Upcoming Intel CPUs could have more base clock options

With Sandy Bridge, Intel made overclocking easier and more difficult at the same time. There’s little headroom in the base clock, which anchors everything else on the chip. However, K-series CPUs bring fully unlocked multipliers—and a much simpler overclocking experience—to affordable price points. One can even increase the Turbo multiplier of non-K CPUs, although only by a few speed grades.

Multiplier control seems guaranteed to persist when Intel rolls out its high-end “Sandy Bridge E” processors later this year. According to VR-Zone, that platform will share a CK505 clock generator with the Ivy Bridge refresh due in 2012. The chip purportedly supports different DMI and PCI Express multipliers, allowing for a little more base-clock freedom than Sandy Bridge. VR-Zone says Sandy Bridge E CPUs will offer several base clock speed options between 100 and 250MHz. The site also claims that Ivy Bridge will be restricted to base clock speeds of 100 or 133MHz.

Motherboard makers will let you set just about any base clock you want with Sandy Bridge CPUs, but the lack of proper multipliers for things like DMI and PCIe makes it exceedingly difficult to maintain system stability with more than a few extra MHz. The presence of additional multipliers in Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge E CPUs looks to be a modest improvement on that front. However, outside of competitive overclocking circles, I can’t help but wonder how many folks are even interested in toying with the base clock anymore. Intel has made multiplier-based overclocking cheap enough, easy enough, and smart enough that it’s hard to see the point.

Comments closed
    • odizzido
    • 9 years ago

    Intel should release a processor where you can set the maximum frequency/duration of turbo-boost instead of base clocks.

    Being able to tell turbo-boost to OC to 5.5 and scale back to 4.5 for a long haul would be good. Then it could scale all the way down while you type a message on TR.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 9 years ago

    This is Intel setting up to keep the enthusiast in their camp ahead of Bulldozer and its later iterations.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    OCing being so easy is great. I really hope they make a six core K processor. That will sell me on a new system.

      • gbcrush
      • 9 years ago

      As far as SBE is concerned, the Core i7 3930 should fit the billy. So far, it lacks the K designation , but it is six-core, OC enabled according to all the press I’ve seen.

      [url<]http://vr-zone.com/articles/report-sandy-bridge-e-to-be-branded-core-i7-3000-series/13013.html[/url<]

        • SomeOtherGeek
        • 9 years ago

        And not to mention the 1K price. There is your “K” right there.

          • gbcrush
          • 9 years ago

          Nope. Well, not according to the guesses anyway.

          i7-3960X is the Extreme Edition one. That’s set to be priced at $999

          The i7-3930 (the “K” type Kami) was looking for is aimed at the $560 price point.

          Yeah, I’m not saying that’s cheap, or affordable, or “much better” but THAT is not 1K in price, and so THAT is not where the K is coming from.

          [url<]http://en.expreview.com/2011/07/27/sandy-bridge-e-and-bulldozer-processor-retail-pricings-leaked/18484.html[/url<]

            • SomeOtherGeek
            • 9 years ago

            I know, I know. I was just joking. But thanks for the links anyway.

            • gbcrush
            • 9 years ago

            Sorry, not trying to stomp on you. It’s just that there’s a tangible difference to me. I wouldn’t, to the best of my foreseeable knowledge, pay $999 for a processor.

            …but with the upcoming “big” build I’m turning over in my head, I have occasionally thought (and actually considered) reaching as far as the $560 mark.

            Yeesh 🙂

            • SomeOtherGeek
            • 9 years ago

            Hey, no harm done and I understand where you are coming from.

            BTW, nice build. Hope you get what you want. I might even look at that range too. Interesting times coming.

        • mganai
        • 9 years ago

        Article’s wrong. 3930 will have the K suffix.

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    Multiplier-based overclocking is “cheap enough” if you spend $200 on the CPU. But in the “good old days” you could do terrific things by overclocking a $50 or $100 CPU.

    Then again, I wonder if overclocking is pursued by an ever-smaller number of people. I used to overclock every CPU I got, even if I could only squeeze 100 or 200 extra MHz out of a processor. Now I find myself concluding that it’s not even worth it with my multiplier unlocked i5-2500K or even my multiplier unlocked X4-955 because I find that the CPUs are fast enough at stock, I don’t want the higher power consumption and cooling requirements and noise, I don’t want the extra cost of higher end cooling and power supplies and motherboards, and I just wanna get my work done and watch Netflix rather than spend time running Prime 95 and Memtest and spelunking the BIOS just to get a CPU overclock that probably won’t make my games more playable than they already are.

      • Goty
      • 9 years ago

      I’m the exact same way. I can run my 920 at 4GHz and my 5870 at 1GHz if I crank the fans on my radiator up to 1600rpm, but I’d rather run at stock speeds, leave the fans at 1000rpm and have to feel for the airflow to make sure they’re all really spinning.150 vs 200 FPS in TF2 isn’t that much of a difference.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      It stopped making sense because there aren’t artificial voids in clock speed to differentiate one CPU brand from another. Not too long ago, $60 Pentium meant $300 Core 2 with the clock speed cut in half and a largely frivolous amount of extra cache disabled.

      You could make up the difference by just changing settings, and achieve a “100% overclock” using the stock cooler. It was silly and that quickly came to an end when quad-cores moved below $200.

      Now, the Pentium brand means a CPU built one way, with a particular feature set, and other brands mean something else altogether, but they’re all in the 3 GHz neighborhood – including laptops.

      The last hold out is low end ULV CPUs, but that is a technological issue that will be done away with by Ivy Bridge and Trinity.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 9 years ago

        Exactly right. Chips with marketing-crippled FSBs are made for overclocking. New cheap integrated chips, not so much.

        • flip-mode
        • 9 years ago

        Hmm, but i5-2400, i5-2300, i3-2120, i3-2100 would probably all hit 4.0 GHz if you could adjust the BCLK. It would be perfectly sensible to grab an i3-2100 for $125 and clock it to 4.0 GHz and have a faster CPU than an i5-2600 at stock speed in low-threaded scenarios.

        But wait, I’m not sure you’re talking about the same thing I was, or I don’t understand how. I’m talking about people that would otherwise overclock but choose to not to bother because the stock speed is plenty enough for them at this point. I consider myself in that group with an x4-955 and i5-2500k both sitting at stock.

      • bittermann
      • 9 years ago

      Of course it’s not worth it to OC a $200+ cpu like the 2500K because most games now days don’t take advantage of the extra mhz (unless sli/xfire) but there are still plenty of us who prefer to buy $100 or less cpu’s. We can OC and get more performance from our games with those cpu’s. That is one reason I still like AMD cpu’s as Intel has dumbed it down to the point that even console fanbois could OC on a pc now!

        • mganai
        • 9 years ago

        Because easy OCing = useless, amirite?

        And maybe it’s that the 2500K already gets better performance on base speeds than those $100 and under CPUs overclocked that you’re saying those get more performance gains out of overclocking. Besides, no matter how little or how much today’s games will get out of overclocking it, the 2500K has a higher performance ceiling.

      • ALiLPinkMonster
      • 9 years ago

      I agree. My first build involved one of the fastest Pentium 4s ever made. That thing was a nuclear reactor. I put water cooling on it and brought it from 3.2GHz all the way to 4.0GHz. It made BF2 run so much smoother. Now, it appears that a X4 840 will run just about any game perfectly fine with the right graphics card.

      I assume it’s because since the advent of multi-core processors, developers are focusing more and more on writing programs that take advantage of the extra cores rather than the fast clock speeds. 3.0GHz and up has been “fast enough” for the vast majority of desktop tasks for quite a while now. I also assume that we are inching closer to a time where both clock speed and core count will have a significant impact on performance, especially in games.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 9 years ago

      Ye, them’s twas good ol’ days.

      Now, every time I do a new build, I just spend a hour or so, seeing how high I can go and then set everything back to default knowing what it is capable of doing. Also, I have to admit, it stroke my epeen too.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      OCing was so much more fun back then when you had to manually cut wires and short other ones with conducting paste.

      I need a new hobby. What should I do? Build a boombox with a 15″ sub, a Class-D amp and a car battery feeding it all? I could put wheels on it too, so it’s easier to move around

        • puppetworx
        • 9 years ago

        You’ve got to know your limits with a boombox. I suggest robotic falconry.

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