Benchmarks - Overclocked
As with all of our reviews, we pit the default speed system against the overclocked one in a head-to-head byte match. The effective overclock for these tests is 4.8Ghz @ 48x multiplier and 100 BLCK.
At first this overclock was rather easy to obtain with only a slight bump in CPU voltage however, during the benchmark sessions I had to tweak the CPU voltages to help with stability which was likely attributed to the memory and North Bridge tweaks.
Funny thing EVERY benchmark passed except for PCMark Vantage which would always BSOD no matter what was tweaked so It would seem the barrier between 4.7Ghz and 4.8Ghz is quite steep.
When overclocking it is important to find a "sweet spot" where the performance curve tops out and still remains stable with a reasonable amount of heat production. For this test I didn’t pay much attention to heat output but rather stability with the least amount of CPU voltage. The for this is related to issues with the latest Ivy Bridge and Haswell chips using TIM under the heatspreader that doesn’t always transfer the same amount of heat. As a result the CPU die always reads hotter than it should given the AIO cooler I’m using.
Overclocking the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 was pretty straight forward and not much different from a LGA1150 Haswell. For those familiar with the MSI UEFI you can manually set frequencies and voltage or you can select a number on the Game Boost dial for instant auto overclocking. When I was testing the Game Boost feature I discovered that taking it to eleven actually set the processor speed to 4.7Ghz which happened to be the "sweet spot" for my Core i5 6600K. The only downside is that you can manually make changes in the UEFI OR use Game Boost. Any attempt to do both will cause the overclock to revert to optimized settings.