Overclocking an Intel Core i7-2700K
Author: Debbie Wiles
At the end of October 2011, Intel introduced the Core i7-2700K, the current high-end desktop processor for socket 1155 motherboards. I was due an upgrade, having used my previous computer for well over 5 years, and decided this processor was going to be my introduction to overclocking. I have tested the processor at stock speeds and with various levels of overclocking, to see what sort of performance I can get without exceeding Intel's recommended maximum voltages and core temperatures.
Intel Core i7-2700K runs at a stock frequency of 3.5 GHz, and turbo frequency of 3.9 GHz. This equates to clock multipliers of 35 and 39, with a base clock of 100 MHz. It also has an unlocked multiplier, with a theoretical maximum available multiplier of 57 (although I have yet to see evidence of one running at more than 56x multiplier, and most only reach 55x or less). The maximum safe operating temperature is 72.6C, and a little research revealed that these chips are safe with a core voltage up to 1.425V.
For this feature (the PC used is now my main home/work PC), I used the following components:
The GPU and SSDs won't affect overclocking, but are listed for comparison. For testing with air cooling, I used a Noctua NH-D14 heatsink and fan. For testing with watercooling, I used a Swiftech Apogee XT Rev 2 waterblock, and a water chiller set to 10C. For all tests, the iGPU was disabled, so only pure CPU performance was measured.
I used Intel Burn Test to test for stability at each stage of testing, using 8 threads and maximum stress settings. With these settings, the CPU gets hotter than it ever will during day to day use, and the CPU and memory are tested as thoroughly as possible, using the Linpack algorithm to test the performance of the processor.
Once I established stability I then measured benchmark performance using 4 different CPU benchmarking apps. If you would like to see other benchmarks used in future articles, please contact me so I can add them to my portfolio. I chose SuperPi (1M and 32M tests), Unrar-crack benchmark and wPrime, which are are all standard benchmarks which can be stored and compared with others at hwbot. Fritz Chess Benchmark is another popular benchmark that compares the performance of a processor to a Pentium 3 1.0 GHz.
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