Thursday, October 12th 2017

On Intel's Decision to no Longer Disclose All-core Turbo

Intel is no longer going to disclose all-core Turbo Boost speeds, starting with their 8th Gen Coffee Lake processors that have just been released. The information comes straight from the blue giant. Answering a query from ExtremeTech on the matter, the company said that "[W]e're no longer disclosing this level of detail as its proprietary to Intel. Intel only specifies processor frequencies for base and single-core Turbo in our processor marketing and technical collateral, such as ARK, and not the multi-core Turbo frequencies. We're aligning communications to be consistent. All Turbo frequencies are opportunistic given their dependency on system configuration and workloads."

This decision is a rollback that does little more than rob users of another data point that has really always been there. The practical effect of this change isn't anything to write home about: Intel's Turbo Boost capabilities were never guaranteed performance levels (the fact that the advertised Turbo speeds were called "Max Turbo" implied Turbo levels could be lower.) However, there's also not much that can be said to explain this change in stance from the blue giant. If anything, this decision only opens up debate and speculation regarding the reasons why Intel is making this change: and the skeptics among us will always default to foul play or dark linings.

To our Forum dwellers: this piece is marked as an Editorial

For one, it could be said that Intel is doing this in order to unlock a lot more leeway in CPU binning. Absent all-core turbo speeds means that Intel now only has to guarantee two levels of performance for each of its chips: all-core base clocks (which for the 8700K, for example, is set at 3.7 GHz), and single-core Turbo (a more impressive 4.7 GHz). These are the only frequencies Intel now has to make sure all of their 8700K chips hit. This gives a whole new weight to the "silicon lottery" concept, in that now users can be saddled with the most basic 8700K that only achieves an all-core clock of just 3.7 GHz and not a switch more, or an amazing chip that hits 5.3 GHz easily.

Pore over Intel's ARK page, and now the 8700K processor is being listed as having a max Turbo frequency of 4.7 GHz - but that one frequency only really applies to single-core Turbo. So not only do Intel CPUs now look better to the unwary, distracted user (what, max 4.7 GHz on six cores, that's insane), but now there's also the chance of something like this happening: "So what if your unlocked K processor doesn't overclock a single MHz on all cores? We don't really specify it should be able to, do we?"
To add to the confusion, it's also worth mentioning the "MultiCore Enhancement" option that most Intel motherboards ship with, which when enabled, overrides even Intel's previous maximum all-core Turbo Boost specs. Now, even if users and reviewers disable the option to find out what's Intel's rated (and now hidden) max Turbo Boost for any given processor, there's no guarantee that the frequencies achieved will be the same for all processors of the same product name. After all, different OC potential exists among chips according to die quality - and the fact that most motherboards now feature CPU voltages set on Auto should add to this scenario, with some CPUs requiring lower voltages to achieve higher clockspeeds than others, which theoretically, should mean different auto Turbo limits according to power consumption and thermal headroom. At the extreme of this situation, it might be impossible for reviewers to achieve parity on CPU reviews absent of disabling all-core Turbo features, since there won't be a baseline value they can consider: CPUs will be reviewed with all-core Turbos that are dependent on CPU quality and automated Turbo Boost. Unless all tech review sites agree on a globally accepted all-core Turbo speed, but that's slightly utopian, at the very least.
Skepticism aside, the main issue here, I feel, is that the decision was made without any clear focus or mention as to why. Now yes, Intel might not have any shady reason for doing this - but nevertheless, there is a reason behind this decision; otherwise, the company just wouldn't make the move. All of the above scenarios are result of one thing only: the absence of clear communication, which ends up with users scratching their heads at a seemingly opaque decision.Sources: ExtremeTech, Intel ARK
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89 Comments on On Intel's Decision to no Longer Disclose All-core Turbo

#1
JackOne
Intentionally removing information to deceive customers, this is what it looks like to me. And by now it is also very obvious. They can't guarantee those high clocks and that's why they're removing the information, so that people don't know what to think of it. Most people will see reviews where these hand picked CPUs will perform greatly, buy them and find out they're not as good as they seemed to be, or they will not find out, having bought something that never performed as they thought it would.

The reason why Intel is doing this is two-fold:

One, they can't guarantee clocks based on different systems people use (cooling, etc). That's what they said.

Two, they wan't people to think these CPUs are better than they are in reality, in average. They didn't lose a word about varying CPU quality. This is what I call deceptive behaviour.
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#2
OSdevr
As I see it it's mostly deceptive to the average consumer. If a chip is listed as 4.7 GHz boost they will assume that means all cores, not just one. Yes it will also make the silicon lottery worse but overclocking is by it's nature uncertain and not guaranteed by the chip maker.
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#3
Hood
"All Turbo frequencies are opportunistic given their dependency on system configuration and workloads." This is a fair description of why it's not feasible (or prudent) to publish these specs. Too many variables to account for every scenario, and guarantee all turbo levels, now that they're more complicated. Half of the posters in this thread illustrate the other obvious reason to stop publishing these specs - the people who bitch about everything on tech sites and social media, and even make up highly unlikely scenarios, like the ones mentioned by the OP. Anything's possible, but why would Intel "shoot itself in the foot" by binning down to the point where a K series CPU wouldn't overclock at all? Many people will read this and start spouting off about how Intel's CPUs won't overclock, and how only idiots would buy Intel chips, now that AMD is so much better. Raevenlord, you're not getting better at slipping in FUD, still just as obvious - maybe more practice will help. As a staff news editor, you should probably keep your biases out of your posts, because when you display them, TPU as a whole loses credibility among the more knowledgeable members and guests. I'm not trying to be a smartass, I just think you could tone it down a bit.
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#4
xkm1948
Another reason for new system builders to go RyZen I guess.

If RyZen+ allows regular 4.2~4.5GHz OC it would be a serious game changer.
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#5
Solid State Brain
This is a multi-faceted issue.

- Actually achieveable performance on non-K/non-overclockable Intel CPUs might largely depend on the motherboard model/manufacturer.
- With "core enhancement" features enabled under stock settings, overclocked CPUs are being tested against non-overclocked CPUs in reviews.
- CPUs getting overclocked means they could be exceeding their TDP by a large margin (GamersNexus saw +40% power usage from the 8700K), so not just the performance, the stated TDP too becomes misleading.
Posted on Reply
#6
R-T-B
dorsetknob said:
I Can See Intel issuing DMCA Take down notice's for hardware Sites that Test and then Publish such results for CPU Core Speeds that Differ in the information Intel now Chose to make public :(
Numbers aren't copyright protected, and that's what core speeds are.

Otherwise we'd still be be using *86 CPUs, with * being the generation. Why do you think Intel got rid of 486 as soon as they realized they couldn't copyright it? "Pentium" couldn't come soon enough.
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#7
RejZoR
I know why intel has done this. They don't have the general core count advantage, but they have very high single core turbo clocks. They're gonna push that to make noobs think all the cores clock so high making them better than Ryzen which doesn't clock as high, but their clocks are honest and for all cores...
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#8
RejZoR
R-T-B said:
Numbers aren't copyright protected, and that's what core speeds are.

Otherwise we'd still be be using *86 CPUs, with * being the generation. Why do you think Intel got rid of 486 as soon as they realized they couldn't copyright it? "Pentium" couldn't come soon enough.
That's BS. Peugeot has copyrighted car number sequences with zero in the middle (308, 408, 508) and Porsche copyrighted 911 number. It's only within the car industry segment, but so could be 486 in CPU segment...
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#9
Prima.Vera
eidairaman1 said:
guess I just never cared about Turbo Core because it was a function introduced in the 90s.
Jeeeezus :) :) Was there anyone in the world keeping the Turbo button off at the case? :laugh::laugh::laugh:
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#10
londiste
Intel only published information about Kaby Lake turbo speeds last month (article says Sep 1st, I have a feeling it might actually have been later than that). If I remember correctly, Skylake also had the same details popping up after a sizable delay. Turbo speeds for number of loaded cores has never been in ARK anyway. In ARK, there have always been Base and Max Turbo clocks. Missing information that detailed is nothing new, Intel has just now stated that they do not intend to publish that, nothing more, nothing less.

ARK: https://ark.intel.com/products/97129/Intel-Core-i7-7700K-Processor-8M-Cache-up-to-4_50-GHz
Turbo Boost Frequency Table: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000005523/processors.html
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#11
jigar2speed
So non K version of CPUs are going suck even more than usual, got it Intel.
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#12
Capitan Harlock
Just right after the loss of the previous CEO , they come out whit this BULLSHIT clap clap Intel.
Consumer with brain are more clever that you think.
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#13
dorsetknob
"YOUR RMA REQUEST IS CON-REFUSED"
R-T-B said:
Numbers aren't copyright protected, and that's what core speeds are.
Not so much about the numbers being Copyright protected
but Intel and their legal team would Claim its the Information that's concerned is Copyrighted (and that would include the numbers)
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#14
john_
Intel doesn't disclose turbo frequencies, Nvidia is locking the frequencies of 1070 Ti, if the latest rumors become a fact at October 26th.

So, what do we have? Locked processors that would not have the same performance across the board and the start of an era in graphics cards where things will be like the Intel platform, with more expensive UNlocked "X" models and cheaper Locked models. They both take advantage of AMD's inability to raise frequencies in both CPUs and GPUs.
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#15
RejZoR
Prima.Vera said:
Jeeeezus :) :) Was there anyone in the world keeping the Turbo button off at the case? :laugh::laugh::laugh:
That Turbo button really only existed because some games ran too fast and you had to slow them down by turnin Turbo OFF. Though I'm not sure why it wasn't called "SlowDown Button". Every normal person kept it ON at all times...
Posted on Reply
#16
dorsetknob
"YOUR RMA REQUEST IS CON-REFUSED"
RejZoR said:
I'm not sure why it wasn't called "SlowDown Button".
marketing because Turbo sounds fast and if you were to advertise a button to Slow your PC down Who wants to know or use that
Posted on Reply
#17
londiste
john_ said:
Intel doesn't disclose turbo frequencies
While we are at this topic, care to link to an AMD document about Ryzen/Threadripper turbo frequencies table?
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#18
I No
Wow ... so much drama over something that might raise legal concerns to the company yet everyone's calling it shady like said company OWES them anything .... it's a business that wants to protect themselves from the average Joe that might sue them over 1 Mhz of frequency. I would do the same unless I want to run the whole damn establishment into the ground.
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#19
R-T-B
I No said:
Wow ... so much drama over something that might raise legal concerns to the company yet everyone's calling it shady like said company OWES them anything ....
Uh, they sold you a product so they do technically owe you something.

Not sure turbo guarantees are part of it, that's up for debate, but this statement kind of rubbed me the wrong way. The nature of a commercial transaction is that the company does indeed owe you a product and services associated with it.
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#20
RejZoR
dorsetknob said:
marketing because Turbo sounds fast and if you were to advertise a button to Slow your PC down Who wants to know or use that
Because you could call it "Compatibility" button...
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#21
EarthDog
Amazing what people can manage to read between the lines and determine as fact...Need to invest in tinfoil.

Question... how many flat earth people frequent this forum? Feels like it would be an inordinate amount.
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#22
I No
R-T-B said:
Uh, they sold you a product so they do technically owe you something.

Not sure turbo guarantees are part of it, that's up for debate, but this statement kind of rubbed me the wrong way. The nature of a commercial transaction is that the company does indeed owe you a product and services associated with it.
Ofc they did and it delivered. The product I got from them was working according to the spec sheet. But what happens if for some strange reason said product won't clock up to the spec sheet? In my books that's a lawsuit waiting to happen. Furthermore I got the product because I wanted it not because they shoved it down my throat. Basically you get what you pay for and taking the boost clocks out of the spec sheet isn't the end of the world.
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#23
R-T-B
I No said:
Ofc they did and it delivered. The product I got from them was working according to the spec sheet. But what happens if for some strange reason said product won't clock up to the spec sheet? In my books that's a lawsuit waiting to happen. Furthermore I got the product because I wanted it not because they shoved it down my throat. Basically you get what you pay for and taking the boost clocks out of the spec sheet isn't the end of the world.
As I sorta said above, I don't really disagree.

EarthDog said:
Question... how many flat earth people frequent this forum? Feels like it would be an inordinate amount.
We had at least one posting like nuts not too long ago.

I'm sure there are plenty more hiding somewhere.
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#24
john_
londiste said:
While we are at this topic, care to link to an AMD document about Ryzen/Threadripper turbo frequencies table?
You want a table of turbo frequencies for FULLY UNLOCKED PROCESSORS? That's nice :laugh: :toast: :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#25
EarthDog
Intel did it... previously. ;)

And what does "fully unlocked" have to do with them showing or not showing boost tables???
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