Intel releases unlocked CPUs

In a bid to take on AMD's Black Edition chips in the less affluent areas of the overclocking community, Intel today released two new CPUs with unlocked multipliers.

As we reported back in March, the two CPUs in question are the Core i5 655K and the Core i7 875K. In terms of basic specifications, the chips are identical to the 3.2GHz Core i5 655K and 2.93GHz Core i7 870 respectively.

However, the 'K' suffix denotes an unlocked CPU multiplier, giving overclockers the ability to get finer control over their overclock without endangering other components.

As such, the 875K is based on Intel's 45nm Lynnfield core, and features four physical cores that can process eight simultaneous threads with Hyper-Threading. The LGA1156 CPU also features 8MB of Level 3 cache, a dual-channel 1,333MHz DDR3 memory controller and a TDP of 95W.

Meanwhile, the 655K is based on Intel's 32nm Clarkdale core with integrated graphics. The dual-core CPU can process four simultaneous threads using Hyper-Threading, and it has 4MB of Level 3 cache.

No official UK pricing has been announced yet, but fellow UK site Hexus claims that we're looking at around £300 for an OEM Core i7 875K, and around £200 for a Core i5 655K.

This is a significant drop from the price of Intel's Extreme editions, which were previously the only recent Intel chips to feature an unlocked multiplier. For example, the Core i7 975 Extreme currently goes for £785.

As well as the unlocked multiplier, both chips still feature Intel's Turbo Boost technology, which enables automatic overclocking according to the CPU's workload.

A few sites have already posted reviews and full tests of the chips, including TweakTown, Hexus and The Tech Report.