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Maximizing Performance And Conclusion

How To: Overclocking Your AMD Processor

By finding the maximum CPU speed of our AMD processors, we have taken a large step towards increasing system performance. But this core clock speed is just part of the process. To maximize performance, you will also need to work on the other frequencies. With some added CPU northbridge voltage (northbridge voltage ID in AOD), the northbridge often can be pushed to 2,400-2,600 MHz and beyond, which increases memory controller performance and L3 cache speed. Increasing frequency and tightening timings of the system memory can also greatly impact performance. Even the high-performance DDR2-800 that we used can be overclocked way above 1,066 MHz with some added voltage and possibly loosened timings. HyperTransport link speed doesn’t typically impact performance above 2,000 MHz and can easily lead to instability, but is still a variable to consider looking into. And PCIe speed can be increased in moderation anywhere up to 110 MHz and could potentially bring about added performance or even additional headroom.

Stability and performance impact need to be tested as you slowly raise each of these frequencies. Tweaking all variables is a long process and is far beyond the scope of this guide, but it’s also part of the fun and those willing to take the time can be rewarded by noticeable performance gains.


Hopefully anyone interested in overclocking an AMD processor now has enough information to get started, whether it remains just simple multiplier-based overclocking within AOD or more extreme overclocking adventures. Remember, results and exact steps will vary from system to system, so do not attempt to just copy our settings, but rather use the guide as an aid to discover the capabilities and limitations of your own system. Take small steps, monitor temperatures, perform stability tests, and use as little voltage increases as necessary. Learning safe shortcuts will come with experience, as making rash jumps in frequency and voltage is not only the wrong approach to successful overclocking, but it’s also one way to damage your hardware.

The last tip with which we will leave you is to be aware that there are quirks and specific tweaks that will apply to individual motherboard models, so it is a good idea to search out discussions related to your exact motherboard model and revision. Advice from experienced enthusiasts who have "been there and done that" with your same motherboard can help avoid or overcome the pitfalls you may encounter with your own system.

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