Ivy Bridge-E Overclocking With EVGA And Corsair

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Introduction and The Setup

It has been a while since I have personally setup a test bench, rolled up my sleeves and built a test system with top-shelf components, a fresh OS install and some overclocking mojo. However, Intel's recent release of Ivy Bridge-E gave us a hankering to do just that. We've been testing a lot of tablets, smartphones and ultrabooks, but there's a certain satisfaction that comes with building a high performance system from the ground up, that you just don't get from pre-built devices. So I decided to see if I still had the chops.

EVGA recently took the wraps off a new high-end X79 motherboard dubbed the X79 Dark and its black PCB with red accents, as it turned out, matched quite nicely with Corsair's Vengeance Pro series memory and H90 water cooler. But we needed stable clean power too, so we enlisted an EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G2 power supply to offer up the juice.  All told, with an OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPs SSD for storage, we ended up with quite a test platform to explore the out limits of clock speed with Intel's Core i7-4960X Ivy Bridge-E six-core processor.

Pretty, isn't it? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say; and this is the computer geek's version of Elisha Cuthbert or Candice Swanepoel. Okay, maybe not quite Candice...

HotHardware Core i7-4960X Test Bench
A HotHardware Test Bench - Well endowed for blinding speed.

Intel Core i7-4960X LGA 2011
Intel Core i7-4960X gently nestled in its LGA 2011 socket and ready to sweat.

System Specs:

On the following pages, we aim to give you a glimpse of the upper-end potential for overclocking with Intel's Ivy Bridge-E processor architecture.  We'll be running with a $999 Core i7-4960X that Turbos up to 4GHz but you could just as easily get by with the much more affordable Core i7-4930K as well. For our purposes, we wanted to see the fastest clock speeds we could muster from Intel's current flagship desktop chip, but that doesn't mean you couldn't coax the same performance from its more affordable sibling.  And as always, your results may and probably will vary.  Onward then.  Let's take a closer look at the gear and our setup.

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