Platform And Results Without A Voltage Increase
There are various excellent overclocking platforms for the LGA 1156 architecture (Ed.: There are also some that you should actively avoid; Thomas goes into more detail in his entry-level P55 roundup). All prominent motherboard companies consider P55 a key product, which is why all of them are heavily invested in it. We already used three different P55 products for our launch article, so we decided to use MSI’s flagship product for this overclocking project (the P55-GD65). There’s also a GD80 model available, which has a larger heatpipe construction and three x16 PCI Express 2.0 slots instead of two. However, the three slots on the GD80 are limited to 16, 8, and 4 lanes, while the GD65 runs 16 and 8 lane configurations.
MSI implemented seven dynamically-operated voltage regulator phases, a heatpipe, and many other features that most motherboard makers install for overclockers. One small item differentiates the MSI board from others: the OC Genie overclocking assistant now has a one-step solution that automatically overclocks your system by accelerating the base clock when enabled. MSI says that the system takes care of all necessary settings, but the feature requires high-quality platform components. For now, however, we disabled all the fancy features and overclocked the old-fashioned way.
We installed the latest BIOS version, which allows switching Intel’s overspeed protection off, and started our overclocking project. The fastest multiplier we could select was the one that the processor uses to reach its maximum Turbo Boost speed with all four cores, just one increment above the default of 20x (21 x 133 = 2.8 GHz). We reached higher clock speeds by increasing the base clock all the way up to 215 MHz.
Maximum Result Without A Voltage Increase: 3.6 GHz
The i5-750’s default voltage is 1.25V, and we were able to hit exactly the maximum clock speed that Intel specifies for the Core i7-870 running maximum Turbo Boost with one core: 3.6 GHz.
This is quite an impressive result, but it was expected. We’ve been able to overclock Core i7 processors on LGA 1366 in a similar fashion without much more voltage.