Ivy Bridge-E Overclocking With EVGA And Corsair

Article Index

Wrap It Up, I'll Take It

Performance Summary and Analysis

Overclocking Intel's latest $1K flagship CPU allowed us to wring a full 1GHz more clockspeed out of the chip from its base frequency of 3.6GHz, but only 600MHz more over Intel's built-in 4GHz Turbo speed boost. In reality, for most workloads this equates to a modest 15 percent clock speed kicker that remains constant across all six cores of the CPU.  However, with the help of some faster memory speeds as well, we were able to realize gains on the order of 20 - 25 percent, for standard compute workloads.  Gaming at high resolutions, on the other hand, is not an area where CPU throughput is going to offer much upside, but you knew that.  That's what your graphics processor (GPU) is for.

With a six-core chip at 4.6GHz and 32GB of DDR3-2666 memory, folks might call you "baller."

System Specs:

What was more interesting to us were the subtle nuances that we had to accommodate to reach a stable, sustainable overclock. We'll underscore the fact that all of our testing was done on an open air setup, on a test bench. We had to resort to direct airflow over the FET power array cooler on the X79 Dark motherboard as well, to achieve good stability at 4.6GHz. As a safe bet fallback, we'd suggest 4.5GHz is even more attainable for setups with less than optimal air flow, though 4.6GHz can be had without much sweat.  However, again, if you're using a self-contained water cooler, you're going to want some extra airflow around the socket area and FET array to keep temperatures nominal and power delivery clean; that is if your case of choice doesn't already accommodate for this.

Also, though you can play with BLCK timings to your heart's content, we were hard pressed to realize a higher clock speed by tweaking timings for this setting.  Our best results were realized at a flat 100MHz BLCK.

At the end of the day, it was an interesting and fun exercise taking Ivy Bridge-E to its limits.  There's definitely performance headroom to spare in within Intel's six-core beast, and though the better deal is likely overclocking a $594 Core i7-4930K, if you've shelled out the pesos for Intel's top dog, you're probably going to want maximize ROI. And that's what overclocking is all about.  Ultimately, we picked up an additional 600MHz of top-end clock speed with commonplace cooling methods. With a little more elbow grease, if you're the type that likes to push the envelope, you might well be able to realize more.

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