Reports have begun to surface that Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge processors are going to be poor overclockers, allowing for only 2-3 percent of OCing headroom before the platform falls flat on its face.
The reason for this is because all of the system buses are going to be tied together in Sandy Bridge, including USB, SATA, PCI, PCI-E, CPU cores, and so forth. The way things work now is you're able to goose additional MHz out of your CPU and memory without affecting other subsets, but that apparently won't be the case with Sandy Bridge, which will use a single internal clock generator linking all the buses together.
As Bit-Tech reports it, at least one Taiwanese motherboard company warned that cranking the Base Clock by just 5MHz is enough to throw a wrench into the whole operation, causing the USB to fail and corrupt the SATA bus.
It's still early, however, and mobo makers could come up with workarounds, but so far it doesn't appear as though Intel is too interested in lending a hand.
A whole boatload of MSI motherboards built around Intel's P55 platform now support the mobo maker's "Super Unlock" technology, giving users a quick and easy way to overclock their Intel Core i7 875K and other unlocked processors.
"When coupled with Intel's Core i7 875K and Core i5 655K, uses need only to press the 'OC Genie' button on their MSI mainboards to 'unlock' the CPU's multiplier and to maximize processor, memory, and chipset performance."
Should you rub MSI's bottle to release the OC Genie, the mobo maker says it will grant your overclocking wishes by boosting processors with a 2.93GHz default clockspeed all the way up to 4.0GHz, resulting in a free performance boost.
See here for a list of supported motherboards and the required BIOS version.
As power users, we sometimes forget how intimidating the BIOS can be to a new or inexperienced user. At the very least, a BIOS can be difficult to decipher, and that applies even if you're a seasoned vet. So why not skip the BIOS altogether? That's the approach MSI has taken with its AMD800 motherboard series, which allows users to unlock CPU cores without ever stepping foot into the BIOS.
"Because of this flexible BIOS core unlock feature, MSI can today announce that it made BIOS unlocking easy and accessible for the big audience who don't know their way into the BIOS screen," MSI said. "The new MSI software tool allows users to unlock CPU cores from Windows with just a few simple clicks, no need to enter the BIOS."
MSI is just one of several motherboard makers who have jumped on the AMD core unlocking bandwagon. It was discovered that some AMD tri- and quad-core processors have additional cores that could be unlocked, and as far as we know, MSI is the only one allowing this through Windows.
If you own one of MSI's AMD800 mainboards, you can download the unlocking software here.
In a couple of weeks, AMD will launch its six-core Phenom II X6 processors and go head-to-head with Intel's sole six-core part, the Core i7 980X. If early overclocking results are any indication, AMD will be putting up a fight.
An overclocker who goes by the name Luca managed to get his hands on an AMD T1090 Black Edition chip and nearly doubled the clockspeed. The part runs 3.2GHz at stock, but with some liquid nitrogen, an ASRock 890GX Extreme3 motherboard, and just 1GB of Kingston RAM, Luca managed to push the processor all the way to 6.29GHz.
Not for the faint of heart, it looks as though Luca had to the juice the CPU to 1.928V, a significant jump over the stock 1.32V setting. Yikes!
Overclockers who decided to save a little jingle by opting for Intel's socket 1156 platform rather than jump on a pricier X58 foundation (socket 1366) are being rewarded with a second unlocked chip to play around with.
We found out earlier this week that Intel plans on releasing a Core i7 875K part, which is essentially the same as the existing Core i7 870, but with an unlocked multiplier. Now we've learned that there will be another, less expensive unlocked chip, the Core i5 655K.
This CPU will be identical to the Core i5 650 part, except that it comes with an unlocked multiplier. For those of you new to the overclocking scene, an unlocked processor allows the end-user can jack up the multiplier above its stock setting, which in some cases can lead to easier overclocking without stressing any other subsystems.
Like the Core i7 875K, the Core i5 650K is expected to surface in early June.
Intel's new Core i7-980X Gulftown processor kicked some serious ass in our first round of benchmarking, but for the most part, it's over clocking potential is still unknown. Its 32nm process should help it run cooler, but the 2 extra cores generate a great deal of extra heat that cannot be ignored. Well if you're worried about buying an over clocking dud, or simply don't have the patience to mess around in the bios, custom builder Origin PC has you covered.
Each and every Core i7 offered has an over clocking option available directly out of the box, and that includes Intel's newest 6 core monster processor. For a mere $1,044 (only $45 over list), customers can get a 1GHz over clock on day one that comes with a manufacturer's warranty. The over clocking option forces you switch over to liquid cooling, but is a great option if you want the fastest rig around, and you can't be bothered to do it yourself.
Here are some of the arguments against overclocking: “It voids the warranty. It stresses the system components beyond their specifications, sometimes to the point of premature death. It requires additional expenditures of power and cooling—and if you screw it up, you can fry your processor.”
And here is the biggest case for overclocking: “It makes my computer run faster.”
Both of those positions are valid. And most folks who have experience in overclocking are well aware of the ones and the zeroes in the equation. But neither of those assertions is compelling enough to end the argument one way or the other—because both of those positions fall short of the real issue.
The EVGA W555 made a brief cameo appearance at CES but the guys at bit-tech managed to get some fantastic tidbits of information about the new workstation/server board. Notably, that it was designed with overclocking and enthusiast level performance in mind.
The quick and dirty facts are that it features dual overclockable LGA1366 sockets, each with a dedicated bank of six DDR3 slots. To top it off, it features seven PCI-E 2.0 slots with dynamic lane configurations and will be certified for SLI and CrossFire. Underneath the massive heatsink/fan are reportedly two nForce 200 controllers as well as an Intel 5520 chip. Further, it features eight SATA ports, 6 running on a 3Gb/sec and two running at 6Gb/sec.
Basically, you couldn’t really ask for too much more out of a motherboard of this caliber. Unfortunately, pricing and other model configurations haven’t been released. The board itself is to be released later this year.
Having trouble overclocking your Nvidia-based graphics card? If so, you may want to give the company's just-released GeForce 196.34 beta drivers a whirl. According to Nvidia, the latest releas fixes a bug with v196.21 that prohibited GPU overclocking, so you should be good to go.
Other than the overclocking fix, the beta driver doesn't appear to bring anything else new to the table, or at least Nvidia hasn't listed any other improvements. But for those of you who decided to skip the previous driver update (196.21) because of the overclocking bug, other new features relevant to both packages include:
SLI and multi-GPU support for "many top new gaming titles," including Avatar Demo, Dirt 2, Mass Effect 2, and others.
Upgrades PhysX System Software to version 9.09.1112.
A ton of bug fixes.
Users without U.S. English operating systems can select their language and download the International driver from here.
The beta driver works with GeForce 6, 7, 8, 9, 100, and 200-series desktop GPUs, as well as Nvidia's Ion graphics.
Yes, a Celeron. Why? For the glory, of course. A devoted overclocker by the name of “TiN” at Xtremelabs claims to have pushed the Intel Celeron-D 347 to an unthinkable 8.20 GHz. This beats the previous record by just 16.8 MHz. Preliminary reports indicate that the CPU did not melt into a pile of slag.
TiN claims to have reached these speeds using a specially modified DFI LanParty UT P35 motherboard, OCZ memory, and every overclocker’s friend – liquid nitrogen. This intrepid soul first had to remove the integrated heat spreader by heating the CPU to over 200°C before installing it into the board.
There are no benchmarks from the super Celeron, and no indication that they would even be all that impressive. Still though, it would be interesting to see just how much better this slow chip performed at an extreme clock. If you have an old Celeron lying around, maybe you won’t need to get that new Core i7 after all.