Intel Core i3-540 Review Comment Thread
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May 3, 2010, 05:10 PM
Associate Review Editor
Join Date: Nov 2006
Originally Posted by
Nice review... although I can't see how you recommend the 540 over the 530. A quick check on NCIX shows a $25 CAD premium, for somewhere around an extra 200mhz. That's less than 5% higher overclocking clock speed for about 20% more money, and certainly less than 5% higher performance. Right?
From a value perspective, the i3-530 is of course better. But like I mentioned in the review, that 23X multiplier really is the sweet spot when you take into consideration Clarkdale's CPU frequency headroom and the BCLK capabilities of most LGA1156 motherboards. It eliminates any potential obstacle that would prevent you from really maxing out the processor. Now whether that is worth the premium depends on the person.
I've used the 530 to build a few systems in the last couple of months... I'd be interested to see all of your BIOS settings for the overclock. It might be different chips, or different boards, but I've only been able to get around 4.1 GHZ with some boards/chips, with 4.4 GHZ on others. I guess I'm doing it right then... used the ASRock H55m, ASUS H55 EVO and Gigabyte H55m USB3... Also, I've been setting the QPI and Uncore frequencies low (as per Bloomfield), didn't realize you could bump these up. Should you start OCing like this, or raise them up after you've reached your target frequency?
So far I have tried three i3-540's and one i5-661 ES and they all did 4.55-4.70Ghz at 1.35V. It really hasn't required any special tweaking whatsoever. I set the vCore to 1.35V, the VTT/IMC to 1.35V, and the vDIMM to 1.65V, set the memory multiplier to 8X, disable C1E/EIST/C-State, and that's it.
I've never needed to touch the Uncore frequency, nor the QPI frequency since all the chips so far have been able to handle up to around 4.4-4.5Ghz QPI.
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