Intel Z87 and Haswell 24/7 OC Guide Review 45

Intel Z87 and Haswell 24/7 OC Guide Review

Stability Testing Walkthrough »

BIOS Screenshots

Here's a screenshot of the chip I used for the testing in this guide. I took the screenshot from within the BIOS. To get these "stock" values, I had to modify a few settings in the BIOS first, since the ASUS Maximus VI EXTREME's default BIOS configuration comes with a performance focus.

Starting with the voltage values I listed above, I tested everything and decided that my temperature ranges allowed me to push a bit further, so push I did. For me, Intel's current mainstream and enthusiast processors run ideally at 4.6 GHz, making it my target with every platform since the LGA 1155 socket and Core i7-2600K launched. No platform or update has had issues meeting those speeds, although Lady Luck might have contributed her part in that. Above are my final settings after quite a bit of testing. ASUS's reviewer guide was pretty straightforward, suggesting the board should handle many settings on its own because ASUS put a significant amount of time into testing and optimizing the BIOS to make things as easy as possible. I modified the settings above only and think most users will be just as successful as I was by doing the same.

The ASUS BIOS applies its own rules to memory sub-timings, based on that performance optimization I just mentioned. However, I got slightly better performance by adjusting a couple of items to match what the ASUS MAXIMUS VI EXTREME's BIOS listed in its SPD Tool, which is, after all, why ASUS put it there.

I knew I had enough cooling in place, so I adjusted the board's VRM settings to ensure it was delivering enough power when needed, rather than following some pre-defined Intel rules that might hamper overclocking. There are a lot of options you can play with to get the best and most efficient clocks possible, but using the automatic rules ASUS set with ample cooling works as well. Most boards will have similar automatic configurations for their VRM section and voltage options, although not all are going to offer the fully manual voltage controls the ASUS MAXIMUS VI EXTREME has. Those boards that do not usually offer "offset" controls that will work just as well, however. Having full control of the voltages is best for ease of testing, especially because of the AVX-based voltage values that take effect when using "offset" CPU voltage values.

Compared to past platforms, there are a few options over and above what we had to play with for a decent clock. The added complexity also raises overclocking difficulty and can, depending on your approach, either be a lot of fun to play with or completely frustrating. Its many options can sometimes make the platform the most aggravating, but most problems can easily be overcome with good stability testing.
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