Intel Core i7-950 Review
Reviewing something like the i7-950 is one of the hardest things we do.
It's not that the actual benchmarking process is hard, or that the performance isn't breathtaking. Because the performance is breathtaking.
The problem is the obvious brilliance of it.
The i7-950 is one multiplier faster than the already brilliant i7-930. So it overclocks about 200MHz better. At stock it is quicker in clock speed, and the benchmarks back this up.
All around it's a little bit quicker and a little bit pricier. Exactly what you'd expect.
That doesn't quite tell the full story though as the performance at stock is very good indeed, and it's important to remember that not everyone wants to overclock their processors. A 3.06GHz i7 CPU for around £250 is an absolute bargain and will provide more performance than you could desire for the forseeable future.
If you do choose to overclock, the inherent speed of the i7-950 is also an ally because it allows you the extra freedom to decide if you want a little more BCLK to obtain your overclock, or you're willing to use the multiplier. Not every motherboard is capable of holding a steady 200 BCLK, so with the i7-950 you've the freedom to drop it down a little and save some wear on your components. Or, if you need to, provide a more suitable divider for your RAM.
Finally the capability to run at stock using only 1v on the CPU Core has massive benefits to power usage as well as the heat generated and the need to dissipate that. Even at 4GHz we were running beneath the recommended stock voltage. Overclocked and undervolted! It's 100% benefits, zero downsides.
The i7-930 was brilliant. The i7-950 is bigger and better in every way. Thanks to the aggressive price cut from Intel, it's also barely more expensive.
If you're in the market for a new CPU, the 'middle choice' has gone from being nearly ignored, to being the only sensible choice to make.