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 Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 runs with a 333MHz bus speed and an 8.5x multiplier that is used to reach the final core clock of 2.83GHz. As you can see above, the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe motherboard FSB runs at 334MHz, so right out of the box the FSB is a little higher than one may have expected. Let’s start off by overclocking without adjusting any voltages to see what the Q9550 quad-core processor can do out of the box.
The ASUS P5E3 Deluxe motherboard BIOS is very simple to use and to see what the processor could do with default settings we just had to increase the ‘FSB Frequency’ setting from 333MHz to 400MHz. Just by making this one adjustment the board really picks up some speed and you can feel it when using applications. With this setting you can also increase the memory frequency up to 1600MHz as seen in the BIOS picture above.
By leaving all the settings in the BIOS on ‘auto’ we increased the FSB speed to 400MHz and the system was rock solid. By increasing the FSB to 400MHz we could now run the DDR3 memory at 1600MHz versus the previous speed of 1333MHz. It also allowed for the overall clock frequency to increase from 2.83GHz to 3.4GHz. Not bad for leaving everything in the BIOS on ‘Auto’ other than the Front Side Bus Frequency! We were able to hit 430MHz FSB before the system became unstable with auto voltage settings, which is a frequency of 3.66GHz!
In our attempt to reach the highest possible frequency we reached a bus speed of 477MHz, but we had to run the processor at 1.450V in order for the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 to be able to reach these speeds. This rounds up to being a ~1.2GHz overclock, which very nice.
When it comes to benchmarks, the overclocked Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550S processor was able to complete the benchmark just as fast as the Intel Core i7 965 processor, which is sweet! Running 4GHz on a 45nm Q9550 processor will provide serious performance for the buck and as you can see it even rivals the newer X58 platforms that are running triple-channel DDR3 memory.