UPDATE: 1:24pm EST, Oct 28 ’04
I have updated the results in overclocking with results at 252MHz HTT. I have also left the original overclocking results from 10x212Mhz just for an interesting comparison. Thanks to Jason R. and Scott D. for the feedback.

Here we take a look at the overclocking ability of the Asus K8N-E Deluxe. Keep in mind that the results are from our configuration here at PCPerspective, so you may get better or worse results depending on your own hardware.

The Athlon 64 3200+ we have been using for this review does not like to be overclocked very much. The limit appears to be under 2200MHz which isn’t much of a gain from the 2000Mhz default, but it should still give you a good sense of what to expect from the motherboard.

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The fastest I managed initially is a 212MHz overclock which is only 2MHz above their “Normal” setting in their uGuru tool. I attempted to get a 216MHz, 214MHz, and even 213MHz to no avail, the system would either crash (blue screen memory dump) or crash during DiVX encoding. With some feedback from readers after this article was first published (on Oct 27, ’04), I redid the overclocking on the Abit KV8 Pro and managed to get much better results with 252MHz and a 9.0 multiplier. However, to achieve this I had to drop the HTT multiplier to 4, and DDR to 333.

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Looking at the Sandra scores above, we can see that the big gain is in overall CPU performance. But memory doesn’t improve very much because its effective frequency is just over 200MHz. The overclock at 212MHz shows better memory performance because it is running synchronous with the bus frequency. Let’s see how the overclock carries into media encoding and in games.

Media Encoding

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DiVX Encoding – 12 minute DVD sample encoded to DiVX @ 640×352 with AC3 5ch audio.
MP3 Encoding – 54 minute audio CD to 192kbps MP3s.

Here we see that the 252MHz overclock carrying some substantial improvements in media encoding. DiVX time was reduced by over 1.5 minutes which translates into just over 70 minutes to encode an entire 2 hour DVD. This may sound like a long time, but without the overclock it will take 16 minutes more! For MP3 encoding, overclocking shaved 23 seconds from the overall time which isn’t too significant unless you are encoding many CDs into MP3s.

Doom 3

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Here we see some interesting results comparing the three different results. It wold appear that overclocking to 9x252MHz did not improve the average score compared to the default clock of 10×200, but the minimum frame rate improved substantially. With a minimum frame rate closer to 30FPS, the game overall feels smoother and less laggy during sequences with effects (like smoke and lighting).

With the 212MHz overclock the average frame rate improves marginally, but the minimum frame rate doesn’t change at all. So really overclocking at this level makes no difference at all.

Need for Speed: Underground

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Here we see better gains in performance than what we saw in Doom 3. In Need for Speed: Underground a 3 FPS improvement in average performance is significant given the 60FPS cap (i.e. it takes more “higher” samples to change the average upward), and the minimum breaks the 30 FPS barrier which many of us consider the bare-minimum performance level for a game.

However, I think many of you are thinking that overclocking to 252Mhz is a bit overkill just for a few FPS in Doom and Need for Speed, but there are others who view this as valuable as it improves playability without having to sacrifice details.

I will continue to tweak my overclocking on the Abit KV8 Pro. I don’t feel I’m even scratching the surface in terms of my hardware’s potential.

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