AMD Athlon II X4 Debut: Enter The $99 Quad-Core
Considering the very low price of the new Athlon II X4 processors, we wondered how well they'd do with a bit of overclocking. We were especially interested in the 2.6GHz 620, which now claims the title of the cheapest quad-core available. Rather than loading the little 620 into a full blown overclocking rig with all the bells and whistles, we decided to try something more typical of an actual build someone might use with the new Athlon II quads. For our overclocking romp, we used a cheap Arctic Cooling Freezer heatsink and fan combo.
It's worth noting that all Athlon IIs are multiplier locked and Black Edition models with unlocked multipliers are currently not available. Therefore, for our quick overclocking experiment, we relied primarily on increasing the base clock speed, which by default runs at 200MHz.
Starting off with the 620, we effortlessly increased the base clock up to 265MHz, bringing the overall clock speed to 3.45Ghz. We found we could push the system beyond 265MHz, but stability becomes unreliable and pumping in more voltage didn't seem to have any effect. We could boot into windows up to 280MHz, but benchmarks would lock the system. We then tried the same method with the 630 which was also able to reach 265MHz, but due to its higher clock multiplier, it was able to achieve 3.71Ghz overall.
Athlon II X4 620 overclocked to 3.45GHz
Athlon II X4 630 overclocked to 3.71GHz
In the end, our quick overclocking experiment shows that the Athlon II X4 processors have quite a bit of overclocking room. Even with our crude methods and cheap cooling, we were able to bump up the clock speed by nearly a full gigahertz. That's on par with what we've seen from Phenom IIs and is just another reminder that these Propus cores are basically just cut-down Denebs.Overall we are pretty impressed with the overclocking potential in the Athlon II X4 quads. The 620 was able to reach 3.45GHz completely stable, which is extremely impressive considering its $99 price tag. The 630 was able to reach 3.71GHz which is certainly very respectable for its $122 price tag. For those of you who like to tweak and overclock their systems, the new Athlon II X4s are looking like an excellent choice for some cheap overclocking fun.