|Intel Core i7-920 Processor BX80601920|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Miles Cheatham|
|Wednesday, 19 November 2008|
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Intel Core i7-920: Overclocking
In recent years Intel has become much more understanding that the enthusiast community has grown quite large and that raw performance ranks number one with this consumer group. For that reason Intel has softened their view significantly regarding the overclocking of their processors and motherboards. In fact with the materials provided with the Core i7 review kit Intel even included a rather in depth 22 page document entitled Intel Extreme Motherboard DX58SO ...Performance Tuning Process. This document elaborates quite freely on the best way to overclock the Core i7 family of processors. In the document Intel states that there are four multipliers on the motherboard which are used to set the system speed:
In the case of the Intel Core i7-920 only one of these methodologies applies, increasing the base clock. Upping the base clock with small increases in VCore proves to be quite efficient in skyrocketing this product to the next performance level.
Being the curious sort we tried a variety of different memory and base clock settings coupled with various changes to the VCore remaining. We found that the best overclock for the Intel Core i7-920 was quite easily obtained by setting base clock rate to 180 MHz and using a 250mv default voltage override. This resulted in a clock speed of 3.6 GHz which proved to be rock stable. We were able to attain significantly higher clock speeds that approached 4.0 GHz but we had to use voltages that were a bit to close to the 1.65 Volt limit for our liking. We feel that this is a good starting point and as supporting equipment, motherboard BIOS, and drivers mature this overclock will be significantly higher. We feel that his processor should be able to easily run very close to 4.0 GHz 24-7 with the voltage staying well under the 1.65 Volt limitation and cooling the processor with a quality aftermarket cooler.
You will note in the CPU-Z images below that the multiplier is showing 21 and the core speed reflects 3.7835 GHz. We had inadvertently left turbo mode enabled and the conditions were right for it to boost the multiplier to 21, thus the increase in speed. We kept these image intentionally to show how turbo mode actually works and how confusing it can be if you don't pay attention.
We at Benchmark Reviews feel that to prove the stability of our overclocking results they need to be fully tested. Therefore we run all of our benchmarking tests using not only the stock processor speeds but also the overclocked speeds as well.
NOTE: We included overclocked results in our benchmarking tests utilizing results from our i7-965XE overclocked to 4.035 GHz. These results are fresh from our detailed review of the Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Edition.