The processors of the Intel Core i5 line are represented in such a wide range of models, that it is not easy to choose the optimal chip for solving problems related to the overclocking that is popular among Russian IT specialists. That is, the acceleration of "iron". What are the criteria for choosing an Intel Core i5 processor that is optimal for this purpose? What to look for when overclocking the chip?
Intel Core i5 is not a single processor, but a huge family of chips, positioned as a mid-priced product. In terms of performance, the Intel Core i5 processor (reviews by many IT specialists confirm this) occupies an intermediate position between its “brothers” - i3 and i7. What are the distinguishing features of these chips? What are the main characteristics of the processor Intel Core i5, characteristic of most of its modifications?
CPU, overclocking itself
You can, for example, note that the chip line implemented remarkable technology Turbo Boost. It implies processor overclocking in the automatic mode, in case the standard values reflecting the performance become insufficient. Also, a number of models of the line has a built-in chip, which is responsible for graphics processing independent of the video card.
The range of clock frequencies that determine the performance of the Intel Core i5 processor is 1,2-3,6 GHz. The rate of data exchange through DMI is more than decent - 2,5 GP / s. The production technology of chips is different - there are those that are manufactured on the basis of crystals in 45 nm, and there are those in the release of which elements are used in 32 nm. The microarchitecture of processors of this line is implemented in two versions - Intel Nehalem and Sandy Bridge. The number of cores varies - 2 or 4, the cache of the second level - 256 KB (on the 1 core), the third - 4-6 MB.
Many IT-specialists are sure that it is possible to carry out impressive overclocking of the processor Intel Core i5 in most of its modifications. Therefore, we will study the features of this chip, correlating them with the prospects for increasing performance using the "overclocking" method.
Consider first some aspects reflecting the structure of the processor. If we talk about Sandy Bridge, then it should be noted that the Intel Core i5 processor, reviews of which are particularly common among overclocking enthusiasts, is not the only one where this architecture is implemented. Sandy Bridge is also the basis for the operation of i3 and i7 rulers. At the same time, as experts note, the peculiarities of this architecture rather impede the quality overclocking of the processor. In connection with what?
Sandy Bridge Specific
The fact is that certain key factors, without which overclocking of the Intel Core i5 processor is difficult, are in many models of chips equipped with Sandy Bridge simply blocked. The maximum that an overclocker with such i5 on “armament” can count on is an increase in the frequency on the order of 900 MHz. For a professional overclocking enthusiast, this is not the most prominent indicator (although it is quite acceptable for an amateur).
At the same time, there are processors in the i5 line, in which you can freely set the values for the necessary multipliers. These chips include, for example, Intel Core i5-2500K. Theoretically, such models can be overclocked, as some IT specialists believe, to 5 GHz and higher. Many overclocking experts are also impressed by the fact that the cost of processors with unlocked multipliers is rather democratic. This allows, for example, paying the order of 200-250 dollars for a processor that can “accelerate” well, to achieve a level of performance of almost “premium” chips - so many experts believe.
Perfect processor for overclocking
According to some experts, the overclocking of the processor Intel Core i5 is best done in the very modification i5-2500K. It is relatively inexpensive - about as much as the above, and the results are quite decent in the overclocked state. In some aspects of the "acceleration" of this processor, as some experts believe, is quite comparable with the more prestigious i7. And if you compare their cost, then the ratio of price and potential growth in productivity, as experts believe, makes i5 almost the preferred solution than the model that is newer, but significantly more expensive.
Of course, if you compare i7 and Intel Core i5 processor, there are differences in the level of technology. For example, the third level cache size is different in these chips. The older model is equipped with 8 MB, the younger - 6. However, as many experts note, this difference has no practical significance in most cases.
Intel Core 2500K: features
Continuing the description of the processor Intel Core i5 2500K, which is a candidate for the status of the most optimal for overclocking, it should be noted: many experts consider it perfectly adapted for gaming needs. Moreover, the 4 cores with which the chip is equipped is the limit for many modern “gaming” solutions. Processors that support a larger number of simultaneously processed threads are far from always capable of providing a real increase in performance in games.
Of course, planning overclocking of the Intel Core i5 processor, the overclocker should get an adequate hardware in advance for the upcoming experiments. The hardware capabilities of the other components of the PC must match the performance of the processor. If we use Core i5 2500K, then we will need a computer, the characteristics of which should not be inferior to the following:
- cooler with turns of at least 1800 units per minute;
- video card of the Radeon HD 5870 level;
- RAM type DDR3-1600, minimum 4 GB;
It is desirable that a high-quality cooling system was also on the system unit.
Overclocking the processor is, as some overclocking enthusiasts believe, a kind of little research. Therefore, it will not be superfluous for the user to acquire also an adequate "software" component. If we talk about the optimal operating system, it is quite acceptable to overclock the processor in Windows OS 7. You also need to make sure that all drivers are installed with all the latest drivers.
Results require measurements.
In terms of software, it is important to acquire a program to effectively measure the results, which the overclocking of the processor will show. What kind of software makes sense to pay attention to? One of the most universal programs used by overclockers is 3D Mark. It, as many IT-specialists believe, gives sufficiently objective results on the performance of the processor core, adequately compares the achieved performance with those shown by other chips.
Another useful utility is PC Mark. It can be used as a complex type of software for testing processor performance.
Among the most versatile types of software for researching the speed of a PC (and not only the processor, but also other hardware components) is the SiSoft Sandra program. One of the most objective (if we talk about measuring the performance of chips) measurements that are present in SiSoft Sandra, is an arithmetic test. Also useful may be the results of cryptographic measurements made by one of the modules of this program.
Some experts believe that the architecture of the processor Intel Core i5 is well adapted to work in "chess" programs. Thus, it is possible to measure the performance of a chip in terms of overclocking based on the number of operations it performs in the process of “thinking moves.” The program, which is ideally suitable for this purpose, experts say, is Fritz Chess Benchmark.
Software that is at hand
The above programs are specialized overclocking software. Despite the fact that their use, as a rule, gives quite reliable and fairly detailed figures, which make it possible to understand how overclocking turned out to be successful, experts recommend using “normal” utilities in addition. For example, the archiver: using an accelerated processor, you can try to pack (or perform the reverse procedure) files, measuring, firstly, the overall speed of operations, and secondly, watching the stability of the computer as a whole.
Photoshop can also be useful - especially in the part of image operations where filter mapping is applied. This kind of action very decently load the processor. If the computer will work with the use of such opportunities Photoshop steadily - it means that the chip was overclocked sufficiently competently.
What other utilities might come in handy? For example, an application such as Linpack may be appropriate. It will also be useful to install a utility with which you can monitor the temperature of the processor. As such, you can use the program Real Temp. The CPU-z application can also be useful for collecting system data.
Above, we noted that the chip we are considering is a gaming processor. Intel Core i5, if you look at its basic characteristics (such as, for example, the basic clock frequency - more than 3 GHz), really seems quite productive for "gaming tasks." Therefore, during overclocking, it makes sense to study how the processor behaves in specialized programs that simulate the gaming environment, or, in fact, the games themselves. In the second case, its performance indicators can be fixed using the FRAPS utility.
Before you start testing - in software or gaming - the Intel Core i5 processor must be "measured" at the "factory" settings. By fixing the numbers in the respective types of software, you can increase the frequency of the multipliers. How to do it?
The most accessible way to "overclock" the processor is to set the appropriate settings for multipliers in the BIOS. To do this, restart the PC and at the very beginning of the launch of the computer, press DEL - through this action we exit to the BIOS. It is possible, of course, that the input key to the I / O system will be different. But, as a rule, the necessary hint is always displayed on the screen. It can look something like this: Press DEL to Enter BIOS. Instead of DEL, thus, another necessary button will be indicated if it is different from the one marked.
Going into the BIOS, we find the option of the type of Frequency Control. Several basic multipliers will be available. We will be interested in two - the total frequency of the processor bus (it is expressed in MHz) and, in fact, its coefficient. The first parameter to touch is not recommended. The technological type of Intel Core i5 processor based on the Sandy Bridge architecture is not very compatible with adjusting the system bus parameters. Moreover, as experts note, experiments with this setting, as a rule, do not provide practically significant performance gains.
For growth to be progressive
Experiments with the second component are quite acceptable. The characteristics of the processor Intel Core i5-2500K allow an increase in the coefficient in question to 57. However, it is very undesirable to set this value immediately. It is necessary to raise the figure gradually, measuring the result of "overclocking" in the programs that we reviewed above. The optimal starting value for the multiplier is 40. If the system starts to work unstable, you can lower it.
Some experts advise overclockers to experiment not only with the multiplier, but also with the processor's voltage. But there is no unambiguous point of view on this matter among specialists. There are opponents of this approach. At the same time, if the user still wants to work with this component, then you should start with the 1,15 B metric.
What results can be obtained from chip overclocking? Could the installation of the Intel Core i5 processor on a gaming computer significantly affect the performance growth? According to experts, the results can be excellent. Installation - justified. Many of the IT-specialists who conducted the experiment, came to the conclusion that the overclocking capabilities of the processor are especially remarkable in terms of the risks of overheating. That is, it is quite possible to increase the practical performance of the chip, at which the processor temperature will unconditionally be within the technological norm. This means that if necessary, the multiplier can be increased further. True, then the issue of system stability becomes relevant. It needs to be tested, preferably through several programs at once.
Overclocking is a chance to really speed up a computer without additional investments. It is possible, therefore, to purchase a budget quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and increase its performance by an order of magnitude, bringing it to a level comparable to the performance of leading "premium" models.