Overclocking CPU Frequency on H87 and B85 Motherboards Made Possible with ASRock’s Non-Z OC

TAIPEI, TAIWAN, June 27, 2013 – Who ever said that only K series CPUs and the Z-family platform are capable of being overclocked? The avant-garde company ASRock has broken this limitation with an exciting new feature named Non-Z OC! Via this feature overclockers may install their K series CPUs to ASRock’s Fatal1ty H87 Performance or any other H87 B85 chipset motherboards and start overclocking immediately!

The first ASRock motherboard that implements the Non-Z OC feature is Fatal1ty H87 Performance, which is also the H87 motherboard with the most number of power phases in the market currently. Along with its powerful 8 Power Phase design, the CPU frequency can be effortlessly overclocked up to 26%! Simply update to the latest version of our UEFI, then you’ll find the Non-Z OC feature sitting in the OC Tweaker page, select a frequency from a couple of preset settings, restart, kick back to enjoy your drink and voila!

Full press release: click


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Germany der8auer says:

This is really interesting Does it also change the BCLK or only the CPU Multi?

TaPaKaH says:

most phases on the market!

United Kingdom borandi says:

CPU Strap + BCLK changes I'd imagine? I wonder if it's easier to adjust the strap on H- than the multiplier.

Belgium Massman says:

I think it's ratio only, but that's just a guess. I'm not entirely sure what the "point" of the feature is, though. Aside from an additional sales point for the H87 series. In the end, the idea of the K-sku CPU and Z-sku chipset is to have overclocking as a premium feature. If overclocking is only possible on Z-chipsets, there is more margin to be made. For mainboard vendors, it is very interesting to sell premium priced products as there is a higher profit per sold item. The margin on H-series motherboards is a lot lower because the price is lower. So, it's quite possible that to make the same profit as 1x Z87, you have to sell 10x H87 (ratio is just an estimate). The cheapest B85 boards come in at around €60, the cheapest Z87 boards at around €100. That's only a difference of €40. I can't imagine anyone spending €300+ on a 4770K and then choosing a cheap board to go with it. Especially since you're still limited with the BCLK and memory ratios. In the end, I like the idea of making (limited) overclocking possible on the low-end chipset SKUs. Any kind of tricking and breaking the limitations is awesome. But I don't really understand why because - Intel might not be too happy - B85 and H87 still limited in BCLK and memory frequency - Undercutting own product lines (if you want to do CPU OC, why buy Extreme or OCF series?) - No guarantee it will work in the future - Not sure if K-sku owners want to get anything less than Z-chipset Perhaps it's only meant as marketing to get people to understand ASRock as a good R&D team that knows its stuff. If that is the case, I'd say thumbs up and well done :D!

Belgium Massman says:

Asus, Gigabyte and ECS have released their bioses as well. Sales teams must be going crazy demanding these "fixed" bioses from engineering. I wonder how much more of these low end boards they'll sell. Still I wonder why they are going ahead with these releases. They're undercutting their own higher margin segments for some reason. Most prices are pretty similar anyway. Perhaps we'll see a price-war going on in the B/H-segment?

Germany der8auer says:

This is really retarded. There we go back to the "we need all features our competitor has". I wonder what Intel says about this.

United States sin0822 says:

They prob might sell higher quantity, but IDk if there will be demand for such low end boards that OC. The Z boards are still nicer in general and that is why people buy them other than OC. I mean I see epople buy Z boards with non K processors too.

der8auer said: This is really special. There we go back to the "we need all features our competitor has". I wonder what Intel says about this.

Who knows maybe they orchestrated this. Would seem pretty easy to patch in the next BIOS code release and make it so that mobo makers can't do this. Also is it me or do these OCes seem lower than Z87?

Belgium Massman says:

Patching the µcode won't change much. Vendors will just use the old "buggy" code in their newer bioses. Unless the new code is really needed for something.

Indonesia Lucky_n00b says:

Interesting. Until I'm writing this, ASRock, Gigabyte, and ECS already made their new BIOS release which enables this Non-Z Overclocking. No 'official' response from Intel about this yet.

I'm still wondering how this is done though, is it modification to the ME Firmware to make the non-Z chipset to properly recognize K-series CPU?

I Will probably try one of those cheap B85 boards to see how this Overclocking is implemented on the BCLK and memory also..

Belgium Massman says:

Afaik, it seems that it's just the CPU ratio and not BCLK or memory multipliers. I don't really know what it is, but I assume they forgot to lock some access to CPU MSR and you can increase the CPU Turbo ratio freely.

Germany SoF says:

All the time selling CPUs and systems at my work...nobody used K-CPU in H- and B-series mobo EVER... Not selling a single board more with this feature...maybe selling some Z-boards less but whats the point...

United Kingdom El Gappo says:

Cheaper upgrade path once people outgrow their i3's etc? Can't be a bad thing from the end users point of view unless it really doesn't work very well and or boards start going bang. Overclockers are traditionally cheap/broke bunnyrabbits after all.

Belgium Massman says:

Cheapest B85 is around €60, cheapest Z87 is around €90. That's €30 difference. The difference between -K and non -K variant is about €20. I don't see how €10 is going to make the difference :p

Norway knopflerbruce says:

I bet ASRock got plenty of free PR from this "stunt". It also says something about being "cutting edge", having special features and so on. Not a bad idea the way I see it. ASRock had a feature that was slightly similar on Ivy, where you could run non-K chips at max turbo MP 24/7. :)

Belgium Massman says:

That feature was on Asus boards first, if I remember correctly. Some reviewers didn't pay attention to it and they all their boards on top of the rankings. After that Gigabyte followed I think. It's not an Asrock-first feature.

United States Bobnova says:

Asus's P67 (Z77? Both?) boards are completely incapable of running the CPU at stock, they force max 1x core turbo multiplier on the whole chip at all times. PITA as a reviewer, that's for sure!

K404 says:

Does this work on ASRock H81?

Belgium leeghoofd says:

Massman said: That feature was on Asus boards first, if I remember correctly. Some reviewers didn't pay attention to it and they all their boards on top of the rankings. After that Gigabyte followed I think. It's not an Asrock-first feature.


The agressive turbo policy is still going strong on the Z87 platform... no idea how some review sites get so close results, running as they mention with untouched bios settings... Making me wonder if they ran the benchmarks at all or just did an assumption where the score should be at, allowing them to put out a massive mainboard roundup in no time. Maybe in worst case scenario: this manufacturer sponsors the website and get a slightly better score in this benchmark. Or am I testing it all incorrectly ? :battle:

Some vendors adhere to Intel's specs and score indeed close to the Intel reference board, with an alternative option in the bios to go for a more agressive approach. Which should be applauded :D

United States sin0822 says:

Leeghoofd said: The agressive turbo policy is still going strong on the Z87 platform... no idea how some review sites get so close results, running as they mention with untouched bios settings... Making me wonder if they ran the benchmarks at all or just did an assumption where the score should be at, allowing them to put out a massive mainboard roundup in no time. Maybe in worst case scenario: this manufacturer sponsors the website and get a slightly better score in this benchmark. Or am I testing it all incorrectly ? :battle:

Some vendors adhere to Intel's specs and score indeed close to the Intel reference board, with an alternative option in the bios to go for a more agressive approach. Which should be applauded :D


somtimes i have the same feelings

Belgium Massman says:

This is getting sadder by the day. Now ECS is claiming to be the first manufacturer to enable overclocking on all 8 series chipsets. First, it's incorrect because ASRock was the first to enable it. And even if you read the finer print where they claim they're the first on all 8 series chipsets because they also enabled it on H81, it's still a lie. For one, I cannot find that mystical H81 board on their website. For two, they don't have a Q87 based board which is also part of the 8 series. So it's just lying.

United States hokiealumnus says:

Massman said: This is getting sadder by the day. Now ECS is claiming to be the first manufacturer to enable overclocking on all 8 series chipsets. First, it's incorrect because ASRock was the first to enable it. And even if you read the finer print where they claim they're the first on all 8 series chipsets because they also enabled it on H81, it's still a lie. For one, I cannot find that mystical H81 board on their website. For two, they don't have a Q87 based board which is also part of the 8 series.

So it's just lying.

But....1337 Gank Machine! :ws:

United Kingdom El Gappo says:

hokiealumnus said: But....1337 Gank Machine! :ws:


Ahahaha


Are ECS not a HWbot partner anymore? I fully support a L337 Ganking competition.

K404 says:

Massman said: This is getting sadder by the day. Now ECS is claiming to be the first manufacturer to enable overclocking on all 8 series chipsets. First, it's incorrect because ASRock was the first to enable it. And even if you read the finer print where they claim they're the first on all 8 series chipsets because they also enabled it on H81, it's still a lie. For one, I cannot find that mystical H81 board on their website. For two, they don't have a Q87 based board which is also part of the 8 series.

So it's just lying.







That's why I asked about H81 :)

United Kingdom borandi says:

Leeghoofd said: The agressive turbo policy is still going strong on the Z87 platform... no idea how some review sites get so close results, running as they mention with untouched bios settings... Making me wonder if they ran the benchmarks at all or just did an assumption where the score should be at, allowing them to put out a massive mainboard roundup in no time. Maybe in worst case scenario: this manufacturer sponsors the website and get a slightly better score in this benchmark. Or am I testing it all incorrectly ? :battle:

Some vendors adhere to Intel's specs and score indeed close to the Intel reference board, with an alternative option in the bios to go for a more agressive approach. Which should be applauded :D


I did a big piece on it last year, asking for readers thoughts.

http://anandtech.com/show/6214/multicore-enhancement-the-debate-about-free-mhz

If you have been keeping up to date with any of the AnandTech motherboard reviews lately, there has been one topic that has been hot on my lips, and it is called ‘MultiCore Enhancement’. As an exercise in explanation and opinion, we would like to know your thoughts on this, and how it would affect you as a user.

To start, let me describe what we are talking about. On the latest line of Intel CPUs, we have multiple cores all willing to provide computational throughput. The CPU itself has a listed stock speed, and a thermal window to ensure stable operation. At the stock speed, the CPU does not hit the thermal window, so Intel assign higher speeds depending on how much computational power is needed, and this is adjusted to fit inside the power requirements. Thus when a user requires only one CPU core, the CPU can be allocated the maximum turbo speed – when more cores are requested, the speed of the CPU drops until all cores are in use. This is what Intel designates the ‘Turbo Boost’ for the CPU.

However this technology is not defined by the processor itself. The act of telling the processor to run at a certain speed is set by the motherboard, not the processor. So as part of the deal with Intel, motherboard manufacturers’ code in the BIOS the algorithm to make the CPU switch speeds as required. This algorithm can be aggressive, such that turbo boosts are held for a short time when CPU loading goes from low to high, or instant when CPU power is needed or not needed. This algorithm and switching speed can determine how well a motherboard performs in CPU benchmarks.

This is all well and good when every manufacturer adheres to this specification. But a new ‘feature’ has made its way onto our motherboards. Since X79, ASUS has been implementing a feature they call ‘MultiCore Enhancement’ whenever XMP has been set. Gigabyte has implemented this since their Z77 suite but as of yet leave it un-named, and ASRock are going to start using ‘MultiCore Acceleration’ with their Z77 OC Formula. EVGA also has something in the pipeline for their Z77 boards. This feature, put simply, gives the CPU some extra speed.

With these motherboards, usually when XMP is enabled, the CPU is told to use the top turbo boost setting under all loads. That means a CPU like the i7-3770K has only two speeds – 3.9 GHz while under CPU load, and 1.2 GHz at idle. For motherboards that implement this feature, they get a significant boost in their CPU benchmark scores. As a result, the user who runs their processor at stock also gets up to 300 MHz more speed during multithreaded loading.

Technically, this is an overclock. Typically we are told that overclocking a system is liable to void the warranty on both the processor and the motherboard. With the case of the processor, typically what Intel put on the shelves is a safe speed – they are not pushing any competition to the limits, so these processors have breathing room and this ‘overclock’ should not harm longevity.

...

There has been a precedent with this in the past – when Turbo Boost was not part of the processor paradigm, motherboard manufacturers used to play around with the CPU FSB speed before it was passed through the multiplier. So instead of 100.0 MHz on the FSB, we used to get 100.3 MHz, 100.8 MHz, 101.3 MHz, and even a case of 102.1 MHz I believe. So essentially, a free 2.1% overclock if you ran the processor at stock speeds.

Given all this, I recently tested one motherboard that pushed the boundaries beyond the ‘normal’ MultiCore Enhancement. The Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3, by default, gave the i7-3770K a 4.0 GHz turbo mode at any speed. As a result, it took top spot in all our benchmark settings. The G1.Sniper 3 is a high end product, so producing the jump was not much extra work for the product itself. However, it does open up a variety of questions.

/insert questions and reader comments/



I typically test a motherboard at stock / default settings with XMP applied using the latest public BIOS available to download from the website. If the public can't freely access it from the manufacturer, then I'm not interested. It's up to the manufacturer to decide how aggressive they want to be (this has always been the case). Also I'm taking the line that most people will plug and play, and not bother updating much unless they have software to do it automatically (like MSI's Live Update, Gigabyte's Update tool, etc). So if that updates the BIOS and the new BIOS has MultiCore Turbo, they're technically getting a boost and it comes out in results.

But then comes the issue of recommending a motherboard that doesn't have it. Technically, for the same price, you can perform 7% worse without it. Meaning every manufacturer has to have it...

Except ASUS are doing something this time around. Motherboards will ship with 1xxx BIOSes which have MultiCore Enhancement disabled by default, because in their internal testing with the stock heatsink a small % of processors with throttle at ambient with MCE/MCT enabled. For users who want to update their BIOS with MCE enabled by default, you need a 3xxx BIOS.

Personally I think it's important to test out of the box. How aggressive a manufacturer is in their default settings is important to the end user who isn't going to touch any of them. This gets a bit of gripe from some (small number) of enthusiasts that insist I should test at the same BIOS settings for everyone to find the most efficient product. But in the most gamers and SIs rarely buy because A is more efficient than B if B is overall faster, unless the specific market is for that low power deal.

My 0.02, completely OT :D

Belgium Massman says:

I agree with Ian. Actually, this kind of a boost is pretty interesting for consumers. But they should be made aware of why there's a boost. I don't see that in all the "reviews". Is there any documentation on what boards boost to what frequencies with what bioses?

United Kingdom borandi says:

I've suggested that this 'feature' be marketed in a way that consumers know it's part of the system, but no-one wants to listen. :P There is no list because it can freely change with BIOS. With Z77 it was Gigabyte and ASUS applying it:
For Z87 it seems at least the big four are. I still have ECS and Biostar to look at this time round. But, as with happens with many releases, the 'media BIOSes' that are shipped with motherboards before launch have the feature enabled by default, but the public BIOSes do not. Hence why I go after the public BIOS versions.

Belgium Massman says:

I have the Biostar board here, what's the easiest way to check?

United Kingdom borandi says:

Run everything at stock and run MaxCPU (http://weblogs.asp.net/kennykerr/archive/2005/10/22/Max-CPU_3A00_-Another-one-for-your-developer-toolbox_2E002E002E00_.aspx) at one thread. CPU-Z will say 3.9G on a 4770K. Then go back to BIOS and enable XMP. See if that makes a difference. Sometimes a manufacturer doesn't enable MCE/MCT unless XMP is enabled. Note that this 'feature' is only really relevant if you don't overclock. The minute you do it's a moot point. But 85%+ of the buyers of most boards don't OC, even a good proportion who buy the ROG Extreme (at least 40%?) don't OC - they just want the best you can buy then put together. Don't forget all the system integrators that sell pre-made systems, they often charge for an overclock. If a user doesn't pay, then MCE might come around anyway. "$25 for a 4.0 GHz overclock!" ECS and Biostar are next on my test beds; EVGA should be coming around soon when C2 is in full flow.

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