Let’s see what we ended up with here. Our today’s test session proved that new Core i7 processors overclock not any worse than their predecessors. We took the first mass production Core i7-920 CPU we came across and managed to increase its clock speed by 40% reaching 3.8GHz. We didn’t involve any special cooling solutions, just used a mass production air cooler. We also didn’t push the voltages to any dangerous limits.
This way we can say that Nehalem microarchitecture doesn’t limit the clock frequency increase in any serious manner. Today’s Core i7 CPUs are manufactured with 45nm production process using hafnium based high-k dielectric metal gates. This process makes it possible to raise the frequencies without any significant increase in CPU heat dissipation and power consumption. And it means that new generation processors will eventually become as popular among overclockers and enthusiasts as Core 2 Quad solutions.
Another important conclusion that we can make from the results of our today’s experiments is connected with the relative simplicity of Core i7 processors overclocking. Although these processors use several independent multipliers for various parts of the system and also use separate power supply for the cores and the built-in North Bridge, overclocking procedure is more than logical, so there is no room for any sort of misunderstanding.
The main success factors in Core i7 overclocking are evidently high-quality platform components. ASUS P6T Deluxe mainboard we discussed today turned out an excellent base for an overclocker system offering the most valuable overclocker qualities: excellent stability and predictability. The system memory is also of great importance. To ensure processor stability it has to work at relatively high frequencies without increasing its voltage to extreme heights. Kingston HyperX KHX16000D3K3/3GX kit coped perfectly with its task, so we have every right to recommend it to overclockers who decided to cast in their lot with Core i7 processors.
We are not going to stop our Core i7 overclocking experiments here. In one of the next articles we are going to discuss the performance of overclocked platforms using new generation processors and will try to answer the question what processors available in the today’s market would be the best choice for an overclocker.