In this article, we will study the overclocking potential of an old dual-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ processor.
Welcome to the eighth article in the Retro Overclocking series.
The test sample is labeled ADO4600IAA5CZ, the processor die is made in Germany and packaged in Malaysia.
The codename of the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ chip is Windsor (K8 architecture). Under the heat-distributing cover of this CPU is one 90nm dual-core monolithic Windsor die in 512KB modification.
The revision of our test copy F3, which is good news, since F3 is the best possible revision (Here we are talking about the overclocking potential and the power consumption of the processor. In addition to revision F3, there is also F2 – which is based on slightly hotter chips.
The Athlon 64 X2 4600+ processor carries two cores with a base frequency of 2400 MHz (multiplier 12, bus frequency 200 MHz, frequency of the integrated memory controller, and HT bus 1000 MHz). The chip has at its disposal 512KB of L2 cache per core, the base processor voltage is set at 1.230 volts, and the TDP 4600+ does not exceed 65 watts.
Athlon 64 X2 4600+ only supports DDR2 800MHz memory.
Of the obvious disadvantages of the 4600+ processor, it is worth noting the lack of support for the currently minimum required instruction SSE4.1/SSE4.2. This is really a very serious disadvantage, because due to this feature, this chip may simply not run the program or game you need.
- Processors — Athlon 64 X2 4600+;
- Cooling — Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition (RR-212S-20PK-R1);
- RAM for AM2 — 2 x 2GB Kingston (99U5429-007.A00LF 34CC2E04) with a total volume of 4GB;
- Motherboard AM2 — Biostar N61PA-M2S;
- Video card — KFA2 GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8GB (~1950/14000MHz, Power Limit 112%);
- SSD — KINGSTON 120GB SA400S37120G (Windows 10/Apps);
- Hardware — Seagate 2TB ST2000DM008-2FR102 (Games);
- Power supply — Chieftec GPS-1250C.
overclocking Athlon 64 X2 4600+
To begin with, let’s take a look at what our Athlon 64 X2 4600+ chip is capable of with the base voltages of cores, RAM, and memory controller.
If you don’t understand technical processes, processor generations, and so on, don’t despair. In order to find out what your CPU model is capable of in theory, you just need to find out the codename of its core (in our case, it is Windsor), after which it is banal to “google” the top model based on the same core.
The fastest processor codenamed Windsor is the Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition. Its frequency is 3.2GHz, which means that in theory (I repeat, in theory), our chip is also capable of stably operating at 3.2GHz. Let’s check it out:
In order to overclock 4600+ to 3200MHz, we need to set the system bus frequency to 268MHz and reduce the RAM multiplier from DDR2 800MHz to DDR2 667MHz.
Reboot and immediately get a blue screen of death when Windows 10 boots up. Well, predictable. Without raising the supply voltage, our sample of the Athlon 64 X2 4600+ chip turned out to be unable to operate stably at 3200MHz.
Let’s lower the FSB frequency by 5MHz and try again. The system booted but crashed when LinX started. Lowering the FSB by another 5MHz allowed us to pass 5 minutes of the stress test, but then the system hung again. And only when the bus frequency was reduced to 250MHz, the chip was able to pass the stability test in LinX. Thus, the result of overclocking the Athlon 64 X2 4600+ without raising the voltages is 3000MHz:
Well, I was able to raise the frequency of the Athlon 64 X2 4600+ to the level of the pre-top Athlon 64 X2 6000+. This is quite a normal situation, because, firstly, selected dies are used for the production of Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition, and secondly, the base voltage of 6400+ is much higher than that of 4600+ and equals 1.400 volts.
Let me remind you that I did not raise any of the supply voltages. In fact, such overclocking should not harm the processor, motherboard, or memory, even in the long run. However, remember that any overclocking will void the warranty for this or that product. Thus, you do all the manipulations with your iron solely at your own peril and risk!
Overclocking settings for Athlon 64 X2 4600+ up to 3000MHz in BIOS:
- Core voltage – 1.230V (+0.000 to the base);
- Bus frequency – 250MHz;
- Bus multiplier – 4;
- Bus voltage – 1.250V (+0.000 to the base);
- RAM multiplier in BIOS – 667MHz (taking into account overclocking, the effective memory frequency was 750MHz);
- RAM voltage – 1.950V (+0.000 to the base).
Now let’s try to raise the supply voltage a little and add a few hundred megahertz to the frequency.
But, quite predictably (old and hot 90nm chip), the processor reacted extremely poorly to raising the voltage. In order to move even slightly from the 3000 MHz mark, I had to raise the core voltage to 1.360 volts. This allowed us to pass the stability test at a frequency of 3100 MHz.
Further overclocking the 4600+ turned out to be even more boring. In fact, it all boiled down to the fact that I came to the base frequency and voltage of Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition. After that, the chip completely refused to pass stability tests at a frequency of 3250-3300 MHz, even with a serious overestimation of the main supply voltages.
Thus, the result of this session was the frequency 3213MHz:
Overclocking settings for Athlon 64 X2 4600+ up to 3213MHz in BIOS:
- Core voltage – 1.430V (+0.200 to the base);
- Bus frequency – 268MHz;
- HT bus multiplier – 4;
- HT bus voltage – 1.350V (+0.100 to the base);
- Chipset voltage – 1.450V (+0.100 to the base);
- The RAM multiplier in the BIOS – 667MHz (taking into account overclocking, the effective memory frequency was 804MHz);
- RAM voltage – 2.100V (+0.200 to the base).
In order to achieve 3213 MHz, most of the supply voltages had to be raised significantly, which in turn led to a significant increase in heat generation and power consumption. The 200MHz boost from the base voltage is definitely not worth it. However, it’s up to you, of course.
Thank you for your attention!
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