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Sharky Extreme : Hardware Guides January 13, 2012
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Pentium 4 Northwood Overclocking Guide

By Bao Ly :  July 4, 2002

Pentium 4-1.6A, 1.8A and 2.0A Overclocking Results

In our own testing with the ASUS i845D motherboard, we found the Pentium 4-1.6A easily hit 2.13 GHz at stock 1.5V voltage, and exhibited rock solid stability throughout all game and application testing. Pushing it a bit further, we determined that the 143 MHz FSB seemed to be the optimum area for this specific CPU, which resulted in a 2.29 GHz core speed. However, in order to stabilize the system, the CPU core voltage needed to be raised from 1.5V to 1.6V for maximum stability at 2.29 GHz.

The Pentium 4-1.8A was a bit different and in addition to be it being a more recent processor, it was able to hit much higher core speeds. Using a SiS 645DX motherboard, we were able to easily reach the magic 2.4 GHz overclock on the standard 133/533 MHz FSB. Moving the voltage up to 1.65V allowed us to hit up 2.6 GHz, but as this was only a single CPU, your own mileage may definitely vary.

Then again, our testing on the Pentium 4-2.0A/SiS 645DX resulted in an overclock of approximately 2.54 GHz using the 127 MHz FSB, but this specific processor refused to go any higher. This also confirms results we're seeing with other mid-range Pentium 4-1.8A and 2.0A processors, where 2.5 GHz seemed to be a very attainable overclock. This makes the Pentium 4-1.8A an intriguing option, due to its inherent 2.4 GHz speed using the 133 MHz FSB, while the Pentium 4-2.0A (2.6 GHz at 133 MHz) is definitely a more risky overclocking buy.

Another area that many fail to explore is the higher-end and more expensive Pentium 4 models. Although this does go away from our value-oriented theme, also realize that the processor core that makes it into a Pentium 4-2.53 GHz box is likely a prime one. Intel does bin sort their processors, but at this high a level, you can bet that there is still a bit of overclocking headroom left over.

To see if this was the case or not, we settled in for a bit of overclocking using the Pentium 4-2.4B and 2.53 GHz Pentium 4 processors Intel sent in for review. Please note that these are not pure retail models, but for general purposes they fit the bill quite nicely. The overclock speeds also fit in with our theory, and 2.8-2.9 GHz was attained by both, and one even ran at just under 3 GHz. We also posted the Pentium 4-2.53 GHz at speeds over 3 GHz, but stability was not good enough to warrant a success. This is an expensive overclocking (and mostly self-defeating) option, but those hobbyists with deep pockets and a need for the fastest PC in the universe may want to give these higher-speed Pentium 4 models another look.

Page 1


Page 2

Choosing the Right Pentium 4 Northwood

Page 3

Selecting a Motherboard Platform

Page 4

CPU Cooling Options

Page 5

Overclocking Test Systems

Page 6

Pentium 4 Northwood Overclocking Basics

  • Page 7

    Pentium 4-1.6A, 1.8A and 2.0A Overclocking Results

    Page 8

    Quake 3 & 3DMark 2001SE Overclock Performance

    Page 9

    SiSoft SANDRA Performance and Conclusion