Intel Haswell "hotter and slower than expected"

Intel Haswell

PC builders tell PC Pro that Intel Haswell processors are slower than early production chips

Retail versions of Intel Haswell processors are hotter and more power-hungry than pre-production chips, and can’t be overclocked to the same speeds, British PC manufacturers have told PC Pro.

Four companies have told us that systems built using retail versions of Haswell chips haven't been able to match the speeds seen on pre-production models, which are given to manufacturers for testing before the official launch. All four PC makers spoke to PC Pro on condition of anonymity.

One company said that it had overclocked pre-production chips from 3.5GHz to 4.7GHz or 4.8GHz with ease, but that "40 or 50" retail chips had been impossible to overclock beyond 4.2GHz because of the high voltages and unsafe temperatures involved.

A spokesperson for a second firm told us that "PCs based on pre-production [speeds] of 4.5GHz have had to be dropped to 4.3GHz" because of a lack of stability in retail parts, while another reported that "there is a big difference in the overclocking potential between early Haswell samples and retail [chips]".

This third manufacturer confirmed that it won’t be selling any systems at speeds higher than 4.4GHz because it found that "very few processors would reliably overclock any further than this" after an "extensive internal investigation with Intel".

An Intel spokesperson said that "the overclocking experience will vary from CPU to CPU, and from generation to generation, due to many different factors" and that "we cannot guarantee a specific frequency".

"We continue to add new and exciting overclocking capabilities and we expect enthusiasts to be pleased with the unlocked 4th Gen Core processors."

Getting hot?

There are also concerns over the temperature of the retail processors. A fourth firm’s spokesperson said that employees who build PCs "have to frequently change chips" in order to find the best parts, and that "even at stock speeds, [retail chips] are running hotter than Ivy Bridge or Haswell samples". The firm said that retail chips are "around 15°C" hotter than pre-production samples.

A spokesman for the third company added that a Core i7-4770K overclocked to 4.6GHz was so unstable it "wouldn’t even load the operating system", and that systems that use the Core i5-4670K are restricted to only 4.2GHz because "voltage bumps... send temperatures sky high".

Intel sent PC Pro its standard overclocking disclaimer, which warns that the process can lead to "additional heat or other damage" and that "Intel has not tested, and does not warranty, the operation of the processor beyond its specifications".

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