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ASUS Z97 Pro (Intel Z97) Motherboard - Circuit and Overclocking Guide

By: Steven Bassiri | Guides | Posted: Aug 11, 2014 2:12 pm

Overclocking Results

 

In this section, I will go through overclocking this board. Overclocking (OC) is a strong indicator of overall tuning. I don't only OC the CPU, but also the memory, and even the base clock with the latter having more to do with board design and BIOS tuning.

 

CPU and BCLK Overclocking

 

Max CPU Overclock is found by setting the VCore to 1.4v, Input voltage to 2.0v, cache voltage to 1.2v, CPU multiplier to 45x, memory and cache multipliers to 8x, and disabling any features that would result in CPU frequency fluctuation (changing power mode to High-Performance in the control panel for ASUS boards). I then proceed into Windows and use software to increase the multiplier; in this case I opted to use ASUS's TurboV Core, which is a lite reduced version of TurboV.

 

asus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guide

 

5.1GHz is the maximum of our CPU on many boards; the Z97 Pro did as expected. Maximum AIDA64 Stable Overclock (BIOS settings below for this):

 

asus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guide

 

I was easily able to pull off 4.8GHz on the CPU with 4.2GHz cache and a 2600MHz XMP overclock on my memory manually tuning the UEFI. Later on I will cover ASUS's auto OC features and their overclocks.

 

Max BCLK is found at the 1.67x (if it's operational), with fixed PCH Core voltage of 1.25v and fixed PCHIO at the lowest the board will allow, I believe 1.05v here. All other ratios are tuned back to 8x to ensure they don't bottleneck the BCLK overclock.

 

asus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guide

 

189.64MHz was the maximum BCLK OC I could pull off with optimal settings.

 

 

Memory overclocking with Hynix (double sided 8GB modules)

 

Maximum clock on this memory was done by using the 1.00x divider for BCLK, and then using timings of 12-15-15-35 2T, with 1.700v for DRAM voltage, and +0.20v for VCCIOA, VCCIOD, and System agent. The CPU and cache ratios were reduced to 8x to make sure they didn't affect the overclock. An efficiency test is also run, since every manufacturer sets their sub-timings differently, this test can also be used for comparison, same timings are set (no XMP of course), and a divider of 28x was used.

 

asus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guideasus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guide

 

 

Memory overclocking with Samsung (double sided 4GB modules)

 

Maximum clock on this memory was done by using the 1.00x divider for BCLK, and then using timings of 9-12-12-25 1T, with 1.900v for DRAM voltage (Samsung likes voltage, and this is strictly for motherboard testing purposes), and +0.15v for VCCIOA, VCCIOD, and System agent. The CPU and cache ratios were reduced to 8x to make sure they didn't affect the overclock. An efficiency test is also run, since every manufacturer sets their sub-timings differently, this test can also be used for comparison, same timings are set (no XMP of course), and a divider of 26.66x was used.

 

asus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guideasus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guide

 

 

BIOS Settings for 4.8GHz Overclock with XMP

 

asus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guide

 

ASUS always includes a ton of options; to a novice it might seem a bit extreme and intimidating, so they have also included an EasyMode.

 

asus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guideasus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guide

 

The first thing I did to get my overclock was enable XMP, you can do this with the switch on the board itself or you can enable it in the UEFI BIOS. I then manually entered in my overclock of 48x on all cores.

 

asus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guide

 

I also entered in my Cache Ratio to 42x, this is a bit low, you can go a bit higher if you want.

 

asus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guide

 

I selected manual voltage control under the VCore and cache voltages and entered in 1.3v for the CPU VCore and 1.15v for the cache voltage.

 

asus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guide

 

For some reason, this particular CPU likes higher VIN to be stable under heavy stress tests, I selected 2.0v here.

 

asus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guide

 

If you want to change your fan control settings, they are readily available and quite impressive.

 

asus_z97_pro_intel_z97_motherboard_circuit_and_overclocking_guide

 

If you would like to save your BIOS profiles for later, you may do so in this menu, also clearing the CMOS won't necessarily get rid of these profiles.

 

OC recovery could be better on this motherboard, only once in a while does it pick up on a bad OC and then let me back in the UEFI; usually I have to manually flip the AC power on the PSU. Sometimes I have to clear the CMOS, which becomes an issue considering it's a jumper and not a button.

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