Strengthening is a complex process involving such basic mechanisms as dislocation accumulation (work hardening), Hall-Petch hardening due to grain refinement, solid solution hardening and precipitation hardening in various combinations. The contribution of different mechanisms into resultant strength can vary significantly depending on chemical composition and processing. The purpose of the present work is to explore the significance of SPD for hardening and to clarify the role of different strengthening mechanisms. The model Au-based system was employed using pure Au, single phase solid solution Au-25Ag and precipitation hardenable Au-12.5Ag-12.5Cu (in mass %) alloy subjected to ECAP. The additive character of different strengthening mechanisms is clearly demonstrated. The extremely high strength exceeding 1 GPa is achieved in the Au-Ag-Cu after ECAP followed by aging, which has never been attained in conventional processing schemes.