Intel i7 970 Review
If you cast your minds back a little bit to our 980X review (available here) you'll remember that we found it to be the fastest, most incredible processor on the planet. Admittedly for £850 you'd expect nothing left but the results we obtained from it smashed all our expectations and redefined what we considered was possible. There aren't many hardware components that come along which completely move the goalposts, raise the bar etc. The i7 980X was one of them.
When we heard Intel were doing a "normal" version of the 980 we were hoping it would be a fair match for its big brother, but with suitable reductions in overclocking capability and performance to match it's £650 price tag. After all, Intel aren't going to release a cheaper processor that out-performs their flagship.
Once again though we were left awe-struck. It's unbelievable how close the two chips actually are.
When running at stock there is very little between them. Although the 980X does just have the edge it's such a tiny edge that you really wont even notice in the real-world. Throughout all of our tests the difference is slight whether we ran pure synthetic ones, or entire system based tests.
Overclocking was a complete joy. Being unable to adjust the multiplier upwards normally means a lessened overclock because maintaining a high stable BCLK isn't as easy as increasing the multiplier. However any doubts about the headroom available were quickly swept away as we saw first 4.7 GHz and finally 4.8 GHz. On air. Even then the temperatures didn't go above 78°C, so with a more exotic cooling solution the 5 GHz barrier should be easily obtainable. With a reduction in the overclock to keep it all under control throughout our gamut of tests we still had it perfectly stable at an incredible 4.3 GHz.
It's all of the power of the 980X, but without quite the ridiculous price-tag. It's still expensive, but it should quickly become available around the £600 mark and for a processor with 6 cores, hyper-threading and that will do 4.3 GHz all day, it's actually exceptional value.
Brilliant. Not only does it deserve the OC3D Gold award for being so insanely powerful, but we're also going to award it the OC3D Performance award for its fantastic overclocking performance at sensible voltage.