Archive Home arrow Guides arrow Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking Guide
Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking Guide E-mail
Articles - Featured Guides
Written by Servando Silva   
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking Guide
Why Should I Overclock?
Overclocking Applications and Utilities
Processor Stability Testing
Understanding OC Variables
UEFI and 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 these kinds 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 that they do hard-processing with their PCs, and some extra MHz will help with the video-encoding, 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.

SandyBridge_OC_Analysis_Corei5_2500K.png

The Intel Core i5 2500K comes with 4 cores/4 threads running at 3.3GHz.

SandyBridge_OC_Analysis_Corei7_2600K.png

The Core i7 2600K works at 3.4GHz and it's got 8 threads. It has also got an extra 2MB in L3 cache.

Meet the Contenders

As I've said before, you want the Intel P67 Express platform to do some real overclocking. Also, you need a fully unlocked CPU, which at the time reduces our options to a pair of K processors: the Core i5 2500K and the Core i7 2600K. The Core i5 2500K is the small brother which appeals more thanks to its price. While it's got a 3.3GHz frequency and 6MB L3 cache and no Hyper Threading, it costs $100 USD less than the big brother. The Core i7 2600K has got a 3.4GHz frequency with 8 threads and a bumped L3 cache of 8MB. Aside from that, both processors are the same. They both have 95 watts TDP and work with dual-channel memory up to 1333MHz (or higher depending on the motherboard). Both raise their frequency with Turbo Boost up to 4x multipliers, and their performance is similar except for those tasks where more threads is better.

Brand Name & Processor Number

Base Clock Speed (GHz)

Unlocked
Turbo Frequency (GHz)
Cores/Threads Cache Memory Support TDP
Pricing (1Ku)
Intel Core i5 2500K 3.3 Core, DDR3, Power
Up to 3.7 4/4 6MB 2 channels DDR3-1333 95W $216
Intel Core i7 2600K
3.4 Core, DDR3, Power
Up to 3.8 4/8 8MB 2 channels DDR3-1333
95W $317



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking GuideJackNaylorPE 2011-04-21 12:37
Would have liked to see a comparison of setting the Turbo / Voltage to a fixed number versus using the Max turbo frequency / voltage offset method.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking GuideServando Silva 2011-04-21 13:53
Hi Jack. Please check our forum as I've just explained why I didn't test that way. It would need another article just for that, or at least, a new set of tests.
Take care.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking GuideRobert17 2011-04-21 13:24
Nicely done. But you did make it seem like the "good old days" of mounting a PVC tank with a fish-tank pump feeding from an ice chest full of frigid water may be a thing of the past.

Not to get too far away from your core article regarding Sandy Bridge, but do you have any insight as to whether or not AMD will maintain OC potential in their new lineup?
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking GuideServando Silva 2011-04-21 13:57
Yeah. I've been overclocking for the last 10 years and I know many others who have been doing it for 15 years or so.
You know that phrase: "Like the old days". I'm not saying I don't like this new way of overclocking. Actually, I like not to pass several hours to find such a nasty or complex configuration for my PC, and doing it the the old way. New OC tools and features help a lot when what you just need is to bump your PC speed and get back to work, but sometimes it was funny to test and read a lot for that.
Also, sub-zero overclocking is quite fun, but with Sandy Bridge they somehow killed it.

Regarding the new AMD processors, I still have no information about them, so I'm anxious to test one.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: RE: Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking GuideDavid Ramsey 2011-04-21 14:30
The new way of overclocking-- raising the maximum multiplier use by Turbo Boost-- has one huge advantage over the old ways of increasing BCLK or the base multiplier: to wit, the processor can still downclock to low speeds when you don't need the performance. My 4.1gHz 980x always runs at 4.1gHz. A 4+gHz Sandy Bridge can idle at the same speed it does non-overclocked, saving a lot of power (and generating less heat).
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: RE: RE: Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking GuideRobert17 2011-04-21 15:51
I'm not complaining. Maybe just pining a bit. I set up a simple OC on my MB, seldom vary it due to the stability, change to game, pretty much ignoring the power consumption. My bad. What limited understanding I have of UEFI seems to indicate that rebooting to change configs may become simpler.

And certainly the advantages of having a MB/CPU combo that is "self-monitoring" power, thrust, pitch and yaw outweigh the "good old days". And yes, I mostly like automatic transmissions over three-on-the-tree these days as well.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: RE: RE: Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking GuideServando Silva 2011-04-22 11:45
Completely true! As I've said. I'm not really complaining. I like the new way as it benefits final users. It's just they took away that "chilli spice" when overclocking. Also, they limited it to Unlocked processors and certain platforms.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: RE: Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking GuideOlle P 2011-04-22 10:30
"... sub-zero overclocking is quite fun, but with Sandy Bridge they somehow killed it."

You can say that again! I read somewhere that Sandy Bridge reach its peak performance at about 20C. If you cool it more than that it won't reach quite as high speeds.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: RE: RE: Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking GuideServando Silva 2011-04-22 11:48
Do you want me to say it louder? Yeah!
I've heard some processors do worst when going below 10-20C degrees. Again, it's good because now many users will be able to play and overclock without going extreme, but it won't be as interesting for extreme users.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Intel Sandy Bridge Overclocking GuideJackNaylorPE 2011-04-24 15:35
One other thing I'd love to see addressed ... POITA ain't I :) ..... the 2600k I assume is running hotter cause of the HT..... Prior to reading the article, I cam to the same conclusion that 4.4 Ghz was the sweet spot for the 2600k for 24/7/365. Since this was a B'day build for Son No. 3, w/ Spring break and all I haven't been able to get near the thing in a week.....I used the Asus BIOS Profile feature to store OC Profiles from 4.0 to 4.8 GHz w/ these temps on the SIlver Arrow cooler:

Max Core Temps under (Idle - P95 load)

GHz..... 3.8 ... 4.00 ...... 4.2 ........ 4.4 ........ 4.6 ....... 4.80
Core 1 (51) (31 - 52) (29 - 54) (29 - 56) (31 - 62) (29 - 69)
Core 2 (53) (30 - 54) (30 - 56) (30 - 60) (31 - 66) (28 - 75)
Core 3 (53) (23 - 55) (22 - 57) (22 - 60) (31 - 68) (28 - 79)
Core 4 (51) (29 - 52) (28 - 55) (29 - 57) )31 - 65) (28 - 72)

Hope that formats well

What I am thinking now is making a "gaming profile" w/ HT turned off since I can prolly drop 7 - 10C at 4.8 Ghz ..... will give it a # when kid gets back in school but wondering if anyone's tried yet on SB.
Report Comment
 

Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews
QNAP Network Storage Servers

Follow Benchmark Reviews on FacebookReceive Tweets from Benchmark Reviews on Twitter