Intel i7 2600K (Sandy Bridge) Review

New architectures are a blast. Not only do we get new hardware to toy with, but we see greater efficiency and new features. The gag order has been lifted on Intel’s latest offering: ‘Sandy Bridge’. We’re only too happy to bring you all the juicy details on the i7 2600K CPU and P67-based motherboard we’re looking at today!

The Sandy Bridge Architecture

Entire Sandy Bridge Wafer

Entire Sandy Bridge Wafer

Sandy Bridge Wafer

Sandy Bridge Wafer

There are already extremely detailed overviews of Sandy Bridge out there, the most notable of which came our way from AnandTech in September. What we’ll offer today is a shorter version, focused on the details of the desktop enthusiast-level chips.

From the start Sandy Bridge is meant to be a mainstream platform. Aimed mostly at the average user, all of these new chips have on-die GPUs sufficient for non-gaming daily use. They are releasing a new laptop series soon with the same features, however, we want desktop performance and overclocking ability and that’s what we’ll look for today. Sandy Bridge represents the second generation of Intel’s Core line of processors, which is why they have a iX 2xxx naming scheme. The 2 designates that these are second generation Core iX CPUs.

Tick Tock!

Tick Tock!

2nd Generation Overview

2nd Generation Overview

2nd Generation Features

2nd Generation Features

Intel CPU development alternates between “Ticks” (process shrinks) and “Tocks” (micro-architecture redesigns): Sandy Bridge is the latest “Tock”. Intel has been producing 32 nm chips for a little while now and are working hard to perfect their properties.

A couple of things have changed since the last iteration. Arguably the most important change is that the chip’s northbridge and GPU are both on-die with this new generation. The P55 platform from the previous generation had both integrated graphics and northbridge – they were inside the same CPU package, but were on a physically separate chip. This both helps and hurts. With the new ring bus, LLC (Last Level Cache, formerly L3 Cache) is shared amongst all components, including the GPU. This doesn’t affect anyone who uses a discrete GPU, but will potentially make a difference when using the on-die GPU.

Speaking of  GPUs: the number of available PCIe lanes remains the same from the P55 platform to the P67 platform, with 16 in total for use as either 1×16 or as 2×8 in crossfire / SLI. Additional lanes will likely come via an NF200 chip as on boards from both P55 and X58 platforms.

Sandy Bridge Die

Sandy Bridge Die

CPU Architecture Labeled

CPU Architecture Labeled

Turbo boost gets a re-vamp as well and is branded as Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. The implementation seems to be more seamless than in the previous generation. In fact, this is how you overclock these processors – at least on the Intel board used in this review. I could find no way to turn off frequency throttling and maintain a constant frequency. There is a maximum non-turbo multiplier (in this case that’s 34) and then adjustable turbo multipliers. The way to overclock is by raising the maximum turbo multiplier on all cores while raising voltage(s) as necessary. It’s definitely very different but Turbo 2.0 remains seamless even with relatively heavy overclocks.

Intel Turbo 2.0

Intel Turbo 2.0

Intel Turbo Monitor

Intel Turbo Monitor

Intel has two new pieces of software for us as well. First is the Turbo Monitor pictured above and second is their Extreme Tuning Utility which is similar to AMD’s OverDrive. I’m not sure if it will be usable on all P67 boards or just Intel-branded ones, but the comment below about customizing the plug-in or using Intel’s GUI suggests that it may be usable by everyone.

Intel Extreme Tuning Utility

Intel Extreme Tuning Utility

The utility is not without its quirks though. Unfortunately, it requires the PC to be restarted in order to adjust the turbo multipliers, so overclockers using Windows may wish to find something else to keep them in the OS while pushing the clocks. Overall, it’s a pretty useful tool.

Efficiency per clock is a big thing with Sandy Bridge’s release. We’ll show our own results in a bit, but here are Intel’s own benches against the Core i7 870 from the previous generation.

Productivity Comparison

Productivity Comparison

Content Creation Comparison

Content Creation Comparison

This is not a bad show. We’ll be comparing our review sample to an i7 870 as well so we’ll see how things work out in our benchmark suite.

Now we get to the most interesting point: overclocking. Just a few years ago, nobody would officially acknowledge overclocking occurred, yet now almost every manufacturer produces parts specifically designed for it. How times have changed!

In the slide on the left below, you can see that the CPU Core, RAM ratio and current limiters are all unlocked on the K-series CPUs. There are only two of these at launch so our choices are limited but with the flexibility it offers, maybe that’s not too bad. The slide on the right is the kicker for extreme overclockers; specifically the box to the left in that slide. I’ll give that a minute to sink in.

Unlocked CPU, Memory and Current

Unlocked CPU, Memory and Current

The Other Side of the Coin - Multi Limit

The Other Side of the Coin - Multi Limit

Yep, there is a physical limit to how far these CPUs can overclock. The farthest you will get with an i7 2600K is a multiplier of 57x, or 5.7 GHz at the base clock of 100 MHz. If you are able to push the BCLK up to, say, 106 MHz, than right at 6.0 GHz is where you’d end up. This is a limit “defined by the microarchitecture”, so I’m not sure motherboard manufacturers will be able to do anything about it. Our only hope is that someone comes up with a way to separate the BCLK itself from the remainder of the CPU’s mechanisms, and based on how things look that’s unlikely.

All of that said, the “limitation” affects a very small subset of overclockers, who are themselves a small subset of users. Not many people have access to or even try to overclock with extreme cooling so that limitation is one only a few of us will come up against. For a normal, ambient-cooled overclocker it’s likely to be a non-issue. Last, but certainly not least, we’ll see how these things are priced!

Sandy Bridge Lineup With Prices

Sandy Bridge Lineup With Prices

Sandy Bridge Lineup With Prices

Sandy Bridge Lineup With Prices

It turns out that the pricing is very reasonable. Remember that these are price-per-thousand numbers, but even so a price of $317 for the highest-end unlocked Sandy Bridge CPU isn’t bad at all. It’s even better when you compare the K-series to the non-unlocked brethren. The i5 2500K is only $11 more than the i5 2500 and the i7 2600K is only $23more than its locked counterpart.

The P67 Platform Controller Hub (PCH)

There are two PCH’s coming out to for consumer-level Sandy Bridge – H67 and P67. The biggest addition is native support for SATA 6Gb/s but only two out of the six ports are capable of that speed. The other four retain the SATA II specification of 3Gb/s. According to this chart P67 only allows you to use discrete graphics cards and doesn’t allow use of the on-die graphics at all.

6-Series Chipset Diagrams

6-Series Chipset Diagrams

One glaring omission here is support for USB 3.0, which still requires a third-party controller. Presumably (and purely speculatively) this may be Intel attempting to help pave the way for its Light Peak technology. Ostensibly, they “…are absolutely committed to USB 3.0 and beyond that,” but with lots of enthusiast boards already coming with USB 3.0 support, it does seem conspicuously missing with the 6-series chips. Enough of my assumptions though: here are the comparison and feature charts for the new chipsets.

6-Series Comparison Chart

6-Series Comparison Chart

6-Series Features

6-Series Features

Intel DP67BG - Specifications and Features

Feature packed is a good word for this one: for all the details, check out the feature and specification charts. There will most likely be a raft of new boards from the usual suspects, however this Intel-branded board ticks most of the boxes.

Board Features

Board Features

Board Specifications

Board Specifications

Notable features include:

  • Support for DDR3 RAM (dual channel)
  • Support for 1×16 lane PCIe or 2×8 lane (for crossfire or SLI)
  • Two SATA ports support 6 Gb/s and four run at up to 3 Gb/s
  • RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 support
  • Infra-red receiver/transmitter built in
  • Two USB 3.0 ports and eight USB 2.0 ports (plus six USB 2.0 ports via headers)

First Impressions and Tour

Intel isn’t known for boards about which overclockers jump up and down excitedly. That said, this looks like a relatively solid offering for the casual overclocker or gamer.

Intel DP67BG Box

Intel DP67BG Box

Intel DP67BG First Look

Intel DP67BG First Look

Intel DP67BG

Intel DP67BG

Intel DP67BG

Intel DP67BG

Intel DP67BG

Intel DP67BG

Intel DP67BG

Intel DP67BG

You can see the features of the board in the charts above; we’ll just show some highlights that overclockers would find appealing. One nice feature is status LEDs, similar to what you’ll find on ASUS boards. They’ll tell you where your boot is failing if you run into problems.

Very welcome features for overclockers and benchmarkers (who often forgo a case) are onboard power and reset buttons. Also photographed are the BIOS chip and the POST code indicator, for further troubleshooting if necessary.

Status LEDs

Status LEDs

Onboard Switches

Onboard Switches

A cool thing if you’re into lights and such: the skull image (emblematic of Intel’s Extreme motherboards) actually blinks red with HDD activity. It can be switched on and off via the BIOS. It doesn’t help with performance but it looks rather cool.

Skull

Skull

Last, but not least the reason we’re all here – the i7 2600K CPU!

i7 2600K

i7 2600K

i7 2600K Rear

i7 2600K Rear

Functionally the board is pretty decent overall. My only beef is with the BIOS (which is not UEFI, by the way). It really needs an updated BIOS to address some quirks. Four big ones come to mind.

  • First, getting into the BIOS can be a pain. You absolutely must tap F2 continuously from the get-go just to try and get in. Even then it might ignore you and boot to the OS.
  • Second is the way it overclocks. You can’t just increase the multiplier. You have to leave the base non-turbo multiplier alone (it won’t allow greater than 34). To overclock, EIST and turbo must remain enabled and you increase the turbo multipliers to overclock. It’s ok once you get used to it, but lots of people would prefer to just raise the normal multiplier, as can be done with the previous generation of chips. This is not how other boards implement overclocking.
  • Third: memory overclocking. The available memory multipliers aren’t very useful if you can’t use them. I was using DDR3-2400 RAM for this review and it would not boot at any setting greater than DDR3-1600 with any timing combination. The BIOS was re-flashed just to make sure nothing had gone awry and there was no improvement. After plugging the same CPU and RAM into another board (ASRock) and booting up at DDR3-2133, I think it’s safe to conclude the BIOS needs some tweaking.
  • Last, there was an odd phenomenon with booting to the OS. From a cold boot, or from one where the board had to reset itself after changing overclock settings, the system would stall booting into the OS. Only from a state where the board physically powered down (for a second or hours) did this happen. Any other time it booted right into the OS in seconds. This is another quirk not experienced on another board, so like the other issues this is not platform-related.

This may be stating the obvious, but this isn’t a board for extreme overclockers. With the BIOS quirks (you don’t want to be sitting below zero waiting for the OS to load) and the smaller power section (I count six chokes) extreme benchmarkers will want to go with another solution. However, assuming the BIOS gets ironed out, this one would be a decent choice for overclockers and gamers looking for reasonable everyday overclocks and a good feature set.

“Stock” Cooler

Since the chip and board didn’t come in a retail packages, Intel sent one of their more stout coolers: the XTS100H. It seems half-way decent so it was used throughout this review.

XTS100H Box

XTS100H Box

XTS100H Box Rear

XTS100H Box Rear

This is definitely not what one would expect Intel to send, but it is a pleasant surprise nonetheless. The base had a respectable mirror finish and the backplate, while plastic, seems solid enough for the job.

Intel XTS100H Unboxed

Intel XTS100H Unboxed

Quiet / Performance Switch

Quiet / Performance Switch

XTS100H Base / Mounting Bracket

XTS100H Base / Mounting Bracket

It turns out that this cooler actually has some pretty decent cooling ability as you’ll see below. This was on a rather slow auto setting too: the Intel BIOS control wasn’t so johnny on the spot. When cranked on another (non-Intel) test board, the fan can get rather loud and is roughly equivalent to the 5870′s fan turned all the way up. Based on past experience, I’d assess it overall as similar to an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro: it’s not record setting, but not bad in its own right.

Overclocking for Stability

Like most new platforms, there was a small learning curve when overclocking. If you’re going from an earlier iX platform to this one it’s not very steep and is a breeze once you figure it out. There are essentially three items you need to increase – Vcore, current limit and multiplier. There are more items that be tweaked but those are the basics. With this Intel board there is really no way to turn off EIST / C-states and retain overclocking ability because you must use the turbo multipliers to overclock.

As mentioned, there is no increasing the base multiplier. On this board, it is called the “Maximum Non-Turbo Ratio” and it tops out at 34. To overclock you must increase the turbo multipliers, of which there are four – one for each core. On other boards the base multiplier can be used instead. To keep results consistent across single- and multi- threaded benchmarks, I went with the same multiplier across all cores.What’s impressive is how far this thing went with relatively small voltage increase.

LinX Stressing at 4.3 GHz / 1.312 v

LinX Stressing at 4.3 GHz / 1.312 v

LinX Passed at 4.3 GHz with 1.312 v

LinX Passed at 4.3 GHz with 1.312 v

That’s right: 4.3 GHz, using an Intel air cooler no less. Temperatures did get a bit warm, but improving the cooling would decrease those substantially. If Core Temp is accurate, these CPUs don’t throttle until 98° C, so there’s still more headroom for those more daring. Regardless, such speed on a small air cooler yields a completely stable machine with reasonable temperatures for a 24/7 overclock, which is really impressive. Even if extreme benchmarkers pass this generation up, those who want strong daily drivers certainly shouldn’t.

Test System, Opponents and Methodology

We’ve got some stiff competition lined up for today’s review in order to find out exactly how good this CPU is. For all benches except PoVRay and 7-zip (which were all added after the other chips had come and gone), there are two AMD and three Intel entries.

The i7 870, Phenom II x4 965 BE and Phenom II x6 1100T BE were all run at stock and with their 24/7 overclocks of 4.0 Ghz. This speed was determined in part because of thermal concerns. Additionally, the i7 870 was not stable at the 4.3 GHz that the Sandy Bridge chip reached, so results were displayed at its stable overclock. The same applies to the Phenom II chips.

Also included in the result charts are benches of an i5 655K (whose 24/7 overclock was a respectable 4.5 GHz) and a Xeon W3570 (thanks to Overclockers.com writer EarthDog). The W3570 is the Xeon equivalent to an i7 960 and runs on an X58 platform. For a head-to-head platform comparison, it was run at 4.3 GHz, just like the Sandy Bridge chip.

So, all laid out next to each other (in two charts due to width/formatting issues), here is the competition:

Processor i7 2600K W3570 i7 870
Stock / Overclocked Speeds (GHz) 3.4 / 4.3 OC only @ 4.3 3.2 / 4.0
Motherboard Intel DP67BG EVGA FTW3 EVGA P55 FTW
RAM Patriot DDR3-2400 G.Skill Pi DDR3-2400
RAM Speed (overclocked) DDR3-1600 DDR3-1600 DDR3-2400
RAM Timings 8-8-8-24 8-8-8-24 9-11-9-28
GPU (for total 3DMark Score Only) ASUS Matrix 5870 Platinum n/a ASUS Matrix 5870 Platinum
Operating System Windows 7 x64 Windows 7 x64 Windows 7 x64

Processor i5 655K X4 965BE X6 1100T
Stock / Overclocked Speeds (GHz) 3.2 / 4.5 3.4 / 4.0 3.3 / 3.7
Motherboard EVGA P55 FTW ASUS Crosshair IV Formula ASUS Crosshair IV Formula
RAM G.Skill Pi DDR3-2400 G.Skill Pi DDR3-2400 G.Skill Flare DDR3-2000
RAM Speed (overclocked) DDR3-1600 DDR3-1600 DDR3-1600
RAM Timings 8-8-8-24 9-9-9-24 9-9-9-24
GPU (for total 3DMark Score Only) Gigabyte 5870 SOC ASUS Matrix 5870 Platinum ASUS Matrix 5870 Platinum
Operating System Windows 7 x64 Windows 7 x64 Windows 7 x64

All benches at stock speed were run three times with the average displayed in the results. Overclocked benches were run once.

Important notes regarding the results below; please read! There is a change from my previous reviews. After feedback about the range-adjusted result graphs, I’ve taken a new approach. All of the graphs are now based on relative performance.

The 100.00% point in each graph is the score or time obtained by the i7 2600K at stock. Every other result is expressed as a percentage of that result. For scored benchmarks, above 100% means the score was better than the stock i7 2600K result and below means it was worse. For timed benchmarks, below 100% means the time was faster (better) and above means it was slower (worse).

In parenthesis below the benchmark name inside the graphs, you will see what the benchmark measures (i.e. seconds, scored, MIPS, etc) as well as whether a higher or lower percentage is better.  The actual scores / times are displayed in tables below the graphs.

Benchmark Results

Up first, we’ll explore some real-world productivity benchmarks.

Rendering Performance

Cinebench is a solid rendering benchmark. R10 isn’t quite as precise as R11.5 with some variation between runs but it’s still a good tool to show rendering comparisons.

Cinebench R10

Cinebench R10

Cinebench R11.5

Cinebench R11.5

Cinebench R10 and Cinebench R11.5
Processor R10 R11.5
Phenom II x4 965 14090 4.04
x4 965 @ 4GHz 16268 4.67
Phenom II x6 1100T 19014 5.89
x6 1100T @4GHz 22779 7.05
i5 655K 10076 2.67
i5 655k @ 4.5GHz 14024 3.76
i7 870 18547 5.49
i7 870 @ 4GHz 23260 6.85
W3570 @ 4.3GHz 25192 7.46
i7 2600K 23120 6.92
i7 2600K @ 4.3GHz 28817 8.54

What a comparison it is, too! Overclocked, the 2600K trounces the X58-based competition by over 15%. At stock it performs equally as good as the overclocked i7 870 and overclocked 1100T. This is what you call starting off on the right foot.

PoV Ray is a new addition to the rendering suite. As this was a late addition not all CPUs made it into this comparison.

PoV Ray 3.7 Beta 40

PoV Ray 3.7 Beta 40

PoV Ray 3.7 beta 40
Processor PPS
Phenom II x6 1100T 4887.10
x6 1100T @4GHz 5934.89
i7 870 4271.19
i7 870 @ 4GHz 5353.26
i7 2600K 5447.37
i7 2600K @ 4.3GHz 6597.64

Same story, different bench. This thing renders like mad compared to its predecessor. The 1100T performed more admirably this time when overclocked but still can’t touch the 2600K when it raises the bar.

File Compression

One more real world test and we’ll move on. Compression is important to any computer user, and with files/programs growing as quickly as they are, compression and decompression are an every day fact of life. No one wants to sit around and wait while their processor, well, processes. Like PoV Ray, this was the other late addition and doesn’t have all CPUs featured.

7zip Compression Benchmark

7zip Compression Benchmark

7-zip Compression Bench
Processor MIPS
Phenom II x6 1100T 18239
x6 1100T @4GHz 22472
i7 870 18420
i7 870 @ 4GHz 23344
i7 2600K 20684
i7 2600K @ 4.3GHz 24868

Rendering it is not; with stock results being out-paced by the overclocked Thuban and Lynnfield. It still walks away handily by 12% and 8%, respectively when overclocked.

3D Performance

Real world is important considering that’s how most of us use our computers, but for a lot of us it’s not as fun as benchmarking! So let’s get on with it. First up, 3D benches starting with 3DMark Vantage.

3DMark Vantage - Total Score

3DMark Vantage - Total Score

3DMark Vantage - CPU Only

3DMark Vantage - CPU Only

3DMark Vantage
Processor Total Score Processor CPU Score
Phenom II x4 965 15621 Phenom II x4 965 11692
x4 965 @ 4GHz 16791 x4 965 @ 4GHz 13595
Phenom II x6 1100T 17462 Phenom II x6 1100T 17021
x6 1100T @4GHz 18891 x6 1100T @4GHz 20350
i5 655K 14688 i5 655K 9252
i5 655k @ 4.5GHz 17336 i5 655k @ 4.5GHz 12725
i7 870 @ 4GHz 20988 i7 870 19864
i7 2600K 20348 i7 870 @ 4GHz 24613
i7 2600K @ 4.3GHz 21494 W3570 @ 4.3GHz 26616
i7 2600K 23781
i7 2600K @ 4.3GHz 29236

Yet again it beats out every competitor. Only the overclocked i7 870 and W3570 beat the 2600K at stock. Overclocked, Sandy Bridge beats everything. Clock for clock, it scored 11% over the X58-based competition’s CPU score.  The Thuban didn’t stand a chance.

3DMark06 - Total Score

3DMark06 - Total Score

3DMark06 - CPU Only

3DMark06 - CPU Only

3DMark06
Processor Total Score Processor CPU Score
Phenom II x4 965 18920 Phenom II x4 965 4768
x4 965 @ 4GHz 21405 x4 965 @ 4GHz 5475
Phenom II x6 1100T 20470 Phenom II x6 1100T 5978
x6 1100T @4GHz 22864 x6 1100T @4GHz 7041
i5 655K 17322 i5 655K 3367
i5 655k @ 4.5GHz 22773 i5 655k @ 4.5GHz 4668
i7 870 @ 4GHz 24380 i7 870 5440
i7 2600K 24394 i7 870 @ 4GHz 6479
i7 2600K @ 4.3GHz 27847 W3570 @ 4.3GHz 7501
i7 2600K 6707
i7 2600K @ 4.3GHz 8197

The results of 3DMark06 are very similar, but with the overclocked 1100T trading places with the overclocked i7 870. Again, the overclocked 2600K beats the W3570′s CPU score by 11%.

2D Performance

Pifast is a fun 2D bench. It’s quick and it tends to complete runs around the same clocks as SuperPi 1M.

PiFast

PiFast

PiFast
Processor Seconds
Phenom II x4 965 25.62
x4 965 @ 4GHz 22.23
Phenom II x6 1090T 24.42
x6 10900T @4GHz 21.99
i5 655K 27.89
655k @ 4.5GHz 20.63
i7 870 24.77
i7 870 @ 4GHz 21.82
W3570 @ 4.3GHz 19.82
i7 2600K 19.87
i7 2600K @ 4.3GHz 17.02

Talk about a strong performance! The only thing that beats the 2600K at stock is the overclocked W3570, and even then only by 0.25%. After being overclocked it simply trounces the competition.

SuperPi 1M

SuperPi 1M

SuperPi 32M

SuperPi 32M

SuperPi
Processor SuperPi 1M Processor SuperPi 32M
Phenom II x4 965 20.322 Phenom II x4 965 20:07.603
x4 965 @ 4GHz 17.441 x4 965 @ 4GHz 17:37.260
Phenom II x6 1100T 18.861 Phenom II x6 1100T 18:50.128
x6 1100T @4GHz 17.250 x6 1100T @4GHz 17:06.291
i5 655K 13.104 i5 655K 12:36.063
655k @ 4.5GHz 9.344 655k @ 4.5GHz 9:25.515
i7 870 12.063 i7 870 10:41.453
i7 870 @ 4GHz 10.477 i7 870 @ 4GHz 9:21.789
W3570 @ 4.3GHz 9.500 W3570 @ 4.3GHz 8:42.320
i7 2600K 10.041 i7 2600K 9:05.741
i7 2600K @ 4.3GHz 8.595 i7 2600K @ 4.3GHz 7:57.736

Ahh, SuperPi, how Intel loves ye. AMD hasn’t even been in the ballpark since the Core 2 range of chips with this bench. What I definitely didn’t expect was almost breaking 10 seconds in SiperPi 1M at stock, or actually breaking 8 minutes at SuperPi 32M at a 24/7 overclock! The 655K comes closest here with a 200 MHz advantage but still loses by just under 8%.

So Intel continues to improve its already substantial lead in single-threaded 2D benchmarks. What about multi-threaded?

WPrime 32M

WPrime 32M

WPrime 1024M

WPrime 1024M

WPrime
Processor WPrime 32M Processor WPrime 1024M
Phenom II x4 965 11.414 Phenom II x4 965 357.934
x4 965 @ 4GHz 9.824 x4 965 @ 4GHz 309.052
Phenom II x6 1100T 8.019 Phenom II x6 1100T 242.581
x6 1100T @4GHz 6.619 x6 1100T @4GHz 199.051
i5 655K 15.413 i5 655K 428.208
655k @ 4.5GHz 10.971 655k @ 4.5GHz 343.043
i7 870 8.063 i7 870 241.904
i7 870 @ 4GHz 6.378 i7 870 @ 4GHz 193.383
W3570 @ 4.3GHz 6.148 W3570 @ 4.3GHz 178.681
i7 2600K 7.337 i7 2600K 220.967
i7 2600K @ 4.3GHz 5.769 i7 2600K @ 4.3GHz 178.044

Well, it didn’t walk away with this one as easily as the single-threaded benches but it didn’t lose by any stretch. Overclocked, it does retain a 5% advantage against the best competitor in WPrime 32M. The closest competition of the day (but with the 2600K still coming out on top) was in WPrime 1024M. Only the W3570 was within striking distance though, with all others falling 7% and more behind.

Memory Subsystem

With a maximum allowable memory speed (if you don’t take small BCLK adjustments into account) of DDR3-2133, it makes you wonder how memory bandwidth and latencies compare with the previous generation, which can run DDR3-2400 as a 24/7 setting. First up, stock performance with both CPUs at DDR3-1600 and 8-8-8-28. Rather than graphs, let’s let the screenshots to do the talking.

Maxxmem - i7 870 / DDR3-1600

Maxxmem - 870 Stock / DDR3-1600

Maxxmem - 2600K Stock / DDR3-1600

Maxxmem - 2600K Stock / DDR3-1600

It’s barely even a contest. Over five GB(that’s gigabytes)-per-second faster with lower latency. How about when you overclock them both? On the left below is the 870 at 4.0 GHz and its memory at DDR3-2400 with timings of 9-11-9-28. On the right is the 2600K (on an ASRock board because the Intel board didn’t like faster memory settings) at 4.3 GHz and its memory at DDR3-2133 and 9-11-9-27.

Maxxmem - 870 @ 4.0 GHz / DDR3-2400

Maxxmem - 870 @ 4.0 GHz / DDR3-2400

Maxxmem - 2600K @ 4.3 GHz / DDR3-2133

Maxxmem - 2600K @ 4.3 GHz / DDR3-2133

Not only does the Sandy Bridge chip overtake the Lynnfield when the latter has a higher memory overclock (though it didn’t quite catch the latency), you might want to jump back to the stock 2600K screenshot. The latency is a little slower, but the stock 2600K has higher memory bandwidth, with much lower memory and CPU clocks. Intel really outdid themselves this time.

Pushing the Envelope

While there isn’t a sub-zero component to this review (though one is planned for a future motherboard review), I wanted to push this Intel cooler for all it’s worth. We already have a stellar 24/7 stable overclock at 4.3 GHz, but benchers are never satisfied for long. A clock speed of 5 GHz was the goal, and what do you know? It made it without much fuss!

CPUz Valid at 5.0 GHz

CPUz Valid at 5.0 GHz

While toying around, with questions surrounding the bclk limitations I checked to see the maximum that would boot, which turned out to be 106 MHz in BIOS (105.76 in Windows). If you’re able to make it to 106 bclk at the maximum multiplier of 57, that’s a 6042 MHz absolute maximum overclock. Not too many will make it quite that far though.

Maximum Bclk @ 106 MHz

Maximum Bclk @ 106 MHz

Back to the matter at hand though, let’s see how 5 GHz looks in few benchmarks.

Pifast @ 5 Ghz

Pifast @ 5 Ghz

First up, PiFast, which came in at a very respectable 14.73 seconds. As of 12/30/10,  that was the 220th fastest PiFast time in the world on HWBot, which should net about 8.2 global points.

SuperPi 1M @ 5 Ghz

SuperPi 1M @ 5 Ghz

SuperPi 32M @ 5 Ghz

SuperPi 32M @ 5 Ghz

Wow this thing is fast: 5.0 GHz, on air and coming in at 7.426 sec and 7 min 02.605 sec for 1 M and 32 M is just insane. That’s 282nd in the world for 5.5 global points and 279th in the world for 5.4 points, respectively. While it’s not setting records, those results are in there amongst dry ice, liquid nitrogen and cascade scores. This is on air in an un-tweaked install of Windows 7 x64 – and only at 5.0 GHz!

WPrime 32M @ 5 Ghz

WPrime 32M @ 5 Ghz

This one I was especially happy to do – break the five second barrier. While not as impressive as far as ranking on HWBot (especially against Intel hex-cores), for an air cooled CPU to compete at that level is impressive in and of itself.

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

Sandy Bridge is an impressive microarchitecture to say the least. It beats the platform it’s replacing in every benchmark, humbling the Intel i7 870. Even better, clock-for-clock it beat an X58 setup in every benchmark!

Extreme benchmarkers might want to take a pass (though a lot won’t – few of them can resist playing with a new platform). According to this post at Xtreme Systems, which has been verified by overclockers I know and trust, it seems taking these sub-zero doesn’t necessarily improve results.

Q: How does it do Under Liquid Nitrogen?
A: As the Core frequency scaling capability is inversely proportional with respect to the change of temperature when the CPU temperature goes down too low, the overclock capability of the CPU actually reduces dramatically when it reaches below zero degrees. For example, a CPU may do 5.0GHz @ 0C, but only 4.9GHz @ -40C. The ideal temperature for overclocking the Sandy Bridge processor under the P67 platform is around 15~20 degrees.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to find out for myself, but it does temper expectations. It’s also somewhat frustrating that overclockers are limited to only two processors out of an entire lineup. No K designation means no overclocking with those chips, period. There’s no getting around it. However, when looking at the full lineup, only the i3′s don’t come with an unlocked chip. Both i5 and i7 Sandy Bridge chips have unlocked options. Two out of six chips isn’t too bad. (Two out of eight if you count i3.) Plus the premium you pay for the unlocked privilege isn’t very steep to begin with; a welcome change when talking about Intel.

Anyone that doesn’t focus solely on extreme clocks and is in need of an upgrade would be well served to give the Sandy Bridge platform a good hard look. Efficiency per clock is out of this world. Add to that the potential for 24/7 overclocks easily in excess of 4 GHz and you have a winning combination on your hands. Everything except sub-zero performance is absolutely stellar. Sandy bridge beats out its P55 predecessor handily. It also beats a  quad-core X58 setup clock for clock (Intel hex-cores will still have an advantage in multi-threaded programs and benchmarks) and anything AMD has to offer to date (bulldozer, bulldozer; wherefore art thou bulldozer?).

Considering the reasonable price of $317 for the top-of-the-line i7 2600K, this one is hard to beat. AMD’s hex-cores come in about $50 cheaper, but if you have the extra cash to spare, the advantages Sandy Bridge offer in productivity and benchmarking are tough to pass up. Without a doubt, Sandy Bridge (K-series only!) is definitely Overclockers Approved.

Jeremy Vaughan (hokiealumnus)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

172 Comments:

Brolloks's Avatar
Very impressed with the efficiency of this architecture

Excellent review Jeremy, thanks for getting it out so early
trueplaya4ever8's Avatar
So when are all the new toys going to be available for the masses?

I want one!
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Quad cores should be available later this week.
trueplaya4ever8's Avatar
Awesome! Looks like it will be upgrade time come tax returns!
geeeduck's Avatar
Wow, He did that whole review with that intel heatsink?
Does that mean we should be able to get the 2600k to it's max overclock with
something like a NH-D14?
trueplaya4ever8's Avatar
Miahallen did a review of the Asus Maximus IV and the 2600k. 5.1ghz

http://www.techreaction.net/2011/01/...n-p67-part-12/
beenthere's Avatar
It looks like no top end improvement per se, just some efficiency and improved value downstream.
wingman99's Avatar
I hope that was not a cherry picked CPU by Intel.
kraven's Avatar
5 ghz on air? That's amazing! I find it odd that the lower the temp, the lower the OC. What's up with that?
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Thanks for the kind words Edmund!
Max overclock, as in the 57x multiplier? Doubtful. With potential subzero problems, I'm not sure if we'll get there with this round of CPUs. Only time will tell as people have more of a chance to play with them.
If you mean ultimate frequency maximum, that's correct. It's physically impossible to get much north of 6 GHz. But I'd say it's a lot of efficiency, not just some. This new 'mainstream' platform just beat up on an X58-based system. If you want maximum clocks and clocking flexibility and are happy with your current setup, it may be best to wait until X58's successor. If you plan on upgrading and don't use extreme cooling, this is a very tempting replacement.
I highly doubt it. They sent out dozens (hundreds?) of these all over the world. I wouldn't think it cost-effective to cherry pick every sample. Mine was a later ES as well as it came with the retail D2 stepping.
No clue what-so-ever. Several people I trust implicitly in such matters say it's true. Being the stubborn person I am, you'd better believe I'll find out when I get a board for review worthy of going cold, but I don't have any reason to doubt them.
Castiel's Avatar
Hoping the boards atleast hit newegg today.
flopper's Avatar
Likely depends on how they design the chip.
lot of small transistors and strange new metal gates.
ghost_recon88's Avatar
There are boards available from several sites already, Provantage and Allstarshop.com, both of which I will vouch for. Now if only they would hurry up and launch the chips
Castiel's Avatar
Looking for the Maximus IV. No one seems to have it in the states
freeagent's Avatar
Kinda kicking myself for buying a hex now. This arch. is impressive

Reading this review made wakeing up a pleasent experience today

I guess the hex would be ok for htpc duties
David's Avatar
Nice review hokie!

Regarding the trend between temperature and overclock: I wonder if this is a result of the silicon design? I'd need to read more into the physics behind semiconductors, but there must be some design factor at play here?
Castiel's Avatar
I'm blown away by the reviews. I honestly didn't expect them up for a few more days
Techboy10's Avatar
Looks like I'm going Sandy Bridge (probably i7-2600k) instead of the i7-950 I was looking at

5 GHz on air?? Yes please!!!

So glad I waited to purchase my new system.
EarthDog's Avatar
Hokie, this is one of the best reviews I have seen at this site. Tremendous work!!!

As far as the architecture, all I can say is WOW and I suppose this answers the question if this is a sidegrade or to upgrade to Intel's new chip. For most people, it looks like a winner.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Nah, don't kick yourself. The 970 is still a killer chip and with two extra cores / four extra threads, it still whips SB for anything that can use all 12.

Glad I could make your morning a little better.
That's one heck of a compliment, thank you very much!

I completely agree too. There is a subset that may want to pass for a couple reasons, but it's a small subset and everyone else that's considering an upgrade should be happy this just fell in their lap.
Brolloks's Avatar
If I were to look at an upgrade from say 775 platform or even getting into from scratch then this platform is great value for money IMO for a strong 24/7 system.
Lutsk's Avatar
Does i7-2600K support DirectX 11?
Cuz still thinking between it and i7-950
Brolloks's Avatar
No, only 10.1
hokiealumnus's Avatar
If you're referring to the on-die GPU, no. It supports DX 10.1 and Open GL 3.0.

Since you need a discrete GPU for the 950 anyway though, I wouldn't let that influence your thinking.
Lutsk's Avatar
And do we still need to buy a GPU with the i7-2600K. I ain't sure since it says it's integrated with GPU already.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Depends on what board you get. If you get a P67 board, yes you have to buy a GPU. If you go H67 you don't, but you lose the ability to go with dual GPUs as well. If overclocking, I'd highly recommend P67 + discrete GPU as it doesn't seem the H67 features allow it to overclock.
Castiel's Avatar
If you plan on running an H67 board no. If a P67 Yes
Brolloks's Avatar
Note that the integrated CPU is not going to let you play BFBC2 at 1920x1080 with high settings, it is not really for gaming, more for those that want to work in Windows but dont want to buy another GPU, it is for everyday use.
Prime's Avatar
so i kind of grazed through, are these going to be compatable with x58? or are these a different chipset?
JohnnyGalaga's Avatar
Will these "Sandy Bridge" chips be any faster at converting your high-definition camcorder .mts files to the other editable formats like .avi or .wmv? Right now, it seems like it takes a good 45 minutes to convert a 10-minute .mts video clip to .wmv, and .avi's always come out looking bumpy when you play 'em back.
Castiel's Avatar
Different socket and chipsets
David's Avatar
The socket has lost a pin: now 1155 instead of 1156 IIRC.
Psycogeec's Avatar
finally a real look at this thing, thanks Hookiealumnus

Why do they call it I7 ?
for me it has been confusing to use the same name?
the socket is not compatable?
it has built in grafics, does a normal I7 have built in grafics?
Geesh, gimme a computer that goes together like http://www.amazon.com/Tupperware-Sha.../dp/B000CFZP3A something i can understand.
David's Avatar
The i7-8xx and i7-9xx chips don't, IIRC. The i3s and i5s do.
ghost_recon88's Avatar
Wait say what? H67 does not allow you to disable the onboard GPU like P67 does? Some guy on XS was saying you can't overclock with H67, is that true as well?
dejo's Avatar
very nice review Jeremy. rather informative, with lots of stuff that others havent really alluded to. and is the best review I have seen on the sandy bridge.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Faster, yes. How much? Depends on where you're clocked at right now. IF it's comparable to rendering -and I'm not sure it is-, you'd may see a 10-15% improvement clock-for-clock (based on cinebench results).
Good questions. They do separate them a bit though in that they designate them as the second iX generation. The naming scheme is iX 2xxx. The first X is the 7/5/3 (i.e. i7), the 2 designates second generation Core iX series and the last three are CPU #.

Previous i7's didn't have built-in graphics. Some i5's and i3's did though.
Err...that was a mistatement and I need to edit my prior post. You can use discrete graphics on H67, but you can not use Crossfire/SLI (see chipset diagram). The P67 doesn't allow use of the integrated graphics at all.

According to this comparison chart, if raising the K-series multiplier = "Performance Tuning", that's correct and the H67 boards don't overclock.
That is a bold statement so I won't hold you to it, but I'm very flattered. Thank you very much!
trueplaya4ever8's Avatar
*ponders*

What boards will do at least 8x/8x SLI/Xfire on the cheap? Not looking to drop an arm and a leg for a motherboard.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Any P67 board with two PCIe x16 slots should suffice. Just check their specifications to make sure they didn't do something quirky. Sandy Bridge chips all support 8x/8x but only when paired with a P67 PCH.
Castiel's Avatar
Believe the UD4 does and is under 200 bucks
batboy's Avatar
The ASRock P67 Extreme4 might fit your needs, it's only $159 at Newegg. Since other ASRock boards sometimes limit CPU voltage, I downloaded the manual and saw the max you can raise voltage is 0.500, which for most people is more than enough to get 4.6-4.8 gig out of the Sandy Bridge. But, for the extreme overclockers with better cooling solutions, this might not be enough voltage to make you happy.
Castiel's Avatar
How do you know the price? It's not listed.
Prime's Avatar
Wow, one pin and its all obsolete. haha
DaveHCYJ's Avatar
One thing I haven't seen any of the reviews I've read so far mention is the fact that the K series chips drop the VT-d feature. Source: http://www.overclockers.com/wp-conte...ith-prices.jpg

This probably won't matter to most people, but it will be a problem for others. I'm still kind of scratching my head wondering why they would drop that feature. I'm pretty sure every single current i7 has it and most of the higher end Core2's had it.

I'm really disapointed that I'll probably settle on a non K series part and have no overclocking options; that really hurts the price/performance potential of Sandybridge for me.
fundip's Avatar
x58 still seems like a better performer
Castiel's Avatar
Sneaky Sneaky Newegg

How do you figure?
DaveHCYJ's Avatar
From all the reviews the only thing x58 still wins at are things that can make full use of 6 cores/12 threads.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Aye, please do tell how you came to that conclusion? Clock-for-clock in every bench in my review (minus PoV Ray & 7zip), X58 lost to Sandy Bridge. Just as one example, the Pifast result I got at 5GHz was a mere .01s slower than a 980X at 6GHz on the bot, and mine was with a completely un-tweaked, 24/7 use copy of Windows 7 x64.

If you commonly use applications that require 12 threads of computing power, the X58 platform with an Intel hex-core is the way to go. Likewise, if you find yourself dissatisfied with results under ~6GHz, or you simply find it boring to overclock with a multiplier and not much else, X58 may be better. For all other purposes, it seems Sandy Bridge is the way to go.
Castiel's Avatar
I'd love to see some of your 5Ghz results
hokiealumnus's Avatar
They're right there in the review under "Pushing the Envelope".
deathman20's Avatar
Did you run any gaming benchmarks on it?

Curious what the difference between some of the CPU's would be with and without the HT enabled since in my past experiences HT had a huge effect in gaming numbers.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Just the 3DMarks. Once I have an opportunity I'll run a couple.
batboy's Avatar
From the reviews I've seen, Sandy Bridge kicks butt in gaming benchmarks. Even the i5 2500K version is excellent and does almost as well as bigger brother i7 2600K. The real difference is the i7 verson has HT enabled for a total of 8 threads, where as the i5 don't.

Here are my thoughts. If you already have a 1366 socket i7 like the 920, you certainly have a good system and don't really need to upgrade (although for most things it still is an upgrade). The high end hex core CPUs are the only thing really giving Sandy Bridge a run for the money, but at a much higher cost. For those like me that are stuck in the past and are still running a 775 socket, well the Sandy Bridge looks pretty awesome and would definitely be a worthy upgrade.
deathman20's Avatar
That would be sweet

Oh I know I have a sweet system, and can OC much further, just curious if its gotten better with the newer CPU's and HT. Would be nice if the OS actually had a little better brain and used the actual cores more than the HT ones if they where free.
nightelph's Avatar
Sweet review, Hokie! I've been holding out for Sandy bridge and I'm not disappointed. This will be a stellar upgrade from my 4GHz s775 system.
mikevs's Avatar
Bit disappointed in Intel for not releasing a six and eight core version. Hopefully it will be later this year before q4 of 2011 or I might have to go with AMD for an 32nm eight core solution.
Castiel's Avatar
Why? What do you need 6 and 8 cores for?
Dooms101's Avatar
Cool write-up, I don't think that Intel board does the chip justice (I've seen reviews with the ASUS Maximus IV getting similar results though). Damn impressive to see a new CPU architecture oc that much over stock. It seems like this new way of ocing really takes the fun out of it. I am sticking with AMD for now, hopefully AM3+ will still have all the fun =)
hokiealumnus's Avatar
FYI, I rigged up an old school Thermaltake Big Typhoon with just a high speed Yate Loon and load temps at the stable speed in the review (4.3 GHz @ 1.312Vcore loaded) were in the mid 60's (C) range.
deathman20's Avatar
Nice... cool runners. Well its nice to have a 95W TDP, makes it that much easier to cool when OCing.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Haven't had a chance to run gaming tests but I did run Vantage & 06 with an overclocked 6970, which scored 24617 and 30844, respectively with the CPU at 4.5 GHz. It sure kicked the snot out of the 4.0 GHz i7 870 runs from the 6970 review.

I'm just amazed by these chips. They run REALLY cool, clock insanely well on air, whollop anything but hex-core Intel chips clock-for-clock.... if you don't need sub-zero performance or additional tweakability, I really don't see anything better.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Wow, I can't imagine how many of those things Microcenter bought to give that deal. Intel's official price for the 2600K is $317 per CPU for 1000. They're selling them at $369.99-$90 instant walk-in rebate for $279.99. That's just crazy. I'm glad there isn't a microcenter anywhere near me. I'd go bankrupt!
EarthDog's Avatar
LIkely taking a loss... Most people dont just buy processors, you have to buy mobo's and ram, etc so that is where they are making it up I would imagine. Not to mention, Im sure they buy more than 1k of those for all their tores.
GoD_tattoo's Avatar
Spoken to the manager on several occasions, and they state that they do take a loss on the CPU's.. I have one within 45min...But no money....
Brolloks's Avatar
The sales tax is 7.5% but even with that it will be by far the best prices...gotta love Microcenter.

Frys will price match too if that is closer
deathman20's Avatar
Yeah but sort of sad ones not close enough to me where it would be worth while on some occasions.
EarthDog's Avatar
I may just buy a bunch and flip them at this price...
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Heh, limit oner per customer at MC. You'd be driving a lot.
Brolloks's Avatar
They keep your data in their system see they can see if you have bought one already
deathman20's Avatar
What name or just the CC number?
Brolloks's Avatar
Name and Your address
GIXXERGUY6's Avatar
Or you take more people with you
GIXXERGUY6's Avatar
That's easily remedied with junk name and such when paying with cash!
wingman99's Avatar
The same reason why you need 10-15% increase in performance for bragging rights.
Techboy10's Avatar
Thanks for the MC link!! Looks like I'll be driving down to Boston/Cambridge on Sunday to pick up my new processor + motherboard and maybe a gpu while I'm down there haha.

Now the big question: i7-2600k @ $280, or i5-2500k @ $180. The i7 would be better for me since I'll be doing HD video editing/rendering but I'm not sure if its worth the price difference. The i5 is just so freaking cheap!!
David's Avatar
This seems like a nice concise summary: not necessarily enough to justify a platform change for those running high-end i7s, but well worth a look for people looking to upgrade from slightly older kit.

PS: Nice to see you around again Either that, or you have been around and I've just not been reading the forums you post in :P
Bobnova's Avatar
The 6 and 8 core cpus will likely be for LGA2011 only.
EarthDog's Avatar
Max stock voltage is 1.52?
Dooms101's Avatar
Uhmmm... maybe they're saving the higher-voltage capabilities for the P67 classified?

And is it me or does it seem like the chips are worthless for sub-zero? And so these have to be oc'd using higher turbo-multis? It doesn't seem as much fun as old-fashioned bios oc'ing.
dazz.'s Avatar
well, there's no "absolute maximum" data available in the datasheet, but it's been consistent lately that the max VID matches the absolute max Vcore for Intel chips for what I can see. Not my catch, some one else in another site pointed that out to me.

Lynnfield max 1.4V = max VID
Bloomfield 1.375V

If those sandy bridge chips can take 1.52V within specs that looks like a keeper to me, especially for a 32nm chip
dazz.'s Avatar
but then again the minimum vid is much lower than what we're use to see at just 0.25V. maybe they're just trying to keep all bases covered or something?
hank123's Avatar
Hank knows what he will be getting in a 2 months. yes plz.
EarthDog's Avatar
VID= STOCK voltage. There are no SB with a stock voltage of 1.52v. The chart just shows those options.

If you change your stock voltage its not called VID.
dazz.'s Avatar
I know man, but it's been the same as the max Vcore lately. Besides, if that means that potentially a chip could come with a 1.52 VID then I guess it's safe to assume that's the maximum acceptable Vcore.
I really don't know for sure, any news on what are the safe voltage levels for SB?
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Too early to tell really. It's 32nm so I'm skeptical about making recommendations for fear my personal limits will be too high.
deathman20's Avatar
You got that stuff for free for reviewing right? If so crank it up!
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Haha, you're funny. Seriously though; I need this CPU to review motherboards, RAM and video cards. I can't kill it!
deathman20's Avatar
Got to look at the future aspect of it
Raymo1's Avatar
Excellent review Jeremy..
The chip looks very nice for a midgrade..
The board.. well....
1 of these days Intel will ASK someone who knows about overclocking what is needed in a mobo..
Dooms101's Avatar
Skulltrail?

Yeah this board looks like junk compared to the leaked specs of the EVGA P67 classified and I guess there's a good ASUS TUF series board too.
MattNo5ss's Avatar
I can't decide on a GA-P67A-UD5/7 or P8P67 Deluxe, those are the best I can find available right now. I don't know much about the TUF boards, but the ROG boards are always good (M4E).
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Thanks Ray!

The TUF series (that's those sabertooth things, right?) are just silly for anyone planning to go sub-zero. Good luck insulating that thing!

I'd be torn too Matt. MIVE looks great, just make sure your station doesn't have anything in the way of an EATX board.

Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other between the UD7 & Deluxe. Being me, I'd go for whichever one is cheaper, because they both look like great boards. Heh, the way my luck is going recently, I'd lean toward the UD7 because it has dual BIOSes.
MattNo5ss's Avatar
The big difference in the UD7 and Deluxe is the UD7 cost almost $100 more

The UD7 has x16/x16 and x16/x16/x8 SLI/Xfire but the Deluxe has x8/x8. Also, why is Asus advertising Quad SLI and Quad Xfire on their P8P67 boards when they only have 3 PCIe x16 slots?

I'd really like the M4E, but I dunno when it'll be available for purchase. I've found someone to pick me up a CPU on Sunday, so I should have it next week. I don't want it to just be sitting on my desk teasing me...
Dooms101's Avatar
Well 2x 5970's in CF is considered quad-fire just because they have dual GPU dies.
MattNo5ss's Avatar
Gotcha, didn't think of dual GPU cards

That still seems kinda misleading in advertising b/c it doesn't support all quad Xfire/SLI configs, just the 2x dual GPU cards config.
dazz.'s Avatar
And I still wonder how can nf200 enable 16x16x when the p55 - p67 PCIe controller lacks the lanes, but that's a subject for a different thread, or for me to google it haha
Dooms101's Avatar
There's a version of the Lucida Hydra chip that's used on the MSI boards for more lanes than the NF200 chip can provide. There's a review on a new MSI P67 board on XS or powerup somewhere... lemme see if I can find it.

MSI Big Bang Marshall P67 w/ 8 16x lanes
dazz.'s Avatar
Very much appreciated man Seriously it's something i've wanted to learn more about for quite a while now but never took the time to dig into it, so wouldn't want to waste anyone's time until I do some googling
David's Avatar
258.31 for the 2600K in the UK
http://www.scan.co.uk/Shop/Computer-...i7-Socket-1155

That equals $401.59 vs. $317 in the US.

Britain gets ****ed again on price, lovely.
Dooms101's Avatar
Yeah it seems like the Lucida Hyrda chip is gonna be a pretty big deal. Too bad only MSI has licensing (at least I think); I hope similar tech is used in AMD board soon. I also hope Intel's Light Peak tech is utilized in next gen boards.

So I know most people using Sandy Bridge will have a GPU, but how well does the integrated perform?
dazz.'s Avatar
WOW check this out

Castiel's Avatar
That's freakin hilarious. Love the "Fun" Category. Where did you find that?
dazz.'s Avatar
Yeah, I think we should still be careful with how much voltage we use anyway, but look at those Vcore ranges recomended by MSI in their mobo manual "Danger 1.5+V"
Bobnova's Avatar
Max VID and Absolute Max VCore are totally different.
In 920land for instance max VID is 1.3625ish, absolute max vcore is 1.5ish.


The only way to know for sure what they can take is to wait for them to start dying (or not dying), just like with all the previous generations.
dominick32's Avatar
Wow, excellent reviews guys!

Dom
Wega!'s Avatar
In Denmark it's around 475$, so you are not the only one who wont be able to sit down for a couple of days, if you buy one of these
watchthisspace's Avatar
The 2600K looks like an almost tempting upgrade from my Q6600.
dazz.'s Avatar
Spot on man: http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/sho...php?t=18227516
It looks like it didn't die in the end, but those SB definitely don't like 1.4+

1.4 - 1.5 = Fun? well, fireworks are fun yeah
hokiealumnus's Avatar
After a couple threads like the one dazz linked, apparently OCUK spoke with Intel about the voltages. Thanks to forum user woppy1 for bringing this to us.

deathman20's Avatar
Wow that is some strict change of not changing the bclk.
Bobnova's Avatar
Remember that they said the same thing about >1.65vdimm on 1366. Hasn't actually turned out to be an issue.
Brolloks's Avatar
Better stock up on CPU's Intel for all the RMA's you'll be getting from the enthusiasts out there
deathman20's Avatar
Intel have a short supply of CPU's? That would be a first.
wingman99's Avatar
I think most people in this form will buy a new Intel CPU if they kill it. I have not in the past, however i think maybe i will this time when i push for 5+GHZ and if it does not make it i will kill it LOL Jk.

They way i look at it with multi overcloking it won't be the boards fault it's all intels fault if it won't make it to 5 Ghz stable.
Brolloks's Avatar
Well if Intel does not want me to OC their chips then they should not have brought out the unlocked ones...and restrict the mobo people to the voltages they warn us about...it is like telling me not to race a Porsche pass the speed limit
wingman99's Avatar
One thing intel could do now that you have to buy k unlocked cpu's is have no warranty, that would suck, like they do with my motocross bike it has no warranty and cost $8199+
David's Avatar
They might get away with that in the states, but not the UK. All goods here, by law, are sold with an implied warranty.

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-righ...t/your-rights/
Dooms101's Avatar
Wow so if you can't change the BCLK what's the fun in OC'ing these? I don't see sitting comfortably in Windows just moving some sliders around to be fun at all... Maybe Intel got sick of RMA's over the years from OC'd chips and decided that they would implement it in a 'safe' way. Although it probably has more to do with the architecture of the chips. Also... how will RAM and other BCLK based devices be fine-tuned? I am not very excited about SB anymore, maybe I am just looking at it wrong.
DaveHCYJ's Avatar
You can adjust the RAM independently. While my parts are still in the mail, I'm rather looking forward to this new method of OCing. I always had bad luck in the past with either the RAM holding back the CPU or the other way around. It always seemed like I could choose some ratio for the RAM but I would either be stuck with it not quite stable or the next lower ratio would leave too much performance on the table. In some of the reviews I've read the boards had options to adjust the CPU in 100mhz incraments via the multiplier and adjust the RAM independently in 50mhz incraments.

True its "easier" and that takes the fun out of it for some people, but you can still have fun seeing how far you can push things.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
The boards I've tried had to implement changes in BIOS, so you'd be changing numbers in BIOS, not sliders in Windows. Well, you could change in Windows, but it restarts the system, so you may as well in BIOS.

Tweaking for RAM comes via multipliers and timings. It's not as finely-tuned as prior generations, but the difference a few MHz makes is negligible unless you're benchmarking....and if you're benchmarking for short periods, bclk adjustment is just fine. It's for 24/7 use you should steer clear. At least that's how I'm approaching it.

It has little to do with RMAs and much more to do with architecture. Most functions a northbridge used to serve are on the CPU die. Adjusting that just isn't something that is doable because it changes too many things. If anything, Intel is semi-endorsing overclocking by continuing the K-series.
PhysX's Avatar
What voltage were you running ? I am a few Mhz short of where you were at 50XXMhz. I just cant seem to get it. Seen you on Hw bot.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
It took just over 1.5Vcore to reach 5GHz benchable. It would not pass WP1024 there either. Seems like some of these are all over the map. Miah's sample did 5.1GHz at 1.45V stable, but I have a feeling that's one of the more golden chips out there. Mine is probably average. There are worse samples floating around too.
PhysX's Avatar
Ok thanks, just wanted to get a rough idea of where I was standing.
Tokae's Avatar
Man anything over 4 ghz on stock air is awesome! I can't wait to see what 2011 has to offer though!
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Just for clarification, that is not the stock air cooler. Anyone buying one of these with the expectation that cooler is going to come with it should not be. That is an upgraded Intel cooler that's looks similar to the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro as far as size/weight/performance goes.
lordkosc's Avatar
If I hit 4.5 on air I will be a very happy camper.

/ ordered a cooler master 212+ to cool mine.
PhysX's Avatar
Excellent choice, thats what i am running and it has served me well, from 775, 1156 stright through to 1155
PolRoger's Avatar
I think even average SB chips will be able to do 4.5GHz (daily with decent air) and load vcore in the 1.325v to 1.35v range. I suspect better SB chips will do it with even less vcore or run even higher clocks within that same voltage range.
DaveHCYJ's Avatar
I would hope these will be able to do 4.5GHz for daily use, otherwise what is the point of getting a K series chip? The non K 2600 is unlocked up to 4.2GHz...
wingman99's Avatar
Do you have a link that i can read about this, also is it the base multiplier not turbo.

What temps do you incur when running prime95 with 1155 cooler master 212+.
DaveHCYJ's Avatar
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/t...-2100-tested/2

Chart in the middle of the page has the max multiplier. Its the turbo multiplier, not the base multiplier. All OCing in sandybridge is done via turbo rather than the base clocks.

The i3's turbo multiplier is completely locked.
i5 and i7 you can bump the turbo multiplier up to 4 notches higher than its stock speed.
The K series chips can all go up to a multiplier of 57.
lordkosc's Avatar
so pretty much non-K chips are maxed out at a 400mhz overclock?
drshivas's Avatar
My 2600K is running 4.5 with auto vcore with an arctic freezer pro 7 rev2. Load temps are low mid 70s running SETI. 4.6 on auto bluescreens. Will play with manual adjustments to vcore later.
PolRoger's Avatar
What is the load vcore in CPUZ while running SETI @ 4.5GHz?
drshivas's Avatar
CPUz shows 1.08 and doesn't change. In the bios I saw 1.32.
PhysX's Avatar

it probably also shows 1.6Ghz ? thats why.

anyways...


has anyone played with adjusting the TDP in the bios for these chips ?
PhysX's Avatar

there is a bit of a difference in that aspect.

motocross bikes are abused. chips are.... overclocked, but since its unlocked its kind of like they are ok with you doing so, either way its still covered under warranty.
wingman99's Avatar
Thanks for the information this really sucks. so let me get this strait if you want to have your overclock do you have to put a load to it and how much load, also doesn't turbo only MAX with one core.
DaveHCYJ's Avatar
I canceled my order with Amazon and went through Newegg when Amazon said the estimated ship date was Feb 21st.

Sort of. You could get a bit more than 400MHz by changing bclk, but the current thinking is that's not a good idea.

Also the i3's have their multiplier completely locked so they don't even get 400MHz.
lordkosc's Avatar
who buys i3 stuff
PolRoger's Avatar
Do you have a Gigabyte board? I think CPUZ has a problem reporting correct vcore with their P67 boards.
trueplaya4ever8's Avatar
Has anyone slapped an H70 on these yet?
drshivas's Avatar
Yes, it's the p67a ud3. I did not know that about that board. Microcenter had an MSI, but considering my MSI x58 Platinum sli just died on me, I passed it over.
wingman99's Avatar
The reason CPU-z has a problem with Gigabyte is because they have a new and improved Integration of VRM Components for the new phase design so CPU-z will have to be updated to work with it.
Deathhorse's Avatar
Nice detailed review. Easy to read. And i like that beefed up cooler it looks like it was easy to mount. Unlike the days of push pins ugh. And 5ghz on air that's sweet
DaveHCYJ's Avatar
Just so you know that is an aftermarket intel cooler, not the stock one.

Here is a picture of the stock sandybridge cooler compared to a Noctua NH-D14
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Hahahahaha, now that is a pic for the ages.

He's quite correct - to reiterate again, that is not the stock cooler. It's an upgraded Intel cooler.
Castiel's Avatar
OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!
Deathhorse's Avatar
i know it was upgraded (i read the post)

But that notua is epic. Whats up with the low profile crap???? Man my cooler that i got from a conroe looks better then that stock cooler..
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Mine too! I have one from a dinky little E4400 with a giant copper slug in the middle and it's about three times as high as that one. As TDP goes down in a linear fashion, the included cooling ability appears to reduce exponentially.
Deathhorse's Avatar
oh really

well thats cool. But i thought that a copper core was better for heat transfer/dissipation
DaveHCYJ's Avatar
I'm bet someone good at physics could probably explain why that is. I remeber the heatsink on a Pentium 1 60MHz being even smaller than most chipset heatsinks these days, with no fans or heatpipes etc.

Yeah, I was pretty surprised by the size of stock cooler compared to the one that came with my conroe. When I saw the size of the box the 2500k came in I initially thought it didn't even have a cooler in there.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
It is definitely better for heat transfer. Unfortunately it was removed as TDP's went down and replaced with aluminum (i.e. in an E8400 HS I had). Then they started getting thinner and thinner (my i7 870's was thinner than the E8400's and the one photographed above is thinner still). I haven't seen the base of the new one to tell whether it's copper or aluminum.
DaveHCYJ's Avatar
Its got a copper slug in the middle. Its basically a conroe heatsink made a fair bit shorter.
deathman20's Avatar
I know I dropped an old E8400/E6600/E6400 forgot which, heatsink on my server PC one, as the sink was much larger then the one it shipped with.
Deathhorse's Avatar
i use the copper core-rd tall boy to cool a p4 2.8ghz. I was using a aluminum and noticed almost a 6 degree difference. Thanks dave and Hokie this is some good stuff to assimilate.

is this also why the new chips can reach those high levels of OC on air?
lordkosc's Avatar
that Noctua NH-D14 cooler needs a 3rd fan
hesk's Avatar
Wasn't this recalled? Funny how it's still a featured article.
discman's Avatar
chipset's been recalled. Some of us got them before the recall.
deathman20's Avatar
CPU is still good, its just the motherboards SATA II ports. Bet someone lost a job over this.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Yep, people still enjoy reading about it. The CPU's are absolutely stellar. Just a small hiccup with the chipset's handling of SATA II ports is all. It's a massive deal and will cost a boat load of money, but doesn't affect the raw performance of this rather strong platform.

Can't wait to see what Z68 looks like.
Dooms101's Avatar
Lol at least AMD gives a quad heatpipe copper base heatsink with the newer black editions although it barely keeps the thing cool at stock... and it's the most annoying fan I've ever heard. Then again my 965BE is 125watt TDP and the i5-2600K is what 95watt?
deathman20's Avatar
i5-2600K is 95W if the onboard GPU is used. If not its even less than that.
DaveHCYJ's Avatar
I don't mind the itty bitty heat sink that came with my 2500k, if it allowed the price to be cheaper, since I'm overclocking and not using it anyway. If I were running stock speeds and not buying a new heatsink it would have felt a bit lacking.
deathman20's Avatar
But doesn't the stock heatsink allow for decent OC's still into the 4Ghz range? Just because its small doesn't mean its lacking per say. Its not like the big brick HS's that intel use to put out really did that much better either.
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