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With very effective third party heatsinks on the market, and many low power
CPUs available, overclocking can improve performance without
compromising the noise level of a silent PC.
A simple overclocking investigation was conducted with the CPU multiplier set
to 6x and RAM to its lowest speed with an extra 0.3V. The CPU frequency was
increased in increments of 5Mhz/10Mhz until the system failed a 5 minute
run of Prime95 with ATITool 3DView running simultaneously or failed to boot
or showed other signs of instability. We then maximized the multiplier and increased
the CPU voltage to a stable level for our final overclock.
2.97Ghz: the maximum overclock on the P5Q-EM.
The highest stable FSB we achieved was 330Mhz for a maximum overclock of 2.97Ghz,
or 24% above stock. At 335Mhz and above, ATITool would crash, indicating a problem
with the IGP. Note that this result was obtained without adjusting the northbridge
or other voltages, so it's possible the P5Q-EM can overclock further. These
are simply the out-of-the-box results.
To test the cooling on the board, we lowered the CPU cooling fan's voltage
to 6V to reduce the amount of top-down airflow the nearby components received.
We then stressed the system with Prime95 and ATITool and whipped our our handy
IR thermometer to check the results.
After about 20 minutes of load, the hottest point on the northbridge heatsink
registered 58°C, while the southbridge heatsink read 47°C. The hottest
MOSFETs around the CPU socket did not exceed 60°C most of them were
well below that. These results are quite good compared to previous boards, and
especially surprsing given the size of the northbridge cooler, and the lack
of VRM cooling.
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