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Phenom 9700, AMD's 1st Quad-Core CPU

Reaching 3.00 GHZ With AMD's OverDrive Utility

For the first time ever, AMD is offering its own overclocking utility for overclocking the Phenom CPU

AMD's OverDrive Tool

The utility is called "AMD OverDrive" and accesses the CPU directly, letting the user select the multiplier, bus frequency, memory timings and all voltages on-the-fly from within Windows. The tool can also read out the current frequencies, voltages and temperatures. Another specialty of the OverDrive utility is that the multipliers can be set individually for each of the four cores.

The multiplier can be changed in live operation.

Unlike the Athlon 64, the multiplier on the Phenom is unlocked in both directions - at least on our engineering sample. With its overclocking utility, AMD is setting a new standard. This tool should work with every motherboard, regardless of the manufacturer, since it communicates directly with the processor. Finally, the days of dodgy tools downloaded from the Internet that only work on certain boards are coming to a close. In many cases, the use of such tools ended with a system crash. Thus, AMD's OverDrive utility is great news for overclockers.

Intel incorporated a similar feature into its X38 chipset. However, no manufacturer has written an application that makes use of it to date. Besides, it remains doubtful that such a utility would remain useful after a motherboard upgrade.

The utility even comes with a stability test.

At the press event, the OverDrive tool ran flawlessly on the engineering samples of the Phenom processors. We were able to overclock the Phenom 9700, which runs at a stock frequency of 2.40 GHz, to 3.0 GHz and run 3DMark 2006 on it without a crash.

slide show - AMD OverDrive

Our engineering sample was very promising indeed. We were able to overclock the CPU by 25%, resulting in a 15% performance increase in 3DMark. Since we weren't able to install our standard benchmark suite on the test systems in Warsaw, these 3DMark results were all we had to go on. We were very surprised by the overclocking potential these processors offered, especially considering that the systems only used air cooling solutions.

The Phenom system at AMD's launch event.