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overclock, or upgrade?


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#1
crouth

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Question: To overclock, or upgrade the cpu?
I am a part-time day trader. We use a software program that uses a continuous data feed updating about every 8-12 seconds, and running algorithm calculations based on the data for each foreign exchange currency pair that I have open in the trading window. We need to be able to load enough data to go back about 6 months, plus what is current of course. This is a tremendous amount of data that is being re-calculated each time we get a new 8-12 second tick of data. With all that data, the computer is slowing down. I am somewhat of a techy, but only a shade tree-trial by error techy. I built my computer, the specs are below. I here some of the traders are doing fine with the data, including one, who has a P4, 3-4ghz machine, pretty powerful. I am running an AMD Athlon 64 3000, with 1gb memory, a sata hard drive, and other appropriate specs. I've tried everything except overclocking this machine, or just upgrading the cpu. I've talked to tech twice, and the fact is that this cpu is overtaxed. You're thought please.
Chris
MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard
ASUS EAX550GE/TD/256M Radeon X550 256MB DDR PCI Express x16 Video Card
ENERMAX Noisetaker EG495P-VE SFMA ATX 485W Power Supply
CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model VS1GBKIT400
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 ST3200826AS 200GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM
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#2
warriorscot

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That must be one seriously resource hoggin application to put that CPU down, if you had said you had any other system i would have said get another CPU as there are lots of very fast CPUs you could upgrade to, but that CPU is a very good overclocker and i know the motherboard is solid from my own experience with it.

Have you tried using the dynamic overclocking function, its pretty good, when it detects the CPU is running near its full capacity it speeds itself up and then slows down again when the speed isnt needed. What to try is go into Bios and make sure agressive timings are off, and go to the cell menu section of the Bios, it is there you will find the agressive timing option you want to turn off and the dynamic overclocking options.

Now you want to turn on the dynamic overclocking at corporal or sergeant, then leave that menu and boot up to windows and run your software or any other heavily intensive software you have and see if it is stable and what the temperatures are like, i assume you have corecenter installed and have used live update to make sure all the drivers and the bios is fully up to date, if not thats something to do.

If with this overclocking it is stable you can turn the dynamic overclocking up one and then test the system again, if this stable you go up one and so and so forth until it becomes unstable at that point you stop and you can either stick to the next setting down from the one it crashed at or you could try loosening the ram timings a little in BIOS it should help the memory go faster.

I wouldnt want to reccomend manual overclocking for you as it is something quite tricky and since it is a working PC you dont want to much to go wrong, i would test the system on dynamic over4clocking thouroghly before you attempt to use it at those settings for work, if possible you might want to make sure you can get hold of a backup system just in case.

I will warn you dynamic overclocking is only a slightly safer smarter way to overclock it is still a very risky thing to do and you would be voiding some warranties by doing it. Im also assuming here you are using the 3000+ venice core cpu any other core at that speed wont overclock as well either.

In terms of upgrading there is plenty of choice in faster CPUs, the next one up that i think would work for you would be a 3700+ san diego core cpu, or if you have the money there are dual core processors that would work quite well. I would also reccomend another Gigabyte of ram if you are upgrading, since it is a continous data feed you want plenty of low latency high quality RAM, I would stick with corsair but replace the value stuff you are using now with the proper XMS memory range and get a 2Gb matched pair(if you can afford it of course, it is usually not alot more than the value ram and the difference in the latencies is good and it comes pre fitted with the RAM sinks and a lifetime warranty that guarantees it will overclock to xxx speed usually 250Mhz which would be equivalent DDR500 compared to what it runs at DDR400 but that varies on the ram you buy.

If you are going to be upgrading the CPU anyway i would say overclocking is worth a go over the weekend at least, just remeber if it doesnt hol you will want to put the bios settings back to the optimised defualt mode before you put it back to work.

Edited by warriorscot, 09 December 2005 - 06:48 AM.

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#3
crouth

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Thank you very much for your reply and information. I tried the steps for dynamic overclocking you suggested with no success. The first thing I'm going to do after getting very similar responses on another forum, is call the software tech support again, and see if there is anything they can check to make sure the software is running properly. I'm going to remove it, and reload it to make sure, but if something is corrupted, it won't matter. All of the replies have said to replace the value memory I have for lowere latency/faster memory. I currently have 1gb, and it is always plenty, I'm only using around 500mb when I'm running this, and other programs open as well. Do I really need 2gb, and do you think that my problem with speed might be resolved with replacing the memory first? Otherwise, I'm going to upgrade the cpu to a Athlon 64 x2 4400+, do I still need 2gb? I'm also thinking of waiting until after the first of the year, so I can take this big expense off of my business taxes for next year, do you think prices will be better with after Christmas sales? I'll post another reply with some of the memory I've been looking at, your suggestions please, and many thanks. Have a blessed holiday season!
Chris
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#4
crouth

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Here are some memory options I'm looking at. I've read some about latency as well, but am really going off of other's opinions.
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819103546
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145449
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145450
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145466
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145503
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145523
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145560
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145575
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145587
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145594
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#5
warriorscot

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Well if the software doesnt need the extra memory 1gig should be fine better latency ram though is a good idea, im not going to go through all the links (if you want to put more up just right the name of the hardware i knowmost of the specs in my head or can gather it from the name, its just newegg takes ages to load).

I would maybe get Corsair 1GB DDR XMS3200XL Platinum TwinX (2x512MB) CAS2 memory its the fastest you can get. A 4400+ would certainly do it, if it cant run the software without lagging its the software being laggy, you might check with the developers if the software has multi processor support(its a feature finding its way into alot of corporate software these days).

Dynamic overclocking is great when it works its just a pain to get working, requires a bit of tweaking and a few CMOS resets to get going(i only set mines back up for dynamic overclocking this morning). I wouldnt worry to much if you cant get it to work.

There is usually sales after christmas on hardware, so i would wait and all the better if you can write it off. Dual core is probably a good idea you actually pay more for the very fast single core chips as those are the ones the gamer is after, if the software can take advantage of hyperthreading and the extra core the X2 would be the clear choice.

For overclocking if you want to see how high you can get it to go before you start mucking with the bios i have had some good results using clockgen its a windows overclocking tool. http://www.cpuid.com...?cgid=ICS950403 you might want to play with it as more of an intelectual exercise than anything else. that should be the right version of clockgen.

Edited by warriorscot, 12 December 2005 - 10:44 AM.

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#6
anoobrew

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You probaly need a dual-core Pentium. Pentiums do better than AMD at those types of applications. Also it seems like you have several applications going at the same time, if that is the case i recommend at least 2 GB of memory.
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#7
crouth

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warriorscot, the clockgen is working. I did it 4 different times, until it froze up, just like the dynamic overclocking. I now have it set. I think there is a way to save it so you don't have to reset every time, but when I'm not running my software, I'll tone it down. What is the max temp this thing can run? Current temp is consistent at 36C. Of course I have 5 fans running externally, not including the cpu fan. About annoobrew's reply, don't think that will work for me, as I just built this 4 months ago, and my msi board is socket 939. I'd have to change everything.
Chris
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#8
warriorscot

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The intel preference is really very software dependant you would have to check, it should go up to 50C safely under decen load, maybe a smidge higher but nothing past 60C, 36C is really good though. Yeah there is a way to save it but i cant remeber how to do it(been a while i dont have the time to tinker like i used to), all the settings in clockgen are in bios you can change them in there, although you might have to loosen the ram timings manually.

Yeah clockgen is better than BIOS overclocking in that you can turn it off and preserve the lifetime of the system(not something really worth worrying about they will last practically forever even with overclocking) and bring the temps back down, glad it has worked for you should save you some money. If you have five fans the cooling is certainly good enough for any overclocking, how high did you get it to go, just out of interest, ive got mine up to 2.75Ghz, but i know people can get them up to 2.8ghz plus just on the stock HSF and a well cooled case.

Edited by warriorscot, 14 December 2005 - 04:13 PM.

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#9
crouth

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Hey, I got the cpu to go from 1808 to 1982.something, the htt and memory to go from 204 to 220. A friend of mine that helped me build this said that there is a way to make sure that the memory is not holding me back. I believe he said to increase the latency value in my bios, and increase my fsb value, and if it didn't let me overclock it more, then the memory is holding it back. He didn't know for sure, but I'm sure you do know. At least I'm going in the right direction, where I know different memory, and possibly a new cpu will help immensly. This isn't quite where I need it to be, but we aren't too far off. I was thinking 2.6ghz+, but I'm only at 1.9.
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#10
crouth

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I just found out from the software tech support, that this software program is not developed to take advantage of 64 bit technology. He is an AMD person as well, and he said that having a dual core processor will not help, only a faster processor will help, but he insists I have enough. I don't know.
Chris
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#11
warriorscot

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Well the ram will hold it back and it wont go very high(it has to go at the same speed as the fsb you see) and you do have value ram and while its still corsair its not going to go as high as you want), you can loosen up the ram timings in bios under DRAM config its in advanced chipset options i think, set it to manual and increase the cas timings it will adjust the rest to fit.

If it cant make use of 64bit or dual cores than a pentium wouldnt help, it should be fast enough for it but the 3000+ is on the edge of being just a little to slow i would imagine.

2.6Ghz would be acheivable, but i fyou want to buy a new cpu the one you have is the very bottom of the 939 range, a 3700+ san diego core would be ideal for you i think if you cant get it to overclock fast enough with that cpu. And some really nice corsair memory(good stuff is what you want if you buy a new cpu i would say get the good low latency stuff, if you buy to overclock a bit or maybe overclock more get the PC3500 or faster stuff)

Do you do regular maintenance, eg defraging and checking drives for errors, also you might try giving PC tuneup 2006 a go http://www.tune-up.com/ can give you a small edge clears out the registry and duffed files and optimises the system a bit. Also has a memory management utility that might be worth a try, if you cut down on any non neccesary programs at startup you can free up some memory.

New ram i would advise the value stuff doesnt really cut the mustard as they say if you use a system like that all the time running a large realtime process.
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#12
crouth

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Well, I think we are at the end of our rope. I've tried many pc tune up utilities. System Mechanic by Iolo technologies was the only one that made any kind of difference. The big feature of it was a disk defragmenter, but it only worked once, and it did make a bigger difference than windows defrag. I do probably too much maintenance, and am probably overprotected after reading info on this site. I did try the PC Tune-Up 06, and it made an immediate difference, without overclocking. I then turned the cas latency up to 3(as high as it would go), and tried the clockgen again, no difference. Turned it down to 2, used clockgen, no difference, so I put it back at 2.5, and am at 1982, and I'm pleased for now. I've decided that I'm actually going to get 2gb(1gbx2) of memory after the first of the year, and see what it does. If that doesn't work, then I'm actually going higher to an AMD Athlon 64 4000+ San Diego core. Which Corsair XMS 2gb do you recommend? I found the 1gb stuff, but one of them had a temp monitor on it, I don't think I needed that one do I? Thanks for all your help, this is a great site!
Chris
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#13
warriorscot

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Yeah the one with the LCD screens is a litle extravagent, the 4000+ will handle your data without a second thought, im surprised you couldnt get the overclocking to go a bit higher with the ram timing, you could always try a manual overclock in bios(think the ram is causing the bother though), BIOS overclocking is ok when you use a MSI board because they have that lovely red CMOS reset button.
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#14
crouth

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What about the 2gb memory, which one?
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#15
warriorscot

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Which two gig of memory? did you give an option to pick and i missed it sorry. Anything corsair XMS preferably the cas2 stuff.
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