Intel Core i7-6850K: Overclocking, Power & Temperatures
Base Clock Frequency, Turbo Boost & Overclocking
Intel’s Core i7-6850K is only marginally faster than the -6800K. Again, its base clock rate is 3.6GHz and its maximum Turbo Boost frequency tops out at 3.8GHz, though we only saw our sample get up to 3.7GHz.
The highest stable overclock turned out to be the same 4.4GHz we recorded with the -6800K. If there's a silver lining, though, the core voltage need to achieve that frequency was 0.2V lower. In other words, there's quite a bit of variation between Broadwell-E CPUs in Intel’s new product line.
Once again, let’s take a look at the observed clock rates for the individual cores of all three frequency configurations we tested.
Core Voltage Necessary For A Stable Overclock
Overclocking gets interesting when we have more room to play with the core voltage due to a (supposedly) higher-quality processor. Now we can hit 4.4GHz at 1.25V instead of the -6800K’s 1.45V.
Now you may be thinking, as we did, that this frees up more overclocking headroom. We'd all be wrong. Our system did boot at 4.5GHz and 1.5V, but it was far from stable. Still, dropping the multiplier by 1x makes all the difference, facilitating complete stability at 4.4GHz.
Resulting Power Consumption
During our gaming loop, the stock Core i7-6850K’s power consumption comes in higher than the -6800K’s due to higher Turbo Boost frequencies. Once the clock rates are fixed, it becomes apparent that our Core i7-6850K isn’t all that great. Sometimes that's just what happens with engineering samples, even though this particular CPU is supposed to be from a current production run.
So what happens once the Core i7-6850K is pushed hard? It breaks past the 100W threshold, even though the increase is just 44 percent at 4.4GHz this time. That’s certainly a massive jump, but it does seem to be within reason for such a high overclock.
Temperatures During Continuous Operation
We averaged the temperatures of each core, as reported by the sensors, just like before. The following gallery illustrates our measurements in the gaming loop and stress test, along with the water temperature.
The Core i7-6850K’s readings are generally lower than those from the -6800K. This is hardly surprising in light of the lower core voltages. Air cooling could be possible up to 4.0GHz, though that’s cutting it close due to Broadwell-E’s higher density compared to Haswell-E.
The stock Core i7-6850K stays just about as cool as its smaller sibling, achieving higher Turbo Boost clock rates while only drawing marginally more power. The overclocking results nicely demonstrate variations in processor quality, though we're again limited to an overclocking ceiling around 4.4GHz.
Overall, Intel's Core i7-6850K is a good processor. We would have loved a better-quality sample for our comparisons, though. Seeing that we don’t know where exactly Intel cuts corners with its least-expensive model, we’d be inclined to pick the -6850K over the -6800K.