Product Review: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition

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AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition: In my first foray into CPU overclocking the AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition made this a fantastic voyage and a breeze in gaining the most performance out of this economical CPU.

“People aren’t good at processing important things when they’re naked”

Ease of Use, Performance: 24/25, Look & Feel: 24/25, 
Features 24/25, How much I enjoy 25/25

Total: 97/100

Tips For Choosing AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition

The AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition is a great processor and a really easy one to overclock, at its stock speed of 2.6 GHz this CPU is good but a fantastic one at 3.0 and higher speeds. The 5000+ Black Edition is a great processor to start out in overclocking and can attain some great speeds with just a few simple BIOS settings. This project was so easy with the great Black Edition processor and the features of the CPU are so great that I am awarding the AMD AThlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition my Blue Ribbon for Excellence Award.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ black edition

Overclocking a processor is the use of BIOS settings to make changes to the speed of a processor by changing the base processor frequency and the multiplier. Overclocking a processor can be a bit daunting as well as dangerous for someone who does not know what they are doing. In my first foray into overclocking the Black Edition was a dream and very easy to overclock.

To overclock a processor you can change either the clock speed that the processor is using or the multiplier that is used with the clock speed to get the total speed of the processor. You may also need to raise the voltage that the core processor uses to keep the speed stable and the system from crashing and getting errors.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition

A simple overclock can be achieved just by changing this multiplier but the CPU needs to be built for this. The processor is built either with or without a locked multiplier so that overclocking is either not allowed or easy for the enthusiast who wants to overclock their processor. The 5000+ Black Edition is an unlocked multiplier so that you can simply change the multiplier in your system BIOS and raise the processor speed.

The AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition is a great basic processor with these specifications:

Model Number – 5000+ 
Frequency – 2.6 GHz 
CMOS Technology – 65nm SOI 
Total Dedicated L2 Cache – 1MB 
Packaging – socket AM2 
Thermal Design Power – 65W 
HyperTransport™ Technology – One 16×16 link @ 2000 MHz bidirectional

The smaller technology and Thermal design power mean less heat for the CPU at the same speeds and voltages of the previous AMD Athlon 64 X2 processors. With the unlocked multiplier, you can just change the one set in the BIOS and raise or lower the clock speed. Your system BIOS needs to be able to do this or you can do it with several programs such as the Gigabyte EasyTune 5.

Overclocking is not an easy process for the most part but with the easily unlocked multiplier and simple process of changing the multiplier you can quickly raise the clock speed and test it out. Testing the system is simply a matter of running programs to see how stable the computer is.

If you use a program like a benchmark testing software program you can also get some information for comparison so you can see how much faster your system is. Running a graphically intensive program allows you to test the system to make sure it is very stable at all processor speeds and under varying workloads.

The Black Edition makes it easy to overclock simply by changing the clock speeds, the multiplier and the voltages but an easy introduction into overclocking is by just changing the multiplier.

The base clock speed of the processor is set at 200MHz and the multiplier at 13 for a stock speed of 2.6 GHz. Raising the multiplier up to 15 gives you a speed of 3 GHz that is quite stable for general computer use and gaming. On my motherboard, Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4, the Award BIOS allows you to raise and lower the multiplier by many settings from around 5X up to about 20X.

 

If you want to increase the computers overclock above 3 GHz you have to increase the voltage of the core, which is easy in the BIOS using the MB Intelligent Tweaker section. I raised the voltage to 1.475 volts and was able to get a steady 3.2 GHz from the 5000+ Black Edition. I only had to change the multiplier to 16X and raise the voltage up and ran several minutes of test programs without problems.

To raise the processor further I tried changing the multiplier above 16 but could not get a steady system so I set it back down and started some further tweaking. I was able to receive a somewhat steady overclock at 3.4 GHz with the voltage at 1.5v and the base frequency 200 with the 17X multiplier but could not keep this during several runs of a CPU intensive program called Prime95.

I do have the system running fine at 1.475 volts with the 220 MHz speed and the 15x multiplier for a 3.3 GHz processor speed. I have run several hours of tests including Futuremark’s 3DMark 06 and Vantage as well as several gaming benchmarks for some impressive testing scores. Some of the tests I conducted did not raise the frame rates as much as they could have due to my system and not the processor. I do not have a RAID drive setup or a great graphics card but the results were very promising.

I was very happy to be able to overclock the 5000+ Black Edition so easily and without melting parts inside my computer. I watched the heat with both the EasyTune 5 program that came with my motherboard and a couple of other programs and never saw the heat rise to more than 30 to 32 degrees Celsius.

This is quite acceptable temperature for my system as I am also using a great heat sink fan assembly, the Andy Samurai from Scythe, which keeps the temperature well below anything critical even during the most intense gaming and processing.

My testing was done with the following system:

Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 Motherboard with Award Bios version FD 
Western Digital 200 GB SATA Hard Disc Drive 
4GB DDR2 800 PC6400 Memory

2x1GB Crucial Ballistix Tracer 
2x1GB US Modular Cold Fusion 
Visiontek HD2600 XT 512MB Graphics Card 
Ultra X3 800 Watt PSU 
Windows Vista Business

Once I got my system at the clock speed I was shooting for I ran several minutes of Prime95 to make sure the system was stable enough to continue testing. I then restarted the system and ran several more runs through Prime95 to make sure I would continue to have no problems with the stability.

During this testing, I also ran other programs and surfed the internet to see how the system would handle the workload and other than slowed down web site loading I had no problems at 3.3 GHz that my system is now at.

Here are the results of my benchmark and frame rate testing using Futuremark’s PCMark 06 and Vantage as well as three games.

Futuremark PCMark06

1280×1024 Resolution 
No Antialiasing Trilinear Filtering

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ @ 3.0 GHz PC Mark 4022 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 2.6 GHz PC Mark 3959 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.0 GHz PC Mark 4607 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.3 GHz PC Mark 4769

1280 x 1024 Resolution 
4x Anti Aliasing 8X Anisotropic Filtering 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ @ 3.0 GHz PC Mark 2833 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 2.6 GHz PC Mark 2810 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.0 GHz PC Mark 2975 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.3 GHz PC Mark 3045

Futuremark Vantage

1024 X 768 Resolution 
No Anti Aliasing Trilinear Filtering

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ @ 3.0 GHz PC Mark 3364 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 2.6 GHz PC Mark 3021 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.0 GHz PC Mark 3105 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.3 GHz PC Mark 3668

1024 x 768 Resolution 
4x Anti Aliasing 8x Anisotropic Filtering

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ @ 3.0 GHz PC Mark 3157 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 2.6 GHz PC Mark 2865 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.0 GHz PC Mark 2906 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.3 GHz PC Mark 3371

Frame rates in games

 

I measured frame rates while playing games using either built in tests, benchmark tools or measuring frame rates using the FRAPS program. I think some of my results that do not show a rise in frame rates are do more to the video card and hard drive as I saw in the performance rating using the Windows Performance test in Vista. This showed that the things holding my system back in performance is both the graphics card and hard drive.

Company of Heroes built in performance test

1280 x 1024 Resolution No Anti Aliasing

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ @ 3.0 GHz 49.7 FPS 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 2.6 GHz 49.4 FPS 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.0 GHz 53.4 FPS 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.3 GHz 55.4 FPS

1280 X 1024 Resolution 4x Anti Aliasing

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ @ 3.0 GHz 33.4 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 2.6 GHz 33.4 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.0 GHz 36.3 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.3 GHz 36.2

Call of Duty 4 Average Frames Per Second using FRAPS

1280 x 1024 Resolution No Anti Aliasing

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ @ 3.0 GHz 21.2 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 2.6 GHz 25.3 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.0 GHz 30.3 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.3 GHz 43.1

1280 x 1024 Resolution 4x Anti Aliasing

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ @ 3.0 GHz 13.4 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 2.6 GHz 15.2 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.0 GHz 18.5 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.3 GHz 19.0

Unreal Tournament 3

Thanks to MatrixMC and King Bill for the Benchmark tool 
Bot Match Vehicle Capture the Flag level

1280 x 1024 Resolution Detail Level 3

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ @ 3.0 GHz 36.7 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 2.6 GHz 32.2 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.0 GHz 42.0 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.3 GHz 43.1

1280 x 1024 Resolution Detail Level 5

1280 x 1024 Resolution No Anti Aliasing

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ @ 3.0 GHz 29.2 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 2.6 GHz 30.1 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.0 GHz 30.0 
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE @ 3.3 GHz 30.5

As you can see by the results I did attain a better performance in gaming as well as benchmark tools that showed the processor was better. Using a gaming keyboard gives you an excellent gaming experience. Some of the rather lackluster performance in gaming is certainly due to my hard drive and medium range graphics card.

 

If you would like to try your hand at overclocking it’s easy, especially with the AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition. You can use your regular or stock heat sink fan assembly as long as you watch the core processor temperatures and make sure they do not go high; about 50 to 55 degrees Celsius is the limit.

Simply download a couple of programs like Speedfan, CPU-Z, and PCWizard for checking the clock information and temperature as well as Prime95 for load testing the system. Once you have checked your motherboard manual to find out how to reset your motherboard if things go bad and you need to reset the system you’re ready to start.

Go slow and read what others have done especially with your motherboard and make sure you understand all the problems that could happen from overclocker’s who have done this before. I recommend reading from sites like Overclockers.com, Overclock.net and Extremeoverclockers.com. Check out basic overclocking and other articles to give you a good background into what you’re doing and how to change back to normal operating if things go wrong.

The biggest worry with overclocking is being able to get your system back if things go wrong and your computer will not boot properly. The motherboard you are using has a reset to bring the motherboard back to the state it was when you first used it called reset BIOS or CMOS. This jumper is a small pin jumper or even a metal screwdriver that you short two pins on the motherboard WHILE THE SYSTEM IS POWERED DOWN AND UNPLUGGED.

Once you know what to expect and what you’re doing a simple multiplier change for overclocking is easy and fun to get the results you want and a better running computer. Overclocking is easy, take it from someone who just started doing it and was scared silly of ruining his computer. Things went very well and were easy to accomplish with the 5000+ Black Edition and some simple reading.

I highly recommend the unlocked AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition for a budget processor that you can get running at the higher speeds of much more expensive CPU. Currently Newegg.com sells the AMD 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition at $129 while the 6000+ I compared the Black to goes for $169, quite a price difference for a processor you can run faster.

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