500 MHz FSB? Core 2 Duo Overtakes Core 2 Extreme

First Step: FSB350 And 2.45 GHz

In the first step, we increased the system clock speed to a level that we consider easy to reach for everyone, and thus a safe overclock. Anything up to 333 MHz (FSB1333) should be doable, since the next generation platform will introduce this base clock and the current chipsets are already capable of it.

We chose to go up to 350 MHz to start with. Most P965 and 975X motherboards that we had in our test labs can run at this speed, but only the real overclocking champions will go further. In any case, 350 MHz system clock multiplied by 7 results in a 2,450 MHz clock speed. This represents a 31% increase - not too bad for a $190 processor.

Second Step: Crossing The 400 MHz Line

We increased the system speed in 25 MHz increments and took another screenshot at a 425 MHz base speed (FSB1700). At this speed, the CPU was already running at an impressive 2,975 MHz. This is slightly faster than the 2,933 MHz of the Core 2 Extreme X6800, which has a $999 price tag! Yet the Core 2 Duo E6300 only has half the L2 cache (2 MB instead of 4 MB).

To ensure stability, we used both Prime95 and a little utility named Toast. Both programs are single-threaded applications, but as you run them simultaneously, they will put both CPU cores under significant load. We let the programs execute for approximately 10 minutes to ensure system stability and found no problems.