|AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE AM3 Processor|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Mathew Williams|
|Tuesday, 02 June 2009|
Page 11 of 12
Phenom II X2 550 BE Overclocking
No AMD Black Edition review would be complete without at least some mention of overclocking. While I didn't have time to completely explore the limits of our Phenom II X2 550 review sample, I was able to elicit a decent overclock without much effort. For the most part, it behaved similarly to its quad core sibling we previously reviewed: the Phenom II X4 955.
In the AMD OverDrive screenshot above, you can see the final multipliers and clock speeds we settled on. For the two cores, we found 3.8 GHz the highest we could go on air cooling without introducing instability. That's an 18.4% increase over stock. For the CPU-NB, which affects the memory controller and L3 cache, we went with 2.6 GHz. That's a 23% increase over stock and should help out considerably in memory intensive applications. The charts below provide a snapshot of the performance gains you can expect.
As expected, increasing the CPU-NB by 600 MHz has a big impact on memory performance. The biggest gain can be seen in write bandwidth, which, at 22.9%, seems to increase proportionately with the frequency. Read and copy performance also increased significantly, as well as PCMark05's composite memory score.
Looking at CPU performance, we see a similar trend. The 18.4% increase in core clock speed yields considerable gains in all of the benchmarks. It's clear the overclocked L3 cache and memory controller are contributing as well, particularly in the Everest AES benchmark.
Gains in our gaming tests aren't quite as high as in the synthetic benchmarks. The most dramatic increase can be seen in the Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark at low settings. From that point on, however, the game is essentially limited by our HD 4870 and overclocking the processor has a negligible effect. Crysis shows a similar trend, with the effect of the overclocked processor slowly diminishing as resolution and quality settings are increased.