HardOCP Come Up with Top 5 Overclocking CPUs of All Time, Do You Agree?

A few weeks ago Daniel Dobrowolski and Kyle Bennett over on HardOCP.com came up with a list of the ‘Five Best Motherboards of All Time’. The article stoked a little debate with a few HWBOT members chiming in with their own opinions about motherboard supremacy, which is nice to see. Just a few days ago HardOCP published a similar article, this time focusing not only on CPUs, but in fact CPUs that are good at overclocking. ‘The Top 5 Best Overclocking CPUs of All Time’ is another good excuse for debate and a topic that will doubtlessly divide opinion. Let’s start with number five on the list, just to get you warmed up:

5. - Intel Core i7-980X "Gulftown" (2010) - Intel's Core i7-980X is a bit of an odd choice I'll probably take some flack for. Due to the high cost it sort of flies in the face of what a good overclocking, enthusiast class CPU should be. CPUs should be a good bang for your buck. Despite it's high price, that's exactly what Intel's "Gulftown" CPU was. While expensive, it offered two more cores and a die shrink which extended its overclocking headroom.

It overclocked as well if not better than the typical i7 CPUs of the day with many of these reaching 4.5GHz or more. These CPUs offered the best performance available at the time. Thanks to the extra two cores Gulftown was propelled into a class of its own. Paired with the X58 chipset and triple channel RAM, these CPUs aren't that bad today when paired with a modern GPU. For long relevance, incredible performance, and overclocking capability the Core i7 980X takes our #5 spot.

I won’t spoil the article by listing the rest of the top five, but I will give you a hint as regards the number 1 Overclocking CPU – It came out in 1998. Anyway, leave your comments via the forum link below and tell us which 5 CPUs you would rate as the best ever in terms of overclocking. Catch the full Top 5 article from HardOCP here.


Taiwan sdougal says:

Do you agree with these as the top 5 overclocking CPUs of all time?

Lithuania IFeelYou says:

Where is 5960X? It has base clock of 3000 Mhz and can easy overclock to 4.7-4.8 Ghz on AIO water.

Greece TASOS says:

The Top 5 Best Overclocking CPUs of All Time

1. - Intel Celeron 300A (1998)

2. - Intel Core i7-2600K (2011)

3. - Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2007)

4. - AMD Athlon XP 1700+ "Thoroughbred Rev-b" (2002)

5. - Intel Core i7-980X "Gulftown" (2010)

It's an acceptable list.

Variations of this list could contain perhaps ... a Wolfdale core ... or a Northwood core.

It's obvious , those guys at [H]OCP had a bad experience with socket 939 , in general , cause San Diego cpu's are not even mentioned.

Germany Hyperhorn says:

These kinds of rankings are totally subjective, so no reason to argue about it. If you want to try to objectify such a ranking you have to base it on things like max OC in % and max OC (MHz). From that POV Mobile Celeron, Geode and FX (AM3+) are top OC CPUs. While it might be more impressive to overclock the high end parts and see the results, you will never see the same enthusiasm in the community. No matter how great a chip is, a hefty price tag will limit its following (= "cult potential"). Even if people can afford to spend 1000 $ on a CPU, they are usually hesitant to overclock it because a) the performance is already top-notch and b) just thinking about frying a 1000 $ CPU will make them stop. So personally I would never consider something like a i7-980X being a top OC CPU. In my opinion the best overclocking CPUs have always been the low budget models that you can push to (or even above) the performance level of the high end chips of their era. (So if you're done with it you have the feeling you've cheated AMD or Intel. :banana:) That's really hard nowadays in the multi core era though. Good examples not mentioned yet are the Opteron 144 and Pentium E2140.

United Kingdom Jumper118 says:

i think the i5 2500K was better than the 2600k. the 2600k is better now but for $/performance at the time the i7 was fairly pointless. the 2500k was also a bit easier to cool as well.

I could say the same of the Q6600 as well. i think a c2d would be a much better option for 4/performance around that time and frequency wise the c2d go higher on the same motherboard.

United States Mr.Scott says:

Geode. ;)

Luumi says:

Yeah I would consider wolfdale better than Q6600. Wolfdale you could OC more on every cooling method and faster single core performance as dual core was fine back then and lower cost.

United States Bones says:

Based on criteria said for their selection of the Gulftown chip "CPUs should be a good bang for your buck", I'd have to say either the AMD Phenom II 555 BE (Callisto) or even the Phenom II 960T (Zosma) falls into this category with ease - Excellent bang for the buck in that both OC'ed rather well, weren't all that expensive new and best of all had hidden cores you could possibly unlock with the potential of literally doubling the processing power of your new chip with the 555 BE, The 960T itself gaining a nice boost if the other 2 cores could be unlocked and were useable.

Noted that they did say the additional cores of the 970 contributed, the hidden cores of these chips is the same in relevance BUT have to admit they weren't always available because they were locked instead of available at all times, some of the hidden cores as we know were in fact locked down for good reason.

Playing the silicon lotto was kinda fun in you know..... Well.... maybe not THAT much fun. :D

However with the statement of how expensive the 970's were at the time of their release which is "Due to the high cost it sort of flies in the face of what a good overclocking, enthusiast class CPU should be", these chip models weren't that expensive at all in comparison.....

Up to the individual to decide, just sayin on my part of it.

United States chew* says:

An article needs to be made on this?

Cpu-z = best OVERCLOCKING chips. Best overclocking would be imo highest frequency ability and in that criteria 100% over stock...

Most popular might be a better heading hard could have chosen.

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