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Overclocking Retail Intel Core i7-5960X CPUs

A Sign Of Things To Come

I’ve made no secret of my disappointment with Ivy Bridge and Haswell. After the gloriousness that was Nehalem and then Sandy Bridge, the following two architectures made me question Intel’s commitment to the desktop PC.

The expediency with which Intel made Devil’s Canyon happen after receiving the community’s feedback on Haswell signified a change in direction, though. And while we haven’t gotten our hands on a sample capable of 5GHz yet, Intel says it’s seeing a notable population of parts capable of that symbolically significant clock rate.

Instead, we were able to test a quintet of something even juicier—the eight-core i7-5960X. Retail examples all, we had little trouble taking all five to 4.5GHz (a 1.2GHz overclock over the chip’s 3.3GHz stock Turbo Boost setting with eight cores active). Single-threaded frequencies bounced between 4.8 and 4.9GHz. Despite Haswell-E’s business-class pedigree (these are the same dies used to make Xeon CPUs), Intel exposes a handful of additional tuning options to make the Core i7s even more attractive to enthusiasts. Needless to say, we're happy to see it.


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Chris Angelini is a Technical Editor at Tom's Hardware. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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  • 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