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Build

Overclocked Core V1

by leonccyiu

23
32 Comments

Details

Date Published

April 12, 2015

Date Built

Feb. 21, 2015

CPU Clock Rate

4.4GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

29.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

64.0° C

Description

My laptop was getting frustrating slow and loud after owning it for nearly 3 years, I got fed up of all that wasted time waiting for things to load. While searching for a new laptop, there were several frustrations. These were the amount manufacturers were charging for an upgrade to SSD's or how it's really only high end laptops that have SSD's. Secondly, most laptops still come with a cheap 1366x768 tn screen with poor contrast and back-light uniformity, even many 1080p screens on laptops are tn albeit with better colours and viewing angles.

I had read an article titled "Don't be fooled by laptop cpu's" http://www.bit-tech.net/blog/2013/05/25/don-t-be-fooled-by-laptop-cpus/ The author shows in single threaded tasks, even a desktop i3 can outperform a laptop i7qm, and claims with multi-threaded tasks the i3 was only slightly beat by the i7qm but a desktop i5 would comfortable beat the qm. I was also curious to try the pentium g3258 as it seems like a bargain for an unlocked cpu (Intel has locked the multiplier on all but high end CPU's for several years), I believe that most of what I do is highly single-threaded and when overclocked to 4.8ghz which I won't achieve, it performs as well as the basic i3 in multi-threaded benchmarks, albeit with higher power consumption under load.

Technology is always progressing and as someone who intends to use this for htpc purposes, we are at a transition period regarding video compression standards. Youtube on Chrome has switched to google's VP9 codec which is more efficient than h264 (the current standard) but isn't hardware accelerated, therefore the cpu must do the decoding. For 4k video, HEVC which is the successor to H264 isn't hardware accelerated either (except with the Nvidia GTX960) and HDMI2 which is essential for 4k60 output and hdcp2 copy protection is only available on the GTX960. Displayport output (which my motherboard has) is capable of 4k60 output but only high end laptops have it. Once a suitable graphics card comes along, I can easily just place one in my desktop pc, but a laptop is stuck, and would mean purchasing a new one.

I do not game, however desktop gpus are far ahead of laptop ones even if the nvidia 900 series has closed the gap. The superior OpenCL and CUDA performance of a desktop gpu is useful to me, and I can decide if I am better off with a gaming or workstation card.

I chose 16gb of ram as I tend to have lots of browser tabs open, often over 100 which would cause a ram overspill on my laptop with 8gb of ram, and when the mechanical hard drive is used as a cache you can guess there are frequent hang-ups and the system slows to a crawl. I bought the ram in february when the price had fallen by £25 from December (about 23%) which was what it was for most of 2014, I am concerned that Skylake won't accept standard ddr3, just lpddr3 and ddr4, we'll have to wait. I have also limited myself to 16 although 16 is admittedly a lot, this is the part I was most apprehensive about purchasing because of the expense and the upcoming transition to ddr4, however it's serving me well so far despite the poor value compared to the Pentium G3258.

The Z87I AC motherboard was on sale, it probably won't support broadwell though it'd be great if it did, but compared to the h81i I was going to use this has more overclocking options and integrated ac wifi and bluetooth. The layout isn't great especially for cable management but it'll do.

The SSD is great, it's fallen a lot in price and here in the UK is a fair bit cheaper than the crucial 250 bx100. OCZ has the SSD Guru now.

Regarding the Pentium, I think I've been unlucky in the Silicon Lottery, even with the OC genie, I would get the BSOD. It takes 1.3v for a stable 4.3 ghz. I have mine at 4.4ghz at load using a dynamic multiplier and adaptive voltage to minimize the time spent at 1.35v. I almost fried my chip trying to get a stable 4.5 ghz overclock, with prime 95 running for 10-15mins, at 1.42,143 and 1.44v, the system seems fine, but the stress test that really kills my cpu, and killed what I thought was a stable 4.5 ghz overclock is this youtube video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXZ3qWAvbVs

Using Google Chrome for VP9 playback and 60p, I use the 4k60 option as a stress test, in fact 1440p60 with many tabs open killed by last overclock.

My Regrets regarding this build is definitely the size of the Thermaltake especially since I don't have a large GPU to put in there. It was far larger than I thought, and using a desktop PC isn't as personal as using a laptop. The case looks much nicer in renders with two windowed side panels and looks very bright and airy inside but actually the window is fairly small. I am not settled in life, while I could probably bring this in a car, it'll be a challenge on public transport or a commercial jet if I move country.

Choosing the Thermaltake has limited me to a cpu cooler no taller than 140mm in height, I was going to choose the Raijintek Aidos from the positive techpowerup review but it wasn't replicated by other sites. I chose this cooler master which I believe isn't available in the USA, because of the cool led lights which as a minor distraction at night. It's very quiet if not inaudible most of the time, only under load is there a mild roar. This is much quieter than my laptop and I can now hear my external hard drive which is annoying. The original fan's pwm function was broken and was running at full speed, cooler master agreed to send me a new one under warranty which was nice of them but I had to run my pc passive at stock for a week and a half. The stock thermaltake 200mm fan which came with the case is quite noisy at a rated 28db, my motherboard doesn't have voltage fan control, it happens the day my Zalman Fanmate 2 arrives, I accidentally damaged the 200mm fan just before the post man comes.

The NEC IPS monitor I pruchased off ebay for much cheaper than the retail price, it really exposes everything and on high quality material I see detail I didn't see but with youtube videos or even many 1080p videos, the compression artifacts are plain to see. I also notice judder for 24/25p content that I didn't on my 15.6" laptop screen. Black levels are poor just like most IPS panels, I don't want to buy another monitor, even a 4k one until OLED or a better technology comes along.

Last things last, I've probably missed some things, there are still some niggles to fix such as the windows 8.1/10 dns problem, the mouse pointer occasionally freezing at idle despite low cpu usage probably from the low multiplier/voltage from dynamic/adaptive settings, but for what I've spent £440, that buys a mediocre budget laptop. I have a professional IPS monitor and high single-threaded performance, plus a fast ssd and 16gb of ram.

Part Reviews

CPU

I've given it 5 stars even though I am convinced newer ones don't overclock as well as the new ones given to reviewers and early adopters. Single-thread performance is among the best, but more applications are becoming multi-threaded, dx12 and spartan browser will better take advantage of multiple cores.

Also regarding the igpu, for a non-gamer it does the job, and for video scaling intel's dxva algorithm is the best, but newer drivers don't have 4k h264 decode which I am disappointed about.

There has been dual core bottleneck especially with a lot of applications and chrome tabs open, but nonetheless for the money it's not going to set the world on fire.

CPU Cooler

Very quiet most of the times but a mild roar at load, for those trans-coding video overnight in their bedroom, it's too loud. The LED lights are cool however and it's cheap. As to how well this would cool an overclocked i5 and i7, there are reviews out there, but I don't have any personal experience

Storage

I haven't owned it long enough, from kitguru.net they've killed the 5 ssd's OCZ challenged them to kill at 300tb+ which is less than the tech report for their batch of ssd's. It's not an apple to oranges comparison though as their probably racking up writes differently and under real world use we're not constantly writing to them. I am racking up quite the writes, especially hibernating my pc with high ram use, but overall speed is fantastic to me, I never want to go back to a mechanical hard drive. It's silent and everything is so much snappier and instantaneous, I wish I had gotten one sooner.

Case

This is a bit harsh, it's a well designed case especially with interchangeable panels and the chambers concept. I docked a star for the drive cages which are fiddly and difficult to remove/install. There's also a lot of wasted space especially if you're not using a powerful gpu but as a mass produced product it has to fit in the needs of as many people.

Edit: Like I mentioned above, I also felt the marketing was a bit deceptive with the renders showing a bright airy interior with the illusion of multiple windowed side panels.

Before I forget, the power button and reset button placement are poor, I accidentally reset my computer pulling out my headphones once which really annoyed me, others have reported hitting the power switch removing usb cables.

Comments Sorted by:

NinjamanJosh 1 Build 6 points 32 months ago

Yup. Pro tip: don't buy laptops.

tennisman 3 points 32 months ago

Unless portability is important to you. In that case, buy a low-power laptop.

ajpinton 11 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

I always keep a laptop, but would never game on one. Sometimes you need something to go with you, like when you go on vacation.

leonccyiu submitter 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

Definitely! If you're in your early twenties, constantly moving around, or even just out and about it really comes in handy! My Ipad is no pc replacement, and chromebooks are still limited.

If I had the money I'd like a dell xps 15 with the i7 quad core or 15 inch macbook pro with retina display but their very expensive.

NinjamanJosh 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

True, but one should NEVER use a laptop as their daily driver...

Also, one should never buy apple laptops ;)

leonccyiu submitter 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

Apple laptops are overpriced, they do have the proprietary pci-e ssds which few windows laptops or many desktops don't have.

It's true too many people buy the macbook air right away despite being home bound much of the time.

I am out the home much of the day in the city, my ipad air 2 (which was given to me) is no replacement for a proper laptop.

NinjamanJosh 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

oh, hey, off topic, do you think you could fit a cooler master T4 CPU cooler in that case? might be buying it soon.

mjaj 1 Build 3 points 32 months ago

taylor swift ;) +1

ajpinton 11 Builds 2 points 32 months ago

Great looking build, and you have a really good description/reasoning. Kudos on the research too.

+1 for sure.

leonccyiu submitter 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

Thanks!

Super_Kami_Guru 1 point 32 months ago

Nice read

leonccyiu submitter 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

Thanks, I tried to keep it short and concise, I do enjoy journalism, but I was born too late to be a journalist.

GruntGundam 2 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

I love this build, i know what i am going to build this month.

leonccyiu submitter 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

Thanks, which parts do you think you'll use? I'd recommend the SSD, I think that really makes a difference, 16gb ram is probably too much for you.

GruntGundam 2 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

I would mostly use every part you have posted, i really like the ssd, and like you said 16gb is a bit much for me, the main purpose i would use this build for me would be basic web surfing and movie watching which intels graphics is perfectly capable of doing, right im currently using some gateway laptop from 2006 with linux mint, so im in need of an upgrade, other than great build and I hope to see more!

leonccyiu submitter 1 Build 2 points 32 months ago

I look forward to seeing your build! Decide whats best for you, you sound really in need of an upgrade, skylake is still several months away and may not have an overclockable pentium, since broadwell is restricted to two low energy i5/i7 chips, you might be able to find a z87 bargain on ebay. If you're not using a dgpu a smaller case maybe better or a tower case with more cpu height clearance may allow for a better overclock. Good luck!

epicnerdgreg 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

that article really explains why my laptops i5 cant run at half the speed of my desktops FX-6300. Thanks for that man i just thought i had to much junk on the laptop

leonccyiu submitter 1 Build 2 points 32 months ago

The laptop i5 is only a dual core with hyper-threading unlike the desktop i5 which is quad-core, and has a much slower clock speed and less l3 cache. Like the author of that article said, the way Intel names their laptop cpu's are highly deceptive, their i7u's are really just dual-cores with hyper-threading which are slower than desktop i3's but people think their just as fast as desktop i7's.

epicnerdgreg 1 Build 2 points 32 months ago

yeah really sucks to find that out. I looked at it in system settings and sure enough it is a dual core clocked at 1.8ghz...

ajpinton 11 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

Its all about tricking the less informed customers, most people in the know would not by a high end laptop anyway.

DaBacca 1 point 32 months ago

I agree with what you say with laptops but about i3 out preforming laptop i7 its not saying all that much.

While i7 is better than i5 which is better than i3, its not as big of a difference as you think. i7 is almost the same as i5 except has hyperthreading, which most programs dont use anyways. Then i3 only have 2 cores and no hyperthreading and few PCI channels and DRAM channels.

Saying that an i3 can out perform is not much because this years i3s can out perform some i7s even desktop from 3 years ago.

Im not saying you were wrong about this I just would like to clear this up. All my friend say i5 isnt good because i7 is better but in real world use its not true

Growliff1234 2 points 32 months ago

That was awesome to know. And also glad to know you're a man of the bacc

leonccyiu submitter 1 Build 2 points 32 months ago

I think the i5 is better value for money for sure, here in the UK, the i7 4790k is nearly 50% more expensive than the i5 4690k, when overclocked, for multi-threaded tasks, the performance improvement is about 33%, and single threaded performance is about equal. For gaming at the moment anyway an i5 is probably best unless you have money to spare.

I think the author was biased, for that multi-threaded benchmark, the i7 qm was a previous generation sandy bridge over the ivy bridge i3, nonetheless with 4 cores and hyper-threading it should have comfortably beaten the i3 dual core with hyper-threading.

Actually from the video decode tests from that YouTube video I posted above it seems i5's from several years ago can still beat my Pentium overclocked, 4 cores despite fewer ipc can still beat my faster 2 cores.

m.live31 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

That's an awesome build under $600.

aludka 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

Very nice build and excellent write up. +1

Patipat7 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

Does your case make creaking and cracking sound like it's gonna break? My corsair 780t makes ceaking and cracking sounds all the time.

leonccyiu submitter 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

Absolutely not at all, it's quite a solid case, I have no problem carrying it by hand between my living room to connect to the tv and my bedroom.

munodred 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

Great build! +1 Really similar to mine if you wanna have a look. I went for an AMD build and half the RAM, either than that is mostly identical. I had a problem picking a good CPU cooler because of the height of the case but also because my mobo's CPU is really close to the PCI slot and most of the coolers would cover it. Ended up with a Hyper 103 as well! I also managed to fit a R9 285 in there, all for 450£ but I already had a monitor.

Just a question, did you get another fan to replace the 200mm broken one?

leonccyiu submitter 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

Thanks! Yeah I did see it, we've used the same cooler, brand of motherboard, ssd and case. I didn't know about the 860k but saw the msi z87ac motherboard for £47.99 on scan.co.uk so I thought I'd give the pentium a go, I was intending to replace both motherboard and cpu for a skylake one, I wasn't going to bother with broadwell as it doesn't have the htpc features I am looking for.

I also had problems deciding on a cpu cooler, but the hyper 103 is silent at idle and more or less so until 90% load, but my load temps are high because of the scale of my overclock.

I was going to get the same ram as you, but just one 8gb stick, amazon had the 16gb kit for £94 and I was worried about single channel memory hit since I am using the igpu. 16gb is serving me well at the moment, I've only overspilled a few times but using the ssd as cache is nothing compared to a hdd. I've already accumulated 1187gb of writes on my ssd since late february, I do worry about the longevity of my ssd.

I haven't replaced the 200mm fan yet, can your msi motherboard adjust the speed of the 3 pin fan? I found it very noisy, but it's actually not neccessary for me, the systin has gone from 29c to 41c but I don't really care, afterall it's only a slight reduction in lifespan, the board will be way outdated by then.

I am interested in the multi-threaded performance of your processor, if you could try the youtube video linked about in chrome and set it to 2160p60 I'd be interested to see if your processor can decode that. Only do so if you are sure of a stable overclock though I don't want to bsod yours.

Glad you seem happy with your build and hope you're enjoying it!

Kreuzer 2 Builds 1 point 21 months ago

Nice, I got the same case wrapped in carbon fiber vinyl !