M17x-r3 Overclocking (...sort of)

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by kunekaden, Mar 6, 2011.

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  1. kunekaden

    kunekaden Notebook Deity

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    Here's what you'll see when you F2 into BIOS (once you scroll to the 'advance' tab)
    [​IMG]
    Well, your drives will probably look different...and SATA Operation is set to RAID by default (even if you have 1 HDD), but you get the idea.



    Performance Options Menu holds all the goodies, so let's check it out! (select enable)
    [​IMG]


    Ok, here's what it really looks like
    [​IMG]


    Override Turbo Settings:
    [​IMG]

    Looks promising...but it's not!
    Long Duration PWR Limit is turbo 1 power limit (in watts), and it's already set to the max that BIOS will allow (=TDP, which is 45W for 2630, 2720, and 2820 QM)
    Long Duration TimeWindow is the duration in seconds for turbo1, and it's also already maxed out
    Short Duration PWR Limit is already enabled and set to it's max [TDP*1.25]

    So all we can do here is downclock our turbo. Sort of a downer, so let's move on to bclk!


    [​IMG]

    In case you didn't notice earlier, our bclk is showing somewhere around 99.80mhz. That's odd, because (i7-2630QM) is advertised to be 2ghz. Normal multiplier of 20 * bclk = 1.996ghz (in the case of 2630 - 22x for 2720 and 23x for 2820 I believe). If you'd like, you can bump up the bclk to 100mhz by pressing the + key. If you leave the CPU at 99.80, your ram, PCI (gpu), and stuff will be ever so slightly underclocked along with it.

    EDIT - 03/10/2011: A03 seems to list the cpu at 100.0mhz by default, but it's actually at 99.8
    To get proper value, you'll need to set bclk to whatever+0.19mhz (100.19mhz to get a real bclk of 100.00mhz)


    Scroll down to "Apply New Bus Clock Frequency" and select "Immediately". At this point, you may notice that your BIOS didn't like your bclk value, and set it to something like 99.9 or 100.1. If that's not how you want it to be, press + or - to adjust to your liking - then apply new bus clock frequency "immediately" (again). You may have to bring it up or down by up to 5 khz for BIOS to accept the value.
    [​IMG]
    When you and your BIOS are in agreement, select "Apply New Bus Clock Frequency" again...but this time select "Permanently (reboot)"

    Now, how far can you OC the bclk? This will vary by CPU and mobo, but you will most likely be hard pressed to get more than a 5% increase on a non-K/XM CPU. If you want to test the waters, I suggest going up/down by 50khz increments. Sandy Bridge CPUs work differently than previous architectures, so you should be aware that you risk corrupting anything that the CPU controls (memory, pci, hdd, etc). If anything goes wrong and you can't boot into windows, you'll need to open up the bottom panel and gently remove the CMOS battery then replace it and/or reinstall windows (if you get SATA corruption...this happened to me once :/ ).

    It's pretty easy to notice when your OC isn't stable because windows will be corrupt or the screen won't display properly. Once I even got the constant and very loud beeping that showed up when Mandrake tried to toss a different GPU into his r3 (check his thread for video).


    Hit F10, save/exit, and tap F2 again to re-enter bios so we can cover memory


    If you picked up some hyperx 1600mhz DIMMs, and have a 2630QM, you'll want your Memory Overclocking to look like this:
    [​IMG]


    If you picked up some hyperx 1600mhz DIMMs, and have a 2720QM or 2820QM, you'll squeeze maximum performance out of them like this:
    [​IMG]



    Here's the most stable (and pitiful) OC that I can achieve:
    [​IMG]

    Which ends up looking something like this (note the memory bus *2 = higher than 1600 because of bclk OC...reverse applies for underclocking bclk)
    [​IMG]


    That's pretty much it!
    It is not possible to adjust anything via ThrottleStop (Due to Sandy Bridge architecture limitations, NOT ThrottleStop)
    Hopefully TheWiz and his team will be able to crack the InsydeH20 BIOS sometime in the near future so we can push these systems a little further.

    EDIT: "Memory Override Support" lets you set ram voltages anywhere from 1.35v to 1.65v @0.05v increments
    EDIT2: the new batch of r3s are shipping with BIOS A03 - shown above is A01. There may be some differences.
     
  2. TearTaker

    TearTaker Notebook Evangelist

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    Thanks for the guide. +rep. :)
     
  3. unclewebb

    unclewebb ThrottleStop Author

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    I just wanted to let everyone know that this is not a limitation of ThrottleStop but it's a limitation of these new Sandy Bridge CPUs.

    For the non-Extreme CPUs, Intel has been locking the multiplier for 15+ years. It is very likely that the turbo power settings in these new CPUs are locked at the hardware level by Intel at the factory so even with a modified bios, there still won't be any way to unlock them. Maximum long term power consumption is set to the rated TDP value and short term power consumption is set to TDP+25% and that's it.

    At the moment, the only hope is the 2920XM but even with an Extreme CPU, you might still be limited to what the bios allows. ThrottleStop supports Sandy Bridge but if the Extreme CPUs set the lock bits at the bios level, ThrottleStop won't be able to do anything with them either.

    The 920XM and 940XM might be the end of an era. I think the days of unlimited overclocking of the Core i mobile CPUs is over and there's nothing any software can do about it. :(
     
  4. kunekaden

    kunekaden Notebook Deity

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    Thanks for pointing that out
    and thanks for the information and advice you've given me in pm's over the past few weeks.
     
  5. DaneGRClose

    DaneGRClose Notebook Virtuoso

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    Hey Kune quick question for you, didyounotice that certain BCLK settings were unstable and you could go higher or did you just hit a wall and couldn't go higher at all?
     
  6. kunekaden

    kunekaden Notebook Deity

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    For me, going beyond 103.35 started screwing with PCI. I could boot into windows, but nothing showed on the screen until it was fully logged in to my account.

    Going up to 103.91 caused similar issues to what I describe above, but the screen just flashed for a second or two then just displayed black (had to reset CMOS to get system working again)

    When I pushed it up to 104.something I got sata corruption (reset CMOS + reinstall windows)
    @105 I got that loud beeping. System wouldn't even post to bios. (reset CMOS)

    (I worked backwards from 105mhz)
     
  7. ECKS

    ECKS Notebook Prophet

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    Thank you for this guide! Bookmarked and subscribed!
     
  8. kunekaden

    kunekaden Notebook Deity

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    Not much of a guide really.
    There's almost nothing that we can do as owners
     
  9. ECKS

    ECKS Notebook Prophet

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    It's helpful in my understanding of what this n that means though, so I thank you for that.

    What do you mean by "almost nothing that we can do"? Do you mean that the system can't be OC'd by much? Or do you mean that there's few options to select/change/oc?
     
  10. Sub6

    Sub6 Notebook Geek

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    kunekaden, Is there a noticeable difference in performance between 1333MHz vs 1600MHz?
     
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