|Intel Core i7-920 Processor BX80601920|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Miles Cheatham|
|Thursday, 20 November 2008|
Page 3 of 14
Most of you have owned a chipset over the years that has offered you some type of turbo mode that was supposed to dramatically improve your processor's performance. In many cases the activation of this feature caused more problems than it did benefits for your system's operation. From this point forward put those bad memories behind you because the turbo boost we speak of today with the i7 processor and X58 chipset actually works, and works quite well. What's more it's always active and can actually auto overclock your system without changing a single setting.
Here's our take of how turbo boost actually works: You're using your new Core i7 quad core processor coupled with the X58 chipset and you're running software that actually takes advantage of all four cores. In this scenario turbo boost remains inactive and the processor runs at its stock or overclocked frequency frequency and voltage level. We all realize this scenario doesn't happen that often due to the lack of software that truly utilizes all four cores, but we're talking theory here. A much more likely scenario would be you're running a couple of threads simultaneously. In this case turbo boost takes over and shuts down the remaining two cores including their cache utilization. Turbo boost then takes a fraction of the savings from the two cores it shut down and redirects their voltage and frequency to the two active cores actually giving them a slight overclock. This same application holds true anytime less than four of your processor's cores are in use.
Turbo boost is regulated by two features that are contained on the i7 processor's die, the Power Control Unit and the Power Gate. The Intel Core i7 processor has a built-in Power Control Unit coupled with Power Gate Technology that constantly monitors the temperature and power use of the cores and can disable them completely when they're not being used. From our understanding Turbo Boost with also operate when your processor is overclocked as long as voltage and temperature thresholds remain under the preset limit governed by the Power Control Unit. In a scenario such as gaming where on one core is in use, turbo boost when activated can effectively add as much as 266 MHz to your processor's performance power without ever changing another setting.
Intel Core i7-920
Up until this juncture we have talked about features and specifications that generally apply to the entire Intel Core i7 Processor family. It's now time to focus solely on the i7-920 and look at the features this processor brings to the table that cause it to be called the Extreme Edition. The Core i7-920 derives its 2.66 GHz clock rate by multiplying the system's 133MHz base clock by the i7-920's standard multiplier of 20. Unfortunately the i7-920 has a locked multiplier the only exception is when turbo mode is activated and the conditions are right; in this case turbomode will automatically boost the base clock multiplier of 20 to 21, giving the you essentially 133 MHz of extra processing power without ever touching the first setting.