Overdrive? . . .

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AMD has apparently developed an overclocking utility.

Unfortunately, we know little about this beyond a screenshot. Several questions need to be answered:

1) What will this work on? If this utility only works on DIY boxes that are overclockable anyway via the BIOS, this is just a convenient utility for the DIYers. However, if
most or all of the adjustments implied by the screenshot could be used on any OEM box, that is quite a different matter. For sure, any overclocks from Dell or HP’s Bargain of the Week six months from now aren’t going to headline XtremeSystems Forums, but
it could open the way to a lot more overclocking than we have today.

2) Just what can be overclocked? We know all current AMD processors can have their multipliers reduced from the default. A couple allow the multiplier to be increased from default. What we don’t know
is what this utility will be able to do with multipliers. The Expreview system had an unlocked Phenom, and they expresssly point out that retail Phenoms may have their multipliers locked.

3) Mismixing and mismatching The hype on this utlity is that you can run different cores at different speeds. That’s a nice parlor trick, but how useful is this likely to be in real life?

Yes, I suppose you can turn off cores when you’re doing something that won’t use them, and maybe the remaining active cores can be tweaked to run a bit faster as a result, but if you find yourself doing that a lot, what’s the point

Turning off cores will at least keep the machine functional. But what happens if you set Core 1 at 3GHz and Core 2 at 2GHz and some multithreading code which requires coordination between the two cores comes up? I see at least the potential for some nasty crashes sometimes as a result.

4) Tweaking A Tiny Engine The biggest issue, though, is one not directly related to the utility. Why would you want to go dinking around trying to get one, two or whatever AMD cores running at 3GHz or a bit better when you’ll be able to have four Intel cores running at 4GHz all the time with no dinking at all? Outside of Al Gore wanting to save thw world by saving some watts, the only reasonable answer to that is “because the Phenom is a lot cheaper than the Yorkfield.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Ed


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