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Intel Core I7 6950X Extreme Edition Broadwell-E Overclocking Review

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Intel Core i7 6950X Extreme Edition Broadwell-E Overclocked: Testing

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro: Last Light is the follow-up to the extremely popular game Metro 2033. Developed by 4A games and published by Deep Silver, this game uses the 4A game engine. In this game, set a year after the missile strike on the Dark Ones, you continue on as Artyom as he digs deeper into the bowels of the Metro.

 

 

Settings:

  • DirectX 11
  • Global settings = Very High
  • PhysX = Off
  • SSAA = Yes

 

 

 

Metro: Last Light is a graphically intense game that will in most cases see the GPU become the limiting factor in performance rather than the CPU. The Core i7 6950X does deliver FPS performance closer to the top than the bottom of a very defined FPS window at both 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1080. Overclocking does not really add much in terms of gaming FPS performance when you are GPU limited. A result that differs slightly in our Batman testing.

 

Batman: Arkham Origins is the third installment of the Batman: Arkham series, released in October 2013. This action-adventure game, based on the DC Comics Batman super hero, was developed by Warner Bros. Games Montréal and released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Batman: Arkham Origins uses the Unreal 3 game engine just like its predecessors.

 

Settings:

  • DirectX 11
  • 8x MSAA
  • 16x AF
  • Global settings = Very High
  • PhysX = Normal

 

 

 

In this game with the eye candy turned up, the FPS delivered by the combination of the GTX 770 and the Core i7 6950X again delivers gaming performance at the top of the FPS window at stock speeds. Cranking the core up another 700MHz has a positive impact on perforamance even when GPU limited.

 

3DMark: The just-released version of Futuremark's popular 3DMark suite is designed to let a wider range of the user base make a comparative analysis of the gaming prowess of their systems from entry level PCs, to notebooks, to extreme gaming PCs.

 

Settings

  • Default test settings
  • Cloud Gate
  • Fire Strike
  • Physics 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

In the 3DMark testing, you can see that the better your CPU is, the better your overall results will be. That said, the CPU Physics scores are impressive whichever way you want to look at them. Overclocking adds a significant gain in overall performance scoring in this set of tests.

Intel Core i7 6950X Extreme Edition Broadwell-E Overclocked: Conclusion

If you put in the tuning and testing time, you can maximize the performance of Intel's 14nm 10-core beast, the Core i7 6950X. With the CPU you get a couple of new options with by-core overclocking using the best cores to eek out the top level performance. You can overclock by using traditional methods that may not pay as handsome a clock speed dividend, but nevertheless you get improved performance. By using the AVX workload offset, you can drop the core clock speed ratio at a user defined level that helps drop down the clock speed under heavy AVX related workloads. The goal with using this strategy is that you reduce the clock speed and the associated voltage needed to run the lower clock speed number. The one caveat here is that you need to be running the voltage on auto.

The single biggest hurdle when running higher voltages and clock speeds is thermal management. A nice air cooler or even some of the nicer AIO kits are going to be fully overwhelmed with the thermal load displaced by the Core i7 6950X when overclocked and over volted. I had to resort to a full on water cooling setup to reach the observed 4.34GHz and 4.28GHz speeds I ran in my testing. Usually the hefty 240mm radiator I use for overclocking processors is sufficient to handle the typical load. Not so with this beast. I had to back up and put in a second radiator to handle the load discharged into the liquid. By doing so, I was able to keep the processor from throttling and bouncing off the 99 °C max temperature before the chip could throttle.

Overall, most of your usual overclocking tools and methods that we have worked with over the past few generations of Intel processors work well with this generation of Intel's Extreme series chips. The new flexibility adds some wrinkles, but nothing that cannot be easily overcome. The Intel Core i7 6950X Broadwell-E processor is one hell of a processor.




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