updated 08:30 am EDT, Fri May 28, 2010
Intel ships first mainstream overclockable CPUs
Intel on Friday launched a pair of Core i5 and Core i7 desktop processors designed to ramp well past their official speeds. The dual-core, 3.2GHz i5-655K and the quad-core, 2.93GHz i7-875K both have their clock multipliers unlocked and are easy to scale upwards. They can invoke Turbo Boost to reach 3.46GHz and 3.6GHz respectively but can go to 3.8GHz and beyond through overclocking, especially when using more advanced cooling.
The processors keep the same 4MB and 8MB of Level 3 cache each and otherwise behave like their multiplier-locked counterparts, with Hyperthreading on the Core i7 giving it the behavior of an eight-core processor with optimized apps.
Both processors are intended primarily for aftermarket upgraders, and in bulk should have prices of $216 for the i5-655K and $342 for the i7-875K. Computer builders are free to use the processors for their own systems, and models should be available from multiple manufacturers in the near future.
The new processor are Intel's first true counter to AMD's Black Edition models, which already have a reputation for supporting very high overclocks but still have relatively low prices. Intel's Extreme Edition chips have sometimes had this unlock in recent years, but with an average $999 bulk price these have usually been limited to wealthy enthusiasts. [via AnandTech]