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Intel Core-i3/i5/i7 LGA1156 Overclocking Guide E-mail
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Written by Servando Silva   
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Intel Core-i3/i5/i7 LGA1156 Overclocking Guide
Why Should I Overclock?
Overclocking Applications and Utilities
Processor Stability Testing
Understanding OC Variables
OC Testing Methodology
Overclocking Frequency vs. Voltage
Overclock vs Power Consumption
Overclock vs Temperatures
Final Thoughts

Why Should I Overclock?

Actually, the question is: why should YOU overclock? There are many reasons to enter the great world of overclocking. At first, it was a necessity. People had slow PCs doing heavy processes where any extra MHz would reduce time in a linear way. If a 100MHz processor was clocked to 120 MHz (20MHz sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?), an enterprise could do the process in 8.5 hours instead of 10, thus increasing efficiency. Nowadays, it's very different. Computers have become part of our daily-basis life, and 90% of the people don't use it for heavy processing anymore. Many things can be done with a PC, as it has been turned into the new primary communications tool, CPUs are much faster and normally more than enough for daily tasks. For this kind of people running several light-loaded applications while reading Benchmark Reviews and hearing some music, a basic overclock should be more than enough. Others might complain they do hard-processing with their PCs, and some extra MHz will help with the video-codification, 3d rendering, math processing or any other hard task. For those who fall in this category, a medium-sized overclock should be a great addition to work with, and we're covering that today.


Intel Core i3/i5 processors are indeed fast enough for daily light-applications.

Meet the Contenders

Before getting to know your weapons, let me introduce you some of our contenders in this article. To make things easy enough and give you an example of what can be done, I've chose 3 different CPUs falling on different categories. Our first contender is the Intel Core i7 860 processor. This little demon is a 4-cores/8-threads CPU, running at 2,8GHz (3.46GHz with Turbo) each. It supports DDR3 and works best in a P55 platform with 4GB of RAM (at least). This CPU performs similar (or faster) than the Intel Core i7 930 from the high-end LGA1366 socket, so it's a very good match for the tests.

Second, I chose the Core i5 655K. This CPU runs at 3.2GHz (3.46GHz with turbo mode) and packages 2-cores/4-threads along with Intel GMA HD Graphics. This little baby should be the most overclocker of my choices today, and before you start complaining about this being an unlocked processor, I overclocked this CPU raising BCLK. That means, no multiplier was involved in our tests, and so, it has no advantages over any other CPU. In fact, try thinking of it more like a Core i5 650 because that's how it will act today.

Last but not least, we have the "little" Intel Core i3 530 processor. This CPU works at 2.93GHz and has no turbo technology. Despite of that, Intel gives it a 2-cores/4-threads architecture thanks to Hyper Threading technology and it consumes 73 watts, which is great because it means we have a big breach before arriving to it's limits. Have a look at the chart for extra information about our stars:

Brand Name & Processor Number

Base Clock Speed (GHz)

Turbo Frequency (GHz)
Cores/Threads Cache Memory Support TDP
Pricing (1Ku)
Intel Core i7 980X 3.33 Core, DDR3, Power
Up to 3.6 6/12 12MB 3 channels DDR3-1333 130W $999
Intel Core i7 875K
2.93 Core, DDR3, Power
Up to 3.6
4/8 8MB 2 channels DDR3-1333
95W $342
Intel Core i7 860 2.8 DDR3 Only
Up to 3.46
4/8 8MB 2 channels DDR3-1333
95W $284
Intel Core i5 760
2.8 DDR3 Only
Up to 3.33 4/4 8MB 2 channels DDR3-1333
95W $205
Intel Core i5 655K
3.2 Core, DDR3, Power
Up to 3.46 2/4 4MB 2 channels DDR3-1333
73W $216
Intel Core i5 650
3.2 DDR3 Only
Up to 3.46
2/4 4MB 2 channels DDR3-1333
73W $176
Intel Core i3 530 2.93 DDR3 Only
N/A 2/4 4MB 2 channels DDR3-1333 73W $114



# Wow!fr0hzn 2010-08-25 05:00
I just bought an i5 recently and I have to say that I will definately try to overclock it, after I've read here what I can achieve :)
Very informative, thank you!
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# Glad to help.Servando Silva 2010-08-25 17:18
That's great. Post your questions/results in our forums!
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# Great InformationGorham4 2010-08-25 07:48
Very nice article full of great basic information. For those interested there are numerous groups that hold overclocking competitions. If you do a google on Forum Wars it will lead you to some interesting forums where you can gain additional knowledge and try you hand at basic and advanced overclocking with supportive groups.

Again thanks for a great article on what should be every computer owner's for activity when buying or building a new computer.
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# Nice work, but would have been great with benefits (or not)baldheadeddork 2010-08-26 16:59
Really nice comparison between the dual and quad core i-Series, but what's the payoff in applications? If you can make a second part showing these three in game performance and media encoding - that would bring it home.

It would also be interesting to see how the dual cores compare to the quads.
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# RE: Intel Core-i3/i5/i7 LGA1156 Overclocking GuideServando Silva 2010-08-26 17:39
As I've said in the article, I was focusing on how to overclock and variables involved. Perhaps, this review could help you make a decision:
I'll consider doing a second part focusing on performance though...
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# Very helpful guide!ulsar 2010-10-08 11:20
Great article for those newbies (and not so newbies) in this matter, like myself. I've got an i5 750 on a P7P55D EVO for about two months and it's time to enhance its performance a bit, so this guide will be really helpful.

Thanks a lot!
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# p55-usb3christian 2011-12-20 04:55
hi, i have p55-usb3 motherbord, but the same fan and a i7-860 cpu, i hope can use this great article anyway?
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# i3 330MChristian Conefery 2011-12-26 17:08
Is This possible with i3 330M or is it not powerful enough
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