Overclocking & Power Consumption
Overclocking on the X79 platform is extremely easy and there are a couple of different ways to do it. We will be concentrating on the easiest way, which is simply changing the CPU ratio or multiplier. So for the i7-4960X the default multiplier is set at 36. From there we started moving it up each time running a stress test and checking thermals. We also set the CPU voltage to 1.35V.
After a whole bunch of tests we ended up with 4.5 GHz (45x multiplier) with the memory set at 1866 MHz. I do believe that we could have gone higher but we are using an air cooling solution so that limited us just a little bit.
Moving from 3.6 GHz to 4.5 GHz is only a 900 MHz or 25% overclock. While any overclock is good I do believe if we had liquid cooling we could have done better than 25%. So how much more performance does 25% get you? Here are some purely CPU benchmarks showing the difference.
One thing that we have noticed in each generation of processor is that Intel is cutting down the power consumption of the chips. This was very noticeable between the i7-3970X and the i7-4960X. I overclocked both chips with the exact same settings up to 4.5 GHz. With full load on the system the CPU package voltage of the i7-3970X was a 168.4 watts, while the i7-4960X was at 123.65V. These reading were taking from AIDA64’s sensor monitoring screen.
Another thing that was very noticeable were the temperatures. The i7-4960X was anywhere from 5-7 degrees cooler than the i7-3970X.