Intel’s “Overclocking Protection” in Latest Chipsets “Broken”

Journalists Find Way to Overclock i915-/i925X-chipset Series

by Anton Shilov
07/13/2004 | 10:33 AM

Moderate overclockability of Intel’s latest i915- and i925X-series of chipsets was initially explained as an official “overclocking protection” incorporated by Intel. However, journalists who got a new mainboard from Albatron that allowed to increase voltage on (G)MCH, said the new chipsets were capable of impressive overclockability when North Bridge voltage is pumped up.

 

New Chipsets Limit Overclocking

The new family of core-logic sets from Intel – i915G, i915P, i925X Express and derivatives – bring dual-channel DDR2 SDRAM memory, PCI Express x16 and x1 lanes for next-generation add-in cards, the industry’s first integrated graphics core with DirectX 9.0 support – Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 (i915G only), 4 Serial ATA-150, High-Definition 7.1 Audio as well as some other important capabilities, such as integrated WLAN or promising RAID technologies.

The Intel’s i925X Express core-logic delivers a bit higher performance compared to the i915P Express chipset-based platforms due to optimizations of memory controller. Additionally, the i925X Express cannot work with previous-generation DDR memory, while the less expensive and fast i915P maintains compatibility with more widely-spread DDR SDRAM memory standard.

Some reviewers and enthusiasts noted very poor overclockability of the new chipsets, which was attributed to a special feature called “overclocking protection”, which would limit maximum overclockability to threshold designated by Intel. PC Ekspert web-site believes that there is no such feature, but the overclockability is limited by chipsets’ (G)MCH chips themselves. It is pretty natural that when voltage of the North Bridge components is increased, overclockability gets higher.

Mainboard Makers Fight for Overclocking Right

The web-site noted that at this point Albatron supplies mainboards that allow to boost the voltage of (G)MCH chips by 0.1V, 0.2V or 0.3V. Maximum processor system bus clock-speed rises from 230MHz to 260MHz when the (G)MCH voltage is increased by 0.3V.

Another factor that could limit overclockability of the new platforms may be inability of the vast majority of available mainboards to lock PCI Express x16 slot’s clock-speed to 100MHz. Higher than 100MHz frequencies may not be handled by modern graphics cards.

Albatron’s officials told PC Ekspert that future BIOS releases for its i915G and i915P mainboards will allow better overclocking because of locked PCI Express x16 speed along with booster (G)MCH voltage.