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Dell Inspiron 530 Core2Quad q6600 minitower cheap overclocking - success!

reminor 242 48 February 10, 2009 at 09:40 PM
I hope this will be a usefull guide for all fellow happy Inspiron 530 Q6600 owners on SD and hopefully save time and money for somebody who wants to follow my steps..

Bottom line: for about $25 you can get your 2.4GHz running at 3.0GHz for a rock-solid quiet quad-core machine (which is BTW not supposed to be overclockable due to a "plain vanilla" motherboard, weak PSU, restrictive case, etc). Read on.

All IMHO and YMMV (and you luck is also YMMV), of couse. Not all CPU's are overclockable, not all components are fault-free.


After a lot of reading and thinking I found the following. No need to upgrade 380w dell PSU nor your minitower case. No need to remove the CPU bracket from under the motherboard nor lap your CPU/heatsink . No need to use "high-performance" thermal paste. You do need to upgrade the CPU heatsink. That's it.

My choice was Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro ($16+SH at ewiz.com here [ewiz.com]). Fits right in into (quite small) 530 mini-tower case.

OK, here we go:
1. If you don't have one, hunt for a Dell Inspiron Quad-core w/ Q6600 on outlet.dell.com. Look under "Core 2 Quad - 2400" or "Core 2 Quad-core - 2400", somehow Dell has two choices for the same processor in that drop down menu. Look for mini-tower form factor.

This is the most time consuming task and it is YMMV, but you can do it. I got a q6600/4Gb RAM/500Gb HDD for $295+SH (with a 10% off coupon popping up here and there on SD). My PCs "flaw" was two small scuff marks on the bezel. That's it! Again, YMMV.

2. Order AC7 Freezer 7 Pro from ewiz.com here [ewiz.com].

3. Get to a hardware store and buy 4 metric screws M3-.50 x 16 and a bag of small hex nuts 8-32 (you'll need 8 of those). It will set you back about $2. This will allow you to remove push-pins from the AC7 cooler and use the screws instead to mount AC7 to the Dell-standard backplate.

4. Open your 530, and using a philips screwdriver unscrew the stock HSF (heat sink fan) assembly and discard/give it away.

5. Take the CPU out and do the easy tape mod described here [nvidia.com]. I used a small piece of office scotch tape. Put the CPU back into the socket. Clean up old thermal paste with a napkin from the CPU heat spreader.

6. Remove push-pins from your new AC7 as described here [anandtech.com]. You'll be using screws now. I like that approach because a) you don't need to take the mobo out and remove the backplate holding the stock HSF. b) The bolt-thru setup takes the stress of holding heavy heatsink assembly off of the motherboard itself.

7. AC Freezer 7 Pro is supplied with the thermal paste applied. Use it! No need to remove it and replace with "better" paste. Also, no need to lap the CPU/heatsink (polish the contact surfaces making them perfectly flat using sandpaper).

8. Use your new screws with two hex nuts as spacers to screw the heatsink into stock backplate. It will require some effort and accuracy, but you can do it. Use a long shaft flat screwdriver to tighten the screws. Don't tighten the screws all the way down. Leave about 1/8 inch between the tension legs and the motherboard.


According to Prime95 (v25, x64 version) my system runs at 2993MHz with no errors for several hours now running various tests, max temp was 59C, idles around 25-29C.

Needless to say I am loving my 530 now. Hope this guide helps.










P.S. You can put Windows XP x64 on that machine. I run it just fine. I found all the drivers so let me know if you are interested hearing about that.

UPDATE ABOUT SCREWS: Recently with my second 530 I discovered that to mount AC7Pro you can use small standard PC screws usually used for mounting CD/DVD drives. Not the screws with larger thread used for HDDs. No need to buy any screws at a hardware store. No need for spacers/washers as those standard screws have quite large heads. The correct small-thread screw is depicted to the right (below).

139 Comments

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#2
Thanks for this guide! Few questions:
What's the idle frequency? Mine idles at 1.6 GHz and only runs at 2.4 GHz during intensive tasks. (CPU is still stock.)
What was your idle temp before the mod?
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#3
great guide.
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#4
this mod is old if you can get your hands on the cpu layout. I done something similar when I had a Athlon 2500 OC' to a Athlon 3200 by blocking pins. Good post op.

Here are some others,

Google is your friend.
[google.com]
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#5
Quote from terchie View Post :
Thanks for this guide! Few questions:
What's the idle frequency? Mine idles at 1.6 GHz and only runs at 2.4 GHz during intensive tasks. (CPU is still stock.)
What was your idle temp before the mod?
Your numbers are perfectly fine for a non-OC processor. I had the same. When you OC (Overclock) it should read 2GHz at low load and 3GHz under load. Intel SpeedStep technology is throttling back the CPU speed when idle/low-load to conserve energy and generate less heat. So don't be surprised to see lower clock speeds at idle.

Idle temp was about the same with stock speed/HSF, upper 20''s C lower 30's.
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Last edited by reminor February 16, 2009 at 11:45 AM.
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#6
Quote from atrix415 View Post :
this mod is old if you can get your hands on the cpu layout. I done something similar when I had a Athlon 2500 OC' to a Athlon 3200 by blocking pins. Good post op.

Here are some others,

Google is your friend.
[google.com]
Yeah, I know the mod's old. As the CPU itself LOL! The guide is not only about overclocking, but rather an all-in-one A-to-Z "low resistance" low cost path to quiet and OC your Inspiron 530 and most importantly to avoid spending more than necessary (time and money-wise). If you read about OC the 530 elsewhere (like I did) random people recommend a) change the case ("530 minitower's too small, change it for better airflow and lots of space"), b) lap your HSF/CPU ("to better dissipate heat"), c) use high performance thermal compound ("they send you junk paste pre-applied, scrape it off!"), d) remove the mobo, pry off the backplate and use push-pins to mount the new HSF, e) get a bolt-thru kit if you want to use screws, f) anything less than Tuniq Tower is inferior, g) sometimes, change the PSU ("too weak for bigger GPU/OC"). All of that turned to be a little.. hmm... misleading.

Most of the things in the guide are model and even form-factor specific. It is not about "How to OC Q6600" in general.
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Last edited by reminor February 11, 2009 at 07:22 AM.
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#7
Quote from reminor View Post :

...
3. Get to a hardware store and buy 4 metric screws M3-.50 x 16 and a bag of small hex nuts 8-32 (you'll need 8 of those). It will set you back about $2. ....
One more note. Now I know I could have used shorter screws with a flat washer, instead of using hex nuts as spacers. But at the moment I was not sure how long of a screw I'd need. Plus Lowe's I stopped at had the next smaller size screws being much shorter, about 1/4 inch long. So I decided to go the spacers route and got longer screws.
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#8
Quote from reminor View Post :
Your numbers are perfectly fine for a non-OC processor. I had the same. When you OC (Overclock) it should read 2GHz at low load and 3GHz under load. Intel SpeedStep technology is throttling back the CPU speed when idle/low-load to conserve energy and generate less heat. So don't be surprised to see lower clock speeds at idle.

Idle temp was about the same with stock speed/HSF, upper 20''s C.
Thanks, just wanted to confirm the low-load freq after overclocking. Makes sense, they use a multiplier of 6 under light load: (1333MHz / 4) x 6 = 2 GHz.

My CPU idles much higher though, ~37C; not sure why that is... The room is 72F or 22.2C.
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#9
Quote from terchie View Post :
My CPU idles much higher though, ~37C; not sure why that is... The room is 72F or 22.2C.
It is all about heat dissipation. Your stock HSF must be a little out of whack. After all it's humans who put them on. That guy prolly' was having a bad day when your PC landed in his hands.

Changing HSF even without overclocking makes sense to me. I hope your temperature issue will be gone then.
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#10
hey op, won't be doing this but repped anyway for the effort. nice guide.
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#11
Quote from reminor View Post :
One more note. Now I know I could have used shorter screws with a flat washer, instead of using hex nuts as spacers. But at the moment I was not sure how long of a screw I'd need. Plus Lowe's I stopped at had the next smaller size screws being much shorter, about 1/4 inch long. So I decided to go the spacers route and got longer screws.
So Rem, what length screws and type/size washers would you now recommend instead of the original metric screws and hex nuts? TIA
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#12
Quote from reminor View Post :
One more note. Now I know I could have used shorter screws with a flat washer, instead of using hex nuts as spacers. But at the moment I was not sure how long of a screw I'd need. Plus Lowe's I stopped at had the next smaller size screws being much shorter, about 1/4 inch long. So I decided to go the spacers route and got longer screws.
Very Nice post. I was skeptical at first. But the Tape MOD works like a charm. I just tried it on my Dell 530 Inspirion still using the Stock heatsink and my idle temp is

Core0 31
Core1 33
Core2 26
Core3 27

I'll look into the Artic Heatsink. But until then I probably won't be doing anythingn that will stress the CPU.

Thanks for the post.
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#13
Bought the Dell 530 around this time last year. Never got around to doing the tape mod until today. After removing the old thermal paste and using Arctic Silver, I was successful in getting the CPU to overclock. HOWEVER, it was unstable.

I'd get into Windows (Vista 32bit) and CPUZ would confirm it was at 3.0ghz. But, about 1 minute into doing anything CPU intensive, I'd get the blue screen of death. My guess is my ram is crapping out (ADATA 1.8v DDR 800?).


EDIT: It has to be the PSU. 2 harddrives, bluray drive, couple fans, and an 8600GT on the stock psu.
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Last edited by specialmoose February 16, 2009 at 01:58 AM.
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#14
Quote from specialmoose View Post :
Bought the Dell 530 around this time last year. Never got around to doing the tape mod until today. After removing the old thermal paste and using Arctic Silver, I was successful in getting the CPU to overclock. HOWEVER, it was unstable.

I'd get into Windows (Vista 32bit) and CPUZ would confirm it was at 3.0ghz. But, about 1 minute into doing anything CPU intensive, I'd get the blue screen of death. My guess is my ram is crapping out (ADATA 1.8v DDR 800?).


EDIT: It has to be the PSU. 2 harddrives, bluray drive, couple fans, and an 8600GT on the stock psu.
Easy test - just get most of the components out (esp the video card) to lower the power consumption. If your CPU is now solid running 3GHz, yes up the weak PSU to blame. If not I am affraid your CPU was born non-overclockable.

Your RAM may be to blame. By doing the tape mod you jack up the FSB speed from 1066 to 1333MHz and all mobo components (incl. memory) are now running at faster clock speed. Not all components can sometimes live with that. Prime95 can stress-test the memory, too.

That's the beauty of this simple mod: you make the whole system run faster, not only the CPU.
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Last edited by reminor February 16, 2009 at 11:54 AM.
#15
Quote from reminor View Post :
Easy test - just get most of the components out (esp the video card) to lower the power consumption. If your CPU is now solid running 3GHz, yes up the weak PSU to blame. If not I am affraid your CPU was born non-overclockable.

Your RAM may be to blame. By doing the tape mod you jack up the FSB speed from 1066 to 1333MHz and all mobo components (incl. memory) are now running at faster clock speed. Not all components can sometimes live with that. Prime95 can stress-test the memory, too.

That's the beauty of this simple mod: you make the whole system run faster, not only the CPU.

Agreed, looks like the RAM is the issue. I ran PRIME95 small FFTs for 1 hour on stock heatsink. Temperature got up to 68-71 without errors. I stopped it because don't want to risk pushing it pass that 71 threshold.

My RAM is GEIL DDR2 800.

Looking into a better heatsink. Wonder if a Zalman 9500 will fit.
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