Did old CPUs have this little headroom normally?

pantsaregood

Senior member
Feb 13, 2011
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#1
Repurposed an old Athlon 64 X2 6400+ PC as a media player for my living room because my Xbox 360's power supply fan died. Decided to play around with the CPU's clock speed.

It runs at 3.2 GHz stock. Attempting to push it to 3.46 GHz (216*16) at any voltage fails under stress. RAM isn't breaking the 800 MHz it is rated for, so it isn't related to that.

Were these things binned that close to their limits? Since about 2008, I've pretty much expected every CPU I've owned to be capable of breaking 4 GHz without any trouble. That's a Phenom II X6 1090T (4.0 GHz, 25% overclock), Core i7 920 (4.0GHz, 50% overclock), and Core i5 2500K (4.4 GHz, 33% overclock), all with relatively little effort.

Late Athlon 64 X2s couldn't even manage an 8.3% overclock? Or maybe this particular piece of silicon is below average?

Not that it really matters, just a curiosity.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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#2
Its normal if I recall right. They was already binned close to the max. Even golden chips peaked at 3.5-3.6Ghz.
 

BigDaveX

Senior member
Jun 12, 2014
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#4
The 6400+ was AMD's last chip to use their 90nm process, which was about 3 years old at the time. It's not surprising that it was already pushing the limits of that process even at stock speeds.
 

nismotigerwvu

Golden Member
May 13, 2004
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#5
It's actually sort of incredible they managed to retail 3.2ghz 90nm K8 chips in the 6400+ model.
 

superstition

Platinum Member
Feb 2, 2008
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#6
The 90nm Sempron 3100+ was known as a particularly good overclocker and the 65nm Pentium dual core E2140/2160 were known for 80-100% overclocks.

The 3100+ E6 model was 90nm but had SSE3 and 64-bit support.
 
Apr 27, 2000
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#7
90nm x2s were usually the best overclockers of the lot, with late Windsors hitting 3.5-3.6 GHz if pushed hard enough. The 65nm Brisbanes usually crapped out at 3.2 GHz. That's how high my 3600+ went.
 
Oct 14, 2003
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#8
Were these things binned that close to their limits?
That's just a fact for an SKU that sells in such little quantities.

Think of it in terms of a CPU company.

Company A - 1 SKU selling 15 million annually
Company B - 1 SKU selling 100,000 annually

The latter is just much easier to reach the top clocks because if you want defects on the product to be low, you'd clock it conservatively enough so you get less defective products.

It's just easier to get Company B's CPU reaching top clocks than the Company A's(assuming everything else is identical). With many things being produced you can't completely control all the variables.
 

SPBHM

Diamond Member
Sep 12, 2012
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#9
the limit for the 90nm A64 X2s was around 3.2-3.4GHz when overclocking with aircoolers, so this CPU is pretty much there...

keep in mind the cheaper A64 X2s were sold at 2-2.6GHz so you had some decent room to OC on most of them.
 

2is

Diamond Member
Apr 8, 2012
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#10
I never had very good results with any of my X2's and I had several throughout the years.
 

jihe

Senior member
Nov 6, 2009
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#11
It's pretty much the 4790k of its days.
 

TeknoBug

Platinum Member
Oct 2, 2013
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#12
Yes it was pretty tough to OC with the older chips, good luck getting a Pentium Pro 200MHz to OC past 220MHz. Only one I can think of was OC'ing my AMD K6-3 450MHz to 600MHz.
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
Moderator
Aug 22, 2001
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#13
Yes it was pretty tough to OC with the older chips, good luck getting a Pentium Pro 200MHz to OC past 220MHz. Only one I can think of was OC'ing my AMD K6-3 450MHz to 600MHz.
I had a Duron 900 L1 pencil tricked, that was good for almost 50% OC. And don't forget the Celeron 300A hit at least 450Mhz solid for most.
 
Apr 27, 2000
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#14
I had a Duron 900 L1 pencil tricked, that was good for almost 50% OC. And don't forget the Celeron 300A hit at least 450Mhz solid for most.
Yeah I was gonna say, Celeron 300a and its younger brethren all did quite well! Some had luck with the 366a too.
 
Sep 19, 2000
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#15
It depended a lot on the generation. Some CPUs had a lot of overhead while others were on the edge. The later AMD 64 processors lost most of their headroom as AMD got really aggressive with their binning. They were trying to compete with Conroe which was really eating their lunch.
 

ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
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#16
Yes it was pretty tough to OC with the older chips, good luck getting a Pentium Pro 200MHz to OC past 220MHz.
all i had to do was set a jumper and mine went to 233, at which it ran reliably for years.


for most of history overclocking the fastest-clocked parts of any given generation didn't get you much in the way of results. and that makes sense, as intel and amd both sold incrementally faster chips for vastly higher prices (in comparison) through most of history. that is, a chip that may have clocked 3 or 4% faster would be sold for 25%+ more money. do that several times and you find the chip's ceiling but have increased your margins 100s of dollars.
 
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