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Intel DZ87KLT-75K LGA1150 Desktop Motherboard Review

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Intel Z87 Motherboard Overclocking

 Intel doesn’t provide any sort of automated boost or overclocking on this motherboard; even the increasingly common “turbo enhancement” feature (that runs all cores a couple of bins higher under load, from 3.7 to 3.9GHz on the Core i7-4770K used in this review) is missing. All overclocking must be performed manually, and here’s the best I was able to do:
intel_DZ87KLT-75K_oc

If you’ve read some of my previous Z87 motherboard reviews, these clock and voltage figures will look very familiar, and reinforce my opinion that I’m limited by the 4770L rather than the motherboard.

Now, normally I’m a fan of manual overclocking, since it remains superior to any automated method for getting the last bit of performance out of your system. However, I found manual overclocking to be much more difficult to do on this motherboard than I have on third-party motherboards, where a CPU voltage boost and an increased multiplier are generally the work of a minute or so, followed by stability testing. With the DZ87KLT-75K, the same process required tweaking many more, sometimes obscure, settings.

intel_DZ87KLT-75K_bios_oc1

Above is the main “performance” screen, which is where you’ll wind up if you plan to overclock this board. Intel tries to show the relationship among the various clocks and voltages with arrows and lines, but the visual impression remains confusing.

intel_DZ87KLT-75K_bios_oc2

Depending on which pane/subpane you click on on the left side of the screen, the right side will change to show you settings and options for that item. Sometimes the item on the left you selected is highlighted; sometimes it’s not. Sometimes there are weird default values. For example, see the “Input Voltage” section at the top right? In this shot it’s 1.8 volts, but the default value this screen shows is zero volts. I still haven’t figured that one out yet.

intel_DZ87KLT-75K_bios_oc3

The inconsistencies continue: after setting the overclock parameters, returning to the main screen shows the correct 4.4GHz clock speed, but the quick clock speed adjustment slider is slammed all the way to the left.

intel_DZ87KLT-75K_bios_proc_core_voltage

Again, zero values for the default settings in the BIOS. This is what you will see if you reset the BIOS to its defaults, then go into the “Performance” section to start overclocking. The correct voltage values will instantly appear if you touch the sliders, but the initial zero settings can be quite confusing.

Even setting aside some of the user interface niggles, overclocking this board was a lot of work. I had to specifically set ring clock and voltage settings, independently of the CPU clock and voltage settings, in order to achieve a stable overclock. Now, granted that Haswell’s integrated ring voltage regulator is a new feature, and I wouldn’t complain about this had this been the first Z87 motherboard I’d looked at, but I didn’t have to do this on any of the three other Z87 motherboards I’ve looked at in the past few weeks. Perhaps the other motherboards adjust these parameters automatically? I don’t know, but I do know they were a lot easier to overclock. Without the 17-page overclocking guide Intel provided on their press site, I wouldn’t have had much luck.

I’ll give my final thoughts and conclusion on this motherboard in the next section.


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