Intel Core i7 930 Review
Over and Undervolting
"Huh?" we can hear you crying. Undervolting? We will come to that in a moment. Firstly the reason you're all here.
As we said in the introduction the 930 is more of an evolution of the 920 that the revolutionary 32nm low-end processor we're waiting for. Consider it more like an Stepping 920. Firstly the processor at stock.
As previously mentioned we have an extra multiplier which should enable us to hit a good overclock. One of the main benefits of this latest evolution of the mainstream i7 is that Intel have had a while to really iron all those bugs out and produce a very consistent chip. Hopefully this will mean that you'll all get these results and no longer will we be seeking out that elusive batch that clocked so well.
Our results saw 4.2GHz at 1.34v. Absolutely amazing numbers and, as you can see from the screenshot below, totally rock solid. 920 owners would dream of 4.2GHz at 1.34v. This got us to thinking....
So often at OC3D we push things in one direction and try and get all we can out of it. Understandable considering we're Overclock3D.net after all. However the 930 performs so well at reasonable voltages when overclocked, and the default voltage is so low, how low could we get the core voltage and still maintain stock stability?
Starting at 1.05 volts on the core we see it's still completely happy to run at stock.
Dropping down to 1.0v we have the same result. Except this time our jaw is also dropping along with the voltage. Please pay close attention to the CPU temperatures.
Finally 0.95v and still the 930 happily runs at 2.8GHz. Words don't do this justice. Sub 1v for a quad-core hyper-threading 2.8GHz chip under load and still stable is insanity. For the majority of us we all like "moar powerrrrr" but if your use is such, say for example an office environment or an part of an HTPC setup, then so much horsepower but with minimal power draw and a vastly lower thermal profile is Manna from Heaven. Who needs mobile CPUs anyway?
The perfect balance?
Of course we couldn't leave it there. What if we could meet in the middle and find the balance between the i7 930s ability to barely need any core volts, but also overclock easily?
It took a lot of testing but we finally found the sweet spot. 1.112v on the core and 3.8GHz. I think you'll agree that this is outstanding.
Does this incredible stability also come with increased performance in testing?