We’ve recently changed how we test overclocking performance. With newer BIOS and software becoming increasingly more capable of doing overclocking, it seems pertinent to also include those results.
Overclocking – BIOS
The TUF Z270 Mark 1 BIOS offers simple CPU overclocking, power consumption tuning, and fan tuning via its EZ Tuning Wizard. Once clicked, EZ Tuning Wizard reboots and does its thing. The only user input that’s required is choosing the computer’s usage, choosing the cooling solution, and clicking next.
The BIOS automatically overclocked the CPU to 4.944 GHz (48 x 103 MHz). The 103 Mhz BCLK also meant that the memory was also overclocked to 2746 Mhz. CPU voltage is a touch high when under 100% load, but perfectly fine the rest of the time.
Overclocking - Software
Asus’ own Ai Suite 3 software took care of the overclocking duties here via its 5-Way Optimization program. There are a few selections when deciding how aggressive the user wants the overclock to be. I chose the most aggressive of all the selections. An option of per core aka Turbo or all core is available. I choose per core to see how high a single or dual core clock could go.
5-Way Optimization automatically overclocked the CPU to 4.9GHz (49 x 100 MHz ) for all four cores with a 5.0GHz (0 x 100 MHz ) turbo. Unlike the EZ Tuning Wizard overclock, it didn’t change the BCLK, so the memory clock was unaffected. Not only was the overall clock speed higher with the EZ Tuning Wizard, the CPU voltage was far more reasonable under load as well. Like the EZ Tuning Wizard, 5-Way Optimization program also tuned the system power consumption profile and the fans.
Overclocking - Manual
I started out configuring the i7 7700K at its default settings with the BIOS. Once the default settings were in, it was now time to see how high I could push the CPU with our water cooling system and have it still be 100% stable. All cores and hyperthreading were still enabled. The memory was left at XMP default, the Line Load Calibration was changed from setting 1 to setting 7, EZ System Tuning (system power consumption profile) was set to Performance, and the fans were set to maximum.
We managed to squeeze 5.2 Ghz out of it with the ROG Strix Z270G Gaming. The voltage is a bit high at 1.45v, but with some finer tuning, a bit more reasonable voltage might be able to be attained. Interestingly, the settings I used were identical for what Ai Suite 3’s 5-Way Optimization used, with the exception of a higher voltage to achieve the higher clock.
Out of the 3 solutions, manual overclocking wins, but only if you’re adept at overclocking and you want to achieve the highest results. Ai Suite 3’s 5-Way Optimization is likely the best solution for most people, thanks to its ease and I was quite happy with the results. The BIOS’ EZ Tuning Wizard would be my last choice. It did a fine job and even overclocked the memory as well, but didn’t quite achieve the same overclock as Ai Suite 3’s 5-Way Optimization.