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OC Guide: bringing Haswell-E to its limits

Created: by
Andreas Stegmüller

Page 1: OC Guide: bringing Haswell-E to its limits

intel i7 5960x test teaserIn late August, Intel released their new "Haswell-E" CPUs - since then, the Core i7-5960X has been one of the fastest eight-core CPUs available. But by overclocking and using a good cooling system, you can get even more out of the platform, considerably increasing the performance. How it works, what you need to adjust, what clock speeds can actually be reached, how the performance will improve and what results professional overclockers have achieved, all this and more you will learn in our great Overclocking Guide for the Intel Core i7-5960X.

If you want to assemble the fastest computer, you will not get around Intel's X99 platform - especially if you have multiple graphics cards in SLI or Crossfire configuration and many multicore applications. With eight cores and a base and boost clock of 3.0 to 3.5 GHz, the Intel Core i7-5960X is not only the fastest of the series, but is also usually at the top of the test field in performance benchmarks.

Already at the launch start of the "Haswell-E" CPUs we tried our hand at increasing the performance of the CPUs in an overclocking test. Our pre-production model provided by Intel reached a clock of 3.9 GHz at standard voltage. Increasing the voltage, even 4.4 GHz were no problem. Taking a look around at forums however, we realized that an evaluation sample directly provided by the manufacturer achieved a much better result than the retail models. Although a few forum users achieved such a result, the average joe will have to be satisfied with much leaner high clock speeds. Mostly, standard voltage will yield 3700-3800 MHz, but really fleet models beyond the 4.5-GHz mark are rare - barring the use of expensive cooling systems with liquid nitrogen or dry ice.

We have therefore acquired a boxed model, a sophisticated overclocking board (the ASUS Rampage Extreme V), a high-performance power supply and a water cooler system, and will be giving the Intel Core i7-5960X all hell. The following pages will detail how you can further accelerate your "Haswell-E" CPU, the many voltage regulator adjustments, and the results which can actually be expected from all this.

Before we discuss the details, the next page will show you our test setup.