Intel Core i7 CPU Overclocking and Buying Recommendations

Intel Core i7 CPU Overclocking and Buying Recommendations
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4 GHz Looks Likely

Core 2s are great overclockers, and it looks like the i7s do an at least reasonable job of carrying the torch. Most testers reported getting the 965XE to 4 GHz with very no or very modest voltage increases, and could also get the 920 to run at 3.2 GHz: specifically, as fast a stock 965XE. Note that, as is customary for Intel CPUs, the Extreme has unlocked multipliers, while the 940 and 920 only let you play with clocks.

Also keep in mind that overclocking Core i7 will be quite different from what you are used to, since QPI and the CPU integrated memory controller replace the Front Side Bus. Finally, don’t forget that these are results based on test kits distributed by Intel, and they probably didn’t just pull CPUs and motherboards off the fabrication lines at random. As always when overclocking, there is no guarantee your purchase will perform as well or even comparably to others using identical equipment.

Now, with no further ado, our shopping recommendations for…

Web-Surfing, Email, Office Use

Seeing as the cheapest i7 and an X58 motherboard alone will run north of 600 USD, and a $600 dollar computer from a consumer electronics store will perform common office and internet browsing applications respectably, there is no financially sound reason to move to the Core architecture if you use your computer primarily for these tasks.

Then again, there is no financially sound reason to own a car that goes from 0 to 3 times the posted speed limit in 6 and half seconds, but they appeal to many people. Furthermore, the computer is far less likely to land you in court or the hospital, so if you want the best and fastest even if you don’t strictly need it, Core is the best and fastest.

If your computing budget is more practical than recreational, then your existing computer is probably good enough. If you are looking for a new PC, an Intel LGA 775 platform from the last four years, or AMD Socket 939 platform, with an entry-level Core 2 or Phenom, respectively, will keep up with your needs for years to come. Plus, as the sharp end of Intel moves towards Core and AMD puts out more Phenoms, you will have plenty of inexpensive upgrade options.

The next article recommends upgrade and purchase options to the professional or amateur Graphics Renderer, Audio/Video Editor, and those running numerically intensive research applications.

This post is part of the series: Core i7 and X58: Nehalem and Tylersburg Hit the Streets

Intel’s new microarchitecture has been talked about for a long time. The time has come to really see what it is all about, how much better it is, who should get it, and where to it.

  1. Intel’s New Desktop CPUs: What You Need to Know about these Processors
  2. Features of the New Nehalems: What is Jammed Into a Core i7? – Scalability and Bandwidth
  3. Intel Core i7 (Nehalem Bloomsfield) Features: A New Cache Design and Translation Lookaside Buffer (TLB)
  4. X58 Tylersburg: Big Changes to Motherboards Are Coming
  5. Which Motherboard for a Shiny, New, Core i7?
  6. X58 Based Motherboards for Your New Core i7: Gigabyte and MSI
  7. Wrapping Up Our Look at the First Crop of X58 Motherboards
  8. How Fast is Core i7?
  9. Games Not Multithreaded Enough for Core i7 Yet
  10. Remember to Budget for Memory: Triple Channel DDR3 Kits
  11. Who Needs a Core i7?
  12. Core i7 for Professional Applications: Graphics, Audio/Video Editing, or Research
  13. Core i7 965XE Still Fastest, but Not by Much When it Comes to Gaming