Is this Xeon designed to be capable of 2 clock rates


Why would the Xeon X5650 processor operate on either 2.7GHz or 3.1GHz when it most likely is designed into a system that is always connected to an AC power supply?

Best Answer

From the linked ARK page:

Processor Base Frequency  2.66 GHz 
Max Turbo Frequency  3.06 GHz 

Processor Base Frequency describes the rate at which the processor's transistors open and close. The processor base frequency is the operating point where TDP is defined. Frequency is measured in gigahertz (GHz), or billion cycles per second.

Max turbo frequency is the maximum single core frequency at which the processor is capable of operating using Intel® Turbo Boost Technology. Frequency is measured in gigahertz (GHz), or billion cycles per second.

Intel® Turbo Boost Technology dynamically increases the processor's frequency as needed by taking advantage of thermal and power headroom to give you a burst of speed when you need it, and increased energy efficiency when you don’t.

Further from Intel:

Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.01 accelerates processor and graphics performance for peak loads, automatically allowing processor cores to run faster than the rated operating frequency if they’re operating below power, current, and temperature specification limits.


Availability and frequency upside of Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 state depends upon a number of factors including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Type of workload
  • Number of active cores
  • Estimated current consumption
  • Estimated power consumption
  • Processor temperature

When the processor is operating below these limits and the user's workload demands additional performance, the processor frequency will dynamically increase until the upper limit of frequency is reached.

For more info on Turbo Boost, perhaps check out this other SU question:

How does Intel Turbo Boost work?