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Cheap but relevant overclockable CPU?

m1stym4ntis

1 month ago

Just looking to build an inexpensive, experimental build. I'll most likely use it as a HTPC, and for other technology-related purposes, and overclocking it of course. What are some CPUs that are relatively inexpensive and overclockable? I was thinking of the Ryzen 3 1600, but I haven't kept up with hardware in a while, and it seems quite old, so I might be looking for something for new.

Thanks!

Comments

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

Ryzen is poor at overclocking and Intel has nothing unlocked until you get up to a 9600K. Honestly I would suggest giving up on having a CPU that is good at overclocking, grab a 2600 or something and then focus on getting RAM that can overclock good. You still get to overclock something and it can make financial sense to do so.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Nothing currently out for cheap offers enough overclocking headroom to be worth the money spent setting it up for overclocking until you hit the 9600K/9600KF.

Ryzen doesn't have overclocking headroom really say 0-5% end performance increase.

AMD may have made them all unlocked but they also used up all their available headroom.

By the time you outfit a Ryzen to get that tiny headroom out of it, you can just buy a better/newer/higher core count model and have better guaranteed performance stock.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

https://pcpartpicker.com/product/TX4NnQ/amd-ryzen-3-1300x-35ghz-quad-core-processor-yd1200bbaebox

A Ryzen 3 1200. Around $60, base clock of 3.1, boost of 3.4, but most people have been able to overclock them to 3.8, or 3.9...some even hit 4.0. My son's is stable at 3.9 at 1.185 volts, so cooling is not a issue.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

If you need a CPU just to run stuff, a used 1600 is a good deal if you're reasonably patient. I've not had much luck trying to push an all-core clock past 3.6 GHz but that's without playing any voltage games. A 2600 might do marginally better and cost slightly more.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

If you absolutely must overclock, athlon3000 is unlocked (and supposed to be $50). Unfortunately "OC unlocked" motherboards for that chip likely cost much more than the chip, and it only has two cores. But it is unlocked at 3.5GHz. Not sure how you would call it "relevant".

Often AMD chips come in "nn00" and "nn00X" models, where the non-X has overclocking headroom. The 2700 (non-X) appears to be have a reasonable boost clock, but it only boosts the first core, unlocking it and cranking up all cores together can help with high-thread conditions.

And the real problem is that AMD really doesn't leave that much on the table overclocking wise. You'll need a overclocking motherboard and upgraded fan, and that probably kills the whole point of an inexpensive CPU. For HTPC I'd just search for a Ryzen 'G' ALU and go with it (you might see if any have enough cooling for overclocking, I haven't looked at them other than to realize that they have pretty good value for HTPC types of things).

On the Intel side, this traditionally described a few killer unlocked pentiums. Unfortunately the 14+++++nm shortages have all but killed them, and you might as well look to AMD for anything unlocked. Of course they were typically at best 2 core with 4 threads, so you might as well look to the Athlon3000G for that type of thing (I'd still expect the Pentiums to overclock far higher).

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