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The 5 GHz, Six-Core Project: Core i7-980X Gets Chilly

The Test Platform

Intel’s Core i7-980X six-core processor requires an LGA 1366 motherboard with recent BIOS, and we just reviewed a few of those in May. Of the boards we evaluated, Gigabyte’s X58A-UD7 appeared to offer the best stability.

Testing the performance differences of a single processor at various speeds wouldn’t require fast RAM, but we used it anyway.

High-end graphics also would not be required, yet we didn’t want the system to appear slow in game benchmarks. Sapphire’s Radeon HD 5850 is more than adequate for producing playable frame rates in most games at high settings.

The Cooler Express startup guide suggested a motherboard installation height that almost perfectly matched our Danger Den Torture Rack 2 chassis. That’s a striking coincidence, since we were already using this chassis in a motherboard testing station.

Corsair’s reputable CMPSU-850HX was already installed on the Torture Rack 2 from its use in the motherboard testing station, and we knew this unit would provide far more power than our single CPU and graphics card would require.

  • Poisoner
    Pretty impressive. I wish Athlon II would over clock to 4ghz on air. :(
    Reply
  • zorky9
    Cooler Master’s reputable CMPSU-850HX

    Did you mean Corsair?
    Reply
  • tacoslave
    i thought it would perform much better in games
    Reply
  • Crashman
    tacoslavei thought it would perform much better in games Check this out:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i3-gaming,2588.html
    For the CPU to become the choking point, you need the GPU to be extremely powerful. Tom's Hardware formerly used unrealistic tests like Half Life 2 at 640x480 just to prove the CPU performance difference in games, but the fact that nobody used those settings eventually lead to the discontinuation of that testing method.
    Reply
  • noob2222
    tacoslavei thought it would perform much better in gamesThere was a thread several months ago comparing the Intel Vs AMD platforms regarding the graphic card bottleneck. Suprising enough Intel cpus capped at a certain overclock where as AMD did not, eventually becoming faster FPS but required a much higher clock speed. It was determined that Intel has a limit on pcie bandwidth. Good luck finidng it, its probably over 6 months old.

    back to the arcitle, very interesting, and extremely expensive to even consider doing something like this.
    Finally there’s the expense. Our $900 cooler requires around 480W of power in addition to that consumed by the rest of the PC
    Add in the cost and time required to set this type of thing up as well as coating the MB ... lol, I don't even want to think about actually trying to go this extreme.

    Water is good for me, and if I want extreme, I will wait till winter and throw my radiator out the window while its freezing outside and pump antifreeze through it lol.
    Reply
  • liquidsnake718
    zorky9Cooler Master’s reputable CMPSU-850HXDid you mean Corsair?Nope coolmaster has a whole line of PSU's... they are decent and perhaps compareable to Corsair for albeit a slightly lower price point. But Oc'ing to 5.ghz and above is really crazy stuff here. I am actually happy with 3.0 and above already stock but damn, I dont think i would like to tax my system to 5.0 and above, regardless of cooling! It would cost more, but I do see the sport of it and commend those that take time to reach 5.0 and above figures with regular water cooled systems.
    Reply
  • vinehoyle
    Amusing article. However some correcting is needed. The next to last paragraph states the cooler consumed 480W and the cpu consumes according to ur graphic 220w? My math says 700w JUST for the cooler and cpu. This calls in to question ur power bill figures. It's clearly much greater. I won't even talk about once u add things, though it would have been a good idea to calculate that figure too. Simply to show the madness of this project to ur power bill lol!
    Reply
  • Crashman
    vinehoyleAmusing article. However some correcting is needed. The next to last paragraph states the cooler consumed 480W and the cpu consumes according to ur graphic 220w? My math says 700w JUST for the cooler and cpu. This calls in to question ur power bill figures. It's clearly much greater. I won't even talk about once u add things, though it would have been a good idea to calculate that figure too. Simply to show the madness of this project to ur power bill lol!The article specifically states that the "added expense" figures are based on the 480W it takes to run the cooler. It assumes you're already planning to use the rest of the system at whatever speed you can get WITHOUT the cooler, and tells you how much MORE it costs to use the cooler. I think its fairly well explained, but feel free to point out any specific spot I missed, thanks!
    liquidsnake718Nope coolmaster has a whole line of PSU's... He's right, CMPSU-850HX is a Cosair model. Cooler Master does have some decent 850W power supplies though, I have one sitting in my liquid cooling bench station.
    Reply
  • dark bishop
    id like to see them try it on the phenom II x6
    Reply
  • Moshu78
    I'm sorry but once again, Tom's is testing CPU's while bottlenecking the Video. Can't you guys just use a simple rule like: When you test the CPU, use highest available video power (like Xfire of 5970), and when testing the GPU, use highest available CPU (980X). It's THAT simple. The 3D benchmarks are meaningless, waste of time AND money AND information. I predicted those graphs in the moment I saw you used a 5850 for the tests.
    Reply