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Overclocking and Test Setup
Overclocking AMD's Athlon processors is simple, largely because there aren't many configurable options. Our motherboards don't support BCLK adjustments with these CPUs installed, leaving the ratio multiplier as our only knob for tuning clock rate. We're also unable to boost memory performance above the stock DDR4-2666, though we did adjust timings to 14-14-14-34.
Integrated graphics overclocking isn't an option either. Try as we might, the Vega 3 engine remains locked at 1 GHz.
As we've seen from many of AMD's chips, the Athlon series tends to have an overclocking frequency ceiling imposed by the limits of GlobalFoundries' 14nm process. Even with prodigious amounts of voltage, we weren't able to break through the 3.9 GHz barrier with any Athlon model. However, we were able to achieve a rock-solid 3.9 GHz on all three processors using the stock thermal solution, and overclocked performance results for all of them landed within the run-to-run variance we expect in our benchmark suite.
To avoid unnecessary clutter in our charts, we're presenting the results of the Athlon 240GE at 3.9 GHz. Expect similar performance from the other two models after tuning.
From the default 3.5 GHz, we achieved a stable 3.9 GHz in an AVX-optimized stress test using a 1.4V Vcore and 1.15V SoC voltage setting. Temperatures with the stock cooler never exceeded 78°C at 3.9 GHz. For the sake of comparison, running the same test with a Corsair H115i on top of our Athlon 200GE yielded a 45°C reading. Power consumption for the overclocked CPU+SoC topped out at 51W.
We paired our Pentium Gold processors with a Z370-based motherboard, which does support faster memory. Sticking with Intel's official specification, we used our modules at 2400 MT/s to represent the data rates available from B- and H-series platforms.
|Test System & Configuration|
|Hardware||AMD Socket AM4 (400-Series)AMD Athlon 200GE, Ryzen 3 1300X, Ryzen 3 2200GMSI X470 Gaming M7 AC2x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-2677, DDR4-3200Intel LGA 1151 (Z370)Pentium Gold G5600, Pentium Gold G5400, Core i3-8100, Gold G4620, Pentium Gold G4560, Core i3-7100MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC2x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-2400All EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FE 1TB Samsung PM863 Corsair AX1600i 1600W Power Supply Windows 10 Creators Update Version 1703 - All Spectre and Meltdown mitigations|
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Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.