BLCK Overclocking Returns
When I first started overclocking we didn't have fancy K class processors with unlocked multipliers. Back then, every overclock was with the base clock and the multipliers were for SDRAM, PCI and AGP busses. Thank you ABIT for all the good times.
Several media outlets have reported BLCK overclocking is coming back and hopefully they aren't talking about the 5% we have now. For those that don't remember or weren't enjoying the hobby back then, base clock paired with an unlocked multiplier means further tuning and the multiplier is really an increase on the amount of fun had while trying to push the system to peak performance.
BLCK overclocking is only part of the story, though. Haswell's new integrated voltage regulator module with 320 phases is important, too. There are 20 power cells each with an independent voltage regulator with 16 phases per cell supplying a current of 25 amps. The flagship Core i7-4770K processor has a maximum TDP of 84 watts. This is an increase of 7 watts over existing Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge processors.
This leads us back to cooling and why good cooling will become relevant again. One of the best CPU cooler manufactures is already shipping new enhanced for Haswell kits that allows you to upgrade your existing cooler if you have one.
We spoke with Noctua about their new Haswell upgrade kit that works with many Noctua coolers.
"I can also give some backgrounds about the design goals we had for this mounting: Our previous 3-in-1 backplate (NM-I3 system) has been designed for LGA1366, LGA775 and LGA115x. Since the hole spacing is different for all three sockets (80mm/75mm/72mm), the struts had to be removable. We went for a design with a rubber frame that holds the struts in place and makes it very easy for the users to insert the struts in the desired position - it's a tool free and convenient process. However, when you then put the assembled backplate onto the mainboard, you may end up pushing the struts out if they are not aligned correctly with the holes of the mainboard.
Now that LGA1366 and LGA775 no longer play an important role, there's no necessity to make the struts removable anymore, so we could go for a design with fixed struts. Due to the fixed struts, its now much easier to align the backplate with the mounting holes and to push it through from the rear side of the mainboard. It's now really tailor-made for LGA115x and the installation process is now even more convenient on these sockets.
Note that we'll still keep the old NM-I3 kit available for customers who need LGA775 and LGA115x support though. Most customers don't need this any longer though, so we thought that the better usability on LGA115x is more important for the majority of users.
Another slight modification concerns the mounting bars, we've now increased the thickness from 1.5 to 2mm as compared to the previous version included with the NM-I3, and they're now even sturdier."
This isn't the first time Noctua has given their customers a free upgrade path for their CPU coolers. I have the first two Noctua coolers shipped to North America and they are still going strong today, on modern CPUs.
Everything we've read online and saw at IDF 2012 gives us the impression that Haswell is a modern day Conroe. A step forward based on principals of the past.
Until we have silicon in hand we can't comment on how far Haswell will overclock or what to expect from air cooling, liquid cooling or extreme cooling. Haswell's focus on more efficient power, new tri-gate transistors and on-chip voltage regulation has us very excited, though.
When the NDA expires in June we'll have more coverage of Haswell - check back then!