iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition

Overclocking revisited.

August 31, 2009

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RADEON 4890 overclocking

As we've written in the very beginning of this review, we got a presale sample of this graphics card based on the RV790 and operating at 850/975 MHz (core and memory). As HIS manufactures these graphics cards for 900 MHz, we didn't doubt that they could work in these conditions. It was interesting to find the limit, when the reference cooling system cannot cope with its responsibilities.

We overclocked the card with the Overdrive utility included into Catalyst 9.5. It also includes the automatic function, but it overclocked the card only to 865/975. So we don't trust it. Gradual increase of the processor and memory frequencies with stability tests allowed to overclock the RADEON 4890 to 950/1150 MHz. Fan speed was manually set to 50%. When the speed was increased to maximum, maximum frequencies grew only to 955/1155 MHz, but the howling became unbearable, so we decided to sacrifice this insignificant performance gain.

Many manufacturers of graphics cards based on this GPU are getting ready or already produce models with alternative cooling systems that can work at 1000 MHz out of the box.

AMD Fusion For Gaming 1.0

This relatively new utility from AMD activates overclocking profiles of a graphics card and a CPU created in AMD Overdrive and Catalyst Overdrive; enables AMD Boost; accelerates a hard drive by disabling power saving technologies and noise reduction; as well as stops services and programs to free memory.

This program may result in system instabilities and lower security, so it makes sense to limit web access prior to starting AMD Fusion For Gaming.

Like AMD Overdrive, it has two modes -- simple (single-button) and advanced (which is also easy to use). The program includes three performance profiles, the simplest of which only stops several services, while the extreme profile disables and overclocks everything possible.

You cannot edit hardcoded profiles, but you can create custom profiles from the set of available options. We created our own profile for the test with all options except AMD Overdrive.

It takes about one minute to apply a profile. The back process is three times as short. The most noticeable result of stopping all services from the list is freeing 150 MB of memory. As 2GB modules of DDR2 memory are very cheap, it's too high a price for compromised stability and security. But it will do as an experiment.

Now that we reached maximum system performance (possible with the methods used in this review), we repeated all our tests, including the extended set from HWBot.org.

  AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition 3775 MHz, CPU NB 2448 MHz, GPU OC, Boost
WinRAR 3.71, s 49
7-Zip 4.57, s 126
x264 v0.59.819M, fps (1pass/2pass) 81.02 / 21.93
3DMark Vantage, 3DMark Score (CPU Score) P11404 (12645)
PCMark Vantage, PCMarks 5683
3DMark 2006, 3DMark Score (CPU Score) 18411
Hexus PiFast, s 24.20
SuperPi 1лю, s 18.486
wPrime, s 38.267

Here's the test results summary diagram:

We believe that lower results in PCMark Vantage have to do with the software algorithm, lots of people complain about it on the Web. In other respects performance gains are quite significant, considering that we used an air cooling system and that AMD Phenom II X4 940 has recently been the top model.

Note that the test PSU passed all the tests with honor, providing stable power supply even under the heaviest load. Voltages in +12VDC and +5VDC lines were controlled with UT-71B TRMS multimeters. Deviations did not exceed 2% of the nominal values here, which is a very good result.

We express gratitude to AMD and Corsair for the provided equipment.

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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, CPU: boxed cooler

Page 2: CPU: Zalman CNPS9700NT, NB, Overdrive

Page 3: RADEON 4890, AMD Fusion For Gaming 1.0

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