Extreme FSB: Taking the E6750 Beyond 4 GHz

Intel promises noticeable performance gains from its new FSB1333 bus, currently available on Core 2 series 6x50 processors. There have been mixed results between these and same-speed FSB1066 versions, one thing is for certain: buying the latest processor model ensures a later core stepping with potentially better overclocking capabilities. Stepping updates are minor revisions that fix bugs, hot spots and/or other stability issues, and added stability with reduced heat sounds to us like the perfect recipe for increasing speeds.

Another certainty is Intel’s unwillingness to allow its buyers to increase the CPU to FSB multiplier on anything that doesn’t carry one of its "Extreme" model names. Overclocking the E6750 and E6550 can be significantly limited by the FSB capabilities of most motherboards, due to the respective 8x and 7x multiplier limits of the two models. For example, reaching 4.0 GHz on the E6750 requires a 500 MHz FSB clock (FSB2000), but many boards give up at around 490 MHz (FSB1960).

A second concern that most FSB1333 overclockers are likely to face is that Intel’s latest chipsets support a minimum 1:1 DRAM to FSB clock speed. This limitation assures that systems receive adequate memory bandwidth, but it also means that the minimum memory specification that will work with FSB2000 (500 MHz clock) is DDR2-1000 (500 MHz clock). High-end memory intended for overclocking is generally expensive, and though this speed may be common among DDR3 modules, most currently-available DDR3-supporting motherboards require an even higher 5:4 ratio. Either way, it’s up to the buyer to add premium memory to the cost of his or her endeavour.

A big advantage that review sites have over normal consumers is a wide variety of in-house parts, which allows each editor to pick and choose the best parts for any given task. We have the motherboards, memory, and cooling, so let’s see how far we can push Intel’s mid-priced Core 2 Duo E6750.

High-FSB Hardware

This overclocking adventure was never intended to be a motherboard shootout, but several brands made wild claims to overclocking superiority that we just had to check out.

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