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Intel Core i7 875K review

Intel's cooks up a special-K recipe for overclocking enthusiasts

Intel's Nehalem CPU architecture is simply the most advanced in the world. That's why a quad-core 2.93GHz chip like the Core i7 875K can take on AMD's fastest six-core effort, the 3.2GHz Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition and win.

In multi-threaded applications, there isn't much in it. The Core i7 875K is just over half a frame per second quicker in our HD video encoding benchmark, for instance. Of course, with just four cores to the Phenom's six, the Intel chip is much more powerful on a core-for-core basis.

It's no surprise to find, therefore, that the Core i7 875K pretty much monsters the six-core Phenom processor in software that only generates a handful of truly CPU-intensive threads. That typically includes apps like games and file decompression.

However, there are plenty of much cheaper Intel processors with those very same cores. The Core i5 750 and Core i5 760 both essentially match the 875K for gaming grunt for over £100 less.

All of which means that the unlocked multiplier that comes with the K-series moniker had better deliver the goods. Unfortunately, it doesn't. That's not to say the 875K doesn't overclock with the best of 'em. If our test sample is anything to go by, you can expect frequencies in excess of 4GHz with an air cooler.

However, that speed is achieved courtesy of ramping up the baseclock, not twiddling the multiplier. That's because Intel's firmware adjusts the multiplier settings to manage thermals. Of course, the unlocked multiplier still adds flexibility. But it isn't the magic overclocking bullet you might expect.

We liked:

Intel's relationship with hardcore PC enthusiasts hasn't always been friendly. So it's great to see it making more effort by offering this moderately affordable processor with an unlocked multiplier. Moreover, like any Nehalem-class quad-core processor, all round performance is pretty epic.

We disliked:

In practice, the unlocked multiplier isn't much of a help when overclocking on air. For sure, it will help those crazies with cannisters of liquid nitrogen to hit headline-grabbing frequencies. But that's not exactly practical computing. In that context, the Core i7 875K looks a little pricey.

Verdict:

A nice addition to the range for enthusiasts, but not cost effective for ordinary punters.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeProcessor
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Thermal Design Power95 W
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Product FamilyCore i7 i7-800
L3 Cache8 MB
Clock Speed2.93 GHz
Processor SocketSocket H LGA-1156
Brand NameIntel
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Thermal Specification72.7°C
L2 Cache1 MB
Product Seriesi7-800
ManufacturerIntel Corporation
Product Modeli7-875K
Product NameCore i7 Quad-core i7-875K 2.93GHz Desktop Processor
Product LineCore i7
Input Voltage1.4 V DC
Manufacturer Part NumberBX80605I7875K
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.intel.co.uk
Marketing Information

With faster, intelligent, multi-core technology that applies processing power where it's needed most, new Intel Core i7 processors deliver an incredible breakthrough in PC performance. They are the best desktop processor family on the planet. You'll multitask applications faster and unleash incredible digital media creation. And you'll experience maximum performance for everything you do, thanks to the combination of Intel Turbo Boost technology and Intel Hyper-Threading technology (Intel HT technology), which maximizes performance to match your workload.

Packaged Quantity1
Process Technology45 nm
Package Contents
  • Core i7 Quad-core i7-875K 2.93GHz Desktop Processor
  • Intel Inside Logo Label
  • Installation Instructions
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • Thermal Interface Material
  • Intel Designed Thermal Solution
Limited Warranty3 Year