ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Extreme Z170 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 9, 2015 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: Z170, Skylake, ROG, overclocking, motherboard, Maximus VIII Extreme, lga1151, asus

While a little less flashy looking than some of the performance motherboards we’ve seen lately, opting for an understated gray/red color scheme over a black PCB, there is nothing subtle about the new Maximus VIII Extreme. From the specs it looks to be the most overbuilt gaming/overclocking motherboard possible for the Intel Z170 chipset, and that’s exactly what the ROG Extreme motherboards are made for.

Maximus VIII Extreme_3D-3.jpg

Here are the (very lengthy) specifications:

  • CPU: LGA1151 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron®
    • CPU Cache Ratio Tuning
    • Turbo Ratio OC
    • BCLK OC (Pro-Clock)
    • iGPU OC
  • DRAM: Spec supported 4x DIMM, max. 64GB
    • DDR4 3866(O.C.) non-ECC, un-buffered memory, XMP 2.0
  • Extreme Overclocking   
    • OC Zone: Retry button, Safe Boot button, LN2 mode, Slow Mode switch, Probelt, PCIe x16 lane switch, DRAM channel jumper
    • OC Gadget: OC Panel II
    • OC Design: ASUS PRO Clock Technology
  • Optimize System             
    • Power Design: Extreme Engine Digi+
    • DRAM Layout: 2nd Generation T-Topology
  • Performance Optimization          
    • Intel® Quick Sync Video
    • Intel® Smart Response Technology
    • USB 3.1 Boost
    • HW Fast Boot support
  • Network: Intel® I219-V NIC with LANGuard Anti-surge
    • Network bandwidth management: GameFirst III + GameFirst IV (Beta)
  • Intel® Rapid Start Technology
  • Intel® Smart Connect Technology
  • Expansion Slots:
    • PCIex16 @ x16 - 1x Max. @Gen3
    • PCIex16 @ x4 - 1x Max. @Gen3
    • PCIex16 @ x8/x4 - 1x Max. @Gen3
    • PCIex16 @ x4 - 1x Max. @Gen3 via PCH
    • PCIex1 @ x1 - 2x Max. @Gen3

OC Panel II_4.jpg

The included OC Panel II fits in an open 5.25” bay

  • BIOS: CPU-Free Update/USB BIOS Flashback/UEFI Level Update/EZ Flash 3/BIOS Flash Protection/CrashFree BIOS 3
  • BIOS feature:
    • All fans including pump header are DC and PWM mode compatible
    • Wizard for simple OC and RAID
    • SSD Secure Erase
    • My Favorite & Shortcut
    • Boot Logo Size Adjustment
    • F12 BIOS Print
  • Power Solution:
    • Full Digital 8 Phase CPU Power Design
    • 4 Phase for iGPU
    • 2 Phase Digital DRAM Power Design with ASUS DRAM Power Utility
    • System Agent Power: 1 Phase for VCCSA
  • Extreme Engine Digi+     
    • Dual PWM Controllers, 1 for Vcore, 1 for VGT
    • 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
    • MicroFine Alloy Chokes
    • OptiMOS™ MOSFET
  • Real-time adjustment: ASUS DIGI+ Power Control Utility
  • Anti-Surge Protection
  • Mass Storage:
    • 1x M.2 socket 3 with M Key; Supporting form factor 2242, 2260, 2280, 22110, PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA mode, PCIe RAID
    • 1x U.2 connector (sharing PCIe with M.2)
    • 2x SATA Express via PCH (SATA-E 1 share SATA with M.2)
    • 8x SATA 6Gbps (2 via PCH native; 4 via SATA-E; 2 via ASM1061)
    • RAID: RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 via iRST 14
  • USB Support:
    • 4x 3.1 (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C via Intel Alpine Ridge; 2 Type-A via Asmedia USB 3.1 controller)
    • 4x USB 3.0 (4 rear, 4 mid) via PCH
    • 6x USB 2.0 - 6 mid via PCH, two shared with ROG extension (ROG_EXT) port
  • Bundled Software           
    • AI Suite 3 (Real-Time OC); ROG GameFirst III + GameFirst IV (Beta); ROG Keybot II; RAMCache; ROG RAMDisk; USB 3.1 Boost; ROG CPU-Z; ROG MemTweakIt; Lighting Control

Pricing and availability were not immediately available.

Source: ASUS

AMD Radeon R9 Fury Unlocked as Fury X, Overclocked to 1 GHz HBM

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 12, 2015 - 05:29 PM |
Tagged: STRIX R9 Fury, Radeon R9 Fury, overclocking, oc, LN2, hbm, fury x, asus, amd

What happens when you unlock an AMD Fury to have the Compute Units of a Fury X, and then overclock the snot out of it using LN2? User Xtreme Addict in the HWBot forums has created a comprehensive guide to do just this, and the results are incredible.


Not for the faint of heart (image credit: Xtreme Addict)

"The steps include unlocking the Compute Units to enable Fury X grade performance, enabling the hotwire soldering pads, a 0.95v Rail mod, and of course the trimpot/hotwire VGPU, VMEM, VPLL (VDDCI) mods.

The result? A GPU frequency of 1450 MHz and HBM frequency of 1000 MHz. For the HBM that's a 100% overclock."

Beginning with a stock ASUS R9 Fury STRIX card Xtreme Addict performed some surgery to fully unlock the voltage, and unlocked the Compute Units using a tool from this thread.


The results? Staggering. HBM at 1000 MHz is double the rate of the stock Fury X, and a GPU core of 1450 MHz is a 400 MHz increase. So what kind of performance did this heavily overclocked card achieve?

"The performance goes up from 6237 points at default to 6756 after unlocking the CUs, then 8121 points after overclock on air cooling, to eventually end up at 9634 points when fully unleashed with liquid nitrogen."

Apparently they were able to push the card even further, ending up with a whopping 10033 score in 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme.


While this method is far too extreme for 99% of enthusiasts, the idea of unlocking a retail Fury to the level of a Fury X through software/BIOS mods is much more accessible, as is the possibility of reaching much higher clocks through advanced cooling methods.

Unfortunately, if reading through this makes you want to run out and grab one of these STRIX cards availability is still limited. Hopefully supply catches up to demand in the near future.


A quick look at stock status on Newegg for the featured R9 Fury card

Source: HWBot

Overclock any NVIDIA GPU on Desktop and Mobile with a New Utility

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 10, 2015 - 06:14 PM |
Tagged: overclocking, overclock, open source, nvidia, MSI Afterburner, API

An author called "2PKAQWTUQM2Q7DJG" (likely not a real name) has published a fascinating little article today on his/her Wordpress blog entitled, "Overclocking Tools for NVIDIA GPUs Suck. I Made My Own". What it contains is a full account of the process of creating an overclocking tool beyond the constraints of common utilities such as MSI Afterburner.

By probing MSI's OC utility using Ollydbg (an x86 "assembler level analysing debugger") the author was able to track down how Afterburner was working.


“nvapi.dll” definitely gets loaded here using LoadLibrary/GetModuleHandle. We’re on the right track. Now where exactly is that lib used? ... That’s simple, with the program running and the realtime graph disabled (it polls NvAPI constantly adding noise to the mass of API calls). we place a memory breakpoint on the .Text memory segment of the NVapi.dll inside MSI Afterburner’s process... Then we set the sliders in the MSI tool to get some negligible GPU underclock and hit the “apply” button. It breaks inside NvAPI… magic!

After further explaining the process and his/her source code for an overclocking utility, the user goes on to show the finished product in the form of a command line utility.


There is a link to the finished version of this utility at the end of the article, as well as the entire process with all source code. It makes for an interesting read (even for the painfully inept at programming, such as myself), and the provided link to download this mysterious overclocking utility (disguised as a JPG image file, no less) makes it both tempting and a little dubious. Does this really allow overclocking any NVIDIA GPU, including mobile? What could be the harm in trying?? In all seriousness however since some of what was seemingly uncovered in the article is no doubt proprietary, how long will this information be available?

It would probably be wise to follow the link to the Wordpress page ASAP!

Source: Wordpress

Overclocking the R9 390X

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 6, 2015 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: amd, r9 390x, overclocking

Now that [H]ard|OCP has had more time to spend with the new R9 390X they have managed to find the overclocks that they are most comfortable running on the card they used to test.  They used MSI Afterburner 4.1.1 and first overclocked the card without changing voltages at all, which netted them 1150MHz core and 6.6GHz effective on the RAM.  From there they started to raise to Core Voltage, eventually settling on +50 as settings higher than that resulted in lower maximum observed voltages due to the TDP being reached and the card throttling back.  With that voltage setting they could get the card to run at 1180MHz, with the memory speed remaining at 6.6GHz as it is not effected by the core voltage settings, with the fan speed set 80% they saw a consistent 67C GPU temperature.  How much impact did that have on performance and could it push the card's performance beyond an overclocked GTX 980?  Read the full review to find out in detail.


"We take the new MSI Radeon R9 390X GAMING 8G video card and overclock it to it fullest and compare it with an overclocked GeForce GTX 980 at 1440p and 4K in today's latest games. Find out how much overclocking the R9 390X improves performance, and which video card is best performing. Can R9 390X overclock better than R9 290X?"

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte To Host X99 Champion Challenge on HWBOT

Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2015 - 10:26 AM |
Tagged: overclocking, hwbot, gigabyte, contest

Gigabyte will host the upcoming X99 Champion Challenge beginning May 1st on, and the overclocking contest runs in six stages ending on May 31.


According to Gigabyte, "by participating, overclockers have the chance to win $2,800 USD in cash prizes and some exciting hardware, including the leader of them all, the X99-SOC Champion!" True to the name of the contest participants must use a Gigabyte X99 motherboard, and each stage offers a different challenge:

Contest Stages
Stage 1: XTU - May 1st until May 8th, 2015
- CPU frequency 4GHz max
- RAM at 3300MHz max.
- GIGABYTE X99 Motherboards only

Stage 2: XTU - May 8th until May 15th, 2015.
- CPU frequency 4.5GHz max
- Uncore at 4.5GHz max.
- GIGABYTE X99 Motherboards only

Stage 3: XTU - May 15th until May 31st, 2015.
- CPU frequency 5GHz max
- GIGABYTE X99 Motherboards only

Stage 4: Fire-Strike - May 1st until May 27th, 2015.
- Single NVIDIA GT 730 graphics card
- GIGABYTE X99 Motherboards only

Stage 5: Catzilla 720p - May 1st until May 28th, 2015.
- Single NVIDIA GT 730 graphics card
- GIGABYTE X99 Motherboards only

Stage 6: 3DMark 2001 SE - May 1st until May 28th, 2015.
- Single NVIDIA GT 730 graphics card
- GIGABYTE X99 Motherboards only

The full press release with contest rules is available here.

Source: Gigabyte

Corsair Releases Dominator Platinum DDR4 3400MHz Memory Kits

Subject: Memory | March 23, 2015 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: overclocking, Dominator Platinum Series, ddr4-3400, ddr4, corsair

Speaking of components at the $999 price point, Corsair has just released a RAM kit aimed at the serious overclocker.  The Dominator Platinum Series 16GB DDR4-3400MHz kit now holds the record for fastest overclock at an impressive 4365.6MHz achieved on the Gigabyte X99-SOC board; you will be seeing more of both the motherboard and these DIMMs on this page in the near future. 

If you are looking for RAM that operates well using LN2 and serious overclocking these Corsair DIMMs are currently the best in class on the market.


Platinum Series DDR4 3400MHz 16GB memory kits which debuted at CES in January. The new kits are performance tuned to run air-cooled at an incredible 3400MHz and beyond on the Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion motherboard. The memory and motherboard duo together create one of the highest performance enthusiast PC platforms currently available.

Dominator Platinum Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 3400MHz DDR4 Memory
The fastest DDR4 memory available from Corsair, the Dominator Platinum 3400MHz 16GB (4x4GB, 16-18-18-36) memory kits have a striking industrial with an orange anodized heat spreader that matches the color scheme on Gigabyte SOC motherboards. Like all Dominator Platinum memory modules, the new kits have patented DHX technology for cooler operation, user-swappable colored “light pipes” for customizable downwash lighting, and Corsair Link compatibility for real-time temperature monitoring. Dominator Platinum memory is built with hand-screened ICs, undergoes rigorous performance testing, and incorporates state-of-the-art cooling for reliable performance in demanding environments.

“Each Dominator Platinum 3400MHz DDR4 memory module is built with hand-picked ICs and tuned timing parameters to achieve blistering performance on Gigabyte’s X99-SOC Champion extreme overclocking motherboard,” said Thi La, Chief Operating Officer at Corsair. “Achieving insanely fast memory clock speeds is just the beginning. We can’t wait to see the incredible high-performance machines that PC enthusiasts create with them.”

“Our Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion is engineered with highly optimized trace paths between the processor and DIMM sockets to enable incredible memory clock speeds,” said Colin Brix, Director of Marketing of Gigabyte’s Motherboard Business Unit. “We worked with Corsair to tune an exceptional edition of Dominator Platinum DDR4 that can help overclockers push the X99-SOC Champion to reach unprecedented memory speeds.”

World Record for Fastest DDR4 Memory Frequency
On March 20, professional overclocker Hicookie set the world record for fastest DDR4 memory frequency using the Corsair Dominator 3400MHz DDR4 memory and Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion motherboard. Using liquid nitrogen, Hicookie established a record-breaking speed of 4365.6MHz.

Source: Corsair

Bring back the mobile overclock NVIDIA, but stick a warning on it

Subject: General Tech | February 16, 2015 - 01:09 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 900m, overclocking, responsibility

It seems that the recent ability to overclock the GTX 900M on laptops was a bug and not a feature, according to the response of an NVIDIA representative on this thread, to the many reasonable and well thought out posts on the thread on their forums.  This started in the 347.29 release and continues into the current 347.52 release which supports the newly released Evolve as well as overclocking on desktop components. 

It would be very nice to see the restoration of the ability to overclock mobile NVIDIA chips so that users can decide if they wish to or not but perhaps it is worth reminding those who want to overclock that they are doing so at their own risk.  This does not mean the voiding of the warranty which will happen but refers more to the actual risk of damage to the GPU and the laptop it is in, by exceeding the thermal design of the laptop you risk destroying the expensive machine you just bought.  Laptops have nowhere near the thermal flexibility or compartmentalization of a desktop, not only can you not pop the side off or slap in a new fan, the heat from the GPU is bleeding directly into other components in the laptop as their is no significant air gap between components. 

Restoring the ability to overclock either natively or through third party applications is something that would be very appreciated, however there should be a strong warning presented to users if they do chose to.  If you are running GPU enabled BOINC or Folding@Home on an overclocked laptop which you then leave unattended, it is your fault if the damn thing catches fire not NVIDIA's so do not go suing.


"Nvidia has removed the ability of users to overclock their GeForce GTX 900M series GPU equipped laptops in a recent driver update. The driver in question is the GeForce R347 driver (version 347.29). Before the update users of the laptops in question had no problems overclocking or even underclocking their GPUs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: HEXUS

Maxwell keeps on overclocking

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2015 - 01:41 PM |
Tagged: overclocking, nvidia, msi, gtx 960, GM206, maxwell

While Ryan was slaving over a baker's dozen of NVIDIA's GTX 960s, [H]ard|OCP focused on overclocking the MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 2G that they recently reviewed.  Out of the box this GPU will hit 1366MHz in game, with memory frequency unchanged at 7GHz effective.  As users have discovered, overclocking cards with thermal protection that automatically downclocks the GPU when a certain TDP threshold has been reached is a little more tricky as simply upping the power provided to the card can raise the temperature enough that you end up with a lesser frequency that before you overvolted.  After quite a bit of experimentation, [H] managed to boost the memory to a full 8GHz and the in game GPU was hitting 1557MHz which is at the higher end of what Ryan saw.  The trick was to increase the Power Limit and turn the clock speed up but leave the voltage alone.


"We push the new MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING video card to its limits of performance by overclocking to its limits. This NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 GPU based video card has a lot of potential for hardware enthusiasts and gamers wanting more performance. We compare it with other overclocked cards to see if the GTX 960 can keep up."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Overclocker Cranks DDR4 Memory to a World Record Setting 4,351 MHz

Subject: Memory | February 6, 2015 - 08:40 PM |
Tagged: overclocking, kingston hyper x, kingston, ddr4, ces 20156, CES

Overclocker "Toppc" from MSI was able to crank a single stick of DDR4 memory to a world record 4,351 MHz at the International CES 2015 competition. Toppc paired the Kingston Predator DDR4 DIMM with an Intel Haswell-E Core i7-5960X processor and a MSI X99S Xpower AC motherboard. After disabling all but one CPU core and adding in copious amounts of liquid nitrogen, the 4GB memory module was overclocked to 4,351 MHz which was measured using CPU-Z (CPU-Z Validation) and verified with an oscilloscope (shown in the embedded video below).

This overclock is quite impressive even if it is not something you can run at home especially for DDR4 which is designed to use less power than DDR3. Out of the box the DIMMs are rated at up to 3,333 MHz which means they achieved an impressive 30.54% overclock (an increase of 1,018 MHz).

This kind of overclock will only result in marginal performance gains (at best) in everyday applications, but is still cool to see. Also, it surely won't hurt benchmark runs!


Manufacturer: NVIDIA

A baker's dozen of GTX 960

Back on the launch day of the GeForce GTX 960, we hosted NVIDIA's Tom Petersen for a live stream. During the event, NVIDIA and its partners provided ten GTX 960 cards for our live viewers to win which we handed out through about an hour and a half. An interesting idea was proposed during the event - what would happen if we tried to overclock all of the product NVIDIA had brought along to see what the distribution of results looked like? After notifying all the winners of their prizes and asking for permission from each, we started the arduous process of testing and overclocking a total of 13 (10 prizes plus our 3 retail units already in the office) different GTX 960 cards.

Hopefully we will be able to provide a solid base of knowledge for buyers of the GTX 960 that we don't normally have the opportunity to offer: what is the range of overclocking you can expect and what is the average or median result. I think you will find the data interesting.

The 13 Contenders

Our collection of thirteen GTX 960 cards includes a handful from ASUS, EVGA and MSI. The ASUS models are all STRIX models, the EVGA cards are of the SSC variety, and the MSI cards include a single Gaming model and three 100ME. (The only difference between the Gaming and 100ME MSI cards is the color of the cooler.)



To be fair to the prize winners, I actually assigned each of them a specific graphics card before opening them up and testing them. I didn't want to be accused of favoritism by giving the best overclockers to the best readers!

Continue reading our overclocking testing of 13 GeForce GTX 960 cards!!