Just put in a new 2600k on an asus p8z68-v pro motherboard, and i have been monitoring the frequencies. When idling, it operates at ~1.6 ghz, when put under any type of load, even when using all cores, it goes up to ~4.4 ghz. I did not purposefully overclock it, I expected it to just range between the listed 3.4 and the single core 3.8. Why is this happening, and will it be detrimental to the system over time?
The overclock settings are tied to the motherboard not the CPU.
Was the previous CPU you were using OC'd 4.4GHz or using a x44 multiplier?
Also the reason you see 1.6GHz is due to the power save settings. If you computer doesnt need to be using 4.4GHz/higher frequency for whatever its doing, it will run at 1.6GHz and a much lower voltage. Basically like a "power save" setting - this can also be disabled within the BIOS.
ASUS AI Suite has a 1-click over-clock feature in which it will automatically over-clock your CPU as high as it deems it safe to go. Although you couldn't really do this by "accident" or without realising.