Notes from overclocking my PC, namely the CPU.

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General Overclocking advice: 

Never go above 1.4 volts for the Intel CPUs. Probably want to get it done with less because what's measured on the chip could be hire than the software temps. 
Want to look up specifics for the CPU you have, since most people will have talked about it. 
In general, you're shaving lifetime off the CPU in exchange for faster performance. So upping the voltage but the CPU will last 5 years instead of 10 years. 
Never go above 90C, probably want it to be at or under 80C. 
You look at the DRAM frequency at, and since it's DDR4 (double data rate), you multiply this number by 2 and you'll get what speed you're actually running at. It should be the max advertised when you bought it.  
As voltage goes up linearly, heat will increase non-linearly. Overclocking the CPU is very, very predicated on how much heat you can dissipate. 

Personal goals: 

Get the CPU to 5.0GHz. If you can make it at much less than 1.4v (like 1.32v or something) then go ahead and shoot for 5.2GHz or something. 
Get to 4k 60fps on every game on Ultra settings.

Tuning an overclock setup

(should already be downloaded, but you'll need)

For checking that your BIOS settings took effect and benchmarking CPU: (

For benchmarking the GPU: Heaven & Valley with DirectX 11, 2560x1600, 8xAA fullscreen, Custom, Ultra. Open it, select those settings, click play, then click benchmark at the top left immediately.

For benchmarking the GPU: Superposition with 4K Optimized preset (3840x2160, 4K optimized shaders, high textures, DOF enabled, motion blur enabled).

For checking temperature, very critical, use the temperatures shown in the screenshot saved called temperatureLayout. View this info in the app called HWInfo.

How to setup overclock CPU settings in BIOS (MSI motherboard specific): 

Go to the OC > then set OC explore mode to expert. 

Then under CPU ratio enter in what you want your multiplier to be. Goal is 5GHz, so enter 50 here (it's a multiplier against the base clock which is 100.0, displayed below)

Then set the ratio mode to fixed, so that they're always staying at 5GHz (helps with stability) 

Although it's not relevant for games, set the ratio offset when running AVX to -3 so that in pure CPU intense stuff, it runs at 50-3 = 4.7GHz. 

Then go to DigitALL power and change the load line calibration and change it to the flat line (should be 4), that'll keep the voltage running through the CPU at the same regardless of the load, which again will help with stability. The other stuff will increase or decrease the voltage with load, 

Then the most sensitive thing, which is setting the CPU core voltage. Try to get your system stable with this number as low as possible, because the higher it is, the more likely you'll damage your CPU and also as voltage goes up linearly, heat goes up non-linearly. Try 1.320 to start. 

CPU SA voltage is the voltage between the CPU and the memory controller, the higher memory speeds the higher voltage we'd want to use. That said, we'd only really want to reduce this, I think, to make it so less voltage is on the chip. Guide reduced it to 1.200 with the default at 1.320.

CPU IO voltage That said, we'd only really want to reduce this, I think, to make it so less voltage is on the chip. Guide reduced it to 1.200 with the guide at 1.272. 

Then for DRAM voltage we'll want to lock that down at whatever it is rather than auto, so if it's 1.362V then set it to exactly that.

Then go to the very bottom where it has CPU features. We want to turn off Intel C-State because it's the power saving mode and we want to run 5.0GHz without down clocking. 

Ring Ratio is the speed of the cache and basically the internal clocks on the CPU (memory controller, cache). This kind of stuff yields more instability for barely any improvement, so it's better to stick with core voltage. 

Turn on Go2Bios in advanced mode, then settings, then go2bios, then hold the power button for 4 seconds after boot.

My experience with the I-9600k

See spreadsheet for more info. 

Bottom up approach:

1.32 with 5GHz got blue screen on startup.

1.32 with 4.9GHz did not get blue screen on startup. Ran benchmarks, no crashes. Seemed stable.

1.33 with 5.0GHz got blue screen on startup. 

1.34 with 5.0GHz got to login page, but upon logging in, froze and blue screen. 

1.35 with 5.0GHz got to login page, logging in worked fine, adjusting fans worked fine, CPU benchmark worked fine. 

Sadly, 1.35 was enough for the benchmarks, but not for the games. Couldn't even start basically any game at 5GHz at 1.35. Bringing down to 4.9 GHz at 1.35 got them to launch. It's definitely this, not XMP and not the graphics card. 

Update: 1.365 is the min we need for stability, at least getting the games to launch and play. 

Update: nope, crashed some games after a couple minutes. 1.38 is a lot, but it seems fine on this voltage.

Top down approach (Benchmark for tomb raider):

1.38 seemed fully stable. Never crashed. Forza, WW2, benchmark for raider. 

1.37 Didn’t crash. 

1.37 with 600mhz and 100mhz boost. Crashed. 

1.37 with 500mjz and 100mhz. Crashed. 

1.37 with 400mhz and 100mhz. Crashed. 

1.37 with 0mhz and 100mhz. Crashed. 

1.37 with 0mhz and 50mhz. Fine. 

1.37 with 0mhz and 75mhz. Crashed. 

My experience overclocking the RAM: 

Just go to the BIOS, and in the top left corner there should be a big button that says "XMP". Just turn that on, and you're done. No fine tuning necessary, this is a very safe overclock set by the RAM maker.

My experience with the MSI RTX 2070 Gaming Z:

See spreadsheet.