We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, G.Skill, Kingston, Mittoni and Corsair.
Compared to our ASRock Z68 Extreme4 motherboard review, little has changed today when it comes to what we'll be comparing the MSI Z68A-GD80 board against. Representing the X58 chipset, we've got our ASRock X58 Extreme3 and 980X.
For the P67 platform we've got the Sapphire Pure Black P67 Hydra with our 2600k and for the new Z68 we've got our ASRock tested at both stock and overclocked to 5.05GHz.
As for the MSI Z68A-GD80, that will be tested in three ways today. The first will be at stock which comes as no surprise. The second will be using the MSI Auto Overclocking feature via OC Genie II and the third will be us going into the BIOS and messing around with everything ourselves to see just how much speed we can get from the board.
OC Genie II is extremely easy to use. All you do is push the button on the motherboard while the system is off and then turn it on as you normally would. It will do a little bit of a song and dance and the next thing you'll be in Windows overclocked. How much of an overclock is dependent on your CPU etc. but you should gain a good couple of 100MHz at least.
With a push of a button we were in Windows at 4.2GHz. When compared to some of the overclocks of over 5GHz we can achieve when getting into the BIOS, it's not the biggest overclock. Considering you have to do nothing more than push a button, though, it's a fantastic 800MHz overclock over the default 3.4GHz that's on offer from our 2600k.
Above you can see our CPU Validation and it's really pretty good that without having to go into the BIOS you're able to achieve an 800MHz overclock.
That was great and everything, but what we really wanted to know was what happens when we get into the BIOS and really start to dabble. I went for the normal 50x CPU ratio and 101 BCLK. This seemed to be the limit of what my CPU is able to offer. That of course booted up no problem which was good to see, so it was time to head back into the BIOS to see if we had any more head room.
Well, after mucking around for a few hours I found myself quite amazed with what the MSI board was able to offer. It was also great to see that the little 2600k had more room in it than I originally thought.
We ended up in Windows as high as 5.4GHz, but unfortunately we did get a BSOD during our Hyper PI test. The same couldn't be said for 5.35GHz, though.
This was just a massive overclock for our CPU and it will be really interesting to see the kind of numbers we're able to pull at this speed since it's the highest my 2600k has been able to achieve to date.
Let's get started!