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.
The AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition uses a 200MHz front side bus and an x18.5 multiplier for a final clock speed of 3.7GHz. 3.7 GHz is 100MHz less than what we were able to overclock our original Phenom II X4 940 to back in January ’09. Since the AMD Phenom II X4 980 is a Black Edition processor we will be able to take advantage of the unlocked multiplier to overclock the chip.
To start out the overclocking process with the AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition we simply increased the multiplier by .5 at a time. It wasn’t until we hit x21.5 on the multiplier did we have to start increasing the voltage be delivered to the chip. At a multiplier of x21 though, we were able to get through all the tests in wPrime for stability!
With a bit of voltage and a little bit of water cooling to keep the chip cool, we were able to hit an overclock of 4545MHz! The MSI 890FXA-GD70 motherboard was cranking out 1.6 Volts to the processor with a Multiplier of x22.5 and a front side bus of 202MHz. With a little bit more tweaking we could likely squeeze out a few more MHz, but beyond that we would need better cooling.
The AMD Phenom II X4 980 BE saw an improvement of 59.4 seconds in wPrime when it was overclocked to 4545MHz. Overall that’s a 17.3% decrease in the time taken to complete the benchmark! That’s not far off from the 22.8% overclock on the Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition.