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Z77X-UP7 Performance Review and CPU and Memory Overclocking Guide

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Nov 7, 2005
The Z77X-UP7 Performance Review/Overclocking Guide

To begin the performance review we will begin where I left off, first with overclocking results and then with the benchmarks and then the OC Guide. The Z77X-UP7 is nothing but a very smooth board when it comes to OC, for CPU OC it is amazing. Memory OC is good, I had decent luck with it with Samsung and Hynix based chips and some with PSC, however its 10 layer PCB makes it so that you need to tune the BIOS to get full performance. I have included a guide with timings and tricks to help with memory overclocking. I petitioned hard to get two new settings added to the UEFI for memory OC, read and write data slew rates, these two settings help immensely with certain types of memory and taking them higher, especially booting with samsung and PSC. There might even be more settings to be added in the future for memory OC too. For now however I have included a thoroughly review/oc guide to help those of you get every last bit out of this board.

Load Line Calibration performance:

As you can see the LLC is pretty strong, LLC Extreme?s rise is very important as it helps with LN2 conditions as LLC scales with current. It is interesting to note that CPUz is pretty close, no faking voltages here.

I tested air BCLK and I got almost 109, that is 2mhz higher than I have got on any other board(air), even the UP5 which I hold the WR.

Now max CPU OC (On air):

Now for quick LN2 Check:

I got it from the graphene lab, I guess you can figure out what they use the LN2 for, but take a look at the hose! They used plastic tubing that you hold in position and wait for it to freeze in place. You can spot LHE in the background, and some many other sensitive electronics, you can peek a little (this research is funded partly by Intel, but I won?t name the lab).

Here is a Video on how to use OC TOuch:

OC Touch is excellent for LN2 high clocking, coupled with LN2 mode you got a killer for CPU top speed validations which I know some prefer aiming for.

6.7GHz max OC of my CPU.

Now for the UEFI:
Now instead of BIOS shots I made a HD walkthrough of the UEFI, please tell me if you like this better. I used a Diamond GC1000 to capture through HDMI.

Quick SSD and Audio Performance:

Here is the SSD performance results from a Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD. SATA6G! Look at that sick 4K read.

Decent performance, just like the UD5H.

The Memory:

Corsair provided this brilliant kit, which I am going to show how to work with.
First for an overview of the kit:

It is really the most sexy looking kit I have seen. I love the light bar, the only way it could be better if it glowed orange!
Directions for Corsair Dominator Platinum 2666 Cas10 4x4GB operation: Enable XMP. That is all you need to do, you don?t need to set the multiplier or anything, but this memory with all 4 sticks will only take you enabling XMP to work at XMP ratings.

Take a look in the OC Video below on how I got the memory to speed!
All 4 sticks work very well together, and that is something particular about this board and something I have seen on other Z77 GIGABYTE boards, Samsung memory OC works better in 4 DIMMs compared to 2. I think it is something with the way T-Topology is implemented on this board and other GIGABYTE ones, and it seems to only hold true for Samsung based memory.

Now the setup is this:
3770K ES
Z77X-UP7 with latest NVIDIA driver, Z77X-UP4 with previous drivers
Corsair Dominator Platinum 8GB used.
Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD
Thermaltake 1475W PSU

CPU Overclocking Guide:
If you want an easy shot at it take a look at the video before the benchmarks.

You don?t need to change the BCLK but you can. Changing the CPU multiplier here or in the Advanced CPU Core Features will work equally. If you want you can enable XMP. For further memory OC proceed to the memory OC section.

Always enable CPU PLL Overvoltage for overclocking. If you want the CPU frequency to drop with load (drop multiplier when idle), then you should enable EIST.

3D power menu. PWM Phase Control set at highest performance is best for fastest speeds(allows free flow of current to the max). VCore voltage response isn?t very important, but you can set to fast. LLC for air OC is best at Turbo, Extreme is best for LN2. You can see how LN2 works in the top of this article. The rest of the settings should be changed only for LN2, except perhaps max current.

CPU VCore can be set to whatever you want, BIOS F3 and F5n have ability to take vcore above 1.85v. Now Offset VCore is useful for 24/7 OCs if you have the multiplier drop under idle, then you can also have the vcore drop if you use offset. To use offset then set vcore to normal and then set an offset. If you use offset then use a much lower level of LLC.
DRAM voltage is nice, better down in the memory OC section.

Memory Overclocking Guide and Results:
Tips for memory OC on the GIGABYTE boards.
Memory Multiplier: When you change a multiplier many background timings are set per each, and they get looser with each higher multiplier. These settings cannot be altered by you, only by the selection of the multiplier, which is why some multipliers work better for certain types of memory. If that is the issue, you can alter BCLK to help get above that mark.
BCLK: Realize that BCLK also puts strain on the system agent (which the IMC rests inside).
DDR Voltage: For Samsung I found my sticks don?t like more than 1.85v, Hynix however liked higher than that. I have set 1.8v for all my profiles, if you don?t like that then please lower it before applying the settings. If you are working from scratch, then please go up slowly. (Also some guys turn up CPU voltage, if they do that it can be a sign of two things, first off higher CPU voltage is part of getting around a cold bug, also it can help warm up the CPU if on air, as some CPUs actually can initialize better with memory when they are warm (usually ES). )
CPU Multiplier: Lower CPU multiplier is easier for higher CPU speed validation.
CPU PLL Overvoltage: Enabled this for sure (required in some cases for 24x+ divider to work).
VTT/IMC voltage: keep these in ratio, don?t just set the VTT at 1.2v and set IMC at 1.3v, IMC is lower than VTT, by anywhere from 0.01-0.1 volts. I use 0.05v difference. Go up slowly, as my CPU hated any increase in these voltages.
XMP: XMP should be enabled; you then can change the timings available to you.
2nd Timings: Timings generally increase performance when lower and increase stability (and thus speed) when higher. However there always needs to be a special balance for things. If you set a timing lower than it can be set, then it will be adjusted to its max value automatically.
Tertiary Timings: These are kind of tricky, for Hynix you can max them all out 8s and 7s, and you can be okay, but sometimes these timings have to be set accordingly with the other secondary timings or else you will fail to boot. You can try different combinations of the 3rd timings I have listed.
If you want to know more about memory timings, go to JEDEC website and download the DDR3 specs, its free to register and the downloads are free, and you can even give input if you know better than them(lol). Memory timings are confusing sometimes, that is possibly why everyone loves the memory profiles from ASUS. These timings listed below are ones I have listed as what I have used.

Here are the memory timings I used:

In the UEFI on newer BIOSes there is a new read/write slew settings, these can greatly help with Samsung based memory and PSC for booting higher.

What I listed is best for the Corsair Samsung based memory I used.

First some results from Corsair Dominator 2666C10 16GB Kit:

This memory is great for a balance of high speed and good timings. What you basically want is this which can do Cas9 at 2666 and over.

Max OC seems to be the max of my IMC as I got the same result on more than just this kit. Still 2900mhz is pretty nice with all 4 DIMMs.

Here is the memory with tightened cas latency (9) and command rate of 1(t1)

Very nice cas latency.

2800mhz T1 but cas latency had to be expanded. If I used T2 32m is possible.

Next some Results from Hynix Based Memory:

G.Skill TridentX 2666C11 16GB kit. Highly binned Hynix based, great for high frequency WR. They can tighten to cas 10 at stock speed.

Max OC basically the same as the kit before, however it was a bit easier to get this memory up to this speed. Also with Hynix 2 sticks will OC higher than 4 on these boards.

I can tighten to cas10 at 2666 with 2 sticks:

Can then I can run 32m at 2840 with T2 and standard timings(and 16gb):

Some quick PSC, the kit used is a pretty old crappy Cas9 T2 2133mhz kit from corsair, it isn?t the best PSC.

That is the max I could validate, I had to use slew rate to boot higher.

It isn?t that great of a run, but better than nothing.

Overclocking with Profiles:
Attached are profiles, there are memory OC profiles, the settings I used to get these results, as well as CPU OC profiles for overclocking to easy 4.5ghz or above. I used BIOS F5J.

Above is a bunch of memory profiles. There are 3 CPU OC profiles and 8 memory OC profiles, they were made with BIOS F5J so you should use them with F5j or F5n.

This board is nice, just use BIOS F5n for extreme OC or F5J for normal OC. This board is very nice and easy to use, works very well and it seems it carries a huge fan base with users who own them.

It is so sexy that GIGABYTE made keychains for them (not included in box, just marketing material handed out at events). If you need help overclocking please let me know, but overall a great all around board with great potential and the BIOS is pretty solid for all everyday use. Memory tweaks come with new BIOSes which they are always working on improving.


Aug 13, 2006
Very nicely done! Thank you for putting forth the effort. That lab looks awesome, by the way. :)