Automatic CPU Overclocking
MSI's GAMEBOOST button is located in the UEFI and in the Command Center software.
In the UEFI the button is in the top right corner right next to the XMP button. When Game Boost on, you will get a 4.8GHz OC on all cores on an 8700K, which isn't bad. The UEFI also sets 1.2v as the voltage for the CPU. It's a light overclock that every CPU can do, and the CPU won't overheat due to too high auto VCore. I also tested with XMP enabled. Last on we will show you how Game Boost and XMP ON compared to OFF and manual overclocking.
MSI's Command Center is where you will find GAME BOOST in Windows.
Manual CPU Overclocking
Manual overclocking of the CPU is best done in the BIOS/UEFI. The first thing I did was set OC Explore Mode to Expert. I did this because a few options appear that make things a lot easier, such as CPU Ratio Mode. I set all my cores to 49x under All Core Ratio Apply Mode, and I didn't set an AVX offset because it's not needed. I would start at 4.8Ghz with an 8700K and 1.275v, and work the multiplier upwards. If your CPU can handle any program that doesn't use AVX but crashes when running a program that uses AVX, then it would be smart to set an offset, I would start with -2 (lowers 200MHz when AVX is encountered) and go lower if required.
CPU Ratio Mode is unique to MSI, and it's basically a single setting to control multiple settings (Turbo, EIST, C1E, C-States). If you set the CPU Ratio mode to Fixed Frequency, the CPU multiplier will not drop when the CPU's load is reduced. Instead, you will always run at set multiplier. If you set the CPU Ratio Mode to Dynamic, the CPU frequency will vary with the load to save power. I also make sure to enable XMP.
The DigitALL Power menu is where you will find Load Line Calibration (LLC) so compensate for vdroop. There is a graph that will show up when you highlight the setting. I picked Mode 4, as some of the stronger modes were very strong. I also increased CPU overcurrent protection to 170%, but I left VRM over temperature protection intact. When you set VCore, you also need to pick a mode. Override is what I chose since it will always maintain that voltage, but adaptive will allow voltage to drop if multiplier does, while offset will add an offset to the VID when needed. If you use Dynamic Frequency mode, it makes a lot of sense to use Adaptive or Offset voltage so the voltage can drop with frequency.
The only voltage I changed was CPU Core Voltage; I set it to 1.290v, as at 1.3v+ the CPU would get too hot. You will be limited by temperatures on the CPU more so than by voltage. You can also change DRAM timings, but there isn't much point if you enable XMP, as XMP will set them for you.
I do quick tests of overclocks by using HandBrake and rendering a 4K video down to 1080P, but with a very large file, so it takes time. HandBrake uses AVX as well, so the CPU is under a lot of stress. You can also gauge performance because HandBrake spits out an average FPS in its log file.
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