Another matter that interests computer enthusiasts now that the new Phenom processor stepping has been announced is its frequency potential that can be revealed during overclocking. And although AMD keeps stressing that they didn’t really focus on increasing it in the new CPUs, we still had hopes.
Nevertheless, our practical experiments with Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition showed that no wonder happened. Quad-core processors using new B3 stepping overclock pretty much the same as their predecessors on B2 processor stepping. By raising the processor Vcore of our test sample from the nominal 1.3V to 1.4V we could only get to 2.7GHz. The system remained absolutely stable at this frequency with a Zalman CNPS9700 LED CPU air cooler.
As you can see from the screenshot, we overclocked out processor using clock frequency multiplier increase, because Black Edition processors and our Phenom X4 9850 in particular have the multiplier unlocked. However, this feature can hardly become a serious argument in favor of this CPU for overclocking fans, because an 8% frequency increase doesn’t look very exciting. Especially, if you recall how greatly Intel Core 2 Quad solutions can overclock.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t improve this result even by raising the processor core voltage or North Bridge voltage. So, it looks like we can actually expect any significant improvements in the frequency potential of AMD quad-core processors only when they start using 45nm production process.