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Overclocking

Six $220-280 Z77 Express-Based Motherboards, Reviewed
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BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
 ASRock
Z77 OC Formula
Asus
Sabertooth Z77
ECS
Z77H2-AX
CPU Base Clock95-150 MHz (0.1 MHz)80-300 MHz (0.1 MHz)99-150 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU MultiplierUp to 63xUp to 63xUp to 59x
DRAM Data Rates1066-3000  (200, 266.6 MHz)800-3200  (200, 266.6 MHz)1066-2800  (200, 266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.60-1.70 V (5 mV)0.80-1.92 V (5 mV)1.00-1.50 V (25 mV)
VTT Voltage0.77-1.63 V (10 mV) +0 to +0.63 V (10 mV)
VCCSA Voltage0.93-1.57 V (5 mV)0.80-1.70 V (5 mV)+0 to +0.63 V (10 mV)
PCH Voltage0.78-1.65 V (9.3 mV)0.80-1.70 V (10 mV)+0 to +0.63 V (10 mV)
DRAM Voltage1.17-2.10 V (5 mV)1.20-1.92 V (5 mV)+0 to +0.63 V (10 mV)
CAS Latency4-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRCD3-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRP3-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRAS9-63 Cycles1-255 Cycles9-63 Cycles
BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
 Gigabyte
Z77X-UP5 TH
Intel
DZ77RE-75K
MSI
Z77A-GD80
CPU Base Clock80-133.33 MHz (0.01 MHz)100-120 MHz (1 MHz)0-655 MHz (0.1 MHz)
CPU MultiplierUp to 63xUp to 255xUp to 63x
DRAM Data Rates1066-3200 (200, 266.6 MHz)1066-2666 (266.6 MHz)800-3200 (200, 266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.80-1.85 V (5 mV)1.00-1.80 V (5 mV)0.81-2.16 V (5 mV)
VTT Voltage0.80-1.70 V (5 mV)1.00-1.80 V (5 mV)0.95-1.55 V (10 mV)
VCCSA Voltage0.72-1.40 V (5 mV)0.85-1.80 V (12.5 mV)0.87-1.51 V (10mV)
PCH VoltageNot Adjustable0.60-2.19 V (12.5 mV)0.78-1.73 V (5.5 mV)
DRAM Voltage1.10-2.10 V (5 mV)1.20-2.00 V (12.45 mV)1.11-2.47 V (7.5 mV)
CAS Latency5-15 Cycles5-16 Cycles5-15 Cycles
tRCD4-15 Cycles4-16 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRP4-15 Cycles4-16 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRAS5-63 Cycles15-75 Cycles10-40 Cycles


Only two companies, MSI and ASRock, manage to break our CPU past 4.70 GHz at 1.25 V core. Gigabyte, ECS, and Asus are marginally behind in CPU overclocking, while Intel’s DZ77RE-75K trails noticeably.

Gigabyte’s Z77X-UP5 TH is the only board in this batch to reach a 111 MHz BCLK. This enhanced capability is usually only desired when overclocking locked processors.

Increasing the Z77H2-AX's base clock through the UEFI lead to what seemed like endless hours of POST failures, so we recommend users not even attempt that with ECS' board.

Asus has historically produced the best memory stability, and its Sabertooth Z77 tops the charts on average. MSI edges out Asus when only two modules are installed, while ASRock edges out MSI when four are needed.

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