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Overclocking Retail Intel Core i7-5960X CPUs

Introduction

Intel’s Broadwell architecture was introduced in early June as the fifth-gen Core processor family (if you missed our coverage, check out Broadwell: Intel Core i7-5775C And i5-5675C Review). Skylake, the sixth-gen design, is expected soon. But if you’re a power user running really well-threaded applications, then both of those “mainstream” platforms remain secondary to Haswell-E—the beefiest incarnation of Intel’s fourth­­-gen architecture

To be sure, Haswell-E remains the enthusiast's top choice almost a year after its introduction. There’s the fact that you find it in six- and eight-core configurations, of course. Huge 15 and 20MB last-level caches are also great for performance. A quad-channel DDR4 memory controller serves up unprecedented bandwidth. And, depending on the model, you get 28 or 40 lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity. Oh, and don’t forget that all three models—the Core i7-5820K, -5930K and -5960X—sport unlocked multipliers for overclocking.

As a matter of personal preference, I tend not to spend a bunch of time overclocking when a CPU is first introduced. There’s the fact that the samples typically come directly from Intel or AMD, motherboard BIOSes aren’t particularly mature and, well, it’s just a long loop of trial and error ahead of time-sensitive launch coverage. But during a recent conversation with the folks at Intel, the subject of Haswell-E and overclocking was brought up. I realized that Tom’s Hardware hasn’t done much with Intel’s highest-end platform since last August, and I had an idea for an experiment.

  • 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