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

acascianelli

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Prescott ran hot as hell making it even more impressive. Though if you could cool it, it would clock higher. It was better at that due to an even longer pipeline than Northwood based Pentium IV's had.
I don’t remember if I had this one water cooled or just air. There was a point where I ditched the watercooling for a Zalman 7700.
 

memnoch998

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I kept that setup forever as well, ended up putting an x800xt AIW AGP card in it to give it some more life.
I had a launch sapphire x800pro for a while, and iirc, that rig went on to have a 7800gs, before finally getting an x1600 card. Sheesh, how time flies.
 

lostin3d

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I still love my Prescott @ 3.4GHz but yeah that sucker was hot even w/o OC'ing. I can only imagine what people went thru to push it past 4.0GHZ. That was my first rig that I maxed out the board options(ram/gpu/and my 1st raid on Sata 1). It was also my first PC(post 8086) that ran for almost 10 years.
 

Patton187

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May not be the best of all time, but I really enjoy my Phenom II at the time, as well as my 2500k.
 

Creig

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I would have considered either the Athlon XP 2500+ Barton or AMD FX 6300 as good fifth place contenders.

And you know you're an old school overclocker if the phrase "gold fingers" instantly conjures images of Slot A processors and not just an old James Bond film.
 

Dan_D

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I still love my Prescott @ 3.4GHz but yeah that sucker was hot even w/o OC'ing. I can only imagine what people went thru to push it past 4.0GHZ. That was my first rig that I maxed out the board options(ram/gpu/and my 1st raid on Sata 1). It was also my first PC(post 8086) that ran for almost 10 years.
I had a Pentium IV 3.0E that would do 3.73GHz and maintained decent thermals (for Prescott), but at 3.8GHz or higher the temperatures skyrocketed.
 

acascianelli

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I wish I would have been able to mess around more with overclocking Pentium D's. The few systems I had with those chips did not have overclocking friendly motherboards.
 

Rikki

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Wel well well!

I've owned the 3 (Q6600) at 3.5GHz / 2 (not 2600k but the 3770K and currently run it still at 4.5GHz) and 1 (Cel 300A)

Great article and fully agree. My half decade old Ivy Bridge system is still kicking it!
 

anubis44

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I agree with the Celeron 300a being #1 for pure overclockability, without exotic cooling. I had a Malaysian 300a that did the 300 --> 450MHz jump with just the multiplier change. The Costa Rican 300a's either didn't post at all, or needed additional voltage to hit 450MHz. I was building PCs for people back then, and I upgraded quite a few friend's gaming rigs at that time, along with 3dfx Voodoo 2 cards, although I was playing with a little known company's Riva TNT card. The company? nVidia.

However, if we're talking over-all bang-for-the buck (overclocking+unlockability), then I must say, that for all time, knockdown, best bang for the buck CPU, nothing can hold a candle to the AMD Phenom II X2 550BE. This was a CPU that not only overclocked from its already decent 3.1GHz base clock speed by very decent 700MHz to 3.8GHz, but it was a dual core CPU that allowed you to unlock not just 1, but 2 full additional cores to make it a full quad core CPU! All for $120 Canadian!!! This made it run equivalently to a Phenom II X4 945/955, which was about a $300+ CPU at that time. NEVER have I had a CPU that delivered this kind of value of the money (from my first AMD386/40MHz-based PC to my current AMD Ryzen 7 1700) in all my years of using/building PCs.
 
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Wel well well!

I've owned the 3 (Q6600) at 3.5GHz / 2 (not 2600k but the 3770K and currently run it still at 4.5GHz) and 1 (Cel 300A)

Great article and fully agree. My half decade old Ivy Bridge system is still kicking it!
I agree with you about Ivy, I have a 2600k @ 5 ghz that is still rockin and rollin.
 

raidflex

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I agree with what MavericK and Kyle Bennett said. I think i7 920 should definitely be in the list. 2.66GHz stock clocking 4.2+ GHz on air. with ease on air is no exaggeration and makes it one of the best of all time in my book too. I'm still running my 920@4.2GHz.
I had this CPU overclocked to 4.2GHz for 7 years and it was rock stable, to have a CPU running that much over stock for that long was defiantly the best CPU I personally ever had. I think the 920 should have been on there instead of the 980. It seems that the 920 was overshadowed by the 2500/2600K CPUs. Also when the D0 stepping came out the majority of people were getting much better overclocks. Personally I think the 980 should have been higher on the list then the 1700+.

The 300A and 2600K is a really tough one, as good as the 300A was I think the 2600K had a longer lifespan relative to performance when overclocked, so I would have probably gave that number 1.

Also although it not on the list, the 5820K that I have had running at 4.5GHz has been rock stable. For a $300 CPU to get 6 cores with HT was an awesome deal at the time considering such a high overclock.
 

BitMaster

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Overclocking is such an easy game now that we easily forget how hard it was back then on ISA & PCI bus. When I overclocked my P166 to 187.5MHz I not only overclocked the CPU but the whole system incl. each and every card plugged in to it, like a Soundblaster-16, Matrox, AVM ISDN, etc etc...that was before we had a thing called Internet and [H] website to exchange wisdom. My Pii needed some extra cooling back then...well..I took the side panel off and placed an ordinary 20" household fan next to it so I could play my games at higher fps..LoL.

Nowadays you click the "OC ME!" button and you are mostly done. Only the [H] will go further and strive for every Hertz above 5G or whatever your CPU's limit "seems" to be. Cooling equipment is available in abundance too, no need for a 20" living room fan anymore
 

lostin3d

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I had a Pentium IV 3.0E that would do 3.73GHz and maintained decent thermals (for Prescott), but at 3.8GHz or higher the temperatures skyrocketed.
Back then I didn't monitor temps like I do now but I remember the last time I turned it on to run some updates you could really feel the room warm up. I was pretty shocked,. This was back before my 2600k/4930k rigs and the only other was a gateway FX7026(pretty good for pre-built) I'd bought in between builds.
 

MrRuckus

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Just found this recently looking for old Music on my drives. Haha. It ran @ 2.5Ghz 24/365 for as long as I had it. Great chip. 1.6A Northwood with WD 120's in RAID on a promise card. Probably one of my favorite builds.
 

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acascianelli

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Overclocking is such an easy game now that we easily forget how hard it was back then on ISA & PCI bus. When I overclocked my P166 to 187.5MHz I not only overclocked the CPU but the whole system incl. each and every card plugged in to it, like a Soundblaster-16, Matrox, AVM ISDN, etc etc...that was before we had a thing called Internet and [H] website to exchange wisdom. My Pii needed some extra cooling back then...well..I took the side panel off and placed an ordinary 20" household fan next to it so I could play my games at higher fps..LoL.

Nowadays you click the "OC ME!" button and you are mostly done. Only the [H] will go further and strive for every Hertz above 5G or whatever your CPU's limit "seems" to be. Cooling equipment is available in abundance too, no need for a 20" living room fan anymore
I certainly do remember how much of a pain in the ass overclocking beyond 100MHz FSB was on 440BX's. I had a hard time finding AGP cards that played well at high FSB's due to the lack of a divider to bring it closer to 66mhz.

I briefly had an i815 setup, but the 512MB RAM limitation was a show stopper. I ended up modifying a slotket to allow Tualatin CPU's to work my old 440BX board and ran a Celeron 1.3 at 1.6Ghz.
 

Dan_D

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Don't forget about the motherboards that were released as having a "440BX 133MHz" chipset. They employed dividers to allow the PCI bus to remain in spec with the chipset at 133MHz. These were later in the 440BX's life span and used for the Pentium III's if I recall correctly.
 

BitMaster

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That good old 440BX Chipset. ..Memories...

VMware used it's logic for years to come in their products. A true milestone chipset imho
 

Doward

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I remember taking my mom's Packard Bell 75Mhz Pentium up to an 83Mhz FSB (from a 50Mhz FSB LOL). 125Mhz of pure fury.

IIRC, the power supply died about a year later.
 
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Had a amd 486 @ 80Mhz , just did 120Mhz without any sweat ,
A celeron 633 did just over a GHz , was the first Ghz cpu in our club @ th etime .
a c2d 2.4 did 3.6 no problem .
nowadays i dont oc anymore just 3770k rocking at stock settings .
 

Wolfie

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I worked with a friend to get his Celeron 300A to 600 MHz, man it cooked on a 133MHz FSB board.

I never had a 300a but I had a pentium pro 200 cooking at 1GHz....

I still have a Q6600, I never mess with overclocking it
 

drescherjm

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I think I only got to around 500 or so MHz on the 300As but I ran them in dual processor config so it was more difficult.


With that said I did back off to ~466 for 24/7 operation with dual CPUs.
 
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acascianelli

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Quick necro, but I found a lone Slot1 Celery 300A in my company's scrap recycle bin today. Had to save that. Fond memories.
I kinda want to frame and mount one of those on a wall in my office. Fuckin legendary.
 

ebduncan

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Did you manage to get it 504 stable?

Also, there was such enthusiasm back then. Boring hardware today or just older age?
I enjoy playing with old hardware. Chilled water loops and stuff, and push it to its max just because. It's cheap and fun. Do volt mods and stuff to gpus, and mobo vrm. Good way to practice before trying your hand on a 2080ti for example.

I recently just pushed my old 7950 past 1400mhz core. Sure its slow compared to modern cards but its still fun.
 
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