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ASRock Z87 Extreme 6 Review (w/ 4770k / GTX770)

If you have been reading our reviews in the last week, you will know that our particular sample of the Core i7 4770k from Intel is limited to a realistic 4.5ghz overclock with 1.225 voltage settings. Our previous testing with MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS boards has indicated a successful post at 4.9ghz (1.35V), although the temperatures hit 100c+ with a Corsair H100i in performance mode.

Not the greatest overclocking processor we have here in our labs. That said, we have been hearing a lot of negative reports from system builders as they test a wide sampling of 4770k processors. One 4770k may be stable at 4.9ghz with 1.225 volts and others 4.2ghz.

We looked at the OC Tweaker section of the ASRock Z87 Extreme 6 bios and noticed that ASRock have included some ‘preset’ options for overclocking. They have been including this feature with many of their previous generation Z77 products and it is a great option for inexperienced users. We notice that they recommend no higher than 4.4ghz with the 4770k as the 4.6ghz and 4.8ghz options are highlighted in red.

We tried the 4.4ghz preset.
This 4.4ghz preset toggles the CPU Ratio from AUTO to ‘ALL CORE’ with a figure of 44 (x100).
This automated setting pushed the CPU voltage to 1.270 – which is much higher than we would expect. We know from previous testing that the 4770k load temperatures would increase from around 80c under load to 90c with this voltage setting. We also noticed that it didn’t adjust the CPU Load-Line Calibration settings either. We decided to disable these automatic settings completely and attempt overclocking ourselves directly.
We selected the CPU Ratio to a ‘per core’ basis – moving them all to 45, aiming for 4.5ghz.
We select the ‘override’ mode in the CPU voltage setting. We then selected 1.225v which we know has worked perfectly for this particular sample on MSI, GIGABYTE and ASUS boards in the last week.
We moved the CPU Load-Line Calibration from Level 5 to Level 1. This controls the negative effects of voltage droop of the processor when under load. We were happy to see that the system was completely stable at these settings without any further intervention.
Validation at the final overclock settings is available over here.

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