|ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Wednesday, 14 November 2012|
Page 12 of 13
Mini ITX Overclocking
ASUS does not specifically market this motherboard to overclockers, but it's hard to see why else they'd have such elaborate power circuitry on it. And like many ASUS motherboards, there are a variety of overclocking mechanisms available: you can flip the TPU switch on the motherboard; choose manual or automatic overclocking directly in the BIOS, or choose manual or automatic on-the-fly overclocking inside Windows using TurboV Evo.
This last method is both convenient (you don't have to reboot) and easier to do than BIOS overclocking. Normally, I prefer to overclock manually, but I've used this Core i7-3770K on several motherboards now, and I know that with the air coolers I have available, it's maxed out at 4.7GHz on all cores, running just at the hairy edge of throttling under extended load.
So I decided to see what TurboV Evo could do on its own. I fired up the utility and clicked the "Extreme" button. TurboV Evo works by increasing clocks and voltages in steps, running a short stress test, then bumping the settings up again. It continues this cycle until the system freezes or crashes, and upon the next reboot restores the last good settings.
I have always though that I could do better than any automated overclocker, so I set it to work and did other stuff until the system crashed. Imagine my surprise when after a reboot I saw this:
That's right: 4.842GHz at 1.3V, achieved with a base clock of 103MHz and a multiplier of 47. Pretty impressive! There's just one problem: it turns out that my previous assumed maximum of 4.7GHz was in fact correct for this CPU, since stress tests at these settings revealed some significant throttling, with CPU temperature spiking to over 100 degrees Celsius, causing clocks to drop by several hundred MHz until the CPU could cool down.
A second overclocking run with the "Fast" button (rather than "Extreme") resulted in a more modest result with the same base clock of 103MHz and a multiplier of 41, for 4.223GHz. CPU temps and throttling were not a problem with these settings. TurboV Evo adjusts memory settings up from the SPD defaults (generally 1333 or 1600MHz), rather than from the XMP profile, so my 2133MHz memory was clocked at 1923MHz. This is indeed a nice step up from 1600MHz but if you have high performance memory with an XMP profile, you'll need to enable that manually; but be aware that since TurboV Evo may also raise the bus clock (as it did in this case), you'll be running your memory beyond spec, too.
In both cases TurboV Evo set the memory frequency down slightly from the XMP spec of 2133MHz to 1923MHz. ASUS explained that TurboV Evo starts working up from the SPD settings (the memory's default) rather than using the XMP settings if they exist.
So while the "Extreme" setting produces impressive results, you should check to make sure that it's not pushing things just a little too far. Still, look at the benchmark results: the CPU may have been throttling some, but the scores are still much better than those produced by the "Fast" overclock.
I'll give my final thoughts and conclusion on this motherboard in the next section.