Windows 8 RTC Bug Found, Benchmark Results Still Banned At HWBot

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2013 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, overclocking, hwbot

Earlier this month, competitive overclocking website HWBot banned benchmark results that come from systems that use Microsoft’s latest Windows 8 operating system. Unfortunately, Microsoft made a compromise and choose to use an internal software timer rather than a hardware-based Real Time Clock (RTC) to ensure compatibility with budget and embedded systems that skip such hardware to cut costs. Ocaholic’s Christian Ney has further analyzed the RTC bug and posted an article on the bug and how to fix it.

HWBot’s issue with Windows 8 is that users are able to artificially inflate benchmark scores by down-clocking the CPU BCLK using software in Windows 8 rather than via the BIOS (which does not effect results). Under Windows 8, when down-clocking using software tools, the amount of time the benchmark measures does not match up with the amount of time that has actually passed--and would be correctly reported by a hardware timer. Unfortunately, Windows 8’s Real Time Clock references the QueryPerformanceCounter (QPC) which is able to read a hardware timer but does not by default on Intel-based platforms. On the other side of things, AMD-based systems are less effected by this bug, but users could turn off the default hardware timer to cause similar artificial benchmark score inflation (the system is able to push out more calculations and/or frames per second in a reported amount of time that is less than the actual time it took to complete the benchmark, giving users an artificially higher score).

For Intel users, the bug can reportedly be fixed by opening up an administrator command prompt and typing the following command.

“bcdedit /set {current} useplatformclock Yes”

While it is nice to see the analysis and a fix for the bug, HWBot is still not allowing Windows 8 benchmark scores. An update on HWBot's original blog post states that all new Windows 8 results except those from non-overclockable notebooks are banned. Further, any existing benchmarks from Windows 8 systems that seem out of line or are either world records or top scores will be removed from the site. Windows 8 benchmarks with AMD hardware are also banned.

It appears that, although there is a fix for the RTC bug, until HWBot can somehow verify that users have either implemented the fix on Intel systems or not changed the default settings for AMD systems, benchmark results from Windows 8 can still not be trusted. Here’s hoping some method will become available to allow for that necessary verification.

Source: HWBot

Supermicro Launches C7Z87-OCE LGA 1150 Enthusiast Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 2, 2013 - 01:50 PM |
Tagged: supermicro, overclocking, lga 1150, haswell, c7z87-oce

Supermicro is a company well-known for its server-class motherboards, but its latest motherboard is actually aimed at consumers. The Supermicro C7Z87-OCE is an overclocking friendly board that features the Intel Z87 chipset and a LGA 1150 socket that is ready to be paired with an Intel Haswell processor.

C7Z87-OCE Motherboard.jpg

The board has a simple but effective layout. There are no fancy heatsinks or armor plating here, just a small heatsink over the VRMs. Beyond the CPU socket, features include four DDR3 DIMM slots (32GB max), eight SATA III 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and a AMI UEFI BIOS. Six of the SATA III ports are powered by the Intel Z87 chipset while the other two ports go through the ASMedia ASM1061 controller. Users can use RAID 0, 1, 5, or 10 with this board. The PCI-E 3.0 slots can run at x16, x8+x8, or x8+x4+x4 depending on the number of cards used. An interesting feature of the Supermicro C7Z87-OCE are four green buttons that are numbered 1 through 4. These can be used to overclock the processor by 15% (button 1), 23% (button 2), a user-adjustable amount (button 3), and to clear CMOS (button 4).

The rear IO options on the board include:

  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet (Intel i217V and i210AT NICs)
  • 5 x analog audio
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 1 x Thunderbolt
  • Video out:
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x DVI
    • 1 x DisplayPort (via the Thunderbolt connector)
    • 1 x HDMI

I'm glad to see another player enter the consumer motherboard arena, and I find it interesting that that player is Supermicro. According to TweakTown's review, the company's first consumer board is not perfect, with the BIOS in particular lacking, but it is an overall decent option for those users wanting a reliable motherboard to support their next system build.

Pricing and availability have not been announced.

Source: Supermicro

AMD A10-6800K APU Overclocked to 8.2GHz

Subject: Processors | July 28, 2013 - 10:08 AM |
Tagged: Richland, overclocking, LN2, APU, amd, a10-6800k

A Finnish overclocker known as “The Stilt” recently pushed an AMD Richland APU to 8.2GHz using liquid nitrogen. In doing so, The Stilt broke the world record for APU overclocking, besting his previous overclock attempt.

AMD A10-6800K Richland APU Overclocked to 8GHz.jpg

Specifically, the chip was a retail version of the AMD A10-6800K “Richland” APU. It was overclocked to 8203.01 MHz with a 130.21 MHz base clock and 63x multiplier. Even more impressive is that The Stilt managed the overclock with less voltage -- 1.968 volts -- than his earlier (and lower) overclock. For comparison, the earlier overclock brought the A10-6800K to 8000.48 MHz using 2.008 volts.

AMD A10-6800K Richland APU Overclocked to 8GHz.png

The system used to overclock the APU included an ASUS F2A85-V Pro motherboard, 8GB of AMD DDR3 Performance memory, and a Radeon HD 7750 graphics card. The overclocker used liquid nitrogen to cool the APU while the GPU was left at stock settings and with its default air cooler. The RAM was overclocked to 2083.6 MHz with 10-11-10-27 timings.

In all, it is an impressive overclock considering all four CPU cores were left enabled! More details along with validation of the overclock can be found over at HWBot.

Also read: AMD A10-6800K and A10-6700 Review: Richland Finally Lands @ PC Perspective

Source: HWBot

Squeezing out every last bit of performance from the GTX 760

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 4, 2013 - 10:09 AM |
Tagged: MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC, gtx 760, overclocking

The MSI N760 might come with a factory overclock but that doesn't mean it is at its maximum potential straight out of the box.  With the help of MSI's own Afterburner tool [H]ard|OCP undertook the project of maximizing the overclock on this GTX 760 by upping the power available to the card to 145%.  They maxed out at a base clock of 1160MHz and boost clock of 1225MHz and were even more please to see the card actually running at 1280MHz under load.  With that increased core speed and memory upped to 6.4GHz the effect on performance was notable and pushed this card beyond the performance of the competitors.

H_afterburner.gif

"We take the new MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC video card and overclock it to its highest potential with MSI Afterburner. We don't stop there, we also overclock all the comparison cards to their highest potential, and see if the GTX 760 can still hold its own. We also compare performance with the Radeon HD 7950."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Overclockers Push G.Skill RAM To 3,163 MHz At Swiss Gaming Night

Subject: Memory | June 28, 2013 - 10:09 AM |
Tagged: gskill, ddr3, overclocking, LN2, swiss gaming night

G.Skill recently announced that its DDR3 memory modules were used to break three memory frequency records at an overclocking event in Zurich, Switzerland. Professional over lockers Marine, TaPaKaH, and Christian Ney joined in on the fun at Swiss Gaming Night to break the CL5, CL6, and CL7 categories.

DDR3 Memory Overclock Validation GSkill.jpg

CPU-Z Validation Page.

In a system with an Intel Haswell Core i7-4770K and 4GB of dual channel DDR3 G.Skill RAM, the overclockers achieved some impressive results, reaching 2,951 MHz at CL5, 3,136 MHz at CL6, and 3,163 MHz at CL7.

  Clockspeed CAS Latency
4GB DDR3 2,951 MHz 5-11-7-28
4GB DDR3 3,136 MHz 6-11-7-28
4GB DDR3 3,163 MHz 1-12-8-30

These are some impressive overclocks, which were aided by copious amounts of LN2. More information can be found in this press release.

Source: G.Skill

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Dominates Computex Overclocking Event, Used to Break Eight World Records

Subject: Motherboards | June 26, 2013 - 11:49 AM |
Tagged: overclocking, computex 2013, ASUS ROG, ASUS Maximus VI Extreme, asus

During Computex 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan, Intel and Corsair sponsored the Computex OC Main Event where overclockers set out to push some of the latest hardware to the max. The ASUS Maximus VI Extreme motherboard was one of the pieces of hardware used at this event, and it was the board used in 10 out of 11 winning overclocking runs. Further, it was used in runs that ended up breaking a total of 8 world overclocking records.

PR ASUS Maximus VI Extreme took ten out of eleven wins at the Intel and Corsair Computex OC Main Event .jpg

Overclockers were able to achieve top spots for a number of benchmarking scores as well as CPU and GPU clockspeeds. The benchmarking records include new high scores for 3DMark01, 3DMark05, 3DMark06, SuperPi 32M, PiFast, and AquaMark3. The overclockers were also able to push an Intel "Haswell" Core-i7 4770K processor to an impressive 7092.68 MHz with HyperThreading disabled and two physical cores active. Considering how stubborn the new Haswell chips are when it comes to overclocking, hitting a bit over 7GHz is quite the feat. CPUs were not the only pieces of hardware that were pushed to the limits, however. Overclockers were also able to overclock four DDR3 DIMMs to 3957 MHz with 13-16-16-45 timings.

Left: CPU Overclock. Right: RAM Overclock. Click on image(s) for a larger version.

The breakdown of the new top benchmarking scores for the various software used at the OC Main Event (from systems using the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme board, Haswell CPU, and GTX TITAN) is listed below.

Benchmark/Overclocking Feat Score/Clockspeed
3DMark01 186,758
3DMark05 73,316
3DMark06 56,041
SuperPi 32M 4m, 35s, 406ms
PiFast 9.78s
AquaMark3 571,570
Haswell Clockspeed 7092.68 MHz (two cores)
DDR3 Clockspeed 3957 MHz (13-16-16-45)

Naturally, ASUS is extremely pleased with the performance of its new motherboard, which proved stable enough to support some impressive CPU, GPU, and RAM overclocking under LN2 and extreme clockspeeds. I'm looking forward to see what Morry is able to achieve using the board in a more real world 24/7 overclock scenario in our upcoming OC review using this ASUS board!

Check out our full review of the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme (overclocking performance details coming soon, as per the new review format).

Source: ASUS

Intel Prevents Overclocking of non-K Haswell Processors, and Strips Virtualization and TSX Features From K Parts

Subject: Processors | June 13, 2013 - 06:59 AM |
Tagged: tsx, overclocking, Intel, i7-4770k, haswell

First revealed at IDF Beijing, Intel's latest generation 4th Generation Core "Haswell" processors enjoy a refined architecture, improved processor graphics, an integrated voltage regulator (FIVR), and for the enthusiast crowd, new methods for overclocking.

In truth, the methods for overclocking Haswell are very similar to those used to overclock Intel's Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors. However, Intel has further unlocked the new Haswell CPUs. Enthusiasts can set an overclocked Turbo clockspeed, use additional base clock (BCLK) values (100 MHz, 125 MHz, and 167 MHz), and overclock the unlocked processor graphics core clockspeed and memory clockspeed (memory in 200 MHz or 266 MHz steps). The additional BCLK values allow for easy overclocks without putting the other subsystems (such as the PCI-E bus, GPU, and memory) out of spec, which is important for the PCI-E bus which needs to be close to 100 MHz for a stable system.

The following PC Perspective articles have further information on overclocking unlocked "K" edition Haswell processors:

Although Intel's overclocking reveal at IDF was fairly detailed, the company did not get into specifics on how overclocking would work on non-K chips.

On that note, the crew over at the Tech Report uncovered some rather disheartening facts such that the non-K edition Haswell processors will, essentially, be locked at stock speeds and not overclockable (they are slightly more locked down than previous generations).

While the K edition Haswell processors, such as the Core i7-4770K, will enjoy unlocked multipliers, unlocked GPU and memory clockspeeds, and additional BCLK options, the standard non-K chips (ie Core i7-4770, Core i5-4670, et al) will have locked multipliers, no Turbo Boost clockspeed overclocking, and will not be allowed to use the additional 125 MHz and 167 MHz BLCK options, which effectively makes overclocking these standard chips impossible. It may still be possible to push the BLCK up a few MHz, but without the extra stepping and gearing ratio options, the other component clockspeeds based off that same base clock are going to go out of spec and will become unstable fairly quickly as you try to push that BLCK up.

There is one saving grace for enthusiasts considering a non-K part, however. The standard non-K CPUs will have Intel's latest TSX extensions and enterprise virtualization technologies enabled.

Although quite the head scratcher, Intel has decided to disable TSX, vPro, and VT-d on the unlocked K edition chips. The TSX extensions are not widely used yet, but will provide a noticeable performance boost to future programs that do take advantage of them by allowing developers to essentially mark off sections of code that can be run independently, and thus increase the multi-threaded-ness of the application by running as much code in parallel across multiple cores as possible. Further, the vPro and VT-d features are used by virtual machine applications (with VT-d being more relevant to the consumer side of things).

In short, Intel has continued to lock down and artificially limit its chips, as many enthusiasts suspected would happen. Standard non-K Haswell processors are more locked down than ever, and even the premium unlocked K CPUs suffer with the (odd) removal of TSX and virtualization support. As Mr. Gasior points out, enthusiasts are going to be faced with an odd choice where they can either spend extra money on a premium K part that will overclock but is limited in other ways, or go with the lower cost part that has all of the ISA extensions and virtualization support turned on... but is not overclockable.

In my opinion, locking down the standard chips is one thing-- Intel needs to incentivize enthusiasts to go with the more expensive (~$25 premium) unlocked K processors some how -- but if those same enthusiasts are spending extra money for a premium chip, they should get all the features the accompanying non-K SKU has as well as overclocking.

What do you think about the artificial limitations placed on the various Haswell SKUs?

Source: Tech Report

MSI's Lightning strikes thrice; overclocking the GTX 770

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 10, 2013 - 04:28 PM |
Tagged: gtx 770, msi N770 Lightning, overclocking

[H]ard|OCP liked the new GTX 770 Lightning from MSI but thought they would like it better overclocked, perhaps even more than a GTX 680 or HD7970.   The triplets below are, from top to bottom, the GTX 680, the GTX 770 and the HD7970, all from the overclocked Lightning family.  By using MSI's Afterburner utility [H] pushed the card to 1241MHz on the core and 7.8GHz effective for the RAM, higher than the factory overclock.  That speed boost put its performance on par with the overclocked GTX680 but it seems that the impressive speeds that the 7970 Lightning is capable of leaves it comfortably in the lead.

lightning_thrice.jpg

"We take the new MSI N770 Lightning and overclock it to its maximum potential. We will compare it with a highly overclocked MSI GeForce GTX 680 Lightning and GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7970. Each GPU is getting its best chance to show us how well it can perform, as all of these GPUs are highly overclocked."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Computex 2013: MSI Launches New Gaming and Overclock Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | June 4, 2013 - 11:17 PM |
Tagged: Z87-GD65 GAMING, uefi, overclocking, msi, haswell, computex 2013, computex

MSI announced new Z87 motherboards today, ready to accept Intel's new 4 Generation Core "Haswell" processors. The new Z87 boards are broken up into the company's "GAMING" series and a new "Overclock" series. Both boards use Military Class IV components that are MIL-STD-810G rated.

The MSI Z87-GD65-GAMING is the company's latest motherboard aimed at PC gamers. It incorporates a Killer NIC and the company's Audio Boost technology. It also supports MSI technology such as V-Check points (to get voltage readings with multi meter), Super RAID, Multi-BIOS II, and Go2BIOS.

MSI Z87-GD65 GAMING.jpg

On its face, the Z87-GD65-GAMING features an Intel LGA 1150 CPU socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots, eight SATA 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, and four PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots. Rear IO includes a PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, coaxial and optical S/PDIF audio outputs, one DVI port, one VGA port, one HDMI output, one Kill NIC-backed Gigabit LAN port, and six analog audio jacks.

The MSI Z87-GD65-GAMING motherboard is currently selling for around $189 at various online retailers. It has earned a Computex 2013 Best Choice Gold award as well as a positive review from PC Perspective's resident motherboard guru Morry Teitelman. You can find our full review of the gaming motherboard here.

MSI also announced three new motherboards under its Overclock series. These boards are intended for PC enthusiasts who like to tinker with hardware and push their chips (CPU and GPU) as far as possible. The new boards include the Z87 MPOWER, Z87 MPOWER MAX, and Z87 XPOWER.

Click BIOS 4.jpg

The Overclock series motherboards also use Military Class components. They also feature MSI's latest Click BIOS 4 UEFI and Control Center software that allows monitory, tuning, and remote controlling of your PC. The MSI Overclock boards also have a tool that allows for automatic overclocking called OC Genie 4 that reportedly operates in two stages. The Z87 MPOWER has a 32-phase digital power system, supports DDR3-3000 memory, and supports 4-way SLI or Crossfire. The MPOWER MAX and XPOWER motherboards are OC (Overclock) Certified and supports MSI's Extreme Tuning Utility for overclocking within Windows.

Rear port layout is similar to the Z87-GD65-Gaming motherboard, except that the new MPOWER boards add a removable Intel Wi-Fi + Bluetooth card that adds 802.11g/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and Intel WiDi (Wireless Display) technology. The highest-end Z87 MPOWER, the XPOWER board, also has additional USB 3.0 ports on the back panel.

You can find more information on the Z87 MPOWER motherboards on this MSI product page.

Also read: MSI Launches 17" GS70 Gaming Notebook @ PC Perspective.

Source: MSI

PCPer Live! ASUS Z87 Motherboard and Intel Haswell Live Event!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Motherboards, Processors | June 4, 2013 - 07:40 AM |
Tagged: z87, video, overclocking, live, i7-4770k, haswell, ASUS ROG, asus

While we run around with our hair on fire trying to get ready for the Intel Haswell and Z87 product launch this weekend, I wanted to let everyone know about a live stream event we will be holding on Tuesday, June 4th.  JJ from ASUS, a crowd favorite for sure, will be joining us LIVE in studio to talk all about the new lineup of ASUS Z87 motherboards.  We'll also discuss performance and overclocking capabilities of the new processor and platform.

rog1.jpg

ASUS Z87 and Haswell Live Stream

10am PT / 1pm ET - June 4th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Be sure you stop by and join in the show!  Questions will be answered, prizes will be given out and fun will be had!  Who knows, maybe we can break some stuff live as well??  On hand to give away to those of you joining the live stream, we'll have these prizes:

  • 2 x ASUS Z87 Motherboards
  • 1 x ASUS Graphics card

Methods for winning will be decided closer to the event, but if you are watching live, you'll be included.  And we'll ship anywhere in the world!

pcperlive2.png

ASUS and I also want the event to be interactive, so we want your questions.  We'll of course being paying attention to the chat room on our live page but you'll have better luck if you submit your questions about the ASUS Z87 products and Haswell processors before hand, in the comments section below.  You don't have to register to ask and we'll have the ability to read them beforehand! 

I'll update this post with more information after the reviews and stories start to hit, so keep an eye here for more details!!