Intel’s Haswell Processors Lack User-adjustable Turbo Multipliers

Posted on June 14, 2013 4:00 PM by Robert Tanner

Say it ain’t so. Intel has reaffirmed its devotion to artificial market segmentation with a surprise Haswell owners may not have been expecting. The Tech Report’s eagle-eyed Geoff Gasior has apparently confirmed Intel has removed user configurable adjustments to the Turbo Boost functionality of its Haswell processors. At this point, only already-unlocked “K” model Haswell processors will still allow users to adjust Turbo multipliers.

Ever since its first introduction with Nehalem processors, Intel users have grown used to having the option for a “free” minor overclock of a few hundred MHz, and motherboard manufacturers have relied on it for quickly and easily boosting performance without needing to adjust CPU voltages.

Intel 4th Gen Core Processor Chip Shot

Non-K processors already have the additional 125, 167, and 250MHz B-clock straps disabled, so with the removal of user-adjustable Turbo multipliers Haswell owners will be unable to overclock more than roughly 3% unless they spring for slightly more expensive 4670K ($242) or 4770K ($339) models.

Intel states it’s targeting non-K chips at “the business and consumer market where overclocking is generally not performed.” Apparently though, this also means overclockers that do buy “K” chips have zero use for handy features such as VT-d for lower kernel I/O overhead in virtualized machines, TXT, vPro, or the new TSX flags for transactional memory functionality, as all of these features are disabled on “K” model processors. If any user dares to want these features then one must buy a 3930K or 3970X processor instead, although TSX functionality will not be arriving to Intel’s enthusiast platform until 1H’15 at the earliest if reports are to be believed.

As recent reports (and personal experience) seem to indicate, serious overclockers will be better off simply sticking to the LGA2011 Sandy Bridge-E platform anyway. The continued use of thermal compound in place of fluxless solder under the IHS has given Haswell “K” processors not only a slightly worse overclocking profile than their Ivy Bridge predecessors but also a very hot reputation indeed. We’ll have to get Intel to add “fluxless soldered heatspreaders” as another feature on Intel’s datasheets for its upcoming Ivy Bridge-E processors, which are expected to debut late this year.

  • Rob Williams

    Wow – +3%… that’s not even worth the effort. Despite the fact that I tend to love Intel’s offerings, moves like this just baffle me, but more so is the fact that it removes features from its K processors, like VT-d and TSX. There’s just no such thing as a “perfect” solution. You can buy a non-K and lack overclocking, or a K and have overclocking but lack those enterprise-esque features. Or, you could go with Sandy Bridge-E, which offers a couple of sweet perks but lacks two generations’ worth of architecture enhancements. Just ugh.

    • Jamie Fletcher

      That’s probably the point. The ‘perfect’ solution will be when the E variant is released, which will just so happen to cost $800+. You know, for those that need everything in life. Me on the other hand, the instruction sets are more valuable than overclocking. I haven’t OC’d a chip in years, there is almost no need to these days, as the number of applications supporting GPGPUs increases by the month – well, the apps I’m likely to use. Just a shame so many devs still use single thread apps.

      • Rob Williams

        But even one year ago there wasn’t a “perfect” solution. SB-E was already one generation behind IV, and now it’s two generations behind. And now, we’re not likely to see an IV-E until Q1 2014 or super late 2013… those who want to buy high-end NOW just have to inconvenience themselves or pick a product that’s not “perfect”.

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