HotHardware Q&A Corner

Josh Rogers, IT/Commo Tech at the Balad Airbase, Balad, Iraq writes in with the following questions regarding our Ultimate Gaming Rig article...

"I was wondering what you used to overclock and monitor the CPU. What is that program CPU-Z? I have an Asus Striker Extreme, a QX6700, eVGA Superclocked 8800GTX, and a Thermaltake Toughpower 850 PSU. Is overclocking to 3.0Ghz the safest way to go? Or is overvclocking to your review specs, at 3.33GHz safe as well?  What is Linkboost? Since I have that board I am interested. I am new to overclocking and to get 3.0 GHZ it was fine, but do I have to mess with the voltage or what?  What about getting the memory faster as well? I have 2GB of OZC SLI-Ready memory. How do I tweak that?"

That's a lot of questions Josh but since you're takin' care of business for us in Iraq, we're more than happy to oblige.  You're correct, that program is CPU-Z a processor, motherboard and memory monitoring and diagnostics tool that we use all the time here.

Also, you can most likely overclock that QX6700 to 3GHz with little or no voltage boosts in your motherboard BIOS.  To get 3.33GHz we needed to bump core voltages to 1.5V.  Linkboost is an NVIDIA chipset-based overclocking technology that allows for an immediate 25% increase in the speed of the HyperTransport links that connect the SPP Southbridge and MCP Northbridge chipsets, if an NVIDIA graphics card is being used.  By the way, NVIDIA has since removed this feature from the 680i chipset, though we're not exactly sure why. 

Finally, like overclocking your processor, overclocking your memory is almost an art-form of sorts.  In the BIOS, try changing memory divisor settings in conjunction with FSB settings to dial in on faster combinations of both memory and processor speeds.  Depending on what speeds your RAM is rated for, you could be able to hit speeds of 1066MHz or so but you might also need to relax DRAM timings as well to get there.  If you go too far beyond the specs of your memory, you'll need a bit more voltage.  Most performance type DDR2 memory, like your OCZ sticks, will tolerate 2.1 - 2.3V or so without too much trouble.  Just keep the airflow moving inside that chasis.

Send your own questions in to and we'll try to help.  We can't possibly respond to all requests but will choose questions that will hopefully interest a wider audience as well.  Also, don't forget to share your insights in the comments section of the post!

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