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Choosing The Best LGA 1156 Processor For Overclocking

Overclocked On Air: Intel's Core i5-750
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Intel has released three different processors so far that are all based on the LGA 1156 interface: the Core i5-750 at 2.66 GHz, the Core i7-860 at 2.8 GHz, and the faster Core i7-870 at 2.93 GHz. These processors not only differ in their base clock speed, but also in how Turbo Boost performance acceleration is implemented. The 800-series can speed up individual cores more aggressively than the other models. Let’s have a quick look.

Turbo Boost: Available Bins (Under TDP/A/Temp)

Processot Number
Frequency
4 Cores Active
3 Cores Active
2 Cores Active
1 Core Active
Core i7-870
2.93 GHz
2
2
4
5
Core i7-860
2.8 GHz
1
1
4
5
Core i5-750
2.66 GHz
1
1
4
4
Core i7-975
3.33 GHz
1
1
1
2
Core i7-950
3.06 GHz
1
1
1
2
Core i7-920
2.66 GHz
1
1
2
2


You would expect that faster processor models tend to be more overclockable, but this isn’t a given and may vary. Since the core is the same for all existing LGA 1156-based processors, we decided to look at the pricing structure before making a decision. The 1,000-unit price for the Core i7-870 is $562. We believe that’s too expensive for most cost-conscious enthusiasts, and decided to instead check out the remaining models: Core-i7-860 at $284 and the i5-750 at $196.

Since our launch coverage and related articles typically utilize the faster models, we decided to go for the entry-level processor in our initial overclocking project. This model should be the most attractive for the majority of our readers.

We start with a 2.66 GHz base clock and a Turbo Boost implementation able to take the chip to a maximum of 3.2 GHz. Since the Core i7-870 reaches 3.6 GHz at maximum Turbo Boost speed for a single core, we decided to start our overclockings at 3.6 GHz as well, and look to see where the most affordable Core i5 can go.

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