Intel's Core i7 processors slip into a new class of motherboards
with 1366-pin CPU sockets, follow in AMD's footsteps with
a CPU-integrated memory controller and rely on special triple channel DDR3
memory. Overclocking techniques have changed architectures a half dozen times
since the inception of the sport with the Slot 1 Intel Celeron 300A
processor nearly 10 years ago, but each architectural change brings with it new
challenges, new possibilities and period when overclockers are still finding
PCSTATS is still finding its
feet with Core i7 overclocking, but from what we've seen thus far it's
obvious that the motherboard plays a huge role in the CPUs overclocking potential.
Today we'll be overclocking the Intel Core i7 920 processor (S-Spec: SLBCH)
on MSI's Eclipse Plus motherboard, an Intel X58 platform that handles a lot
better than MSI's first socket 1366 board, the X58 Platinum.
Before the Core i7 920 overclocking commenced,
PCSTATS installed three sticks of 2GB Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D DDR3 RAM. High quality, low
latency memory is the cornerstone of a successful overclocking attempt, and
Corsair is among the best performance memory makers out there. The Corsair
TR3X6G1600C8D memory was set to run in DDR3-1066 MHz mode, so as not to hold the
CPU back. All CPU speed throttling options were disabled in the BIOS, including
C1E state, and Speedstep/EIST. The standard Intel reference socket 1366 heatsink
was used for cooling.
Keeping the Core i7 920's CPU clock multiplier set to
20x, the bus speed of the Intel Core i7 920 processor was slowly increased from
133MHz to 200 MHz... then 205... and finally 210MHz. The computer POSTed at that
speed (4.2GHz), but crashed before Windows Vista would load, so we were forced
to take speeds down slightly.
In the end PCSTATS settled a very nice overclock of 20 x
205MHz = 4.10GHz with the Intel Core i7 920 processor - in other words that's an
overclock of 1.425GHz over the processor's default clock speed of 2.675GHz!