The Hardware and Quick Overclocking

The Core i7-6950X heat spreader has changed in appearance, but it’s mostly superficial.

6950X (left), 5960X (right)

6950X (left), 5960X (right)

Interestingly, the package on Broadwell-E is thinner than on Haswell-E:

6950X (left), 5960X (right)

To help with testing of the new Core i7-6950X, ASUS sent over the X99-Deluxe II motherboard, an updated version of the board I used in my Core i7-5960X review.

Corsair provided me with new Dominator Platinum memory (4x8GB) running at 3200 MHz and an RM1000x power supply to keep the juices flowing.

Overclocking the Core i7-6950X

While Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 is great, I am sure many of you are more concerned about how well you might be able to overclock Broadwell-E. I think the variance of overclocking will be pretty wide from SKU to SKU, but I only have the 10-core part in-house for testing. Still, results are pretty impressive.

Using the ASUS X99-Deluxe II motherboard, overclocking the Core i7-6950X was straightforward and essentially an identical process to previous platforms. Adjusting multipliers and voltages with unlocked processors is an easy game and I quickly found that my stable point with this processor was 4.3 GHz.

I was able to run the Core i7-6950X at 4.3 GHz on all cores completely stable, using a Vcore of 1.35v. That is a substantial voltage increase over stock, so be sure you are using a competent cooler if you are going to attempt to reproduce it. (I was using a Corsair H100i GTX 240mm water cooler.) Temperatures stabilized around 75C during extended burn-in.

Hitting 4.3 GHz on all 10-cores (!!) produces some amazing performance increases.

  • CineBench 11.5
    • Stock: 19.05
    • 4.3 GHz: 23.62
    • 24% increase
  • POV-Ray
    • Stock: 3556.71
    • 4.3 GHz: 4262.92
    • 20% increase
  • Handbrake
    • Stock: 2551.23
    • 4.3 GHz: 338.89 FPS
    • 14% increase

Getting up to 24% better performance with a simple overclock, though it does require better cooling than a standard air cooler can provide, is fantastic. As it turns out, applying an 800 MHz overlock to 10 cores nets you quit a bit!

I was disappointed that overclocking seems to be more limited on Broadwell-E than it was with Haswell-E; in my review of the Core i7-5960X I was able to run all 8-cores at 4.6 GHz. I’ll wait and see what the rest of the community finds with the other parts in the BDW-E lineup. 

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