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How large or minuscule is the performance between Athlon x4 processors?

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  • Overclocking
  • Processors
  • CPUs
  • AMD
  • Performance
  • Bottleneck
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August 10, 2014 2:57:07 PM

Is it really worth spending an extra $10-20 bucks on an Athlon x4 750k/760k for better performance or can I just overclock the Athlon 740 and get near the same performance? Or should I wait for an 860k....?

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a b K Overclocking
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a b À AMD
August 10, 2014 3:07:00 PM

You can't overclock the 740 more than a few MHz since the multiplier is locked and the base clock is tied to the PCI clock. The 860K might be worth the wait, but I haven't heard a release date yet.
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August 10, 2014 3:33:39 PM

Chester Buttbeard said:
Is it really worth spending an extra $10-20 bucks on an Athlon x4 750k/760k for better performance or can I just overclock the Athlon 740 and get near the same performance? Or should I wait for an 860k....?


I feel that it's probably worth it. From how I understand it (I may be slightly wrong), the different models of CPUs are typically all of the exact same processor die design. The difference is that some may be defective or less stable than others in some areas due to minuscule impurities. Let me explain where I'm going with this.

For example, all of the Pentium, i3, i5, and i7 models all have the same lithographic design etched on them. One chip that comes out of the fab may have tiny specks of carbon inside two of the four cores (functionally destroying those cores) while one does not. It is expensive and wasteful to throw away every chip with a tiny defect (believe me, it's very hard to make a perfect CPU sample even with the purest of silicon, just look at the yield efficiency of full-frame camera sensors vs APS-C sized ones). As a result, the one with two broken cores has those cores shut down and is packaged as an i3 while the one with four functioning cores is made into an i5.

Some CPUs may have defects that are not crippling, but prevent it from being as stable as one that has no defects. This is where manufacturers test tolerances of each CPU and sort them into groups (known as "binning"). One CPU may use more power or generate more heat to achieve the same speed as another CPU of the same model. Since there are specifications that the CPU must follow, the less efficient processors are throttled down to slower speeds to meet them. This is where you get processors of the same line that are of different speeds, hence your Athlon x4 740, 750K, and 760K or Intel's i5-4460, 4590, and 4690.

Now, back to your original question. The reason why I think you should get the 750K/760K is because they will most likely use less power and generate less heat than if you were to overclock a 740 to get it up to the same speed. They might also be more likely to allow you to reach higher speeds if you overclock them as well.

Now of course, people have been making CPUs for quite a long time now, so techniques and success rates have improved. They might be intentionally throttling down/disabling certain parts of processors to fill a required quota for each product line. If you look it up, you can find stories of people trying to unlock extra cores on their single-core AMD Semprons and succeeding. However, it's probably worth the money to just buy a CPU that's guaranteed to run better in than to mess around and try to squeeze every last drop out of a cheaper one (and possibly breaking it in the process if you're not careful) in most cases. I'm not saying that you might be able to get a 740 to run/overclock as well as the best 760K though.

tl;dr: I really think you should read what I wrote: I spent a good ten minutes on it and you'll learn your new thing for the day. But basically, my answer is go with the better 750K/760K.

EDIT: I just realized that the 740 is not overclockable. However, my answer and explaining of everything still applies. Get the 750K/760K.
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August 15, 2014 10:43:25 AM

Gunmetal_61 said:
Chester Buttbeard said:
Is it really worth spending an extra $10-20 bucks on an Athlon x4 750k/760k for better performance or can I just overclock the Athlon 740 and get near the same performance? Or should I wait for an 860k....?


I feel that it's probably worth it. From how I understand it (I may be slightly wrong), the different models of CPUs are typically all of the exact same processor die design. The difference is that some may be defective or less stable than others in some areas due to minuscule impurities. Let me explain where I'm going with this.

For example, all of the Pentium, i3, i5, and i7 models all have the same lithographic design etched on them. One chip that comes out of the fab may have tiny specks of carbon inside two of the four cores (functionally destroying those cores) while one does not. It is expensive and wasteful to throw away every chip with a tiny defect (believe me, it's very hard to make a perfect CPU sample even with the purest of silicon, just look at the yield efficiency of full-frame camera sensors vs APS-C sized ones). As a result, the one with two broken cores has those cores shut down and is packaged as an i3 while the one with four functioning cores is made into an i5.

Some CPUs may have defects that are not crippling, but prevent it from being as stable as one that has no defects. This is where manufacturers test tolerances of each CPU and sort them into groups (known as "binning"). One CPU may use more power or generate more heat to achieve the same speed as another CPU of the same model. Since there are specifications that the CPU must follow, the less efficient processors are throttled down to slower speeds to meet them. This is where you get processors of the same line that are of different speeds, hence your Athlon x4 740, 750K, and 760K or Intel's i5-4460, 4590, and 4690.

Now, back to your original question. The reason why I think you should get the 750K/760K is because they will most likely use less power and generate less heat than if you were to overclock a 740 to get it up to the same speed. They might also be more likely to allow you to reach higher speeds if you overclock them as well.

Now of course, people have been making CPUs for quite a long time now, so techniques and success rates have improved. They might be intentionally throttling down/disabling certain parts of processors to fill a required quota for each product line. If you look it up, you can find stories of people trying to unlock extra cores on their single-core AMD Semprons and succeeding. However, it's probably worth the money to just buy a CPU that's guaranteed to run better in than to mess around and try to squeeze every last drop out of a cheaper one (and possibly breaking it in the process if you're not careful) in most cases. I'm not saying that you might be able to get a 740 to run/overclock as well as the best 760K though.

tl;dr: I really think you should read what I wrote: I spent a good ten minutes on it and you'll learn your new thing for the day. But basically, my answer is go with the better 750K/760K.

EDIT: I just realized that the 740 is not overclockable. However, my answer and explaining of everything still applies. Get the 750K/760K.



Wow... I learned a lot from that, thanks! :D 
I have officially decided to 750k over the 740. Another question: Do you think their prices will be lowered when the 860k is released?
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a b K Overclocking
a c 121 à CPUs
a b À AMD
August 15, 2014 12:50:06 PM

They might lower by ~$5-10 or so down the product line. If you are going to get the 760K anyway then it won't be worth the wait.
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