Since the original BIOS, I found that you needed to increase CPU current limitations to get the most out of the CPU out of the 7960X and 7980XE even at stock. ASRock set current limits low so that the stock VRM cooler could take it, but after I reported the disparity, ASRock added a mode selector. If you use watercooling, you can set the motherboard to Water Cooling Mode, which will unlock these current limits when using the monoblock.
I set the CPU ratio on all frequencies to 44x, as that is the overclock my CPU can take with watercooling. The monoblock and AIO work really well, of course, you can also expand the watercooler and add another radiator if you want. If you want to manually increase current limits you can at the bottom of the CPU Configuration menu. AVX 256 and AVX 512 (AVX 2 and AVX 3) offsets are also present at the bottom, and these will drop the CPU frequency by the amount set when running programs that use AVX. It's very useful if you run these applications sometimes and do other things like play games at other times.
CPU input voltage automatically goes to 2.1v when overclocking the CPU, and LLC will auto set Level 2, which is great. You also need to set VCore to something low if overclocking the HCC CPUs to manage temperatures, I set 1.185v, and it works very well. If you overclock the mesh, you can also use the offset or a manual voltage. If you want the CPU to always run at the selected speed, you can use Override VCore like I do and set your Windows power plan to High Performance.
If you want the CPU frequency and voltage to drop, you need to use Adaptive Mode for VCore, enable C-States, and set power plan to balanced. I use HandBrake for quick stability testing as it uses AVX as well. If you want to make things stable, you will need to run Prime 95 for many hours to test it out.
These shots were taken after 25 loops of Intel Burn Test with a fan blowing at the motherboard and the monoblock and fans working at 100%. Here we can see how thermals go up a lot at the top and bottom of the motherboard, although the M.2 drive on the top side is typically the hottest point. While the hottest part at the back of the motherboard is the CPU VRM area, we also see heat around the PCH area above the PCI-E slot.
These shots were taken after 25 loops of Intel Burn Test with a fan blowing at the motherboard and the monoblock and fans working at 100%. The back of the VRM will typically run hotter than the top, at stock and overclocked, but the VRM block keeps things okay. At stock the topside top temperature is 4C difference and overclocked it's 5C in difference, meaning that the cooler is doing its part.
The purpose of this guide was to provide some basic insight into how to setup and how to overclock the DDR4 SO-DIMMs and HCC CPUs. The motherboard can handle HCC CPUs, but I highly suggest the monoblock if you go with any Core i9, especially if you want to overclock. The memory is crazy impressive, just like the motherboard and CPU, and overclocking it even with XMP is easy and provides a great memory performance boost.
To conclude this guide, I have one thing to say; if you want the highest performance per square inch, this setup will do it with ease.
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