While some of our readers enjoy overclocking to break records and often go to extreme measures to do so, generally most enjoy overclocking for free performance. If you're on a tight budget this "free factor" is ever more important so stretching out those Dollars, Euros or Sterling (which are pretty much the same thing these days) that much further.
We've overclocked the latest Athlon X2 7750 Black Edition and a retail Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 to the most stable operating frequency they would manage, air cooled, with a pair of similarly priced Asus motherboards: the P5Q Deluxe and M3A79-T.
At this point we'd naturally show off CPU-Z screenshots and BIOS shots of the Athlon X2 7750 Black Edition, however a component on the M3A79-T died towards the end of our testing, leaving us without Radeon HD 4830 results and the last few pictures so we have to apologise! Previous to this however, we had benchmarked the new 7750 BE at just 3.1GHz stable, although we found it would boot into Windows all the way up to 3.4GHz but wouldn't sit through the tests.
This was despite tweaking the necessary voltages and ACC on the SB750 southbridge that is designed to help Black Edition CPUs multiplier overclock. We found the memory controller/Uncore section of the CPU was not happy increasing its frequency too, even by just a little. This is unlike the Phenom X4 Black Editions which we've managed to increase from 2.0GHz to 2.4GHz stable in the past, but instead the 7750 BE would only remain at its native 1.8GHz.
Our 4GHz Intel E5200 would Prime95 Torture Test just fine. Click to enlarge
Combining the Asus P5Q Deluxe with the Intel E5200 was like some sort of magical partnership in comparison. We found our off-the-shelf CPU would easily hit a massive 4GHz (a 1.5GHz overclock, or 60 percent) with just a little bit of extra voltage and a few BIOS tweaks shown below. Because the E5200 is "locked" but blessed with a high native multiplier, we didn't need to stress its FSB or the motherboard too much, simply setting it to 1,333MHz FSB, up from 800MHz and then increasing the multiplier slowly to raise the frequency.
Our overclocked Intel E5200 BIOS Settings. Click to enlarge
So the Intel E5200 CPU still looks like the winner on the frequency front, but it costs a bit more than the Athlon X2 7750 BE and in several tests before the AMD CPU did quite a bit better than the Intel, so which affords better value now? In our real-world performance tests we've also included a value scatter graph with green and red corners that display better and worse value respectively. While we stress that CPUs don't have to be in the green or red zone to be classed as good or bad value, gravitating towards that direction indicates better or worse.
Why is there no Athlon X2 7550 in your value graphs?
At the time of writing we've taken the values from the official price lists on both Intel's and AMD's websites. AMD has yet not listed its 2.5GHz Athlon X2 7550 CPU in this, so it isn't yet available to buy. In fact, right now even getting a 7750 Black Edition CPU in the UK is a hard ask! Hopefully AMD will get some channel stock for those of you that want one soon enough.