MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard Overclocking
ASRock provide overclocking settings in the EUFI much the same as you would find in a standard BIOS as well as an option to automatically overclock the CPU. For automatic overclocking within Windows you will need to install the ASRock A-Tuning utility. A-Tuning will go to work overclocking your CPU while you wait and will gradually raise the CPU speed and relevant voltages in steps until the system becomes unstable and will continue tweaking after a reboot.
After a short time the A-Tuning utility had raised the default speed of 3.4GHz up to 4.2GHz with a voltage of 1.2v. A run of AIDA 64’s stress test saw an idle temperature of 34C and a fluctuating load temperature of 61C~72C. Ambient room temperature during testing was 30C.
I was able to reach 4.3GHz after a little bit of tweaking, but the CPU would not yield better results without more volts and getting too hot (due to the on-die VRM present in Haswell CPU’s). To push this CPU further I would need a substantial upgrade in the cooling department. The short and sweet moral of this is: Higher clock speeds requiring more than 1.25v~1.3v will in turn need much better cooling than most (if not all) top end air coolers and all-in-one liquid coolers can provide.
To give a brief idea of the situation, I managed 4.4GHz semi stable at 1.3v but temperatures peaked at around 89C. This is still considered safe but will inevitably shorten the life of your CPU and isn’t ideal for a full time overclock. Please bear in mind that stability is tested using AIDA 64’s stability test, which pushes the CPU well beyond what ‘normal’ programs ever will, but it will tell you quickly whether or not your overclock is stable.
I’ll give my final thoughts and conclusion on this motherboard in the next section.