Testing & Results
Motherboard Testing Methodology
I’ll rely primarily on synthetic testing suites to get an idea of what type of performance this motherboard enables. Obviously, your component choice (CPU + GPU) will have the greatest effect here, but I’ll do a run of PCMark 8 stock and compare it to the best overclock I was able to get using the same components.
Fan control was disabled (leaving fans at 100%), and Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility was utilized for tweaking. After a quick AIDA64 stress test for stability at the overclocked settings, a few runs of PCMark 8 and 3DMark were in order. PCMark 8 and other CPU tests used just the CPU and integrated graphics – any test with graphics (3DMark, games) used an R9 270X as the discrete graphics card. A stronger GPU would have been a better choice to find out what effect an overclock had on gaming (a Core i5-4670K won’t bottleneck an R9 270X in most games, making these benchmarks primarily GPU limited), but I couldn’t fit any larger GPUs in the Prodigy M enclosure I was using for testing. In any case, it’s the CPU overclock itself that I’m interested in.
(EDIT: Since there didn’t end up being a significant difference in the 3DMark / Unigine benchmark scores (due to the bottleneck imposed by the R9 270X), gaming results aren’t included. If I get a chance to test any of these components with higher resolutions and multiple monitors, I’ll see if I can add benchmarks at that point – really, those results are better suited to the GPU reviews anyway.)
Motherboard: GA-Z87N-WIFI Rev 1.1 F2 BIOS
System Memory: GSkill Ares 2x4GB set to 1866MHz (10-11-10-30)
Processor: Intel Core-i5 4670K
- Cooling: Stock (Stock Intel cooler); Overclock (Swiftech H220)
Audio: On-board (Realtek ALC892)
Video: Intel HD4600 integrated, R9 270X discrete
Disk Drive 1: Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
Enclosure: BitFenix Prodigy M
PSU: Cooler Master V700
Monitor: Acer GD235HZbid 23.5″ 1920x1080p 120Hz LCD
Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
I’ll keep this short – I was pleasantly surprised at my results with overclocking a Core i5-4670K on the GA-Z87N-WIFI. Starting with simple multiplier and voltage bump (leaving most other settings, including LLC, on Auto), I found a nice sweet spot around 4.7 GHz on all cores and 1.27V core voltage. I tried for 4.8; while it would boot to the OS I couldn’t keep it stable during stress tests even with 1.35V. Perhaps with a bit more tweaking higher clock speeds would be possible, but even the Swiftech H220 couldn’t keep core temperatures under 90C at these voltage levels (at 1.27V and 4.7GHz core temps hovered around 75C using the H220).
It turns out I shouldn’t have worried about the VRMs lack of heatsinks. Using an infrared thermometer, the highest temperature I could record around the MOSFETs was about 75C. Generally, these types of ICs are rated for around 100-105C, so…nice work Gigabyte! I guess that “High Efficiency MOSFETs” bullet point wasn’t just marketing speak after all… Of course, this was recorded in a BitFenix Prodigy M case filled to the brim with fans, so adding a discrete GPU or using this board in a case with less airflow might have a different result.
So how much performance can be gained from a 4.7 GHz CPU overclock?
In the synthetic CPU tests, an approximate 23% overclock improved scores by about 15 to 29 percent. Obviously these tests focus on pure CPU performance, with the possible exception of PCMark 8 (although an improvement of 18% and 15% isn’t a disappointment). Not bad for a mini-ITX board, not bad at all.
|Core i5-4670K||Stock 3.4/3.8 Turbo||4.7 OC||% Improvement|