I will now cover all the overclocking specific hardware features this motherboard offers.
GIGABYTE decided to add more features than usual to its top of the line gaming board. For starters, they provided the typical BIOS selector, single BIOS mode, extra PCI-E power, voltage read points, power, reset, and clear CMOS on the board. This time, GIGABYTE provided both internal clear CMOS, as well as back panel clear CMOS buttons. I personally dislike back panel clear CMOS buttons, because as a reviewer, you never really test the motherboard in a case, but I have both options here. They have also added fast-boot, direct-to-BIOS, and auto OC buttons. The voltage read points provide real-time measurements with a digital multi-meter for all the VRMs on the board, but not those internal to the CPU (like VCore).
I usually don't cover the accessory package unless there is something interesting in there, and this time I overlooked a handy accessory from GIGABYTE that helps with overclocking. It's a three to one CPU power connector. It allows you to hook up three, eight-pin connectors from your PSU to the motherboard, effectively helping overcome some limitations of modern PSUs.
Many PSUs have multiple 12v rails, and they have current limits anywhere from 12A to 30A per rail, and if you go over the current rated for that rail the PSU will shut down. However, with the new X99 platform, the CPU can easily pull 25A from the 12v connector at speeds north of 4.5GHz. The connector GIGABYTE provides (pictured above) allows you to maintain OCP on multi-rail PSUs, while allowing much higher current to the CPU by effectively tying together multiple 12v rails from the PSU.
Max Stable Overclocks (BIOS settings are located further down):
5.0GHz is the maximum of our CPU on many boards, including the GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI.
I was easily able to pull off 4.5GHz on the CPU with 3.0GHz cache, and a 2133MHz memory overclock (32GB) on my memory by manually tuning the UEFI. I will cover auto OC features later on.
Max BCLK is found at 1.67x (if it's operational), with fixed PCH Core voltage of 1.25v, and System Agent Voltage of +0.3v. All other ratios are tuned back to 12x (memory at 8x) to ensure they don't bottleneck the BCLK overclock.
176.1MHz was the maximum BCLK OC I could achieve with optimal settings.
Memory overclocking with G.Skill 3200MHz 16GB Kit (Single sided Hynix modules)
Maximum clock on this memory is usually achieved by using the 1.00x BCLK ratio and the 32x memory multiplier. If these don't work, then I use 1.25x BCLK and 24x, and higher multipliers instead. DRAM voltage is set to 1.5v, and system agent to +0.5v; timings were set at 16-16-16-36 2T, and the rest on auto. These high voltages are for testing purposes. For the efficiency test, the 1.25x divider is used with 21.33x memory multiplier. The 24x multiplier is used for CPU and Uncore. HyperPI 32M is used for the efficiency test.
Max OC: 3237MHz
Efficiency time: 15min 6.664sec
It was easier for me to boot the 32x memory multiplier on this board than it has been on any other X99 motherboard so far. The board just booted up like it would on the 21.33x multiplier. However, its max OC was lower than other boards, while its efficiency is much better.
BIOS Settings for 4.5GHz Overclock with 32GB of 2133MHz Memory
Here I set the CPU Frequency to 45x, and memory to 21.33x.
I disable EIST and C States, but you can leave them on if you want power savings.
I increase the VRM performance by telling the PWM to go into eXm Perf mode, and then I increase current capability to Extreme and set LLC to Extreme. For voltages, I set VIN to 2.0, and VCore 1.3v. To stabilize the CPU/Uncore a bit, you can add a little cache/Uncore voltage; here I added 0.1v to the stock 1.05v.
OC Recovery Experience:
OC recovery was present and seemed to work well. A few times I had to use clear CMOS, but in general recovery from bad CPU or memory settings is easy enough. A really bad BCLK or memory OC might require a clear CMOS.
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