Intel Core i7 930 Review
Well this was a surprise.
When we first heard rumours of a replacement for the brilliant i7 920 we were hoping that it would be the 32nm revision that gave us such incredible performance in the 980x. Finding out it was still based on the 45nm process left us feeling a bit flat. After all the 920 D0 isn't exactly a slouch in the overclocking stakes and so if all we're getting for our £230 is one extra multiplier which, unsurprisingly, increases the base clock by 133MHz we weren't exactly jumping for joy.
However, to dismiss this as a very very very slightly faster 920 but with identical performance in other areas is hugely mistaken.
Unlike the 920 our 930 hit 4GHz without flinching. Breaking through this barrier was more problematic but we still hit 200 BCLK at a very reasonable 1.35v. A far cry from the 1.45v many 920s required to hit 4GHz and having none of the problems with multiplier (for those unaware some 920s would work better with 19 or 21 as the multi rather than the default 20).
That would be impressive enough to make it to the top of the list of great value processors, but the 930 has a fabulous trick up its sleeve and it's almost more impressive than its overclocking capabilities.
If you're happy with the speed at stock it can run perfectly stable at 0.95v. Anyone who follows hardware closely will be wiping coffee off their monitor about now, so if you don't then take it from us, that's mightily impressive.
The zenith of the i7 930 is combining those two features into a 3.8GHz monster that is completely stable and cool at 1.11v. The savings in energy cannot be denied either at stock or given the 1GHz overclock. To be honest the extra voltages needed to go from 3.8GHz to 4.2GHz are difficult to justify because 3.8GHz will still be plenty fast enough in nearly every application.
If you want a processor and don't want to splurge on one of the higher end, and vastly pricier, processors then the 930 is wholeheartedly recommended. It's tough to recommend if you've got a D0 920, but for those early adopters who have a C-stepping 920 you seriously need to consider moving to the 930.
If this is what we get with 45nm, roll on the 32nm update.
- Amazing OC ability
- Even more incredible low voltage performance
- The CPU for almost everyone
- Bad? 3.8GHz @ 1.11v and you expect a bad? Pah.