Report: ASRock Bringing Overclocking to Locked Comet Lake-S CPUs, Non-Z Motherboards

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ASRock's Base Frequency Boost (BFB) Technology, which is innate to the brand's latest Intel 400-series motherboards, will allow consumers to overclock the base clock on locked Intel 10th Generation Comet Lake processors, even with non-Z series motherboards, as per a leaked slide shared by VideoCardz.

Intel didn't mention anything about base clock overclocking on non-Z Comet Lake CPUs in its announcement today, so ASRock's solution is likely a proprietary workaround. Technically, it's possible that Intel could eventually disable the ASRock feature with a firmware update; however, this would be a bit odd since CPUs are still running within Intel specifications even if they're using ASRock BFB. 

The specifics around ASRock's BFB technology is a mystery for the time being. From what we can gather from the leaked PowerPoint slide, the motherboard vendor is essentially increasing the processor's PL1 (power level 1) from the default value to the maximum value and locking it at the higher value. In ASRock's example, the 65W Comet Lake CPUs operate as if though they were 125W models.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ModelCores / ThreadsBase Clock (GHz)ASRock BFB (GHz)Boost Clock (GHz)All-Core Boost Clock (GHz)TDP (W)
Intel Core i9-1090010 /
Intel Core i7-107008 /
Intel Core i5-106006 /
Intel Core i5-105006 /
Intel Core i5-104006 /

A higher TDP limit means more breathing room and, in return, would allow a non-K Comet Lake processor to run at a higher base frequency. Of course, that also implicates a higher power consumption and more heat, so your CPU cooler will ultimately dictate whether you can hit the higher base clock speeds.

According to the slide, ASRock BFB won't produce the same level of uplift on all Comet Lake processors. The increase in base clock speeds will reportedly vary from 800 MHz to 1,100 MHz, depending on the model of the processor. There's no information clarifying whether BFB is an automatic algorithm that decides on an optimal frequency or if the user would have some type of control over it.

Overall, ASRock's Base Frequency Boost looks like it would be a pretty neat feature to have. It'll be interesting to see if other motherboard manufacturers will offer a similar solution.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • ocer9999
    It's not the first time they did such move, but I think they got a slap on their hands from Intel.. but now intel is in a weak position, maybe they are more relaxed.
  • dalauder
    Well you've gotta come up with some reason for people to buy your boards.

    Since the only reason to buy Intel is if you enjoy overclocking, ASRock put themselves in the lead here.
  • Darkbreeze
    Pretty sure they did something very similar with some of the non-Z locked Haswell boards, and Intel DID slap them around and then disable the feature with a microcode update a few weeks later. I would be very surprised if they didn't do the same thing here. Intel has made it pretty clear in the past that they don't want stuff they've determined needs to be locked, being unlocked, whether it technically slides by within spec or not. Hopefully I'm wrong, and it wouldn't be the first time, but it WOULD be surprising, only because Intel has never shown much leniency in this regard.