We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital, MemoRight and Corsair.
When it comes to the lineup of boards you'll see today, like our ASUS Z87 Expert review, most of the boards are Z77 as we take time to build up our database of new boards. Alongside the ASRock and the ASUS Z87 Expert, we've got the ASRock Z77 OC FORMULA, ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt, MSI Z7A-GD65 Gaming and finally the GIGABYTE X79S-UP5-Wi-Fi.
When we first tested the ASUS Z87-Expert, we found ourselves kind of unhappy with the overclocking side of things. We didn't put too much emphasize on it being the board, though, as it seemed we just didn't have a great clocking CPU.
Talking to some people since launch, we've found that people have had CPUs do anywhere from 4.1GHz to 4.9GHz. The 4.6GHz we achieved with the ASUS board doesn't sound too bad in that case. We won't deny, though, going into the ASRock board we wanted to get more than that, especially from a board with so much promise in the overclocking department.
We decided to use the pre-overclocked settings that are offered by ASRock as a base and work from there. What we did was go straight to 4.8GHz (hey, we can dream?) to see just what would happen.
Kind of to our surprise the machine booted up straight away and got into Windows with no problems. We moved around a bit and everything was looking good. As always, though, unless it can complete our MediaEspresso encode (the test which always finds an unstable system for us), we consider it to be unstable. We started up MediaEspresso and everything was looking good... until we were a few minutes in and our machine BSOD'ed.
We headed back into the BIOS as always and decided to keep everything the same except drop the multiplier down by 1x. We then headed back into Windows and started the MediaEspresso encode process again. This time we got through the whole process with no issue at all. Looking above you can see that we end up with our BCLK at 99.97 or 100 and our multiplier running at 47x. This results in a final clock speed of 4698.75MHz or 4.7GHz, as illustrated in our graphs today. This is a 100MHz increase on our previous overclock and we're hoping as time goes on we manage to see a bit more out of this particular CPU. For now, though, the 4.7GHz seen here today is pretty good. Now we just need to see what kind of performance we're able to get out of the setup over the next few pages.