MSI Z77A-GD80 with Thunderbolt Motherboard Review
As maligned as Ivy Bridge processors may be with some overclockers, the Z77 platform is still a strong overclocking platform. The Z77A-GD80 also happens to be one of the most powerful boards, in terms of overclocking, that MSI offers. With features like V Check points to get power readings directly from the motherboard with a probe, it is clear that MSI had overclockers in mind with this board.
In order to test the overclocking features of the GD80, we sought out to compare results to our initial i7-3770k review. Since we knew what frequencies our particular processor sample should be able to hit, this provided an excellent starting point.
For our initial overclock, we enabled MSI’s OC Genie feature. Found on motherboards since the P55 chipset, OC Genie aims to provide an easy and stable overclock for all users.
In this iteration of OC Genie, users can use the traditional method of pressing down the OC genie button on the motherboard before startup, or enable it in the MSI Control Center software. Both of these options do require a reboot, of course.
By simply flipping the software switch in MSI Control Center and rebooting, we managed to bring our 3770K from a max turbo frequency of 3.9 GHz to 4.2 GHz. While this isn’t the most substantial jump in CPU clock speed, it is always nice to get extra performance for minimal effort.
Of course, we didn’t stop with the automated overclocking options on the GD80. After we found a baseline with OC Genie, we started to manually adjust the multiplier live in the MSI Control Center application, and run the AIDA64 stability test.
Using the old-fashioned tweak and test method, we managed to hit a clock speed of 4.7 GHz on our i7-3770K. Considering that this is the max frequency we could reach in our initial Ivy Bridge review, it points to the GD80 being a great contender in the overclocking realm.