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Archive for the ‘overclocking’ tag

My thoughts on Devil's Canyon

Posted on 14th Jul 2014 at 09:17 by Antony Leather with 19 comments

I think it's fair to say that Intel's latest CPUs have been met with a mixture of emotions by enthusiasts. At the crux of the issue is likely the fact that Intel is likely looking at markets away from the PC as tablets and smartphones take a big old slice of PC sales pie, despite the fact that PC sales have been predicted to and now seem to be stabilising.

That's not to say it's pulling out of the PC market - far from it. However, we haven't seen the kind of performance increases in new architectures or refreshes/ticks that we have done in the past. Even after AMD was placed firmly in catchup mode following the release of the first Core architecture, we still saw significant improvements in performance, for example, in the move from LGA775’s Penryn and Wolfdale to Clarkdale and again from Clarkdale/Lynnfield/Nehalem to Sandy Bridge.

My thoughts on Devil's Canyon My thoughts on Intel's new CPUs
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There was a huge leap in performance going from a dual core Core 2 CPU to the dual core Core i5-530, which even gave previous generation quad cores such as the Q6600 a run for their money. Only in specific tests do we see anywhere near this level of performance increase in the post-Sandy Bridge era, and even then, the argument for upgrading, even including the LGA1155 to LGA1150 socket change, is only strong if you own a Sandy Bridge system: Ivy Bridge and Haswell owners needn't bother, although the additional features provided by the Z97 chipset may well temp you too.

However, there's another very good reason for upgrading to Devil's Canyon. Overclocking. It seems that as well as providing smoother power delivery and a better thermal interface material (I should add that people are still delidding these CPUs and seeing better cooling though), Intel has been speed-binning CPUs.

My thoughts on Devil's Canyon My thoughts on Intel's new CPUs
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In short, the widely varying overclocks we saw with Ivy Bridge and Haswell, which ranged from 4.3GHz to 5GHz, appear to be a thing of the past and the vast majority of new CPUs, the Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition included, can reach 4.8GHz with relative ease. It's always been a lottery with CPUs and overclocking and retailers have often cherry picked CPUs too and sold them at higher prices for guaranteed overclocks. You'd need a good CPU cooler, and for some reason, 4.8GHz appear to be the limit unless you drastically boost the CPU voltage, but even so, this is 300-400MHz faster than you'd expect from a typical Core i5-4670K retail sample.

My thoughts on Devil's Canyon My thoughts on Intel's new CPUs
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To prove our point, as Intel annoyingly didn't ship out a Core i5-4690K to us, we bought our own retail copy and this performed exactly the same as our Core i7-4790K press sample. You only have to look at forum system spec signatures to see just how many people are having to be content with a 4.3GHz or 4.4GHz CPU. In addition, our 4.8GHz test system only drew 20W more at load and the CPU was much cooler than a 4.6GHz Core i5-4670K-based system, so it's quite feasible to have your CPU at 4.7GHz or 4.8GHz 24/7.

This on its own is a very appealing feature - after all, who wouldn't want a speed-binned CPU and in the past, retailers have even charged more for such sought-after silicon (remember G0-stepping Q6600's?) Yet Devil's Canyon CPUs didn't cost much more, if at all than their predecessors. Yes there’s not much if any improvement in IPC and most of the speed boosts at stock speed are due to increased CPU frequencies – the Core i7-4790K for example has a stock speed of 4GHz, which is a substancial 500MHz faster than its predecessor, but that’s the kind of thing you can do with a cherry-picked CPU.

There is, of course, the argument that Intel has shunned the PC and the PC enthusiast by just speed-binning Haswell cores, but if anything, this is showing that it still has a commitment to enthusiasts and in particular overclockers.

Yes I’d like to have seen more of a performance boost or shrunken manufacturing process, although the latter is what we'll be looking at with Broadwell, but I’d rather have a Devil’s Canyon CPU that’s guaranteed to hit 4.8GHz and provide some overclocking fun, than something that performs a few percent faster clock for clock than the previous round of LGA1150 CPUs and once again runs very hot under the collar once you’ve overclocked it along with being lucky to be able to get a stable overclock above 4.4GHz.

My thoughts on Devil's Canyon My thoughts on Intel's new CPUs
Click to enlarge

This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea of course, but I’m willing to bet that most people reading this, especially those that are potential buyers of the new Core i5 and Core i7, would be overclocking their CPUs too. It probably cost Intel less to tweak the power delivery, use better thermal interface material and speed-bin some CPUs, than it would have done to make similar changes to what we saw moving from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge, but I’m not really that bothered.

However, I do want to see some improvements with Broadwell. With Windows 9 due out at roughly the same time (although rumours are that K-series Broadwell CPUs may have been delayed yet again till next summer) and rumoured to be much more geared toward PC users, they could provide the perfect opportunity for pre-Haswell owners to reach for their wallets.

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Hardware 22 - The Second Day Magazine

Posted on 23rd Apr 2011 at 09:52 by Podcast with 7 comments

Podcast
It’s podcast time again, and this time we’re talking about all the lovely hardware we’ve seen in our labs over the last few weeks. Clive starts off by telling us all about the AMD Radeon HD 6790, and why it’s only likely to be around for a relatively short period of time.

We also get chance to quiz Antony on the Silverstone TJ11, which it was his pleasure to review. The case is humungous, but isn’t quite the water-cooling behemoth we expected. Paul then gives us an account of his recent trip to Istanbul to cover the MSI Master Overclocking Arena European finals. Extreme overclocking and benchmarking is a funny old world, and it’s always interesting to get to see the action first hand.

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Sandy Bridge overclocks to 5.2GHz?

Posted on 1st Oct 2010 at 12:36 by Richard Swinburne with 31 comments

Richard Swinburne
Facebook is occasionally a wonderful thing. Gigabyte employee and extreme performance guru, Hi Cookie, posted a rather interesting and cryptic message today on the book of faces, claiming,

'Air cooling 4C/8T 3Dmark vantage Pass by 5.2GHz, hmm...interesting ^^'

The replies immediately alluded to and assumed Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs, as a "SuperPi sub 7 on air" would smash the current world leader on HWBot.

At this stage it's worth noting that nothing has been confirmed by Gigabyte, the Facebook post merely states that something has been overclocked to 5.2GHz and that it rips through SuperPi.

However, given that the GO OC competition is over and Gigabyte, like other motherboard companies, will be beavering away at optimising their LGA1155 motherboards ready for launch, things do certainly point in the Sandy Bridge direction.

Feel free to see the thread below, and chirp in with your own thoughts on the forums.

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ECS P55H-AK Overclocking

Posted on 26th Sep 2010 at 10:12 by Richard Swinburne with 4 comments

Richard Swinburne
We heard a surprise rumbling from the direction of ECS recently, from its P55H-AK. With a new and rather tasty aesthetic design, and the promise of hitting 5GHz with a K-series CPU got us wondering if ECS had made a board that was.. well, worth buying.

At $300 (it's not yet available in the UK) out of the starting blocks there's already a hefty weight on it for a P55 board, even if it does have extra NF200 and PLX chips to add more PCI Express lanes.

Unperturbed, we still wanted to have a gander at its overclocking capabilities, so we requested a board for a quick test. Once we had it in our mitts we dropped it on the review block (it's a cold piece of granite that bares the scars of previous torture), with a Core i5-750, some 2,200MHz Elpida Hyper and a Titan Fenrir.

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What happens if Intel does end overclocking?

Posted on 29th Jul 2010 at 12:42 by Richard Swinburne with 79 comments

Richard Swinburne
I've taken to the armchair looking out over the veranda, scratching my wispy beard while sipping an ice tea. I've pondered long and hard about the consequences of the overclocking restrictions Intel apparently plans for its upcoming mainstream Sandy Bridge CPUs.

The feedback in our news post mirrored my own initial reaction: how dare Intel! How dare they stop us from generating £700 CPU performance from a £150 one?

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Hardware 13 - A Case of the Uglies

Posted on 28th Jul 2010 at 13:33 by Podcast with 8 comments

Podcast
Welcome one and all to Episode 13 of the bit-tech and Custom PC hardware podcast.

As befits the summer, this episode is a loud, effects laden blockbuster, where the team talk about Intel's K-series overclocking CPUs and the rumours about Sandy Bridge's lack of overclocking.

Antony and James explain our updated case testing methods, and we cast an eye over Cooler Master's HAF X and the Antec Dark Fleet.

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Will mini-ITX lead to disappointment?

Posted on 27th May 2010 at 11:37 by Richard Swinburne with 32 comments

Richard Swinburne
If you've been reading the site recently, you've probably noticed the real resurgence of mini-ITX mortherboards. We've got Intel to thank for that since it's pushing the form factor hard this year - all these new mini-ITX boards are made for its Core i3 and i5 CPus with integrated graphics.

However, mini-ITX has been a real backwater until now, which means that many of the companies are exploring unknown territory.

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AMD 890FX overclocking and memory performance

Posted on 27th Apr 2010 at 12:26 by Richard Swinburne with 3 comments

Today sees the launch of a new six-core consumer CPU from AMD, the Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, and new high-end motherboard chipset, the 890FX.

As you'd expect from a big launch, there's been a lot of jostling for position behind the scenes, especially here in Taipei, Taiwan. As it's a high-end launch, the various motherboard and memory companies involved have been checking out how the new chip and chipset fare with overclocking, and I dropped by G.Skill's offices a couple of weeks ago to get their impressions of AMD's new kit.

At the time, I filed a story about G.Skill's latest 2,500MHz DDR3 but I also had the chance to see the Asus M4A89GTO Pro (890FX/SB850) running four sticks of DDR3 at 1,800MHz, with timings of 6-8-6-24-40-2T.

The overclocked test system used the latest Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition C3, however we also saw it achieve similar memory speeds using a Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition too. The higher frequency is easier to hit with the latest C3 stepping CPUs thanks to AMD’s refinement of its CPU-NB link, but if you have a “good” C2 it can hits these speeds too.

G.Skill were keen to point out that the CAS 6 isn't achievable with every 890FX board at launch, although when as I visited a couple of weeks before the launch, the company's reps told me the FAE teams at each motherboard company still had time to tweak and tune their BIOSes.

4GB memory kits will be available soon and should have either Perfect Storm or Trident heatsinks attached, but the company is as yet undecided about upcoming ranges. As for buying an Asus M4A89GTO Pro - well, when AMD launches its 890FX soon, then you can get one! Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

AMD 890FX overclocking and memory performance
Click to enlarge
AMD 890FX overclocking and memory performance
Click to enlarge
AMD 890FX overclocking and memory performance
Click to enlarge

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The Problem with Overclocking

Posted on 21st Dec 2009 at 10:50 by Clive Webster with 20 comments

Clive Webster
For some completely unknown reason (alright, just one I can’t tell you yet), I’ve spent most of last week testing and overclocking CPUs. Because of the way the magazine deadlines work in the run-up to Christmas, deadlines are tight, but the urge to get the very last MHz from a CPU still bit me pretty hard.

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Budget overclocking is back!

Posted on 30th Nov 2009 at 10:50 by Antony Leather with 25 comments

Antony Leather
I’ve felt a little lost over the last six months or so. AMD still hasn’t come back with a definitive answer to Intel's Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs and even they have been prohibitively expensive for many looking to upgrade from a Core 2 system.

Gone, it seems, are the days of the Core 2 Duo E1200 which could be bagged for less than £40. After a 100% overclock, it could turn into something that gave £150 CPUs a run for their money. I've used the CPU in several systems that I've built for people over the last few years, coupled one of the many budget uberclocking LGA775 boards that were pushed off the production lines.

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Mod of the Month September 2014 in association with Corsair

Mod of the Month September 2014 in association with Corsair

Take a look at six of the best up and coming projects from our modding...
Mod of the Month September 2014 in association with Corsair

Mod of the Month September 2014 in association with Corsair

Take a look at six of the best up and coming projects from our modding...

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