We continue talking about processors built on new Nehalem microarchitecture. Following our theoretical material and an article devoted to performance of systems built on Core i7 processors, we decided to take a closer look at a matter that is of great interest to computer enthusiasts in the first place. This notorious topic is overclocking. And even though many users still do not see how they can benefit from overclocking their system, army of overclockers keeps multiplying. And the reason for that is not only the growing general interest to new technologies, but also the fact that many hardware manufacturers have finally turned their face to the overclocker community. Trying to win more users for themselves many computer hardware manufacturers add new functionality that may help reveal undocumented potential of the equipment. And even Intel who have been fighting the mere idea of overclocking a few years ago, today tempered justice with mercy. Now they no longer deny the possibility of using their processors in operational modes other than the nominal one. Moreover, they encourage overclockers by inviting them to versatile events and adapting their CPUs and mainboards for them accordingly.
Therefore, we believe that the launch of new microarchitecture has every chance to become a new catalyst for further overclocking popularization, because the systems built for Core i7 processors have become easier and also more interesting to overclock. Besides, we shouldn’t forget about the platform changes such as introduction of the new processor voltage regulator circuitry, relocation of the memory controller into the CPU and elimination of the FSB bus. They certainly make overclocking also much more affordable, because the influence of the most sensitive system component - the mainboard - on overclocking results reduces tremendously.
In order to increase the practical value of our today’s article, we decided not to use any engineering samples. Instead we took the already retailing mass production CPU, mainboard, memory and cooling solution. Our today’s main hero will be Core i7-920, the most affordable member of the Nehalem family. And in the end of our today’s investigation, we will be able to give you a recipe for successful overclocking that will allow you to make a $300 CPU run much faster than one of the most expensive processors in the market today: Core i7-965 Extreme Edition.
In our today’s article we will try to reveal all tricks and peculiarities of successful LGA1366 systems overclocking. However, we assume that our readers already have basic knowledge regarding the structure of Nehalem systems. If it is your first experience with the new platform, we strongly advise to take a look at our article called “First Look at Nehalem Microarchitecture” before you proceed.