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Intel K Spec Core i7 875 and Core i5 655 Review



Earlier I made a reference to good things coming in little black boxes and wanting to know if my wife's philosophy carries any weight. The short answer is an emphatic yes. (I hate it when she's right). The rest of the answer is that Intel is now knocking on the door that AMD has been trying to close for a while with its Black Edition processors. No longer does the high performance Intel crowd have to pony up and spend a grand for the ability to maximize your clock speeds. Granted this is the socket 1156 lineup instead of the 1366 platform, but you capture a broader audience by hitting the more economical platform. At a retail price of $216, the i5 655 is going to cost you a premium over the i5 650, but to some, the extra features may be worth it. Now with the i7 875, Intel has done an "about face" with this processor. The i7 870 currently retails for $569 at many of the most popular e-tailors. The price point for a chip that is basically identical but is unlocked, will be selling for a mere $342. A price difference of $217. That's just huge. The $342 price is a price premium of about 60 dollars over the cost of a lower clocked i7 860, so the choice is clear.

These processors are unlocked and meant to be overclocked. This is why both processors reached in excess of 4.5GHz for screen shots and between 4392MHz (i7 875) and 4461MHz (i5 655) for prime 95 stability. This however, took some work to get accomplished as both would easily get close to, or over the maximum clock speeds with just the use of the multiplier for overclocking. In order to really get as high as possible, multiplier and bclock tweaking was required. The benefit is that you really do not have to hit all the ancillary voltages nearly as hard as when you have to push the bclock to reach your final overclock.

All things considered, I think Intel has a winning proposition with the introduction of these processors to the market. They offer a flexibility in overclocking that was in the past reserved for the biggest (and most expensive) dog on the block in Intel's lineup. They come in at a reasonable price point and overclock like stink. If a socket 1156 rig is in your future, then the i7 875 should be the processor for you.



  • Unlocked
  • Overclocking Headroom
  • Compatible with existing sockets and chipsets
  • Pricing on the 875



  • Pricing on the 655


Editors' Choice

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (The Motherboard)
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup, Overclocking
  5. Testing: Apophysis, WinRar, Bibble 5
  6. Testing: Office 2007, POV Ray
  7. Testing: SiSoft Sandra
  8. Testing: Sciencemark, Cinebench, HD Tune
  9. Testing: Far Cry 2
  10. Testing: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  11. Testing: Batman Arkham Asylum
  12. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  13. Conclusion:
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