Before we get into the overclocking side of things we'll cover the motherboards that you'll see in our graphs here today. Along with the ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 we've also got the FM2 based GIGABYTE offering we looked at in the form of the F2A85X-UP4. Along with those two AMD offerings we've also got the Z77 based ASRock OC Formula with the i7 3770k and ASRock X79 Extreme4 with the i7 3960X to round off that side of things. When it comes to our ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6, though, we'll be looking at it in three ways today with the first being the out of the box performance.
The second way we'll be looking at it will be with the new X-Boost feature that we mentioned on the first page. This is the first time we've seen this feature and while one button overclocking isn't anything new, it's new here for ASRock today. Like any one button overclocking the most important ability is that it's easy to use and really it can't get much easier then what ASRock is offering us here today.
We've got a couple of options from companies. ASUS is probably the most advanced, but requires installing its own software in Windows. To date, though, it has always offered the best automatic overclocking because it slowly increases both the CPU multiplier and the BCLK / FSB. The next big one is probably MSI in the form of OC Genie. It's not bad and generally easy to use. You can go into the BIOS and enable it or press the OC Genie button on the motherboard. The problem is if you don't want to open the case or feel uncomfortable in the BIOS, it's something that may not be as easy to make use of.
The option from ASRock is really good. You boot your system up and in the top right section it tells you if X-Boost is on or off. If you want to enable it you simply press the X button on your keyboard while the machine is booting. The machine will quickly turn off and turn back on and you'll then see X-Boost is enabled.
Not knowing what the clock speeds of our A10-5800K would go to we headed straight into CPU-Z to have a look. We had a look and as you can see above we're running at 4192MHz which is really just the "Boost" speed of the CPU. Because of this we didn't really expect much to happen in performance. We then remembered, though, that while the maximum "Boost" speed of the A10-5800K is 4.2GHz, it doesn't always hit that. Instead it depends on how many cores are being used, and the amount of load on the APU. In the end we knew the only way that we would find out how it differed to the out of the box performance was going to be via testing it so that's exactly what we did. Of course before we get into the testing side of things we want to cover the manual overclocking aspect.
We headed into the BIOS and started to mess around with voltages and the multiplier. Using 4.5GHz as our main target as that was the speed we achieved on the GIGABYTE offering, we started there. While we had no issue getting into Windows, we had problems as soon as we started our MediaEspresso encode, which is always the best test for stability when it comes to overclocking.
We headed back into the BIOS and continued to adjust some setting. Finally we ended up running 100% stable at just 4291MHz - just 100MHz higher than the X-Boost auto speed we got. This isn't the greatest overclock and it hardly seems worth comparing it against the X-Boost speed. Because we took the time to find the maximum overclock, though, which is ultimately the hard part for users, we will benchmark at this speed to see just how it compares.
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