Conclusion: The Athlon 64 FX Scales Up Perfectly With Clock Speed
Almost all benchmarks underline the fact that the nVentiv (formerly Chip-con) compressor cooler enables the AMD Athlon 64 FX to scale up beautifully as clock speed increases. In our case, the clock speed of the Athlon 64 FX-51 was increased from 2200 MHz to 2800 MHz, without the speeds of the memory, FSB and AGP being affected. A special BIOS from Asus (SK8N) allowed us the multiplier to be adjusted (increased from 11 to 14). The average performance increase of 27 per cent almost exactly matches the clocking increase of 27.3 per cent, particularly in the case of the professional 3-D rendering applications (for example, Lightwave, 3D Studio Max and Cinema 4D XL). But the Athlon 64 FX also makes considerable performance gains in video encoding (MPEG-2, MPEG-4) and classic office applications, where we saw a similar correspondence in scalability. The performance increase was somewhat less dramatic in 3-D games: this can be largely attributed to the chipset base.
The Athlon 64 FX (Opteron) architecture offers ideal scalability with respect to clock speed - much better than that of the Intel P4, for example. Compared to our previous test environment - as described in AMD's Athlon 64 Has Arrived: the Athlon 64 FX and Athlon 64 (and Intel's P4 Extreme) Reviewed, there is an average increase of 3.5 per cent in memory performance of the system based on the Asus SK8N. For details on extreme overclocking a P4 to over 4.1 GHz, please read Prometeia Mach 2: Best Compressor Cooler for x86 CPUs . An accompanying video with step-by-step instructions can be downloaded here .
The cooler system had no trouble keeping the CPU die temperature down to a steady, low range between -17°C and -22°C (signal evaluation of the thermal diode). If you're an ambitious user with cash to spare, this is the system for you: nVentiv supplies ready-assembled the barebones plus motherboard (Asus SK8N with NForce-3/150 chip set), processor and power unit. All you have to do is install a suitable graphic card, memory and hard drive and/or drives. nVentiv charges $1,500 (1,290 €) or $1,535 (1,320 €) for the barebones system available in either silver or black. Our test system with the selected components came to just under $3,256 (2800 €).
nVentiv allows you to run a permanently stable system at 2.8 GHz. With the exception of a graphics fault (image displacement in the horizontal axis) the system was stable throughout the 24-hours of constant operation during its short stay at the THG lab while running at 100% CPU capacity utilization. Note: The CPU voltage for the Athlon 64 FX is increased out-of-the-box from 1.55 volts to 1.75 volts. But if you buy it don't worry, because the manufacturer provides a legal guarantee anyway. Starting with the three test systems currently on the market, nVentiv intends to sell 200 to 300 more compressor coolers with the Athlon 64 FX before the year is out.