this guide are experienced with overclocking and seek to advise you in getting the most out of your hardware in a safe way. That said, there is inherent danger and risk involved with doing this. Anything you are unsure of or need clarification feel free to ask here or research around the internet. We are confident that this guide should not lead you to damage your computer if followed correctly. However, we take no responsibility if you cause damage to your computer, components, or any other ramifications from following this guide. This includes violating any warranties. Proceed at your own risk and be careful!

A slight boost in performance is not worth blowing up your machine. When in doubt, don't risk it!

III. Terminology

This guide will use some terminology and acronyms that I'll outline below.
  • Clock speed
    • Measured in MHz and GHz is the operating frequency of your processor. Higher clock speed equals more performance. Worth noting, different CPU's at the same clock speed does not mean they are the same performance as other factors like architecture and core count come into play
  • Front Side Bus (FSB)
    • This is the speed of your Front Side Bus, which impacts your CPU, RAM, and PCI lanes functioning speed. This can be adjusted to increase an overclock but is more complicated and risky than sticking to your multiplier since it impacts your whole system. Older CPUs and "locked" CPUs can only be overclocked by adjusting this. I would advise leaving this alone unless you're well aware of the impact from adjusting it or are trying to overclock an older CPU that overclocks well but must be overclocked using the front side bus (for example the Core 2 Quad Q6600).
  • Multiplier/Ratio
    • These terms are used interchangeably and are what your FSB is multiplied by. Your Speed = FSB * Ratio. My 8320 runs at 200MHz FSB with a 21x Multiplier, resulting in a 4.2GHz clock speed. The ratio is your primary means of adjusting final clock speed in this guide.
  • Voltage/vCore
    • This is a measurement of current to your CPU. Your CPU will have an automatically determined voltage by the manufacturer (Core VID) and is considered "stock" voltage. These can vary from chip to chip even of the same kind. Higher voltages will make overclocks more stable but will also increase your temperatures at an exponential rate. Generally you can get a mild overclock on stock voltage before having to increase it.
  • Thermal Design Power (TDP)
    • TDP provides a rough indicator to how hot your CPU will run, meaning two different CPU's both with a 125 watt TDP will require roughly the same amount of cooling. This is a relatively loose measurement but does give some idea of CPU "hotness".
  • Temperature ("Temps")
    • Temps are measured in Celsius and indicate the temperature your CPU is at. At idle load your temperatures will fluctuate and depend heavily on ambient temperature, thus you can largely ignore them. At full load, your CPU will get quite hot and is usually a limiting factor in potential overclocks.
  • BIOS
    • The BIOS is the firmware that runs your motherboard. It is "underneath" your operating system and lets you tweak a lot of settings in regards to your hardware. Overclocking will take place in your BIOS.

IV. What is overclocking and what do I need?

Simply put, overclocking is the process of adjusting the settings of your CPU in the BIOS to make your processor run at a higher clock speed than it comes out of the box and get a performance boost as a result. Doing so naturally will increase temperatures and reduce system stability. This guide focuses primarily on working with unlocked CPU's and overclocking via multiplier adjustments.

As such it is important you have the following.

  • "Unlocked" CPU
    • Most if not all of AMD's processors these days have an "unlocked ratio" and allow control over the CPU multiplier. On series prior to the current FX series, the unlocked CPUs tended to be the 'Black Edition' models. For example the Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition was an unlocked CPU.
    • Intel's unlocked CPU's are usually marked with a K, as in the i7 4770K is an unlocked version of an i7 4770. CPUs marked with an X are also unlocked, for example the i7 980X and the i7 5960X are also unlocked CPUs. CPUs marked with an X are the Extreme Edition CPUs.
  • Overclocking friendly motherboard
    • Most motherboards these days support some basic overclocking or even advertise themselves for that purpose. Higher end boards will usually be better designed to support higher speeds and temperatures.
    • For example my previous MSI 970A G45 motherboard was unable to be stable with my 8320 past 4.1GHz even with voltage bumps. I switched to a Gigabyte 970A UD3 and I was able to run 4.2GHz at stock voltage and push it past that with voltage adjustments.
    • It's important that you choose a motherboard with a chipset designed for overclocking. On modern Intel boards, P, Z and X-series chipsets are usually the ones designed for overclocking (with the Z and X-series allowing overclocking of the CPU and the GPU, and the P-series only allowing overclocking of the CPU). On modern AMD motherboards, the x70 and the x80 or x90 chipsets are usually the best for overclocking with, for examle the 970, 880 and 990 chipsets are usually good for overclocking with.
    • There are numerous factors that make a good or bad board, so best to just research specific models and go from there.
  • Adequate Cooling
    • The stock cooling that comes with most processors is not designed for overclocking and are usually quite abysmal, sometimes even at stock clocks (*cough* AMD).
    • You'll want to have a higher quality cooling solution, ranging from a fairly entry level air cooler like a Cooler Master 212+ or a higher end water cooling loop like a Corsair H100i. Even with cheaper options like the 212, mild to moderate overclocking is feasible.
    • Good airflow within your case is also important and some quality thermal paste is never a bad idea.
    • Whether you choose to go with an air- or water-cooled solution depends mainly on your budget and how much you want to overclock. Most of the aftermarket air cooling solutions you see on the market these days are usually good for overclocking providing you have a stable motherboard and good cooling in your case, so there's not always a need to spend lots of money on CPU cooling.
  • Good power supply
    • While this is critical in any computer, it is downright essential if your overclocking. Higher clock speeds and voltages require more power to run and to ensure stability.
    • Don't skimp here, and if your near you're power limits of your current PSU either upgrade it or don't overclock. It's not worth blowing up your machine for a potential slight performance increase because you pulled too much from your PSU.
    • V. Get your computer ready

      Assuming you have everything listed above you're ready to get started. A few final steps before jumping into your BIOS and fiddling around.
      1. Research what your CPU's specs are including stock voltage, clock speed, multiplier, and FSB. Also research what other people have been able to overclock their same CPU to with similar cooling options and components. Each individual CPU will overclock slightly differently, but getting a rough idea of where you're going to end up is valuable info.
      2. Also find out your max safe temperature.
      3. Install CPU-Z from here. - http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html
      4. Install a temperature monitoring software, I prefer HWMonitor - http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html
      5. Run the CPU-Z benchmark from the "Bench" tab at stock clocks. Make a note of your scores and maximum temperature reached. Also make note that max voltage your CPU reaches. HWMonitor tracks maxs reached and you should find your CPU voltage marked in there.
      6. Make sure your BIOS is totally up to date to ensure maximum stability and performance.
      7. Disable any and all automatic overclocking software, including what might be in your BIOS.
      8. Optional: Disable any non essential startup software. The process overclocking will require to restart a LOT, so disabling anything you don't need temporarily will speed the process up. You can do this in the startup tab of task manager (Windows 8 and newer) or MSConfig (Windows 7) Of course reenable them when you're done.

Overclocking time!

The following steps should be relatively similar for AMD and Intel CPUs. Consulting your motherboard manual will likely make navigating your BIOS easier.

The general pattern of overclocking is bumping your ratio one notch at a time, benchmark and test for stability and temperatures and repeat until you reach your thermal limit or it gets unstable. From there, voltage adjustments might enable further overclocking.

I suggest writing down or saving a document to record your overclocked settings, their resulting benchmark scores, voltage adjustments, and max temperature. This will make it easier to keep track of what settings work the best and the impact they have.

VII. Ratio Adjustments

The BIOS on my Gigabyte 970A UD3, very retro.

  • To get into your BIOS you'll need to shutdown your computer completely and press the correct button before Windows boots. This can be tricky if you have a quick computer so you might have to spam the button before Windows loads. The button to enter your BIOS varies from different manufacturers, but is usually F2, F12, or Delete. As the BIOS screen appears, you can usually press the Pause Break key on your keyboard to pause the boot process. Here, you can note down the BIOS key (it's usually written on the bottom of the splashscreen - often referred to as 'Setup') and then you can reboot and press the appropriate key to access the BIOS. If all else fails, check your motherboard manual.
  • BIOSes vary greatly in layout and appearance. Explore the different screens and get a feel where everything is and what options are available. Most newer boards will have a BIOS that lets you use your mouse in addition to the keyboard. Mine, pictured above, is a bit older and I have to use my keyboard only. :(
  • Disable any automatic overclocking utilities or functionality. They do a poor job usually and only complicate things.
  • Disable any power saving features as they can impact stability and speeds. These frequently have their own tab(s) and can be a bit tricky to find. AMD uses Cool 'n Quiet technology to adjust speeds according to load and temperatures. Intel's SpeedStep is similar. Other options like C6 state, C1E state should be disabled as well. If you're unsure what an option does, consult your motherboard manual or research it online. These settings can have a noticeable impact on CPU performance and should not be ignored. I saw significant benchmark score differences just by adjusting these.
  • Make sure your RAM speeds and timings are properly set according to their specifications. RAM with funky timings or incorrect speeds can cause noticeable performance variation and instability, even at stock CPU clocks.
  • Many motherboards have an option to set CPU ratio manually or automatically, others let you adjust it directly. Set this to manual if needed. Some boards will require you to enable manual control before letting you change or even the multiplier adjustments.
  • Some also have a boost or turbo option that functions a bit like automatic overclocking. Disable this. These are the screens showing CPU settings and power settings on the 970A UD3.

CPU settings in the BIOS

Click to expand

Power saving features in the BIOS, all disabled

  1. Starting out we'll only adjust the multiplier and leave FSB and voltage alone.
  2. If your CPU has a turbo or boost clock speed, set the multiplier to match that speed. If not, just set it at stock speeds.
  3. From here, bump up the multiplier the smallest increment. For my 8320 it goes up by .5 and each bump results in a 100MHz clock speed increase.
  4. Save settings and reboot.
  5. Boot into Windows and run CPU-Z and HWMonitor. Run the CPU-Z benchmark.
  6. Keep an eye on your temperatures using HWMonitor and ensure you don't overheat.
  7. Record your bench scores and then run the CPU-Z stress for a 5-10 minutes after it seems to reach its max temp. Also make note of what score it tends to hover around. Go longer if you're worried about stability but I usually give it 5 minutes and call it good.
  8. If stable and temperatures are good, repeat steps 3-7.

VII. Instability and Temperature

Before long you will either run into instability or overheating. Overheating is going to be the limiting factor usually and is only fixed by better cooling or airflow. However better cooling usually will only let you get a couple extra MHz at most as higher and higher clocks will raise temperature and higher voltage to maintain them will raise temperatures even more. Temperatures increase linearly with ratio adjustments and exponentially with voltage. Point being, you're going to hit either a thermal wall or a voltage wall all at once. Or both.

If you're overclock is unstable a number of things could happen.

  • Failure to boot or rebooting constantly
    • This means your motherboard itself can't handle the overclock you just set. This is a bad scenario! This problem usually occurs when the voltage for your overclock is too low to support your multiplier. You either need to increase the voltage to support the multiplier or you need to reduce the multiplier to support the voltage.
    • I've had boot failure at near stock clocks due to incorrect RAM settings. Ensure that your RAM timings are set correctly, you can change this in the BIOS.
    • If you are unable to enter your BIOS, you might have to pull out the CMOS battery on your motherboard to reset your settings. Consult your motherboard manual if needed.
  • System crash or blue screen
    • This normally will happen when running your benchmark or stressing it but sometimes blue screens can happen randomly when your computer is appearing to run at idle due to an unstable overclock. Most CPU instability in this fashion will present itself within a few minutes of running at load but it's not unusual for it take several hours of usage before an unstable overclock causes a system crash.
  • Programs crashing or acting strangely
    • This isn't as common as normally the whole system crashes, but it's still quite possible. If you get frequently crashing of programs or games after overclocking try downclocking a bit.
    • Even programs locking up or just generally not acting right might point towards unstable overclocks.
  • Diminishing or even decreasing performance results in benchmarks or usage
    • This is usually the first sign you're getting close to being unstable. I frequently see CPU-Z scores level off or start to decline when an overclock is unstable.
    • Instability also will show up as brief dips, either in benchmarks or games. CPU-Z I've noticed will bounce around a lot while running the stress test if it isn't getting enough voltage.
    • This can be the result of a couple things, your speed being throttled due to insufficient voltage, or your usage is throttled. Either will reduce performance. If you notice that your benchmark scores aren't increasing you can attempt to bump the voltage assuming you have thermal overhead.
  • General weirdness
    • Overclocking can introduce a whole new range of weird problems that might show up. If you starting having issues after you overclock, even , disabling overclocks should be your first troubleshooting step.
  • IX. Voltage adjustments and fine tuning

  • If you've started to get instability but still have some thermal overhead with your temperatures you can start adjusting the voltage. Once you start adjusting voltages you should expect pretty big changes in temperatures. +
    • Once you've reach instability, go down one multiplier increment from the speed that was unstable and bump the voltage up one increment.
    • Always raise voltage with the smallest increment possible as small changes have a large impact.
    • Boot into Windows and test again, noting temperature changes and any potential score changes.
    • If stable, continue to fine tune by raising clock speed and voltage as needed.
    Ultimately you are playing a balancing act of raising multiplier and clock speed until unstable, adding voltage to increase stability, and doing all of this without pushing your temperature maximum. Once you've reached your maximum clock speed while maintaining stability and temperatures, you're done. I like to find my max stable speed, then downclock a notch to ensure stability and temperatures are within reason. This is obviously optional, but I would advise it.

    Run some benchmarks, both for your CPU and games if you're a gamer. Gains in performance will vary between applications but it's always interesting to see what results you can get when overclocking.

    X. Conclusion

    As you can see this can be a time consuming and delicate process. If you're out to get every drop of performance from your CPU, expect to spend some time and effort doing so. For most though, a mild overclock is easily done and shouldn't take much time.

    A few final thoughts to consider
    • Overclocking can be hard on your components and wear them down faster than normal. Usually the lifetime difference is negligible, but it is something to think about. As mentioned above, I like to find my maximum clock speed and then bump it back a notch or so to maintain rock solid stability and lower temperatures.
    • Don't get in a hurry! Jumping two multipliers at a time or bumping voltage too drastically is a recipe for disaster when you're not familiar with your hardware's capabilities. A little impatience can lead to a big hot paperweight that used to be your motherboard.
    • Don't push your hardware too far and know its limitations. Overclocking is a great way to get free performance out of your system, but in the real world usage it usually will net a small to negligible improvement. A couple hundred MHz isn't going to make or break your machine. In the same vein, don't expect massive gains from a $40 motherboard.
    • This is a general guide aimed to cover the basics of overclocking on a wide variety of CPUs and motherboards. There are so many combinations of CPUs and motherboards around that we cannot possibly tell you what settings to use to achieve your desired overclock. There are plenty of specific overclocking guides for many popular CPU and board combinations online, so if you want to find precise settings for your CPU and motherboard then there may be guides online outlining specific details for your platform.
    • Have fun! Spending the time and effort to really harness your computer's power is a satisfying experience. Enjoy the process and the extra performance you'll get. :D

    Happy Overclocking!

    Feel free to make suggestions or ask questions.

    Revision History
    Original Posting 9/5/17

Intel's Coffee Lake - What do we know so far?

With Intel's new Coffee Lake processors soon to hit the market I've listed below what is currently known about them. This info is made up from both leaked specifications and speculation within the tech community.

Kaby Lake Refresh Z370 first generation chipset
  • Next Gen Optane Memory support
  • Integrated Dual-Core Audio DSP
  • Thunderbolt 3.0 (Alpine Ridge)
  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbit/s)
  • C8 Support
  • Thermal design power (TDP) up to 95 W (LGA 1151)

When is the release date?
There's not yet any official date, but the listed time frame from Intel is shown as the second half of 2017. Meanwhile motherboard manufacturers have stated that the new chipsets for Coffee Lake will be available in Q4 2017, likely between October and December.

What models will be available?

Upon release there will be 6 different models brought to the market, their differences are stated below:

How do these chips compare to previous generations?
As always with the release of a new generation of processors, different sources are stating wildly different performance increases over the previous generation (Kaby Lake), below is a leaked summary from Intel showing the performance increases throughout the model range:

Real world gains will likely be a lot less.

How much will the processors cost?

There's not yet any official pricing, but that hasn't stopped some sites posting approximate figures:

It's probably going to be difficult for Intel to resist pricing the flagship six-core Coffee Lake CPUs higher than their current K-series chips, but I'm hopeful the increased competition from AMD will mean they can't push the prices of the Core i7 or i5 chips any higher than the current $350/$250 price point.

Can I use my current motherboard?

Sadly not! Although Coffee Lake will still use the LGA1151 socket, there is a new chipset soon to appear on the market which will be named Z370, specifically for the new generation.

I'll update this thread as and when I find out any new details

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