We then go to the first menu under the Advanced Voltage Menu, which leads us to our voltage regulator's (changes 12v to ~1.25v VCore) PWM controller settings menu. GIGABYTE is using an advanced digital PWM controller, and that is why you have all of these options. On some other motherboards, you might have fewer settings, but there will always be some sort of Loadline Calibration. We set Loadline Calibration to Turbo (two levels below more aggressive level), and you can see by the graph what the different levels will do with VCore when the CPU is being loaded. We want the CPU to get a steady VCore, so we selected Turbo; some of the stronger settings can actually increase voltage under load.
There is also an "Internal LLC" setting which we will not touch and leave auto, but if your VCore is dropping too much under you might want to also set internal to turbo to see if it gets better. Then you can maximize CPU VCore current protection, but we believe GIGABYTE has an auto rule to maximize this when overclocking. Don't bother changing the PWM switch rate, as each VRM is optimized at different rates and you won't really do much other than decrease performance or increase temperatures by changing this. The PWM Phase control option can be set to eXtreme Perf, which will optimize the voltage regulator to favor performance over thermals.
We are going to set our voltage to 1.275v, you can just type it in. However, later on, if you want your CPU's VCore to drop while the CPU load is low, then you can type in "normal" and that allows you to set a DVID offset. If you do type in normal, you will want to enable those advanced CPU settings in the yellow box we discussed on the last page. After you reboot your CPU VCore will be running on VID tables, so it might take you to something like 1.325v at 5.0GHz, and in that case, you will want to type "-0.160" into the DVID offset setting, so the resulting voltage at 5GHz will be 1.265v again.
Next, we have SVID offset and BCLK adaptive voltage, don't bother with these as we aren't going to need to change them. If you are facing memory instability, you will want to increase VCCIO and VCCSA to anywhere from 1.15 to 1.3v, but we didn't need to with our dual-rank 3200MHz kit. The other voltages are for extreme overclocking, and you don't need to fiddle around with them. DRAM voltage is on another page under the Advanced Voltage Menu, but we set XMP, so DRAM voltage has been set for us. Most DDR4 kits run at 1.35v at XMP, while some overclockers push things to 1.5v when increasing memory bandwidth above XMP or lowering timings to reduce latency.
The DRAM menu can be used to do many things, but setting XMP is easy to do and changes pretty much everything for you. XMP enabled will result in the proper DRAM multiplier being set, but you can change that by changing the System Memory Multiplier. If you want to change the sub-timings you can find them for each channel in their own sub-menus, "Advanced Manual" allows you to change timings independently for each channel.
If you want to control if the motherboard boots memory through long or short training, you can control that under Memory Boot Mode. Training is like sending a signal to the DRAM and seeing how long it takes so it can calibrate signals to improve memory signaling, which then improves overclocking. The Memory Enhancement Settings allows you to maximize or minimize the aggressiveness of the timings, more aggressive results in lower latency and less aggressiveness can result in higher bandwidth. Most users should not mess with these settings.
We recommend you use Blender Benchmark or Handbrake for quick testing at different stages, they both use AVX and push the CPU cores hard. However, while they are real-world tests and reflect normal usage some users still prefer total stability, and for that something like Prime95 needs to be used.
The blend test will test many things including RAM, but we used SmallFFTs, as those work the CPU the hardest. Now, there are many out there who still use older versions of Prime95, mainly because older versions didn't utilize the AVX. If AVX is crashing your system because it is overly intensive, you should use an AVX offset, that is what it is there for. However, if you do that you should also use an older version of Prime95 or another stress test without AVX so that you can also test out your maximum multiplier.
Here are our results after running Prime95 for 2 hours. We increased TjMax so the CPU wouldn't throttle as it was going towards 100C, which is default TjMax. Temperature 5 in the HWInfo application for GIGABYTE Z390 motherboard is the VRM temperature sensor and it basically perfectly matched our thermal camera.
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