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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Belgium Massman says:

Pretty interesting that Supermicro has Hyper-threading working.

Czech Republic Elkim says:

Well yes, they're Supermicro :)

Sweden elmor says:

Not sure who they spoke to but pretty sure that's incorrect. Main problem is that non-Z chipsets need external clockgen, which only Supermicro has on their retail board.

South Africa Vivi says:

elmor slamsss!

Antarctica Trouffman says:

Basically does it say: "We won't allow it becasue we need to re engineer some of our implementation and we don't want the bios team to work on non-premium chipset ?"

but it is a weird statement, YES it does impact manufacturer if they want to do it on Non Z-chipset because they will have to add support for it in hardware ( when needed ). Will have to add the support for it in Bios (when it was clear this would be useless in the first place). Will have to spend extra ressources to get everything working ( HT ).

I wonder if some Mfg will do this : Design a Z170 board, switch the chipset for a h170 and adjsut for it to work ( pretty much what seems SuperMicro did with the extra clockgen etc.)

The article tone is a bit alarming :D `fear if you buy a motherboard modified...` the WHOLE point here is that unless the drawbacks are fixed it will not get onto the market ;)

Most of the time, it just release the Bios on the net and then only the people in the know will use it and you don't have to take care of the warranty.

Sweden elmor says:

FYI this is confirmed bs, HT is working fine on any chipset.

Indonesia Lucky_n00b says:

Aside from Supermicro H170, is there any other retail non-z board that right now offers non-K BCLK overclocking?

Belgium Massman says:

I only say asrock post something with the C232 chipset, but no official BIOS I think.

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