How to overclock Skylake-X
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