Now before we begin our benchmark session I clearly want to stipulate that I have opted for an NFORCE 680i mainboard purely for optimal overclocking. There's no reason not to use an Intel chipset though. We had the new P31 NVIDIA BIOS available making this processor supported. A good number of bugs are still present in this BIOS though, memory write performance wasn't up to par and the speedstep settings screwed up the multiplier consistently. Setting Speedstep to automatic fixed that.
At 45nm the CPU at default runs extremely cool, granted we did opt for water-cooling yet the system returned 29 degrees C per core. That's stunning. Since we have an Extreme edition (QX) processor that gives us one more benefit. We have an unlocked multiplier to play around with.
My soft spot would be 4 GHz, so I mildly increased the CPU core voltage towards 1.4v, increased the multiplier to 12x, rebooted and what do you know ... at the first run we have a success.
True, this is an ES sample, a vanilla press sample. But guys, this shows potential. We tried a multiplier of 13 yet ran into some stability issues. We could boot fine though. Since I had very little time for this article I figured hey, 4 GHz on 4 cores isn't exactly silly right ?
So I re-enabled these settings back to 4 GHz, booted into windows and took my favorite CPU burner, Prime95. Four threads and I left it running for an hour. The results were fine, no errors.
So in a matter of 30 seconds I had this CPU running stable at 4 GHz. Now that is just stunning. Since I had no reason not do so, I included benchmark results at 4 GHz throughout our tests.
I'll even try to break my personal 3DMark06 score, that's a promise. Let's have a look at the benchmarks.
Hardware and Software Used
Now we begin the benchmark portion (the performance analysis) of this article, but first let me show you our test system plus the software we used.
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