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Overclocking

Here I would like to once again refer to the article we posted two weeks ago that was called First Look at Presler: Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955 CPU Review , where we gave due credit to the new Intel processor for its great overclocking potential. The semiconductor die manufactured with 65nm production process allowed us to easily increase the CPU core clock up to 4.26GHz, i.e. by 25% above the nominal. I have to say that the performance of the dual-core Presler processor working at this frequency appeared pretty impressive. However, if you have read our previous review, you should remember, that there was no opposition to the overclocked Pentium Extreme Edition 955, namely we didn’t mention the results of the overclocked dual-core AMD processors. This was actually one of the reasons why our article has been severely criticized by many readers.

Today we are going to make up for this disappointing omission. We got an excellent processor for our overclocking tests: Athlon 64 FX-60. Even though it cannot boast the new finer manufacturing technology, which could help increase the frequency potential of the solution, the newcomer still boasts a few innovations that can be very helpful for successful overclocking experiments. Here we first of all mean the lower Vcore, as well as more thorough selection of the Toledo processor cores for Athlon 64 FX-60 CPUs.

Just as during the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 tests, we were primarily interested in the results we could achieve on our Athlon 64 FX-60 without involving any additional super-cooling systems. Therefore our test platform was built with DFI NF4 Ultra-D mainboard on NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra chipset and a pretty simple AVC Z7U7414001 air cooler. We used a pair of Corsair CMX1024-3500LLPRO memory modules for the RAM subsystem. Besides, there was also an NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT graphics card and Western Digital WD740GD hard disk drive.

I would like to point out that Athlon 64 FX-60 processor is very easy to overclock, unlike its Athlon 64 X2 counterparts. Its clock frequency multiplier is unlocked, just like in all other Athlon 64 FX CPUs. It means that we can overclock it not only by raising the bus frequency, but also by increasing the multiplier. We paid special attention to this feature during our overclocking experiments.

We managed to get our CPU to work stably with the clock frequency multiplier set to 14x without increasing the Vcore, which equaled 1.3V throughout the entire test. In other words, our processor worked just fine at 2.8GHz clock speed. Unfortunately, Athlon 64 FX-60 didn’t get along with the 15x clock multiplier.

Having increased the Vcore by 10% above the nominal, we still couldn’t get our hero to run stably at 3GHz frequency. Although the CPU would boot the Windows XP just fine and could even go through some test applications, it would still crash to the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) when both cores were fully loaded. So, we had to give up or desperate intention to conquer the 3GHz height.

We managed to get our processor to work absolutely impeccably at 2.9GHz with the Vcore set to 1.44V. This frequency was achieved as 14 x 207MHz.

The CPU temperature under 100% workload equaled 69-70o C. In the nominal mode the core temperature of our Athlon 64 FX-60 didn’t rise over 53o C. It indicates that you shouldn’t forget about efficient cooling when you overclock your dual-core AMD Athlon 64 FX-60.

 
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