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Overclocking
With very little effort and even less drama, I was able to get the X2 3800+ running stable at 2.4GHz by setting the HyperTransport clock to 240MHz. The Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe mobo on our test system was giving the X2 3800+ about 1.31V by default. I turned that up to 1.3375V, backed the HyperTransport multiplier down to 3X, and the X2 3800+ seemed quite happy.

Now, that's a sweet overclock all by itself, but hitting 2.4GHz has the added benefit of bringing everything into line. When the memory clock is set to the proper divider for DDR333 operation and the HyperTransport clock is raised to 240MHz, the memory actually runs at 400MHz even. Lock down the PCI and PCI-E bus speeds using the motherboard's BIOS, and you're running virtually everything but the CPU and HyperTransport link at stock speeds. I was able to leave the RAM timings at 2-2-2-5, nice and tight. This is the sort of overclock I could live with for everyday use.

With a little more coaxing, I managed to get the X2 3800+ running at 2.5GHz long enough to record benchmark scores, but I had to back off of the memory timings a little bit in order to do it. Here's how it performed.

The extra clock speed headroom translates into quite a bit more performance, as one might expect. The smaller cache doesn't hold it back much, either; the X2 3800+ challenges the X2 4800+ pretty well when they're both at 2.4GHz.