Before You Buy that Core i5/i7 Lynnfield Intel Processor…
Decide first if you want to overclock your new PC or not. At least one computer hardware enthusiast website has discovered issues with how the Core i5 750, Core i7 860, and Core i7 870 CPUs, mainly with how they interact with compatible motherboards. Push these processors to the limit, and you might end up frying both the motherboard and CPU, rendering them useless.
All PC motherboards feature a CPU socket, which is where the processor is installed (or “seated”) to run the rest of the computer’s components. Ideally, once installed as instructed, all the CPU pins should maintain good contact with the corresponding recesses on the motherboard socket. This is important as it ensures not only the proper exchange of data between the motherboard and CPU, but power as well.
Anandtech’s discovery is that, on motherboard sockets manufactured by Foxconn for the processors mentioned above—or the LGA 1156 socket—the contact was less than optimal. This caused power instabilities that literally burned parts of the CPU and the motherboard. While Foxconn manufactures its own motherboards, it’s also the supplier of sockets for other brands like Asus and Gigabyte—particularly LGA 1156 sockets.
What does this mean for the average computer user? Probably nothing. Anandtech encountered the issue as they were pushing a Core i7 870 to clock at 5.19GHz—possible only through the use of Liquid Nitrogen to produce sub-zero operating temperatures. In any case, the website found that sockets manufactured by another company (LOTES or Tyco AMP) probably don’t have the same seating contact issues, and Anandtech makes it clear that this issue should only be encountered by “extreme overclockers”, enthusiasts who are more interested in breaking records than improving performance for everyday use.
Still, this makes me want to recommend that those interested in an Intel Lynnfield CPU should wait a bit—at least until this and other potential issues are resolved. Nobody wants to pay more than $200 for a high-end processor, on the off chance that it may suffer fatal damage under admittedly constant extraordinary use. What do you think?