If you follow computer tech news with any vigilance you have undoubtedly already heard that Intel was planning to release a few multiplier unlocked processors, and that's what we have the privilege of showing you today in the form of two LGA1156 models: the Core i5-655K and Core i7-875K.
The Core i5 K model is a unlocked variant of the current Core i5-650, a 3.2Ghz dual-core/quad-thread processor that is based on the Clarkdale 32nm microarchitecture, and thus also features an integrated GPU. The Core i7 K model is a Lynnfield-based chip, and it is an unlocked version of the range-topping Core i7-870, a 2.93Ghz quad-core/eight-thread processor which can Turbo Boost up to 3.6Ghz. These processors not only feature unlocked CPU multipliers, but have fully selectable DDR3 ratios as well as adjustable power/current limits. Now you might expect these unlocked models to carry a hefty premium, but as you will see in the following pages, not so much...
It seems Intel is slowly getting more amenable to catering processors to the enthusiast segment without having to completely rape their wallets (*cough* Extreme Edition *cough*). Now this is not the first time that Intel have released an unlocked non-Extreme Edition processor. Last August, they unveiled the Pentium Dual-Core E6500K
, a 2.93Ghz dual-core CPU based on the Wolfdale-3M architecture. Being a lower-end model with less cache than the fully-fledged Core 2 Duo E8000 series it didn't exactly get enthusiast tongues wagging, especially since it was exclusive to the Chinese market...unless you were willing buy one at a healthy premium from an eBay reseller. Thankfully, these new Intel K-series models, which will officially launch at Computex next week
, will be available worldwide so consumers won't have to jump through any hoops to finally get their hands on multiplier-unlocked processors from Intel.
In this review, we not only put these two new chips through our usual benchmarking process, but also handed them off to our world-class overclocker 3oh6
, who tested how our two samples fared under air cooling, phase change, and liquid nitrogen (LN2).