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 :)

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  • drewintheav - Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - link

    The INTEL i7 980X has dual QPI's and will run in a dual socket mainboard!!!

    Such as the EVGA W555 / Classified SR-2
  • magnes79 - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    That is not true. i7 980X has single QPI. check intel website. All i7 have single QPI. Thats why there is XEON series.
  • Dainas - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    So what motherboard was used? I took a close look at the intel DX58SO and that thing looks like a piece of crap. I cannot believe people pay that much for a motherboard with the build quality of a $95 Asrock. Don't bother saying 'reliability' or 'it just works' because on newegg and other sites this mobo is racking up the complaints due to its shoddiness like no other else.
  • 1stguess - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    Hey, easy on Asrock. Personally, I find that Asrock boards are a great no fuss solution around(especially P55 chipset) when we speak of motherboards. Having built a few P55 and 1366 desktops, I find that they post virtually every time, fuss free. Overclock utilities just work, too. I have found them more stable than boards twice the price. I have yet to receive a DOA Asrock board. Not crazy about their color schemes though. My two cents.
  • Skouperd - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    Hi Anand, great site and awesome articles, thank you!

    I have a question, at the price range we are looking at for the new CPU, how will a dual socket motherboard, with 2 quad core Xeons (i.e. 8 cores, 16 threads) compare with a single 980X (6 cores, 12 threads). I am not refering to the top of the range XEONS but to have two systems, with more or less the same priced CPU's go up against each other.

    I've checked quickly, there are a fair number of XEONS retailing (newegg) for less than $500, which will make it an interesting comparison.

    What will be super special, is if the benchmarking on a dual socket board include some gaming benchmarks as well.

    As I said, great site, I love it.

  • aigomorla - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link">

    Ask and you shall receive.

    However there's a lot more posted inside our forums.
  • Skouperd - Sunday, March 14, 2010 - link

    Thank you, very nice indeed. So from my understanding of that screenshot, a dual socket, XEON setup with 8c, and 16t will outperform the $999 socket? Cool.

    Thanks for the response.
  • JumpingJack - Monday, March 15, 2010 - link

    Pay attention, though, to clockspeeds, 8c/16t @ 3.2 Ghz, adjust for OC, price, etc accordingly... but yeah, it looks like it would be a winner.
  • Skouperd - Monday, March 15, 2010 - link

    Agree. Now please excuse me, I have never really dealt with server prcoessors, but those specific ones used in the specific test, how much would they retail for?

    Also, I am really curious as to how well that motherboard will hold up, with two un-overclocked XEONS, and a single graphics card (top of the range), in terms of gaming and FPS.

    I am nearly due for an upgrade, closer to the end of the year. I still have the QX6700 with 2x8800GTX in SLI but am considering a dual socket board. I mainly play games on the PC, and granted, I can still play pretty much any game right now without issues, but I on average upgrade every 3 to 4 years and it is getting towards that time now...

    Your opinion? Would you consider either the 980x, or rather a dual socket xeon setup at more or less the same price?

    Thanks for the responses it is always interesting reading your views.
  • PyroHoltz - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    Since the 980x is an EE chip, doesn't that mean its unlocked? Whats the deal with not adjusting the multiplier? Wouldn't that yield a better overclock?


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