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AMD Athlon64 3700+ Overclocking Fun; How Fast Can It Go?
AMD Athlon64 3700+ Overclocking Fun; How Fast Can It Go? - PCSTATS
Venice-based Athlon64 processors come with a traditional 512KB of L2 cache, while the San Diego core has 1MB of L2 cache.
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: AMD Jul 07 2005   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > AMD Athlon64 3700+

As someone who has been in the overclocking biz since the days of the 486, I'm happy to see how large this hobby has become. Now, on the heels of PCSTATS highly popular Athlon64 3500+ overclocking article comes a new adventure with the Athlon64 3700+ processor! AMD's Athlon64 'Winchester' core has been around for a while now, but enthusiast overclockers who employ TEC or phase change cooling have been avoiding it in large part. The reason being that the Winchester core apparently can become an unstable overclocker if cooled too far below zero degrees Celsius. The problems vary from system lock ups, to not POSTing at all.

With the release of the AMD 'Venice' and 'San Diego' Revision E Athlon64 processors, the enthusiast crowd has been quietly hoping for a better turn of luck. Both the Venice and San Diego Athlon64 cores are built with the same 90nm manufacturing process as their predecessor, but incorporate an improved memory controller and SSE3 instructions. The latter should not come as a surprise, Intel has been licensing SSE technology to AMD for quite some time now. More importantly for overclockers though, the Venice/San Diego cores are rumored to have shaken off the cold bug that affected some Winchester core Athlon64 processors.

Cache size is the only point differentiating the San Diego from Venice cores from each other. Venice-based Athlon64 processors come with a traditional 512KB of L2 cache, while the San Diego core has 1MB of L2 cache. Interestingly, the Athlon64 3700+ processor is clocked at 2.2 GHz, the same speed as the Winchester-based Athlon64 3500+ CPU. As we've seen in previous processor reviews, a larger L2 cache of the 3700+ can boost performance nicely...

AMD Athlon64 3700+ Processor
Tech Specs

Clock: 2.2GHz
L1: 124KB
L2: 1024KB
Multipiler: 11x
Package: 939-pin
organic mPGA
Core: 90nm SOI
Vcore: 1.4V
Cost: $334USD

Further Technical Details:
CPU-to-Memory Controller: 2.20GHz
Memory: Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller
Types of Memory: PC1600, PC2100, PC2700 and PC3200 DDR
HyperTransport Links: 1
HyperTransport Spec: 2GHz (2x 1000MHz / DDR)
Effective data bandwidth: Up to 14.4 GB/sec (8GB/sec)
HyperTransport bandwidth plus 6.4GB/sec memory bandwidth)
Fab location: AMD's Fab 30 wafer in Dresden, Germany

As you can see from the photo above, the AMD Athlon64 3700+ (retail) processor that fell prey to our overclocking bag of tricks is based on the 'CABGE' stepping, and was built some time in March 2005. The retail package includes a quiet aluminum heatsink/fan, some documentation and of course the little AMD Athlon64 sticker. As this review is specifically focusing on the overclockability of the Athlon64 3700+, we're going to skip our usual technology discussions and go straight to the good stuff!

If you'd like to learn a bit more about what makes the AMD Athlon64 processor tick, please read PCSTATS' extensive AMD Athlon64 4000+ processor review.

Russian Roulette with CPUs, Memory and Videocards

First though, let's talk about some of the hardware that was used in this overclocking adventure. Remember, PCSTATS staffers test hardware all day long, so when it comes to choosing the best hardware for the job we're pretty damn picky. That said, great hardware alone does not guarantee super-fabulous speeds every time. One of the fundamental truths of overclocking computer gear is that it's still very much the luck of the draw. From batch to batch, and part to part, the varying tolerances and minor differences built into components are what keep things exciting!

Okay, the motherboard used in this test setup is the very popular overclocker-friendly DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR. Having a wide array of memory to choose from by the likes of OCZ, Corsair, Geil, Kingston, PQI, Twinmos, etc. we opted for a pair of Mushkin's new Redline XP4000 series.

I selected the DFI board for its awesome overclocking and voltage adjustment options. The Hypertransport speed was kept at its default of 5X (tested up to 350 MHz) and the memory was running in sync with the motherboard clock speed (unless otherwise stated) with timings of 2-2-2-5.

Memory voltage was set to a higher than normal 3.6V, nForce4 chipset voltage was kept to 1.8V and LDT set to 1.5V throughout all tests. These voltages were chosen because I didn't want the memory flaking out before the motherboard or CPU might have. The above settings apply to both the air-cooled and phase change-cooled overclocking tests. Got all that!?

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 and Overclocking the Videocard

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Contents of Article: AMD Athlon64 3700+
 Pg 1.  — AMD Athlon64 3700+ Overclocking Fun; How Fast Can It Go?
 Pg 2.  Overclocking Tests: Heatsinks and Phase Change Cooling
 Pg 3.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi, Hexus piFast
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, Comanche 4, UT2003
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3
 Pg 7.  Athlon64 3700+ at 3.22GHz

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