Articles: Mainboards

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Testbed Configuration

We performed all our tests on a testbed built with the following components:

  • Mainboards:
    • ASRock Z77 Extreme4 (LGA 1155, Intel Z77 Express, BIOS version P1.50);
    • ASRock Z77 Extreme6 (LGA 1155, Intel Z77 Express, BIOS version P1.60);
  • Intel Core i5-3570K CPU (3.6-3.8 GHz, 4 cores, Ivy Bridge rev.E1, 22nm, 77 W, 1.05 V, LGA 1155);
  • 2 x 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M4X1866C9R (1866 MHz, 9-10-9-27 timings, 1.5 V voltage);
  • Gigabyte GV-T797OC-3GD )AMD Radeon HD 7970, Tahiti, 28 nm, 1000/5500 MHz, 384-bit GDDR5 3072 MB);
  • Crucial m4 SSD (CT256M4SSD2, 256 GB, SATA 6 Gbps);
  • Scythe Mugen 3 Revision B (SCMG-3100) CPU cooler;
  • ARCTIC MX-2 thermal interface;
  • CoolerMaster RealPower M850 PSU (RS-850-ESBA);
  • Open testbed built using Antec Skeleton system case.

We used Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64 bit (Microsoft Windows, Version 6.1, Build 7601: Service Pack 1) operating system, Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility version, AMD Catalyst graphics card driver version 12.4.

Operational and Overclocking Specifics

We had absolutely no problems during the system assembly with ASRock Z77 Extreme4 and ASRock Z77 Extreme6 mainboards. The boards worked perfectly fine in nominal mode, too. We have to give them due credit for quick boot and reboot time. During system start-up you see a start-up image, with a reminder about the hot keys.

If you turn off the start-up image, you will see current processor and memory frequencies displayed absolutely correctly as well as the above mentioned reminder of the hot keys.

You can use the automatic processor overclocking feature called “Load Optimized CPU OC Setting” available in the “OC Tweaker” section of the BIOS. When the frequency increases to 4.6 GHz, the CPU Vcore doesn’t increase and the load-line calibration function gets enabled. If you overclock your processor to 4.8 GHz, then the CPU Vcore will be increased as well.

“Load Optimized CPU OC Setting” and “Load Optimized GPU OC Setting” functions allow overclocking the processor and the intagrted graphics core automatically. And the “Advanced Turbo” parameter will overclock simultaneously the processor, the graphics core and the memory. However, I am sure all of you know that the best overclocking results can only be achieved during careful manual selection of the parameters. Both ASRock mainboards proved up to our expectations in this respect: they allowed overclocking the processor to 4.6 GHz while increasing the memory clock to 1867 MHz.

ASRock Z77 Extreme4

ASRock Z77 Extreme6

Now I just have to remind you that we always overclock mainboards in such a way that they could be used permanently in this mode. Therefore we do not try to make our life easier by disabling any of the mainboard’s features, e.g. onboard controllers, and try to keep the CPU’s power-saving features up and running. This time we did exactly the same thing. All Intel power-saving technologies remained up and running and automatically lowered the processor Vcore as well as clock frequency multiplier in idle mode.

ASRock Z77 Extreme4

ASRock Z77 Extreme6


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