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Results Analysis and Conclusions

I would like to start analyzing the obtained results from the complex system overclocking. The table below shows the numbers for nominal mode and when all of its components have been successfully overclocked. The percentage in the fourth column shows the performance gain above the nominal levels.

Yes, the 40% performance boost in games is very impressive, but overall the performance gain turned out quite moderate, only around 9-17%. This gain may seem even less significant since it was achieved at the expense of 50-75% power consumption increase. I am sure you will agree that the result is really not worth the investment. However, let’s see how the individual components’ overclocking affects the performance in each specific case. Let’s start with the primary component – the processor.

The negative gain in the Hitman Absolution test should be attributed to the measuring error. Of course, CPU overclocking doesn’t lower the gaming performance, but it is obviously totally useless for games. Despite lower screen resolution and low image quality settings, the integrated graphics core doesn’t cope with contemporary games that well. It is under so much stress that the increase in the processor frequency doesn’t do any good in the gaming tests. As for other applications, the gain varies depending on the type of application and the type of workload they create. As for us, we got very interested to find out how it was possible to obtain a 13-15% gain in the first three tests, while the processor frequency only increased by 12.5%, from 4.0 to 4.5 GHz? The increase may only be lower or equal to the frequency increase, but may not exceed this number, but the results indicate otherwise. Could it be a mistake in our tests or testing methods?

In fact, all the obtained results were absolutely correct, but the input data wasn’t. The AMD A10-5800K processor in most cases worked at 4.0 GHz, which is why we chose this number of our calculations. However, no one promised that the processor would work at this frequency all the time, because “Turbo Core” technology can raise its clock speed up to 4.2 GHz, but these programs couldn’t do that, because the load would be too high. As a result, the processor worked at a frequency that was only approaching 4.0 GHz, but still below that level. This is where “additional” performance gain comes from. To confirm our findings we locked the CPU clock 4.0 GHz and compared the obtained results with what we had for the nominal mode in our charts:

The higher the load, the lower the processor frequency drops. In Fritz Chess Benchmark it is much closer to 4.0 GHz than during x264 FHD Benchmark encoding, for example. But could it be possible that we do not need “Turbo Core” technology altogether under heavy operational loads? What if it only provides performance gain in simple single-threaded tasks when the frequency rises to the maximum of 4.2 GHz? No, this isn’t the case, as you can see if you disable “Turbo Core” and leave the CPU at its default 3.8 GHz frequency. In this case, even in relatively heavy applications the performance will be lower than with “Turbo Core” enabled. However, how much does the power consumption increase in this case? This is a different question.

Now we should check how the overclocked graphics core affects the system performance. Of course, we didn’t expect to see any performance gain in computing tasks, and at first wanted to run only gaming tests exclusively. However, we stuck to the testing methodology and ran the entire round of tests, which was the right thing to do as you will see from the obtained results, which turned out quite unexpected.

At first we thought that the nominal mode would be the slowest, while in overclocked mode the performance will either be the same or higher depending on the type of operational load in the given tests. However, there were several cases when the system performance dropped below the nominal level when tested with the overclocked graphics card. And this time it wasn’t the measuring error, but definite consistency of results. Note that the performance dropped in those tasks which load the CPU to the fullest extent. The graphics core is integrated into the processor. Its overclocking increases the power consumption and heat dissipation that is why “Turbo Core” technology lowers the processor frequency more than usual, when its utilization is really high. It turns out that overclocking the graphics will lower the system performance, though not dramatically, in heavy computing tasks. Moreover, we expected to witness a substantial boost of the gaming performance, but it turned out quite minor. So what could possible boost the gaming speed, if not the overclocked graphics core? The next table will explain everything. Let’s move on to the memory overclocking.

Here I have to remind you that not only the processor uses the system memory. Some of it is allocated for the needs of the graphics core. Therefore, the increase in the memory frequency raises the results under all types of load. In some cases the gain is minimal, in some it is more obvious, but it is absolutely mind-blowing in games! Remarkably, memory overclocking barely affects the system power consumption.

So, we can conclude that overclocking the graphics core in Socket FM2 systems doesn’t do much harm, but also hardly does any real good. Firstly, this overclocking increases the system power consumption in all operational modes. With “Core Performance Boost” enabled, the performance in heavy computing tasks may even drop, although just a little bit. However, most importantly, this overclocking doesn’t serve its original purpose – improve the gaming performance, as the gain turned out quite small.

The processor overclocking is completely useless for gaming, because integrated graphics is fully utilized even in lower resolutions and with lowest image quality settings. It may boost your system performance in computing tasks, but the CPU works at very high frequencies right from the start, so the performance gain will still be low. It is also important to keep in mind that we used a very powerful and expensive CPU cooler, and with less efficient coolers the overclocking results will be lower and the gain even smaller than this. But most importantly, it is the CPU overclocking that is for the most part responsible for the shocking increase in power consumption in the overclocked system. Socket FM2 processors are not quite energy-efficient right from the start, but overclocking makes this aspect even less appealing. In fact, overclocking Socket FM2 processors should be considered a crime against environment and the ozone layer.

However, the memory frequency not only can be increased, but should be increased by all means. This measure will hardly affect the power consumption, but will boost the performance thus improving the energy-efficiency of the system and the performance-per-watt ratio. In some applications you will hardly notice the gain, in some it will be more prominent, but you will undoubtedly feel it in games.

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