Experiment: Does Intel’s Turbo Boost Trump Overclocking?

Test Setup And Benchmarks

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Test Hardware
ProcessorsIntel Core i7-860 (Lynnfield) 2.8 GHz, LGA 1156, 8MB L3, Hyper-Threading, Power-savings enabled
Row 1 - Cell 0 Intel Core i5-750 (Lynnfield) 2.66 GHz, LGA 1156, 8MB L3, Power-savings enabled
MotherboardsIntel DP55KG (LGA 1156) Intel P55 Express, BIOS 3878
MemoryCorsair 4GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-2200 8-8-8-24 @ DDR3-1333
Hard DriveIntel SSDSA2M160G2GC 160GB SATA 3 Gb/s
Row 5 - Cell 0 Intel SSDSA2MH080G1GN 80GB SATA 3 Gb/s
GraphicsATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB
Power SupplyCooler Master UCP 1100W
HeatsinkThermalright MUX-120
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Ultimate Edition x64
DirectXDirectX 11
Platform DriverIntel INF Chipset Update Utility 9.1.1.1015
Graphics DriverCatalyst 9.12
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Benchmarks and Settings
Audio Encoding
iTunesVersion: 9.0.2.25 (64-bit), Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min., Default format AAC
Video Encoding
TMPEG 4.7Version: 4.7.3.292, Import File: "Terminator II" SE DVD (5 Minutes), Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.5Encoding mode: Insane Quality, Enhanced Multi-Threading, Enabled using SSE4, Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.2Display encoding status=off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS), Profile: Tom’s Hardware Settings for Qct-Core
HandBrake 0.9.4Version 0.9.4, convert first .vob file from The Last Samurai to .mp4, High Profile
Applications
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010 (64-bit)Version: 2009 Service Pack 1, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
WinRAR 3.90Version 3.90 (64-bit), Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
7zipVersion 4.65, Built-in Benchmark
Adobe Photoshop CS4Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates filters
AVG Anti-Virus 9Virus scan of 334MB of compressed files
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00, System, Memories, TV and Movies, and Productivity benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
SiSoftware Sandra 2010CPU Test=CPU Arithmetic/MultiMedia, Memory Test=Bandwidth Benchmark
Games
CrysisVery High Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, 4xAA / No AF, vsync off, 1280x1024 / 1680x1050 / 1900x1200, DirectX 10, Patch 1.2.1, 64-bit executable
Left 4 Dead 2High Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, 8xAA / 16xAF, vsync off, 1680x1050 / 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, Tomshardware Demo, Steam Version
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Ultra High Settings, No AA / No AF, 4xAA / No AF, 1680x1050 / 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, The Gulag, 60 second sequence, Fraps
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • phantomtrooper
    No one needs a Core i7 for gaming. I'm still using a e8400 with a gtx275 and I run everything fine at 1080p, even Crysis.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    i play GTAIV online alot - your e8400 gets left in the dust there sorry PhantomTrooper, and theres no adverse effects having spare cores for future use with newer games etc
    Reply
  • dtemple
    I second that, PhantomTrooper. I'm on a slightly lower end spec PC than you're using (Athlon 7750 with Radeon HD4830) and with it hooked up to my 1366x768 TV through VGA, everything I play maxes without lag. Mind you, I don't play any titles that are extremely demanding, but I'm playing 2008 and 2009 titles maxed out, on a $60 CPU and an $80 video card.
    Reply
  • curnel_D
    Great article. On another note, the useless Mass Effect 2 ad blaring it's stupid music in my ears at every new page is really starting to piss me off.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Yeah, you guys are going to get a kick out of the upcoming Clarksdale story. It's amazing how badly a Core 2 Duo E8500 gets killed by a Phenom II X4 or Core 2 Quad in some of these more optimized titles.

    Curnel--sorry about the ad. I also find it pretty annoying to play automatically every time I open a page for proofing. I'll ask about it.
    Reply
  • jj463rd
    Nice article.I agree about the annoying video ads that Curnel_D mentioned earlier.
    Reply
  • HansVonOhain
    Curnel_DGreat article. On another note, the useless Mass Effect 2 ad blaring it's stupid music in my ears at every new page is really starting to piss me off.
    Thanks Chris for your courtesy.
    Reply
  • descendency
    Curnel_DGreat article. On another note, the useless Mass Effect 2 ad blaring it's stupid music in my ears at every new page is really starting to piss me off.I know it's not a viable solution for all, but I never have my sound on... so I didn't even notice the advert (other than seeing it.)
    Reply
  • gilbertfh
    I have been building computers for myself family and friends for years and I remember some of the different ways utilized to speed up your computer (including the turbo button on your computer). This method seems like a viable way to speed up computers of those of us that don't really want to overclock.

    On a side note: Woot!!! I just saw the Mass Effect 2 ad has been removed. It did have the option to mute it but it was removed fast enough I didn't have a chance to check to ensure it saved to all pages. Thanks Tom's.
    Reply
  • gilbertfh
    Nope I was wrong I guess it was random and just didn't come up for a while and the mute does not save :(.
    Reply