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Guide: Overclocking AMD And Intel CPUs On A Budget

Phenom II X2 550 O/C Performance And Efficiency

AMD Phenom II X2 Test Settings
 Default SettingsOverclock Settings
CPUAMD Phenom II X2 550 3.1 GHz 1MB L2+6MB L3 Cache, 1.288V3.94 GHz (19.5x 202 MHz), 1.50V
RAMDDR3-1333 CAS 9-9-9-24, 1.50VDDR3-1616 CAS 6-6-5-18, 1.65V
MotherboardMSI 790FX-GD70 Socket AM3, 790FX/SB750, BIOS 1.3 (04/27/2009)
GraphicsZotac GeForce GTX260² 576MHz GPU, 999 MHz Shader, 896MB GDDR3-2484
Hard DriveWestern Digital VelociRaptor WD30000HLFS 300 MB, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB Cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkingIntegrated Gigabit LAN
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1
GraphicsGeForce 182.08 Desktop

A clock speed increase of 27% won’t surprise many experienced overclockers, but the Phenom II X2 550 started out at a fairly high 3.10 GHz. Its final clock rate of 3.94 GHz is fairly impressive for an AMD processor, even though the percent-gained is not. Does this increase translate directly into CPU performance?

CPU Arithmetic performance improved by 25%, while Multimedia extensions performance increased by 26%. The small difference between frequency improvement and performance improvement can likely be attributed to our use of a near-stock HT clock, as described on this guide’s previous page.

Our efforts to reduce memory timings using the processor’s highest memory ratio resulted in a tiny 8% gain in memory performance.

Average power consumption increased by 33%, mostly because of the increased CPU core voltage.

An average CPU performance increase of 26% at an average power increase of 33% yields an average efficiency decrease of around 5%. Overclockers looking for improved efficiency can instead choose a lower core voltage, as overclocking at stock voltage, though limited in performance gain, usually increases efficiency.

  • tacoslave
    i like these "how to" articles but i still want to see the rest of the twkr article you promised us (quad crossfire 4890's) *sigh* a man can dream can't he?
    Reply
  • snakeeater_za
    Surely people on a budget (like me) would prefer their e5200 to last longer than a 'few months or hopefully a yr to 3?' i know i will upgrade prob in a year or so, so a yr would be fine, but a few months? Pfffft. my proc vid is 1.225 and for 3.33ghz i need a vcore of 1.385 in bios which at idle is 1.36ish. So although im nowhere near 4 at least i wont suffer from electromigration and have to fork out for a new cpu! Just my 2 cents
    Reply
  • snakeeater_za
    Thats obviousl 4ghz not vcore lol
    Reply
  • Crashman
    snakeeater_zaSurely people on a budget (like me) would prefer their e5200 to last longer than a 'few months or hopefully a yr to 3?' i know i will upgrade prob in a year or so, so a yr would be fine, but a few months? Pfffft. my proc vid is 1.225 and for 3.33ghz i need a vcore of 1.385 in bios which at idle is 1.36ish. So although im nowhere near 4 at least i wont suffer from electromigration and have to fork out for a new cpu! Just my 2 cents
    It's all a game of averages. Tom's Hardware hasn't accidently killed a processor by overclocking it in a while, though I'm sure a couple editors have intentionally done so to find the voltage limit. The problem is, once again, you can only look at averages.

    3 months continuous use at 1.45 volts caused an E8500 to lose its OC stability. It had to be clocked down to become stable again, and lost much of its voltage tolerance. It wasn't destroyed however.

    1.40 volts should be significantly safer than 1.45 volts, but until a few people report on how long their cores lasted at 1.40 volts its impossible to tell "how much safer", that is, how much longer it will last. All that's known is that it should last "significantly" longer, but whether that's 4 months (33% longer) or 30 months (10x longer) is the unanswerable question.
    Reply
  • astrodudepsu
    Good show mate.

    I would have liked to see combined charts as a conclusion but that's a minor criticism.

    I'm just wondering what the 'next-gen' E5200 (i.e. the intel people's OC'er) will turn out to be? Some flavor of i5 I assume, but who knows.
    Reply
  • how is it that im running my q8200 at 3.04ghz stable at 1.25v? weird
    Reply
  • JeanLuc
    Link
    "Intel’s value-priced Core 2 Quad Q8200 uses two of the same processor dice as the Pentium E5200....."

    I don't know why you choose the Q8200 it's a notoriously bad overclocking chip, if you wanted a budget Intel Quad core that had room for overclocking you should have bought the Q6700/Q6600.
    Reply
  • ”Motherboard MSI P45 Diamond LGA-1366, P45/ICH10R, BIOS 1.5 (10/10/2009)”

    MSI P45 Diamond is not LGA1366, but LGA775. LGA1366 is for Core i7 processors only, LGA1156 is for Core i5 and i7 (only dual channel DDR3-1333/1066). LGA775 is the old socket, for Celeron D, Celeron 4xx, Pentium Dual Core, Pentium 4, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad.
    Reply
  • da bahstid
    No games? Like...none at all? Does anybody even overclock for reasons other than games?

    Otherwise, pretty good article. Though perhaps a better choice for the Intel quad would have been a 9550...I thought they were under $250 by now. Same time, I guess the Q8200 does seem to be a more difficult overclocker...Intel may have intended this to be the case so as not to gut sales of their Q9000 series. And readers may as well know before jumping on a Q8200 thinking it'll overclock like an E5200.
    Reply
  • freak77power
    I agree. Q6700 will reach 3.6Ghz with no problems.
    Reply