CPU Guide

Core i7 Overclocking and Graphics Performance Update

Core i7 Overclocking and Graphics Performance Update



All it needs is a Little Push

All it needs is a Little Push

After years of speculation, the Nehalem CPU architecture has finally surfaced in the form of the Core i7 processor. Were we taken by storm like the Core microarchitecture? Surprisingly no, but the performance leap is nonetheless quite notable in specific workloads and we figure that the sooner the mainstream applications are designed to be more threaded in nature, the more gains the existing platforms as well as the new Core i7 will stand to benefit. High-end applications in the multimedia content creation segment appreciate the most from the new CPU's integrated memory controller. You can check out our review of the Intel Core i7 for a good recap on the performance expectations of the new platform.

We also talked some on the overclocking aspect the new Core i7 over here. In addition, word has it that the TDP limitation imposed on the non Extreme Edition parts will hamper overclocking prowess, but we'll get to that shortly as we draw closer to complete testing of the entire Core i7 series. Today, we'll share with you on the most achievable overclock possible on the Core i7-965 Extreme Edition processor as well as some updates in the gaming realm using a more powerful graphics card subsystem.

The following screenshot below shows a typical screen from the Intel X58 motherboard BIOS on setting up the system for Turbo Mode, which is essentially overclocking the processor. The values shown are actually defaults for the 4-core, 3-core, 2-core and 1-core setup.

After some trial and error, the maximum we were able to push the CPU was 3.86GHz on stock cooling and some voltage boost. That's achieved using a 29x multiplier. Too bad we couldn't crack the 4GHz barrier but we doubt that's difficult when using appropriate third-party coolers and better quality CPUs roll in. Of course the alternate method of overclocking via increasing the base bus speed is possible, there are so many interdependencies that we'll reserve that for motherboard reviews rather than a CPU-related article. So let's check out the performance margins with a Core i7 processor clocked at 3.86GHz.