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TweakTown's Ultimate Intel Skylake Overclocking Guide

By: Steven Bassiri | Guides | Posted: Dec 21, 2015 3:11 pm

If you are afraid of degrading your CPU from overclocking, then I would look into purchasing the Intel Tuning Protection Plan, which offers a one-time replacement as long as there is no physical damage to the CPU. Any time you increase a CPU Voltage above what is supplied at stock you run the risk of degrading the CPU.



Intel's Reporting on their 14nm Process




Intel published a study, "Transistor Aging and Reliability in 14nm Tri-Gate Technology", which can be accessed through IEEE online database. Intel's Tick-Tock method of introducing new processors entails using the same node on the Tock (Skylake) immediately following the pre-existing Tick (Broadwell). Since the article was published before Skylake launched, it would be a safe bet to assume that it pertains to Broadwell, but Skylake should have similar results.




The image is taken from the article linked above, and it shows that leakage has been reduced from 22nm to 14nm.




The chart above:


"It is well know that hot carrier effect become more severe as channel lengths are reduced and previous work showed that, in tri-gate technologies, reduction of the fin width can increase hot carrier degradation[2]. Intel's 14nm technology scales both the gate length and the fin width to allow for higher transistor densities, better gate control, and hence better control of short channel effects. As might be expected, hot carrier degradation for 14nm increases over what was observed in 22nm (Fig. 9). The increase is in line with the expected impact of the combination of both gate length scaling and fin width scaling. Comparing 14nm to 22nm, the increase in hot carrier degradation is relatively small compared to the reduction in BTI and the overall circuit degradation is expected to be low BTI and hot carrier degradation are just components of the total transistor aging, so the primary concern for the technology is the combined impact to circuit operation." Source




Here we see the logarithm of Time To Fail (TTF) compared to stress voltages on both the NMOS and PMOS, 14nm clearly has an advantage.




The conclusion states that under normal operating conditions, Intel's 14nm node is overall more resilient because of large improvements in some areas that outweigh the negative effects resulting from node shrinking. The article also states that the 14nm process can handle a higher operating voltage. However, you need to watch out, since the negative effects present from shrinking the node are present in Skylake, and that is why the Idsat degradation is higher on 14nm. Intel says that the improvements in BTI are so great that they offset the Idsat degradation during normal operation so that 14nm is more resilient than 22nm. Of course, overclocking is out of specification by definition, and as such accelerates degradation and time to failure.



New to Skylake: The Reliability Stress Restrictor (RSR)




What is the Reliability Stress Restrictor setting? According to a patent filed by Intel, which you can find here, it's a built-in mechanism designed to log CPU abuse and restrict parameters to ensure longer CPU lifetime. I would disable it, but only a few boards have the option. ASRock and GIGABYTE have the option for users (I also believe Supermicro and Biostar also have it in their UEFIs), and ASUS has confirmed that this setting is in the background and disabled whenever the UEFI detects overclocking. If the patent is correct, then this setting would reduce CPU maximum frequency or require higher CPU voltage for the same frequency setting. I just figured I would mention it here even though I have not heard any degradation stories yet.

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