In this article we are testing coolers from low to high-end but also from silent to performance fans. So we definitely should look into tweakability of the processor. As such I was wondering where I'd end up with a quick overclock session. We had a peek at a selection of stages in overclocking and their respective temperatures, have a look at the following results please.
We enforce 4600 MHz onto the processor clock frequency by changing the multiplier.
We give the processor 1.20 Volts and then (next page) later on 1.30 Volts
The problem with a Core i7 3770 @ 1.3 Volts however is that it will run up to 90~95 Degrees C on your average heatpipe cooling. Anything under 90 Degrees C (with 100% CPU load) is a win here as it shows cooling capacity. It's the nature of the beast.
Let me clearly state that at 4600 MHz we DO NOT NEED 1.3 Volts for a stable overclock, we are merely stressing the cooler to see how it behaves. Realistically with the TUF Sabertooth Z77 motherboard we are using, 1.20V is enough for 4600 MHz. So again, we have increased CPU voltage beyond what we actually need. Okay, with that explained let's have a peek:
Core i7 3770K OC at 4600 MHz 1.2 Volts - IDLE
So, first up some IDLE results with the Core i7 clocked at 3770K @ 4600 GHz with 1.2 volts on the CPU. Again, the results are the IDLE temperatures thus you are in your desktop doing nothing.
Core i7 3770K OC at 4600 MHz 1.2 Volts LOAD
Now we'll be testing the temperatures under stress. If we set the overclock at 4600 MHz and configure CPU Voltage at 1.2V, these will be the results.
As you can see, the temperatures are bumped up higher quickly. Overclocked with 1.2 Volts we already see some coolers run into problems. Yes the Core i7 3770K is a seriously nasty product when tweaked.
My rule of thumb is simple, if the processor can stay under or at 75 Degrees for a long period of time, you should be okay. Optimal would be under 70 Degrees C.
We see the two low-profile coolers and the Gelid solutions run into cooling performance issues fast, heck they are not made for this class of processor and overclock. Also, the bigger part of 35 EUR coolers like the Scythe products run out of juice fast. Best in class performance is the Noctua NH D14, the Alpenfohn K2 and the Scythe Grand Kama and Ninja. The last one offers great value as such.
So this overclock we consider to be a realistic tweak, similar to what you guys achieve and do at home. But let's raise the bar even higher, next page please.
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