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Overclocking study – Intel Core i7 4790K & Intel Pentium G3258 – air, water, phase-change, DICE & LN2

Many things changed in the last 15 years and we are not going to go into too much detail, because this is not a history article but a scaling review with the latest CPU’s from Intel. However, we have a few more issue to address, in order to better understand the current situation with overclocking.

Since 15 years ago all motherboard manufacturers started to pay a lot of attention to overclocking and in the last decade we could see motherboards specially tailored for the needs of overclockers, after market cooling solutions becoming more and more popular, liquid nitrogen pots mass produced for retail sale and world wide overclocking championships with cash prizes.

Overclocking became very popular but that also became a problem for CPU manufacturers like Intel and AMD. Because you couldn’t simply block features on motherboards anymore but you also didn’t want anybody to be able to take the cheapest CPU and overclock it until it would get to the performance of the most expensive CPU.

CPU manufacturers used to block some features on the cheaper CPU’s since the 486 days, but now it was time that this was done in a different way. And that also meant that the PC enthusiasts got some attention and recognition from the manufacturers. That was the time when both manufacturers created top of the line series for those who do not care how much they spend for the top performance – the hard core overclockers, the PC enthusiasts, the heavy gamers. That is how AMD’s FX line was born and that is how the Extreme Edition was born, a series of unlocked CPU’s that stretches from the Pentium 4 days up until today, with CPU’s like Intel Core i7 4960X Extreme Edition available on the market and models like Intel Core i7 5960X (8 core Haswell-E CPU) launching sometimes this year.

The guys who wanted everything, the most powerful CPU’s with unlocked multipliers, got what they wanted and everybody else could still get a healthy overclocking on locked CPU’s by raising the FSB. However, the situation changed dramatically when the new Sandy Bridge architecture was introduced, and BUS overclocking wouldn’t bring you too much extra MHz at all. But unlike Pentium days though, overclockers and enthusiasts have become a very important part of the market in the meanwhile so this issue had to be addressed somehow.

In the year before the Sandy Bridge launch, Intel was very well aware of this, so they made a move that not many people understood at the time – the launch of a second special SKU, designed for overclockers and gamers. The K SKU first came to life with Intel Core i5 655K and Intel Core i7 875K. The two models had fully unlocked multiplier, but unlike their Extreme Edition counterparts at the time (Intel Core i7 980X) they wouldn’t cost 999 USD. The Core i5 655K had a price tag of 216 USD while the Core i7 875K had a price tag of 342 USD. Much closer to the needs of overclockers and enthusiasts, I might add.

After that all Intel families would have an unlocked Core i5 and Core i7 version, designed for overclockers. We are talking about Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell and Haswell refresh. And even the Sandy-E and Ivy-E series have their own K model. And since Sandy Bridge these K models have roughly the same price – ~300-350 USD for the i7 version and 216 USD for the i5 version. In fact, Intel’s price scheme didn’t change much since Conroe – the high-end would have a 300 / 560 / 999 USD price tag and this is what we can see today with the SB-E or Ivy-E families.

Sandy / Ivy Bridge and Haswell topped out < 350 USD for the Core i7 K and < 250 USD for the Core i5 K and everything bellow that price is locked and you cannot achieve much through overclocking. If you compare this situation with 2006 for instance you would see that it’s even better for overclockers, since the non EE CPU’s didn’t have unlocked multiplier at all (think E6300, E6400, etc). So in the end things did improve over the years even from a price point of view, if we think about CPU’s, because now you get an unlocked multiplier at the same price you got a locked CPU (that you would overclock using FSB) a few years ago.

But there was only one little thing missing – an affordable CPU for those who want to try overclocking but don’t have the budget for a Haswell K. And this year, besides the 350 USD Intel Core i7 4790K, we all got another very nice present from Intel. It celebrates 20 years of Pentium, it has an unlocked multiplier and two Haswell cores, and it only costs 72 USD. It is called Pentium G3258, and this is what we are going to test today, together with the Intel Core i7 4790K beast…

64 comments la: Overclocking study – Intel Core i7 4790K & Intel Pentium G3258 – air, water, phase-change, DICE & LN2

    1. 1 – At what frequency did the Pentium G3258 ran fully stable using extreme water cooling?
      5126MHz
      2 – What maximum frequency did we achieve on Intel Core i7 4790K using LN2?
      6346MHz

      Reply
    2. Salomiea Marius wrote on:

      1-5250MHz
      2-6346MHz

      Reply
    3. Augustin Carnu wrote on:

      5126 Mhz fully Stable on extreme WaterCooling
      6346.53 Mhz maximum freqeuncy on 4790K LN2.

      Reply
    4. Ionita Bogdan Constantin wrote on:

      1) 5126MHz fully stable
      2) 6346MHz LN2

      Reply
    5. Dulgheriu Alexandru wrote on:

      1 – 5126MHz
      2 – 6346MHz

      Reply
    6. Ungureanu Lucian wrote on:

      1- 5126MHz
      2- 6346MHz

      Reply
    7. Prisecaru Gabriel wrote on:

      1. 5352 MHz
      2. 6346 Mhz

      Reply
    8. Ovidiu Bonte wrote on:

      1 – At what frequency did the Pentium G3258 ran fully stable using extreme water cooling?

      Answer: 5126MHz !

      2 – What maximum frequency did we achieve on Intel Core i7 4790K using LN2?

      Answer: 6346 MHZ!

      Reply
    9. Zacchaeus Lim wrote on:

      Hi there my answers are
      1.5250.91 mhz on ewc for G3258
      2.6346.53mhz on ln2 CPU-Z validated

      Reply
    10. Raul wrote on:

      1 – At what frequency did the Pentium G3258 ran fully stable using extreme water cooling? Answer is : 5250MHz
      2 – What maximum frequency did we achieve on Intel Core i7 4790K using LN2? Answer is : 6346MHz

      Reply
    11. Halian wrote on:

      1) 5126 MHz
      2) 6346 MHz

      Reply
    12. Giancarlo Dalmedico wrote on:

      1 – At what frequency did the Pentium G3258 ran fully stable using extreme water cooling?
      A: 5126 MHz

      2 – What maximum frequency did we achieve on Intel Core i7 4790K using LN2?
      A: 6346 MHz

      Reply
    13. Aurelian Niculita wrote on:

      1. 5126 MHz.
      2. 6346 Mhz.

      Reply
    14. Georgiana D wrote on:

      1 – 5126MHz
      2 – 6346MHz

      Reply
    15. The contest has ended, we will announce the winner tomorrow

      Reply
    16. You had to go up to like 1.35V or higher to get your 4790k to almost 4.8ghz?
      I set my BCLK has high as it would go at stock (101.5), set voltage to 1.30 fixed, set multiplier to 50, knocked it down until it would boot (48), knocked it down to temperature within operating ranges (47), and then tweaked the voltage down until it stopped, then set it to Adaptive, with a max of just above where it stopped.

      result: 1.23V 4770.5MHz

      Then I bumped CPU Cache till it wouldn’t work anymore, at 45x.

      Max temp at 86 degrees. No matter what I set voltages to I can’t get it to operate at 48x without it constantly going into thermal throttle. Works fine at 47x.
      I can even get it to do 48x on one core, so long as I don’t start up GTA V.

      Reply

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