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Intel Core i7 5960X Extreme Edition S-spec QFRA CPU Overclocking Guide

By: Steven Bassiri | Guides | Posted: Oct 15, 2014 10:03 pm

Desktop Test System




For overclocking guides, I use whatever motherboard I have in my possession first, in this case the X99-SOC Force was the first X99 motherboard in my possession. I have DDR4 kits from many manufacturers, but my highest frequency kit is the G.Skill 3200MHz, and the only 32GB kit I have is the Crucial. The G.Skill kit is a single sided Hynix based kit, while the Crucial has double sided Micron memory. The Micron (Crucial) did prove to be harder to overclock to high speeds, but the Hynix (G.Skill) overclocked very high, and quite easily.




Cooling is another factor to take into account. Noctua's NH-D15 proved to work very well, but I must admit that the 5960X is the first CPU I have ever encountered that actually heated it up. The mount I get with the cooler and the fact that it does provide very high cooling capacity is why I used it. The 5960X can pull twice the current the 4790K pulled, but the VRM area on an X99 motherboard is basically half that of a Z97 motherboard.


Power density much higher, and thus things can heat up fast. This means that if you have no airflow aimed around or at the VRM area, things are going to get hot, and possibly throttle. While I didn't have this issue at all with the X99-SOC Force and NH-D15, those using watercooling should watch out since there aren't fans blowing near the VRM. You may want to add additional fans blowing air in this region.



BIOS Settings


I used the GIGABYTE X99-SOC Force BIOS F6H and these settings are used for my 4.5GHz and 2133MHz (32GB) 24/7 overclock.




The first thing I did was to set the CPU Multiplier to 45x and the memory divider to 21.33x.




Then I jumped into the advanced core features and disable power saving features so the CPU wouldn't clock down at idle. This is a personal preference, I am used to doing it this way, and it's sort of a superstition rooted in stability and full performance.


Many workloads don't stress the CPU enough to bump its frequency to 4.5GHz, but this way even the smallest workloads get all 4500MHz of power. Uncore on auto here bumped it to 3.3GHz, but I could have set higher, the difference in performance is minimal.




I found that 2.0v for the CPU Input Voltage with 1.3v VCore and 1.15v ring voltage was more than enough to stabilize the overclock, while not increasing temperatures too high.




I also went in and set the VRM to perform its best for maximum current by changing PWM phase control to Extreme Performance. I then changed LLC to Extreme and maximized current limits for the CPU and DDR rails.




The final result is a nice 4.5GHz overclock with 2133MHz memory, which is actually the default platform memory frequency. This was super simple to achieve using the settings above, and probably could have been achieved with less manual dialing of the settings.

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