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OC or Unlock Phenom II 720 BE for gaming - which is better?

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a b K Overclocking
March 8, 2010 12:16:45 PM

Okay, I've been reading things on unlocking the 4th core in the Phenom II 720 BE. I believe my motherboard can do it (it has the ACC option as well as setting it to hybrid but I haven't tried it yet).

My question is, I primarily use my machine for gaming. So far, it's running really great (Fallout 3 on Ultra settings is awesome, GTA IV is definitely playable now although shadows suck on my ATI card). However, I've read where OCing is going to gain you more than unlocking the 4th core (which might be unstable anyways).

Is this true? What about a combination of both? Just curious. As it is, I'll probably stay where I'm at (not OC'ed and not unlocked) because so far, the system runs great and I don't see a reason to OC or unlock at this point, but never say never!

Also, some have stated the stock cooler is just fine. Is this true? I don't think my case has the best cooling ability (my core temp hovers around 45C).

Thanks!
a b K Overclocking
March 8, 2010 12:48:55 PM

I use a combination of both - I have my 4th core unlocked and the CPU running at 3.2Ghz. - which is best for you depends on your uses and the games you play !! Some programs and games can make use of the 4th core and will perform better with it unlocked while others are mainly single or perhaps dual core oriented and will perform better with those cores running faster.

AS you said though the Chip performs pretty well at stock levels with\without the 4th core unlocked so it depends on what you are trying to get from it. - IF you are using the stock Heatsink then be aware that either unlocking or OCing the CPU will cause your Temps to rise ( mine was running mid 60's under stress with the 4th core and at 3.0ghz. so I did not run it any higher until putting on an aftermarkrt cooler as 73C is the thermal shutdown temp fotr this chip so mid - upper 60's is getting fairly close and I don't like pushing things that much.

Personally I went with this combination for my system because the 4th core helps when using some programs and the OC helps on others so the combination seems to give the best results overall without having to constaantly reset things. ( I may eventually move up to 3.4Ghz. but for now 3.2 runs everything pretty well so I'm not rushing it. (the balance of the system seems pretty good at this setting with my 5770 GPU )
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a b K Overclocking
March 8, 2010 1:49:21 PM

Thanks JD.

What heatsink/fan combo are you using? I had a thermal take on my previous one, but even that got noisy. At least at this point, the stock fan is a lot quieter than the one I had on my dual core.
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a b K Overclocking
March 8, 2010 5:22:31 PM

I'm using a cooler master TX3 - Got it for $4.99 including shipping (Newegg had a sale on it for $14.99 with Free shipping and had sent me a $10 off next purchase code) - so couldn't really go wrong on it !! Currently my Temps are 35C idle and it gets to 56C under Prime95 stress testing at 3.2 GHz. (Note: on my Gigabyte MOBO the CPU temp always ran 8-10C above the individual core temps but with the 4th core unlocked I can only get the CPU temp overall and not the individual core temps) where the stock cooler had me idling at 44 and getting to 68C under prime 95 at 3.0GHz. on the same temp sensor (which is why I was looking for a cooler to start with !) - so it improved the cooling about 12C under load which is pretty good for $4.99 !!
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a b K Overclocking
March 8, 2010 5:29:25 PM

Best answer selected by isamuelson.
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