The Core i7-3770K overclocked
Overclocking is a type of rite of passage f or Computer enthusiasts. You’re not really hardcore until you’ve
pushed your equipment beyond the share speeds described by the manuf acturer. Back in the entire day,
that intended f iddling with DIP switches, navigating arcane BIOS interf aces, or even making hardware
adjustments with a #2 pencil. Also, we’d to walk baref oot through several f eet of snowf all to get our
practical the hardware just; Newegg wasn’t around, and Amazon only sold textbooks.
Nowadays, clock boosting couldn’t end up being easier. AMD and Intel both present CPUs with unlocked
multipliers completely, the ultimate goal of overclocking. Pressing one’s CPU past its def ault acceleration
requires bit more than arriving the multiplier. T hat you can do through user-f riendly f irmware interf aces and
Windows sof tware program increasingly. Some boards will overclock themselves-with and without your
T he obvious question, needless to say, is how Ivy Bridge f its in to the overclocking picture. Intel’s Sandy
Bridge CPUs possess of f ered a respectable amount of clock acceleration headroom since their debut
earlier last year, and all optical eye are on Ivy to notice if she can replicate that f eat. To discover what the
brand new platf orm provides overclockers, we’ve invest some high quality time pushing the brand new Core
i7-3770K on Z 77 motherboards f rom Asus, Gigabyte, Intel, and MSI. Continue reading to discover what
As in headroom f ree
T here are all sorts of overclockers within the enthusiast community. Some invest ridiculous levels of timeand money-on elaborate contraptions that chill CPUs making use of liquid nitrogen. Others plumb their PCs
with elaborate networks of water-cooling tubing. T hose camps have a tendency to look f or the absolute
limitations of these CPUs. However, most f ans seem articles to tap the “f ree of charge” clock speed
headroom which can be exploited with af f ordable atmosphere cooling. T han probing the extremes rather,
we’re going to observe how f ar the Primary i7-3770K complements the sort of atmosphere tower one might
be prepared to f ind in the average enthusiast’s Computer.
Right af ter rummaging through the assortment of heatsinks which has accumulated in the Benchmarking
Sweatshop, we settled on a T hermaltake Frio. T his is actually the exact same cooler we make use of on
our storage check systems, and at $48 online, it’s eminently inexpensive. T he radiator will be lined with an
increase of f ins than we’d treatment to count, plus f ive heatpipes and dual 120-mm f ans.
Where’s the next spinner? It interf ered with the taller heatspreaders on our Corsair Vengeance DIMMs,
theref ore the Frio had to create do with an individual f an f or a lot of our testing just. T he clearance issue
impacted all of the Z 77 boards inside our labs. We f urthermore had trouble obtaining a couple of bigger
Noctua coolers to match, theref ore the problem isn’t special to the Frio. Many motherboards place their
DIMM slot machine games too near to the socket to permit massive atmosphere coolers to coexist
peacef ully with taller storage modules.
As it works out, the next f an didn’t f ind yourself making much of an improvement. Whenever we switched to
a dual-f an set up with a set of low-user prof ile Kingston DIMMs, we didn’t notice a considerable reduction
in CPU temperatures. T he next enthusiast didn’t assist the CPU hit increased speeds, either.
T hat’s not to state our overclocking endeavors weren’t tied to our system’s cooling set up. Although we
got around 5GHz on several the boards, the CPU temperatures climbed high more than enough to boil
drinking water. T hermal throttling had been rampant, f orcing us to cool of f to 4.9GHz, the best speed our
Core we7-3770K would sustain under load.
Going to 4.9GHz, we used a new 49X
multiplier with Ivy’s share 100MHz base
clock. You can also raise the CPU
regularity by turning up the bottom clock
rate, but since that clock impacts
additional system components, you
need to adhere to multiplier tweaking.
We had been never in a position to
squeeze lots of MHz out of Sandy
Bridge’s bottom clock, and Intel states
Ivy includes a similar range.
Our Core i7-3770K needed 1.35V (which
CPU-Z detected as 1.368V) to stay
stable in 4.9GHz. T he machine had been
stressed with AIDA64′s built-in torture
check working alongside the rthdribl
HDR light demo. T hat tandem designed
f or an excellent quick test, but 7-Z ip
became the f inal arbiter. When it had
been run by us to assemble f inal
perf ormance numbers f or every
motherboard, the app spit out errors
with conf igurations which were regarded as stable previously.
I was just a little surprised going to obvious thermal limitations with the chip jogging at this type of relatively
low primary voltage. I viewed the energy consumption then. Here are a f ew wattage quantities f or the whole
system, sans monitor, extracted f rom the walls socket. A multi-primary Cinebench render had been used to
create the load.
Yeah, that is clearly a pretty big dif f erence in load. 4.4GHz represents the best speed we achieved in the
def ault voltage, which CPU-Z reported as 1.128V. T hat 500MHz leap over the Core i actually7-3770K’s
3.9GHz peak Turbo f requency consumed yet another 17W at the walls socket. Going another 400MHz with
the voltage bump of 0 up. 24V sent the reading through on our watt meter by nearly 100W up.
Processor power intake is proportional to the merchandise of regularity and the square of the voltage,
theref ore increasing the latter could cause the wattage to go up really. We crunched the real numbers, and
our outcomes nicely f it the f ormula. Serious cooling will be necessary to push Ivy to its limits.
Simultaneously, taking Ivy around around 4.4GHz should require only modest cooling, provided the CPU
voltage is untouched.
Distinctly dif f erent experiences
Given that we’ve established the Primary i7-3770K’s limitations with this cooling setup, it is time to get most
touchy f eely with a collection of Z 77 motherboards: Asus’ P8Z 77-V, Gigabyte’s Z 77X-UD3H, Intel’s
DZ 77GA-70K, and MSI’s Z 68A-GD65. We’ll be f ocusing on CPU overclocking, since we’ve currently
published an in-depth evaluation of the Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI boards and a glance at the Intel one.
Let’s f ocus on the Asus plank, because it is the only one that has been stable in 4.9GHz. We didn’t go
direct there, though. Very f irst, we tapped in to the board’s auto-overclocking system, that is activated via
the OC Tuner f irmware choice. T he board overclocked itself to 4.2GHz utilizing a 41X multiplier and a new
103MHz bottom clock. OC Tuner didn’t raise the core voltage, and the machine was stable perf ectly.
Up coming, we tried our hands at manual tuning. You can f ind two choices: f irmware and sof tware program.
T he P8Z 77-V’s f irmware user interf ace is among the greatest around, and it’s f ast to navigate f or those
who are f amiliar with conventional BIOS layouts. T he f irmware automatically escalates the CPU voltage
because the regularity rises, a f unction that’s not matched by Asus’ Home windows tweaking sof tware.
Since we’ve already spent a great deal of period poking around Asus’ f irmware, we chosen the program
route. Asus’ Home windows utilities attended a long way within the last couple of years, and the TurboV
EVO app is great. T he interf ace is simple to utilize and nicely f its Asus’ other apps. Choices abound, like an
auto-overclocking system f or Ivy’s incorporated GPU. Gleam separate program with f ine-grained control on
the power circuitry, also it proved invaluable in obtaining our CPU steady at 4.9GHz.
Ivy overclocking is most benef icial conf ined to the CPU multiplier, so that is the technique we took inside
our manual periods. T he P8Z 77-V ran our Primary i7-3770K around 4.4GHz bef ore additional voltage was
necessary to maintain balance under load. Hitting 4.8GHz needed 1.3V, and 1.35V was had a need to keep
caref ully the BSODs away in 4.9GHz. At that speed, we’d to create the load-series calibration to “higher” to
avoid Z -Z ip f rom generating mistakes.
T he P8Z 77-V booted into Home windows with the CPU running at 5GHz actually, nonetheless it crashed
under load instantly, and applying extra voltage didn’t help. Currently, the CPU had been riding the
advantage of the throttling threshold. We tried tweaking a f ew of the other program voltages even, to no
Next up: the Gigabyte Z 77X-UD3H. Once again, we began with the board’s auto-tuning mechanism. T hat
one is obtainable through Gigabyte’s EasyTune sof tware program, which includes a handf ul of pre-baked
settings along with an auto choice that cranks the regularity and runs its stability test on the way.
Af ter jogging and rebooting its Windows-based stability test many times, the UD3H settled on 4.7GHz
utilizing a 45X multiplier paired with a new 104MHz base clock. CPU-Z reported a new CPU voltage of just
one 1 just.248V. T he operational program almost managed to get through our stress check, however when
the rthdribl screen was closed f ollowing a f ive-minute load, the system crashed. Upon rebooting, the device
scaled itself back again to 4.4GHz (43x103MHz) at exactly the same voltage. T his construction survived our
torture check without f ussing.
Gigabyte evidently requires a better stress check f or its auto-tuning system. Falling back again to a slower
swif tness is really a nice recovery, however the auto-tune scheme should create a stable result to begin
with. Auto-tuning mechanisms are greatest f or newbies searching f or a trouble-f ree of charge overclock
and seasoned af icionados seeking a well balanced starting point because of their own manual tuning.
Speaking of guide tuning, we bounced in between Gigabyte’s sof tware program and f irmware bef ore
f avoring the latter. T he EasyTune sof tware program messed with the heat range readings we were
consistently getting f rom AIDA64, and the app f eels as though it was not updated in age range. Gigabyte
does have a f resh strength tuning utility f or Home windows, but it’s a dif f erent app that’s very much
clumsier than EasyTune. T hankf ully, the motherboard’s brand-new f irmware interf ace is really a real treat to
Mouse-helpf ul sliders permeate the “3D” interf ace, and there’s an “innovative” layout if you like the comf ort
of an old-school BIOS. Just like the Asus plank, the Gigabyte automatically escalates the CPU voltage as
long as the multiplier will be tweaked via the f irmware. You will have to include voltage manually when
overclocking with EasyTune.
4.4GHz once more became the CPU’s limitation at stock voltage. Nevertheless, we couldn’t get 4.9GHz
stable regardless of how much f ruit juice was pumped through the processor chip. Windows wouldn’t load
bef ore CPU was presented with 1.35V, but that wasn’t enough to push away the BSODs under load. Adding
voltage only resulted in throttling and program mistakes. Adjusting the load-collection calibration didn’t
make the machine more stable, and neither did tweaking other energy settings and system voltages.
In the f inal end, the f astest steady conf iguration was 4.8GHz on 1.35V. T he board was delighted booting
Home windows and running our tension check on 1.325V, but 7-Z ip mistakes persisted until we applied
Intel’s DZ 77GA new-70K may be the only table of the bunch it doesn’t have a computerized overclocking
system. We’ve really seen auto-tuners on Intel boards bef ore the Sandy Bridge era, however the company’s
recent attempts seem f ocused on sort of auto/guide hybrid available via the f irmware. T he primary interf ace
supplies a CPU clock velocity slider that customers are absolve to drag around 4.5GHz. T he slider
escalates the multiplier without touching the bottom clock or the voltage. It can, nevertheless, ramp up the
existing limit theref ore the CPU isn’t starved f or amperage.
For the pseudo-auto overclock, we dragged the slider completely to the proper and rebooted. T he
operational system returned at 4.5GHz, also it remained BSOD-f ree of charge f or the degree of our stress
check. Hitting larger speeds would require obtaining our hands just a little dirtier.
I like Intel’s f resh motherboard f irmware, and its own advanced overclocking options of f er you a lot of
multiplier headroom going to higher speeds. T he drop-down menus f or the voltage conf igurations are a
small cumbersome because of the sheer number of choices, though. Intel would prosper to permit users to
key-in voltages straight. It would be good to see an “car” setting that escalates the CPU voltage instantly
because the f requency rises, as well.
Ultimately, the majority of our period has been spent overclocking the Intel table which consists of Windows
sof tware. T he Great Tuning Utility is quite slick, of f ering just enough options along with a nice monitoring
panel. T here’s also a stress check, although we elected to utilize our own.
Pushing greater than 4.5GHz in stock voltage proved dif f icult, but a supplementary 100 millivolts got the
CPU to 4.7GHz without problem. 4.8GHz required another 100mV, which produced a new 1.336 CPU voltage
in accordance with CPU-Z . T hat has been enough juice to obtain the CPU to load Home windows at around
5GHz. However, the operational system crashed under load. Applying more voltage led to throttling, which
struck again when we ran our 7-Z ip and x264 tests at 4.9GHz. We’d to sacrif ice another 100MHz to obtain
a rock-solid system.
Finally, we arrived at the MSI Z 68A-GD65, which includes easy and simple auto-overclocking mechanism of
the bunch. All of the user must do is strike the OC Genie switch in the part of the board. Once the switch is
depressed, the table boots utilizing an MSI-optimized overclocking user prof ile. Customers can tweak this
user prof ile themselves, but we went with MSI’s def aults because of this leg of the overclocking trip.
OC Genie proved really conservative, taking the Primary i7-3770K around 4.2GHz by adjusting only its
multiplier. T he machine endured our stress check without breaking a sweat, so we manually began tweaking
MSI’s ClickBIOS II f irmware is really a big improvement on the company’s initial initiatives, and I love the
known proven f act that it comes with an accompanying Windows application having an identical interf ace.
T here’s something to end up being said f or maintaining regularity between your f irmware interf ace and
Home windows utilities. Unf ortunately, the Home windows app takes to bunch and apply changes f orever.
Modif ying a reboot is necessary by the multiplier, which isn’t the situation f or other Home windows tuning
apps, like MSI’s own Control Middle sof tware.
Control Center uses longer than it will to load still, but changes immediately are applied almost. Multiplier
tweaking had been all it had taken to get the Primary i7-3770K up to stable 4.5GHz. Increased f requencies
required even more voltage, exposing a good presssing issue with Manage Center. Setting 1.2V inside the
app produced 1.192V in CPU-Z , but bumping around 1.3V led to a new reported voltage of only one 1.208V.
Assigning a 1.3V CPU voltage in the f irmware produced 1.304V inside CPU-Z , thus we dropped Control
Middle f or the rest of our testing.
T he operational system was stable around 4.7GHz on 1.2V, also it strike 4.8GHz on 1.3V. Incorporating
another 100MHz needed 1.35V and appeared to be throttle-f ree. Nevertheless, 7-Z ip wouldn’t operate f or
greater than a moment without producing one. Upping the CPU voltage didn’t help, and did f iddling with
another system voltages and strength settings neither. In the end, we’d to drop to 4.8GHz to banish the 7Z ip errors.
An instant look at perf ormance
If you’ve study our overview of the Core i7-3770K, you understand how its f unctionality stacks up at share
speeds. You’ve f urthermore seen just how much additional f unctionality could be gained by switching the
regularity around 4.9GHz. At that speed, Ivy Bridge f its the f unctionality of the Core we7-3960X nearly,
which is predicated on Sandy Bridge-E silicon that provides two more memory stations and CPU cores.
So, think about the conf igurations we’ve discussed in this post? 7-Z ip and the x264 encoding benchmark
were operate on all of the boards at their highest steady conf igurations. T he Asus was examined with the
CPU at 4.9GHz, although it was had by others clocked at 4.8GHz.
100MHz amounts to around 2% if you are jogging at speeds this higher, so it’s no real surprise to see all
of the scores so near. T he Asus P8Z 77-V happens on top because of its clock speed advantage generally.
However, it gets the lowest f rame price in the second move of the x264 test.
Overclocking upon the sly For a relatively good right time, we’ve complained that Asus’ motherboard
f irmware partcipates in overclocking behind the user’s back. In case a manual memory space multiplier is
def ined, the CPU’s single-primary Turbo multiplier is put on all-core loads. T he Primary i7-3770K operates
at 3.9GHz when all its cores are occupied of the def ault 3 instead.7GHz. T his constitutes overclocking, in
accordance with Intel, and it must not be done minus the user’s consent. Worse even, it violates good
methods f or enthusiast f irmware: modif ying one establishing shouldn’t change another, and specif ically not
one that’s totally unrelated.
Asus doesn’t ask authorization when applying this “multicore improvement.” T he f irmware’s all-primary
Turbo f requency screen is transf ormed to ref lect the overclocked rate, however the consumer isn’t
provided an explicit inf ormation about what’s happening. At the very least this f eature could be disabled in
the f irmware; we simply wish it weren’t allowed by def ault.
When def ending this behavior, Asus has insisted that other motherboard manuf acturers take part in similar
dirty methods. We didn’t notice any evidence of that whenever screening Z 77 boards with a Sandy Bridge
CPU. Nevertheless, we did catch yet another of f ender whenever we switched to Ivy Bridge. Gigabyte’s
Z 77X-UD3H plays exactly the same sport with Turbo multipliers if the memory space speed is def ined
manually. Our Primary i7-3770K operates at 3.9GHz having an all-core load once the memory is collection to
perf orm at 1600MHz. Once the memory space divider is remaining at “auto,” the CPU rate tops out at
3.7GHz when all cores are dynamic.
Will the Gigabyte f irmware ask authorization? Nope. Indeed, nothing in the f irmware even inf orms the user
that the CPU has been overclocked. Even though status window shows a 39X multiplier f or all-core loads, it
can so whatever the memory conf iguration-including once the board is utilizing the proper 37X multiplier.
We haven’t had time and energy to grill Gigabyte concerning this behavior, which can just be corrected by
environment the CPU’s per-primary multipliers manually. Ugh. It’s hard to see this tendency as anything
apart f rom an underhanded try to inf late benchmark ratings. T here’s more proof that Asus and Gigabyte
are usually pushing boundaries, as well. In accordance with CPU-Z , the Z 77X-UD3H’s def ault f oundation
clock speed is 100.88MHz, as the P8Z 77-V is clocked in 100.52MHz. I’m not really likely to get too upset
over sub-MHz raises to clock rate, but it’s well worth noting that MSI f ingernails the 100MHz def ault exactly.
A smidgen is operate by the Intel table slower, at 99.78MHz.
Intel’s 22-nm process enables Ivy Bridge to take much less energy than its predecessor when operating in
exactly the same speed. T he 3D transistors of f er better overall perf ormance at low voltages purportedly,
which is great f or mobile applications but perhaps not ideal f or overclocked desktop rigs. Having said that,
I’m reasonably amazed with how nicely Ivy overclocks. T he Primary i7-3770K was steady at 4.4-4.5GHz
without so much being an extra millivolt put on the CPU. T hose speeds just increased system power usage
by way of a modest amount, theref ore there is no need to spend money on an aggressive cooling answer.
With this single-f an Frio conf ig, CPU temps were in the 50-60°C variety under load.
Moving past 4.5GHz requires additional voltage, and that is when Ivy really begins to heat up. With the CPU
voltage increased to a seemingly conservative 1.35V, system power usage soared, and thermal throttling
reared its ugly mind. We’d recommend liquid cooling to help keep high temps (and the connected throttling)
away when approaching 5GHz. At 4 even.8-4.9GHz, with both of the Frio’s f ollowers installed, our CPU
eclipsed 90°C with regularity. Although we’ve just overclocked one Ivy Bridge CPU, our results jibe with what
we have been listening to f rom the motherboard manuf acturers.
Our Core i7-3770K hit similar limitations on all boards. T he Asus has been the only person steady at
4.9GHz, however the others were just 100MHz behind. At share voltage, the Intel and MSI boards both
managed 4.5GHz, while the some other two topped out in 4.4GHz. You need to be able to get yourself a
great overclock out of the boards we’ve examined. T he experience may be the only thing that may dif f er
Of all boards, the Asus P8Z 77-V supplies the most enjoyable overclocking go through the f irmware is quick
to use, and the accompanying Windows sof tware is the best in the business by f ar. Only if Asus didn’t
insist upon an unseemly “multicore improvement” that overclocks the CPU minus the user’s permission.
Gigabyte plays an identical technique with the Z 77X-UD3H, and its own implementation is even sneakier.
T he auto-overclocking sof tware program is too aggressive, aswell, and the EasyTune Home windows utility
will be overdue f or an up-date. T hat said, Gigabyte’s f resh f irmware makes guide overclocking easy. I’d want
to see the user interf ace ported to Windows, where it would be a step up f rom EasyTune and the
accompanying 3D Power app.
Again then, MSI’s Windows-based ClickBIOS implementation is painf ully slower on the Z 77A-GD65. T he
Handle Middle app is snappier, however the voltage modif ications didn’t work correctly f or us. Luckily, the
f irmware user interf ace is solid. T he opportunity to def ine a custom made user prof ile f or the OC Genie
switch is really a particularly nice contact.
OC Genie may be the least dif f icult auto-overclocking scheme around, but there’s merit to Intel’s hybrid
strategy, which why don’t we take the CPU around 4.5GHz by dragging an individual slider on the primary
f irmware display. T he DZ 77GA-70K are designed f or manual overclocking, as well, and Intel’s f irmware and
Home windows utility both provide a good user encounter without the niggling issues. T hey’re just a little
brief on options when compared to comparative Asus of f erings, though.
Since all of the boards reached similar clock speeds, I’d be hesitant to choose between them in line with the
overclocking encounter alone. Ideally, you’re just going to become overclocking the CPU as soon as. And I’d
suggest it. Ivy Bridge seems to have a respectable amount of “f ree of charge” clock speed headroom-and a
lot more if your cooler will be around the challenge.
Read more at rigsandgeeks.com.