The Top 5 Best Overclocking CPUs of All Time @ [H]

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
Joined
May 18, 1997
Messages
49,856
The Top 5 Best Overclocking CPUs of All Time

We count down another Top 5 best CPUs of all time. These CPUs are special, at least to most HardOCP readers, as these are judged only by the value to enthusiasts due to being highly overclockable in nature. Extra points are awarded for market influence and performance. It's a tough call as there are so many to choose from over the years.
 

drescherjm

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 19, 2008
Messages
14,805
I remember having a few of these. The dual processor 300A overclock certainly was enjoyable. I think I finally recycled those CPUs late last year when I was cleaning out the basement.
 

jfreund

Gawd
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
Messages
1,021
If you count the Xeon version of the 980, I've had 4 out of 5. Personal high score! I had the 6300 instead of the 6600. I didn't have the budget or need for 4 cores at the time.
 

TaintedSquirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Aug 5, 2013
Messages
9,729
I've had a Q6600 running at 4 GHz nearly 24/7 since January 2008, lol. It's finally getting retired next month after I build a coffee lake rig.
 

Riccochet

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 11, 2007
Messages
23,771
I still have my lapped Q6600 that was good for 3.7 Ghz. Thing was a beast that lasted me until 2013. No doubt one of the best CPU's I've ever owned.
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
Messages
714
I had an Intel E8400 Wolfdale (3.0 GHz) that I lapped and OC'd on water. I got 4.4 GHz stable. In my quest for 5.0 GHz, I ended up buying the ultra-rare E8700 (3.5GHz). I got 4.7GHz stable on that.
 

Ur_Mom

Fully [H]
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
20,256
P4 Northwood 1.8 went to 2.4 easily, as well. Another good one.

I loved the 486, as it was very easy to overclock. Took a 50Mhz up to 66 with a single jumper.

Then, it was the K6/2, then I finally got the 300a, which was magical. Loved that thing. Next one on the list for me was the 2600K. I've had others that overclocked well, but not on the list. P3 550 to 825 was a good one.
 

4saken

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 14, 2004
Messages
11,202
was waiting on this article just to see where the 300a landed. Most classic cpu indeed IMO. It kickstarted my enthusiasm for building computers.
Q6600 with the BSEL was definitely the second best chip I ever owned as far as longevity.
 

Lmah2x

Gawd
Joined
Apr 3, 2014
Messages
929
I remember the 1700+ getting over 3ghz on LN2, it was mind blowing. I had one paired with a EpoX 8RDA and was able to clock it over 2.3ghz on Air.
My Q6600 didn't clock that great, I think mine went to 3.1ghz on Air.
 

arnemetis

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
Messages
2,920
My q6600 did 3.85ghz without ridiculous volts, I remember fighting the FSB holes around that area. Before that I remember my opteron 165 I had stable at 2.8ghz from a stock 1.8ghz I believe. That was my first foray into water cooling, the system is still upstairs and works with my 6800gt on water too.
 
D

Deleted member 88227

Guest
Surprised the Brisbane never made the list. 1.9Ghz chip that could reach 3GHz on air with a cheap, ~$50 motherboard. I believe the CPU itself was under $100 as well. So ~$150 you could have an overclocking monster combo. The only draw back was, even overclocked it wasn't up to par with Intels current offerings (overclocked). I wanna say it was a Wolfdale maybe around that time frame? 2006/2007ish.
 

Captindecisive

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
Messages
262
My personal favorite was overclocking my Athlon XP 2500+ Barton. It's been years since I had that rig; I ran it with a Thermalright SI-97 and the Thermaltake Silentcat slotted fan on an ASUS A7N8X Deluxe 2.0 motherboard. I had been into overclocking before that, but it was pretty rare that I messed with it. I ended up getting that chip to 2236MHz at 213x10.5 and Kingmax DDR500 memory. I really wanted the ABIT NF7S motherboard, but was unable to get one at the time, the A7N8X was just a horrible board for overclocking with limited voltage controls; the chip had way more to give with proper voltage controls.
 

Rizen

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 16, 2000
Messages
9,284
I'm a little surprised that the AMD Duron 600 didn't make the list. That was AMD's Celeron 300A in my opinion - I was rocking a Duron 600 @ 1GHz before any commercial 1GHz chips were even available. Super fun chip to overclock back in the day.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,130
This is small fish. 50% overclock on these maybe? I've had a Celeron 366@566and also a Celeron 600 that did 1134. That's a 90% overclock, baby. Now I wish I could have 25%. The good old short two legs with a piece of copper wire trick. And honorable mention my first OC the PII233@290.
 

CAD4466HK

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
1,218
My best chips were my Duron 600 @ 1033GHz - A64 3700+ @ 2.9GHz - C2Q9550 @ 3833GHZ - 2600K @ 4.8GHz.
My 1700+ topped out @ 2.0GHz but my 2500+ was good for 2.3GHz with a Volcano 7+ @ 5000RPM.

My A64X2 4200+ was a good runner up @ 2.8GHz, who says AMD CPU's can't OC? :D
 

pendragon1

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 7, 2000
Messages
20,337
I'm a little surprised that the AMD Duron 600 didn't make the list. That was AMD's Celeron 300A in my opinion - I was rocking a Duron 600 @ 1GHz before any commercial 1GHz chips were even available. Super fun chip to overclock back in the day.
at least a honorable mention or something right!? mine(not any more) is still working as a garage system!
 
  • Like
Reactions: kreno
like this

Rauelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 2, 2008
Messages
2,242
Good list, I predicted a nice chunk of them in the last article. If you wanted to add another AMD CPU as an honorable mention, may I recommend the Phenom II 960t. I loved that chip. Unlocked to 6-Core and overclocked to 3.9Ghz. Sure in pure OCing it wasn't a big jump, but getting a couple of cores, with little effort, puts it pretty high on my list (can't believe I forgot about that one).
 

Bigbacon

Fully [H]
Joined
Jul 12, 2007
Messages
17,115
i had a celron 533 that could overclock no problem to almost 1ghz.....except at that speed ot was still a terrible cpu.
 

DooLocsta

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
1,639
Nice, I have owned 3 of the CPUs on the list. The 300A was so badass in the day @450Mhz paired with the Obsidian 24MB VoodooII SLI single card I had a machine that destroyed Q2. Wow those were the days. Suprised the 486DX2 didn't at least get an HM :)

Had the Duron 600 for a minute but damn you had to really put some loud ass fans on it to keep it cool @1Ghz
 
Last edited:

Frito11

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 13, 2016
Messages
280
besides the 980x if i reorder the list its pretty much more or less been my upgrade path over the past 20 years with a few other cpus mixed in like the Opteron 170
 

Brokennails

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 29, 2006
Messages
2,001
I had my first peltier set up on a BP6. That was an awesome set up. Amazing frame rate improvement at low resolution in quake 3 running smt. Not so much higher res with a TNT lol.
 

sweets3450

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
227
I had an athlon 64 3000 overclocked from stock 1.8ghz -> 3.0ghz for a 66% increase which dominated intel P4 for the better half of a decade. That was the norm for the 939 socket. More of an increase than your number 1 slot. Seems like a silly amateur list to not include any athlon 64.
 

Sherk

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
Messages
2,150
Had dual Celeron 500s OC'd to ~700 Mhz in a BP6. Upgraded to dual P3 600s in a VP6 that oddly took a bump from 600 to 800 (FSB 100 -> 133) without a voltage increase, but wouldn't go any further no matter what I did. Good old golden orbs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Slug
like this

Kranium

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
432
I had a Presler core 955 extreme overclock to 4.3ghz daily with is almost a 1ghz oc on a ca. 2006 processor which wasn't too bad..... Unfortunately it still felt like a dog, those pentium D designs really sucked.
 

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
Joined
May 18, 1997
Messages
49,856
I've had a Q6600 running at 4 GHz nearly 24/7 since January 2008, lol. It's finally getting retired next month after I build a coffee lake rig.
Really disappointed that the i7 920 didn't end up in either list. Probably the best value purchase I ever made in a CPU and overclocked like a champ.
no duron love? i loved my 600 that did 1133 :)
I personally would not disagree with you on those points, but this article is Dan's opinion, not mine. This would have likely been better a Top 10 quite frankly.
 

defaultluser

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
13,547
I don't know why you only gave an Honorable Mention to the Celeron 533A. Mine did 8.0x112 896 MHz on my BH6 rev A with slotket. I did the flash trick (put voltage on lowest setting, and that becomes the highest after you flash) to unlock the lower voltage ranges.

The big attraction of the 533A is you could take the SAME BX 440 MOTHERBOARD YOU ALREADY BOUGHT FOR YOUR 300A, add a slotkit and you got an upgrade from 450MHz all the way to 900MHz. That's right, DOUBLE PERFORMANCE FOR $150!

That's a helluva good value :D

You should really mention them as a combo.

It was also one hell of a lot easier getting ahold of these 66MHz parts than those widely-rampaged 700MHz Pentium IIIs that overclocked with ease to 900. THOSE fuckers were constantly sold-out, which was the other attraction to the 533A

A 800-900MHz Celeron was within 10% of the performance of the real deal, and cost half the price.

But the rest of the list is solid :D
 
Last edited:

Sparky

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 9, 2000
Messages
3,215
Your Celeron 300a article back in the day got me to build my 1st pc. I as reading HardOCP with WebTV on dialup back then and looking thru the forums and picked the parts I wanted. Too bad the forum has been dumped a few times since then or I would have a join date of 1998.

I agree 100% on this article.
 

TMCM

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 15, 2003
Messages
1,412
I remember the 1700+ getting over 3ghz on LN2, it was mind blowing. I had one paired with a EpoX 8RDA and was able to clock it over 2.3ghz on Air.
My Q6600 didn't clock that great, I think mine went to 3.1ghz on Air.
I had that same combo. I got mine stable at 2.5Ghz with a custom loop water cooling setup. Damn that thing was a beast
 

defaultluser

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
13,547
I had an athlon 64 3000 overclocked from stock 1.8ghz -> 3.0ghz for a 66% increase which dominated intel P4 for the better half of a decade. That was the norm for the 939 socket. More of an increase than your number 1 slot. Seems like a silly amateur list to not include any athlon 64.
I don't recall that.

Winchester overclocked maybe to 2.6, and Newcastle was even slower.

The Athlon 64s didn't become overclock monsters until Venice in 2005, and by that time most people had already bought one. And it wasn't long before the Core 2 derailed that train.
 

Burticus

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Messages
4,242
Phenom II 955 rev c @ 4.2ghz (Hyper 212+) was my main rig for a lot of years. I'm still using it as my file/plex server (but I put the clocks back to stock).


Intel wise, the Celeron 300a and my Abit BH6 are my fondest and earliest overclocking memories. 466 mhz was the bomb back in 1998.

There was a P3 500 coppermine that I used a slocket with to get to 750, that was good for a while but not as big of a perf jump as the 300a was.

I did several different Durons with the pencil trick, that was fun.

Opteron 144 was a decent overclocker too.

Currently on a Skylake i5 6600k which I bump to 4.4 if I want to, but honestly it doesn't make a difference in games from stock like the Phenom OC did. You could feel the difference with that one. Also with the heat pouring out of my case under my desk, LOL.
 

Phelptwan

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
Messages
6,548
I've had 4/5 on that list. I still would put those 1700's at the top though. I still have a family member with one running Win XP in a kids computer.
 

Geforcefly

n00b
Joined
Apr 3, 2016
Messages
3
My Pentium E2140 would run at 3GHz on stock cooling and voltage without even trying. Only limited by FSB wall.
 
Top