Without resorting to anything more extreme than air-cooling, we were able to overclock the Core i7 980X Extreme by 30% to very remarkable 4.32GHz. This was achieved by increasing the voltage to 1.345v, the base clock to 160MHz, and the multiplier to x27. Cooling the beast was the Prolimatech Mega Shadow, while the motherboard of choice was our year and a half old Asus P6T Deluxe.
Overclocking the Intel Core i7 980X processor to 4.32GHz allowed for a 14% performance increase when compared to the default 3.33GHz configuration. This took the completion time of the MonteCarlo spreadsheet test from 8.56 to just 7.34 seconds. The chip was 44% faster than the Core i7 975 EE, 48% faster than the Core i7 950, 55% faster than the Core i7 920 and a whopping 72% faster than AMD's flagship Phenom II X4 965.
Far Cry 2 also produced steady gains when overclocking from 3.33GHz to 4.32GHz, as the 1024x768 resolution performance was increased by 10%. Although the Intel Core i7 980X Extreme was also faster than every other processor tested at 1920x1200, here the difference was much less noticeable.
TMPGEnc 4.0 Xpress saw an impressive 17% performance increase when overclocking the Intel Core i7 980X Extreme processor to 4.32GHz, improving the conversion time from 6:44 to just 5:34 minutes. This is about 42% faster than it took the Core i7 920 to complete the same task, 34% faster than the Core i7 950 and 27% faster than the 975 EE.