Intel Core i9-9900K Overclocked to 5.5 GHz on Older Gen Z170 Motherboard

A Finnish overclocker who goes by the name of Luumi has overclocked Intel's latest 9th generation Core i9-9900K octa-core processor to an impressive 5.5 GHz on ASRock's Z170M OC Formula micro-ATX motherboard.

In his 38-minute long video, Luumi explains step by step how he pushed the Intel Core i9-9900K to 5.5 GHz across all its cores. The feat was done on an ASRock Z170M OC Formula motherboard, which is the popular choice among many overclockers. According to the video, the CPU was operating with a voltage around 1.3 V and was stable in the Cinebench R15 benchmark. Luumi used liquid cooling to cool the processor.

With the introduction of its 8th generation Coffee Lake processors, Intel ushered in the company's first ever mainstream hexa-core processors. Although Coffee Lake processors fit just fine into the LGA1151 CPU socket, they weren't backwards compatible with the 100-series or 200-series motherboards that were already on the market. Instead, consumers who wanted to get on the Coffee Lake train were forced to pick up a 300-series motherboard.

Intel's justification for the new motherboards was that Coffee Lake chips had different power requirements. While existing 100-series and 200-series motherboards carry an adequate power delivery subsystem for powering quad-core processors, the two additional cores on the Coffee Lake Core i5 and i7 parts require more power. There were rumors that top-tier Z170 and Z270 motherboards with beefy power delivery subsystems should have no problems taming Intel's Coffee Lake processors.

Despite all the roadblocks that Intel had put in place, modders and overclockers around the hardware world eventually found a way to get Coffee Lake processors to work on the old Z170 and Z270 motherboards. The workaround requires a fair bit of trickery that includes modifying Intel's Management Engine (ME) and the motherboard's BIOS. Although this method might not be everyone's tea, it's still fun to see a modern processor running on a last-generation motherboard.

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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.