Phenom II X3 720 vs. Core 2 Duo E7500 during Overclocking
Looks like Phenom II X3 720 could be a very attractive choice for overclocking fans. Without any sophisticated cooling solutions this CPU can be overclocked 33% above its nominal clock speed, and if you are lucky, you might also get an additional fourth core.
However, the closest competitor from the pricing standpoint, Intel Core 2 Duo E7500, is also no fool. This CPU based on 45nm Wolfdale core features tremendous unutilized frequency potential. For example, a randomly selected CPU overclocked in no time to 4.2GHz. And all we had to do was to increase the core voltage to 1.425V and to raise the FSB frequency from 266MHz to 382MHz.
This significant overclocking potential of Core 2 Duo processors may make overclockers think twice about the most optimal choice for their needs. In nominal mode when Phenom II X3 720 offers very good performance compared with Core 2 Duo E7500, the frequency difference between them is only 5% in favor of the latter. Once you overclock both of them, Intel processor - that usually overclocks better – will boast 13% higher frequency than the AMD solution. This change in the frequencies may affect the overall picture that is why we decided to perform one more test session revealing which CPU performs better during overclocking.
As you see from the table above, the situation doesn’t really change after we overclocked both processors. AMD Phenom II X3 720 remains the leader in those tasks where its three cores secured its victory over the dual-core competitor in the nominal mode. The only application when the leadership changed is 3ds max 2009 rendering suite, where better overclocking to 4.2GHz let Intel CPU surpass Phenom II X3 working at 3.7GHz frequency. So, we can conclude that Phenom II X3 720 doesn’t lose its ground during overclocking.
However, do not forget that if you are lucky, your Phenom II X3 720 may transform into a quad-core processor that can be overclocked almost to the same heights. In this case, it will totally defeat Core 2 Duo E7500 in most tests.
We really wish that you could enable the fourth core in all triple-core AMD processors. But even without it Phenom II X3 looks like a very good overclocker CPU that doesn’t yield to similarly price Intel solutions, such as Core 2 Duo E7000, in terms of hidden performance potential.