Non-Z Skylake Overclocking: Too Many Drawbacks, Say Major Mainboard Vendors

Desktop enthusiasts rejoiced when Dhenzhen was the first to show the non-K overclocking capabilities on the SuperMicro H170 motherboard last month. Since then, all major motherboard vendors have released non-K overclocking BIOSes in public. Most of the vendors stick to the Z170 chipset for overclocking purposes, however. But the typically premium priced Z-chipset does not really comply with a cheap and overclockable Core i3. Tom's Hardware looked into why there are almost no B/C/H/Q-chipset motherboards for overclocking.

"With the exception of the Z170 PCH, chipsets created by Intel for the LGA1151 socket often don’t give users voltage control of several key pieces of hardware, such as the CPU, and lack several other overclocking-related features such as multiplier control, base clock control, Vdroop, load-line calibration and others. This is partially because these features are not supported on non-overclocking chipsets by design, but it’s mostly because many of these features aren’t particularly useful if you can’t overclock, so motherboard OEMs don't waste their resources implementing them.

In order to enable overclocking on a chipset like H170 or B150, hardware modifications and firmware support for these features must be added. Motherboard OEMs can make these changes, but it has the side effect of disabling several other features. Asus, ASRock and MSI told us that non-Z170 chipsets modified to enable overclocking will lose Hyper-Threading support and will be unable to use C-states to reduce voltage and power consumption when the system is idling. "

In particular the loss of hyper-threading seems to be a major drawback, provided overclocking is pointless for Core i3, Core i5 and Xeon processors. When enquiring the various motherboard manufacturers, it appears that ASUS, GIGABYTE and MSI indicated to have no interest in building non-Z overclocking motherboards because the drawbacks are too much. ASRock already launched a couple of motherboards and said it's meeting customer demand by doing so. Supermicro had already launched a motherboard using the H170 chipset which supports overclocking without losing the support for hyper-threading.

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