Articles: CPU

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Overclocking is no longer an occupation for the elite. Today it is a mass phenomenon that involves not only a wide range of computer enthusiasts, but also computer hardware makers. The army of overclockers has become so numerous, that even such giants as Intel can’t disregard them any longer. As a result, over the past few years we have the chance to witness how different computer hardware manufacturers not only adapt their components for overclockers’ needs, but also start making special overclocker products. For example, in the processor market these solutions would be processors with unlocked clock frequency multiplier. They allow increasing their clock frequency easily, which will eliminate any additional requirements to the rest of the platform and in the end may let you set unprecedented overclocking records.

AMD has been especially favorable towards overclockers until recently. They are offering several processors within their Black Edition family (with unlocked clock frequency multiplier) that belong to different price categories. Moreover, this company was even offering hand-picked TWKR processor modifications that could work at a pretty aggressive core voltage setting. As for Intel, they used to be much more conservative to overclocking fans: the only special products that company had been offering over the past few years were only extremely expensive 1000-dollar CPU models with unlocked clock multipliers.

However, the current situation in the market and the community interest towards overclocking was reason enough for the microprocessor giant to start taking action. About a year ago Intel undertook an experiment aimed at exploring the demand: they rolled out an inexpensive LGA775 Pentium E6500K processor with an unlocked frequency multiplier in a regional Chinese market. This experiment must have produced a highly positive result, because Intel decided to expand this initiative. And very soon, to be more exact at the upcoming Computex computer show Intel decided to announce a couple of affordable overclocker processors with unlocked clock frequency multipliers for the most current LGA1156 platform.

They will be launching a quad-core Core i7-875K and a dual-core Core i5-655K processors. In terms of their formal specifications, these CPUs will become analogues to the long shipped Core i7-870 and Core i5-650 processors. But unlike their predecessors, the new CPUs will boast an unlocked clock frequency multiplier that will offer additional overclocking opportunities. It is especially nice that Intel is not going to position overclocker models as exclusive solutions, so they will be selling at a very affordable price differing from that of the regular models by only 20-25%.

As a result, computer enthusiasts will have a pretty wide range of processors with unlocked clock frequency multiplier for almost any current platform:

As we see, the new processors fit quite nicely among the already existing overclocker solutions. Nevertheless, the launch of Core i7-875K and Core i5-655K will hardly cause any serious changes in the processor market: overclockers have been using Core i7-870 and Core i5-650 quite successfully so far and the new processors cost more than these two anyway. Yes, they can be overclocked by simply changing the clock frequency multiplier, but overclocking by raising the base clock also produces very decent outcome in most cases. In other words, the launch of Core i7-875K and Core i5-655K is an excellent move for the company image that should please competitive enthusiasts who deal with extreme overclocking and face mainboard instability caused by excessive increase in the back clock frequency quite often. But do we really need these processors in mainstream overclocker systems?

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