Westmere-EP & X58 Overclock Info

CPU Max Voltage & Power Guideline Misconception

  Alright we will address the most common misconception I’ve seen across the web. Time and time again X58 users will point to a commonly used example provided by Intel, stating that the max voltage for Westmere-EP is 1.4v. Meaning that as long as you set the CPU voltage to 1.4 or below you processor will be fine. This is simply not true and users constantly misunderstand how the CPU actually performs and how Intel designed the CPU. So let’s get one thing correct 1.35v is recommended by Intel on their ARK pages. People spread 1.4v as the max incorrectly.

  The reason 1.35v is the recommend voltage is because Intel said it is. Also one thing that is normally overlooked is the voltage spike. Voltage spikes can literally kill the CPU and\or the Motherboard + MB components. This is more prevalent by setting manual or dynamic vCore too high. Intel also included a feature that will hopefully prevent the CPU from frying [old tech]. If the CPU temperature is too high the processor will cause the PC to freeze or BSOD. Otherwise continued use at high temps will cause the CPU will degrade. Vdroop also helps preserve the CPU life. vDroop will allow the CPU to operate under load at a lower voltage while preventing or avoiding spikes that will surpass the voltage set[not manual] in the BIOS. If you have LLC [Load-Line Calibration] set to AUTO[depends on settings] or Enabled then vDroop is DISABLED. AUTO can vary so either use Enable or Disable. This means that you could unknowingly damage your CPU over time. Some motherboards handle LLC better or worse than others.

 The voltage spike for the 45nm and 32nm is 0.05v. Actually the 45nm could be 0.06v IIRC. Have you ever wondered why your PC shows a BSOD or freezes when you start a benchmark\stability tool? Well one of the most overlooked issues was the voltages spiking past your manually set CPU voltage. Another reason could be that you didn’t use enough vCore or several other settings. When your processor switches from an idle to load condition or vice versa, this can cause a spike. Well Intel states that the processor voltage spikes.

 So why would Intel state that 1.4v is the max? Well Intel states this because 1.4v is the MAX VOLTAGE and they are respecting their own technology and guidelines. Now let’s do the math with vDroop and the correct use of VID in mind: 1.35v +(spike)0.05v = 1.4v! Of course this is backwards, but I'm trying to explain everything so that you'll understand it. I'll probably write up a overclocking guide regarding the voltage if enough people demand one. Therefore, Intel is correct when they state 1.35v as the max.

  Now the way enthusiast or overclockers pass this information is in the wrong context. They spread the information as if it is used to be the maximum CPU voltage set in the BIOS. Time and time again I’ve seen overclockers use this as an excuse to reach their favorite frequencies. For instance here is the “wrong” way to use this information using manual voltage: (BIOS)1.4v+(spike)0.05v = 1.45v! Now the biggest problem is that you are now much higher than Intels recommended voltage of 1.35v. 1.35v is the max for my processor and I'm using it as an example. Also when this 1.4v is passed around the net enthusiast ignore all of the voltage guidelines set by Intel. With that being said you can continue to ignore the guidelines and overclock the hell out of your CPU for all I care. Just know that Intel repeatedly states and knows that your CPU will degrade over time so don't be surprised.

 Thanks to vDroop and other voltage regulation guidelines, Intel developed a guideline to prevent the voltage from spiking past the voltage set in the BIOS. Whenever you remove vDroop and voffset then overclock your CPU using manual voltage you aren’t doing any favors for your CPU. Increasing the voltage is not the only answer to instability issues. Without vDroop and dynamic vCore there is practically nothing protector your CPU from negative and positive spikes. Users who run their gaming rigs with settings similar to what I just explained above will more than likely “lose” their stable overclocks over time due to degradation. Another overlooked issue is the time allowed for the voltage to spike. Long story short, if your voltage spikes for longer than the time allowed by Intel guidelines your PC will NOT be stable. This is crucial for high overclocks as the PC will unstable whenever you attempt to put a load on the CPU. So remember that voltage is not your only issue to worry about. There are other things that go behind the scene like negative and positive spikes. vDroop is a good thing so remember that. All of this information allows me to run fairly high overclocks while benefiting from the power saving features as well as the performance. Correctly overclocking your PC can extend the life of your server\workstation while allowing you to potentially lower your CPU temperature.

If you have any question or what more info feel free to post in the comment section or better yet sign up and join the forums. Signing up only takes seconds. Check regularly for updates. I'll be adding a lot more info to this article in the future.



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