When it comes to Intel processors, the word “unlocked” is not synonymous with low-priced mainstream products - it’s a feature normally reserved for flagship ‘Extreme Edition’ CPUs that bear higher price tags. Things are set to change today because Intel is launching the “unlocked” K series of processors to fit into the existing Lynnfield and Clarkdale line-up:

Processor Core (GHz)
Unlocked Turbo Frequency (GHz) Max Mem Clock Cores / Threads L3 Cache TDP
Price
Intel Core i7-980X 3.33 Cores, DDR3, Power Up to 3.60 3 Channels
1333MHz
6 / 12 12MB 130W $999
Intel Core i7-870 2.93 DDR3, Power Up to 3.60 2 Channels
1333MHz
4 / 8 8MB 95W $562
Intel Core i7-875K 2.93 Cores, DDR3, Power Up to 3.60 2 Channels
1333MHz
4 / 8 8MB 95W $342
Intel Core i5-655K 3.20 Cores, DDR3, Power Up to 3.46 2 Channels
1333MHz
2 / 4 4MB 73W $216
Intel Core i5-650 3.20 DDR3 Up to 3.46 2 Channels
1333MHz
2 / 4 4MB 73W $176
Intel Core i3-540 3.06 DDR3 N/A 2 Channels
1333MHz
2 / 4 4MB 73W $133
Intel Core i3-530
2.93 DDR3 N/A 2 Channels
1333MHz
2 / 4 4MB 73W $113

While it is interesting that Intel is offering unlocked core multipliers on Lynnfield and Clarkdale, it’s more interesting that the models being introduced are not the most expensive in their respective families. Especially considering that the i7-875K’s stock speeds are identical to the i7-870 while costing less. At $349, it's only a stone's throw away from AMD's 1090T, while you've got the i7-860 coming in cheaper than both. All of these processors can be compared to one another in Bench here and here.

Overclockers will sit up and take note at the prospects of increased flexibility and the potential of alleviating bottlenecks caused by insufficient bus margins on cheaper processors. We've all had CPUs that seem to have additonal headroom for frequency scaling, but are held back because the highest available core multiplier ratio is too low.  We increase reference clock freqeuncies, only to find that some of the related busses aren't completely stable and as a result no choice but to fall back or relax key performance registers which defeats the purpose of performance related overclocking. That's one of the areas where the K-series might help. Another key factor that makes unlocked processors attractive is that they open the doors to easy overclocking for users that like to keep things simple. With unlocked multipliers we can overclock the CPU without having to fiddle around with memory ratios or memory timings, leaving those settings static.

As there are no under-hood changes to the substrates themselves, there’s not a whole lot of benchmarking for us to do in this review. We’ve already compared the performance of similarly clocked non K-series Lynnfield and Clarkdale processors in our platform launch articles and also have a range of comaprisons in Anandtech Bench. Our focus in this write-up is to look at how the i5-655K and i7-875K fit from an overclocking perspective against both their cheaper and more expensive counterparts.

Be for-warned that this isn’t a typical launch piece; it’s full of talk about voltages and harps on about overclocking in a way that will send many readers to sleep. If that isn’t a big enough deterrent, then read on…

Clarkdale 655K Overclocking
POST A COMMENT

51 Comments

View All Comments

  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, June 01, 2010 - link

    As the graphs state - this is VCC/VTT power only, the two major power rails of this architecture. The 12V ATX fan headers and PCIe 12V only on the E659 motherboard. Power to DDR3 is not something I focused on but may do in a future piece (there will be a frequency proportional rise in power provided timings are not changed). A very crude guess - I'd expect the rise over stock to be around 5 watts on the DRAM side in this frequency band (and total draw to be no more than 10~15w). Although figures would differ according to the scaling capabilities of various modules.

    Other than that, there's not much else aside from CPU PLL which is specified at around 1.1 amps at 1.8V (around 2-3 watts tops).
    Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, June 01, 2010 - link

    EDIT: The 12V ATX fan headers and PCIe 12V only on the E659 motherboard.

    That should read the 12V ATX line supplies fan headers and PCIe 12V power only. The 3.3v and 5V rails supply DDR, CPU PLL, IOH (and all derivatives such as IOH PLL, SB~IOH termination voltage etc).

    Later
    Raja
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, June 01, 2010 - link

    Time permitting I'd be interested in seeing those numbers as well. I understand your desire to measure power consumption closer to the source. My concern is that increased power consumption from the secondary items you're not measuring is a black box; while the AC-DC conversion loss in the PSU from measuring power at the wall can be mostly corrected away by looking at what the efficiency rating of the PSU used in the test setup is. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, June 01, 2010 - link

    Time permitting I'd be interested in seeing those numbers as well. I understand your desire to measure power consumption closer to the source. My concern is that increased power consumption from the secondary items you're not measuring is a black box; while the AC-DC conversion loss in the PSU from measuring power at the wall can be mostly corrected away by looking at what the efficiency rating of the PSU used in the test setup is. Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, June 01, 2010 - link

    I prefer to keep things at the DC level. There are plenty of articles covering wall level consumption with your standard kill-a-watt type unit (and they also state the PSU used so users can factor out the losses if they know the effective efficiency curve). I think you are worrying too much about the lesser rails. Sure they will make interesting reading at some point - but there is nothing that pulls more than a couple of amps so the effects on power consumption will not be huge.

    Regards
    Raja
    Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, June 01, 2010 - link

    Ok "DanNeely", this is for you,

    I just ran tests on the 3.3V and 5V rails. At stock the combined power consumption of these two rails on the E659. Bear in mind this is an enthusiast level board (higher switching losses due to higher switching speeds on VDIMM, plus using an NF200 for PEG multiplexing):

    Running DDR3-1333 CAS 8-8-8-24 with 4GB of memory. (3.3v + 5V rails combined).

    20.2 watts idle
    Linpack load = 26.36 Watts.

    That's a change of 6 Watts between idle and load.

    At 4.551GHz, now running DDR3-1820 (1.60 VDIMM):

    Idle = 22.86 Watts (2 Watt idle increase)
    Load = 27.86 Watts.

    That's a 1 Watt increase over stock speeds under load with an overclock of 1GHz on the CPU (running QPI over 4GHz). Hardly worth writing about. Do note - the effective change will vary from board to board according to VRM switching efficiency (which is coming into play if you look at the deltas between idle and load). Of course, I am not including things like HDD's etc although, some of the static 3.3V and 5V rail consumption is due to the GPU (GTX 275) which also draws a little power from that rail.

    Hope that answers your questions.

    Regards
    Raja
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, June 01, 2010 - link

    yes it did. thank you. Reply
  • tno - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    Setting aside typos, I know wall of text is to be avoided but this felt almost like the opposite problem. Additional clicks for additional adviews. Clearly you didn't like what you saw out of the chips despite the voltage improvements evident in the more modest chip. Yet in the end despite devoting 1/9th of the coverage to it, you reward your recommendation to the pricier chip just one page after showing it severely underperforming its non-K analogue in both overclocking and voltage.

    I have said it before and I think its worth mentioning again, clearly there is a lo of passion for tech in the growing AnandTech team, but maybe adding a team member whose passion is writing and across whose hands every article will pass would give the site that extra polish that elevates it from other tech sites.

    Jason
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    At first I thought the same thing (saying nothing at all in the final page about the 655K does leave me puzzled as it is good), but Rijinder did clarify his recommendation for the 875K by saying PRICE. He is saying for the price of these chips and where they fall in line with the rest of the offerings from AMD and INTEL, the 875K is in a sweet spot. Remember the 655K is a dual-core,4 thread chip for $215 (lots of competition from both camps), while the 875K is a quad-core, 8 thread chip for under $350.

    In the end (and after re-reading the conclusion and article) I think the last page needs to have a bit more meat behind it. The data in the article itself is very detailed, but the final wrap-up needs some work. But honestly, since it's a free site, I'll take the good data and sketchy conclusions (I tend to make my own).

    Thanks for the article!
    Reply
  • troun - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link


    "Past 3.9GHz, we’re already looking at a 10W increase in power consumption for every 20 MHz rise in CPU frequency"

    But I read 20W for 100Mhz (or 10W for 50Mhz), with ~160W @ 3.9Ghz and ~180W @ 4Ghz...

    However very interesting article, a similar curve (W/Mhz) would be also appreciate for an i7 9x0 comparison, 32nm Vs 45nm (980 Vs 930?).
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now