To gauge how far our Athlon 64 X2 6000+ sample overclocked, I used the same Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard that we've used all the way through our performance testing. I set CPU vCore to 1.50V and set the memory voltage to 2.40V in BIOS. Every other voltage was left set to 'auto'. In addition, I used Zalman's CNPS9700 heatsink / fan combination with the fan at its default speed setting.
I managed to get the chip running up at 3225MHz (215x15.0) with a minimum amount of effort and it was stable for a few hours running a pair of Prime 95 instances. Here's a screenshot of where I got to - click to see a bigger version:
Of course, we must remind you that your own mileage may vary when overclocking and we can't guarantee that the chip we've got here doesn't overclock particularly well.
AMD is now fairly competitive with Intel after its recent price cuts, but this last addition to the K8 family doesn’t send the ageing architecture out with a bang. That’s not to say it’s a particularly bad processor, it’s just not as good as what the competition has on offer. The Athlon 64 X2 6000+ shines in some areas, but overall it is a slower and more power hungry processor than what Intel is offering for around £30 more
than AMD's £300 asking price
In fact, there are many occasions where Intel’s Core 2 Duo E6600 either outperforms, or offers very similar performance to, the Athlon 64 X2 6000+. This effectively shoots AMD’s latest processor down, because it’s over £100 cheaper
than AMD’s fastest Athlon 64 X2 to date. It’s not all bad for AMD though, because there are areas where the chip does shine. In particular, we’re referring to its multi-tasking capabilities here, which are very strong. If anything this bodes well for AMD’s next-generation native quad-core architecture, which we’re hoping is going to build on the incredibly successful K8 architecture.
At the moment though, Intel’s Core 2 processors are simply a better choice to base a new build around because they’re generally faster, more overclockable and less power hungry than AMD’s relatively competitive Athlon 64 X2 products. If, however, you’ve already built your system around AM2 and are just looking for a speed upgrade, the X2 6000+ is currently the fastest AM2 processor available and probably the last K8 to be released before Barcelona shows up later this year.
The next question is whether you think the performance advancements over the X2 5600+ (equivalent to FX-62) are worth the extra £80
(or thereabouts) that AMD is asking consumers to pay. That will ultimately depend on your perception of value for money.