Intel Fights AMD Black Editions with New Unlocked K-Series

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by Matthew Elliott

At Computex, Intel released a pair of chips in its new K series. These two new chips are notable for the fact that they are Intel’s first mainstream chips to feature an unlocked multiplier, which allows system builders and consumers to easily overclock the chips.

Intel has long resisted the call from enthusiasts for unlocked processors. Only in recent years did it release its Extreme Edition chips with unlocked multipliers, but these chips forced enthusiasts to pony up $1,000 for the privilege of boosting the clockspeed (for $1,000, one could rightly assume that a chip is set to run at its maximum frequency before it leaves the factory).

In contrast, the new K-series processors are quite affordable. The 3.2GHz Core i5-655K costs $216, and the 2.93GHz Core i7-875K goes for $342. The Core i5-655K is a dual-core chip that is identical (with the exception of the unlocked multiplier) to the Core i5-650 chip, which is based on Intel’s Clarkdale architecture. The Core i7-875K is a quad-core chip that is identical save the multiplier to the Core i7-870, a processor built on Intel’s Lynnfield architecture. The Core i5-655K costs $40 more than its Core i5 analogue, while the Core i7-875K is actually $220 cheaper than the Core i7-870.

Intel hasn’t commented on the overclocking headroom on the chips, but each features Intel’s TurboBoost technology, which lets the chip ramp up its core frequency when needed and gives us some idea of the chips’ overclocking potential. The Core i5-655K can run at 3.46GHz with TurboBoost, and the Core i7-875K can hit 3.6GHz.

The new K-series chips strike a blow at rival AMD. AMD has struggled in recent years to compete with Intel on performance. As a result, it has engaged in aggressive pricing and has also been friendly to overclockers with its Black Edition chips, which offer unlocked multipliers at competitive prices. With the release of Intel’s K series, consumers will have a choice to make when shopping for an easily overclockable (or factory overclocked) mainstream PC.

Source : BrightSideofNews



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