Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Overclocking

System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $2000 PC
By

A lot of experimentation went into overclocking this CPU. We first determined that it would reach 4.5 GHz without overheating, but at a voltage level that we definitely would never recommend for long-term use. We then thought about what voltage we might use for long-term overclocking of a 45 nm Core-i7 processor, and decided that 1.400 V should be a safe limit.

Next, we discovered somewhere around five different ways to reach the limit of our CPU at 1.40 Vcore, all resulting in an overclock of 4.34 to 4.35 GHz. The problem we had with picking the “best” choices was with our memory.

We couldn’t get our memory to run over DDR3-1400 at CAS 9, and we couldn’t get it to run at anything less than CAS 8 with the data rate at DDR3-1182. Dropping the memory clock a bit more allowed us to run DDR3-1134 CAS 7, which is a hair quicker than DDR3-1182 CAS 8.

The end result was a super-high 4.35 GHz CPU clock with a super-low DRAM data rate and mediocre 7-6-7-18 timings.

Even with automatic fan controls, the system would drop from a muffled howl to a somewhat noisy hum under light loads, thanks to a motherboard fan control profile that isn’t optimized for high-speed fans. Gigabyte’s EasyTune6 addresses this, so we were forced to install it, even though we don’t like running extra programs in the background.

The GPUs of today’s graphics cards were far more overclock-tolerant than the similar cards of our June build, yet the memory was stuck close to stock speed. We used MSI Afterburner to set the clocks, just in case we might need to use its excellent fan curve controls.

Add a comment
Ask a Category Expert
React To This Article

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display all 131 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    amk09 , December 13, 2010 4:13 AM
    The link to enter the giveaway doesn't work!

    I would love to be first to enter :) 
  • 2 Hide
    micr0be , December 13, 2010 4:18 AM
    i think im gona get a revo 2 drive ssd to upgrade my current build.... all thanks to santa !!
  • 7 Hide
    Tamz_msc , December 13, 2010 4:31 AM
    Its good to know that choosing the wrong memory can affect performance in such a way.
  • 7 Hide
    fstrthnu , December 13, 2010 4:49 AM
    I'm pretty surprised we didn't see Geforce GTX 570s in this build, I guess they got released too late to make it here.
  • 2 Hide
    fstrthnu , December 13, 2010 4:57 AM
    >> First time in recent memory
    "Cough Cough" Lame Pun
  • 2 Hide
    jerreece , December 13, 2010 5:01 AM
    Wow that Mushkin memory really jacked up this benchmark.
  • -1 Hide
    kkiddu , December 13, 2010 5:10 AM
    Most perfect build ever ? Just read the configs yet, and I think that's a possibility.

    Now don't skin me if the config proves to be a flop in the coming pages. Just read the first page and couldn't resist a comment.
  • -5 Hide
    hemburger , December 13, 2010 5:16 AM
    Why not replace the two ssd's with a single intel 120gb... same price and now on 35nm
  • -1 Hide
    kkiddu , December 13, 2010 5:17 AM
    I think this one can be trimmed to a very good $1500 build as well. Change the CPU to i5 760, remove one of the cards, one of the SSDs, and you'll need lower capacity PSU for that, let's slash $30-$50 there, you get a very good PC for $1500.
  • -1 Hide
    kkiddu , December 13, 2010 5:23 AM
    And oh, cheapen the case as well. There's no free lunch. You gotta sacrifice some silence to gains some frame rates.
  • 6 Hide
    duk3 , December 13, 2010 5:44 AM
    Get rid of MW2 in benchmarks for Battlefield Bad Company 2 and add in Starcraft 2 in my opinion. Nice computer, that's too bad about the memory.
  • 7 Hide
    gti88 , December 13, 2010 6:12 AM
    Having $2000, I would take i5 760 + 2 x gtx580
  • 1 Hide
    barmaley , December 13, 2010 6:15 AM
    I agree with the people above who mentioned i5 760 and GTX 570. I was thinking the same thing when I saw the config. IMO, $2000 would give you far better performance in games, especially with high resolution and quality:

    GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 - $125
    Intel i5 760 - $205
    Scythe Mugen 2 - 47
    Cooler Master HAF 932 - $140
    GTX 570 2x SLI $700
    Samsung F3 1TB - $70
    Crucial 128GB C300 - $275
    CORSAIR XMS 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 - $125
    Antec TruePower Quattro TPQ-1000 1000W - $170
    Lite-On iHBS112 Blu-ray Drive: 12x BD-R, 16x DVD±R - $120
    Total: $1977

    All prices without rebates included. The $23 left over can be used to pay for the shipping where applicable. Also, an SSD can be replaced for a cheaper one to save a little money, if that's your thing.
  • 1 Hide
    styrkes , December 13, 2010 6:19 AM
    But isn't this worse than the previous $2000 PC?
  • -1 Hide
    Tamz_msc , December 13, 2010 6:27 AM
    @barmaley
    Everything is fine except the motherboard and here's why:
    http://www.hardware-revolution.com/p55-motherboards-crossfire-sli-performance-problem/
  • 1 Hide
    nyrychvantel , December 13, 2010 6:34 AM
    why is single intel 120GB better than 2x 64GB RAID 0? I thought the later twice the speed than a single SSD?
  • 2 Hide
    gti88 , December 13, 2010 6:44 AM
    $2000 config with TWO gtx 580:
    ASUS Maximus III Formula LGA 1156 - $179
    Core i5-760 - $205
    Noctua NH-U12P - $75
    Kingston DDR3 4gb - $56
    ENERMAX REVOLUTION85+ 920W - $200
    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 2Tb - $100
    COOLER MASTER CM690 II Advanced Black Steel - $80
    GTX580 x2 (SLI) - $1100

    Total price: $2005
  • -1 Hide
    barmaley , December 13, 2010 6:52 AM
    This build with 2 GTX 580 is nice. The only thing is that a lot people would have a problem paying $2000 and not getting blue ray and SSD. Not that it affects gaming in a big way as much as a good graphics card does, but it still counts.
  • 1 Hide
    nevertell , December 13, 2010 7:08 AM
    gti88$2000 config with TWO gtx 580:ASUS Maximus III Formula LGA 1156 - $179Core i5-760 - $205Noctua NH-U12P - $75Kingston DDR3 4gb - $56ENERMAX REVOLUTION85+ 920W - $200SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 2Tb - $100COOLER MASTER CM690 II Advanced Black Steel - $80GTX580 x2 (SLI) - $1100Total price: $2005

    Good for gaming and nothing else.
  • 3 Hide
    SpadeM , December 13, 2010 7:10 AM
    Probably one of the most balanced (and i mean that in a good way) build i've seen in a while. (though i do miss the exotic 4x4850 from Don a while back, and i do hope u bring that back some day)
    Tamz_mscIts good to know that choosing the wrong memory can affect performance in such a way.

    And yes +1 for that and for Thomas, i'm looking forward to a follow-up article on that specific issue.
Display more comments
React To This Article