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Overclocking Guide Part 3: How To Gain 81% For $27

Test Setup

Anyone who simply wants to see the performance gains should feel free to skip to "Step Four: Evaluating Gains". Those interested in the raw numbers will want to look through the pages in between.

System Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo E6300, 1.86 GHz, 1066 FSB, 2 MB Cache
MotherboardGigabyte GA-965P-DS3 V1.0, BIOS F9
RAMOCZ System Elite PC2-6400 OCZ2SE8002GK2x 1024 MB, CAS 5-5-5-15
Hard DriveWestern Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD150 GB, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB Cache, SATA 150
NetworkingMarvell Yukon Gigabit PHY, enabled, offline
Graphics CardAsus EAX1950PRO 256 MBGPU: ATI Radeon X1950PRO (581 MHz)RAM: 256 MB GDDR3 (1404 MHz)
Power SupplyOCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI - 700W
System Software & Drivers
OSWindows XP Professional 5.1.2600, Service Pack 2
DirectX Version9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
Platform DriverIntel INF 8.1.0.1010
Graphics DriverATI Catalyst 6.12

Increased performance is what drives us to overclock, but these gains will only affect some parts of the system. Because overclocking is meant to boost CPU, RAM, and graphics performance, we concentrated on these three areas during testing.

Benchmarks and Settings
3D-Games
F.E.A.RVersion: 1.0 RetailVideo Mode: 1024x768Computer: MediumGraphics: MediumTest Path: Options/Performance/Test Settings
Quake 4Version: 1.2 (Dual-Core Patch)Video Mode: 1024x768Video Quality: defaultTHG Timedemo waste.maptimedemo demo8.demo 1 (1 = load textures)
Audio
Lame MP3Version 3.97 Beta 2 (12-22-2005)Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 minwave to mp3160 kbps
OGGVersion 1.1.2 (Intel P4 MOD)Version 1.1.2 (Intel AMD MOD)Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 minwave to oggQuality: 5
Video
TMPEG 3.0 ExpressVersion: 3.0.4.24 (no Audio)fist 5 Minutes DVD Terminator 2 SE (704x576) 16:9Multithreading by rendering
DivX 6.2Version: 6.2.2 (4 Logical CPUs)Profile: High Definition Profile1-pass, 3000 kb/sEncoding mode: Insane QualityEnhanced multithreadingno Audio
XviD 1.1.0Version: 1.1.0 Beta 2Target quantizer: 1.00
Applications
Autodesk 3D Studio MaxVersion: 8.0Characters "Dragon_Charater_rig"Rendering HTDV 1920x1080
Synthetics
PCMark05 ProVersion: 1.1.0CPU, Memory, Graphics Test SuitesWindows Media Player 10.00.00.3646Windows Media Encoder 9.00.00.2980
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.