Asrock Makes Non-K Skylake CPU Overclocking Official With 'SKY OC' Z170 BIOS Update

Yesterday we broke some exciting news about Asrock’s progress in overclocking non-K Skylake CPUs. The company demonstrated that it had made great strides in unlocking new-found potential in an i5-6600 Skylake processor while using a Z170 chipset motherboard. Today, ASRock released SKY OC, a new feature in the BIOS that allows anyone to do the same.

Asrock’s SKY OC is available on its Z170 motherboards and can be enabled with a simple BIOS update, which is available from the company’s website (See table below for links). It enables you to adjust the BCLK to overclock locked CPUs to their full potential. Asrock showed off CPU-Z screenshots of its i5-6600 overclock. The company also claimed to have attained a 60% overclock on an i5-6400, as well.

In our preview, Michael Justin Allen Sexton astutely noticed that Turbo Boost has been disabled on the i5-6600 overclock based on the clock speeds being attained. Asrock said that this is one of the limitations to overclocking non-K Skylake processors: Turbo Boost and C-State are disabled with SKY OC is applied. The company also explained that the integrated Intel graphics has to be disabled as well, meaning you’ll need a discrete GPU in the system.

The following motherboards are supported. You can find the link to their respective BIOS updates in the table.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Z170 OC FormulaL1.92
Z170 Extreme7+L2.17
Z170 Extreme6+L1.82
Z170 Extreme6L1.82
Z170 Extreme4+L2.01
Z170 Extreme4L2.43
Z170 Extreme3L1.61
Z170M Extreme4L1.35
Z170 Pro4L2.83
Z170 Pro4/D3L1.74
Z170 Pro4SL2.73
Z170M Pro4L2.23
Z170M Pro4SL2.23
Z170 Professional Gaming i7L1.14
Z170 Gaming K6+L1.93
Z170 Gaming K6L1.92
Z170 Gaming K4L2.23
Z170 Gaming K4/D3L1.51
Z170 Gaming-ITX/acL1.54

Asrock said that SKY OC will work with i3, i5, i7 and Pentium non-K CPUs. Currently, only Z170 chipsets support the feature, but the company seemingly hinted at the possibility of that changing in the future: “…have faith in Asrock’s skillfull engineers, sooner or later, more Christmas gifts from Asrock are going to be delivered.”


Kevin Carbotte joined Tom’s Hardware in early 2015. He writes GPU and VR hardware reviews and contributes to the news channel in the areas of computer graphics, water cooling, VR and other immersive technology. Kevin’s personal interests include technology advancements, fast cars and collecting video games that he doesn't have time to play.

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 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years. 

  • firefoxx04
    Ouch. Not being able to use the intel graphics is a deal breaker for me. I wanted to go with a cheep i3 and overclock it a bit for use in a home server.. or even a 2d cad workstation that does not require a dedicated card.

    I guess my server can run 'headless'. I prefer the overclock due to the demanding transcodes that plex does. No GPU makes it a paint to troubleshoot things if I cant remote in.
  • TechyInAZ
    That is a bummer that you need to disable the IGPU. However, being able to overclock at all is pretty sweet! Good Job AsRock!
  • stampedea
    Hey, losing the onboard video is no big deal. An HD5450 or similar is very very cheap, will work in a pcie 1x slot and let you use three monitors at once if you choose the right card.
  • s3alax
    This is great news for system builders! Anyone keen on a budget Skylake build, check this link:
  • junkeymonkey
    at asrock news on this at the end it says

    ''While ASRock SKY OC breathes life into Intel® non K series CPUs, currently it is still exclusive to motherboards with Intel's Z170 chipset. But have faith in ASRock's skillful engineers, sooner or later more Christmas gifts from ASRock are going to be delivered.''

    so recon that means maybe the same for haswell platforms down the road ??
  • Daniel Ladishew
    This is a moot feature atm, as you can buy the 6600K for the same price as the 6600 if you have a Microcenter nearby. Even without that, Turbo boost, iGPU and not voiding your warranty is certainly worth a few extra $10 bills.
  • RedJaron
    The iGPU limitation is likely just a side-effect of its clock tied to BCLK, meaning you have to disable it because it can't run that fast. A slight OC should let the iGPU remain on. Mild BCLK OCing has been done on locked chips for years. You were just limited in how far you could take it since the BCLK was tied to so many other buses so OCing it made those systems unstable. A BCLK of 103 - 104 MHZ is doable on most Z boards. A few of them can reach 108 MHz or so. Those are assuming the 1:1 strap being used.

    The bigger news, I think, is when non-Z boards will allow BCLK adjustment. They can already do CPU multiplier adjustment, so having both mult and BCLK settings on a cheap board allows lots of low-level OCing on a tight budget.
  • junkeymonkey
    now wonder if intel don't pull a Microsoft find some licensing infringements to sue over this ?? lol
  • RedJaron
    I doubt it. If they did, they would have done it over H81, B85, and H97 boards that allowed CPU multiplier overclocking. Also, Z97 boards have allowed BCLK OCing for locked chips as well. If Intel couldn't or didn't sue then, they'd be hard-pressed to do so now.
  • junkeymonkey
    but now its down to skylake availability what I hear

    ''TAIPEI, Taiwan, December 15, 2015 – Intel® Skylake K series CPUs are on every hardcore overclocker's wish list, due to the fact that they are the only ones with an unlocked multiplier that allows users to overclock the CPU frequency effortlessly. However, there seems to be a shortage of these ultra high performing processors lately''

    now that's cutting into the price premium for a k ?? then maybe twice the sales from a guy goes for a non k until the k he wanted is accessible to him now he buys twice ..

    i'll stick with haswell and see whats after skylake never cared for a cross over platform .. skylake is like 775 was not hip on them as well

    well anyway just something to ponder