Maximum CPU Overclocks
Two programs are used for testing maximum CPU frequency, CPU-Z and AIDA64 Extreme Edition.
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70
Max CPU Frequency Validation on Air:
Max CPU Frequency Validation on LN2:
Max BCLK Frequency Validation on Air:
Max Memory Frequency Validation on Air:
3269MHz on 16GB (4x4GB) G.Skill Ripjaws 4 using the 32.00x memory multiplier. I would also like to point out that memory overclocking on this platform isn't so dependent on CPU clocks, so lower CPU and Uncore speeds don't help as much as they did on previous CPUs like the 4790K.
Memory overclocking can also be a bit tricky, so if using a high multiplier like 32x doesn't work well, try using a gear ratio and lower memory multiplier like 24x. I will cover individual motherboards and their memory overclocking more in depth in my motherboard articles.
AIDA 64 Extreme Edition
Version and / or Patch Used: Build 3011
AIDA64 was used for its stability test module. We expanded the amount of RAM used to maximize the stress on the CPU.
Intel's X99 platform presents a unique and delightful experience when it comes to overclocking. This is mainly due to the fact that the 5960X can actually overclock quite far above its stock speeds. The 4.5GHz overclock for 24/7 use was simple to achieve, and that is a 50% overclock over stock speeds.
The capacity to overclock large amounts (16 to 32GB) of DRAM to high speeds is something that wasn't easy to do with previous platforms, yet seems simple enough with this one. The rate at which vendors are putting out products and updating them to work faster is also pretty intense with X99. I can even utilize the 32x memory multiplier or the 1.67x BCLK ratio pretty easily, a feat that wasn't possible at launch. You should expect even greater overclocking headroom as the platform further matures.
Intel did a really great job with the CPU's thermal performance. They effectively doubled the number of CPU cores when compared with the 4790K, yet I am still able to achieve almost the same overclocks on air when compared to the 4790K. All of this does come at a price, and that might be the biggest downside to the platform.
While there are much more affordable 6-core variants of the 5960X, the motherboards and DDR4 aren't cheap to procure. However, that price tag brings you the fastest desktop microarchitecture Intel has to offer, along with the wonderfully satisfying journey of overclocking this beast of a platform. Enjoy!
PRICING: You can find the Intel Core i7 5960X Extreme Edition CPU for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Intel Core i7 5960X Extreme Edition CPU retails for $1,049.99 at Amazon.
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