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How To: Overclocking Your AMD Processor

Introduction: The Basics Of Overclocking

Tom’s Hardware readers know all about overclocking, of course. In fact, many processor and graphics card reviews would be deemed incomplete without coverage of overclocking potential. Indeed, articles such as the System Builder Marathon series have a long history of specifically valuing performance achieved through overclocking rather than just through stock performance. 

If you already consider yourself an enthusiast, pardon a bit of background here--we'll get into the nitty-gritty technical stuff in just a second.

What exactly is overclocking? In a nutshell, the term is used to describe running a component at a higher speed than its specification in an attempt to increase performance. Various computer components can be overclocked, including the processor, memory, and graphics card. And the degree of overclocking can include anything from simply procuring small gains from an inexpensive component all the way to seeking a level of performance way beyond what could even be purchased at that point in time. 

There is already a wealth of content available on this site on the history, risks, and benefits of overclocking. Those seeking a bit more background can refer to an overclocking guide written back in 1997 by Thomas Pabst, the founder of Tom’s Hardware, and also this more recent three-part guide.

In today’s guide, we will focus specifically on how to overclock current AMD processors to maximize the available headroom given your cooling solution of choice. The timing here isn't coincidental. If you're planning to participate in our AMD Overclocking Competition, we'll be providing you with tips within the pages of this story that will help your chances of putting up winning scores.

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  • 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