A 4.1 GHz Dual Core at $130 - Can it be True?

Conclusion: The 4.1 GHz Dual Core Delivers Peak Performance For Pocket Change

Those who first break this bit of news to their circles of friends can count on some surprised looks - in fact, they might even find their credibility getting questioned! But it is true: a cheap CPU that costs $130 outperforms the fastest processors from AMD (Athlon 64 FX-60) and Intel (Pentium Extreme Edition 965), each of which costs over $1,000.

We bought an Intel Pentium D 805 from a local retail outlet and overclocked it up to 4.1 GHz, even though this part runs by default at just 2.66 GHz. This represents a heretofore unattained clock rate increase of just over 54 %, for which only some additional cooling is required. The secret is in the FSB clock rate, which is raised from 133 MHz to over 200 MHz; the system remains completely stable, because modern motherboards with Intel 9xx chipsets are laid out to handle FSB clock rates of up to 266 MHz. In language that overclocking enthusiasts will love to hear, the Pentium D 805 ascends to the throne as the new King of overclocking, knocking out the AMD Opteron 144.

Here's how the system looks after being reworked: a pumped-up Pentium D 805 outperforms the flagship processors from AMD and Intel that cost more than $1,000. Talk about an investment with an immediate payback!

A short while ago we tested Intel's latest flagship processor, the Pentium EE 965 (Extreme Edition), which costs nearly $1,100 at retail outlets. Even this CPU, which still isn't available at too many locations, has to surrender first place to this stealth candidate. Things look the same for the top-of-the-line AMD processor, the Athlon 64 FX-60, which also fell behind in most of our benchmarking categories.

Tom's Hardware News Team

Tom's Hardware's dedicated news crew consists of both freelancers and staff with decades of experience reporting on the latest developments in CPUs, GPUs, super computing, Raspberry Pis and more.

  • Tnias
    I am quite interested in your post regarding the D 805. Considering that it is now available for around $60.00 (03/20/09), it still sounds like a steal. We just upgraded our Adobe CS2 software to the new CS4 Master Suite, which caused the need for a graphics card upgrade. We have an nVidia GeForce GTX 260, but haven't installed it because our computer is a HP Media Center PCm7350n computers each with a 2.8 GHz CPU on a ASUS P5LP-LE mobo. Your article seemed to imply that there is software available that might adjust the clock from inside windows and we are wondering if it can on that mobo or if we will have to get a different mobo. If so, we are wondering what might be our most cost effective but stable options. We are certainly going to need a new power supply for the GTX 260, which requires 525 Watts. We are looking at just putting in PC Power & Cooling’s, Silencer 610 EPS12V power supplyand letting it go at that, but we are also thinking about upgrading the CPU and mobo if necessary.

    Of course, we would like to keep the cost down as much as possible.

    We have no idea where the best bang for the buck will be. For us a stable system is more important than blazing speed. Thus, the HP's worked fine for what we originally got them for; it’s just that our graphics and video production software are forcing upgrades in speed and power.

    The D850 chip sounds incredible and the power supply we already have to get will handle overclocking that chip. It even sounds like that chip will work in the existing mobo if we can find a way to change the clock speed from inside windows instead of from the BIOS. HP BIOS does not allow adjusting the clock speed in the BIOS but can't BIOS just be changed as well; isn't it just an EPROM?

    Anyway, even if we opt for changing out the mobo for another case compatible Asus mobo, we still have to answer the question of which board and chip combination will give us the most stable service for the least cost.

    Any ideas that might help us plan the most appropriate upgrade and the least cost?
  • amnotanoobie
    TniasAny ideas that might help us plan the most appropriate upgrade and the least cost?
    With the price of components that you need to make this run stable, and the amount of electricity that this would use, a cheap Core 2 and motherboard and DDR2 memory would cost you less in the long run.


    Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200
    Kingston DDR2 2x2GB 800MHz
    Gigabyte G31M-ES2C

    This should cost less than $200.
  • salh
  • smeezekitty
    4 year old thread!
  • salh
    11206355 said:
    4 year old thread!

    no hate pl0x