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How To: Overclocking Your AMD Processor

Maximizing Performance And Conclusion

By finding the maximum CPU speed of our AMD processors, we have taken a large step towards increasing system performance. But this core clock speed is just part of the process. To maximize performance, you will also need to work on the other frequencies. With some added CPU northbridge voltage (northbridge voltage ID in AOD), the northbridge often can be pushed to 2,400-2,600 MHz and beyond, which increases memory controller performance and L3 cache speed. Increasing frequency and tightening timings of the system memory can also greatly impact performance. Even the high-performance DDR2-800 that we used can be overclocked way above 1,066 MHz with some added voltage and possibly loosened timings. HyperTransport link speed doesn’t typically impact performance above 2,000 MHz and can easily lead to instability, but is still a variable to consider looking into. And PCIe speed can be increased in moderation anywhere up to 110 MHz and could potentially bring about added performance or even additional headroom.

Stability and performance impact need to be tested as you slowly raise each of these frequencies. Tweaking all variables is a long process and is far beyond the scope of this guide, but it’s also part of the fun and those willing to take the time can be rewarded by noticeable performance gains.

Conclusion

Hopefully anyone interested in overclocking an AMD processor now has enough information to get started, whether it remains just simple multiplier-based overclocking within AOD or more extreme overclocking adventures. Remember, results and exact steps will vary from system to system, so do not attempt to just copy our settings, but rather use the guide as an aid to discover the capabilities and limitations of your own system. Take small steps, monitor temperatures, perform stability tests, and use as little voltage increases as necessary. Learning safe shortcuts will come with experience, as making rash jumps in frequency and voltage is not only the wrong approach to successful overclocking, but it’s also one way to damage your hardware.

The last tip with which we will leave you is to be aware that there are quirks and specific tweaks that will apply to individual motherboard models, so it is a good idea to search out discussions related to your exact motherboard model and revision. Advice from experienced enthusiasts who have "been there and done that" with your same motherboard can help avoid or overcome the pitfalls you may encounter with your own system.

  • xx12amanxx
    It's nice to see articles about AMD cpu's once again! Just goes to show that Tom's is not biased but rather report's on current trend's and competetive product's that the consumer's enjoy!

    Reply
  • Thanks for rev!
    Things i like to add are that not all CPU's are supported with AOD even having decent mobo, for example my 4850e + 780G. When overclocking NorthBrige you should really pay attention on it's temp, by simply touching it. Recently i overclocked my system by rising FSB and IGP. Looking at temps given by BIOS and some utilities everything seemed to be ok about 50c, but when touching pasivly cooled NB i couldn't hold my finger for second and heat was so great that even CPU got warmer! When i measured it with multimeter it was 85c idle! And i was wondering why on 3DMark i got blue screen... Problem was solved by adding fan in zone of NB.
    Anyway, moral for those who are willing to overclock is - don't relay on temp measurements given by some utilities. Sometimes it's worth double checking or u can burn something easy. :) Good luck!
    Reply
  • cruiseoveride
    Intel is such a meany. Another wannabe monopoly like Microsoft.

    Reply
  • curnel_D
    AMD overdrive doesnt see my K8 proccessor as an AMD procc. Cute.
    Reply
  • jhanschu
    I realize that the price difference between the "black edition" and normal processors aren't that much, but I have been wondering how well the "vanilla" cpu's would oc. I've done some light searching for anyplace that's done this and haven't found anything other than people attempting to max out the BE's.
    Does anyone know what a good OC on say the X3 710 would be? It's about $40 cheaper than the 720BE and if it could even hit close to 3.0 I would consider it a decent buy.
    Reply
  • DjEaZy
    ... nice one... and for tha fun of it... would be nice to see a 'system build marathon' based on AMD CPU's...
    Reply
  • roofus
    xx12amanxxIt's nice to see articles about AMD cpu's once again! Just goes to show that Tom's is not biased but rather report's on current trend's and competetive product's that the consumer's enjoy!
    I do agree. I honestly don't think TH ever conducted a boycott of AMD. They just needed something worth saying and AMD finally gave them that. Until Phenom 2, they really had not earned recognition for a good year and a half. They didn't have bad products, but very forgettable ones.
    Reply
  • sandmanwn
    easily one of the best articles I've seen here in a long while.
    Reply
  • iamlouie
    It seems like this article was written specifically for me. I recently built a new PC and it has components used in this article and I've also never overclocked a PC before.

    Specs:
    ASUS M3A78-T
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz
    Patriot Extreme Performance SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
    GeForce 7600GT 256MB
    XIGMATEK HDT-S1283
    Antec 500w Earthwatts power supply

    My video card suits my current needs but if I upgrade to a 4870/4850, will I have any power issues if I follow this guide word for word considering my power supply is only 500w compared to the 650w the article uses?
    Reply
  • iamlouieIt seems like this article was written specifically for me. I recently built a new PC and it has components used in this article and I've also never overclocked a PC before.Specs:ASUS M3A78-TAMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHzPatriot Extreme Performance SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)GeForce 7600GT 256MBXIGMATEK HDT-S1283 Antec 500w Earthwatts power supplyMy video card suits my current needs but if I upgrade to a 4870/4850, will I have any power issues if I follow this guide word for word considering my power supply is only 500w compared to the 650w the article uses?

    A single 4850 and a dual core cpu around 3Ghz will be fine on your 500W PSU. If you had a cheap brand 500W PSU, I wouldn't risk it, but a 4850 should be fine for you.

    The 4870 probably would be fine too but you would want to look into that before purchasing/installing the card.
    Reply