For nearly a decade, the only multiplier-unlocked processors that Intel sold were its Extreme Edition chips. Of course, those $1000 processors have always been priced well beyond the budgets of most enthusiasts. The launch of the Core i7-875K and Core i5-655K CPUs changed that, bringing unlocked multiplier ratios down to price points power users can actually afford ($342 and $216, respectively).
Back in May, when these two chips launched, we had good luck overclocking them using air cooling. Our quad-core Lynnfield-based -875K was stable enough to complete our entire benchmark suite at 4.13 GHz, and the Clarkdale-based Core i5-655K peaked at an astronomical 4.66 GHz.
We don’t think those processors necessarily topped out, though. The Core i7-875K was nearly solid at 4.26 GHz and the i5-655K finished most of our tests at 4.8 GHz. We were even able to get it to POST at 4.93 GHz. On air. At 1.45 V.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not that proud of ourselves. After all, we’ve seen Core i5-655K overclocks up above 7.3 GHz (and more than 2 V—ouch). But if you think you can do better than us, we certainly want to see what you can do.
Intel was kind enough to kick in a little summer sizzle to make the stakes a bit more interesting, too.
- If you submit the highest-frequency overclock on either CPU, you’ll win a Core i7-980X processor, an Intel DX58SO motherboard, and two Intel X25-M 80 GB SSDs to build a quick little RAID 0 array with.
- If your submission falls into second or third place, you’ll win a Core i7-980X processor and DX58SO motherboard.
- If you’re fourth through 24th (the next 20 highest entrants), you’ll win two cases of Talking Rain Sparkling ICE water to tide you over until it gets a little cooler outside (hey, it’s still in the 90s down here in Southern California). That's 24 winners total.
Here’s what you need to do:
Once you’ve hit the maximum overclock on your Core i7-875K or Core i5-655K processor via any cooling technique you want to use, fire up the latest version of CPU-Z (1.55). Click the Validate button, and, using the Online mode, submit your results with Tom’s Hardware Contest in the Name field (this will show Submitted by: online).
You’ll receive a confirmation email within two or three days. Send your validated CPU-Z link to the address specified in that email. You’re then entered in the contest!
We’re running the contest from September 4th to the 25th. Good luck!
I have another special-ops overclocking project in the works that you should see online before the contest ends. Keep an eye out for that one, too!