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GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Motherboard Digital PWM and Cooling Deep Dive - Final Thoughts

GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Motherboard Digital PWM and Cooling Deep Dive
We investigate the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force's digital PWM and cooling setup. We discovered some interesting results with a thermal imaging camera. (TPE:2376)
| Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: Aug 8, 2013 1:19 am

Final Thoughts

 

For most of us the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force is more than we really need. That said, we are overclockers and most of the time the only word we truly understand is MORE. There is nothing wrong with that, but it's always important to understand the consequences of our actions.

 

TweakTown image content/5/6/5652_05_gigabyte_z87x_oc_force_motherboard_digital_pwm_and_cooling_deep_dive.png

 

In this case we need to understand that the new digital PWM that GIGABYTE used on the OC Force produces very little heat under a fairly typical overclock for a lot of people. Haswell processors are capable of achieving 5GHz on high-end air cooling and off the shelf liquid cooling. Once you get to 5GHz though, the CPU produces quite a bit of heat. If you are using the same loop for your CPU and voltage regulation via OC Cool, you quite possibly are increasing the PWM chips temperature, since the CPU heat will then run past the PWM chips.

 

At 5GHz with a Noctua D14 running three fans, the PWM temperature increased another 6C for most chips and two finally broke 51C. The CPU on the other hand was well into the 85C range, but only needed a slight voltage bump to reach the 5.0GHz (4.9GHz actual) mark. If we ran liquid cooling to the CPU, our overclock wouldn't have increased by much. If we ran liquid cooling to both the CPU and the PWM block that GIGABYTE supplies with the OC Force, we would have seen an increase in PWM temperature.

 

Maybe GIGABYTE was trying to give us another radiator by placing a fan on the PWM cooler? That made for a nice joke on Facebook, but in order to actually use the PWM cooler, we suggest only using it on a separate loop and don't think you need it unless cooling the CPU with liquid nitrogen or an exotic setup with liquid helium or the like.

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