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My Gigabyte Z87X-OC Ongoing Results

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Senior2 Member
Nov 21, 2005
Atlanta, GA, USA
I've been out of the seen for a couple of years, and I'm just now diving back into overclocking. The last CPU I did any overclocking with was with Sandy Bridge, and the last CPU I did any REAL overclocking with was Gulftown. SB was such a bore, I decided to take some time off and focus on RL stuff. When Haswell came out, I grabbed a few CPU/motherboard combos from Microcenter, trying to find some golden 4770k samples. I've been through about 10 of them, and am still on the hunt for something notable. After trying out a few boards, my old friends at Gigabyte were nice enough to send me their Z87X-OC motherboard for testing.

I've already seen some really talented reviewers' takes on this board, so instead of listing all of the features you've already read so much about over the past few months, I'll just give a brief overview, and jump straight into what this board is made to do: OVERCLOCKING!



Here we see the usual I/O shield, user guide, driver disc, etc. There are also a couple of extra accessories worth mentioning:
OC Brace - Keeps multiple graphics cards standing together.
Voltage leads - Easy, neat attachment to the Z87X-OC voltage read points.


Now let's take a look at the board itself.

On first glance, we see the nice and simple color scheme: orange on black. Gigabyte's board designs have come a long way since the bubble-gum-colored offerings from years ago, like my old X48T-DQ6.


First stop is the OC Panel. Everything Gigabyte has going on here is seriously insane. Like the rest of this motherboard, every component is placed very deliberately to maximize real estate and ensure ease of use. I like that the power and reset buttons are very easy to find, and very easy to tell apart. Even better is the clear cmos button is far away from either of these. This may not seem like a big deal, but I've definitely hit the clear cmos button by accident on other motherboards in the past, during an intense benching session.




While most of this board's real estate is completely packed with components and features, the CPU socket area is kept very clear of any obstacles. This will make insulating for sub-ambient cooling a breeze!




Now for the lower half.





I/O Panel. And no, there's no weird camera angle. The board is pretty warped. It's not hurting anything so I'm not worried about it.



And the back of the board.




Now let's get her naked.






Like I said above, there are already a ton of great reviews of this board, with my favorite being this one. What I'm here to show is how well this product can do what Gigabyte's marketing people say it's designed to do.

Testing setup:
Core i7 4770K
Gigabyte Z87X-OC
Various DDR3 kits
Reference HD 7950
BFG 1000w PSU
KPC Tek-9 Fat

Starting back up after so long, my first goal is to break all of my best scores on hwbot. Most of them were with Gulftown and GTX 580. I had a handful from air testing some Retail 2660Ks when Sandy Bridge was released. My previous top scores are as follows. I'll mark them as they go down. These are only the benchmarks with global points enabled. For 3D, I'm going after my single GPU scores first.

CPU-Z - 7520 MHz - Pentium 4 631 (not going to beat this one with Haswell)
PiFast - 13.44 sec. - 2600K @ 5488 MHz
Super Pi 1m - 6.750s - 2600K @ 5488 MHz
Super Pi 32m - 6m 14.703s - 2600K @ 5488 MHz
wPrime 32m Quad Core - 4.140s - X5677 @ 5778 MHz
wPrime 1024m Quad Core - 134.766s - X5677 @ 5590 MHz
PCMark 2005 - 26164 - Phenom II X4 940 @ 5523 MHz
The other 2D benches didn't have points or didn't exist.

Aquamark - 439186 - 990x @ 6250 MHz, GTX 580 @ 1300/1200 MHz
3DMark 01 - 107487 - 2600K @ 5388 MHz, GTX 580 @ 940/1200 MHz
3DMark 03 - 143866 - 980x @ 5491 MHz, GTX 580 @ 1325/1200 MHz
3DMark 05 - 52844 - 990x @ 6190 MHz, GTX 580 @ 1265/1217 MHz
3DMark 06 - 40978 - 990x @ 6045 MHz, GTX 580 @ 1300/1200 MHz
3DMark Vantage - 31579 - 2600K @ 5300 MHz, GTX 580 @ 945/1200 MHz
Heaven Xtreme - 2179.79 - 990x @ 4610 MHz, GTX 580 @ 1273/1230 MHz
The other 3D benches didn't have points or didn't exist.

Here's what we'll be cooling with, the best tools for the job.


Before doing anything, I had to prep the Z87X-OC for the cold. First I removed the heatsinks and CPU hold down. I liked the old Intel CPU sockets much better, where the protective socket cover attached to the socket itself, instead of the hold down. I've always preferred the brush-on conformal to the spray. Silicone is my preference, but apparently Fry's quit carrying it. Acrylic cracks and flakes, but it was the best thing I could find locally. I'll definitely be ordering some silicone brush-on and spray (for the back of the board) soon. I only painted the upper half of the board so far, since I'm not running LN2 on the GPU yet.






Now that the board is coated, we can put the socket bracket back on and start insulating. I don't like eraser for insulation. I used it when it became popular a loooong time ago, but I've switched back to foam. I think it's great for live competitions (actually, I prefer modeling clay over eraser, but same principle), but I just like having drop-in foam gaskets to make switching between air and LN2 easier.

1..2..3.. Presto!




I didn't have any sheet neoprene, so I even used Frost King for the very top layer. Now that I have neoprene (thanks to Viss for including a bunch when I bought a spare F1 EE from him), I'll be using that instead.


Checking for good CPU contact...


Mounted up.


I ran out of paper towels, so I used a shop rag.


Everything ready to go.


For my first 4770K, I only had access to dry ice, since I sold my LN2 dewars a couple of years ago. This one needed about 1.45v for 5GHz, and wouldn't validate past 5.8GHz. It was only good to 5.4GHz for multi-threaded benchmarks, and validated at 5.7GHz.

I found a nice 36L LN2 dewar on Craigslist for about $40 during a vacation. It had no distinguishable markings, and was sold to me as a 20L dewar. It looked much larger than I remembered my old 20L being, so I filled it up with water, and was very pleased when it took 36L! A great deal, even if it didn't have a good vacuum. As it turns out, the vacuum is pretty decent :D

The next couple of 4770Ks I tried weren't very good either. They had similar air results as the first one, so I didn't bother testing them under cold.

I finally found one that was at least the best one so far, though still not what I've been looking for. It did 4.8GHz on 1.2v and 5GHz on 1.3v. Unfortunately, that died before I could test it under cold. Intel RMA sent me the first Costa Rica batch I'd seen (the rest were all Malay), but it turned out to be a pretty big let down.

The first CPU I tested after the CR chip from RMA was at least in top 4 of the samples I'd tested on air (still not saying much), so I decided to run this one on LN2. This is also when I took the LN2 prepping pictures above.

Pulling it down before powering up. It's easier to cool a CPU when it's not fighting back :p


Now hang out in Windows for a bit while we pull down, so the whole board doesn't freeze.


Now that's it cold enough, we can start getting some work done :D


And after a few hours.


I guess I need to show some results now.
In my latest 4770K LN2 runs, I ran the HD 7950 on air. The memory is Team Xtreem LV 2400 C10.
This 7950 will need more voltage than software can provide. I'll do something about that soon.

I was taking things too slow here, I had some nice 5.8GHz run in 3DMark 05, but like a noob I over-poured the last of my LN2 during too close to the end of the last game test and ended my day with a nice cold bug.

BTW, I already know some of these need a different OS ;)





So this CPU is sold, along with three after this one, now I need to keep looking for some better ones. I'll be keeping this updated with more results.

*October 3 update

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Thanks for that...reviewing it now myself but I wont be taking it cold in time for the review to be published, I dont think (booooo no time!).

I heard some on other sites complain about the power section of this board compared to the OC-Force, that it uses cheap(er) power bits? Any credence in that? After reading SIN's take on it, doesnt seem so...but I havent checked what the OC-Force has under the hood either.

Thanks for your take on it! Miss ya here man!

EDIT: There is a difference, but doesnt seem to matter much...

OC-Force has 16 IR3550 60A 'fets
OC has 8 40A IR3553 'fets
Thanks, I was thinking I'll start posting some stuff for the front page again once I start getting review samples again :)

BTW, I tried Z87-Extreme4 and MPower, and the difference with this board is like night and day. Clock-for-clock stability is soooooo much nicer here.
I'm seeing that myself and that is across Mpower MAX, Xpower (different classes I know)...Solid so far for the price, but we will see what it likes under water. :)
I really like my Z87X-OC ... can't say that about my 4770K :p
Good luck with next cpu :)
Fired my board for the first time and trying a few things out but I'm stuck on is the oc buttons.... I can get the ratio one to work but it only goes up to x44 then scales back to 38 and the bclk one won't adjust at all ! Any ideas ?
Just looked and its using F5 and its horribly glitchy, keeps locking up in bios and not very smooth mouse movement, all in all a pretty crap start to owning this board, I hope it gets better fast or its going the distance for a Asus alternative.
Check this thread for some settings info:

Here are new beta BIOSes

There is also post on the tweaktown forums with all BIOS list for Z87X-OC but I can't find it right now.

I'm still using B10 ... earlier LN2 beta but works best for what I need. Latest F7 betas are bugged. Check F6 or F6 in any beta version, should be more stable.
Earlier official versions have timing and max voltage limits.

here is full list of previous and special BIOSes:
I didn't try X04 and X05 but I didn't like X01 and X02

It's a great board , you just have to find good BIOS and get use to some options.
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just installed the B10 bios and its a world of difference, the mouse movement is not jumpy and the oc buttons work (for now) i will have to mess with it some more on this bios and see if the settings stick, also im confused as to what the little "on" and "off" switches next to each setting are for, as if you have them on or off it seems to make no difference.I tend to use the classic style as i use the keyboard mostly to adjust things and it suits my needs better
Got these yesterday :)



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just installed the B10 bios and its a world of difference, the mouse movement is not jumpy and the oc buttons work (for now) i will have to mess with it some more on this bios and see if the settings stick, also im confused as to what the little "on" and "off" switches next to each setting are for, as if you have them on or off it seems to make no difference.I tend to use the classic style as i use the keyboard mostly to adjust things and it suits my needs better
If it is off, it wont enable the settings immediately, I think, and will require a reboot to accept. THis bios overclocks on the fly. ;)
If it is off, it wont enable the settings immediately, I think, and will require a reboot to accept. THis bios overclocks on the fly. ;)

Ah ok, that is good to know, if its left on, and its still running when you save and exit at least it should be stable enough to make it to boot lol:p

Nice subs sno.lcn :attn: