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Intel Core i3/i5/i7 Final Thoughts
I hope I've covered the basics of overclocking in LGA 1156 platforms in this article, and even more, I hope to persuade you to try it with your PC, as you don't really have anything to lose, while you have a lot to gain. When someone starts overclocking, it becomes a passion to the moment you don't want to use your PC at stock settings again. This way, you don't only understand your PC in a better way, but it works as practice, in order to help you identify bugs and errors in different setups. You'll get costumed to identify variables and fix both hardware and software errors and the best part is that you'll feel satisfied with yourself as you start knowing better each part of your PC.
More than analyzing the enhanced performance of an overclocked system versus a stock one, I hope to have prepared the terrain for those who start in this scope, but are scared enough to try it with their PCs. The reason I did all the tests with each processor was I wanted to show you an example of what you can achieve by overclocking, and how will this impact in your heat production and power consumption. Also, you might be able to achieve similar clocks with similar setups. Just remember every CPU/RAM/Motherboard is different from each other, and that means you could get better results, as well as you could have worst results. But overall, I think this little guide will help you know what are the "common" values and limits of each kind of CPU.
I've chose the Core i3 530 as it's the smallest of its brothers, but the Core i3 540/550 CPUs should be able to run similar frequencies. The only kind of CPU I didn't test this time, was the Core i5 Lynnfield's CPU, also known as Core i5 750/760. If you have this processor, you should expect similar results to the Core i7 860 as it consumes the same (or more) watts and it's a Quad Core based CPU. If you're finding something missing in this article you'd like to see, comment it in our forums or comments section. Also, if you're starting to overclock your CPU and you are stuck in some part, post your results and we'll be glad to help you improve your settings.
Intel LGA 1156 Overclocking Guide Conclusion
As for conclusion, I can say there's no doubt on why LGA 1156 platforms got very famous compared to LGA1366 setups. Basically, you get a less expensive option while getting the same performance on the majority of the tasks. The Core i7 860 for example, matches very well the performance of the famous Core i7 920. Also, you're not "forced" to use triple channel memory kits and the platform still allows SLI/CFX depending on manufacturers. Overall, this is a very nice setup and it offers a lot of paths to update, starting with the Core i3 CPU which is the slowest but still very fast and capable CPU with integrated GPU, and up to the Core i7 875K which is one of the fastest processors at the time I'm writing this article.
Overclocking capabilities of Clarkdale's processors are quite good. Each CPU increases around 700MHz-1000MHz with stock voltage values, and they run quite cool even at full load. If you're looking for a 4GHz+ CPU with reasonable voltages and temperatures, keep those models in mind. You'll also get Intel HD graphics integrated in the same package in case you're thinking on HTPCs. The best part of these CPUs is the power consumption, which puts them as very good contenders for HTPCs while having enough power for heavy applications.
In the other hand, we have the Core i7 Lynnfield CPUs. They overclock well as I've shown in this article, but I think they're not on pair with the legendary Core i7 920 processor. The pros of this CPU against the Core i7 920 are that it will consume less power and probably run colder also. This Lynnfield CPUs have very strong memory controllers, so, if you're aiming for 2000+MHz memory kits, you'll need one of these to pair it with your RAM frequency. Remember, if you want to know the benefits of overclocking your CPU in real numbers/benchmarks; don't forget to read our Featured Reviews: Processors section.
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