To be honest I had little time to play with the overclocking abilities of the Core i7-3960X. I had a mere two days to complete this review (I think Intel owes me a weekend) and as a result we were not able to get the most out of our sample processor.
Intel’s internal testing suggested that the processor will hit 4.8GHz using the DX79SI motherboard. Sadly we were limited to 4.4GHz, but even at this frequency there were some pretty decent performance gains to be had.
It's worth mentioning that I also tried overclocking with the Gigabyte G1.Assassin2 but that proved to be even less successful. For whatever reason the board refused to accept the settings we were trying to input, which is a disappointing level of obedience from a military minded product. Our board simply ignored any multiplier above 38x which we assume will be resolved by the time the product hits retailers' shelves.
Those of you unimpressed by the 172.4fps averaged by the Core i7-3960X in the x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 might be more satisfied with a further 10% performance increase. Now with an average frame rate of 188.9fps, the Core i7-3960X is 30% faster than the Core i7-2600K.
The CINEBENCH R11.5 performance was also improved by the overclock, as the Core i7-3960X became 12% faster in the OpenGL test and 19% faster in the CPU test.