Going from overclocking the original Sandy Bridge to the Sandy Bridge-E processors has been interesting. With Sandy Bridge your Bclck overclocking is limited to just a small amount. Jumping into our Sandy Bridge-E overclocking I noticed right away that this wasn’t a problem. With the multiplier turned down I was able to turn our Bclk all the way up to 155. Of course finding the sweet spot between that and the multiplier might be an issue. One thing was for sure, with Asus’s multitude of different ways to work on the overclock there is no way I would have trouble getting the most out of our CPU. My only concern was how good of an overclocker would our CPU be at all, talking with people from a few of the manufactures their experience with multiple CPU’s has been that they can be a little hit and miss as far as how well they will overclock. We had great luck with our i5-2500K, but let’s hope we have the same luck this time.
I mentioned before their OC Key, for our overclocking I would be using this a lot. The OC Key goes in line with your DVI cable and hooks up through its own USB port on the motherboard. It puts an overlay up on your screen that is completely independent of anything you are doing on your PC. That means you can make adjustments on the fly or even with the PC turned off! Here is a video I put together of the OC Key showing how it functions. One of the best features in my option is how it will show you each step of the boot process as you go through it.
On top of the OC Key you have the Rampage IV’s amazing BIOS and even Asus’s ROG Connect as other ways to adjust your overclock. For our testing we are going to use the BIOS while using the OC Key to monitor voltages, temps, and the overclock itself.
To start Asus has a few default overclocking settings setup right on the first page of the BIOS. A standard Overclock, an extreme overclock for water cooling and good air cooling, and the last one is for LN2 only. The first overclock puts you at 4375Mhz, the second at 4985Mhz, and the last at 4985Mhz also but with LN2 settings turned on. I wasn’t impressed with starting with the first so I went with the second to see how close we would be. Surprisingly it booted, but blue screened while going into windows. Although the temps didn’t look to be getting to high that setting put our CPU voltage at a whopping 1.55 and even after a few adjustments up I wasn’t able to get anywhere with it. After adjusting our multiplier down to close to 4700Mhz I had no trouble at all with the overclock. But trying to inch any more out of it using the Bclk or the multiplier didn’t get us anywhere. In fact at 4700Mhz I was able to drop our voltage down to a much cooler and comfortable 1.4. A respectable overclock but I wasn’t happy with the results. Just to be sure it was an issue with the Rampage (not that I had any doubts) I swapped in another board with the same results. Although happy at 4.7 Ghz our CPU looks to be unhappy at anything above it no matter the voltage.