How to overclock MBP 2011 - i7-2720QM CPU from 2.2GHz to 2.4GHz ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AppleMacFinder, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. AppleMacFinder macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2009
    I have learned that i7-2760QM CPU is the same as i7-2720QM CPU (in the terms of hardware)
    The only difference between them is that 2760QM is higher clocked.

    (Near the time of initial release, Intel still was not 100% sure if this CPU will be stable at speeds higher than 2.2GHz.
    Because they didn't have enough time to find it out, they decided to release it as 2.2GHz.
    Later they have conducted series of tests proving that this CPU will be still stable at 2.4GHz,
    then re-branded 2720QM and released it as the "completely new" 2760QM CPU with 2.4GHz speed)

    So, I want to unlock the true capabilities of my computer.
    One guy at Youtube said that he successfully overclocked his MBP via EFI,
    but have not provided any instructions and does not reply to my private message.

    Please, tell me, do you know how to overclock Macbook Pro via EFI ?
  2. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
    (in short, the inadequate power supply won't let you take advantage of the 2.2GHz CPU as it is, never mind a faster one. The fact the 17" MBP outperforms the 15" with the identical CPU and GPU (model and rated speed) also shows the 15" having an even lesser power supply that can't keep up with the needs of the CPU and GPU.)

    2. it's not possible to tinker with the EFI as such

    Either way, even if you could do it, it would be futile. The laws of physics would override.
  3. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    It is probably possible you'd need to somehow create a modified EFI update that changes the base clocks.
    Totally stupid idea though even if one would manage such a feat.

    There is a bit of a misunderstanding here. Read up on silicon and chips. A 2720QM runs stable at much higher speeds without any problem. The problem is heat and power consumption.
    When they make new chips they usually get cool ones and hot ones.
    Those are tested and binned into baskets. The hot ones become cheaper lower clocked CPUs the cool ones higher clocker more expensive ones.
    A few steppings into the process usually after a year they get a) more cooler chips b) cooler ones than before.
    The 2760QM can run 200Mhz faster without consuming any more peak power. That is why it runs faster. The 2720QM sold at the beginning of the year cannot do that it would consume more power and produce more heat. Remember heat increases exponentially at the top end. If you got a 2720QM that was sold around septembe/november it might be the same stepping as the 2760QM and it would overclock in theory as well.
    But your old 2720QM definitely won't.

    What is running stable only matters on Desktops with extensive cooling. Notebook CPUs and GPUs are usually far away from their stable clock limit. Which is why GPU overclocking in Notebooks is much easier as those chips run much faster without any problem as long as they stay cool enough.
    They run at lower clocks to conserve power and run cool enough.
  4. AppleMacFinder, Nov 23, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011

    AppleMacFinder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2009
    I am still more than confident that 2720QM and 2760QM are the same,
    because of the following reasons:
    1) 2720QM was completely replaced by 2760QM
    2) Their price is the same
    3) They have the same set of features
    4) Usually the cold and hot chips are being sold at the same line and at the different prices
    5) The most important - a pen friend from Intel told me

    Moreover - I could tell you that 2820QM and 2860QM are the same too.

    But let's go back to the topic:

    EFI hidden settings - is there such a thing?
    Is it possible to access them without "re-firmwaring" the MBP?
  5. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    1. Sure they are the same but a 2720qm stepping sold 8 months ago is just not as good as the current ones. Battery benchmarks quite clearly show that. It has still nothing to to with stable clock both chips would easily do 3 or 3.5 Ghz given enough cooling.
    During the Core 2 Duos Intel managed to sell a few months into them CPUs that ran at about the same frequency but in a 10W lower TDP at the same process.
    2. I seriously doubt it and never heard of it. Maybe you fine some tool that can edit the necessary parameters in the efi partition.
    3. Probably not. In theory it might work but I think the only solution you might find is just re-firmwaring with a modified firmware.
  6. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    You need a new pen pal at Intel...

    The 2760QM is faster than the 2720QM because it's got a 2x multiplier on the same bus speed. Same thing with 28xx parts. The only way you can overclock is to increase the base clock, but that affects everything from memory speeds to your CPU. Overclocking your base clock is not the same as increasing the multiplier ratio.
  7. AppleMacFinder, Nov 24, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011

    AppleMacFinder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2009
    For example, let's take 2720QM CPU.

    Bus clock (external clock) is 100MHz.
    Core clock (internal clock) is 2200MHz.
    Bus/Core ratio (clock multiplier) is 22.

    external clock * clock multiplier = internal clock
    clock multiplier = internal clock / external clock = 2200/100 = 22

    In other words, there are two ways of overclocking:
    1) changing the bus clock
    2) increasing the clock multiplier
    Therefore, changing the bus clock is not the only way to overclock the CPU.

    I could overclock the CPU using the second way: leave the base clock (external clock) the same,
    and increase the clock multiplier (bus/core ratio) from 22x to 24x.
    That will automatically take the core clock from 2200MHz to 2400MHz,
    in other words - increase my CPU Frequency from 2.2 GHz to 2.4 GHz.

    The same thing was done by Intel engineers to turn 2720QM into 2760QM.

    Those people (including me) who bought a computer with 2720QM, must do it by themselves.
  8. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    and if you had BIOS you could ..but you don't you have Apple EFI

    even if you bootcamp win 7 you still won't..OCing Apple is not going to happen..

    If you can figure it out last us know, people have been trying for years!
  9. AppleMacFinder, Nov 24, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011

    AppleMacFinder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2009
    Just look what I have found! :)
    Unfortunately, I don't know any UNIX Shell commands.
    If there is no another way of digging into EFI, I would have to learn some of them.

    P.S. About the possibility of Apple overclocking:
    there is an utility for OS X 10.5, called "ZDNet Clock".
    It somehow bypasses the EFI and performs the "software" overclocking.
    Too bad it supports only Mac Pro and XServe.
  10. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    It worked in 10.6 too...but it wasn't permanent if you hard rebooted it went away..

    It was only for Mac Pros and Xserve because it only worked with Xeons..

    There are many here that do know UNIX shell commands that will be the easy part...the had part will be the access to the EFI itself..remember apple does use EFI the way the rest of the world does it's sorta EFI 1.5 locked down..

    It would be more interesting in my opinion to force open standard UEFI on a mac mother board..then we could play away!!

    **edit**That thread is from 08..dunno how applicable now
  11. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    You sound like a child that simply refuses to believe the inconvenient truth.
    If you had any knowledge and experience about overclocking on Intel CPUs in the last few years you'd know that multipliers are locked on all but the most expensive CPUs.
    Only the 2920XM or 2960XM have unlocked multipliers.

    On all other CPUs they are locked for by Intel Engineers. Why? Because they want to sell different CPUs to different market segments and if Acer could simply buy the cheapest CPUs of a certain core like the mobile Quad Core Sandybridge and just change the multiplier nobody would buy the expensive chips.
    And all mobile Quad Cores are based on the same chips and most porbably would run on the same clock rates (if they are the similar stepping which means usually similar production date). A 2675QM is also the same as the 2760QM the only difference is multpliers.
    You may find a way to overclock the baseclock just these few percent, but you cannot simply set the multiplier of your choosing. They are hardware locked in the chip not even the mainboard producers managed to find a way around it as they used to for some older "locks".
  12. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Nevermind all this fancy and quite interesting CPU talk, the real question is: why would you even want to bother doing it?

    You'd notice at most a 10% increase in performance on very large calculations(rendering, finite element analysis, large programs with a ton of floating points in MATLAB, etc) And in day to day operations, you'd notice no difference in performance at all!

    So what is your actual motivation for wanting to overclock? The good old "because I can"?

    Computers are no longer limited by their CPU as they used to be, the bottlenecks lie elsewhere in the system now, the biggest one being the hard drive, which just cannot saturate the RAM fast enough for processors theses days.
  13. AppleMacFinder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2009
    I agree that 10% difference would not be noticeable in most cases.
    But we should not say about every thing that increases our system performance by a small margin "It is not worth doing".
    Because, when combined together, these things could give us a really nice performance bonus! (superposition principle)

    That is why in the following situation:
    I would still prefer to pay a bit more and get 1600MHz.
  14. AppleMacFinder, Nov 24, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011

    AppleMacFinder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2009
    Nothing is impossible

    I understand you. However, nothing is impossible!
    A lot of guys have succeeded in unlocking the 4th core in triple-core AMD CPUs,
    and that feels like a much bigger thing - compared to unlocking the multipliers.

    Today I have completely decompressed the EFI version 2.3.
    It contains (excluding the localization files) a lot of different ROMs
    (if somebody needs the ROMs, please contact me)

    While there was some interesting stuff, related to AMD GPUs:
    Seymour A11p C01709 (K91) GDDR5 100e/150m and
    Apple K92A Whistler ProA GDDR5 Auto 100e/150m 0.9V ,
    Photoshop ICC Profiles, SATA and Thunderbolt controllers and even
    a hidden EFI partition, I haven't found any mention of CPU frequency.
  15. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2011
    Even if you could successfully overclock your Mac's processor, why would you want to? Heat and power issues aside, Core i5 and i7 chips have something called "Turbo Boost". If your computer needs some extra speed the chip will self-overclock.

    If you do, however, figure out how to OC your Mac I'd be interested to hear about it.
  16. AppleMacFinder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2009
    2720QM has the following frequencies:
    standard - 2.2GHz, Turbo Boost - up to 3.3GHz.
    If I would manage to overclock, it would become:
    2.4GHz - standard, Turbo Boost - up to 3.5GHz.
    That means the entire range of frequency will go up by 200MHz.
  17. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2011
    Yeah, I realize that. I just don't think that the whole thing is worth it. You probably want your MacBook Pro to be equivalent to the recently updated MacBook Pros. I understand the need to have the latest and greatest (I have that need, too). You'll be the only one who knows how fast your Mac is. Nobody around you will know you're sporting an overclocked high-end i7. All they'll know is that your Mac is putting out a lot of heat and the fan is running like crazy. Do what you want, but overclocking a laptop isn't the greatest idea.
  18. JazzyFizzle macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2011
    What's the point when the processor has turbo boost?
  19. kytarx macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2011
    it might not be worth it in terms of performance gain (I dont even use half my processing cycles)

    but as an experiment? something to learn from. Computer science is fun and the more you know about it the better.
  20. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Did you check some memory reviews on thg. The speed difference is between 0-2%. Not 10% paying up for DDR3 1600 is just stupid unless the difference is rather insignificant.
    At least with the CPU overlcock you get more of the actual clock increase of the 9% - 6%(Turbo difference).
    If you figure a way out to change the multipliers under OSX with the GPU a little downclocked you could give it some extras like 2.5 Ghz. Still not worth the effort but at least an interesting experience.

    BTW the Core unlocks have been a much easier endeavor than multiplier unlocks on locked CPUs. It was the same with GPU firmwares were all you had to do is take one write it over the old one. Risky but easy. I never heard of a CPU firmware that could unlock multipliers and I am pretty sure if such a thing worked it would have been all over the web.
    Despite all that simply changing BIOS values, and UEFI is in essence something similar, didn't help anything. The first unlocks Intel/AMD used, Asus and the mainboard guys could disable or work around somehow. That didn't work anymore for a while now.
    I just think you are wasting time because you won't find such an easy solution.
    Baseclock maybe but that changes everything and gets unstable much easier and probably also hurts battery life and power consumption more as it overlocks almost everything.
  21. kytarx macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2011
    1600mhz is only 5 to 10 generic units of currency more than 1333mhz. even if its only a 2% performance gain (which, I might add, is probably optimistic) its still worth it, when you consider the overall price of the machine.
  22. chuffman15 macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2011
    Martinsburg, WV
    this guy strikes me as the kind of person that would spend thousands of hours turning a nickel into a dime. if you want to do it for the sake of doing it , then do it.
    good luck

    when and if it does fail, i hope macrumors keeps a record of his shenanigans and tells apple before he takes his machine in for repair.
  23. AppleMacFinder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2009
    To address some of the questions "why do you need such a lot of computing power":
    I am participating in distributed computing projects - SETI@home, rosetta@home, World Community Grid, etc.
    They require a LOT of computing power, and bring my CPU to the full load instantly!
    I want to bring as much as possible benefit to community - that is why I am looking for the ways to improve my system performance. Because with improved system performance, I will be able to compute more things.
  24. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    If that was the case yes. If I check out prices I can find 1333 8GB kits for about 30€ and a single 4GB 1600Mhz Module costs about the same 27€.
    That is not 5-10 what ever it is almost 30€ which means something like $ 40.
    Considering the 2% is the optimistic best case scenario and 0 is the more average gain I don't think DDR3 1600 is there yet. If one 8GB kit was 30 and the other 35/40 okay but 30 vs. 56 is bit more.
    I also wouldn't forget that it needs slighly more power and I would generally prefer DDR3L 1333 on 1.25/1.35V for such a price if I could get it. That at least saves as much power as a common harddrive consumes.
  25. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Build a monster of a desktop for a quarter of the price of the laptop, and leave it at home doing the number crunching while your MBP has other purposes, you'll benefit the community much, much more that way.

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