News Archive for: Thursday, April 20th, 2006
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MacBook Pro owner reports on Overclocking ATI X1600 (using ATItool)
(Updated again at 7PM)
In reply to yesterday's post on Intel CPU Mac ATI X1600 overclocking using ATItool for WinXP. (FYI - I've created a separate page now for Intel CPU Mac owner's ATI X1600 overclocking reports.)

" I guess I'm unlucky with my W8613 MacBook Pro. I can overclock the GPU to 450 without problems but my memory only works up to 333, nowhere near the 450+ memory some people are reporting.
-Stephen D. "

" I have a MacBook Pro 2.16 GHz / 2GB Ram / 7200rpm 100gb HD and recently I managed to overclock the video card to 475 MHz on the Core, and 465MHz on the Memory, while maintaining Boot Camp's default graphic drivers. Anything above that and the machine's screen will turn black, forcing a hard reboot.

Now with these new settings, I get around 4350 points in 3DMark05. To compare, my 2.3GHz Athlon 64 with a Geforce 6800 (380Mhz/850Mhz) obtains a 4100.
Thanks, Marcos C. "

" Hi Mike,
I've overclocked my MBP 2.0GHz's X1600 in Windows XP with ATITool 0.25 Beta 14. (download here). It can up to 460 / 360 and run several times 3DMark 05 without any problems. Sometimes when I am running the cube test (I don't know how to mention it, but there is a 3D test in ATITool with a Cube) and change the memory frequecy may crash the system. But most time the VPU recovery fuction saved me.

Acutally it is a quite strange overclocking experience to me , because on most desktop graphics cards, it may get glitch on the screen if you push the card too much before the system crashes. However on my MBP's X1600, it will run perfectly without any glitch at 460 / 360, but when I set it to 470 / 370, the system became very unstable and crashes.

I recommand people that have overclocking problems on MBP try overclocking the CORE first, because the core freq can be pushed a lot higher than the mem freq.
(I mentioned the much higher memory clocks reported by others, and ask if they were reporting clock rate or effective DDR rate-Mike)
ATITools does not report the DDR rate, so I believe they're reporting the real clock rate. and I have no idea how they can clock to such high speed. I can do a test today, maybe for 1-2 hours to see how stable it is.
-K. Cheung "

And remember "YMMV". Another MBP owner wrote:

" Just thought i'd let you know my MacBook Pro 2.16GHz is stable at 475/540. I haven't heard of anyone reaching higher and a friend who ordered his at the same time maxes out at 430/520. The overclock makes a huge difference in the latest games since everything appears to be GPU bound for now...these duo's are really powerful!

I'd be interested to know what the average overclock for the MBP is and whether i got a lucky unit or not...i have a replacement on the way for a few dead pixels but if it can't clock very high i might well keep this one. Let me know if you'd like more specific info on anything. GREAT site, i use it every day!
regards, Ant "

Thanks, and thanks for taking the time to send this.
I asked them both if they noticed any increase in heat or any problems with 3d gaming for long periods of time at the higher clock rates. (It's so frustrating to not have one of these right now - but later this year I'm going to try and get one myself.)

" Interestingly, the heat isn't very different. (i'm quite familiar with overclocking as i used to hardware mod my 1.5GHz G4 to 1.83 - PBAluminium). The graphics fan doesn't even run constantly, it comes on during periods of intense activity in quake iv and fear, but shuts down again almost immediately, nothing like the old aluminium's that spool down for ages.
The max operating temperature doesn't feel much different (unfortunately no hardware monitoring tools work at the moment), but i'd guess that during gaming the average top surface temp near the graphics chip is slightly higher. Nothing alarming really. Even after several hours gaming i've had no problems, pushing my core much higher causes VPU recover to activate or just crashes the machine, the memory produces artifacts at 560.
Despite many hours of tweaking and pushing the card past its limits it always recovers just fine and doesn't display any signs of a poorly overclocked system. I know this voids the warranty but from what i understand, no permanent change is made to chip settings in ROM? so apple can't deny you repair.

To be frank, the MBP isn't really up to playing the latest titles without modding the clock. Quake IV and Fear are transformed from choppy to fluid 60fps constant. (I'm very picky about frame rates, and need to be +40 the whole time to enjoy a fps type game). Having said that Half Life 2 runs great with or without the overclock at max everything and native resolution (once clocked you can run 2-4x anti-aliasing and 8X Anisotropic Filtering, looks beautiful!). I now run Quake4 at native resolution, high settings with no AA, everything on except shadows...frame rates almost always 60, never below 40.

The only benchmark i've done so far apart from fear is 3dmark 05, graphics score with the demo is approx 4491. Interestingly, the CPU score lags significantly compared to pc laptops with intel duo's at 2ghz. Comparing on the futuremark site i found my cpu score lagging by at least 1000 to the 2ghz pc's. I don't see how this can be improved by future drivers??? Is cpu performance affected by anything but the os?

I love this machine and i really hope you can get one soon, since i started using mac's 15 years ago this is the first time i've felt such a jump in hardware capability can be had for so little (well i wouldn't call it little, but comparatively speaking...) The machine is damn fast. If you're lucky when you get round to purchasing apple will have upgraded the graphics card and i hate to admit it but it could really do with a more powerful one. Let me know if you'd like any more scores/observations etc.
best regards, Ant."

" Using ATITool 0.25 Beta 14, I could overclock both the core and the memory to 440. Clocking higher - to 470/470 made the system crash after 5 minutes of gaming, showing a black screen. I think I can get higher values when testing longer, but I'm at work now ;)

Just played BattleField 2 - Special Forces:
Display: 1152x865 60MHz,
Global settings: High
AA: 4x
After 30 minutes I quit the game (as I said, I'm at work), but it looks good, no glitches and not that much sound from the vents.
I'm on a MBP 1.83GHz with 1.5GB RAM
All the best, Jeroen "

" I overclocked my 2.0GHz MBP's GPU to 470/450, I actually got it up to 484/490 and ATItool told me there were no artifacts, but then I tried playing world of warcraft on full settings and it froze. I systematically turned down the overclock until I could play WOW and Guild Wars on full settings indefinitely with no freezes. With the stable settings I got about 15 fps jump in WOW performance. (I asked to confirm what the "stable settings were-Mike)
Yes it is stable at 470/450. I was not very articulate before because I was in a hurry, but what I was attempting to say is the highest I could clock the gpu without ATItool telling there were artifacts was 484/490. However, when I went to play games to test out the new settings it crashed multiple times. In light of this, I decided it would be a good idea to turn the clock's down until I could play games stably; I had to go down to 470/450 before it was stable in game.
What also may be of interest is, after the crashes I could not connect to wireless networks. I had to leave the computer off for a few hours then run disk utility to get everything working again.

I was wondering is there a way to make the settings permanent because I have to increase the clock everytime I restart windows?
-Austin M/ "

See the "Auto Overclock on booting" section at this page.

If you've overclocked your Mac's X1600 (either iMac or Macbook Pro), let me know your results. Thanks.
BTW - The author of the french page at wrote he's posted an English version (not his native language but better than the babelfish translation) He lists running 450/459 and includes some PC benchmarks vs a 318/300 clock rate.

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Another report of Problems (Kernel Panics) solved by Cleaning Heatsink Dust Buildup
After a post in Tuesday's news on CPU Upgrade Problems due to dust accumulation on the heatsink, another reader mentioned a "spring cleaning" solved some overheating/kernel panic problems. (Not an exciting topic but something to check periodically.)

" Its funny that this was posted when it was... I just started having kernal panics on Monday and I opened up my sawtooth so I could clock my processor back to its rated speed (1.4 GHz gigadesign) and found that the heatsink and the fan attached to it were filthy with dust.
I sprayed it down with compressed air and have had no problems since. I also sprayed the casefan/cowl area and got a big poof of dust out the back of my case. this has never happened to me before, but I too intend to start blowing off the heatsink regularly.
-John H. "

The previous reader had removed his PL CPU upgrade thinking it had failed, but later checked it and after cleaning, it was fine. Not always the cause of problems but definitely something to check every so often.
BTW: Use Compressed air, not a vacuum cleaner which generates a lot of static electricity. (A reader said he used a vacuum and afterwards his L3 cache no longer worked - zapped apparently.)

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Parallels Workstation Reports page updated (CPU Usage notes)
I've updated the page of reader reports on Parallels Workstation 2.1b for Intel Based Macs with a Macbook pro user's notes on high CPU usage (90+%) on two Parallels processes when the app wasn't running, but after asking some questions he mentioned that it had crashed (and the system had not been rebooted since) which left orphan processes running (even though the app wasn't).
I don't have an intel mac to test this software (free beta/trial) but if anyone else that runs this software monitors its CPU usage let me know.
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Neptune FW400 Hard Drive price cuts, 500GB model added
(from site sponsor OWC)
"New Neptune FW400 pricing and now up to 500GB
The OWC Neptune FireWire 400 line of solutions, with the latest Oxford 911+ Chipset, is great for Audio/Video, Music, Backup (Dantz/EMC Backup Certified), or general storage. These solutions are also fully bootable on any system with FireWire boot support. All models include: EMC/Dantz Retrospect Backup Software (Mac/PC), Intech HD Speedtools utility suite, FireWire Cable, Pretested/preformatted with 1yr OWC Warranty:
80GB 7200RPM w/2MB Data Buffer remains $99.95
160GB 7200RPM w/8MB Data Buffer remains $127.99
200GB 7200RPM w/8MB Data Buffer was $149.99, now $147.99
250GB 7200RPM w/8MB Data Buffer was $159.99, now $149.99
320GB 7200RPM w/8MB Data Buffer was $187.99, now $174.99
400GB 7200RPM w/8MB Data Buffer was $279.99, now $269.99
500GB 7200RPM w/8MB Data Buffer - **NEW** $369.99

Neptune solutions listing online here:
Also available - OWC Neptune Enclosure Kits to add your own 3.5" ATA Drive up to 500GB+ supported - $47.99, cables included.
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing"
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ATICellerator II Author comments on Updates for X1600 Support
In yesterday's post on Intel CPU Mac ATI X1600 overclocking (using ATItool for WinXP), I mentioned I'd written the author of ATIcellerator II to ask if an update was planned for X1600 support. Here's his reply:

" Intel support has been done for some time, but the X1600 isn't supported yet... I lack information on the way it operates. ATIccelerator II will be updated when I finally have it!

(I wonder if the author of ATItool would be willing to share some info-Mike)
I already tried a few weeks ago, he didn't answer. I'll try again one of these days...
-Thomas "

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