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Old 14th Oct 2004, 01:38 PM   #1
Twisted Metal
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Question 90nm Socket 939 Processors and Overclocking

I was just reading this article in which they tested out the new Athlon 90nm 3000+ and the 90nm 3500+... They overclocked both of them and they both reached the same maximum overclock speed of 2610 mhz(290x9). Now the 3000+ is only a 1.8 ghz processor so this is an insane overclock with a 45% speed increase.

So does this mean that the 3500+ is a waste of money since the 3000+ is cheaper and capable of the same maximum overclocked speed?

Also, I've never really done overclocking. Is it hard to do? And if I did raise the speed to 2610 mhz, would the PC still run stable?

Link to article: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets...oc.aspx?i=2242
Link to overclocking results: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets...spx?i=2242&p=5

edit - Fixed links
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Old 14th Oct 2004, 02:22 PM   #2
[UM]theswarm
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As far as stability goes, it should be fine with an adequate power supply and cooling equipment.
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Old 14th Oct 2004, 03:55 PM   #3
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It not really hard to do, and stability should be okay as long as you don't try to overclock it by too much. Processors always leave a considerable "safety margin" in their quoted clock speeds.

Running it faster will of course create more heat, which increases the change of a catastrophic failure. (but this can be alleviated with proper cooling) The CPU will also "wear out" somewhat faster, especially on newer chips. (newer chips have a much shorter "lifespan" as their traces are ludicrously small, whereas older chips had larger traces that would take a lot longer to break.)
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Old 14th Oct 2004, 04:06 PM   #4
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Anandtech overclocked it to 2610 mhz and labeled that as the maximum overclock speed.

Then at that speed they did benchmarks on games like Doom 3 and such. So I'm assuming that is the maximum stable speed right?

Also, I still wanna know why a 1.8 ghz is capable of the same overclocked speed of a 2.2 ghz. Will the 1.8 ghz run hotter or something? It didn't mention much in the article.

Quote:
The only real difference in overclocking the 3500+ and 3000+ in our tests was that the 3000+ required a little more CPU voltage and memory voltage to reach the same overclocks achieved with the 3500+.
It requires a bit more voltage as it says so does that mean less stability?
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Old 14th Oct 2004, 04:19 PM   #5
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You have to be careful about tests made by sites like Anandtech as they're probably using some good hardware and cooling equipment. In other words, don't expect to get the same returns on overclocking an equivalent configuration.

As for overclocking CPUs in general, here's a few things you should know :

- Each cpu belongs to a general family and a particular series.
- A CPU is potentially overclockable to the same speed as the fastest CPU available in a series. This would explain why a 1.8 GHz chip can be overclocked to the same speeds as a 2.2 GHz chip. In fact, all CPUs in a same series are practically *identical*.
- The clock multiplier : this is what determines how many times faster a CPU runs compared to the bus frequency. The bus frequency is actually the "speed" at which the bus between the CPU and memory operates. This is one bottleneck to consider on the performance side of things. Most CPUs today have a locked multiplier.
- Voltage : a higher voltage usually makes a chip more stable but this is a very dangerous setting to mess with. Only apply a higher voltage if you a know that a higher-end chip is of the same series and uses the same voltage. Higher voltage will increase the quantity of heat being output by a big factor. Refer to some site about electricity to see why.
- The risks of overclocking : the CPU runs too hot, it dies and you have to replace it. It's as simple as that. Always use appropriate cooling and go overkill if you can.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 03:39 PM   #6
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I was considering getting the same exact system that they used in their test. So all that I would have to consider then is cooling right?

Do you know if the 1.8 OC'ed to 2.6 will run hotter than the 2.2 OC'ed to 2.6?
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 04:09 PM   #7
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Hrmm, probrably not, but that's sort of a guess. If they can both be overclocked to the same frequency, then their cores are probrably very similar, so they would probrably generate the same heat at the same clock speed. "Probrably."
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 04:19 PM   #8
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Also I just rechecked the article and the only cooling they used was a Thermaltake heatsink and fan.

edit - Someone on another message board said:

Quote:
And overclocking is done different ways, depending on the CPU. If you get a "locked" CPU, then you can only OC by uping the bus frequency. If it's "unlocked", then you can change the multiplier as well as the bus frequencies.
Is the Athlon 64 90nm locked or unlocked?
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Old 16th Oct 2004, 06:34 AM   #9
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Locked, afaik the only cpu's that are still multiplier unlocked are the mobile bartons.
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Old 16th Oct 2004, 08:14 AM   #10
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Err, yeah, there's that. You can overclock the bus though. That will probrably give better performance improvements than just overclocking the CPU too. However, it's somewhat trickier because you are effectively overclocking your CPU, RAM, video card, etc. all together so you can only overclock to the lowest common denominator.
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Old 16th Oct 2004, 11:31 AM   #11
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So how did AnandTech overclock theirs?

Can I still reach 2610?
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Old 16th Oct 2004, 11:52 AM   #12
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As BinarySystem says, they upped the FSB to 290x9 :drools:

<edit>
Could you his those o/c's? Well, it's a bit of a black art and manufacturers tend to send review sites cherry picked hardware. Best thing is to let these cpu's hit the stores and check what steppings are doing well with what mobo & ram combo's.
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Old 16th Oct 2004, 04:28 PM   #13
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Ok so from what I know so far is that each CPU is different, and there is a chance that I may not reach 2610 mhz. Well suppose that I can't reach 2610 mhz. What's the next highest speed I can go to?

edit - and if I get all the same hardware as them, then I should be able to reach a pretty high speed right?
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Old 16th Oct 2004, 06:54 PM   #14
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This depends more or less on what your FSB can be set to, which I believe is motherboard dependant. I don't know how small of an increment that board is capable of, as it varies.

Also what Deathmaker says is true: individual transistors and traces on the core are so tiny these days, (about a thousand atoms wide) and the wavelength of the laser is only so small. This leads to a fair amount of inconsistency because the smallest speck of contaminant or temperature fluctuation can cause diffusion of the laser and create a transistor of a somewhat different shape, etcetera. That is why there is a considerable "safety margin" in the rating of any CPU.

However, one point of interest is that if they were overclocking by raising the FSB, the 1.8 should be somewhat faster than the 2.2 at the same clock speed, because it will have a higher FSB clock speed - which also affects the clock speed of your video card, RAM, etcetera - so those components would be getting more of an overclock than they would with the 2.2 at the same speed.
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Old 16th Oct 2004, 07:23 PM   #15
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So wait... you are telling me that by overclocking the processor by raising the FSB your other components are also getting overclocked? Does that mean I need extra cooling on the video card and ram too?

Is there a way to not overclock the video card? I read this as one of the features on the motherboard, does this mean that I can have the AGP video card at a fixed(non-overclocked) speed while still overclocking the CPU?

PCI/AGP Speeds: Auto, 66MHz to 100MHz (in 1MHz increments)

AnandTech mentioned that this was the best overclocking board in the 939 motherboard roundup they did. Here is the overclocking page for this board: http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2128&p=11

Also they mentioned that the only cooling they used was a Thermaltake Silent Boost K8 heatsink/fan. Does this mean that this is all I would have to buy for cooling?

Thanks for the help so far guys. Sorry for so many questions but I am basing my purchases on this information. I wanna be able to have a fast processor for the cheapest price possible and it seems like overclocking these new 90nm's may be the answer.

edit - Deathmaker, you mentioned that these reviewers often get sent "cherry picked" hardware, but I just noticed this quote in the article talking about the CPU's that they tested and overclocked:

Quote:
Since these two 90nm parts came from different sources and were purchased from dealers, we feel comfortable that they are representative of the 90nm chips available in the market.
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