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Intel Core i7 3820 and ASrock Extreme4-M review

ASRock are using a fully featured UEFI style interface for the Extreme4-M, which is intuitive and loaded with plenty of settings for overclocking.

The advanced tab offers many settings to give the user control over the hardware. The hardware monitoring tab shows real time views of voltages, temperatures and fan settings.

The boot menu is easy to navigate and allows for control over the hard drives and SSD drives and the boot priority. The full screen boot logo can be disabled (always a must).

The ASRock board has some very handy pre-built overclocking settings as shown above. Unfortunately as we mentioned earlier the Core i7 3820 is not a fully unlocked processor, unlike the 2500k and 2600k. The Core i7 3820 can be set to a maximum multipler that is four steps higher than the top turbo frequency. So we can therefore work out that it can run at 4.3ghz, 400mhz greater than the 3.9ghz top default turbo frequency (single core active).

This is when the bios gets slightly confusing, because if you use one of the preconfigured bios overclocked settings in the ‘EZ OC’, it will actually show a ratio above 43, such as 46 for 4.6ghz. The bios will even report a successful overclocked speed, after reboot. It unfortunately is limited to 4.3ghz via a 43x ratio as CPU-z in Windows will verify. If the user tries to manually overclock, bypassing the EZ OC menu it is correctly limited to 43.

If you are happy running a beta bios ASrock updated to V1.62 which resolves this particular problem.

Some motherboards have ‘straps’ which act as a multiplier on the base clock (such as 1.25x or 125mhz). This could push the overclocking results even further.

We tested with some Corsair GTX8 2,400mhz rated DDR3 which we used in our launch article for the Asus IV Rampage Extreme Edition.

Sadly we couldn’t get the memory to post at 2,400mhz, regardless of settings. We did get it to run at 2,133mhz without any problems.

The ASRock bios offers many voltage settings which allow the processor to be overclocked further. Using a BCLK setting of 105 at the maximum ratio,

Using modest air cooling with only a very slight core voltage increase we managed to get the system overclocked and stable at 4.5ghz. Validation is available here. We could probably push further with more advanced cooling and higher voltage but these are great results for a Micro ATX board.

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