Although the AM2 platform is slightly slower than its predecessor, the overclocking potential is far more impressive. Of course for this article I was more interested in the overclocking abilities of this new core, rather than its standard performance. This stepping consumes less power and produces less heat, and this no doubt played a huge roll in the overclocking success of the Orleans core. Utilizing basic air-cooling and the ASUS nForce 590 SLI motherboard, this 1.8GHz AMD processor soared to an unbelievable 2.7GHz! More importantly, this 900MHz overclock would allow the Athlon 64 3000+ to destroy a standard 4000+ with ease.
With a retail value of roughly $150, the Athlon 64 3000+ costs $50 more than the 3000+ processor tested here today. This of course is not a huge price difference; AMD has become extremely competitive with their single core processor pricing and as a result has managed to steal quite a lot of market real-estate from Intel. Nevertheless, if you are looking at building a low cost AMD Athlon 64 AM2 system, then the A64 3000+ is a must for all those overclocking fans out there.
The great thing about the new AM2 processors is that they are already available right across the Athlon 64 range. From the 3000+ rating through to 4000+, there is an AM2 that will cater for your needs. Currently, I am unaware of which processor offers the best overclocking headroom and which will achieve the highest frequency. What I do know is that both the 3000+ and 3800+ seem to top out around the 2.7GHz~2.9GHz mark. Therefore, I would suggest that the Athlon 64 3000+ offers the biggest overclocking margins of any single core AMD processor currently available.
Those looking at building a gaming system within a reasonable budget will probably be unable to refuse what the new AM2 3000+ processors have to offer. For as little as $90 you can have your hands on a product that has the potential to take out the latest and greatest AMD and Intel processors. The next step is to source a motherboard that is capable of utilizing this amazing overclocking power. Personally I would go with and recommend the ASUS series of motherboards using the nForce 570 Ultra/SLI and 590 SLI chipsets, as they offer near unbeatable overclocking performance.