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Overclocking Retail Intel Core i7-5960X CPUs

Overclockers' Concerns

Actually, the discussion started with Devil’s Canyon, which takes us even further back to Core i7-4790K Review: Devil's Canyon Tantalizes Enthusiasts. The Core i7-4790K was the processor Intel introduced after causing consternation amongst power users when they saw Haswell's lackluster overclocking. Among the improvements cited in our review, a more efficient thermal interface material and additional capacitors to stabilize power delivery were the most notable.

Underneath that superficial summary, which in no way conveys the effort that goes into bringing a new product to market, I knew that Intel had its own engineers working on characterizing the -4790K’s frequency scaling in such a way as to facilitate more aggressive stock clock rates. It also needed to substantiate the claims it was making about a significant population of processors hitting 5GHz. We didn’t get that far in our review, though we did use a conservative maximum voltage and still had quite a bit of thermal headroom in our sample. I wanted the inside story, straight from the horse’s mouth.

And so Intel’s hooked us up with Paul Zagacki, principal engineer with the company’s client computing group, who walked us through some of what the team went through in bringing Devil’s Canyon up and subsequently optimizing the platform for higher stable clock rates.

During the course of our talk, Paul did hit us with a tip that we were quick to put to good use: around 80 °C is where the processor starts encountering a roll-off—it’ll actually overclock better under 80 degrees than if you let it continue climbing.

  • Bossyfins
    5 5960xs... What the hell O.o
    Reply
  • blackmagnum
    If you have money to spend on an i7-5960X, you probably have enough to pay someone to tune it (overclock) for you.
    Reply
  • spentshells
    I would have preferred a very high end cooler...despite the fact we seemed to already hit the performance limit of these chips.
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    If you have money to spend on an i7-5960X, you probably have enough to pay someone to tune it (overclock) for you.
    where's the fun in that?
    Reply
  • wtfxxxgp
    I think the results are impressive. Wonder what you would have gotten had you gone gung-ho on the cooling. An 8-core CPU that can overclock like this is a beast for any power user.
    Reply
  • tsnor
    I REALLY liked hearing intel give the OC distribution for the i7-4790K, if there is any possible way you could give the numbers for the i5-4690k that would be great. Nice article.

    If you still have the parts an update with the most extreme cooler you could find against one of the CPUs would be interesting, so would freezing yourself (dropping the ambient) and seeing if that allowed another 2 bins, or if it was rounding error.

    I missed seeing system power @ the OC frequency, it might be in there tho, re-reading to see if i missed it.
    Reply
  • mercsniper
    any post on the other numbers used in these overclocking tests? I've had problems keeping my system stable at 3.8Ghz and DDR4 at 2400MHz. EPU was turning on and not turning off causing significant strain and requiring a reboot. I ended up turning EPU off.
    Reply
  • Math Geek
    i'd also like to know the power draw from such an overclock. i'm sure it was a lot more than the 140w tdp at stock.
    Reply
  • Daniel Ladishew
    I would also like this set of tests conducted using a premium cooler to show if the significant increase in 5.0Ghz chips is represented in any of the 5 you tested. I can hit 4.5Ghz on my i5 4690K, so seeing 4.6Ghz from the "better" chip does not really show anything worthwhile to me. I think we would all like to see exactly why this chip is worth 1K+ from an overclocking standpoint.
    Reply
  • Bossyfins
    Well, it could show Intel wanted to make sure everyone could atleast have a decent cooler. Also, recently on WCCFtech, sources shoe skylake hitting 5 on air.
    Reply