Intel Ivy Bridge Overclocking with the Core i7 3770K and Core i5 3570K CPUs

We check out overclocking results from the new Ivy Bridge processors; the Core i7 3770K and Core i5 3570K.

11 minutes & 37 seconds read time


Editor Note: Intel or GIGABYTE did not sanction this preview in any way. We are posting this well ahead of launch since some other well-known tech sites have already covered Ivy Bridge performance and the CPU is readily available and for sale right now.

Intel Ivy Bridge Overclocking with the Core i7 3770K and Core i5 3570K CPUs 02

I literally feel like a zombie right now. In the last 48 hours I've done so much testing it passes the threshold of being funny. I'm almost at the point where I wish I could just write "blah blah blah" let the pictures do the talking. As tempting as that is, though, I wouldn't and will instead get a bit of an introduction out for you right now.

I only say a bit of an introduction out because to be honest, we don't have to do that much talking about what's going on here today. Over the last few days we've taken the chance to preview the upcoming Ivy Bridge platform in the following ways.

We started off with a look at the upcoming Intel i5 3570k and then followed that up with a look at the upcoming Intel i7 3770k. If that wasn't enough to get your taste buds tingling then the Ivy Bridge High-Speed RAM Run with G.Skill PC3-20800 2666MHz RipjawsZ should've sealed the deal.

But something was missing! Overclocking results on the new processors and a look at just how performance goes when we overclock them. Because we've covered the GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H already along with both processors there's not a real need to go into too much detail again. Instead we'll just get into the testbed side of things and cover how we went with overclocking.

Once we've done that it's simply a matter of getting into the benchmarks and seeing just what kind of performance is on offer from the upcoming chips that are set to be released next month. So without any further ado, let's just get into it and see what exactly is going on.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Overclocking

Intel Ivy Bridge Overclocking with the Core i7 3770K and Core i5 3570K CPUs 99

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

A bit like our intro there's not a massive need to go into a huge amount of detail with what's going on with the testbed side of things. We've covered it a number of times already and if you haven't seen our previous coverage I recommend you jump back a page and check out some of it for further information.

With all the motherboard and CPUs listed above along with the overclocking results on all those said processors in our graphs starting from the next page, we'll just get into the overclocking side of things with our two Ivy Bridge processors we've got here today.

First we'll start off with the baby Ivy Bridge processor, the Core i5 3570k. Using a combination of BCLK adjustment and multiplier adjustment we ended up with a 105 BCLK and a 44x multiplier.

As you can see below that helped results in a 4.62GHz overclock which is a healthy 1200MHz over the stock clock. Thanks to the boost in BCLK we also saw the RAM speed move up to 1680MHz DDR.

Intel Ivy Bridge Overclocking with the Core i7 3770K and Core i5 3570K CPUs 001

As for the 3770k, that didn't want to play as nice on the BCLK side of things. No matter what we did we didn't have much luck at all moving the BCLK around. We got into Windows at one point using a 100.5 BCLK, but even then it didn't feel like it wanted to play nice. It seemed to be purely a CPU thing as well because the i5 3570k really didn't have an issue.

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In the end, though we did end up with a slightly higher clock than the 3570k thanks to a 48x multiplier which as you can see above bought us in at 4.8GHz. These aren't huge overclocks, we've had our 2600k running at 5.2GHz and we wanted to ask around a bit to make sure we weren't doing anything wrong.

The general consensus is that Ivy Bridge just isn't as strong at overclocking at the moment when it comes to air cooling and basic water cooling setups. Pouring LN2 over the chips will help you get massive MHz, but at the moment, the current crop including the most recent versions aren't overclocking as strong.

Still if we've learnt one thing, *cough* Bulldozer *cough*, it's that MHz isn't everything. While our 3770k comes clocked 400MHz lower than our older 2600k, can the upcoming Ivy Bridge platform offer better efficiency at the clock rate? Well, there's really only one way to find out.

Let's get started!

Benchmarks - PCMark 7 and HyperPi

PCMark 7

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04

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PCMark 7 includes a range of tests that give different views of your system's performance. In the Advanced Edition you can choose which tests to run. The common use and hardware component tests are unavailable in the Basic Edition.

Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark test. This is the only test that returns an official PCMark score. The Lightweight test measures the system capabilities of entry-level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the PCMark test, but it does not generate a PCMark score. Common use performance is measured by the scenario tests - Entertainment, Creativity and Production - each of which results in a scenario score. Hardware component performance is measured by the hardware tests - Computation and Storage - each of which results in a hardware score.

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Starting off with PCMark 7 we can see some strong performance out of the Ivy Bridge processors. Due to the way Sandy Bridge-E processors have performed under PCMark 7 as well we see some great performance out of the IVB chips.

Comparing the 3770k at 4.8GHz and the 2600k at 5.2GHz, we can see that the 2600k does come out ahead, but it's not by much of a margin.

HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99

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HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

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Because of the lack of Hyper Threading on the i5 3570k it becomes hard to compare the CPU to the other ones here. We do see nice gains over its stock performance. More importantly we see the efficiency side of things come in to play here with the 3770k.

While 400MHz lower than the 2600k, the i7 3770k offers much better performance. Overall it's actually the fastest running CPU in this instance as you can see when comparing it against all our other CPUs.

Benchmarks - AIDA64


Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

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Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Intel Ivy Bridge Overclocking with the Core i7 3770K and Core i5 3570K CPUs 33

We can see that comparing the stock and overclocked performance of our IVB processors, we've got a nice increase in performance. In this situation, though, we do see strong performance out of the 2600k which at 5.2GHz is able to outperform even the more expensive Sandy Bridge-E CPUs. It just shows how the raw speed is one thing, but when it comes to putting it to use, efficiency wins out.

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We continue to see very strong Dual Channel performance from the Intel processors here. As usual compared to Quad Channel performance it's also ahead. If you're interested in reading more about it I'd recommend you check out an article we did called Intel X79 Quad Channel and Z68 Dual Channel Memory Performance Analysis.

Benchmarks - PassMark PerformanceTest

PassMark PerformanceTest

Version and / or Patch Used: 7.0.1021

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Fast, easy to use, PC speed testing and benchmarking. PassMark PerformanceTest allows you to objectively benchmark a PC using a variety of different speed tests and compare the results to other computers. Twenty-eight standard benchmark tests are available in six test suites plus there are seven advanced testing windows for custom benchmarking.

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We can again see that while our IVB CPUs might come in lower clocked, they have no issue out performing the 5.2GHz clocked 2600k in a number of situations including Floating Point and overall CPU mark for the 3770k. The numbers don't look like a processor that is clocked 400MHz behind.

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PerformanceTest shows some strong performance gains when it comes to memory and like our stock testing we see very strong write performance on the new Z77 platform.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH, Adobe Lightroom and MediaEspresso


Version and / or Patch Used: R11.5

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CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and Mac OS X). And best of all: It's completely free.

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Looking at CINEBENCH performance we can see some really nice gains and while the 2600k does manage to sneak ahead slightly when overclocked, it's not the gains you'd expect from a CPU that was running 400MHz higher which is again showing us the efficiency of the new Ivy bridge platform.

Adobe Lightroom

Version and / or Patch Used: v3.4

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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 software helps you bring out the best in your photographs, whether you're perfecting one image, searching for ten, processing hundreds, or organizing thousands.

Create incredible images that move your audience. Experiment fearlessly with state-of-the-art nondestructive editing tools. Easily manage all your images. And showcase your work in elegant print layouts, slide shows, and web galleries, as well as on popular photo-sharing sites. All from within one fast, intuitive application.

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Looking again in a real-world situation we can see that even though the IVB based processors are clocked lower they manage to perform similar to the higher clocked 2600k with the 3770k coming out a second ahead and the 3570k a second behind.


Version and / or Patch Used: v6.5

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MediaEspresso is a blazingly fast media universal converter that can transcode your videos, photos and music files and out put them to a huge range of portable devices including mobile phones, portable media players and even game consoles. With technologies like Smart Detect, Direct Sync and CyberLink's TrueTheaterâ„¢ video enhancements, you can not only forget about complicated format, resolution and output settings, but your converted file will come out the other side looking better than when it went in!

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Thanks to the bigger MHz on offer from the 2600k it manages to just pick off the 3770k in the overclocked test. Again like some of our other benchmarks, though, the difference in speed doesn't look like it represents a 400MHz difference in processor speeds.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 11 and Aliens vs. Predator

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0

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3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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We can see a boost in performance for both our IVB CPUs and we can see that our Performance preset on the overclocked 3770k manages to come out just ahead of the higher clocked 2600k.

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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We see some nice gains under Aliens vs. Predator which sees our processors line up with our other results. Nothing to major, though, is being seen on a whole.

Power and Temperature Tests

Power Draw Tests

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On the power draw side of things we see the IVB CPUs do jump up a bit as you'd expect. Overall, though, the load numbers look pretty good with the IVB setups coming in 50w below the 2600k.

Temperature Tests

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Heat is something we've heard isn't great on the IVB CPUs at the moment and dammmmmm does the 3770k get warm. We actually got it to hit 105c at some points and throttle down. The most important thing to remember, though, is we're still dealing with early versions of the CPUs.

Like we've mentioned before, we're still about five weeks away from these CPUs hitting retail and things may be improved. As for the 3570k, that doesn't look nearly as bad lining up with the 2600k in the heat department.

Final Thoughts

So, the first thing we've got to say is that we're still dealing with early versions of these CPUs. They're both early samples, they're both engineering samples and we're still five weeks away from the official launch of the Ivy Bridge platform on a whole. So, like everything that we've done related to the Ivy Bridge platform, we've kept it as a pure preview. We're not giving any kind of verdict yet on the CPUs.

From a pure MHz perspective, it's not that hard to find yourself a little disappointed with what you're seeing. But really there's two important pieces of information that have to be remembered. The first is that our 2600k is a really good overclocker. I actually bought this particular 2600k because every ES sample we got was only hitting around the 4.9GHz mark. It also carried with it a really strong memory controller, which is great for memory overclocking.

The second is that so many times we saw that MHz isn't everything. At times our i7 3770k comes in 400MHz slower than our 2600k and is able to outperform it. Not all the time, but when it came to real-world situations, it puts up a tough fight. Quite often when it falls behind, it doesn't look like a chip that is running 400MHz slower.

On a whole overclocking is a little bit of a mixed bag, though. The good news is I think as we see later versions of silicon we'll see some better numbers in term of overall heat and hopefully higher clocks. These new CPUs seem to have no issue dealing with some massive voltage, it's just at the moment the heat is quite high for them.

Overall we've got a good idea of where the platform is going and we're seeing some awesome results from companies like G.Skill with some huge RAM MHz being seen along with companies like GIGABYTE who are also making that MHz possible on the RAM and CPU side of things.

There's more to the Ivy Bridge platform then just the CPU, though. We've got some nice features being added to the platform which is something we'll cover in more detail when the wraps is officially taken off the platform next month.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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