Overclocking Intel's Core i7 920 Processor - HotHardware

Overclocking Intel's Core i7 920 Processor

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With the introduction of the new Intel Core i7 processor architecture, the company affectionately known as "Chipzilla" from Santa Clara has once again topped itself on the performance charts. Core i7 chips deliver significantly better performance per clock cycle, while at the same time being more power-efficient versus its predecessors. There's no doubt that it's a great chip, an insanely complex piece of circuitry which can churn through whatever you throw at it with relative ease. It is the chip you want in your system, assuming price is no barrier. However, in this economic environment, price is a major factor for most people out there, and lots of people out there are looking for a bargain, or at least, something to make the price tag more tolerable.

As with any new processor architecture introduction, early adopters bear the brunt of the cost on these new chips. If you were to set up a high-end Core i7 system today (Core i7 965, X58 motherboard, 6 GB DDR3-1600 memory), you're looking at a price tag of around $1,500 - $2,000, without any graphics cards or storage or extras. However, it is possible to get similar performance levels of a top-of-the-line Core i7 system without paying nearly as much, and that's through the time-honored tradition of overclocking.

Intel planted a gift in the Core i7 launch in the form of the Core i7 920. This is Intel's entry level Core i7 processor which runs at a stock speed of 2.66 GHz, not too far off from the high-end Core i7 965 model which runs at 3.2 GHz. While the high-end Core i7 965 sells for over $1,000, the Core i7 920 sells for a respectable $300, considering the performance that this chip is capable of with a little elbow grease. In terms of their basic hardware, they are the same chip underneath, but they simply run at different frequencies. While overclocking the Core i7 is a bit different compared to previous generation Core 2 processors, most of the same principles apply to these new systems.

So, we grabbed one of the new Core i7 920 processors off the retail shelf and decided to see how far we could clock it up. We want to give potential buyers an idea of what overclocking with the Core i7 is like, along with how much performance you'll gain, how to deal with heat, and how power consumption comes into play.


Core i7 920 Retail Box - Front


Core i7 920 Retail Box - Rear

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 Are there any plans on doing an article on OC'ing a Core i7 965...as this is the processor I got; and have never OC'ed anything before?!

 

 

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Well, we overclocked the 965 in our launch article to just over 4GHz. With the 965, overclocking is much easier, as you can just raise the multiplier as high as your system will allow, and then fine tune by adjusting the base clock.

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Oh nice, I though that the new Core i7's weren't so good at overclocking. This prooves my thoughs wrong. Nice article.

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Marco C:

Well, we overclocked the 965 in our launch article to just over 4GHz. With the 965, overclocking is much easier, as you can just raise the multiplier as high as your system will allow, and then fine tune by adjusting the base clock.

Do you have a link to that article?

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Here you go:

http://hothardware.com/Articles/Intel-Core-i7-Processors-Nehalem-and-X58-Have-Arrived

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Marco C:

Here you go:

http://hothardware.com/Articles/Intel-Core-i7-Processors-Nehalem-and-X58-Have-Arrived

What I should have asked, was are you going to do an article about OC'ing -- with instructions on how to to OC the Core i7 series -- for people who have never done any type of OC'ing before?!

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I agree we need an article on tweaking the Core i7 965.  Since the i7 is a new overclocking platform, where else but Hot Hardware would you like us non-experts to go to come up to speed?

Marco C., your team does this every day.  I don't.  How about some help?

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Looks like some nice clocks. Just such a high cost of entry right now. $300 for a mobo and $300 for the CPU. Plus I'll need another stick of ram to make real use of the new platform.

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i think i fell in love with intel....

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Casual overclockers of Core i7 using the Intel DX58SO motherboard should check out the new auto-tuning capabilities in the Intel Desktop Control Center (beta) at http://preview.tinyurl.com/7wgvzo  Even if you don't want to add voltage, there is a path to optimizing the Core i7 at spec voltage.  Beta, but worth the aggravation.

- PSK

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