The "Black Edition" of AMD's Athlon 64 X2 5000+ features an unlocked multiplier. Unlike the first Black Edition model, the 90nm 6400+, the new processor is produced on a 65 nm process. As a result, it only draws about half as much power as the 6400+, and offers enormous overclocking potential. Pushed to its limit, this processor is faster than an Athlon X2 6000+ or Intel's Core 2 Duo E6550. Among today's CPUs, this $130 processor is unique in that its performance can be increased without having to raise either the FSB or the memory frequency, making it a safe choice for any AM2 board.
Let's get right to it: If you're considering buying the 5000+ Black Edition, chances are that you intend to overclock it - and we mean really overclock it. If that's not your cup of tea, you can safely choose the 5000+ EE, which comes with a locked multiplier and costs a bit less. Therefore, this article focuses on the processor's performance and behavior in its overclocked state, comparing it to other current processors from AMD and Intel.
Of course there's nothing to keep you from overclocking the Intel processors included for comparison here as well. However, within this article we are considering the 5000+ Black Edition primarily as a CPU upgrade for people with existing AM2 systems, meaning that Intel processors are not an option.
Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition: Front with heat spreader and model number
Back of the Black Edition: The bottom of the processor with its pins.
What makes the 5000+ Black Edition especially interesting, aside from the unlocked multiplier, is that it uses the newly introduced G2 stepping. This refined processor stepping allows the processor to stay stable at higher clock speeds without requiring an increase in core voltage. The obvious benefit is that you can put an inexpensive overclocked AMD processor into your PC, and the CPU fan won't need to run at speeds that make it sound like a turbine. Thus, thanks to the low thermal power dissipation, you don't need to spend extra money on a complex cooling solution.