AMD OverDrive is a utility that allows users to overclock and tune up their systems – and then check that everything is running nice and stable – aimed at more novice users through to expert PC owners.
Naturally enough, you’ll need an AMD CPU and a compatible AMD chipset motherboard to benefit from this software, and in terms of operating system, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8 (both 32-bit and 64-bit) are all supported. It’s also a good idea to have your drivers up to date (as is good practice anyway), so ensure you’ve got the latest graphics card drivers on your system.
The program is divided into two main sections – Status Monitor and Performance Control (there’s also a System Information pane, which shows the full details of your CPU, cache, memory and so forth).
The Status Monitor shows the status of your CPU in real-time, displaying the clock frequency and multiplier, and the thermal margin (you can also check your GPU and motherboard status here, with similar key readouts provided).
However, the real action happens under the Performance Control pane, which offers the main tab for overclocking your processor, as well as a number of other capabilities. You can tune up your memory, with AMD offering pre-tuned profiles to get the most out of your RAM with as little effort as possible. There’s also a tab which gives you control over the speed of your machine’s various fans.
When it comes to CPU overclocking, under the Clock/Voltage tab the program offers a slider-based menu system that allows you to adjust the core multiplier and voltage, in an effort to find a stable combination that works for a juicy enough overclock.
You can nudge these values up and then check if the resulting overclock is stable by running the Stability Tests, which nestle under another tab in Performance Control. This boasts a large array of CPU, FPU and calculation tests that really stress the host PC, and you can decide on a length of time you want to run said tests for just to ensure that your system isn’t close to the edge in terms of stability. If there’s a problem with the overclock level you’re aiming for, these tests will find that out.
AMD OverDrive also allows the user to create customised profiles for specific use cases, so you can set up a profile for gaming and one for everyday use that is scaled back and more power efficient.
Verdict: OverDrive offers a solid range of overclocking and monitoring features for your AMD-driven PC.