Overclocking has changed a lot since the launch of Intel’s Sandy Bridge architecture. Before that, base clock was usually the thing you would increase to overclock your processor. Intel Extreme Edition processor had unlocked multipliers that you could increase along with base clock but with Sandy Bridge everything is dependent on multiplier and processors having ‘K’ suffix have unlocked multiplier only (e.g. Core i5-2500K). Overclock-ability of a motherboard really could be a deal-breaker or deal-maker these days. Let’s see how ASRock Z77 Fatal1ty Professional fairs up in this segment.
Like the ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 that we reviewed earlier, the Z77 Fatal1y Professional also comes with four presets for CPU overclocking. Starting from 4.2 GHz, they go all the way up to 4.8 GHz with regular increments of 200 MHz. I tested the 4.4 GHz and 4.8 GHz preset, both were stable but they were using pretty high voltage. I wouldn’t recommend these presets for everyday use but they are good if you want a quick overclock to get an idea how good your CPU is or to run some quick benchmarks.
I faced some issues with overclocking on the previous ASRock motherboard I reviewed but overclocking on this one was like a walk in a park. After adjusting a couple of settings, my setup was up and running at 4.8 GHz. I kept on bumping the multiplier till 53. I did some quick testing on 5.3 GHz with 1.45v and it wasn’t really stable. I initially had the LLC at Level 3 but changing it to Level 1 made the 5.3 GHz overclock rock stable.
Next up was 54 multiplier but the system refused to go past windows welcome screen. So I decreased the multiplier down to 53 and raised the base clock to 101 MHz from the 100 MHz stock. This setting seemed to be stable as it would complete the benchmarks one time but would give a BSOD next time so I started decreasing the base clock by 0.1 MHz each time and settled at 100.6 MHz. Along with 53 multiplier, it gave out a final clock of roughly 5.33 GHz. I tested the stability by running Prime 95 for around 2 hours and it was stable.
In my previous ASRock review, I complained about the debug code readout and its usability but with Z77 Fatal1ty Professional I didn’t even look at it during my testing as the motherboard went past the BIOS screen everything no matter what settings I put in. Though ASRock still needs to improve their debug code readout or revamp the whole debugging system for the sake of their mainstream motherboards as that’s the market segment where users need it most.
One thing I noticed during the testing purpose is that our Intel Core i5-2500K was running a bit cool in the Z77 Fatal1ty Professional motherboard as compared to our other motherboards. This point towards the good design and efficiency of the power delivery system of the motherboard.
Overclocked Power Consumption:
Along with performance, power consumptions also shoots up when CPU is overclocked.