Making Lemonade: Overclocking Your Locked AMD Processor

Test System Configuration And Benchmarks

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System Hardware
ProcessorAMD Phenom II X3 710 (Heka), 2.6 GHz, 2000 MHz HT, 6MB L3 Cache
MotherboardMSI 790FX-GD70 (Socket AM3), 790FX / SB750, BIOS 1.3
RAM4.0 GB Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D, 2 x 2048MB, DDR3-1333, CL 8-8-8-24 at 1.65V
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black WD 6401AALS, 640GB, 7200 RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA 3.0 Gb/s
Graphics CardAMD Radeon HD 4870 512MB GDDR5750 MHz GPU, 900 MHz GDDR5
Power SupplyAntec True Power Trio 550W
CoolerXigmatek HDT-S1283
System Software and Drivers
OSWindows Vista Ultimate Edition, 32-bit, SP1
DirectX VersionDirect X 10
Display DriverCatalyst 9.7
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Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
World In ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo, 1280x1024, Very High Details, No AA / No AF
Autodesk 3ds Max 2009Version: 11.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02, Performance Preset, CPU score
Sisoftware Sandra 2009 SP3Version 2009.4.15.92, CPU Arithmetic, Memory Bandwidth
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Overclocked Settings
Row 0 - Cell 0 StockStock VCore OCMax OCTweaked OC
CPU Core Speed2,600 MHz3,444 MHz3,744 MHz3,744 MHz
Northbridge Speed2,000 MHz2,120 MHz2,016 MHz2,592 MHz
HT Link Speed 2,000 MHz2,120 MHz2,016 MHz2,016 MHz
Memory Frequency / TimingsDDR3-1333, 8-8-8-24 2TDDR3-1412, 8-8-8-24 2TDDR3-1546, 8-8-8-24 2TDDR3-1546, 8-8-8-24 2T
  • stray_gator
    What's the point of using a high-end mobo to overclock a mainstream/value cpu?
  • sohei
    it's about how to squeeze all performance from an locked cpu .
    this is a pro' article (head shot)
  • nzprogamer
    im a big amd fans, good stuff here, look forward to go back to amd
  • amdfangirl
    Good article! Too bad I killed my AMD CPU :P
  • brisingamen
    great article, should be more like it,
    and a few more gaming benches wouldnt hurt either guys!
    speaking of headshots yes unreal tournament is probably the most important game to exemplify the value of overclocking and added framerates due to "headshots" and shtuff.

    keep up the good work!
  • Onus
    stray_gatorWhat's the point of using a high-end mobo to overclock a mainstream/value cpu?Fair question; no one would likely do this IRL, but I think the point here was to see how high the locked CPU could go, so they used a premium mobo.
    Paul, now that we know what this specific CPU can do, would it be useful to now put it on a more typical mainstream mobo and see what one might get from the same chip under more typical conditions?
    The point would be to answer the following: if my budget just grew by $25, does it make more sense to buy a BE CPU or to get a more premium mobo?
  • haplo602
    stray_gatorWhat's the point of using a high-end mobo to overclock a mainstream/value cpu?
    because value mobos vary in stability much more than premium mobos. this article was just about the CPU limit, not the mobo limit.
  • Tom's should do a shoot-out between an i7 920 and a 965BE that's had the multiplier taken down to 13x(2.6ghz), then both OCed to the max on the northbridge alone. I'm sure that would close the gap atleast somewhat, but I'm interested to see exactly how much. Maybe they could screw around with the HyperTransport multiplier as well, it might turn out that AMD has been shooting itself in the foot with the unlocked multiplier, when more performance would be had if they were forcing people to use the northbridge.
  • Shadow703793
    Good write up; but PLEASE do NOT recommend OCing via Windows. Most pro's here will tell you that same thing. BIOS > Windows for OCing.
  • Shadow703793
    Also how about putting this under WCing or DIce/LN2? :D