Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition CPU Processor Review

by - 9 years ago


We tend to use Z68 quite a lot, and due to the fact that X79 works very much from the same principles, we knew that overclocking should be quite easy and no hassle and in all honesty, it was. Coupling this CPU with an Asus Rampage IV Extreme and it’s UEFI BIOS made it seem like we’d never left Z68 apart from a few new features implemented by Intel and Asus.

We decided to try the Z68 way of overclocking and raising the multiplier as high as we could, and whilst this worked to a certain point, we did hit a barrier which then made us rely on adjusting the BCLK of the processor. We then decided to try a different angle and used the pre-defined setting of loading the extreme OC profile (low current) which automatically clocked our processor to just shy of 5GHz but due to the voltages on offer, it was aimed more at the extreme overclocking running LN2 or Dry Ice.

Going back to our original way of overclocking, we found that dropping the multiplier down slightly to 38 gave us a sweet spot for adjusting the BCLK and finished up at 132MHz.

The final overclock that was 100% stable was 5016MHz using 132×38 but did require quite significant amounts of volts pushed through it which led to high temperatures that weren’t great, especially if wanting to run like this day in, day out.

Overall, we’re really impressed with the overclocking on this CPU and whilst a lot of you will see that we only just scraped above 5GHz, there are some important factors to consider. The first is that we have an early stepping CPU which we hear the retail revisions are able to push out more juice for less volts. The second is that this isn’t a qud core CPU but is a 6 core with 12 threads, so being able to hit 5GHz under an enclosed water loop is fantastic news.

As we’re not keen on running this overclock for prolonged periods of time due to the high voltage which leads on to high temperates, we’ve decided to clock it down to 4.6GHz and are keen to see how it copes in our testing phase.

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. A Closer Look
  3. Packaging
  4. Test Procedure
  5. Overclocking
  6. CPU Benchmarks
  7. Gaming Benchmarks
  8. System Benchmarks
  9. Power Consumption
  10. Temperatures
  11. Final Thoughts
  12. View All

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