Intel Core i3-2120 & Core i5-2400 LGA1155 Processors Review

Author: MAC
Date: July 13, 2011
Product Name: Core i3-2120 & Core i5-2400
Part Number: BX80623I32120 & BX80623I52400
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Overclocking Results

As we all know by now, there is very little headroom when it comes to increasing the BCLK on Sandy Bridge processors. This is supposedly because of the unprecedented level of integration on Sandy Bridge (ie: just about everything is now on CPU itself), including the clock generator that used to be on the motherboard. As a result, on average most people should expect to achieve about 104-107Mhz, with a few incredibly rare chips being able to hit up to 110Mhz. It just depends on the quality of the silicon. As a result, the bulk of the overclocking has to be done via the CPU multiplier. However, while the K-series processors are fully unlocked, the rest of lineup is not.

Thankfully, Intel haven't completely forgotten about overclocking on these the regular locked or 'limited unlocked' Sandy Bridge chips. Those models that support Turbo Boost have four additional Turbo multipliers (or performance bins) unlocked above the highest Turbo frequency, but only when combined with a P67 or Z68 motherboard (there's really no CPU overclocking at all on H67).

With all that said, let's take a look at our results:

Click on image to enlarge

While we initially began our overclocking endeavour on the Intel DP67BG, our unusually poor BCLK overclocking results on the i3-2120 convinced us to switch over to the ASUS P8P67 Deluxe...but to no avail. While this is obviously very poor, we actually haven't been able to find any i3-2120 overclocking attempts that are much better. They all seem to hit a wall before ever reaching a 104Mhz BCLK. So with overclocking out of the window, we tried a little undervolting for fun and we're able to get our chip fully stable at 1.000V. We likely could have gone even lower, but our interest waned.

Luckily, we had a bit more success with the Core i5-2400. The BCLK proved much more receptive to elevation, and we were able to hit a respectable 106MHz. In the BIOS, we were able to set the Turbo multiplier to 38X, which is 4 bins above the default 34X Turbo multi, so that combined with the higher BCLK gave us a very decent overclock. It is variable though. In single-threaded workloads, the top-end 38X multiplier is enabled and one core ramps up to 4028MHz. When all cores are being utilized though, the multiplier drops to 36X and the core clock is 3816MHz. Either way, no matter the workload, this overclock was stable with a slight vCore bump up to 1.306V.

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