Intel Core i7-870 Lynnfield Processor

Test Setup & Overclocking

Test Setup
To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configuration used in this review can be seen below:
Processor: Intel Core i7-870 (2.93GHz)
Motherboard: MSI P55-GD80
Memory: G-Skill Trident F3 DDR3-2000 CL9 4GB
Graphics Card: Asus GTX275
Power Supply: Gigabyte Odin 1200W
CPU Cooling: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus
Hard Disk: Hitachi Deskstar 7K160 7200rpm 160GB
Graphics Drivers: Geforce 180.60 CUDA
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1
Thanks to the new Skt1156 design with the whole metal frame lifting away with the latch bar, installation of the CPU was even easier than before. The two notches are still there making fitment of the CPU a non-brainer however, care should still be taken not to bend those ever so fragile pins in the socket itself.
 stock cache
From the CPU-Z shot above you can see that the stock speed of the Core i7-870 is 2.93GHz when the bus speed is running at 133Mhz. As with most motherboards though, there are slight variations on this and the MSI board we are using for testing placed the bus speed slightly above spec at 133.7MHz resulting in a clockspeed of 2.94 but for intents and purposes this should be 2.93. As with the Core i7-920, the i7-870 has the Intel Turbo feature allowing an instant overclock by increasing the multiplier by two on the primary core and 1x on the remaining three so the cores are clocked to 24, 23, 23, 23 when you need the extra power most giving an overclock of 3.6GHz. This is in stark contrast to the stock clockspeed of the i7-920 being 2.66GHz with a Turbo boost of 3.2GHz - nice!
Anyone who is familiar with overclocking the older Skt1366 i7 will feel pretty much at home with the new revision i7 in that the base clock is still there acting for all intents and purposes like the FSB of old.
I initially tried overclocking the Core i7-870 with the Turbo technology enabled which resulted in a maximum clock of 4429MHz. However, I was not satisfied that 185 on the base clock was the maximum available and so did a little manual tweaking and managed to hit 205.5 Bclk resulting in a whopping 4521MHz! This was far from stable though but I do feel were I to be a little braver with the voltages then this could indeed be stablised. 1.4v was the maximum Vcore I used on the chip, as with the older Core i7-920 but the newer i7 surpassed the older chip by a fair margin.
Lowering the overclock I attempted to gain some stability I run a few runs of 3D06 and SuperPI 1M. While SuperPI is by no means the definitive test of stability, it does give an indication of what the CPU is capable of, much more so than a CPU-Z suicide screenshot. 4.45GHz was the maximum I could achieve with this setup on air cooling with a Vcore limitation of 1.4v. An amazing result, especially when you consider that the temperatures were also lower than that of the Core-i7 920 being around 35c idle and 68c load compare to 47c idle and over 85c for the 920. Obviously a pinch of salt has to be added to these temps as totally different setups were used but I would be happy to stake my reputation on the fact that the Core i7 8xx series run cooler than the 9xxx series counterparts.
Returning the CPU to it's stock settings (Turbo, EIST and C1E disabled) I ran a few benchmarks to see how the CPUs performance compares to other popular systems on the market at present...
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Most Recent Comments

08-09-2009, 04:40:38

wow Jimbo thats obscenely fast! It's a shame about the dual channel but I guess they had to cut costs somewhere.. You gonna be playing with some i5's any time soon?Quote

08-09-2009, 08:12:45

Originally Posted by name='MeltedDuron'
wow Jimbo thats obscenely fast! It's a shame about the dual channel but I guess they had to cut costs somewhere.. You gonna be playing with some i5's any time soon?
The ASUS review launched today is on the i5 platform if ya wanna have a butchers at those benches Quote

08-09-2009, 08:33:19

It's all very impressive stuff, looking from the aspect of purchasing a batch of components for a new build.

Personally I'm very unimpressed. Perhaps even to the extent of missing out on the i-series of components altogether.

Perhaps it's the aftermath of purchasing a x9650, and that it's costing is proving itself (even tho I got it cheap), but I look at this review alongside a review some time ago that included x9650 figures, and I draw my conclusions.

(I would have liked to see the best of the 775 figures run alongside this to show more clearly what I'm thinking)

More than the crop of components Intel are coming out with, it would be the upgrade of tech for i/o that I think will govern my next thought of buying a new stuff.

For sure, if there is a need or a question posed by some1 "what do I get", I have to say these or AMD's offering - but this would be more for the fact that they're the new kids on the block and cos the sockets have changed.

Personally I'm gonna skip this generation. Bring on the cheap 775 stuff imo. The benefits just aren't there. Put all ur cash into the best GPU and whatever with the rest of ur money.

Great review tho.Quote

08-09-2009, 13:32:29

As I'm sure you'll be reviewing a load of the new architecture in future days/weeks, is there any chance we could have a clockspeed like-for-like? It's fine to see the 920 nearly holding on, but really the pricepoint comparison should be a 950. Or at least bump the 920 to the 870 speed. Then we could really see if the 1156 is worthwhile for those not on the i7 bandwagon already.

Personally, looking at the price and performance I can't see who'd buy 1156 based kit. The 920 is only 30 or so more than the 860, a good P55 motherboard isn't far off a P6TD and the memory is cheaper, but the price per stick is about the same so that's moot.

The only benefit I can see is the 95w TDP instead of 130w. Hmmmm. Hugely disappointing really. If they could have brought it in at AMD price points then maybe. Unless people buy a P55 UD3 and the i5 750. But then you lose hyperthreading which is a boon for those of us who use certain apps. Curses.

I was really hoping this would be the bang-for-buck bargain to beat them all. I'll stick with dreaming of a 920 and a P6TD.

Although I can't fault the quality of the review as per usual W3bbo Quote

08-09-2009, 19:11:55

No games to compare how much the memory really alters things? I mean we know it's going to make a big difference on the memory intensive benchmarks and not so much on the cpu intensive benchmarks, but gaming is what I wanna see.

I want to know how much the dual over the triple controller with lose compared to the gains from the increased clock speed.

I'm not sure about this flagship Lynnfield with dual controller costing more than the lower end 920 with tripple channel. Surely with each model up the price and performance should increase. Hmmmm

Nice first touch on the platform though Rich.. Looking forward to more Quote

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