Intel i7 970 Review
Our test setup is our normal X58 bench rig we're sure you're all used to by now.
Intel Core i7 970
Corsair Dominator GT
ASUS Rampage 3 Extreme
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
Noctua NH-D14 with Arctic MX-3
With the primary difference between the 980X and the 970 being the locked multiplier we weren't expecting to see enormous overclocks, but were still hopeful of coming in just underneath the 980s speeds.
The BCLK max actually suprised us by hitting 220.5 MHz. Even with our locked multiplier this should allow us to hit some fairly good speeds. Sure enough with a reasonable hike on the voltage and some tweaking we managed to hit 4.7 GHz!! Quite outstanding.
Or so we thought. A little further tweaking later at night when everything is cooler and we broke through the 4.8 GHz mark. 4811.41 MHz to be exact. A world record, and on air. Showing how amazing both the i7 970 is, and the heat dispersion capabilities of the Noctua NH-D14. The 32nm process really makes a difference.
Backing off from such lofty heights to an overclock that would be stable throughout our testing, we settled on 4.3 GHz. 1.1 GHz above stock. This is a hell of a chip if you know what you're doing.
Probably the most impressive aspect is how it mirrors the i7 930 we tested in that it's possible to get a very high clock without actually needed a huge amount of VCore. At 4GHz we only needed 1.225v on the CPU Core to achieve total stability! This is so impressive it's as if Intel have designed the chip to run at 4GHz and then detuned it. When you consider we needed to put 1.35v through the 980X to get 4GHz stability then you can really get a feel for how amazing this chip is. Once you break through the 4GHz barrier the amount of volts needed increase fairly dramatically, but even the 1.435v we needed for 4.8GHz isn't insane.
Here at OC3D time can be limited we dont always get the time we would like to spend days tweaking a certain product like you would when you actually own and use something daily. When first overclocking the 970 we got the feeling there was more to be had with a little extra time. So when a morning free in the schedule our favorite test equipment came out, the coffee pot was full and the airconditioner was set to arctic mode!
The goal was to hit 5GHZ, as really nowadays with most of the £100+ Intel CPU's 4ghz is almost always possible. Going back to our saved 4.8ghz settings and with just an hour of tweaking we broke the hallowed 5GHZ barrier on AIR cooling! If there was ever a reason to shout about the Noctua NH-D14 this was it, stock cooler, with stock fans keeping a 5GHZ overclock cool!
I do need to point out this is not a 24/7 overclock, its more us just exploring what can be done with a bit of time and some good kit! Let's run some benchmarks.