Hey guys, so I'm buying the AMD Phenom II X4 960T for my new build and I'm a complete novice at building and overclocking, never done it before. I'm pairing it with an Asus M5A78L-M LX Motherboard and a Sapphire AMD/ATI Radeon HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5 Graphics Card. I'm wondering how to get the best possible performance gaming-wise. Do I OC as much as possible leaving it at 4 cores or go ahead and unlock the 2 disabled cores and then OC? I've read somewhere that I might not be able to OC as much with 6 cores and I'll lose gaming performance, I would really like if someone who has the processor can answer too
Depends, I found that my Phenom II x6 1100t got better min FPS in BF3 than my old Phenom II x4 940, It also allowed me to edit video a lot faster. I noticed I can now play BF3, GTA4, few other games and have a few instant messaging programs up and not get a single delay in Alt-tabing like I was on the x4 940.
As I said it depends on what your gonna use the system for. If you can unlock the CPU and then mess with the OC, 6 cores at 4ghz will be better than 4 cores at 4gz on that CPU. If it unlocks to an x6, or even a x5, See how far you can OC it 1st, if you can't get far with it, or heat is a problem, use it as a x4 and clock it higher.
As a general rule of thumb, 4 cores sharing the L3 is better in gaming than 6 cores sharing the L3.
Your motherboard selection will likely hold back your OC'ing quite a bit, but will actually make a great low-cost performance platform.
For best gaming performance you should run those four Thuban cores with the IMC/NB at 2400-2500MHz from stock 2000MHz. Your NB VID might well do it at stock, but 1.2-1.25v is no issue here. For each 10% you increase the IMC/NB speed, memory bandwidth is increased 3-4% and latency is reduced 3-4%. That's good.
As far as the CPU and the overall gaming potential, I vote:
1) 19x200MHz at 1.388v, no Turbo;
1a) 18x200MHz at 1.388v, with Turbo; and
3) unlocked, with or without Turbo.
I haven't tried it yet (not really a big gamer) but with Option 1a the Turbo function adds a +2x to your cpu multiplier across 2 cores (each core with a volt bump). In some games this may provide a boost.
If your motherboard can handle the volt delivery. I'd take what 1.388v will give you.