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Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 - Overclocking: Endurance

Our previous overclocking sessions have focused on tests over short periods of time. For this article we chose to do things a bit different. For this long-time test we decided to find at which frequency the processor would remain 100% stable for a long period of time. We've chosen to use Folding@Home and its multithreaded client as the benchmark. We went with Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme for cooling, together with a moderately powerful fan. We feel that this combination would be found acceptable by most everyday users where the noise level is a factor.

Can we make this system, under these circumstances,
100% stable under full load for 2 weeks?

We opened up carefully with 1.275V measured processor voltage and a frequency of 3.8GHz. The idea was to get a feel for the heat coming off the processor and partly the stability of the remaining components. These settings passed one week of testing, which encouraged us to go higher.

We decided to keep most settings and only increase the multiplier from 9.5 to 10, which is an increase to 4GHz. 1.275V was only barely enough so it was time to increase the voltage. At 1.350V all tests passed, but Folding@Home was whining a bit. At 1.40V we've upped the voltage quite a lot and the power consumption is about 80% higher than at stock speed. Despite that, the temperature remained acceptable and we decided to go on with the endurance test.

The additional voltage was enough to keep the processor stable, and the temperature stabilized at 63°C. Disregarding the fuse that blew, which resulted in a few minutes of downtime after 10 days, we can safely say that the system is 100% stable.

The article is coming to an end and we tie things up on the next page.

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