Overclocking greatly varies due to what hardware is being used and who is doing the overclocking. Always remember that no two pieces of hardware will perform the same, so our results will differ from what you might be able to get.
With stock BIOS settings, the Athlon II X2 260 processor runs with a 200MHz bus speed and a x16.0 multiplier that is used to reach the final core clock of 3.2GHz. The multiplier is locked, so the only way to overclock the processor is to raise the bus speed.
By adjusting nothing in the bios except for the front side bus speed we were able to achieve a pretty solid overclock. The front side bus was incrementally raised by 5MHz until it started to fail to boot. Once it failed to boot at 245MHz I started to back it down until it was stable. The final overclock I achieved was a respectable 3838.4MHz. Not bad for only adjusting the front side bus.
By cranking the voltage up to 1.6V in the motherboard’s BIOS we were able to get the FSB up to 252MHz and the system to an overclock of 4032MHz. It took a lot more voltage to hit this overclock than I like but it was a fairly stable set-up. We were able to hit a little higher overclock with the AMD Athlon II X2 260 than the Athlon II X2 255 that we reviewed a few months back, but not by much — only ~90MHz. It was enough to get us past that 4GHz barrier.
The ASRock 890GX Extreme3 motherboard that we used for testing had a fairly decent BIOS that allows you to overclock a processor like the Athlon II 2 260 quickly and easily. The picture above shows the BIOS settings that we used to reach our highest overclock in case you have this board and processor combination and want to try to reach this level of performance.
With a quick look at the voltages we used you can tell we only needed to adjust the values on two of the settings to reach this overclock. It was really that simple. To go beyond an overclock like this you will need better cooling and you will need to spend more time fine tuning the voltages to get the most from your processor.
Above you can see the before and after results in 3dMark Vantage; the overclock did help overall system performance. After a 26% boost in the speed of the CPU we noticed a boost in the overall score of ~900 3dMarks, which is a 8.7% improvement. We also saw a boost of 1000 3dMark’s in the CPU score! Overall, not a bad overclock on a budget oriented processor.
Another option to get more out of the cpu is to unlock extra cores. The ASRock 890GX Extreme3 has a feature built into the bios that they call Turbo UCC whcih will assist you in unlocking the extra cores when present. I did try to unlock “extra cores” on the Athlon II X2 260 (P/N ADX2600CK23GM) but it was to no avail since it is a Regor core and not Deneb based. It seems that I am limited to working with only the two cores that I knew this chip utilized. I can’t really fault AMD for this, as this is advertised as a dual core processor. It would have been fun to turn a dual core into a triple or even a quad core processor and see how it would overclock. Unfortunately that won’t be the case.