Page 11 - Overclocking, Power Consumption, and Conclusion
Before Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge, overclocking your CPU involved changing half a dozen settings to try to obtain the highest clock speed. This was because there were so many different ways to obtain your maximum frequency; things were a bit complicated even if you are an experienced computer enthusiast. Since Intel locked down the base clock on their latest products, tuning your processor now only involves changing the multiplier with K-series CPUs -- making this process intrinsically simple. On my Intel DZ77GA-70K, I was able to attain 4.7GHz at reasonable voltages. This involved bumping the core voltage to 1.305V with Load Line Calibration maxed out. 4.8GHz was bootable, but it was not Prime95 stable.
At this point, I am not entirely sure if higher clock speeds are attainable. I have not tested the processor on any other motherboard, but this result seems to be consistent with what I have seen on the internet so far. As far as temperatures are concerned, the Intel Core i7-3770K ran reasonably cool at stock voltages, but it is extremely sensitive to voltage adjustments. As voltage increased, load temperature went up practically exponentially. My advice to you is to keep it under 1.3V. Even with our setup -- a Noctua NH-C14 cooler (I had this installed before I switched to the Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 Pro for the official benchmarks, since my colleague Preston needed the cooler for another setup), two 140mm fans on the heatsink at maximum speed, and two more 140mm case fans around the processor socket, the CPU core temperature still hovered around the 75 degrees Celsius mark. Do keep in mind I kept Hyper Threading enabled, which will increase heat generation.
Power consumption has been improved quite a bit under load, as promised. We took our measurements with Intel SpeedStep and Turbo Boost enabled for both processors running at stock voltages and configuration by a software reading. Since they were all tested on the same motherboard, these numbers are definitely comparable, even if they are not completely accurate. As shown in our results above, Intel's Core i7-3770K actually used a little bit more power than the two Sandy Bridge Core i5 CPUs -- a bit surprising in my opinion. However, under load, even with Hyper Threading enabled, the i7-3770K actually used quite a bit less power than the i5-2500K. Overall, I am quite pleased with these results, especially considering this is an enthusiast oriented performance processor.
If you are looking for some relationship advice right now, why would you take it from anyone other than yours truly on this technology review website? If you are already in a relationship with someone called 'Sandy' with the last name 'Bridge' right now, don't dump her for her sister Ivy right now -- your wallet is going to really take a hit. I would wait for her successor to roll around before taking any action. After all, while the benefits are nice, it probably does not justify splashing down a few hundred bucks just to shave a few seconds off your video encoding project, or gain a few extra frames in your favorite computer game. On the other hand, if you are not dating a Sandy right now, or in the unlikely event that you are still single, don't sit here and pretend Ivy is the girl left out in the cold at every party -- she is far from that. Our 'Ivy' -- the Intel Core i7-3770K -- is simply a brilliant processor in every way. This is clearly reflected in both our benchmarks and our overclocking results. While a sharp distinction is not established between her and Sandy, just remember that this is because Sandy is already outstanding to start off with. At the end of the day, if you are an enthusiast looking for the latest and greatest for your new build, the Intel Core i7-3770K is the processor to buy.
Intel provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Recommended Award
Since April 30, 2007, Number Ratings have been dropped for all CPUs, motherboards, RAM, SSD/HDDs, and graphics cards. This is to ensure the most appropriate ratings reflected without the inherent limits of using numbers. Everything else will continue using the Number Rating System.
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If you are looking to build the latest and greatest all-purpose powerhouse in gaming, video encoding, and other tasks, the Intel Core i7-3770K is, in fact, the ultimate in visibly smart performance.
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