How to overclock Skylake-X

Custom PC - - REVIEWS -

We cer­tainly haven’t had as many nig­gles with the X299 plat­form as with AMD’s X399 moth­er­boards with the launch of Ryzen, but some of the early EFI sys­tems with the X299 boards we tested did have a few nig­gles. There was high power con­sump­tion, poor M.2 speeds, although the lat­ter seems to be a Skylake-X is­sue, and not mother­board-re­lated, plus some ran­dom sta­bil­ity is­sues. The lat­est batch of EFI sys­tems are al­ready much bet­ter, although the abil­ity to han­dle big over­clocks will be down to in­di­vid­ual moth­er­boards.

Thank­fully, in some ways, overclocking Skylake-X is even eas­ier than Broad­well-E and Haswell-E. There’s no need to fid­dle around with CPU straps, for ex­am­ple, as the 100MHz strap is loaded by de­fault, no mat­ter which mem­ory fre­quency you use. On a ba­sic level, all you need to tweak are the CPU volt­age and CPU mul­ti­plier, although you’ll need to keep an eye on some other ar­eas too.

Start by head­ing to the Win­dows desk­top and down­load­ing ver­sion 26.6 Prime95 ( www.mersen­nefo­rum.org) and CoreTemp ( www.al­cpu.com). These ap­pli­ca­tions will en­able you to stress-test your sys­tem to prove its cool­ing abil­ity. Run Prime95’s smallfft test and use CoreTemp to note the tem­per­a­ture of the hottest CPU core after run­ning it for 15 min­utes.

If it’s below 75°C then you can pro­ceed with overclocking. If it’s above this tem­per­a­ture, make sure you have the lat­est EFI ver­sion for your mother­board, as early ones did lead to higher tem­per­a­tures and power con­sump­tion. If it’s still high then it’s likely there’s an­other is­sue or you’ll need bet­ter cool­ing. Tem­per­a­tures will rise quickly, so it’s im­por­tant to have enough head­room.

Start by go­ing into the EFI and se­lect­ing the XMP pro­file in the overclocking sec­tion 1 . With our Asus ROG Strix X299-E Gam­ing, this set­ting was in the AI Tweaker sec­tion. This change should ap­ply the cor­rect mem­ory speed and tim­ings for your par­tic­u­lar mem­ory kit. How­ever, it’s still worth check­ing them to be sure. Head down the page to DRAM fre­quency and, if nec­es­sary, se­lect the cor­rect fre­quency 2 . On our Asus board, the DRAM tim­ing con­trols are just below this set­ting – make sure they tally with the tim­ings for your mem­ory, which are usu­ally shown on the box or on a la­bel on the mod­ules 3 .

You want to syn­chro­nise all your CPU’s cores 4 at your cho­sen overclock speed in or­der to prop­erly boost to heav­ily mul­ti­threaded per­for­mance – the stock all-core turbo ra­tio is 4GHz, so any higher fre­quency will re­sult in bet­ter multi-threaded per­for­mance. On our Asus mother­board, the CPU volt­age is found on the same page nearer the bot­tom 5 , and it’s usu­ally in the same sec­tion on other moth­er­boards. For a quick and easy overclock, it’s best to in­put a manual fixed volt­age. How­ever, when you’re ready for more ad­vanced overclocking, us­ing the adap­tive and off­set modes can re­duce power con­sump­tion, so it’s worth look­ing at the many guides avail­able on­line to find out how they work.

We found that a CPU volt­age of 1.24V was enough to get sta­bil­ity at 4.6GHz with our CPU, but ap­ply­ing a mul­ti­plier a step down to 45 to get 4.5GHz us­ing this same volt­age

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