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.