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

Doward

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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.
Agreed - my first 1Ghz system was a Duron 600 @ 1000 :)
 

WhoBeDaPlaya

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it hasn't aged as well due to the lack of hyperthreads
I'm not denying that, but what the heck does no HT have to do with how it overclocks? ;)
Also, I love 2500Ks and still run a bunch of them at >= 4.6GHz. Absolutely unbeatable price/'$ when you can pickup used ones for ~$30 :)
 

oldmanbal

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Unfortunately I have to disagree with several of these. Buying the most expensive cpu on the market and putting a slight overclock on it is not the same as buying a 150-300$ cpu and overclocking it past the 1000$ part. I'm sorry buy I can't agree with some of the decisions on this article. But as an opinion piece, I'd be open to listen to discussion why you would select such chips.

I'd probably put the top 3 in an order as thus:

First gen Sandy Bridge (2500k, 2600k)
Intel Wolfdale (8200-8600)
Intel Northwood 2.4c

In that order.

I had an athlon FX on a DFI lanparty sli board (which still gives me nightmares) but it didn't have the headroom to virtually DOUBLE performance in an age when you would pay almost a hundred dollars for a few mhz bump. I even ran phazecooling on that (no regrets right?)

Lets admit it. Prescott was a dumpster fire, and anything since Sandy Bridge has been a moot point. We also have to consider, that overclocking does not naturally = % gain anylonger. There are many scenarios where new cpus = negative perfromance when overclocked past a certain point. And the gains per 100mhz are infinitesimally smaller than they were prior to sandy bridge and it's predecessors. When IPC still reins as king, and it hasn't changed in nearly a decade, 5ghz still looks sexy as hell on a 2600k.

If you disagree with me I am open to debate.
 
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defaultluser

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Unfortunately I have to disagree with several of these. Buying the most expensive cpu on the market and putting a slight overclock on it is not the same as buying a 150-300$ cpu and overclocking it past the 1000$ part.
Gulftown is on there because it gave new life to x58. You didn't pay the exorbitant price for one new, you waited for companies to sell their old Xeons 3 years later, and get a $150 6-core upgrade off Ebay.

I agree that the 2600k doesn't deserve to be up there so high, as it was expensive. But as the last truly overclockable CPU, it's still well-loved.

The Q6600 had a 2-year sales life, and by the second year it was almost down to $200, which was a first for four cores. Hence the love.

The rest were all dirt-cheap. The two Celerons were around $110, and that Athlon XP was just under a hundred. I know for a fact because I OWNED BOTH CELERONS :D
 
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lostin3d

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I expect many to reply to this thread. OC'ing is damn near mainstream at this point. I was even late to the game other than a brief venture of soldering boards to increase ram in the 8bit days.

That being said, I've told people for almost 30 years that I build systems to last to close to 10 years at a time. I spent close to nearly 40 literal hours researching a build that's resulted in my 2600k rig put together around 10 years ago and I'm thrilled this beast is still kicking a$$!. I didn't focus on pushing it to the limit for speed, but have tried to see how long it can last and it's the s**t.

It actually amazes me that it can still run $300+ for purchase too.

My only real regret, I was still taking a siesta when the 300a's were happening. They sound pretty awesome too!
 

lostin3d

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BTW if I'd known how to OC my 6502 I would have. I did fry a floppy drive back in the day using an ajustable AC/DC PSU when the OEM had died.
 

FrgMstr

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I expect many to reply to this thread. OC'ing is damn near mainstream at this point. I was even late to the game other than a brief venture of soldering boards to increase ram in the 8bit days.

That being said, I've told people for almost 30 years that I build systems to last to close to 10 years at a time. I spent close to nearly 40 literal hours researching a build that's resulted in my 2600k rig put together around 10 years ago and I'm thrilled this beast is still kicking a$$!. I didn't focus on pushing it to the limit for speed, but have tried to see how long it can last and it's the s**t.

It actually amazes me that it can still run $300+ for purchase too.

My only real regret, I was still taking a siesta when the 300a's were happening. They sound pretty awesome too!
I was on stage in Germany the first time an Intel executive ever said the word overclocking.
 

uss enterprise

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Still use a 2600k today. I see no need to change it. The desire burns in me though......it really does. But just no need.

As far as OC'ing, I think the old K6-II was fantastic. Remember having a K6-II350 that would hit 450. Was a huge difference at the time. So was the jump from 64MB to 256<B. Man, those were they days. Back when a I was ooohd and aahhd at a lan party for having two 40gb drives......lol
 

SmokeRngs

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I loved my XP mobile Barton 2400+ 35w. On my DFI Lanparty board I had it up to 2.4Ghz although when it died I had to go back to my Asus A7n8x-Dlx which was only able to do 2.3Ghz. I ran that until I was able to go with C2D E6400 which didn't overclock for crap.

A year later I went to the Q6600. My first one hit 3.6Ghz stable on air no problem. The second one also hit 3.6Ghz on air with no problem. The third one replaced the E6400 in that system and only did 3.51Ghz but I think it was mostly due to the P965 chipset board. A lot of those boards you'd be lucky to just be able to run a quad so I considered it a damn good job that I was able to get that much of an overclock out of it.

And I'm still on the Q6600 systems. Don't have the money to upgrade but two of the three are still chugging along nicely. They definitely aren't fast anymore but they still do what I need.
 
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Evil Timmy

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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.
I had a 930 at the core of my first desktop build after moving back to the States, and it's still powering a friend's gaming PC at a happy 3.8GHz on air after all these years. Video card and SSD have been updated and RAM doubled from 6 to 12GB, but that beast of a processor remains.
 

lostin3d

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I had a 930 at the core of my first desktop build after moving back to the States, and it's still powering a friend's gaming PC at a happy 3.8GHz on air after all these years. Video card and SSD have been updated and RAM doubled from 6 to 12GB, but that beast of a processor remains.
Stuff like this just shows how marginal Intel's improvements have been for the non server builds. From amateur to pro, the enthusiast builds are still giving returns from over 10 years ago!.

Might as well call some of these 350 V8's throughout the years.
 
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Soon as I saw the title the first thing came to my mind was the Thoroughbred. I had a lot of fun with that proc.
 

CAD4466HK

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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.
This. Venice, San Diego and Venus cores were the bitching ass CPU's for OC'ing ,especially the Opty 144-146-148 (CAB2E).
Not so much the Winchester's.
 

Mav451

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Yeah generally if it didn't do at least 40% or better, they were fairly disposable. This means my e8400 or 2100+ TBred-B fall under this lol.
OTOH, the Opt146 (2Ghz to 3Ghz), i5 750 (2.66 to 3.95GHz), or even the XP-M 2600+ (1.833 to 2.6GHz) - yeah I have some fond memories there.
 

Dan_D

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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.
This is why those CPUs didn't make the cut.
 

Ej24

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I didn't get in to building my own pc's until much more recently so I'm not as well versed in enthusiast hardware of years past.

As for more recent cpu's, I'm surprised the pentium g3258 hasn't been mentioned yet. That was a pretty fun cpu, cheap, easy to OC, though it's relevance has been really short lived as 2c/2t even at 4.4ghz just isn't quite enough for tasks like AAA games. I suppose it was mainly notable for its price. It was the first cheap overclockable cpu from Intel in a long time.

The i7-4790K is also a rock solid performer. 4.7ghz on air no problem, though I suppose it's still too recent to be pining over it with nostalgia. Maybe a few years from now it'll be like the 2600K that people just can't seem to get rid of because it's still good enough.
 

ebduncan

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The Duron 600 belongs on this list.

In my eyes its right up there with the celron 300a.
 
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Chebsy

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Glad you had the 300A as number 1, these were great CPU's in their day, I built a lot of systems using them and when I saw the article title, it was the first chip that came to mind.
 

M76

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I feel I've used up all my luck with the Celeron 600@1134, hell even that wasn't luck it was a binned cpu I paid extra for. Since then all my CPUs were either duds or completely average at best as far as OC goes.

Hell during the Sandy Bridge era I wanted to get an advantage on others and got the 930 instead of the 920 thinking the higher binned chip might work better. And what did I get? 2.8@3.33 it wouldn't give me more.
And now the 6800K? 4.2 even with the best air coolers available. Fucking worthless. If this goes on much longer I'm going to rage quit OCing.
 

JDanser

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As soon as I clicked this link I called it : 2600k and Celery 300 at the top. Still have my old Celeron and when it finally makes sense to upgrade, I won't be selling my 2600k either. They've both earned spots in my hall of fame display.
 

riba2233

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My "champion" is phenom x2 565, stock it is 2 core 2.4 ghz cpu whick easily unlocks to 4 cores and overclocks to 4.0 ghz on cheap motherboard and cheap air cooler, but can go even further. So that is over 120% gain in performance for almost zero money, and it was a cheap CPU which still works fine today, after being overclocked and unlocked for more than 4.5 years :)
 

jedijeb13

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I loved my XP mobile Barton 2400+ 35w. On my DFI Lanparty board I had it up to 2.4Ghz although when it died I had to go back to my Asus A7n8x-Dlx which was only able to do 2.3Ghz. I ran that until I was able to go with C2D E6400 which didn't overclock for crap.

A year later I went to the Q6600. My first one hit 3.6Ghz stable on air no problem. The second one also hit 3.6Ghz on air with no problem. The third one replaced the E6400 in that system and only did 3.51Ghz but I think it was mostly due to the P965 chipset board. A lot of those boards you'd be lucky to just be able to run a quad so I considered it a damn good job that I was able to get that much of an overclock out of it.

And I'm still on the Q6600 systems. Don't have the money to upgrade but two of the three are still chugging along nicely. They definitely aren't fast anymore but they still do what I need.
I still have my XP Barton 2400+ running on the computer in the bedroom :) on an ECS L7S7a2. It would go up to 2.4Ghz, but runs comfortably at 2.2Ghz all the time. It just sits there crunching SETI@Home quietly in the background due to the old ZalmanCPNS7000AlCu heatsink.
 

cybrnook

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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.
Was going to call out wolfdale as well. I still have an e7400 and 8400.

Surprised not to see it up there at all.
 

THRESHIN

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I'm surprised nobody mentioned the opteron 165. Everyone went nuts for those when they came out. Early dual core and overclocks? Yes please!

Mine did 2.8 (1.8 stock) easily. Many were breaking the 3 mark. Plus it was an easy delid :)
 
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N4CR

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Opteron 165, Durons, Pentium/Barton M etc lesser known but %wise OC'd better than many on that list...

I never figured out my old [H] login sadly. This was an air WR for a while.
2826 primetime2.JPG
 
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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.
Same! Still running the x5650 right now as well. The Athlon Xp holds a special place in my heart for some reason though.
 

Time2Kill

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The Intel Celeron 300a & 333 were the two processors that got me and my grade school buddies into overclocking. We even made our own aluminum waterblocks and peltier setups for them. Anyone else remember the big ol waterblocks kyle used to make back in the day? We basically replicated his setups. Nothing like having a big frozen ice block in your pc case.
 

Kilborg

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On the list with the old celery 300a as well. It ran 450mhz.. and that 150mhz made a huge difference. Athlon 700 was the best for me...around 980mhz and a few gpu swaps kept that one around for awile. The only other really memorable one was the old mans amd 486 66 at something like 110, boy were we bummed when we couldnt try quake! Everything else since has been just small gains in benchmarks/overall, so most of it is probably nostalgia.
 

jhatfie

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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.
Yeah my A64 3000+ overclocked similar and was AMAZING for that point and time from a price/performance perspective once OC'd. My personal overclocking favorites were my Athlon 2100+ (what got me into overclocking), A64 3000+ and 2500k with some runner up love for my extra core unlockable Phenom 2 X3 720, Q6600 and E8400.
 

pfc_m_drake

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How can the P4C 2.4Ghz not make the list. They EASILY hit 3.6ghz without any trouble what so ever. I had one and ran it at that speed for well over 2y on air before moving to an AMD X2 3800+
Because your P4C 2.4Ghz was actually a 3.2C 3.2Ghz with 2.4C written on the box.

Rumor at the time was that Intel had so much demand for the 2.4C that they were only making 3.2s and putting them in 2.4C boxes. So I hate to break it to you, but your 'legendary overclock' was only 400MHz.

AMD did the same thing with the Barton 2500+/3200+ family. I actually never met anybody who bought a 2500+ that couldn't just set it at 3200+ in the BIOS and Rin with it (assuming the MB supported overclocking).
 

emphy

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Weird, I recall having clocked my duron 600 at 950, but not having used the famous pencil trick. This bothers me a bit, I think I would remember having used such a ridiculous way to increase performance.

So, anyone else had a duron which overclocked without using your drawing skills, or should I continue worrying about my memory?
 

tissimo

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Good list. I only had a sandy bridge on this list. My first computer had a pentium 90 that I switched the jumper setting and made it run at 100MHz. Every system after that I overclocked. Going to a Celeron 366@550 after that, then Thunderbird Athlon @ around 1ghz (dont rememeber the exact specs) with the pencil trick to unlock the multipliers. I took a long break after that, coming back with the q6600 @ 3.4, then a 2500k @ 4.7, and now the 5820k @ 4.5.
 
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Probably the best overclock I've managed was with an Athlon MP Barton (pretty sure it was that). AMD was using their own speed rating but I was able to go from a 2500 to a 3500 with a huge heatsink/fan (for the time) without much trouble.

I'm not sure if DFI is still making boards but I remember I paired the Barton with the DFI Ultra Infinity.
 

FrgMstr

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Too cool and a piece of history. Closest I've been to anything like that is seeing some homebuilds at CES shows in the mid-80's and getting some leaked games from Lucas-Arts in the same time(ball-blazer & last starfighter/aka star raiders II).
I flew over to CeBit on ASUS's dime to do an overclocking exhibition on the show floor. We had the P4 running 4GHz on an phase change system. The Intel VP got up on stage and started talking, saying all kinds of good things about it....I was stunned.
 
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