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AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 45nm Socket AM3 Processor Review

AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 45nm Socket AM3 Processor Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition processor is one of the first Phenom II processors, and it's got a secret that has PCSTATS very excited.
 78% Rating:   
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: AMD Feb 28 2009   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition

45nm Overclocking Potential?

Overclocking Results:
Stock Max. OC
Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz

3.675 GHz

If you're new to Overclocking and not sure what to do, check out these two excellent Guides for some pointers:
Overclocking the CPU and Memory
Overclocking the Videocard
If overclocking is the sport of champions, a Black Edition AMD Phenom II X3 720 in your PC is akin to a 10 second lead on the competion. Like the Extreme Edition processors from Intel, AMD's Black Edition chips are multiplier unlocked. That critical bonus assures monster overclocking potential!

The AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition runs at a default speed of 2.8 GHz, with its clock multiplier set to 14x. It can be overclocked by raising the clock multiplier higher, and then raising the motherboard reference clock speed. The reference clock generates the source signal to drive all components on the motherboard, and with Phenom II processors it operates by default at 200MHz.

For example: 14 (CPU multiplier) x 200 MHz (reference clock) = 2.8GHz (CPU and memory controller speed).

As the multiplier for the Phenom II X3 720 processor is 14x, we can easily overclock the chip just by changing this value to 15x or 15.5x. Adjusting the multiplier to 15x automatically overclocks the CPU without modifying the motherboard reference clock speed (akin to Intel's FSB), so the equation changes to 15 x 200 = 3.0GHz. The benefit is that it allows us to use lower bus speeds to attain a higher overall CPU clock speed, thus reducing the need to run the memory as fast.

To start the memory was set to DDR2-800 mode and the motherboard frequency was overclocked in 25MHz increments. For the time being the Phenom II X3 720's CPU multiplier was left at 14x. The socket AM3 Phenom II X3 720 easily handled 225MHz, 235MHz, and 245MHz which yielded a processor clock speed of 3.43GHz. Beyond this (ie 255MHz) the system became unstable and wouldn't post.


CPU-Z 1.49 recognizes the Socket AM3 Phenom II X3 720, overclocked settings highlighted in red.

For the next attempt we reset the motherboard reference clock back to 200MHz and changed the CPU multiplier from 14x to 15x, then set about increasing the Bus speed once more. Without much effort the motherboard was once again running at 245MHz, resulting in an overclocked speed of 3.67GHz for the AM3 Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (default is 2.8GHz). To get beyond this point PCSTATS increased CPU vCore from 1.3V to 1.525V and this allowed us to boost motherboard reference clock speed from 245MHz to 250... 255.. and 260MHz... nope. Since the 260MHz Bus speed wouldn't POST we lowered things back to 255MHz, or a CPU speed of 3.82GHz! That's a 1200MHz overclock on the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition CPU!

Unfortunately, while the system would POST just fine, Vista blue screened at that speed. Eventually after a few minutes of trying different voltage mods, PCSTATS settled on an overclocked speed of 15x multiplier, 245MHz motherboard reference clock for an overclock of 3.675GHz. We tried a few settings above this, but stability could not be guaranteed. That's quite a nice healthy overclock of 875MHz above the stock clock speed of 2.8GHz!

It's time to take off the kid gloves and see how fast this triple-core processor really is!

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Contents of Article: AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition
 Pg 1.  AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 45nm Socket AM3 Processor Review
 Pg 2.  Enter the Dragon (Platform)
 Pg 3.  Socket AM3 and compatibility
 Pg 4.  System Power Draw Tests
 Pg 5.  — 45nm Overclocking Potential?
 Pg 6.  Test System Specs / Benchmarks: Sysmark, PCMark Vantage
 Pg 7.  32-Bit CPU Synthetic Benchmarks: Sandra 2009 Processor / Memory
 Pg 8.  32-Bit CPU Calculation Benchmarks: Super Pi, wPrime2.0
 Pg 9.  32-Bit CPU Calculation Benchmarks: ScienceMark2, WinRAR
 Pg 10.  32-Bit CPU Rendering Benchmarks: Cinebench R10, Bibble 5
 Pg 11.  32-Bit CPU Rendering Benchmarks: POV-Ray, 3.7, SPECviewPerf 10
 Pg 12.  32-Bit CPU Synthetic Gaming Benchmarks: 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 06
 Pg 13.  32-Bit CPU Gaming Benchmarks: Crysis, FEAR
 Pg 14.  Conclusions: World's First Triple-Core CPU

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