So how does it feel to have the worst Core i7 980X overclocking scores online?I can't say that it's what I'm most proud of. That award would have to go to the time I wrote a review and left out the 'l' in overclocking. Needless to say after everyone pointed out how abysmal our overclocks were and after even Intel called to let us know that we should be seeing better, we gave it another shot.

Intel's DX58SO Motherboard

A motherboard swap, a little more voltage and backing off the un-core clock a bit yielded something a bit more respectable out of our Core i7 980X sample:

Keep an eye on what we're talking about here. Six cores, 12MB of L3 cache, all running at 4.13GHz with Intel's stock heatsink. With more voltage, even higher frequencies should be possible - but at the expense of increased power consumption.

The performance at 4.13GHz is even more ridiculous than the stock Core i7 980X:

Another ~17% improvement over the already bonkers 980X is just crazy. At 53.7 fps in the second pass of our encoding test we're more than twice as fast as a Core i7 920. As much as we hate that Intel is maintaining two different sockets for its desktop CPUs, the Core i7 980X makes LGA-1366 worth it. Now if Intel could only get that price down.

The performance doesn't come for free though. At 1.359V the 980X draws quite a bit more power:

The 17% performance improvement comes at the expense of a 20% increase in total system power. It's not the most efficient way to get more speed, but if for some reason you're not happy with your 980X's default performance this is the sacrifice you'll have to make.

Thanks for bearing with us as we tried to push our chip further and got some more respectable results :)



View All Comments

  • Holly - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    ye, not to mention it really depends what you stress test with. Found out hard way few years ago that usual stress test can run over 24hrs no problem and then I ran optimized Seti@Home (using (S)SSEx) and got in a BSOD in few minutes resulting in need to push up voltage few steps higher to keep it rock stable. Reply
  • shin0bi272 - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    "That award would have to go to the time I wrote a review and left out the 'l' in overclocking."

    Better than going off half-cocked. That could get you killed.
  • cjs150 - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    Could be even worse if he was into under-cocking Reply
  • cactusdog - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    Anand, can you quiz your Intel guy on the release of a mainstream version? AMD will have at least 3 Thuban 6 cores, Intel have a range of Xeon 32nm 6 cores, it doesnt make sense that this is the only desktop version. It would be a bad business decision and Intel are not stupid.!! Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Yeah, as if the initial ~79W was not enough at idle lol.

    I suppose it is pretty cool that you *can* do that when you wish, but personally, I'd rather see Intel ( and AMD for that matter ) put out more efficient CPUs. Then while we're at it, I would like to see nvidia, and AMD do the same things with their GPUs . . .

  • Sivar - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    That's total system power consumption, including loss at power supply, for a six core I7 Extreme with a Radeon 5870. 79W -- about one light bulb. Are you really criticizing power consumption here? Reply
  • medi01 - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    1 ancient light bulb. Afaik production of those is even forbidden in EU, thay are THAT efficient. Modern version of the same power would eat 17-20 Watt.

    Eating 80 Watt when doing nothing? There is, obviously, huge room for improvements.
  • stephenbrooks - Sunday, March 14, 2010 - link

    I have an electric heater that uses 1500 Watts for most of the winter. The day they come out with a 1500W CPU is the day I start caring what the power consumption is (as a bonus, I'd have something to replace that heater with). Reply
  • CptTripps - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    Doing nothing? You think that when a computer is idle it does "nothing"? Does your car not use any gas while "idling"? Turn your computer off, then it will be doing "nothing" and will use 0 watts. Reply
  • Iketh - Saturday, March 13, 2010 - link

    The day i have only SSDs in my system is the day i'll start turning my system off again Reply

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