Now that we've had a look at the Zotac GTX 680, let's turn our attention to the 3770K. There are two generalized groups of overclockers. Those who overclock on air or water, and those who use more exotic cooling methods.
When viewed in a benchmarking context, the first group, the air and water overclockers haven't wholeheartedly embraced the range primarily due to heat constraints that are encountered when pushing into the high 4GHz to low 5GHz range. Pushing above 5GHz has proven difficult for all but the most elaborate water cooled setups. 24/7 overclocking is another matter with 4.5GHz or a bit higher making for a powerful system, if only on par with a bit higher clocked Sandy Bridge.
The other group of overclockers are those who benchmark as a hobby or competitively using everything from chillers to phase change systems and liquid nitrogen. They are the ones who are singing the praises of the new platform. In the weeks since the launch, almost every competitive benchmark has been obliterated with many ln2 cooled processors reaching up to the high 6Ghz range. One or two folks out there certainly have 7Ghz capable chips.
We're going to use a cascade phase change unit. It's capable of running steadily in the -105c range and is well suited to the cold loving Ivy Bridge processors. Our unit was designed from scratch to hold heavy load and uses 2 x 1.5HP rotary compressors to keep temps low even after hours of running.
Rather than push for outright maximum scores, we've opted to use fairly conservative settings that are repeatable. This is important to eliminate bugged and outlier scores and helps to maximise efficiency.
|Processor||i7 3770K @ 5.7-5.95Ghz|
|Motherboard||Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe|
|Graphics Card||Zotac GTX 680 2GB|
|Memory||2 x 2GB Kingston Hyper X|
|Power Supply||Antec HCP-1200|
|OS||Windows XP w/ SP3|
|Cooling||Cascade phase change cooler (~105c) built by Kayl|
We'd need 20 pages to even begin to detail a general methodology for 3D benchmarking. For simplicity purposes and time constraints, we ran the benchmarks using Windows XP with SP3. Other OSes like Windows 7 and even Vista can be useful depending on the benchmark, card, and driver.
Our GTX 680 sample proved to be an average overclocker. The best we could get was around 1170/1800 which is generally below what some other reference cards and particularly some non reference cards are able to achieve. We backed off a little to 1150Mhz which was stable throughout all benchmark tests.