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Intel Core i7 3930K (LGA 2011) CPU Review - Test System Setup and Overclocking

Don't want to spend Extreme Edition money, but want to get in on Sandy Bridge-E? Maybe the i7 3930K is your weapon of choice.

By: | Intel CPUs in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Nov 23, 2011 10:27 am
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Intel



We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital and Corsair.


On the testbed side of things there's nothing that you wouldn't have already seen from our original launch coverage. The few things that probably aren't mentioned that need to be, though, are the motherboards we're using. All are ASUS ROG ones with the AMD sitting on the Crosshair V Formula, 2600k sitting on the Maximus IV Extreme-Z and the new Sandy Bridge-E processors sitting comfortably on the Rampage IV Extreme.


Like our other CPU testing we've done lately, we've tested all our CPUs here today at both stock and overclocked. We won't really get into that, though, as you'll be able to see the numbers all our CPUs are running at when you get into the graphs. Outside of stock, though, we wanted to make sure we offered people an idea of what they could achieve with a maximum stable overclock.


Which brings us onto our 3930K here today. From what we've seen so far on the new 3930K, the overclocking performance on the CPU has been strong with retail models actually seeming to overclock better than the Engineering Samples (ES) that most reviewers get.


With 3930K in hand, though, it was time to go into the BIOS and see what we could do on the overclocking side of things. We moved to the "Low Current" profile again and that pushed us up to 4.98GHz with no dramas. We started to mess around with everything and as you can see below, we ended up coming in at 5GHz via a 40 x 125 BCLK setup.




This lines up pretty much even with our 3960X overclock when we tested originally in our launch coverage. Again, though, it sits a little lower than our 2600k which runs really well at 5.2GHz. Before we get into the performance side of things, let's just cover the overclocking side a little more.


Since the launch of the Sandy Bridge-E platforms, we've seen a few 5.2GHz 3930K CPUs pop up and we had hoped we'd be sitting around that point as well. We messed around in the BIOS for ages trying a different combination of BCLK and Multiplier. We could actually get into Windows at around the 5.1 to 5.15GHz mark. While we had the ability to run some programs, we found a lot wouldn't.


We moved down a little bit to around the 5.05GHz mark via adjusting the BCLK a bit and we ended up in Windows and most stuff seemed to be going well. Firing up MediaEspresso, though, to convert a video we found the CPU give us a BSOD. Cyberlink MediaEspresso has quickly become one of my favorite benchmarks; it's a great one from the perspective of the real world benefits of a CPU or an overclock, but it's also extremely intensive and is a fantastic indication of whether or not our system is stable.


We ended up finally getting our video encoded at 5GHz flat and once that happened we knew we wouldn't have an issue in any of the other programs. So with everything said and done, there's only one thing left to do now.


Let's get started!

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