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Overclocking

Before we pass over to the actual benchmarks results, we decided to undertake a few overclocking attempts to figure out the overclocking potential of the new AMD Athlon 64 3000+ processors. The thing is that the CPUs of this price range are usually considered a good buy for overclocking purposes. That is why it would make a lot of sense to add the performance rates for the overclocked AMD Athlon 64 3000+ processor to the benchmark results. I would like to stress right away that we carried out all our overclocking experiments without any extreme cooling systems involved. We used the regular cooler shipped with the boxed Athlon 64 3000+.

At first I would like to say a few words about the overclocking friendly features of this CPU. Since Athlon 64 3000+ is based on the same core as Athlon 64 3200+, it doesn’t allow increasing the clock frequency multiplier beyond the nominal 10x, just like its elder brother. However, you can set the clock frequency multiplier to a lower value, though it hardly makes much sense for overclockers. This way, we will have to overclock our Athlon 64 3000+ by increasing the FSB frequency. By the way, AMD has been very specific about it: they gave to understand very clearly that there wouldn’t be any Athlon 64 processors in the market, which would allow increasing the clock frequency multiplier beyond the nominal value. This option will exist only in more expensive Athlon 64 FX processors targeted at dedicated hardware enthusiasts.

Here I would also like to point out that we overclocked the CPU on the same mainboard we used for the entire benchmarking session: it was ABIT KV8-MAX3. Since this mainboard is based on VIA K8T800 chipset, the AGP and PCI bus frequency is increased simultaneously with the FSB frequency during overclocking. However, despite this fact we had to give up the idea of using a more advanced NVIDIA nForce3 150 chipset this time. NVIDIA’s chipset doesn’t support SerialATA and uses “slow” HyperTransport bus, which negatively tells on the performance in some contemporary games and professional applications. That is why it doesn’t make much sense today to build Socket754 systems with an NVIDIA based mainboard.

However, VIA K8T800 is not a bad choice for overclocking needs. Having tested 13 mainboards based on NVIDIA nForce3 150 and VIA K8T800 chipset we didn’t notice any significant differences in the actual overclocking performance (see our Socket754 Platform: 13 Mainboards Roundup). Maybe there could appear some problems with the AGP and PCI devices on VIA K8T800 based mainboards when the FSB frequency is increased too much. However, when we overclock today’s Athlon 64 processors with C0 core stepping and air cooling solution, these problems are very unlikely to occur. We reached the maximum of the processor potential (2.3-2.4GHz) much sooner, then the problems with external devices.

Since Athlon 64 3000+ processors are based on absolutely identical cores as Athlon 64 3200+, we expected them to show similar overclockability. If you read our AMD Athlon 64 3200+ CPU Review, you should remember that we managed to overclock our processor up to 2.34GHz core frequency. As a result, we expected our Athlon 64 3000+ to be able to notch something close to that.

 
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